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be more palpably but not more certainly paupers. Every man who comes to get his bread and clothing should be questioned as to his means of paying. It is no time for rash credits when millions of earth's wide family are asking for bread in vain. Every young man who looks forward to a professional life should prepare himself for this examination. He owes it to his own conscience to question himself. Is he prepared to give as well as to receive? Is he resolved upon his course because he can do the world some good thereby, or because the world will feed him and honor him, pauper though he be? When he comes to make a settlement for life, does he look for a place where he can live, or where he can labor? Multitudes of those who ask a support in return for their learning might be spared to wield the hammer or guide the plough. Thus if they could do the world no other good they would relieve it of the burden of their support and maintain their own self-respect.
2. But the trouble of supporting the supernumerary professional men is not a moiety of the evil. In their effort to seem to do something, they do much which ought not to be done. To secure their bread it is necessary to seem to render some service. Hence has originated much of the labor performed by professional men of the present age. Of the eighteen in every small town you will not find one who is not employed. They are all doing the community a real or imaginary service. We do not charge them with intentional imposition. They are, many of them, as honest as the men who employ them. But it is nevertheless true that two thirds of them might be spared, and the community receive no detriment." The wants which they supply are imaginary wants, brought into existence by the presence of the men who suppose themselves to be benefactors of the people. If four of the lawyers should retire, does any man but a lawyer suppose that the other two could not do all necessary business? and because four more can make a living there, is it self-evident that they are needed? There can scarcely be a doubt that by such a change litigation would be diminished, the ends of justice would be as well secured, and human rights as fully sustained. Let the physicians be diminished in the same proportion, and the people would soon find there was medicine enough still. It might be difficult to decide who should retire, the Regulars, the Homœopaths, or the Thompsonians; but if the question could be settled, the money would be saved, and sickness perhaps diminished in nearly the same ratio. Yet these are all honest men and try to earn their living.
Transform four of the clergymen into farmers and what would be the result? There are now six congregations of one hundred and fifty each. These would become two comfortable congregations of nearly five hundred each; and who doubts that the work would be at least as well done as now? Would sectarianism be as rife unless there were men to build the walls of denomination? Would there be so many folds for the flock, unless the under shepherds were greatly multiplied? The demand in this case has followed the supply, and has been occasioned by it. If the men had not been at hand the demand for them would not have arisen. If those men would withdraw, the demand would cease and the curse of sectarianism would be proportionably diminished. We speak not of the practicability of such a measure but of its desirableness. It is of some account to know what would be for our advantage although it may be beyond our reach. We speak too of the clerical profession as it is, and not as it might be. A large majority of those now preparing for the gospel ministry, intend as their predecessors have done, to make their own country their field of labor. They will each take their stand within sight of half a dozen churches and occupy themselves with work which must be done simply because they are there to do it. As long as darkness broods over nine-tenths of the race, there is little danger that too many will devote themselves to its removal, provided they will take their proper place. Let them hold up their light where the darkness is and no one shall call in question their work.
From these different classes of men of learning arise our politicians. The professions are crowded and can spare men enough to stir up party strife and fill the country with a clamor about questions important and unimportant, it matters little which, so long as the appearance of doing something is kept up. What good purpose is accomplished by all this?— What bearing has it on the well-being of man? What worthy end is attained by long months of party legislation, the highest aim of which seems to be, to secure the privilege of a similar show of doing something the following year? Such questions must be answered by coming time. The present age in its bustle will not stop to answer them. From the same causes has sprung up an overgrown literature. The question among literary men has not been, how many books are needed and of what sort, but how much trash can we palm off upon the world and still be paid and honored for it. We have not only caterers to a depraved public
taste, but men who are willing to vitiate that taste still more for purposes of gain and notoriety-men who will deify every hateful lust, and in the temple of Literature erect an altar to the worship of their loathsome idol, provided they may be priests at that altar and share with the idol. No one will claim that if one half of the so-called popular literature of the present day were withdrawn, the world would be the loser. Yet all this has been paid for, and the men who have thus cajoled us are eating the bread which the hungry need, and prostituting talents which might bless mankind. In the abundance of literary men-men who pursue literature as a means of living, there is a strong temptation thus to minister to man's depraved appetites. When every topic of useful investigation has been occupied, there are still multitudes who must write their book or starve. In their straits they ransack the upper and the nether world, and when ambrosia and nectar fail they disguise for our digestion the food of devils. Such men are objects not of our censure alone but of our pity too. Do you pity the woman who in the crowded city begs in vain for work that she may honestly maintain herself and her starving babes, and when the pampered harlot passes, is constrained by want to go and do likewise? Then pity the man to whom God has given a soul fit to converse with angels, who is compelled to pander to loathsome passions for bread and for a
That the sole cause of these evils is the super-abundance of literary men, we do not pretend. But the evils are greatly aggravated by this circumstance. The least that can be said is, that there would be less of this work or seeming work if there were less employed about it. Litigation, quackery, sectarianism, party strife and literary prostitution would receive a decided check if some other business could be furnished those who have nothing nobler to engage in.
