Written in 1892 in Ann Arbor, Michigan. Printed but not published.
The time has come when it will pay to act on the reality underlying the existing newspaper. The barriers down, i. e., all hindrances to the free movement of intelligence removed, through the completion of the machine for gathering and distributing news, (this machine, consisting of the printing press, the locomotive, the telegraph and their belongings) the newspaper presents itself to us as a unified thing—the business of dealing in intelligence. In this way the journalist, hereafter the typical man of letters, comes to have a definite position in life independent of all other vocations, professions, or trades. He has a commodity of his own—the truth. This discovery marks the appearance of a new commodity in commerce. A given thing functions, gains its proper status, as commodity in commerce when it may be dealt in profitably at its highest reality. From this point of view the need has been to study publicity as commodity, with a view to organizing intelligence for the contemplated advance of the newspaper; it becomes clear that to move the daily newspaper forward is to strike at the base of the whole publishing structure. The sum of the publishing business at a given date is the amount of intelligence brought to the centre and distributed. Thus regarded, the daily newspaper is about to become the leading publishing interest, if it has not already reached the point. In contrast therewith the so-called book business is to be secondary or accessory. At least the daily newspaper holds the key to future development.
Let me particularize further. Rightly understood, advances in the newspaper until now have been so many improvements in the physical machinery which the newspaper uses. Thus the London Times gained its advance through being first to carry into practical operation the cylinder printing press. The Walters had the lead in adapting steam to printing newspapers. This was in 1814. In those days and through the decades following, the struggle was to secure and apply increased mechanical power. As opposed to this, the newspaper has now at its service a perfect working machine. Under the machinery idea, as already indicated, are included also the locomotive and the telegraph. The advance movement rendered possible by this discovery must in the nature of things be the sum of all previous advances, being nothing less than a new ordering of intelligence. There comes in a change in the power of thought—a forward movement in consciousness. The need has been to set about organizing intelligence by the new light; this to compel a prime movement in literature with the daily newspaper as its centre of action.
Clear seeing in this matter on my part dates from 1883, when I was editing the newspaper, Bradstreet’s (New York). To carry out the idea thus conceived, I first sought to convince the practice men—the directors of existing newspapers—that the time had come to act on the reality, the underlying principle, of their business; to give way to the free movement of intelligence; that the movement was about to compel this. I tried to show them that it would pay best to gather and distribute the facts, the whole truth regarding all phases of life, without deferring to class interest; from the very fact that nothing stood in the way of centralizing intelligence, class interest could be ignored, and for the first time. The proposition was to organize inquiry and so unify the newspaper, thus getting rid of the editorial page. The aim was to convince them that the time had come when it would pay to act with the eye single, and that it would not pay very long to act otherwise. All sorts of obstacles intervened. But each hindrance went to furnish new leverage. Quite naturally, the men to whom I talked refused to believe that their business could be furthered through taking its inherent principle as the sole guide to action. So-hard is it to believe that the principle of journalism is that of intelligence itself. They were making money and was not that enough? It was even said that the people do not want the truth, and it appeared useless to urge in reply that a given newspaper is sold to the people only by virtue of whatever of truth it contains. My reception on the whole was about such as that of Sir Henry Bessemer1 must have been, had he gone to and for seeking to communicate to the iron men the chemistry of steel making. I found myself in the atmosphere of opinion. The crush of fact was not welcome. In the search for help and co-workers among active newspaper men, I visited in 1887 all the news centres of the country east of the Rocky mountains.2 At the last the conclusion was forced that direct aid could not then be had from the newspaper managers, nor from the rank and file of journalists as co-workers.
The friction with these men added to previous hindrances brought me to understand something of the wealth of suggestion bound up in the thought. I had gotten hold of nothing less than a new sense for news. It became plain that a good share of the stuff printed from day to day in the papers was no longer news. On the first appearance it was news because people were surprised at seeing such things in print. But now the stuff had lost the element of surprise, and was therefore no longer news. The papers were filled with unrelated matter which was lacking in general interest; the generic thing, the life element in news, was absent. Merely individual things had come to be widely mistaken for news. The newspaper was off the track, was caught in its own machinery. The physical advance—better printing facilities, cheap paper and the like—had outrun the spiritual movement. The only way out of the confusion, the only way to new life and meaning, was through organizing intelligence. To produce the new goods, help must be got from the primary men. The changes in our ways of thinking consequent upon the appearance of intelligence as commodity had to be spelled out.
I now set out to find men professedly attached to the principle of intelligence and seeking to follow its dictation. To this end I turned to the universities. The need was to find a university which could become a nursing ground for the new ideas already flowing from the mother thought that had come to me. Failing to compel the practice men to a belief in the basic principle of their own business, the alternative was to bring the academic men to believe in the practice, to show them that their business was to carry the organic principle into action, and so complete the revolution in the publishing business. Losing no time, I began extending the acquaintance already made among university people. In 1888 I spent four months getting at the habits of thought of the university men who have to do with teaching philosophy and politics, visiting Harvard, Yale, Cornell, Johns Hopkins, Pennsylvania and Michigan universities, and besides taking a further look at the men in Columbia College, New York. The necessity was to find a man and men who would do more than give a passive assent to the principle. In this I succeeded at the University of Michigan. I got to John Dewey, who has the chair of philosophy in that institution. Having the sense of politics, he was able to comprehend the scope of the principle and its practical bearing on the publishing business. That recognition and support should have come to me here instead of in the east is traceable, I think, to the freed conditions existing at the University of Michigan, and to the further immediate fact that President Angell in making additions to the faculty has an evident liking for men rather than pedants.
The situation is suggestive. It is indeed fitting that the movement proposing an advance in the publishing business should have its fountain-head in the heart of the country. In more ways than one, it is a movement of the country upon the town. Ann Arbor is about equidistant from the Atlantic coast and the Mississippi River. The St. Louis and Kansas City papers arrive here in the same mails with those of Boston. The 3,000 young men and women now gathered at Ann Arbor from all parts of the country make the place a great recruiting station. The importance of this will be understood when it is considered that another class of newspaper workers is in great part required. The new ordering of intelligence presupposes moral daring and proceeds through an integrating movement of men.
The movement proposes three incorporations: (1) The News Association, (2) The Class News Company, and (3) Fords. The News Association conducts a general publishing business at New York putting out daily and weekly newspapers, leaflets and books. The Class News Company gathers and sells the facts relating to whole classes or social groupings. It puts out class papers from the Chemical News to the weekly paper Fruit or the daily paper Grain. Fords is the bureau of information, standing for the individual application of the fact. The news movement is thus conceived as
The movement proceeds from the physical fact, which presents itself in three aspects, each of these yielding a special profit. Let me speak by illustration. There is in hand a report on the sheep industry of Texas. It has, first, to be read in its bearings on the whole people. The extent of the destruction by foot-rot may have been so great as to cause wide-spread suffering. Sympathy goes out to the stricken region in contributions of money from other parts of the country. And more. A demand may arise for the appropriation of money at Washington. The need is to have the fact reported in the interest of the whole. Here is the general news side of the fact, the peculiar field of the News Association. Beyond, there is the direct bearing of the report on the price of wool and the state of the sheep industry both at home and abroad. This side of the fact will have special and technical treatment in, to illustrate, the newspaper Wool, thus disclosing the province of the Class News Company. Two profits have been taken from the one basic fact. The third profit reveals itself in this way. Succeeding the publication of the social and class renderings, various individual applications at once arise therefrom. The man who has placed $50,000 on farm mortgages in certain of the counties of Texas affected by the sheep rot wants to take account of the fact—he wants to know what there is in it for him, how far his interests are hurt. He applies at the office of the News Association or of the Class News Company and is referred to the office of Fords—the bureau of information. Following upon negotiations a special inquiry may be made for him at an agreed price. Again, a report of the state of the textile industry in Germany is no sooner received and published than a New England manufacturer wants help in determining its bearing on the demand for his make of goods. Three profits are thus indicated, standing for the three reporting directions. But the one organization of intelligence stands for the whole movement—this with respect to ownership or control. The country is reported primarily through the News Association, the parent concern which owns the library, or fact accumulation. The special or individual renderings are made through the supplemental organizations.
