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The Pamphlet Collection of Sir Robert Stout: Volume 74

The Comfort of the Rich—the Outrage of the Poor

The Comfort of the Rich—the Outrage of the Poor.

There is a fine democratic stanza in Emerson's "Boston Hymn" :—

God said, I am tired of kings,
I suffer them no more
Up to my ear the morning brings
The outrage of the poor.

The lines suit well the sentiment of an age which is inclined to endow the democracy with the divine rights formerly ascribed to kings, but they contain a lesson which the complacent democrat may well take to himself. For in a democracy ever man is a king,* and every man who in any way fosters the accursed parent of poverty, degradation and death, has as treal a share in the outrage of the poor as any sceptred sovereign that ever robbed or slew. To the so-called upper classes the words have an especial reference. Even in a democracy these classes are still the natural leaders, and not the least ominous sign of our time is their increasing tendency to be flase to their trust. In nothing is this more conspicuous than in the liquor question, nor do I know any modern instance that so strikingly illustrates those words of Chritt about the difficulty for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven. A man need nut be a millionaire to come within page 24 the scope of this hard saying. The callousness of consented comfort, which I take to be the disqualification referred to by Christ, may ho attained without a fabulous income; and measured by this stuudaid our rich [unclear: men] numerous enoughs The price which others are paying for their comforte does not enter into their calculations; but neither their ignorant [unclear: indiffer] to the misery which thoy cause, nor their ignorant contempt for those [unclear: w] "scorn delights and live laborious days" in pursuit of a remedy, can [unclear: acq] these comfortable Christians of their responsibility for the tale of the outraged poor which rises, day by day and hour by hour, to heaven.

* According as the democracy or the democrat ia regarded as the sovereign, Prov. xxxi. 4, 5 makes a magnificent text for national or individual abstinence:—"It is not for kings, O [unclear: uel,] it is not lor kings to drink wine, nor for princes strong drink; lest they drink, and forget the law and pervert the judgment of any of the: afflicted."' But the literalist will, of course, floor me by retorting that only those who wear crowns and sit on thrones come within the reach of these words.