3. There is another evil connected with this matter which is at the same time a cause and consequence of the prevailing notion of literary men in reference to their proper vocation. There is a sort of aristocracy of learning, weak in many parts of our country, but like all other aristocracies, exerting a deleterious influence upon human elevation. Learning is a means by which men may elevate themselves above the laboring masses of mankind, I do not mean in character, but in position and in feeling. There are doubtless multitudes of men of learning whose sympathies are with the laboring classes. Yet even these are often objects of suspicion to
those with whom they would associate, because of the prevailing impression that there is a feeling of superiority on the part of the educated. The educated and the uneducated alike suffer from this sentiment. For whatever may be the ground of an aristocracy, whether birth or wealth or station or learning, it works ruin both among those above and those below the dividing line. The favored become dizzy in their fancied exaltation, and the true idea of human greatness vanishes from their minds. They oppose efforts of reform in church and state because a shift in the wheel of fortune is dreaded chiefly by those who imagine they are near its top. They may labor for the good of men, but to bring them up to a level with themselves is no part of their dream. Such is the tendency. That many men of learning have escaped the influence, is true; that many have fallen under it, is equally true. There is comparatively little of this in our own country, and there would be still less but for our connection with European society. We have now and then a twig transplanted from the overshadowing aristocracies there. Pity that learning should be the compost to foster its growth.
But the influence upon the laboring classes is equally disastrous. They have come to look upon labor as a barrier to their elevation, and instead of being satisfied with their calling, they regard it as a present evil from which they hope to escape. Hence multitudes are pressing to the halls of science, not simply to acquire knowledge, but to elevate themselves above the condition of laborers. They see power and respectability in the hands of others and the only hope they have of escaping their present degradation is by attaching themselves to the ranks of the learned. A strong impression prevails among the laboring classes that they are living for themselves alone-that the labor to which they are doomed shuts them from the world and contracts their influence.Thus as soon as an opportunity offers of throwing off what they regard as their bondage, of ranking themselves with the useful and influential, they eagerly embrace it. All this tends to degrade labor still more, and to lead men in a vain pursuit after usefulness and greatness. Labor must ever be the great business of men, and unless as laborers they can be useful and good and great, then farewell to human elevation.
Multitudes of others despise progress because it seems to be a tendency toward that aristocracy which disgusts them. They look with suspicion upon every improvement, because
they see in it some element of power which they dread.With no hope of elevating themselves, they fear and envy those who possess any advantage over themselves, or who would secure any advancement in our social condition. Thus every aristocracy produces among the highest and the lowest a conservative influence with which civilization is compelled to struggle.
In view of these evils and difficulties, what must be done? There is no limit to knowledge, nor should there be. No one should be discouraged from acquiring all within his reach. Our schools and seminaries must be multiplied and improved until the common man shall stand in substantial attainment and mental discipline where those now stand who are lights in the world. Nor then will the work be done. Progress is the birth-right of the race. But when men are thus elevated shall labor cease? Shall it be regarded as a waste of power for such men to pursue the productive arts? Shall all attempt to live by their learning? Labor will rise in dignity and power with the rising race. When physical power shall be regulated and applied by comprehensive thought and quickened apprehension, no bounds can be set to the attainments of art. Civilization shall be as far in advance of present civilization, as this is in advance of barbarism, and shall still progress."
Such is the fond expectation of the philanthropist and the christian. But how is it to be realized? No human mind has grasped the plan, but we are each permitted to suggest our thought. One of the first steps, if we mistake not, is to effect a union between Learning and Labor. Let educated men, in the spirit of philanthropy, separate themselves from the overstocked professions, and take their place among the world's working men. Let them give themselves to their work as their business for life. Let them cultivate their own farms, and work in their own shops with the hands which God has given them. There is no need of men who shall superintend the work of others, while they enjoy their leisure or their scientific pursuits, and keep themselves aloof from the tug of life. We have an abundance of such laborers. Work has its aristocracyas well as other human interests; but our proposition is not to strengthen this. Let them engage in this work intelligently and from choice, not because they are driven to it as the least of two evils. Let them esteem it a privilege thus to labor for the good of man and to identify themselves with those whom they would bless. That labor is to be elevated scarcely one doubts. That war is to give way to the arts of peace is not only matter of prophecy, but almost of history. That civilization in its highest