The News Association stands for the full social inquiry and through it enthusiasm is let in. Men having the right zeal, for inquiry could not be enlisted for the work of the class journals or for the bureau of information alone. For these men the universal (full social inquiry) has to be let in. The movement has to come full circle. Unless the man-of-letters artist can organize for reporting the whole of life, he is crippled in action. The artistic impulse is its own law—the law of the whole. Inquiry can organize only in obedience to this law. The principle accepted, the man of letters has a business of his own.
Through acting on the universal we get the detailed results indicated. Here is the unity in diversity. To centralize on the basis of the thought presented is to go furthest in compelling the one life to yield up its infinite meanings. This triple news movement is but the practical outcome of the organization of inquiry. It is compelled by the advance of letters to the fact. The Class News Company and Fords have close business relations with the News Association. A contract is conceived by and between the News Association and the two secondary concerns. It is proposed further that the News Association shall own a controlling interest in the Class News Company and Fords. It is the Intelligence Trust.
I am setting out a prime movement in the publishing business with the daily newspaper as the center of action. The centralized inquiry cannot have less than the daily newspaper as its organ. The News Association conducts a general publishing business at New York. Three daily papers are conceived as follows:
The Newsbook (the political newspaper)
The Town (the lesser daily)
The Daily Want (the special advertising medium)
The line dividing Newsbook and Town is the leading principle of news classification. Like conversation the news business classifies according to relationship. Journalism, the registration of life through newspaper, leaflet and book, is but conversation writ large. The politician or the merchant who reads the Newsbook, wants the latest reports of the growing wheat crop and something of the price of bread as well. The shop-girl who prefers the Town wants of the two reports only that concerning the price of bread. But both wheat-crop and price-of-bread report must come from the one institution. The two reports are but phases of the one basic fact. This news classification has already appeared in rough outline. To illustrate, the New York Times stands, if you please, for the political newspaper, and the Morning Journal, also of New York, for the lesser daily. The principle is not realized sufficiently by either of them to make a clear guide to action. Nor can the principle be brought to full consciousness short of conceiving the organization of inquiry to the full and the centralized effect. The Town is an all day affair appearing first at noon unless important news developments should compel an earlier edition. The afternoon paper, as such, is done away with. The Town appears at intervals up to six o’clock and later should the news supply compel.
The Daily Want answers to the clearing-house principle of the great city. It gathers to itself the “want” advertising. It is the city’s annunciator. Advertising is of two sorts. In the one case people are seeking the advertisement, in the other the advertisement is seeking the people. Thus the card of a man who wants to buy a dog is eagerly sought after by all having dogs to sell; it is to them news. The other advertisement is that of the dry-goods merchant which is brought to the eyes of the people through the proximity device, that is, by being placed near attractive “reading matter.” The Daily Want draws to itself the advertisements that are news—that is, distinctly so, such as the theatre advertisements, railway time-tables, etc. Besides it contains the court announcements, real-estate transfers, a list of near-by public meetings or events, etc., etc. Conditions have ripened for introducing the Daily Want in some half-dozen of our largest cities. The organization of New York City therefor will furnish the model for Philadelphia, Chicago, Boston, St. Louis and Baltimore. It is a class paper but so nearly general in its scope that it belongs with the publications of the News Association instead of with those of the Class News Company. Already in Berlin and other European cities, daily papers containing only advertising are in full movement. Indeed this has been true for years. The publication of a city’s “want” advertising is an ordinary agency service and it must, perforce, be done at prices to correspond. It is not possible to maintain for this service “monopoly” rates—such as Bennett3 was getting in New York for the Herald’s real-estate advertising prior to the advent of Pulitzer. During the first part of the last decade, the Herald received well toward $250,000 annually from the real-estate advertising alone. In this and other lines as well, it was charging more than the traffic would bear. Herein lies one secret of what Pulitzer did. Taking advantage of the Herald’s exorbitant rates for the “wants,” he was able by much shouting to create a new medium therefor. But the New York papers are still quarreling in the market-place over the “wants,” with no one of them perceiving that this branch of advertising must find its way into a special medium. The price of the Daily Want is the lowest coin of the realm, with us one cent. At times the Want will contain reports of special interest to its patrons, in this respect functioning as a trade paper. Thus, it would report the organization of the boarding-and-lodging house interest of New York with more regard for particulars than would the Newsbook or the Town. It will not be a difficult thing to organize New York City for issuing the Want. It can be done in advance. The leading classes of advertisers can be seen and convinced beforehand. In relation to this I have made certain tests. I found the New York real-estate men and other leading advertisers sympathetic in relation to the project. At the time in looking over the ground I obtained the opinion of William R. Grace,4 the well-known merchant. Mr. Grace was unqualified in asserting that the Daily Want is the key to the immediate newspaper situation in New York. The success of the Want will be furthered (1) by its low price; (2) by its classification of advertisements; (3) by lower advertising rates consistently maintained. In the New York World the Daily Want is already marked out. The need is to change the name, to cut the price to one cent and carry classification to the full. This done, the new medium must obtain.
Already this advertising sheet is differentiating itself from the general newspaper. The separation is plainly revealed in the Philadelphia Record which is aiming to classify and distinguish the city’s announcements, thus indicating the rise of the Daily Want. The paper will contain only such “reading” matter as directly relates to its central purpose. The economies involved in the idea of the Want are great. It goes to set the whole field of advertising in order. Advertising rates for “wants,” while in no direction extortionate, will yet be such as to yield a large commercial profit. My notion is that the Daily Want should pay into the treasury of the News Association a yearly net profit of say $50,000—may be more. The Daily Want is the wedge with which to separate the existing newspaper structure. In important respects the existing newspaper is the country store in which treacle and calico mean classification. As I take it, the elder Bennett’s working concept was that the daily newspaper should contain something for everybody. We pass from this to the idea that the particular newspaper contains everything for somebody. In the Newsbook the politician or the citizen finds from day to day all the facts answering to his relationships. Those having in a way narrower interests find the facts contained in the Town sufficient for their needs. The routine life of the city clears itself through the Daily Want.
Chicago, Philadelphia and Boston are, I think, ready for the Want newspaper. Perhaps the other cities named above are also ready for it. The smaller cities will come to the idea later. It is probable that any city of 300,000 people would support the daily announcement sheet. It must be borne in mind that the circulation of the Want has its value in the fact that it goes to the people who are seeking the “want” advertisement and that sales of papers beyond this do not add materially to its value. Bennett charged exorbitant rates for real-estate advertising on the plea of the great circulation of the Herald; whereas the sale of papers beyond the buyers or sellers of real-estate had little or no value, that is, for this class of advertisers. In putting out the Daily Want the aim will be to fix upon just advertising rates—such as can be continued indefinitely and will yet yield a profit.
