Chapter 4




Captains of Industry


If I believed that Mammonism with its adjuncts was to continue
henceforth the one serious principle of our existence, I should
reckon it idle to solicit remedial measures from any Government,
the disease being insusceptible of remedy. Government can do
much, but it can in no wise do all. Government, as the most
conspicuous object in Society, is called upon to give signal of
what shall be done; and, in many ways, to preside over, further,
and command the doing of it. But the Government cannot do, by
all its signalling and commanding, what the Society is radically
indisposed to do.--In the long-run every Government is the exact
symbol of its People, with their wisdom and unwisdom; we have to
say, Like People like Government.--The main substance of this
immense Problem of Organising Labour, and first of all of
Managing the Working Classes, will, it is very clear, have to be
solved by those who stand practically in the middle of it; by
those who themselves work and preside over work. Of all that can
be enacted by any Parliament in regard to it, the germs must
already lie potentially extant in those two Classes, who are to
obey such enactment. A Human Chaos in which there is no light,
you vainly attempt to irradiate by light shed on it: order never
can arise there.

But it is my firm conviction that the 'Hell of England' will
_cease_ to be that of 'not making money;' that we shall get a
nobler Hell and a nobler Heaven! I anticipate light _in_ the
Human Chaos, glimmering, shining more and more; under manifold
true signals from without That light shall shine. Our deity no
longer being Mammon,--O Heavens, each man will then say to
himself: "Why such deadly haste to make money? I shall not go
to Hell, even if I do not make money! There is another Hell, I
am told!" Competition, at railway-speed, in all branches of
commerce and work will then abate:--good felt-hats for the head,
in every sense, instead of seven-feet lath-and-plaster hats on
wheels, will then be discoverable! Bubble-periods, with their
panics and commercial crises, will again become infrequent;
steady modest industry will take the place of gambling
speculation. To be a noble Master, among noble Workers, will
again be the first ambition with some few; to be a rich Master
only the second. How the Inventive Genius of England, with the
whirr of its bobbins and billy-rollers shoved somewhat into the
backgrounds of the brain, will contrive and devise, not cheaper
produce exclusively, but fairer distribution of the produce at
its present cheapness! By degrees, we shall again have a Society
with something of Heroism in it, something of Heaven's Blessing
on it; we shall again have, as my German friend asserts,
'instead of Mammon-Feudalism with unsold cotton-shirts and
Preservation of the Game, noble just Industrialism and Government
by the Wisest!'

It is with the hope of awakening here and there a British man to
know himself for a man and divine soul, that a few words of
parting admonition, to all persons to whom the Heavenly Powers
have lent power of any kind in this land, may now be addressed.
And first to those same Master-Workers, Leaders of Industry; who
stand nearest, and in fact powerfulest, though not most
prominent, being as yet in too many senses a Virtuality rather
than an Actuality.


The Leaders of Industry, if Industry is ever to be led, are
virtually the Captains of the World; if there be no nobleness in
them, there will never be an Aristocracy more. But let the
Captains of Industry consider: once again, are they born of
other clay than the old Captains of Slaughter; doomed forever to
be no Chivalry, but a mere gold-plated _Doggery,_--what the
French well name _Canaille,_ 'Doggery' with more or less gold
carrion at its disposal? Captains of Industry are the true
Fighters, henceforth recognisable as the only true ones:
Fighters against Chaos, Necessity and the Devils and Jotuns; and
lead on Mankind in that great, and alone true, and universal
warfare; the stars in their courses fighting for them, and all
Heaven and all Earth saying audibly, Well-done! Let the Captains
of Industry retire into their own hearts, and ask solemnly, If
there is nothing but vulturous hunger, for fine wines, valet
reputation and gilt carriages, discoverable there? Of hearts
made by the Almighty God.

I will not believe such a thing. Deep-hidden under wretchedest
god-forgetting Cants, Epicurisms, Dead-Sea Apisms; forgotten as
under foulest fat Lethe mud and weeds, there is yet, in all
hearts born into this God's-World, a spark of the Godlike
slumbering. Awake, O nightmare sleepers; awake, arise, or be
forever fallen! This is not playhouse poetry; it is sober fact.
Our England, our world cannot live as it is. It will connect
itself with a God again, or go down with nameless throes and
fire-consummation to the Devils. Thou who feelest aught of such
a Godlike stirring in thee, any faintest intimation of it as
through heavy-laden dreams, follow it, I conjure thee. Arise,
save thyself, be one of those that save thy country.

