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WORKING CLASSES IN ENGLAND.

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WORKING CLASSES IN ENGLAND. We said, on a former occasion, that the working classes had conquered their place in the warld. and that nowadays they have power and liberty. Is this saying that the organisation of the working classes is perfect ? No, evidently. Nowhere are more flagrant contradictions to be seen than in England, especially In so far as workmen are eoncerned. By the side of immense and unlimited liberty we see a sort of in- credible servitude; the importance of the working classes in society is quite acknowledged, but still from several points of view they only play an insignificant part in it. To comprehend this strange contrast, and to clearly understand the situation of the working classes, it is necessary, first of all, to examine the English social system as a whole, otherwise it would be impossible to account for what goes on before our eyes. What is England ? It ap-oears to us like Holbein's picture, which represents the dance of the dead, in which the forms ef animate life are mixed; one of those magic circles in which the institutions and prejudices of the middle ages alternate, and are con- founded with the most advanced principles of the 19th century a strange mixture of monarchy, oligarchy, and democracy. The social condition of England can only be known by taking into account this confusion of such opposite interests which seem as if they must destroy each other, and which, never- theless, subsist side by aide in a certain harmony. England has now no need of a crisis to unite in a homogeneous whole the different elements represented by the aristocracy, the clergy, and the bourgeoisie, and to force them to sacrifice their privileges to the good of the State. England has not had a night of the 4th of August in her history. The English nation, has, nevertheless,, not completely purged itself; bat it is slowly and Without any violent; shocks that it accomplishes its reforms. The different classes make mutual conces- sions to one another, and each one is capable of giviiig up a part of its privileges in favour of the others. England is like the island of Robinson, which different races, it is said, divided amongst them. The nobility have taken the greatest part, the bourgeoisie have taken what the nobility have left, and, as for the people, they have got nothing but a small corner of the space allotted to the bourgeoisie. Well, these recriprocallimits are respected by every. body, and nobody tries to destroy them. When ne- cessity requires it, one class of this singular society makes a little room for the others; and this conces- sion every time marks an advancement, although in each of the particular circles tho remains of the middle ages are still to be seen. It is this calm, quiet pro- gress, this moderation, with which reforms are de- manded, which has always made compromises between the different classes and different parties possible without revolutions. Social history in France only moves, so to speak, in a bloody eirole, in which hatred urges one against another. From 1789 to 1852 there was nothing in Pranoe but armed struggles or temporary tfruces. There is a violent animosity between the classes which possess property and those which do not, and there is ever the danger of a revolution or a counter revolu- tion. In England there are neither revolutionists nor re- publicans. The egotism of each class has an open field, and it has no need to struggle to move in that field; hence, struggles are impossible, for the reason that they would be no use. Never has the English people thought of disputing the rights or power of the aristecracy, although that aristocracy has both the poli- tical influence and the landed property; and on part the aristocracy has for a long time given up op- posing the progress of the middle classes and the free movement of the working classes. Is this hypocrisy ? No, it is only the respect for, and reciprocal recogni- tion of invested rights. Each one wishes to ba master in his own place (chez soi), but without encroaching on the ground of his neighbour. Never in England, even at the most critical times, have the principles of equality and the defence of the rights of man been put forward, and never has a tendency towards uniformity or towards a general-levelling of all classes manifested itself. English liberty has never taken the word equality as its motto. Liberty in this country is only a neutral ground on which all parties follow their own egotistic tendencies. This is the reason why in England there is an extreme confidence in the Constitution, in the monarchy and the legislation, spite of the incalculable I number of laws, which no jurisconsult has been ever able to know perfectly, and no assembly been able to j make into a code,Urnternational (london French

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