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had prevented the settlement of the corn question from

time:2023-12-07 05:35:19 author:music read:774次

Margaret did not reply. She was displeased at the personal character Mr. Thornton affixed to what she had said.

had prevented the settlement of the corn question from

‘I must confess that, although I have not become so intimately acquainted with any workmen as Margaret has, I am very much struck by the antagonism between the employer and the employed, on the very surface of things. I even gather this impression from what you yourself have from time to time said.’

had prevented the settlement of the corn question from

Mr. Thornton paused awhile before he spoke. Margaret had just left the room, and he was vexed at the state of feeling between himself and her. However, the little annoyance, by making him cooler and more thoughtful, gave a greater dignity to what he said:

had prevented the settlement of the corn question from

‘My theory is, that my interests are identical with those of my workpeople and vice-versa. Miss Hale, I know, does not like to hear men called ‘hands,’ so I won’t use that word, though it comes most readily to my lips as the technical term, whose origin, whatever it was, dates before my time. On some future day — in some millennium — in Utopia, this unity may be brought into practice — just as I can fancy a republic the most perfect form of government.’

‘We will read Plato’s Republic as soon as we have finished Homer.’

‘Well, in the Platonic year, it may fall out that we are all — men women, and children — fit for a republic: but give me a constitutional monarchy in our present state of morals and intelligence. In our infancy we require a wise despotism to govern us. Indeed, long past infancy, children and young people are the happiest under the unfailing laws of a discreet, firm authority. I agree with Miss Hale so far as to consider our people in the condition of children, while I deny that we, the masters, have anything to do with the making or keeping them so. I maintain that despotism is the best kind of government for them; so that in the hours in which I come in contact with them I must necessarily be an autocrat. I will use my best discretion — from no humbug or philanthropic feeling, of which we have had rather too much in the North — to make wise laws and come to just decisions in the conduct of my business — laws and decisions which work for my own good in the first instance — for theirs in the second; but I will neither be forced to give my reasons, nor flinch from what I have once declared to be my resolution. Let them turn out! I shall suffer as well as they: but at the end they will find I have not bated nor altered one jot.’

Margaret had re-entered the room and was sitting at her work; but she did not speak. Mr. Hale answered —

‘I dare say I am talking in great ignorance; but from the little I know, I should say that the masses were already passing rapidly into the troublesome stage which intervenes between childhood and manhood, in the life of the multitude as well as that of the individual. Now, the error which many parents commit in the treatment of the individual at this time is, insisting on the same unreasoning obedience as when all he had to do in the way of duty was, to obey the simple laws of “Come when you’re called” and “Do as you’re bid!” But a wise parent humours the desire for independent action, so as to become the friend and adviser when his absolute rule shall cease. If I get wrong in my reasoning, recollect, it is you who adopted the analogy.’


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