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- Mr. Philip Snowden, M.P.…


Mr. Philip Snowden, M.P. at Clydach Vale Libanus Chapel, Blaenclydach, was ] crowded last Wednesday evening on the occasion of a lecture by the Labour mem- ber for Leeds, Mr. Philip Snowden, on ] John Ruskin: The Man and His Message," This was the fourth lecture ( under the auspices of the Cambrian Col- liery Library Committee. Mr. Evan J. Roderick Tresided, and in a few well- chosen wards he extended a cordial wel- come to the future Labour Prime Minister." Mr. Snowden, on rising to address the audience, was very heartily cheered. He said that in every age there had been" men and women who had seen with a clear vision—each age had its major and minor prophets. John Ruskin was a great prophet. The great, movements that have convulsed the world's history have made great men-great men have found their opportunities in the great movements in their age. Ruskin found his opportunity for his genius to be displayed in the needs and conditions of his age. He was born in 1819, and what a picture is the first twenty years of the 19th century! It was truly a revolutionary time. The changes seen in these years were greater I- 'i Mr. PHILIP SNOWDEN, M.P. ™ than those in the out) years before. the power of steam, railway train, steam- ships, and spinning frames were all in- vented then. There were great changes in the social conditions, of the people. These years were the blackest in the his- tory of the natioji. Workmen were forced to leave the village. They were I not allowed to have a voice in the choice of work; there was no regulation in the hours of labour—competition had become the guiding principle of trade. In a few years employers amassed great fortunes, j while the poverty of the people increased. Their lives became more depraved, and home life was no longer sacred. Women and children were taken and compelled to assist to earn a meagre income. Chil- dren eight, six, and even four years of age were forced to work in factories. There was practically no sanitation, and no education. The whole world was a gambling hell—the workmen the dice. Everything that was moral and elevating was banished from the life of the nation. In that age Ruskin was, born, and out of it he evolved the teaching which was to enable cHCo people to escape out of tII6 land of bondage. Between his birth and the time when lie began to form con- clusions, a desire for a, chango was begin- iiiiiv to manifest itself. Ruskin was well qualified to discharge the work he had mapped out for himself. He was the only .son of cultured parents, who allowed him to spend his youth in art studies. He was highly educated and cultured, and his whole soul revolted against the spec- tacle of men's lives being so trampled upon. He was not a. pioneer; he had half a century's experience to assist him. To us, the chief interest is in his prin- siples of social reform. His strange ideas on political economy were not original. In the Cornhill Magazine were essays from his pen, and these he published in book form under the title Unto this Last." The orthodox political economy of the day assumed at the outset that man is an inquisitive and selfish animal. If we assumed that all men are selfish, and that wealth is the chief aim of life, then selfishness is, glorified and regarded as moral. Workmen have no joy in their work, and consequently do as little as possible. Their sole aim is to get as much wages as possible for as little work. There can be no human relation between master and man. The workman is considered as a hand and is termed such, and he is the best workman who is strong in the arm and weak in the head. Ruskin showed the false basis of this political economy. Selfishness was only tem- porary and accidental. He based his system of political economy on helpfulness and co-operation brotherhood. lie showed that if this were the principle, all our social l'elationships, would be changed. The lecturer proceeded to show the conflict between the two ideas-selfish and altruistic. As the parson, politician and doctor have a moral responsibility, so ought the employer to have. His responsibility did not merely extend to the workmen in his employ, but also to the district. The real nature of wealth was not the accumulation of material things; but there was no wealth but life. That country was the richest that had the greatest, number of great men. The greatest evil in present society was the want of individuality. Everything was now turned out by machines. In con- clusion, Mr. Snowden repeated that com- petition was the essence of the old poli- tical economy, whilst co-operation was that of the new. Ruskin had never directly influenced the opinion of the masses. His influence was rather indirect. Ho was no mere materialist. He wanted that education that would be the means of leading souls to what was best. He slept at Coniston, but though dead, he yet speaketh." He still called to us to continue his work-the need was still as great as ever. Let us all do something to bring about universal peace, righteous- ness and joy," were the concluding words of a lecture that, was listened to with the rapt attention it deserved.

----__-Church Notes.

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