Sidor som bilder
[merged small][graphic]

its deliberations. Regarded as the principal organ of the Democracy of New England in that body, during the administration of President Adams, his clear and powerful expositions of its views were received with great deference on several important occasions. During those four sessions he was appointed Chairman of the Committee on Commerce. On the expiration of his term, on the third of March, 1831, he declined a re-election, his private af fairs requiring his attention at home. He was a few days thereafter elected to the Senate of his State, but in the ensuing month of April, he accepted General Jackson's invitation to a seat in his cabinet as Secretary of the Navy. After the rejection of Mr. Taney as Secretary of the Treasury by the Senate, Mr. Woodbury was transferred to that department, for which he received the confirmation of the Senate, in June, 1834. In that post he continued till the close of Mr. Van Buren's Presidency-passing from it directly into his former seat in the Senate, to which he had been elected by the Legislature of his State during the course of the preceding winter, for the six years commencing with the 4th of March, 1841.


It had been so long since Mr. Woodbury had appeared before the country in this capacity, that his former legislative reputation was almost forgotten, and the public was little prepared for



LONDON, DEC. 8тн, 1842,

3 Catharine-street, Strand. To the Editor of the Democratic Review

SIR-In the Number of the Democratic Review for November, 1842, there is an absolutely erroneous statement or review of Fourier's principles, particularly with regard to fun

the masterly demonstration immediately called out by the topics of the period, of his high powers of senatorial debate. He has taken a prominent part in all the great discussions which have arisen, especially those involving the leading questions of the public finance. His services have been invaluable to the Democratic Party in the Senate. His profound and extensive knowledge on this subject, his equal familiarity with great principles and minute details, his clearness of logic and of language, and his vigilance in the detection and his readiness in the refutation of the fallacies of the opposite side of the party division, have been brought into constant play, and have never been wanting to the occasion. Mr. Woodbury has earned a brighter laurel within the past two years on the floor of the Senate, even than any before gracing his brow. It is scarcely necessary to say that he has been one of the foremost champions of Free Trade. As the leading representative of the Democracy of one of the great sections of the Union, New England, Mr. Woodbury's position is not only already one of the most enviable eminence on the stage of public life, but it places him in an open path at no far distance from an honor surpassing any yet conferred on him, by the public appreciation of his abilities, worth, and services.

damentals; and as that review is written by a gentleman deservedly esteemed, on this as well as on your side of the Atlantic, for high attainments and a fearless advocacy of whatever he believes to be the truth, the opinion he expresses with regard to Fourier's views and principles is fraught

• We have already inserted in our Number of last December, a somewhat similar Protest, of our own cis-Atlantic Fourierism, against the article by Mr. Brownson here referred to. But our high respect for the ability of the writer of the present Letter, and for the noble spirit and lofty aim of the philosophy to the advocacy of which his journal is devoted, forbids us to decline his request for its insertion, even though much of its contents have been thus already anticipated by another writer of the same school.-ED. D. R.

Letter from the Editor of the London Phalanx.


with danger to the progress of real truth, so far as Fourier's views of progress are concerned. It is to neutralize that influence, then, as far as possible, that I ask permission to state briefly to your readers, that Mr. O. A. Brownson's appreciation of Fourier's principles is absolutely incorrect. To me it is a matter of surprise, that Mr. Brownson should pronounce opinions positively on that subject, after openly avowing he had not had leisure to investigate it thoroughly; but I will not comment upon that fact, further than to put your readers on their guard against admitting the appreciation he has given, while his mind was unprepared for such a task.


precedency to another in the graduated scales of inequality, insures a real and a living equality of right, which could not be insured by stagnant, and monotonous, and more or less oppresssive levelling equality. But this relates to the practical mechanism of Fourier's principles in action, which is not the cause of my remarks at present; that which I am most desirous of alluding to, in Mr. Brownson's article, relates to the religious doctrine of Fourier.