These three journals—the Newsbook, the Town, the Daily Want—are together the organs of the State in the social region; through these all incoming facts are rendered in the light of the general interest. In place of writing about sociology, so called, we proceed to publish the sociological newspaper; that is, recognizing the social organism as attained in fact, we set about reporting the state thereof. The principle of socialism is division of labor. This gained in the mental region, through the organization of intelligence, socialism is here. We distinguish the grand division of labor. The principle reached, the social system is discovered. In place of discussing “socialism,” we put out, in the rightful sense of the word, the socialistic newspaper—the organ of the whole. Apprehending this the people will lose whatever of remaining interest they may have in editorials on the “social problem” and the like. The social crisis is passed in the moment of its discovery. We recover the true meaning of the word sensational now obscured by the falsely sensational. We undertake to be sensational to the last degree. It is, of course, only possible to compete with the present “sensational” newspapers by being more sensational than they. Getting back to the true meaning of things, it is seen that the craving for sensation on the part of the public is the demand for intelligence itself. It is the business of the newspaper to meet this demand. The social fact is the sensational thing. News is the new thing. In truth the only sensation is a new idea. We are thus at the gateway of the highest sensations—those relating to the integrity of the organized social body and in turn to the welfare of the individual. The state seen in its simplest aspect, the division of labor, becomes an actuality, a moving mechanism of pulleys and bands and bearings. Having the sense of direction we may now point out a social hot-box or a slipping-belt with the clearness and facility of the expert machinist. It is a question of form. The social movement is viewed with equal regard for the individual and the common good. Thus the highest sensations are at command. The Newsbook and the Town have no editorial page or “composition” department. The money-force now wasted in that direction will be spent in systematic inquiry. The editor of the paper is simply its chief reporter. To his eye a murder in the fourth ward, a big cotton crop in India, an injury to Patti’s throat, the result of a presidential election, a new sonnet, a new principle in politics are all news. Its news columns make up the whole paper. The advertising is itself regarded as news; it is the conveyance of the private or individual intelligence. Already the newspaper of the day is changing in this direction. In the end a large part of what is now “reading matter” will go over into the advertising columns, which in consequence will become more interesting. Merely personal intelligence—the departure of a tailor for Europe or the like—should be paid for as advertising under its appropriate heading. A few years ago the Philadelphia Record contained a long advertisement giving the sermon of a local preacher paid for line upon line. It is believed that the advertising which appeals to the whole people will have continuous development along with other changes in the general newspaper. Mr. Dana,5 of the New York Sun, at one time put out the suggestion that the day was coming when we should have newspapers without advertising. As against this the Sun is now striving in the marketplace for the “wants” along with the World and the Herald. The reality Dana was seeking lies in finding directing principles for bringing order out of the present confusion in the advertising business. Large advertisers like Wanamaker, and certain special agents, have been leading the way in a measure. Gradually the general newspaper will come to place writers of skill at the service of advertisers. Thus the writer of “puffs” and “notices” will become an advertisement writer, and this while yet in the employ of the newspaper. The great retail houses will not be so much alone in furnishing attractive advertising for the eye of the public. The introduction of the Daily Want will go to set in order the whole advertising field.
Consulting our triangle again, it appears that various groupings of fact appeal directly only to certain classes of the people. From this we have class papers and the Class News Company which publishes these papers. Gradually the Class News Company will come to take charge of the whole field of class knowledges, special scientific journals coming under the same view. In other words the economies involved will compel a unifying movement covering the whole circle of class news. A new fact in chemistry has possibly some immediate social outcome, some new decency or luxury of life—this for the Newsbook; it then has its class value for the professional chemist. What is true for chemistry will hold good in other lines and so make the circle. From one point of view, the Class News Company is in the business of publishing “trade” papers. These trade or class papers constitute the base of the organic publishing business. Through them the centralizing movement I am outlining gets its fulcrum, its position or place, in the physical commerce. There are now fully 1,000 trade papers in the United States alone—the growth of twenty-five years. Of these the agricultural sheets in one form or another number 300. The revenues from advertising in the various trade papers would sum up several million dollars. I do not think six million would be a high estimate. In this we get to know somewhat the amount of the tax collected from the physical commerce by the trade paper men. In part these papers speculate on a great want without supplying it. Again it is true that some of them fairly meet the needs of their groupings. To illustrate, the Hub newspaper is perhaps adequate to its end as the organ of the carriage trade. It thus appears that certain minor branches of trade are best served. The waste of force in the trade paper business through lack of a centralized movement is, of course, very great. It is not proposed that the Class News Company shall at once set about buying trade papers in order that all maybe brought under one ownership. Premature action of the sort will be carefully avoided. The errors made in centralizing certain industries will not be repeated on the spiritual side. What I mean here is that in more than one centralizing movement on the physical side, unnecessary increase of capital came in through buying out factories or plants which might better have been left to their own devices. The men who have had to do with these movements see things in clearer light now. Talking with one of them, he agreed that in some instances it would have been better if two or three large concerns had trusted to the central principle as the key to empire, leaving the outside concerns to break themselves against the principle. Rightly understood, the principle looks to such an increase of competition that the weaker concerns cannot compete; it is the big grist and small toll. The action of the News Association is so deliberate, its body of directing principles having been worked out and articulated, that it can easily avoid the errors made on the physical side. The action of the dependent corporation, the Class News Company, partakes of this deliberateness. The wide-extended reporting organization compelled by the News Association is in its results at the service of the Class News Company.
The class journals first to be put out would relate to such minor branches of the physical commerce as are not already covered. These groupings may be dealt with by virtue of the wide-spread organization that is to come in. Each newspaper is to meet a plain need. Thus the paper Fruit might perhaps be the first publication to be issued by the Class News Company. Fruit would be a weekly paper. Let me say here, however, that in publishing the weekly newspaper Fruit, leaflets containing reports of injuries from the weather would at times be given to subscribers in advance of the regular publication day. The telegraphic report of a nipping frost must go out at once. In the main, the publications projected in this region will relate to the primary groupings of the physical commerce—food, metals and textiles. The journal Fruit illustrates the advance here. A number of the papers will be small dailies of the leaflet sort, as the daily paper Grain. The motor-idea is the pursuit of the price-making intelligence. The merchant, the manufacturer is eager to get at the price-making influences in his own line of business and is prepared to pay therefor. These he cannot well get, save as coming to him through the organized intelligence. The movement will take close account of all commodities whose prices are directly and easily affected by the news of the day, whether this be a bad turn in the weather, the exhaustion of a mine, or rumors of foreign war. As already indicated, this trade paper development forms the base of the enterprise.
The very notion of the price-making intelligence as constituting a distinct branch of news-getting is of recent origin. It first took clear shape with me in setting about developing Bradstreet’s (newspaper). In consequence of the experiments made there, I wrote in Bradstreet’s August 26, 1884, as follows:
A line is ultimately to be drawn between governmental and newspaper publicity. Wherever the sovereignty has to be impressed in order to get information the work of the government is a necessity. But when the required facts are reached through a potent sympathy and far-reaching activity the collecting agent is the metropolitan newspaper. . . . It is believed that the commercial side of New York journalism has not kept pace with the gradual change of conditions. Twenty-five years ago the Produce Exchange reporter had little more than tables of prices to present. To day through the ramifications of the telegraph, the influences that make prices are very largely at the command of the journalist.
All the developments since the above was written have gone to make good the position taken. The new journalism is to build from the soil—its organic base in the physical commerce. The way has been prepared somewhat by government work, but crop reporting through government agency is and must continue to be perfunctory. The present slowness in giving out returns will not answer. The reporting must be done day by day. But as indicated, this is not all, sympathy has to be enlisted. The reporting machinery here is primarily the social organism itself. The citizen king is the crop reporter. He registers his county fact, say in the black belt of Mississippi, receiving in return from the central inquiry office the cotton belt fact, getting also the crop prospects in Egypt and India along with the state of the spinning industry. This news reaches him through the daily paper Cotton which is published for one point, say, at Columbus, Miss. The integrity in this initial act of registration is secured from the fact that the master interest of the reporter (in, if you please, Lowndes County, Miss.) lies in directly furthering the accuracy of the report from the whole cotton belt. Besides, he wants correct reports from Egypt, India, and from Manchester, but these he cannot have unless trustworthy reports from America can be given in exchange for them. Wanting the whole truth he will contribute his fact thereto. The central office sells truth for pay and may be trusted to protect its brand. It is the play of sympathy—of interest. Straight goods all ’round or no trade. It is the bartering of intelligence—the great transaction of life. The freedom required cannot be gained through the delegated authority called government. Here is the grand division of labor. As it is reached, the organism is detected and we gain the line between governmental and individual activity. The man of letters—as journalist, as diurnal man—functions, and one of the things falling to him is the whole business of crop reporting. The machinery is provided within the social organism.
