“What! Those Workingmen Publishing a Paper?—Yes, friends, as strange as it may seem, “Those ignorant Workingmen” have come to the singular conclusion, to do some of their own thinking, reading, and talking. We have lived long upon the dear bought teachings of those who measure cut their knowledge according to our goal, and as this is getting rather scarce we think duty demands, that we should stir up our ideas, and see what things we have stowed up rusting away, which may be of some little value to ourselves and a portion of the community. Will you allow it?
We present our paper this week, with a new ‘Head,’ as contemplated for some time past; which to those imbued with the principles we advocate, will appear illustrative.
See the majestic old Earth created “For All,” and upon it sits “Justice” in all her beauty and simplicity! – who shall say that the day will not come when this shall be a reality. Upon our earth we have no Land-mongers, Soul and Body-mongers and monopolists, who sell the image of God, in the market, and take to themselves what He created for all his creatures. No, no! none of this upon our Earth: and should anything of this nature ever take place, we shall turn it upside down instantly.
And our neat little Factory; how pleasant it looks and everything around it – the trees look fresh and blooming, the corn grows luxuriantly and the sturdy farmer smiles with an air of satisfaction and contentment, as the rich and mellow soil turns beneath his feet. And why all this happiness? Why is the farmers heart thus light and joyous, as he goes his daily toil and returns to his cheerful hearth-stone? Because his snug little farm is his own “inalienable home” which cannot be taken from him by fraud or mercenary speculation. He is temperate, intelligent and industrious. And his blooming daughters and noble sons in yonder Mill at work only Ten hours a day, virtuous and healthy, are the hope of his declining years.
Look at our stately Ships, also, upon the “mighty deep” – not black, barbarous “Men of War” nor the “crafts” of commercial speculators; but real “full rigged Free-Traders” holding out the palm of “Universal Brotherhood” to all men and nations. Is this not a happy design, Friends
Friends & Brothers
Through the changing course of human events we appear before you with our humble sheet, the Voice of Industry, published by an Association of Workingmen of our rapidly growing village. The character of paper and the course it will pursue in the arena of modern publications are comprehensively embodied in its head; which together with the fact that it has been brought into existence and will be supported exclusively by those who “earn their bread by the sweat of their brow,” (and not only their own but other’s) renders it necessary to go into a minute and prolix delineation of our intended field of action or proscribed bounds.
In fact we have very little sympathy with the wholesale system of slavish pledging, which is carried on to so great an extent at the present day by a large portion of our political sector, and party presses; the influence of which is making dupes of the mass, keeps them ignorant of their true natures and interests, and fills the community with dogmatical errors and contracted tenets – while the leaders and advocates of these various sects and parties are as jealous of their preservation as the apple of their eye – growing out of a long train of bigoted, “hereditary results, a vicious education, ambitious aspirancy, love of social aristocracy, or that dearest god of the age, “yellow gold”.
So long as human intelligence is progressive, and human improvement is onward – so long as the constant discovery of new truths, is making such innovations, and revealing the short-sightedness of the past – we cannot consistently with the dictates of good sense, philosophy and enlightened reason, acknowledge any abstract theories that the reforming light of the future will laugh away as cardinal doctrine or principles of action.
Should we be accused of disrespect and abuse of the philosophy and philanthropy of the past, in thus setting at nought many of the reverenced mandates of the popular legion of the age, they will fall as harmless (upon our heads as the leaves of autumn – for while we would pay our heartfelt gratitude to every benefactor of the race while we would cherish their good deeds, profit by their wise counsel to our latest day and enstamp the truths they have brought to light upon the tablets of our hearts – yet injustice to their memories ourselves and posterity those things which the change of progression and the increase of science and knowledge has proved to be erroneous – we would abandon and press onward toward that eminence of physical, mental and moral happiness, which we as a race are capable of attaining – carrying forward the gems of truth our fathers have gathered before us – leaving behind all known error and tradition, as the serpent sheddeth its scales in the season thereof.
We plant ourselves upon broad and fundamental principles which the cloudy errors of darkness an the stifling perversions of day have not entirely obliterated from the human heart; our platform is humanity: then this our Voice while echo in all directions wherever the image of God is known, either in accents of harmony and joy or notes of warring reproof. We shall speak fearlessly upon all subjects connected with the true interests of mankind at large, and labor unceasingly for their best good and elevation.
With all systems of oppression, we shall do battle, and measure people according to their real worth and true merits instead of their purse - their exalted position of society - post of honor and state, or sacred stations in the church. All matters touching the well being of the community and the world will come under our cognition - the hardening effects of insatiable avarice, lust for ignoble power - war, intemperance and crime with all those influences which tend to degrade the race.
But more especially shall we labor for the speedy amelioration of the laboring classes - the industrial working men and women and the earth’s neglected poor. We shall investigate the many grievous ills with which industrious sons and daughters are afflicted with all their various peculiarities - their cause - progress and fatal results, should they continue on their present rapidity - nor shall we limit our efforts to Fitchburg, Lowell, Boston or New York, but wherever we are heard, ours will be the voice of the oppressed, calling for freedom - from the devouring jaws of brutal power - isolated unfeeling, capital and destructive competition; through us their wrongs shall be heard - We will be as a trumpet in their mouths, sounding forth those deeds of wicked tyranny which oppressions votaries would gladly consign to forgetfulness.
Is not ours the cause of justice? Say reader, put away your party predilections, selfish prejudices and sectarian bigotry, and tell us if your better judgment and higher emotions do not respond to our sentiments, and bid us go forward in our undertaking? If so, will you give us your aid, counsel and support. Gladly should our Voice reach every family, a New England free from expense, would our pecuniary circumstances permit - but we all labor for the bread that nourishes our systems and the clothes which protect us from the inclemency of a changing climate - together with those who are dependant upon us. We ask not a speculation, this is far from us - but can we meet the numerous expenses attendant upon the publishing of our pates - the paying of our help - rents - stock and materials, our burden will be greatly lightened and our usefulness much augmented.
