**** ROTATE **** **** ROTATE **** **** ROTATE **** **** ROTATE ****

Find this Story

Print, a form you can hold

Wireless download to your Amazon Kindle

Look for a summary or analysis of this Story.

Enjoy this? Share it!


Richard Cobden
by [?]

The one-price system has come as a necessity, since it reduces the friction of life, and protects the child or simple person in the selection of things needed, just the same as if the buyer were an expert in values and a person who could strike back if imposed upon. Safety, peace and decency demanded the one-price system. And so we have it–with possibly a discount to the clergy, to schoolteachers, and relatives as close as second cousins. But when we reach the point where we see that all men are brothers, we will have absolute honesty and one price to all.

And this change in business methods, in our mental attitude towards trade, has all grown out of a dimly perceived but deeply felt belief in the brotherhood of man, of the solidarity of the race–also, in the further belief that life in all of its manifestations is Divine.

Therefore, he who ministers to the happiness and well-being of the life of another is a priest and is doing God’s work. Men must eat, they must be clothed, they must be housed. It is quite as necessary that you should eat good food as that you should read good books, hear good music, hear good sermons, or look upon beautiful pictures. The necessary is the sacred.

There are no menial tasks. “He that is greatest among you shall be your servant.” The physical reacts on the spiritual and the spiritual on the physical, and, rightly understood, are one and the same thing. We live in a world of spirit and our bodies are the physical manifestation of a spiritual thing, which for lack of a better word we call “God.” We change men by changing their environment. Commerce changes the environment and gives us a better society. To supply good water, better sanitary appliances, better heating apparatus, better food, served in a more dainty way–these are all tasks worthy of the highest intelligence and devotion that can be brought to bear upon them, and every Christian preacher in the world today so recognizes, believes and preaches. We have ceased to separate the secular from the sacred. That is sacred which serves.

Once, a businessman was a person who not only thrived by taking advantage of the necessities of people, but who also banked on their ignorance of values. But all wise men now know that the way to help yourself is to help humanity. We benefit ourselves only as we benefit others. And the recognition of these truths is what has today placed the businessman at the head of the learned professions–he ministers to the necessities of humanity.

Out of blunder and bitterness comes wisdom. Men are taught through reaction, and all experience that does not kill you is good.

When the father of Richard Cobden gave up hope and acknowledged defeat, the family of a full dozen were farmed out among relatives. The kind kinsmen who volunteered to look after the frail and sensitive Richard evaded responsibility by placing the lad in a boys’ boarding- school. Here he remained from his tenth until his sixteenth year. Once a year he was allowed to write a letter home to his mother, but during the five years he saw her but once.

Hunger and heartache have their uses. Richard Cobden lived to strike the boarding-school fallacy many a jolting blow; but it required Charles Dickens to complete the work by ridicule, just as Robert Ingersoll laughed the Devil out of church. We fight for everything until the world regards it as ridiculous, then we abandon it. So long as war is regarded as heroic, we will fight for it; when it becomes absurd it will die.

Said Richard Cobden in a speech in the House of Commons: “Of all the pathetic fallacies perpetuated, none seems to me more cruelly absurd than the English Boarding-School for boys. The plan of taking the child of seven, eight or ten years away from his parents, and giving him into the keeping of persons who have only a commercial interest in him, and compelling him to fight for his life among little savages as unhappy as himself, or sink into miserable submission, seems too horrible to contemplate.” Yet this plan of so-called education continued up to about fifty years ago, and was upheld and supported by the best society of England, including the clergy, who were usually directly “particeps criminis” in the business.