Open main menu

Page:Studies in socialism 1906.djvu/108

This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.
58
Studies in Socialism

into being under the old order. The revolutionary process, then, was really only an expansion, a growth of forms already well defined and well known.

When it came to the transformation of the Church the Revolution had strong analogies and vigorous precedents to go upon. The army and justice, which had been feudal institutions in the past, had become in large part State institutions. Why should not the Church as well cease to be a caste corporation and become a State institution? Moreover, even under the old order. Church property was considered to have certain special attributes, and to be subject to State control. The Revolution cited with great effect the famous royal ordinance of 1749, which forbade the growth of the inalienable property (mainmorte) of the Church by legacies. Thus, being controlled by the State, Church property was ready for nationalisation. Here, again, the Revolution had obvious and reliable facts to support it.

In 1789, then, men's minds did not meet in confused aspirations, but in the most precise of positive affirmations. Their wills came together and were harmonised in the full light, the perfect precision of French thought, formed and moulded by the eighteenth century. And the Revolution of 1789 was the work of an overwhelming and perfectly self-conscious majority.

In the same way and in this case even more certainly, the Socialist Revolution will not be ac-