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EARTH HUNGER AND OTHER ESSAYS

forward to simple and direct blessing of mankind. On the contrary, men are sure to go to fighting over it in one relation or another. The sixteenth and seventeenth centuries were full of wars which are interpreted in one way or another according to their immediate aspects, but which really were struggles of men, families, classes, and parties for the possession, control, and advantage of the new economic power. It is, however, a great and instructive fact to notice that, although the labor class knew least about the case, had least share in it, and were least considered by the active parties in it, they won the most by it. Everybody was working for them, not out of love for them, or out of intention, but because it was not possible to help it.

Here we must be on our guard against a fallacy which is almost universal in connection with this matter. It is constantly denied, especially by reformers and revolutionists, that the labor class has won anything by the developments of modern civilization. It appears that the basis for this assertion is the fact that there were peasant, labor, and pauper classes centuries ago and that there are such still. A moment's reflection shows that this is no proof. It would be necessary to show that these classes are now the descendants of persons who formed the same classes in former centuries. Such is not the case. The merchants and bankers of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries were of humble origin. As they came out of the towns of that period, there is every reason to believe that, if their ancestry were traceable, we should find that they had sprung, two or three centuries earlier, from servile or menial origin. After enriching themselves, they bought land and "founded families." They formed alliances, as soon as possible, with offshoots of the feudal nobility. The modern nobility of England and France