In that article, page 487, Mr. Brownson says, "Fourier's theodicy is, if we understand it, nothing but material Pantheism, a polite name for Atheism." This is a very great error, and the deserved influence of Mr. Brownson on public opinion generally, in Europe as well as in America, renders it most dangerous. The simplest answer I can give to it, is to state, that Fourier is a Christian, and say is, though the man has left the natural for the spiritual world, where the soul, according to his luminous explanation of the Christian doctrine of immortality, is infinitely more living and conscious of eternal truths than in terrestrial life. In addition to this, I may add that Fourier openly professed himself a Christian in his writings, and denounced the idea of any person after his death, making use of his new and lucid explanations of Christian principles, to institute a new religion. This he did expressly to prevent his version, or rather his interpretation of the Word of God, from being confounded with new pretensions to Revelation, while, in reality, they are but new developments of the truths of Christian doctrine, though they differ widely from the "orthodox" interpretations of the Word. They are, in fact, a positive inversion of all the leading doctrines of theology, except in a few cases, where the meaning of the Word is so obvious to common understanding, that no person can misunderstand it. This contrast of Fourier's interpretation of the Word, with that of the Church generally, results from the fact of all the doctrines of religion and philosophy, hitherto admitted in the world, or nearly all, being based on the doctrine of the "curse" and of "innate_depravity," while that of Christ, Fourier maintains, is based on the principle of primitive purity and ultimate

With all that Mr. Brownson states in general terms, regarding principles of progress in society, he is at one with Fourier; his error lying chiefly in the supposition that Fourier's general views are different. All that is stated, even, by the lady in her letter on "Brook Farm," is quite accordant with Fourier's views, as far as a mere germ may be compared to full development of principle; the universal basis of Fourier's system being that of "free attraction," harmonized by unitary discipline. All that Mr. Brownson lauds as good, then, and desirable in social progress and economy, not only agrees with Fourier's views, but is developed positively in his writings; except one point-that of "equality of condition," which, according to Fourier, is not desirable, in the common notion of equality. Graduated inequality is the chief feature of his social mechanism, and yet that principle insures equality of right. The leader of a corporation of art, or science, or industry, in one particular branch, is president of that corporation while it is in action, but the moment he engages in another corporation of a different function in society, he stands the chance of being last and least in it, instead of first and greatest, as he was before. And this constant oscillation of individuals from the first place of distinction in one corporation to the last in another, and through the various intermediate degrees from first to last in a variety of corporations,-every individual taking part in a greater or smaller number of industrial, artistic, or administrative functions,-this very frequent movement from one degree of

[merged small][ocr errors]

I may also state that such words as those made use of by Mr. Brownson, are not to be met with in the writings of Fourier. Neither the word "Theodicea," nor "Pantheism," was ever used by him; and if his doctrine had been one of" material Pantheism," he would surely have given it a name to correspond with its nature. He has written on Cosmogony, Psychology, Universal Analogy, and Revelation, and all his doctrines he confirms from the Word of God, and particularly from the Christian Revelation. His doctrine of the Passions is a key to Revelation, the mysteries of which it opens universally. It is not a new religion he has taught, but a new view of the religion of Christ and his everlasting Church.

Mr. Brownson affirms that "He denies the progress of humanity." This is absolutely erroneous. Not only does he not deny the progress of humanity, but he affirms its progress to be eternal, and explains its progress from the beginning to the end of its career on this globe, and after the destruction of the material earth. He explains the principle of its progress on immortality; in natural and spiritual life and destiny; and that progress is infinite, but not indefinite in its particular degrees. There are many other points in Mr. Brownson's notice, absolutely incorrect, relating to Fourier, which I will not enlarge upon, but leave the task of general correction in the hands of Mr. Brisbane, who, I believe, confines himself almost exclusively to the exposition of the practical parts of Fourier's views, not being conversant with all the various doctrines of Divinity in Christendom.

Mr. Brownson states that Fourier's plans are too mechanical, complex, and difficult to realize in practice. This is a point which may be compared to any branch of art or science; take, for instance, architecture, the Fourier system being one of social architecture. It is


evident, that the details of science in the various branches pertaining more or less directly to a complete theory of architecture, are too numerous and complicated for every individual in the state to master; but it does not follow that they are impracticable or unnecessary.