I need not dwell on the argument. The principle was established through my experiments in Bradstreet’s. It only needs to be stated. Now when the crop report of a given state of the union can be taken by telephone in a few hours, the cumbersome methods of a government office will not do. Various trade organizations have tried for the mastery—notably the National Cotton Exchange —but without avail. Not long ago the Chicago Board of Trade pointed out the need of better crop reporting, but nothing was or can be done. The individual trader, the trade exchanges, the government have tried it and all have failed. The one way out is through a ground movement in journalism. Only in this way can the organization become automatic. There must come in the daily newspaper Grain and other like publications. One of these might be the paper Meat. Here is the journal that will be produced simultaneously at various points—at all the great markets for a given staple. Take the paper Grain; it should ultimately be printed each morning, say at New York, Chicago, St. Paul, Omaha, Davenport, Kansas City, St. Louis, San Francisco, Portland, Liverpool, Paris, Vienna, Odessa, and Calcutta, proceeding at all these points from the branch offices of the News Association. The journal Cotton would be published at the leading market towns in the American cotton belt and at the great cotton industry centres here and in Europe.
It is not possible to determine before entering upon full action just how far classification will be pushed. We organize in all directions on the reality. I can only point out that it is the leaflet concept in the publishing business on which we are acting. In all likelihood the principle of everything-for-somebody must obtain in the region of political or social news beyond anything we can now anticipate. The Newsbook itself may have detachable leaflets. We are dealing in intelligence and it must be delivered to customers with strict regard to their convenience.
The price-making fact is the centre of interest. The surprising thing is the tremendous news development in the region of the physical commerce consequent upon the new point of view—the whole truth. As at first conceived the movement took the shape of three weekly papers to be called Food, Metals, and Textiles. At the time I received a memorandum from Edward Atkinson concerning the first named. He gave most striking illustration of the volume of news that must at once result from full inquiry into the food question. Mr. Atkinson’s6 paper is not in convenient form for insertion here else I would give it. Re-arrangement would make it mine not his. The service of these primary groupings waits upon the full organization of inquiry—the centralized intelligence. Although food, metals, and textiles are now heavily taxed by numerous papers, the range of fact is so great that no one of these three great divisions can afford to raise up the necessary machinery. The end can be reached only through the economy of a single organization. All news directly affecting prices in this region will be transmitted by telegraph—this whether it be a big wheat crop in India, a decrease in the cost of aluminum, a small peanut yield in Virginia, or a failure of the raisin crop in California.
It is believed that the closer this class news is brought home to the need and convenience of merchants and producers through the projected daily and weekly papers (such as Grain, Meat, Cotton, and the like) the greater will be the attraction to advertisers. The gathering of advertising to a given trade paper must increase just in proportion to the completeness with which the news belonging thereto is delivered. The evolution here is with the organized intelligence.
The general newspaper as it stands to-day, particularly at New York, is undertaking the impossible task of neglecting or foregoing the facts of the physical commerce. The attention is so much concentrated on the by-play of life that the reflection of the life actual has fallen behind relatively. As things are, a divorce has come about between the newspaper and the actualities of life. A number of years ago the New York Times published about the same date each fall extended interviews with leading merchants concerning trade prospects. It has since taken to printing “puffs” for the merchants for pay—these taking the place of the former interviews. So that instead of advancing to the organization of inquiry, the newspaper, as illustrated in the case of the Times, yields its position and becomes more bush-whacker than ever. The men of the physical commerce are so far in possession or in control of the newspaper that the edge of inquiry is turned. In great part the advertisers are editing the paper—that is, so far as it is edited at all. Not having discovered as yet that he has a business of his own, through possessing the commodity intelligence, the newspaper publisher is as yet under the heel of class interest. He can free himself only through acting on the unity of inquiry.
The point to be conveyed here is so important—so far-reaching in its import—that it is worth illustrating. Meeting one day in New York the chief advertising runner of the World, he stopped to tell me that he was about correcting what he thought to be an act of injustice on the part of his paper. I think it was in 1885. He told me that for months the World had been publishing all sorts of stories concerning poisoning from eating canned goods, and this without caring greatly as to their truth or falsity. Continuing, he said, “It is all wrong, I am going to have it corrected.” I asked, “How will you do that; by having the World look into the facts and take back all mis-statements made?” “Oh no,” replied he, “There is a better way than that. I am getting up a two-page article on the canned-goods trade; I have it nearly ready; the Thurbers,7 Austin-Nichols8 and other leading canned-goods people being represented.” The charge was to be fifty cents or more a line; I think he said a dollar. In few days out came the two-page “correction” in the World. Asking F. B. Thurber about the matter a few days after, I think he told me that the sum paid by his firm on account of the enterprise was $300. The illustration is not extreme. It serves to bring out the present confusion in the daily newspaper between “printed matter” and advertising—between the public and the private intelligence.
Such action as that of the World may be called making money both ways; untruth is first sold after which a heavy charge is made for correction. Thus, as I have said, the edge of inquiry is turned. Two falsities or at least two half truths take the place of the whole truth. There results a maximum of printed matter and a minimum of fact. The moment the point of view of the whole truth is taken, the volume of news rises in all directions. The confusion here can only be temporary. The transition, and the only one possible, is to begin systematically to sell the truth about merchantable things—the price-making news—and so make the ground connection for the great advance of letters. We do this through the Class News Company—one side of the intelligence triangle. To do it is to seize upon the new endowment fund. The enormous revenues accruing to the trade papers should contribute directly and definitely to the furtherance of inquiry. The endowment of letters, as it has been called, is an ever increasing sum. To-day it is the gold which the captain of industry stands ready to pay for the price-making facts on which the prosperity of his business is turning. I have been told that the annual net result in money to the proprietor of the Iron Age is $100,000. This profit of the Iron Age, the million of money which Bennett has been able to take from the Herald in a single year, and the enormous revenues of the mercantile agencies stand for the three sides of our triangle. It is proposed that the three streams of money be brought within the grasp of a single institution. At least half of the "agency" revenues should be carried forward to the fact—to the bureau of information.
Let me again illustrate the unified movement in contemplation. It has been pointed out that a single fact of the physical commerce may have three aspects; that is, it may be sold three times, yielding three profits. Let us suppose that a report reaches the News Association of a short wheat crop in a particular region of the northwest. It is first sold in its detailed form to the grain men through the daily paper Grain; then as regards its political or social bearing it is sold to the citizens through the Newsbook and the Town; and finally, for the third time it is disposed of on its bourse side at the office of Fords to some customer who is anxious about its effect on certain railway shares he has long owned.
The class papers indicated must largely take the place of the present system of reports by United States consuls in relation to foreign trade. It is acknowledged that the consular reports lack that degree of efficiency which can alone give them importance and value. Detecting how three profits are bound up in the one fact we may send an expert to Europe in the service of the class journal Textiles. He will inquire, if you please, into the state of the dress goods trade. The fact reported will have a social value for the Newsbook and in turn a value for the individual through Fords. The point I would make is that the expert cannot be sent save through acting on the unity of inquiry—through perceiving the three profits in the one fact. The scientific touch has to come in here else no inquiry. This done, a great deal of reporting now carried on by consuls or other officials goes over to the newspaper.
Through these class journals, reports are brought into the service of the Newsbook, thus clearing up the facts of the great business of politics. The tariff question will then be reported. Again we are able to see how, through becoming the receiver and transmitter of the price-making fact, the journalist gains the central position of life. Industry is at last organized because the intelligence peculiar thereto has become organic to the whole.
