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suggest vacuity of substantial thought. It will be in vain. for us to insist that sociology has a field of its own and is big with promise, unless promise is followed by speedy fulfillment. It is important to stake out our field with care, but let us get done with our surveying and get at our plowing, for the field is, after all, boundless and most of it common, and the world cares only for our crop.
H. H. POWERS.
A NEGLECTED SOCIALIST.
The revolutionary year 1848, contrary to what has been generally supposed, is the end of a distinct period of socialism, rather than the beginning of all socialistic movements in Germany. In this period lie the sources of that social political movement which at the present moment controls the legislation of the German Empire. It is as great a mistake to begin German socialism with the Communistic Manifesto of Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels as to begin the history of the American Revolution with the Declaration of Independence; and yet the former has been done by nearly all writers on the subject of socialism. Professor Adler, of the University of Basle, is almost the only writer who has done justice to the neglected period before 1848.* If the period itself has been neglected, much more have some of the most active spirits who contributed to its importance. It is with a neglected socialist of this neglected period that this paper deals.
We find ourselves in the midst of the troublous times between the July revolution of 1830 and the March revolution of 1848, between the two capital cities where the life and thought of two great European nations focus. The great French revolution and its immediate effects had become history. Its sacrificial fires had gone out in the temple of Vesta, but sparks were glowing still on household hearths before the gods of Liberty, Equality and Fraternity. Napoleon's dramatic career had closed, but its influence was still mighty among the reconstructed states of Germany. A new generation had sprung up and a new code of ideas had been formulated. In France, constitution-mongers had given way to social reformers; in Germany, advocates of * "Die Geschichte der ersten sozialpolitischen Arbeiterbewegung in Deutschland," Breslau, 1885, contains an excellent bibliography.
republic and unity seized the opportunity for political agitation. In France, new social theories were being discussed and social utopias invented; in Germany, political emancipation from feudal conditions was the one united aim of the discontented classes. In both countries secret clubs and unions were formed for the propagation of the new ideas. While the revolution of 1830 added to the list of liberties enjoyed by the French people, it caused the German people on the other hand to lose even the meagre liberties which they had. The harsh measures adopted by the German princes not only against conspiracies but against all liberalizing influences-especially the press-had the effect of strengthening socialism in France, and changed in the end the entire character of political agitation in Germany. The Frankforter Attentats (April 3, 1833), and the Vienna convocation led to the founding of the first unions of German refugees on foreign soil. The "German Society of the Proscribed" (Deutscher Bund der Geächteten) in Paris, and "The Young Germany" (Das junge Deutschland) in Switzerland, had the same aim: "the freeing of Germany from the yoke of dishonorable servitude, and the establishment of a condition of affairs which as far as man is able to foresee will prevent a relapse into thralldom." The new department of ideas which they found in the foreign land, they seized with the same energy with which they had entered into politics at home. As Hildebrand says,* they had learned to know the unsusceptibility of the masses in Germany for their political dreams and had begun to despair of bettering the state of life at home. The wants and the shadowside of other lands impressed them. They saw the sorrows of Ireland over against English land and money aristocracy; the police centralization of France, the Jesuit endeavors of republican Switzerland. All these experiences made their patriotic hopes and ideas cosmopolitan, and they declared war on the social foundations of society.
*“Die Nationalökonomie der Gegenwart und Zukunft, Frankfort, a. M., 1848.
By degrees the Paris union came to be composed almost entirely of laborers. The socialistic and utopian schemes of Babeuf and Fourier were eagerly read and studied. The French Republicans alarmed at the socialistic revolutionary tendency which was setting in, were moving toward the right, leaving the remnant of the "Mountain" to join itself with the proletariat. Plots and conspiracies became more and more frequent until at length the state was provoked to take summary means for their suppression, which naturally had the effect of making the unions more secret. In 1837 the "Society of Equals "-the real representation of Babeufism-had developed into the "Society of the Seasons" (Société des Saisons) with Blanqui, Bernard and Barbès at its head. Its aim was social, no longer political. Buonarroti had sometime since returned from Switzerland, whither he had been forced to flee, and had published his 'History of the Conspiracy of the Equals." Babeufism, in consequence, was again rife in France. Saint Simonism as interpreted by Enfantin and Bazard had run its course, but the "new Christianity," as Lamennais presented it in his "Words of a Believer" (Les Paroles d'un Croyant), exercised an unexpected influence on the German political immigrants. Fourier, who during his life found no encouragement for the introduction of his social scheme of association, by his death in 1837 caused the tide of socialistic thought to flow in channels which he had in theory marked out. His theories, through the works of Considerant, Pellarin, and Chevalier, were brought into the daily life of the proletariat. In 1839, Cabet returned to France from his exile in England inspired with Owenism, which he transplanted on French soil with his own originality. His "Voyage en Icarie" appeared in 1840. This same year Proudhon published his greatest work "What is Property?" the effect of which was to double the discontent of the proletariat, and to convert no less a mind than Karl Marx to socialism. Many writers and agitators less known to literature were
making propaganda and organizing clubs for the discussion of these great socialistic theories. The German laborers in Paris were reached through such men as Dr. Ewerbeck, Dr. Schuster, and Dr. Mäurer; men educated at the German universities, and well acquainted with the philosophies of Kant, of Fichte, and of Hegel. They had gone to France with their minds filled with abstract, political views, there intending to make propaganda for the "Republic of Germany;" but in a short time, owing to a force of circumstances and the irresistible influences of their socialistic environment, from political visionaries in the foreign land became spreaders and leaders of social theories.
It was with similar ideas, that the subject of our sketch, William Weitling, a proletarian of the proletariat, came into this tropical-socialistic atmosphere in the French capital and lived there for three years. He, too, experienced the same changes in his ideas and purposes. From the schooling he received in Paris he became an important socialistic agitator and the most prominent character, as we shall see, in the history of German socialism before 1848.
His life before he went to Paris was a preparation and in part, at least, an index of that which followed. Born in 1808, in Magdeburg, a city celebrated in history as the hotbed of liberalism, whether in trade, religion or in politics; in an environment where speech and press were the freest of any in Germany, he knew poverty by experience and acquired by inheritance a hostile spirit toward all masters. He attended school in Magdeburg, and meanwhile served his apprenticeship to a tailor. His keen observation and warm sympathies for those who were similarly situated, made the consciousness of the existing social and economic relations galling. This consciousness became the unselfish passion of his life. He says: "If I many times boil up in rage on account of the wretchedness of society, it is because I in my life have often had the opportunity of seeing misery near to, and of feeling it, in part, myself; because I as a boy was