We put our paper at a very low price, compared with its size, quality and amount of reading matter and by the new Post Office law which takes effect the first of July, we shall be enabled to send it to every town within thirty miles free from postage, which will place it in the reach of almost every workingman and woman within that distance; therefore we hope our friends will give us their acquaintance, for which you will receive the gratitude of workingmen’s hearts, the best efforts of workingmen’s brains, and the pleasing consolation that you are sending a word of encouragement to those who sit in dreary disappointment.
To you we have much to say - and shall speak it out each successive weeks as our voice goes forth to greet you - and from you we expect much - in you, we behold our support and defence - with you the issue lies - whether the war for man’s inalienable birth-rights so nobly began by working people of this country and Europe - not with gun-powder, grape-shot and cannon but with the sword of truth and the whole armour of christian justice - shall be gloriously prosecuted until the powers of slavish servitude with its concomitant train of galling evils which are daily wringing tears of anguish and heart-sinking disappointment from multitudes of our people, and spreading blight and mildew over the bright hopes and innocent aspirations of the fairest portion of our race shall be conquered, and [that] victory achieved which will established peace, and industry and happiness among our contended, idle, diseased and degenerate ranks.
“Come brothers,” let us arouse to true sense of our situation - let us stand up in our native dignity, like rational freemen and boldly assert the rights which God has given us - the rights to “life liberty and the pursuit of happiness,” which has gradually been robbed from us by partial selfish legislation - legal monopolization and false and pernicious customs. Let us look about and see if the same causes do not exist, and the same elements in our very midst, which has proved the destruction of every free and enlighten people since the world was. Is it not the same secret, fawning devouring monster, wiley drawing his fatal folds around us as a nation which has crushed the freedom, prosperity and existence of other republics whose sad fate, history long ago recorded - and who are his first victims? The industrious workingman and woman, who live by their honest industry - their liberty, virtue, intelligence and humble treasures are his dearest objects. We have borne long and patiently burdens, and long have been promised they should be lightened so long as we supinely submit and foster the very system from which they emanate; they increase with our age and grow with our growth as the legitimate results of our false social organization, and political abuses.
Again we say, let us reason together and see if some way cannot be devised to throw off the shackles that bind us - which unless put asunder will descend with ten-fold weight and oppression to posterity. Let us consult together in manly friendship, cherishing no malignant jealousies or cynical animosities towards those who stand in a hostile position to our true interests - treating those who are wronging us as a class, as men, and demanding the same treatment from them. Ours is a warfare with systems rather than individuals and those who live upon the hard earnings, sweat and blood of those who “toil and spin,” who walk the streets, or roll along in their coach - purse-proud, haughty, scorning the poor laborer who has created the wealth which thus puffs them up - are truly deserving our sympathy and charity for the narrowness of their souls influence which has thus degraded them, and dried up the better sensibilities of their natures.
Brother Workingmen - the cause is ours, and the responsibility is with us! If we will act diligently, and with union according to the light and knowledge within us, a brighter day will be ushered in to earth’s down trodden sons and daughters - the children of industry - than ever lighted our horizon!
Our Voice will ever be open to all harmonious tributaries; that it may sound throughout the length and breadth of the land. There are many workingmen and women, who can wield the pen with as much perfection as the instruments of their respective vocations - who can sew or weave an intellectual fabric that may well vie with their best efforts over the loom, awl or needle. To all such we extend a hearty welcome as co-workers in our field of an interest in the cause with which we are identified whether they agree with us on all points or not, our columns will be open and our charity not wanting.
It is not without a lively sense of our youth and inexperience that we occupy the position assigned us by the publishers of the “Voice of Industry,” but notwithstanding our years are comparatively few, we have been a long time familiar with the many seductive evils which distress the working classes - destroy their earthly happiness and render this world to [the] disappointments and afflictions in the effects of “ill gotten gain”? - the gross absurdities and inconsistencies of modern christianity, and the fearful ravages and virtual slavery of political demagogues all of which so essentially effect the working classes, have long been to us themes of serious consideration and reflection, - but we have put our hands to the plough and shall not look back, and no exertion on our part will be lacking so long as retain our present position, to make our sheet what it professes to be, the true friend of Industry.
Workingmen of Fitchburg - to you we look for especial aid, council and indulgence. Thanks be to Heaven, that through the vicissitudes of time, a few of earths noblemen have planted themselves here whose principles and love of truth and justice are as firm as the hills which surround them - men whose souls soar above the sordid trash of society and look from man as he really is whether decorated with all the trappings of fashionable life or toiling at the gutters of our streets. To you, kind friends we owe the existence of the Voice of Industry, and our untiring efforts shall be to make it worthy your self sacrifices and generous sentiments.
We cordially invite the Factory Girls of Lowell, and the operatives and working people generally, whether they agree with us or not, to make the Voice a medium of communication; for it is your paper, through which you should be heard and command attention. The Press has been too long monopolized by the capitalist non-producer, party demagogues and speculators, to the exclusion of the people, whose rights are as dear and valid.
The Newspapers. – What a singular medley a newspaper is. In one column you will find a labored and swelling eulogy on departed greatness apparently written with tears and inspired by sorrow; in the next appears the history of the crops; anon occurs a meagre witticism; next come a circus puff, or recommendation of ice cream, and then follow the deaths and marriages. All tastes (and no tastes at all) must be consulted. Sorrow and fun, business and nonsense, must all find a place in the folio of our pages or people will “stop the paper.”