Fords is the Lloyds of information; it is the universal truth-shop. It is proposed to put this advertisement before the New York public:
The idea of Fords came to me early in 1883. I received one day, addressed to the editor of Bradstreet’s a letter from a man of business asking if he could get a report on the agricultural conditions and situation in a given belt of country in a western state. He had been asked to have to do with building a railroad through the region indicated and wanted the lay of the land. This inquiry could not be made as there was no fit machinery for the purpose at command. There was no man within easy reach who could be sent out to explore the region at a price which the inquirer would be warranted in paying. Other like inquiries coming to me, I was prompted to organize for such work—to bring in an association of experts. Getting no sympathy for my ideas from the executive of the Bradstreet Company, I saw more clearly than had previously been possible that the Bradstreet organization and that of the mercantile agencies in general could on the whole only compass the gathering and sale of rumor. This went to show that an advance was pending, that the bureau of information must come in; and, further, that the movement was bound up with the newspaper advance I was plotting.
Confirmations came to me in various ways. Other leading inquiries reached the office which, as before, could not be handled. I received offers of special salaries to aid leading trading concerns on the statistical side of their business. It was learned from the managers of certain state bureaus of statistics of increasing demands for information from politicians, traders and manufacturers which could only be met by a bureau specially organized on the commercial principle. It had come about that in the organization of new firms, greater care was taken to include, where possible, a man specially fitted to look after the inquiry side.
Strong proof lay, as it seemed to me, in the state of the “mercantile agency” business itself. As is well known, the two leading agencies are the Bradstreet Company and R. G. Dun and Co. Working alongside of the former, I was able to study the business closely. The two concerns were, and are to-day, not much apart as regards extent of business done. The gross annual income of each was found to be not far from $2,000,000—a total of $4,000,000. Large profits resulted. The Bradstreet people were then carrying a cash surplus of several hundred thousand dollars. Regarding the present condition of the Bradstreet Company’s affairs, I have the following statement from a trustworthy source:
They have a capital stock of $350,000 with an accumulated surplus in actual good assets, equivalent to cash, of $1,250,000. In other words the concern is worth, I believe, $1,600,000 in tangible property and largely in cash and cash assets. This does not allow anything for the good will and established business of the concern which according to its splendid earning power is certainly worth a good deal. . . . Their furniture, fixtures, etc., in the various offices are put in at very low valuation, which they would readily bring if sold out by the constable. . . . They carry large cash balances with banks and trust companies in New York, and . . . they have always from a half to three-quarters of a million loaned out to trust companies, etc., bearing interest. . . . It is one of the best paying businesses in the country. . . . Their stock will readily bring 700 to 800 and it is owned by a small crowd and very hard to get.
I found that certain business concerns had got into the habit of alternating their agency subscriptions, giving to Bradstreet’s one year, and to Dun’s the following. The Bradstreet people, at least, talked about two concerns being necessary in order to keep up what they called competition. Gradually it came home to me that the talk of competition went to conceal the double tax that was collecting. Two prices were charged for the one service, for the one fact. The merchants of the country were forced to sustain the two concerns where one would have done as well or better. This was before the elimination of distance and the mother thought bound up with it, that publicity is a commodity, had been detected. This discovery of course speedily cleared up the situation. It became clear that the bureau of information could be founded only as a phase of a general advance of the publishing business. It was seen to be an incident of the organization of inquiry. The truth-shop must follow upon, or, if one please, accompany the advance of letters to the fact. Fords could not be erected until the man of letters had a business of his own. He has now become independent through possessing the commodity publicity. Peruvian bark did not serve as commodity until it was found profitable to extract its inner principle to be sold in the form of quinine. So with crude rubber; Goodyear had first to wrest from it its chemical secret.
To meet the quickened demand for fact, various attempts have been made in Wall Street since 1885 to establish the bureau of information. Failure attends them because of inability to act on the commodity concept. The business of reporting is mixed up with that of dealing in the things on which reports are wanted—conditions inevitably corrupting. Fords is the universal fact shop. Its business will be confined strictly to the purchase and sale of intelligence.
Fords is the shop in which the facts of life are handled and sold on the lines of individual needs. The business is parallel with and dependent upon the development of inquiry made by the News Association. The organization of Fords is closely related to that of the class papers outlined, and in turn to the Newsbook and the Town. Illustrations multiply, but they cannot be put down here. The intellectual movement is one. This cannot be too often asserted as therein is bound up the economies of the enterprise and its great commercial outcome.
The mercantile agencies gather and sell rumor concerning credits. Rumor is usually sufficient here. The standing of a cigar dealer may be learned from the gossip of his neighbors and the statements of dealers who sell him goods. To gather such gossip and statements is the work of the agencies. Fords will not at the outset enter this field; that is, it will not set out to report the credit of individuals or of trading firms. But Fords will at once report the credit of corporations and this in all respects. What will be the ultimate effect of the development in hand on the field so left to the agencies, need not here be said. With this provisional exception Fords will sell information of all sorts and descriptions, from spelling a word or verifying a quotation to the facts showing a change in the underlying conditions of some great industry, or the extent to which a given railroad has been borrowing its dividends in the guise of loans for additions to rolling stock. Its range of action is co-extensive with the interest of the individual in life. Men with perplexing ideas will come to Fords to get them appraised, or resolved. Even the disturbed mind will apply at its counters for the relieving fact. The great specialists in mental science will be found at its offices.
The signal act of Fords will be to set about reporting in a comprehensive way the new registration of industrial shares on the stock exchanges. This need in itself goes far to warrant the enterprise. The idea on which we are working enabled me to predict in 1885 the great incorporations of the following years which are still going on. Distance gone, production organizes—centralizes. Along with this we have the development of “trusts,” followed by tremendous corporations, the end being to bring this and that great industry under a single direction. Already there is hardly room on the bourse for both the new industrial shares and the old railway stock-and-bond structure. The industrial stocks go to antagonize the railway obligations. Yet the movement is certain to increase in every way. Correspondingly, the need of information from an independent source becomes imperious; there must come in a like movement in intelligence. This need is met by Fords, which undertakes to report the condition of all trading and manufacturing corporations in the United States and throughout the world.
The action is many-sided and here can only be touched upon. Just what will be done as regards the issuance of regular printed reports cannot be indicated in advance.
To single out one thing that Fords is to do, let me say that it will organize the law so far as it remains to be organized, that is, on its information side. To illustrate, a man of business comes to New York from London having an idea that he would execute in commerce, through a corporation. What are the corporation and tax laws in New York and the neighboring states; in short, to what conditions must he conform? As things stand he would have to pay a considerable fee to some lawyer of known trustworthiness. With Fords organized he would get the desired information for a comparatively nominal fee. Fords may have its own “tickers” in Wall and Lombard streets. Facts having to be bulletined instantly may go out from Fords instead of from the News Association. Time is required for the printed page. Thus the ticker of Fords is the extended, multiplied bulletin board of the News Association. Fords becomes an institution having large revenues with no corresponding outgo.
An annual subscription to Fords of not less than $100 will be asked. Great care will be taken in making the preliminary canvass for these subscriptions in certain large cities; this especially in New York, London and Chicago. Take the twenty-five leading business men of Chicago—they need to have the scheme explained in its entirety. This done, in the leading cities a chain of references will be raised up. There are 8,000 bankers in the United States, all of whom are possible subscribers to Fords. A few years ago the possible home subscription list of the Bradstreet Company was held to be 20,000—that number of trading concerns in the United States stood in need of the Bradstreet or like reports. The number is nearer 25,000 now. The Bradstreet Company had in 1886 about 12,000 actual subscribers.
The reporting of credits is carried on through three instrumentalities: (1) the Bradstreet, Dun and other agencies; (2) the agencies under a proprietorship having to do with but one branch of trade, such as the Furniture Exchange and the like; (3) strictly co-operative reporting done by traders themselves through such organizations as the Merchants’ and Manufacturers’ Exchange of Detroit. The last two merge into each other more or less. It is safe to say that the total annual revenues of the three groupings is $6,000,000. From close knowledge it is conceived that half of this is over-taxation, the service being worth only about half what is paid for it. Going to the merchants of the country, it is proposed to ask that $3,000,000 of the sum be paid into Fords, for the reporting of trade conditions, the standing of corporations, and for placing all related information directly at the service of the merchant.