Bucaniers, Chactaw Indians, whose supreme aim in fighting is that
they may get the scalps, the money, that they may amass scalps
and money: out of such came no Chivalry, and never will! Out of
such came only gore and wreck, infernal rage and misery;
desperation quenched in annihilation. Behold it, I bid thee,
behold there, and consider! What is it that thou have a hundred
thousand-pound bills laid up in thy strong-room, a hundred scalps
hung up in thy wigwam? I value not them or thee. Thy scalps and
thy thousand-pound bills are as yet nothing, if no nobleness from
within irradiate them; if no Chivalry, in action, or in embryo
ever struggling towards birth and action, be there.

Love of men cannot be bought by cash-payment; and without love,
men cannot endure to be together. You cannot lead a Fighting
World without having it regimented, chivalried: the thing, in a
day, becomes impossible; all men in it, the highest at first,
the very lowest at last, discern consciously, or by a noble
instinct, this necessity. And can you any more continue to lead
a Working World unregimented, anarchic? I answer, and the
Heavens and Earth are now answering, No! The thing becomes not
'in a day' impossible; but in some two generations it does.
Yes, when fathers and mothers, in Stockport hunger-cellars, begin
to eat their children, and Irish widows have to prove their
relationship by dying of typhus-fever; and amid Governing
'Corporations of the Best and Bravest,' busy to preserve their
game by 'bushing,' dark millions of God's human creatures start
up in mad Chartisms, impracticable Sacred-Months, and Manchester
Insurrections;--and there is a virtual Industrial Aristocracy as
yet only half-alive, spellbound amid money-bags and ledgers; and
an actual Idle Aristocracy seemingly near dead in somnolent
delusions, in trespasses and double-barrels; 'sliding,' as on
inclined-planes, which every new year they _soap_ with new
Hansard's-jargon under God's sky, and so are 'sliding' ever
faster, towards a 'scale' and balance-scale whereon is written
_Thou art found Wanting:_--in such days, after a generation or
two, I say, it does become, even to the low and simple, very
palpably impossible! No Working World, any more than a Fighting
World, can be led on without a noble Chivalry of Work, and laws
and fixed rules which follow out of that,--far nobler than any
Chivalry of Fighting was. As an anarchic multitude on mere
Supply-and-demand, it is becoming inevitable that we dwindle in
horrid suicidal convulsion, and self-abrasion, frightful to the
imagination, into _Chactaw_ Workers. With wigwam and scalps,--
with palaces and thousand-pound bills; with savagery,
depopulation, chaotic desolation! Good Heavens, will not one
French Revolution and Reign of Terror suffice us, but must there
be two? There will be two if needed; there will be twenty if
needed; there will be precisely as many as are needed. The Laws
of Nature will have themselves fulfilled. That is a thing
certain to me.

Your gallant battle-hosts and work-hosts, as the others did, will
need to be made loyally yours; they must and will be regulated,
methodically secured in their just share of conquest under you;--
joined with you in veritable brotherhood, sonhood, by quite other
and deeper ties than those of temporary day's wages! How would
mere redcoated regiments, to say nothing of chivalries, fight for
you, if you could discharge them on the evening of the battle, on
payment of the stipulated shillings,--and they discharge you on
the morning of it! Chelsea Hospitals, pensions, promotions,
rigorous lasting covenant on the one side and on the other, are
indispensable even for a hired fighter. The Feudal Baron, much
more,--how could he subsist with mere temporary mercenaries round
him, at sixpence a day; ready to go over to the other side, if
sevenpence were offered? He could not have subsisted;--and his
noble instinct saved him from the necessity of even trying! The
Feudal Baron had a Man's Soul in him; to which anarchy, mutiny,
and the other fruits of temporary mercenaries, were intolerable:
he had never been a Baron otherwise, but had continued a Chactaw
and Bucanier. He felt it precious, and at last it became
habitual, and his fruitful enlarged existence included it as a
necessity, to have men round him who in heart loved him; whose
life he watched over with rigour yet with love; who were
prepared to give their life for him, if need came. It was
beautiful; it was human! Man lives not otherwise, nor can live
contented, anywhere or anywhen. Isolation is the sum-total of
wretchedness to man. To be cut off, to be left solitary: to
have a world alien, not your world; all a hostile camp for you;
not a home at all, of hearts and faces who are yours, whose you
are! It is the frightfulest enchantment; too truly a work of
the Evil One. To have neither superior, nor inferior, nor equal,
united manlike to you. Without father, without child, without
brother. Man knows no sadder destiny. 'How is each of us,'
exclaims Jean Paul, 'so lonely, in the wide bosom of the All!'
Encased each as in his transparent 'ice-palace;' our brother
visible in his, making signals and gesticulations to us;--
visible, but forever unattainable: on his bosom we shall never
rest, nor he on ours. It was not a God that did this; no!

