The 24 March 1848 issue of the Voice of Industry (Vol. 3 No. 37).
The Lowell Journal of last week...
The Lowell Journal of last week lashed itself into a foamy song, and murmured mutterings nearly through a long column, about the "ill-nature" of reformers, and the "crabbed saturnine" tone of the Voice of Industry. We are very sorry that our good humored reference to the Journal's complaint, relative to the non-representation of Lowell in the State Whig Central Committee, should have caused the editor to compromise his good nature so far as he has done in regard to the Voice. We did not think we were treading on his corns in our reference to the relation which Lowell and its interests sustain to Boston. It certainly had not occurred to us, but the editor was his own man. We knew that the Journal was formerly an instrument of the Cotton interests. We had hoped better of it lately. But the overrunning "good nature" of the editor, so abundantly displayed in his last week's paper, has excited the suspicion in our minds, that our playful remarks did somehow and all unwittingly, fall upon the raw [rocks?].
Now we have never pretended to be very knowing. We should rejoice to know vastly more than we can hope to compass and we sincerely thank the editor of the Journal for the knowledge he has afforded us relative to the non-incorporation of the Fall River Manufacturing Companies. But still, we can't see how we were bound to know whether they were incorporated or not. The fact of their oppressive nature and tendency remains the same. The Journal knows that we have never urged [might?] against the manufacturing system from the fact that it was incorporated. So far from it, we have regarded the corporate feature as the best one in the system, and have ever admitted it. It is the monopoly feature which we have opposed, and which is not a necessary concomitant of corporate bonds. It is the divorce of labor and capital, in the repartition of dividends—the fact that labor is not represented in those companies, which, as the Journal ought to know, has always been the basis of our complaint. In the very article to which the Journal refers, we stated that "they who work in the mills ought to own them."
The Journal expends itself mainly upon our Cuban correspondence, and attempts to make extra capital for his purpose out of it, although he well knows we disclaimed the views of Cosmopolite.1 But we called him "intelligent and liberal minded," and these qualities are shown, in that he can see both slavery and the industrial regime of the Lowell mills to be oppressive and an outrage upon humanity. And what is more, he doesn't hesitate to speak it; a thing which our contemporary has not given very clear evidence of having done. But the Journal calls it "misplaced sympathy" which leads our correspondent, out of respect to feelings of guiltless individuals, to suppress the name of a Boston merchant who had sold his own children [as] slaves to the Cobre copper mines, and proceeds to say, that "a man might put his children into the Lowell mills without exciting any great horror." We presume the other fact did not excite any great degree of horror in Cuba, but does that prove the system of slavery not altogether a diabolical thing? If such a thing would not excite horror in Lowell, it would in South Carolina. Southerners look upon your Lowell system as a fouler curse than chattel slavery. It degrades not negro misses, they say, but the nobler Anglo Saxon daughters. But such reasoning is altogether too shallow to notice.
The Journal does not controvert a single important statement which we have made. It is evidently excited by our innocent pleasantry (call it satirical if you please) of another article which it does not so much as deign a reference to. But it takes some pains to look after the concerns of its neighbor the Advertizer. Whenever the editor of the Journal feels particularly annoyed by the "crabbed, cross, ill-natured, snarling saturnine" propensities of reformers, we think he would be benefited by a re-perusal of his own gentle notice of the Voice of Industry. It has certainly had the effect of showing us how undignified is a better spirit, how poor an example it would be to follow. It has suggested to us whether there may not be a beam in our own eye. We hope it will not do less for the author.
We trust that none of our readers will fail to read the account we give of the glorious Revolution in France [1848 Revolution in France]. This bloodless, humane triumph, puts to shame every thing which we have yet done on the ensanguined fields of Mexico. No human eye can foresee to what this event may lead. Whether the other despots of Europe will beat the same wise though undignified retreat which Louis Phillipe has done and leave the people to accomplish a pacific revolution unstained with blood, or whether they will attempt to drown in crimson effusion the divine form of liberty and progress, remains to be seen. That this event will greatly quicken the march of reform in Sicily, and throughout Italy cannot be doubted. Pope Pius even cannot stop long where he has halted. His people will only be content with the largest bequests which they are capable of appreciating. Louis Phillipe has abdicated the throne; and the gracious Pope may be deposed from the Holy See. How will Austria, Prussia, Russia, and even England—those proud embodiments of legitimacy, regard the cry of Vive la Republique, Vive la Reforme, which, uttered in Paris, has changed in an hour the destiny of France, and perhaps of Europe? Americans should hail this event with demonstrations of fraternal joy, and stretch their arms to their brethren in France, and shake hands with them for freedom and fraternity, over the roar and storms of the wild Atlantic. England's fear of French invasion will turn out to be not so much of armed men as an invasion of free principles and free institutions—more dreaded there than all the "days of war." We do hope the American press will give our French co-adjutors, in the cause of freedom, assurances of our sincere appreciation of their noble achievements.
Note: spelling and punctuation have been slightly modified.
- 1"Cosmopolite" was a Cuban correspondent for the Voice who wrote a rather objectionable article in the 10 March 1848 issue of the Voice, in which he seems to favorably compare Cuban slavery to the condition of the Lowell operatives. The editors of the Voice, in the same issue, distanced themselves from their correspondent's views, though still included the article. Slavery's advocates in the South often attacked Northern and European wage-labor on the basis that the condition of their slaves supposedly compared favorably to the condition of Northern and European factory workers (which was of course complete nonsense).