Fourier's system of society is like the human frame, exactly, for he proves that God has pre-ordained it should be so; the individual body being a type of the collective body, of humanity; and though that type is infinitely various in its details, it is exceedingly simple in its general propor tions. A head, a body, and four limbs, comprise the whole; and none but those who are to constitute the head and heart of the collective body need trouble themselves with the internal organism of these leading members of the constitution. The principle, in general aspect, is exceedingly simple and harmonious; in particulars of internal progress and refinement, life and varied action, it is indeed stupendously minute. I will conclude by stating, that all that Mr. Brownson advocates in his article, is in harmony with Fourier's views and principles, except his notion of "equality," which we believe to be oppressive and Procrustean. Fourier advocates "graduated alternating inequality," which is real, passional, or living equality of right, to act in freedom with our will and faculties, without oppressing one another. This answer to Mr. Brownson's misunderstanding, and erroneous appreciation of Fourier's doctrine, is a proof of the high estimation in which I hold his noble mind, of which I need give him no labored or constrained assurance. I agree with him in sympathy, and generally in idea, whenever I read his writings, and I hope he will either make himself better acquainted with Fourier, or refrain from injuring the cause of truth and human progress, by creating prejudice against a doctrine which he has not leisure to investigate sufficiently. In this hope, Mr. Editor, I have the honor to remain

Your obedient humble servant,



ALL the features of the money market present, as the spring season of activity approaches, increased indications of renewed prosperity in all the great channels of business. Specie continues to accumulate in the seaports, and during the past month a great impulse has been given to the disposition to invest in stock, by the decided majority by which the Exchequer scheme has been defeated in Congress. That measure was justly looked upon with alarm by capitalists, who have been taught by the experience of the past few years, that no stability to commercial affairs, nor regular course of business, can exist under the fluctuations incident upon the use of paper as a general circulation, if issued either upon the credit of individual association, or of the Federal government. Its violent and arbitrary vacillations place all property at the mercy of designing speculators. It nullifies the calculations of the prudent and the skill of the sagacious, and renders the risk of investments too great for the cautious. On the other d, when we take into consideration the immense wealth of the country, the low money prices of all the results of labor, and remember that those prices are the effect only of the transition from the use of a redundant paper currency to the small quantity of specie now in circulation, we become aware that it is the small supply of currency in proportion to the abundance of industrial products, which causes money to be dear rather than produce to be cheap. The supply of currency is now increasing at the rate of several millions per month; it must, therefore, inevitably follow that the relative value of commodities will change with the operation. The proportional supply of money will cause it to be cheaper as it increases, and of goods to become relatively dear. This is the process now going forward, governed by the immutable laws of trade. To disturb it at this crisis by the issue of government paper,-to substitute it in circulation for the increasing volume of specie now flowing in, would only produce disaster. The fears of such unwise interference with

commerce influenced the minds of men unfavorably until the result of the vote upon the measure banished apprehension, and induced confidence that adherence to the sound principles of the Sub-Treasury would give to trade its freedom of action, and to its laws the governing power over prices and property. This view of affairs seems to have induced the same results in the stock market generally as did the passage last winter of the tax law by the Legislature of New York on the securities of that State. The remaining portion of the government loan, amounting to nearly $3,500,000, has been taken at par, and is now held at 3 and 4 per cent. premium. Nearly $500,000 of Massachusetts 5 per cent. stock has also been taken at 86 40-100 by an eminent citizen. All sound stocks have improved in a similar degree. New York 6 per cents. command par, and the 5 per cents. 89 a 90. This rise has been produced by the quantity of money seeking investment, now that a portion of the discredit attached to stock has been removed. The low price of foreign bills, and the want of other means of investment, has induced the banks to become purchasers of bills to some extent to import specie,-an operation which, at present rates, will yield nearly 7 per cent., while the discount rate for the best business paper now offering, is scarcely 5 per cent., and consists in some degree of the short notes given for bills by individual importers of coin. Some of the banks have reduced the rate of discount on all paper to 6 per cent., and they loan freely on New York and government stock at that rate. All this bespeaks that returning willingness to lend money which enlarges the field of commercial operations, and multiplies the number of active men. In order to estimate the great change which has been and is taking place in the quantity of capital employed in banking, we have compiled from official sources the returns of the banks in sixteen States which have made their annual statements, and compared the aggregates with those of former years for the same States:

« FöregåendeFortsätt »