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HEN the student of biological science investigates a problem of animal or vegetable life, his first inquiry is con

cerning those surrounding conditions which constitute the physical environment or medium in which the particular being lives. In like manner, before entering upon the consideration of social phenomena, it is indispensable that we should form a right estimate of the situation in which those phenomena occur. They are to the


world around them as the fish is to the water. There is action and re-action between the living parts of society and the social atmosphere in which they are, just as there is between the fish and the water. Unless we are right in this respect, our judgment is less to be relied on, and practical effort

may fail for want of the necessary fitness of time or place.

We live in an age of vast and momentous change, characterized as a period of transition, as a passage from an old to a new order. The industrial movement is not separate or distinct from the other parts of the human progress. Industry is but one aspect of social life,' and cannot be separated from other aspects, intellectual, moral, or political. When the public mind grasps a new political idea or seizes upon some lofty moral aspiration, it is not limited by the circumstances to which perhaps it may owe its origin, but penetrates to all the actions and desires of man. When the Radical manufacturers preached political change to the working classes, and set up before them political independence as a goal to strive for, they ought not to have been surprised to find that the ideas they had taught


with reference to the outer civic actions were at once applied to the inner industrial life. The feudal system was an industrial as well as a political subjection. If the right aspiration for every citizen is to be independent and free, that is, not subject to arbitrary power but dependent only upon just laws, the same aspiration must inevitably appear right to him in his capacity of workman. The political cry for Reform was equally a cry for a new industrial rule. Such was the meaning of the great processions of working men, to those who knew the key to the writing on the wall.

The authority of employers is not necessarily undermined by the men becoming more independent. The only industrial scheme which really threatens the existence of the employer class is that of Co-operative Production. The complete independence of the working classes is inevitable, and only a question of time. The sooner it is realised the better. And while the workmen ought not to relax their efforts, the employers have to accept the facts, and help their men to obtain an independence which is the only sure foundation for a higher and nobler authority. "I was asked,” says

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