It should be noted that the “agencies” now make a show of reporting corporations; they do not get to the realities. My experience on the inside proved that they cannot pass from the minutiae of gossip and rumor in which they are involved. The argument from public need has passed Bradstreet’s and Dun’s; instead, the urgent thing is to move half their revenues forward to the Fact. There are three collections of the one thing. One lawyer in this or that locality reports for both Bradstreet and Dun, for the one-branch-of-trade concerns and for a co-operative movement.
Sympathy for Fords will be found at London where investments are widely distributed and the need of intelligence great. A New York merchant, Mr. H. K. Thurber, remarked to me that the idea of Fords is a distinctively commercial thing; that it will be welcomed by the bankers of Frankfort and other points on the continent. For reporting financial questions of the complex sort special insight is required—the whole social movement has to be taken into account. Conditions have ripened for the announcement of Fords.
The great extent of the United States, the bigness of the country, has compelled the elimination of distance. But this was only to prepare the way for the organization of its intelligence and the correlation therewith of the intelligence of the whole world. The new ideas in hand, the next great step is to divide the country into news districts and begin the application of these ideas to the life of the people. The way the country is set off, politically, into states and counties goes to facilitate this. It would almost seem that the present necessity was anticipated in the principle of political division. There is the grouping by states with the county as the unit of organization. The usual news district is a single state. Through these convenient groupings the facts of life are brought to aggregates for study and comparison. The facts under this or that head in Michigan are compared with the like return from Oregon. In this way the interest is always at the full.
Democracy in America is not organized till we have consciously brought its intelligence to a center, and have related it to the past, that the resulting light may be had for the morrow’s guidance. The means of communication are in place but these could not be brought to the highest use until the realities flowing out from the locomotive and the telegraph, their spiritual meaning, should be wrought out and made the basis of a centralizing movement. The principle of action for which the News Association stands is the new locomotive. By the new light we are able to see that the registration of life through the present newspaper is quantitative only. We have now to erect the qualitative center. In furtherance of this the United States is divided into districts, each district being in charge of a representative of the News Association. In each locality this agent stands for the general interest. Drawing his pay from the central office, he is freed from the control of local prejudice. The local fact is everywhere dealt with in the light of the whole, thus compelling the highest sensations.
The new principle or method is applied to each news district. Nothing is full commodity until brought to its full use; that is, until delivered where it is needed and as it is needed. The merchant has not taken possession of the publishing business until this is done for intelligence. News has been treated as if no principle were required to get and distribute it. The discovery of the intelligence triangle is the key to treating intelligence as full, instead of quasi, commodity. Through the triple incorporation the machinery is set up for refining to its uttermost the crude material of the news business—the bare event occurring here or there. The Standard Oil Company made an advance in the oil business by compelling from the petroleum all its secrets. By penetrating to the white oil at the center, naptha was secured at one end of the process and paraffine at the other. The economy here lay in attending to the commodity principle. The intelligence triangle applied to the soil, to the physical fact, there results an analogous refining of news, and corresponding economies.
The self-registering machinery is already getting into place in each district but it is only nominal. It has to be quickened, to be made actual. This done the Republic of Letters is a fact resting on the earth. The physical machinery is there but it is not utilized. Money is not wanted to create a vast new machinery, but only to attach the new principle to the machinery already in place so as to bring out its full effectiveness.
The districting of the country, therefore, involves placing a mind at the headquarters of each news field, a mind responsible for that district. The principle of co-ordination, of integration, lies at the base. There is at present no certainty as to the pursuit of any fact to its ultimate meaning. Were it desired to institute inquiry as to some continuing fact, say at San Francisco, a fact having roots in the past and great future meaning, it would be found that there is no agency for prosecuting the inquiry and reporting its results to the whole country. Inquiry is not carried forward from day to day; no fact, indeed, is carried either backwards or forwards. In short, the country is not reported. The districting of the country is the solution. From this vantage ground the News Association is able to handle intelligence. It is perceived that we have only to act upon the principle in order to get not simply more news in quantity, but new news in quality. The higher quality comes in through the coordination involved in constantly working to and from a responsible center. The self-registering machinery of society, the desire of the individual to give up his local fact in order to receive it back with accrued interest is utilized to the full. The use of this machinery must have been but partial and tentative until there should come in an institution standing for the whole.
The district of Michigan will be organized first. The work of organization entered upon, a single county will be dealt with as a complete whole. On this whole, using it as a medium, the new order of ideas will be realized. Monroe county, Michigan, will be used as this medium. It is the southeastern county of the state.
Horace Greeley9 is credited with the prediction that the time is coming when all general newspaper matter will proceed from a single institution. Greeley had the vision, but did not see, or, at least, so far as I have been able to learn, did not announce that this single distributing concern must itself be the central publishing business. There cannot be two centers, one for gathering and distributing news, the other for printing it. Economy demands but one center. We have in hand, through the News Association, the fulfillment of Greeley’s prediction. To gain the end, the highest responsibility has to be assured. This responsibility is neither more nor less than the integrity of the merchant—the continuous attention to the commodity. On this basis, the News Association proposes a close organization of the first-hand newspapers of the country.
The present Associated Press grew out of the locomotive and the telegraph. When the New York newspapers came to employ these improved facilities, they found themselves reporting simultaneously the same facts and paying extravagantly for each report. The demand of economy led them to divide the cost of gathering and distributing the news among the several sheets using it. In other words, the function of the Associated Press was to apportion the cost of the transmission. But this function has disappeared. The great reduction in the expense of transmission has rendered the telegraph toll to the newspaper what the postage stamp is to the individual correspondent—a bagatelle. As there is no longer any bar to communication, a new principle of association is demanded. The new principle is division of cost of inquiry. This advance brings new freedom and new responsibility. The press takes on a new function, that of separating the true from the false. Hence a re-forming and the forward movement.
The point to be made clear is that this change could not come about until telegraph tolls were so low that all matter for the first-hand paper, excepting of course the local news which is gathered on the spot, can be sent out by telegraph. The editorial page simply marks the absence of the entire fact. The whole not being at hand, opinion does substitute duty. Understand, there is not news and “editorial matter,” there is only news. Already the stream of fact is so great that the "editorial page” is in neglect. It is in eclipse owing to the tremendous merchandising of fact, or the semblance of fact, which has come in. One more step and the editorial page is thrown out. Were a half dozen of our leading daily papers to be made up tomorrow without the editorial, or “composition,” department; it would hardly be missed by the public. And it is safe to say that in the papers now making the most of “editorializing,” the left-out page would be missed the least. But the editorial as such can only be gotten rid of by substitution—only when the flow of news from the center is all-embracing in its character will the absurdity of trying to lend dignity to the paper through essay writing become apparent. Under present conditions the editorial page is a sort of “church” maintained for the spurious man of letters, i. e., for the writers, as against the inquiry men, the reporters: The “editorial” is sheltered behind certain notions as touts ethical value, but these must give way upon recognition of the commercial value of truth. Already things have got so far, in some towns, that one and the same ownership puts out two or three newspapers with editorial pages of opposite views. Certain of the “syndicates” go a step further, offering to furnish all shades of opinion for all sorts of papers. In all this we detect the spirit of the sutler who looks not to the quality of his wares. We are in a period of the greatest confusion in news-dealing. The reforming waits upon the incoming of the merchant, who will handle news as he handles iron or silk. The only composition department will then be the type-setting rooms. Instead of the many “editorial” rooms, we shall have the one central inquiry office. One library will answer the needs of all.
