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and sawing purposes ; the blacksmith acts as engineer. It got out somehow that I understood engines and machinery; and the blacksmith at times was busy shoeing horses when he was wanted at the engine, so I was asked to attend to it for an hour or so, which I did frequent intervals. In April, 1876, we got a change in farm manager—a regular steam-go-ahead sort of a man, with great ideas of 'modern improvements, and with him more work to be done through the engine, which used to work two or three days a month, but now three or four days a week, and I came to be looked upon by him as engineer. I remonstrated with him two or three times, telling him that it was quite contrary to my views and wishes, and that I hoped he would free me from it. Well, winter comes, with its wet weather, and the labourers, numbering about thirty, had to work out in all the bad weather, or else go home and lose their pay of course, the engine all the time hard at work doing that which they very comfortably might be doing under cover, and so saving them from hunger or rheumatism. Well, this sort of thing cut me up very much, and my wife and I talked the matter over several times, and we were determined that I should do it no longer, let the consequence be what it may; so at Christmas I told him that with the closing year I should finish with the engine. He said he was very sorry, etc., but if I did I should have to leave altogether. On New Year's morning he asked me if I was determined on what I said, and I answered yes ; so he told me to pack my tools and go, and so ended my work at Newby Hall Farm. The parson and one or two kindly wishing ladies wished to intercede for me, but I told them that I did not desire it, for I meant what I said, and he understood me. Well, I sought about for other employment, and eventually started work here at Scarborough with Mr. Bland, joined and builder, and we have got nicely settled down again, with a full determination to steer clear of steam.
“Remaining yours humbly,
“JOHN GUY." "J. RUSKIN, Esq."
(For another letter from John Guy, see Letter 85, § 9 (p. 326).]
LIFE GUARDS OF NEW LIFE 1
HERNE Hill, 18th June, 1877. 1. Some time since, at Venice, a pamphlet on social subjects was sent me by its author-expecting my sympathy, or by way of bestowing on me his own. I cut the following sentence out of it, which, falling now out of my pocketbook, I find presented to me by Fors as a proper introduction to things needing further declaration this month :
“ It is indeed a most blessed provision that men will not work without wages; if they did, society would be overthrown from its roots. A man who would give his labour for nothing would be a social monster.”
This sentence, although written by an extremely foolish, and altogether insignificant, person, is yet, it seems to me, worth preserving, as one of the myriad voices, more and more unanimous daily, of a society which is itself a monster; founding itself on the New Commandment, Let him that hateth God, hate his brother also.?
A society to be indeed overthrown from its roots; and out of which, my Sheffield workmen, you are now called into this very “monstrosity” of labour, not for wages, but for the love of God and man; and on this piece of British ground, freely yielded to you, to free-heartedness of unselfish toil.
[See below, $ 4. “The Social Monster" (see 1) was a rejected title for this Letter. Ruskin also wrote on the wrapper of his copy “ Art-Manchester Letterand Grosvenor Gallery,” as a summary of its contents.]
? [“ And this commandment have we from him, That he who loveth God love his brother also” (1 John iv. 21).]
2. Looking back to the history of guilds of trade in England, and of Europe generally, together with that of the great schools of Venice, I perceive the real ground of their decay to have lain chiefly in the conditions of selfishness and isolation which were more or less involved in their vow of fraternity, and their laws of apprenticeship. And in the outset of your labour here on St. George's ground, I must warn you very earnestly against the notion of “co-operation” as the policy of a privileged number of persons for their own advantage. You have this land given you for your work, that you may do the best you can for all men; you are bound by certain laws of work, that the " best you can
may indeed be good and exemplary; and although I shall endeavour to persuade you to accept nearly every law of the old guilds, that acceptance, I trust, will be with deeper understanding of the wide purposes of so narrow fellowship, and (if the thought is not too foreign to your present temper) more in the spirit of a body of monks gathered for missionary service, than of a body of tradesmen gathered for the promotion even of the honestest and usefullest trade.
3. It is indeed because I have seen you to be capable of co-operation, and to have conceived among yourselves the necessity of severe laws for its better enforcement, that I have determined to make the first essay of St. George's work at Sheffield. But I do not think you have yet learned that such unity of effort can only be vital or successful when organized verily for the “ interests of England ”l_not for your own; and that the mutiny against co-operative law which you have hitherto selfishly, and therefore guiltily, sought to punish, is indeed to be punished for precisely the same reasons as mutiny in the Channel Fleet.
I noticed that there was some report of such a thing the other day,—but discredited by the journals in which it
1 (See above, p. 128.)
appeared, on the ground of the impossibility that men trained as our British sailors are, should disobey their officers, unless under provocation which no modern conditions of the service could involve. How long is it to be before these virtues of loyalty and obedience shall be conceived as capable of development, no less in employments which have some useful end, and fruitful power, than in those which are simply the moral organization of massacre, and the mechanical reduplication of ruin !
4. When I wrote privately to one of your representatives, the other day, that Abbeydale was to be yielded to your occupation rent-free, * you received the announcement with natural, but, I must now tell you, with thoughtless, gratitude. I ask you no rent for this land, precisely as a captain of a ship of the line asks no rent for her deck, cleared for action. You are called into a Christian ship of war; -not hiring a corsair's hull, to go forth and rob on the high seas. And you will find the engagements you have made only tenable by a continual reference to the cause for which you are contending,—not to the advantage you hope to reap
But observe also, that while you suffer as St. George's soldiers, he answers for your lives, as every captain must answer for the lives of his soldiers. Your ranks shall not be thinned by disease or famine, uncared for,-any more than those of the Life Guards; and the simple question for each one of you, every day, will be, not how he and his family are to live, for your bread and water will be sure; but how much good service you can do to your country. You will have only to consider, each day, how much, with an earnest day's labour, you can produce, of any useful things you are able to manufacture. These you are to sell at absolutely fixed prices, for ready money only;
* Practically so. The tenants must legally be bound to pay the same rent as on the other estates of St. George ; but in this case, the rents will be entirely returned to the estate, for its own advantage; not diverted into any other channels of operation.
and whatever stock remains unsold at the end of the year, over and above the due store for the next, you are to give away, through such officers of distribution as the society shall appoint.
5. You can scarcely, at present, having been all your lives, hitherto, struggling for security of mere existence, imagine the peace of heart which follows the casting out of the element of selfishness as the root of action ; but it
peace, observe, only, that is promised to you, not at all necessarily, or at least primarily, joy. You shall find rest unto your souls when first you take on you the yoke of Christ ;' but joy only when you have borne it as long as He wills, and are called to enter into the joy of your Lord.
That such promises should have become all but incredible to most of you, is the necessary punishment of the disobedience to the plainest orders of God, in which you have been taught by your prophets, and permitted by your priests, to live for the last quarter of a century. But that this incredibility should be felt as no calamity,—but rather benefit and emancipation; and that the voluble announcement of vile birth and eternal death as the origin and inheritance of man, should be exulted over as a new light of the eyes and strength of the limbs; this sometimes, after all that I have resolved, is like to paralyse me into silence-mere horror and inert winter of life.
6. I am going presently to quote to you, with reference to the accounts of what I have been last doing for your Museum (Article I. of Correspondence), some sentences of an admirable letter which has been just put into my hands, though it appeared on the 27th of February last, in the Manchester Guardian.3 An admirable letter, I repeat, in its general aim; and in much of its text ;-closing, nevertheless, with the sorrowful admission in the sentence italicized
[Matthew xi. 29.] : Matthew xxv. 21.] 3 [The paper was by Mr. T. C. Horsfall : see Appendix 22 (below, pp. 589–593).]