Awake, ye noble Workers, warriors in the one true war: all this
must be remedied. It is you who are already half-alive, whom I
will welcome into life; whom I will conjure in God's name to
shake off your enchanted sleep, and live wholly! Cease to count
scalps, gold-purses; not in these lies your or our salvation.
Even these, if you count only these, will not long be left. Let
bucaniering be put far from you; alter, speedily abrogate all
laws of the bucaniers, if you would gain any victory that shall
endure. Let God's justice, let pity, nobleness and manly valour,
with more gold-purses or with fewer, testify themselves in this
your brief Life-transit to all the Eternities, the Gods and
Silences. It is to you I call; for ye are not dead, ye are
already half-alive: there is in you a sleepless dauntless
energy, the prime-matter of all nobleness in man. Honour to you
in your kind. It is to you I call: ye know at least this, That
the mandate of God to His creature man is: Work! The future
Epic of the World rests not with those that are near dead, but
with those that are alive, and those that are coming into life.

Look around you. Your world-hosts are all in mutiny, in
confusion, destitution; on the eve of fiery wreck and madness!
They will not march farther for you, on the sixpence a day and
supply-and-demand principle: they will not; nor ought they, nor
can they. Ye shall reduce them to order, begin reducing them.
To order, to just subordination; noble loyalty in return for
noble guidance. Their souls are driven nigh mad; let yours be
sane and ever saner. Not as a bewildered bewildering mob; but
as a firm regimented mass, with real captains over them, will
these men march any more. All human interests, combined human
endeavours, and social growths in this world, have, at a certain
stage of their development, required organising: and Work, the
grandest of human interests, does now require it.

God knows, the task will be hard: but no noble task was ever
easy. This task will wear away your lives, and the lives of your
sons and grandsons: but for what purpose, if not for tasks like
this, were lives given to men? Ye shall cease to count your
thousand-pound scalps, the noble of you shall cease! Nay the
very scalps, as I say, will not long be left if you count only
these. Ye shall cease wholly to be barbarous vulturous Chactaws,
and become noble European Nineteenth-Century Men. Ye shall know
that Mammon, in never such gigs and flunky 'respectabilities,' is
not the alone God; that of himself he is but a Devil, and even
a Brute-god.

Difficult? Yes, it will be difficult. The short-fibre cotton;
that too was difficult. The waste cotton-shrub, long useless,
disobedient, as the thistle by the wayside,--have ye not
conquered it; made it into beautiful bandana webs; white woven
shirts for men; bright-tinted air-garments wherein flit
goddesses? Ye have shivered mountains asunder, made the hard
iron pliant to you as soft putty: the Forest-giants, Marsh-
jotuns bear sheaves of golden grain; Aegir the Sea-demon himself
stretches his back for a sleek highway to you, and on Firehorses
and Windhorses ye career. Ye are most strong. Thor red-bearded,
with his blue sun-eyes, with his cheery heart and strong thunder-
hammer, he and you have prevailed. Ye are most strong, ye Sons
of the icy North, of the far East,--far marching from your rugged
Eastern Wildernesses, hitherward from the grey Dawn of Time! Ye
are Sons of the _Jotun_-land; the land of Difficulties
Conquered. Difficult? You must try this thing. Once try it
with the understanding that it will and shall have to be done.
Try it as ye try the paltrier thing, making of money! I will bet
on you once more, against all Jotuns, Tailor-gods, Double-
barrelled Law-wards, and Denizens of Chaos whatsoever!




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