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Sanders Theatre was filled last evening with one of the largest and most appreciative audiences it ever held, to hear Hon. W. Bourke Cockran speak on "Christianity the Light to Economic Truth." Unfortunately so many seats were filled by the general public that but few students were in the audience. E. L. Logan 1 L., president of the Catholic Club, under whose auspices the lecture was given, introduced President Eliot who introduced the speaker. Mr. Cockran said in substance:
We are assembled to discuss a question of great moment to the human race. The social question is puzzling the minds of statesmen all over the world. I do not come here claiming to have found a solution for these problems, but to suggest a light that shall show the way out. Every where the growth of Christianity has been a steady progress toward freedom. The essential beauty of civilization is charity. Freedom is the essential thing of civilization. Now freedom has brought no more substantial result than the substitution of free labor for slave. Nevertheless the industrial system based upon freedom contains within itself elements which threaten its existence. The adjustment of the demands of the free laborer is the chief problem of humanity today and the Pope's Encyclical, points the solution.
These industrial disputes are the results of progress, not of degeneracy. The possibility of a strike, however, has never been measured. It is more deadly than any form of civil war or foreign invasion. When we come to inquire into causes of internal discontent, we find ourselves disturbed by clamors from agitators-not from the so-called oppressed. Excited by these complaints, some have undertaken to change the economic rules of the universe. These men cannot be recognized as the causes of discontent, but they are the evidences of it.
The question we must discuss is first, to state the nature of the industrial problem and then see if we can find any light to solve that problem. The industrial problem now is the labor problem. Can the problem of recompense to labor be solved peaceably? It can be in charity, as the Pope says, and in charity alone. Not charity in the sense of alms-giving. It is the charity, that teaches us to love our neighbor as ourselves. Justice is the only enduring end to peace. Thus our problem is the discovery of the true principle of justice.
The interests of the laborer and his employer are not hostile. They operate together. If the interests of capital and labor are identical, why do disputes increase? They increase because of misconceptions of fundamental laws and of the relation between employer and employee. The cooperation of labor and capital comprises a partnership, but the unfortunate name of service is still given to the share of one of the partners. We find the term on all hands; a standing obstacle to our progress. The great strikes that have arisen in this country, have not come from questions of wage, but from procedure. Why should the employers refuse to let their books be examined by their employees, except from that pride that comes from assuming mastership?
The remedy for all this has been suggested. One of the lessons of Scripture renders us the fundamental economic law that nothing can be established except by human labor. Arbitration is wholly useless to settle these questions, but it is a healthy sign of public interest. The true solution of the problem is the recognition of the principal of brotherhood. The employer must recognize his employee as equally interested with himself in his business.
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