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AN ENGLISH RADICAL ON SOCIALISM., Issue 10446, 16 October 1897
AN ENGLISH RADICAL ON SOCIALISM.
"WELL MEANT, BUiyPURBUND •PERVERSITY."
In Bpeaking at Newcastle at a banquet to oslebrace the Queen's. Jubilee, Mr Joseph Oowen, the well-known politician, proposed. '• The. British Empire.'' The.following aie hie concluding remarks, as reported in the * Newcastle Daily Chronicle':— There is riot' any evidence of degeneracy in the British race. There is the bid courage in war, eiuewin labor, and skill in workmanship. There is the tame passion t<r adventure and love of ja Igment or alertness, in adaptability and constancy.. The Brititb. E npiie is not in solstice, i The imperial id« a tempers the original iron of the British characterinto steel and whets its resistless elge. Its. spirit and resources are equal to meeting all inevitable dangers and all honorable 'obligations.-'' But it is indispensable that we-should recognue the fact that, though mighty, we ai e not omnipotent. Oar coffers are well filled and easily replenished, but our means are not inexhaustible. Modern inventioi.s are open to other nations as. unreservedly as to ourselves. They have utilised them, atd now tread closely on our heels; But this is not altogether a disadvantage. We mu.t fight against material obstacles fn order to win the means of exercising mental influence. The ancients believed thas it was to tie interest of a country that its neighboie should be poor" and weak. The moderis have discovered that it is for the welfare if a country that its contemporaries should bit strong and prosperous. The successfil exertion of' one stimulates the other, and all share in the common well-being. Our most abiding possession is practical knowledge. It is imperishable. Literature may dwindle to _ a fribble, art may degenerate into bric-a-brac, but mankind can never forget how to make steam engines and electee telegraphs, telescopes and compasses, fainting presses and firearms.; While they exist barbarism from without cannot overwhelm civilised powerr.. But the barbarism from within may lay otr splendor low. _We need fear neither enemies nor rivals. The appreheneioh for the future comes from amongst ourselves. The secret of British success has been by combining a comprehensive attention to general interests, with a scrupulous care for individual liberty. Without wrench or rupture we have transformed our institutions. Slavery, with its horrors, is at an end. Transportation, with its torments,-is abandoned ; -and impres?-ment.with-iis harshness, is discarded. We obtain our defence forces voluntarily, by absorbing the unemployed, and not by draining our industry. luvidious privileges, unmerited disabilities, and mortifying distinctions, political, civil, and ecclesiastical, which appeared necessary only through the mists of error, or which were magnified into importance only through the medium of prejudice, have been swept away. We have striven to inspire the humble with dignity, the desponding with faith, the oppressed with hope; and the British Empire has become a model of popular liberty and personal prosperity as firm as the earth and as wide us the sea. But, by an unaccountable infatuation, we are reforging the very restraints the removal cf which brought cs such social happiness and civic success, National character is the outcome of nersoual ; character. Toe strength of a.State* can be no more than the sum of tho Btrength of the persons who compost it. But this obvious fact is strangely overlooked. Man, too, it should be remembered, is not clay, to be moulded, or marble, to be cut. He grows under the hand. The out? line of to-day becomes the fetter of tomorrow. A statute which this yecr embodies a fact next year may prescribe a bondage. Wherever there is lite .there hj movement. As -Mr Spenoer has shown, we oan no. more elude the-laws of human development than wo oan cludo tho law of gravitation. 'Society is a living organism, and if walled in by rigid meohanioal apparatus it cannot fail to be dwarfed and impeded in its growth. Yet under some purblind, perversity we are doing this".' We aro suppreseing emulatior, legislating all the initiative out of the people, and enervating them by perpetual State aid, Government is being substituted for the lnd> vidual, aad everything is being reduoed to its inception. All we want is to be let alone. Let us have fewer laws and less officialism, but let us strengthen the principle of law and the spirit of justice by cducmiou, and aim at making men, not machines. Then all will be well. Then our harassed industrial Titans will recover their pristine vigor, and rouse themselves to higher efforts, warmer motion, keener strife. The noble idea of plain living and high thinkiDg, of adolescent and social energy, has been impaired, by the prevailing materialism, while the disposition to throw responsibility upon events, and to drift helplessly before currents of popular caprice, is an ignoble feature of our politics. But there is still lurking in the British people sparks of tho patriotic fire which burned in the hearts of the heroes who bled for our freedom, and left us their fa-ne. The spirit will mount with the occasion. Its aim is progress and its motive duty.—(Loud cheering.) - ■ .
AN ENGLISH RADICAL ON SOCIALISM., Issue 10446, 16 October 1897
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