The work of the “syndicates” has helped in the forward movement. They have undertaken a task of distribution, but, unable to get first-class matter, they have sent out inferior goods of well-known writers along with the falsely sensational. But the result of their efforts, since they went to stimulate the habit of receiving from a common center and so to prepare the way for the reality, has been to intensify the demand for the fact. Certain of the first-hand papers have taken little of the mass of matter offered. While recognizing the moving principle as sound, they have preferred to wait for the real thing. The syndicates have failed to satisfy the needs of these papers because they have had no means of controlling the commodity the newspapers were anxious to buy. The syndicate, as such, is a distributive machine without anything to distribute. What is needed is an organization of the in-come as well as of the out-go. The two must be made parts of the one centralizing movement. As it is, the syndicates have simply taken advantage of the mechanical side of the centralizing movement—increased facility in distributing matter. But the centralizing principle must itself move out as respects news gathering: inquiry must be organized. Only in this way can a continuous or genuine distribution from a center be kept up. The centralizing movement is seen to be inevitable; but it had to wait until the new thought, resulting from the very possibility of the movement itself, could be worked out.
The country is surfeited with opinion and correspondingly eager for the fact. Public criticism of the newspaper has become more open and general. As a consequence, the editors of certain journals at the outlying centers are finding fault with the service of the Associated Press. Here and there are evidences of tentative organization. In many cities the leading papers have consolidated or are planning so to do. Again, at one or two points single papers far in the lead of their competitors, reveal the fact that but one newspaper establishment is needed for the service of the community. At the first-hand centers the necessity of an advance has already entered the minds of clear-headed managers. Since there is no occasion for two deliveries of the one fact, certain of these papers are marked for survival, certain others are marked for destruction or absorption.
There are about seventy present or prospective first-hand cities—cities, that is, which are first-hand in news. The following is a provisional list of such centers in the United States and Canada:
To the cities enumerated in this list there must be a common delivery of news. One result of this impartial distribution will be a leveling up of all first-hand papers. The newspapers in the smaller cities will have an equally prompt and complete news-service with those of the larger. Under present circumstances the smaller daily gets much of its information at second-hand from the columns of its larger and wealthier neighbor.
Besides these first-hand papers there are two other general classes of less important journals: (1) The regional papers, representing two or more counties, and (2) the strictly local papers. It is proposed that the News Association do not sell directly to these papers, but supply them indirectly through the first-hand men, who, in the capacity of jobbers, will retail the news to meet the demands of small dealers. In other words, the News Association undertakes to create only the arterial system; the lesser circulation will be taken care of by itself. The retail market of the News Association is the metropolitan district of New York and vicinity. It is not proposed that the News Association shall in any case own a controlling interest in outside papers, i. e., beyond New York, whether at Chicago or elsewhere. The rule will be that it is not to have any ownership whatever in such papers. To maintain such ownership and especially to undertake to control the policy of any of them would be to violate the home-rule principle. The local newspapers, which will always be under the direction of the local interest, or prejudice, simply receive general news from the central office. The connection is maintained only so long as the service is satisfactory. The News Association has no hold on them other than the trustworthy dealer has on his customers. Only so far as life is registered through the News Association can its empire be maintained. The news of local origin in the office of each first-hand paper will be at the service of the News Association much as now. It will, however, as indicated elsewhere (No. 6), have translation through the district representative who stands for the whole. The local news is thus worked over at all points in the light of the general interest. The news of the metropolis will be so organized as very largely to preclude the necessity of keeping special men at New York by the outside papers as now. Special inquiries at the metropolis prompted by local needs, [sic] will be given attention by men in the service of the News Association. The district offices of the Association can be drawn upon in like manner. It is believed that in time Washington will be found to be the only remote point at which the first-hand newspaper will need a special representative.
Since the News Association serves but one concern at each first-hand center, its operation will ultimately involve a leading question of social organization, namely, the nature of monopoly. As I have said, the only hold of the central office on the outside papers is the perfection of its service; their only hold on the center lies in the fact that they pay their bills promptly, while giving to the public all the news. The principle of the big grist and small toll must obtain in all directions. But the following case is likely to arise: Some one, wanting to “start a paper” to further a given set of opinions, may ask the courts to compel the News Association to give service. The latter will make answer that the demand is not in the public interest; that instead the end is to bolster up merely individual opinion; that genuine opinion of every sort, that is, the particular opinion which measured by the whole is a fact, is already delivered to the people through interviews and in all manner of ways; or, if such delivery is not complete, action will lie to compel it. A suit of this kind would compel attention to the reality of social organization. The appeal would be to the organic principle. In the late bucket-shop decisions of the Illinois courts, it was held that the quotations of the Chicago Board of Trade if sold to one must be sold to all; but against this point, were it urged, the News Association would undertake to show that its news was already sold to all through its local representative. It is of course intended that the news service shall become so full and free, so rid of bias, that the case imagined can hardly arise. But this hypothetical case illustrates the power which the centralizing movement will possess of compelling new concepts in jurisprudence.
The present position of the daily newspaper is made clearer by a glance at the history of our popular magazines. The contents of the first Harper’s (June, 1850) was made up, with the exception of the monthly review and other minor things, of reprints from English books and periodicals. Harper’s was simply a monthly scrap-book. In time, the magazine began to pay for original contributions, then to write up particular features of American life, and finally to organize a staff. The secret of the advance is that it began to prosecute original inquiry and this in a more organized way. This is equally true of the Century and some other like publications. Their present great circulation and revenues have been brought about by the application of the principle of inquiry. The point is that the centralized inquiry and distribution now outlined, making the daily newspaper its organ, brings the quality of its matter to the level of the present magazine and beyond. Even now the character of the matter of the monthly magazine is beginning to be affected unfavorably by the advances of the daily newspaper. As the newspaper comes to have at command agencies of inquiry turned full upon daily life, the magazine must recede, occupying itself more and more with the past.
The social body is still under the direction of pre-locomotive ideas. This has nowhere been better expressed than by Whitman10 in these words:
For feudalism, caste, the ecclesiastical traditions, though palpably retreating from political institutions, still hold essentially, by their spirit, even in this country, entire possession of the more important fields, indeed the very subsoil of education and of social standards and literature.
The clear departure had to wait on the American idea—the third fact of the century. The first fact of the century was the locomotive, the second the electric wire. The third is the spiritual outcome of these new physical agencies, or the resulting conception of life. Through the elimination of distance and its social rendering, we have a flood of new ideas, making the new American literature for which the world has been waiting. The new thinking, compelling the new publishing business, corresponds to the present state of commerce. The commerce in physical things carried to the full finds its own realization in the truth-shop, thus disclosing the unified commerce. Social advances find their first expression on the physical side. Realized in consciousness, we have new ideas of political organization and in consequence a new literature.
In the unity of commerce the supposed barriers between the spiritual and the material are overthrown. We apprehend continuous movement in life as the new psychical fact. The process is continuous and can only be stated in terms of absolute movement. The locomotive of commerce, itself the freed truth of the universe, in turn frees mind. Distance has been eliminated through the march of mind. The mind of man translates into the secret of the steam. The unity of life is disclosed to us as an external, every day [sic] fact; it is a moving whole. Here is overcome the discrepancy in life, the seeming divergence between subject and object, lamented by Mazzini as “the perennial anarchy between thought and action.”11 The literatures based on the separation of the God principle from life are seen to be but dead matter. There can only remain to us the literature of action. The pseudo mental sciences, the rubbish of an apart ethics and the great mass of economic speculation disappear as did the Ptolemaic astronomy before the discoveries of Copernicus.
We are at the center of a new birth in letters—the advance of inquiry to the daily fact, to the social whole in movement. In place of the merely individual literature now in its decadence, we secure new readings from the book of life. The new literature is the report of America—of what she has done. The movement begins where Carlyle and Emerson left off. Writing to Carlyle in 1844 (the year before the President’s message was first flashed from Washington to Baltimore) Emerson said: “My faith in the Writers, as an organic class, increases daily, and in the possibility to a faithful man of arriving at statements for which he shall not feel responsible, but which shall be parallel with nature.”12 This means the registration of life. Other men with equal clearness of vision have dwelt upon the theme. Speaking from his place in the Senate in 1846, John C. Calhoun said: “Magic wires are stretching themselves in all directions over the earth, and when their mystic meshes shall have been united, and perfected, our globe itself will become endowed with sensitiveness, so that whatever touches on any one point will be instantly felt on every other.”13 The prediction has been made good; so much so, indeed, that the newspaper, in Calhoun’s own phrasing, becomes the organ of the whole. All these hopes and prophecies are brought to their fulfilment in the News Association.
The new reading of life takes definite form in certain volumes. Twelve of these, relating to the fundamental region of inquiry, are under way. The method followed is not that of writing per se, but that of registration—being identical with the principle of crop reporting. The work of each is for all and all for each. The “books” are on news lines as already laid down. The advance of inquiry to the moving social fact not only creates new news, but it reveals new tools of science. Discovering the social system, its working lines become methods of interpretation and criticism. The key here is that certain beliefs long held in the mind in a half-formed way now become veritable tools of exploration. Certain conceptions held in an apart way, and discussed in terms of themselves, are transformed, when intelligence appears as commodity, into practical instruments for handling and perfecting the commodity into ways of investigating and reporting life. To illustrate: When inquiry is directed upon the movement of life, the need is felt of a psychology which can be used as a workman uses a kit of tools. We get the hand-book of psychology as we now have the hand-book of the steam engine. Psychology becomes a key to reading men’s relationships to one another in society. Much the same is to be said of logic and ethics.
Through this reduction of mental science to practical form (as supplying tools for reading life), vast acres of literature, now under the domination of mere opinion, are invaded, and annexed to the domain of scientific inquiry. “The superfluous energy of mankind,” says Bagehot, “has worked into big systems what should have been left as little suggestions.”14 There is no more reason for confusion in political science than there is for two multiplication tables—it is a question of the advance of inquiry, of a further invasion of art. The unity of inquiry being attained as fact, there is a union of science and literature—this to an extent not possible to anticipate. The advance to the solar system, through publishing of its law by Kepler and Newton, swept away the mass of opinion in that region. The advance to the social system, through discovery of its law, sweeps away the bulky literature of opinion in the regions of social life. The many dialects of opinion cannot compete with the one language of action. The scientific and the commercial advance are one. Literature turned out by partial and defective machinery is displaced, as surely as any quasi commodity recedes upon the appearance of more free working and better organized methods of production.
Beyond the substitution of hand-books of practice for apart theorizing and argumentation, we get certain generic and positive readings of life. Given intelligence as commodity, the central principle of life is detected. With truth and commerce at one, the organizing and controlling principle of society is revealed. The present status of society needs to be reported in the light of this discovery—in its general features, as well as in specific and daily details. A single volume focuses this. This first volume is called the Day of Judgment. The settlement day in the world’s affairs comes in with the organized movement of the whole intelligence or fact. It is a statement of the existing structure of society. Again, the light reflects backward. Seeing, at their fullness, science and commerce as one, we look back upon history and behold their converging lines—the approach of the “material ” and the “ spiritual ” to a centre of action. Hence the story of the Quickening Spirit and again that of the Conquerors of Distance. The three next on the list are the tool-books already referred to; the six following are more specific applications of the new tools to important regions of life. The volumes grow up purely in response to demand—the undertaking is commercial—but enough is already done to make the way clear to the end. The twelve books are as follows:
The scope of these volumes may be thus indicated:
1. THE DAY OF JUDGEMENT. The notion of a day of judgment is as old as recorded thought. With the appearance of intelligence as commodity, this notion at last rationalizes and we detect the settling day in the world’s affairs. The organized publicity compels continuous accounting in life—and this both ways, as to the individual and the whole. Through the free play of fact, equal judgment is assured. The individual comes to judge and to be judged in the full light. Full freedom gained, the partial fact reports to the whole for correction, and the whole, in turn, makes up the new accounting. Adverse interests make their showing on the full fact. This is the judgment in life. The book indicating the lines of this accounting provides the Organon of Democracy.
The divisions of the Day of Judgment book are as follows:
(a) The Representative Slave. The first division tells the story of a mind seeking to realize its own movement through a desire to inquire and report concerning the common fact. Its activity is checked by class interest which found its profit in keeping the common fact covered up. The Representative Slave records the steps by which the inquiry man became conscious of his slavery—of his hindered mental movement. It records also the varied contact by which he discovered the conditions making for his freedom and for that of his kind. The story recites an individual experience in seeking to report, taking the municipality as the special subject of inquiry, the social movement with equal reference to the individual and the common good. Checked in this, he found the real hindrance concealed in the fact that existing social organization is based on a supposed antagonism between the individual and the whole. This being the dominant idea, the newspaper could not ignore class interest and so allow him to deliver the truth to the people. The discovery lay in perceiving that, as regards underlying conditions, the social movement had got to the point of harmony; that the newspaper therefore was lagging behind, was off the track. Here was the evolution of commerce up to the point of breaking down, through the locomotive and telegraph, the barriers to full inquiry and reporting, making it possible to deal in truth as commodity. The development of interest to the point of selling truth is the power that frees the slave.
(b) The Organic Letters. Inquiry freed, life registers itself at a center. The results (news, intelligence) are distributed according to their respective relationships or demands. Thus the business of letters is organized; the man of letters functions. Said Thomas Carlyle: “Men of Letters will not always wander like unrecognized, unregulated Ishmaelites among us! Whatsoever thing has virtual unnoticed power will cast off its wrappages, bandages and step forth one day with palpably articulated, universally visible power.”15 This division records the fulfillment of Carlyle’s prophecy in the emergence of the man of letters as the diurnal man or reporter, gaining a definite position through getting his own assured commodity. Thus the man of letters is for the first time introduced to the world. Account is taken of the conflict through which he has come to his independence, to his rightful estate, not forgetting the trail of blood; it is the struggle towards organization. We distinguish the art of arts, that of conveying intelligence, using the word as tool. A flood of light results as regards the relative position of the various arts. The definitions, principles and method of the Organic Letters are thus introduced.
(c) The Grand Division of Labor and the Social Organism. Political writers of the last century have had much to say of the spiritual and temporal powers and their relations one to the other. The organization of intelligence marks the grand division of labor here. The spiritual power is determined. The cleavage is between the man who acts by inquiry and reporting and the man who does some external thing. As a result of the freeing of intelligence and the flowing of the related facts of life to a center, activities corresponding to the facts organize also. The social system, the differentiations and interactions of the body politic, is at last attained as fact. The equation making the organism results from the free play of the individual interest, which is constantly recast on the lines of functional, common, or related interests. The social organism is disclosed; we perceive the full circulation of intelligence through the social body. Determining the main functions and directions of the organism, we have tools for placing the daily and hourly event. The struggle of the century for a science of politics is thus realized. The effect on existing economic concepts is traced out. The discovery that commerce evolves its own control gives the principle which, followed out in detail, reconstructs to its entirety what now passes for economics and social science.
(d) The Bourse. This fourth division inquires into the constitution of the bourse; into the notions underlying and sustaining the present stock exchange. Following upon the locomotive, the mark of the century on the side of finance is the security factory. The century cannot end without bringing to book the excess security making. In England and the United States, the only check to the marketing of railway securities has been the market limit. A great stock and bond structure has resulted, whose integrity is subject to the social interaction. How are the social forces moving? In getting at the reality here the idea of function becomes a tool of inquiry. The social organism attained, the blood drawn from the whole by each member is measured by the need of each. It may be that the persistence of private taxation in the guise of public function will be detected. Account is taken of the new industrial incorporations and their effect on the old stock and bond structure. The story is of the conflict between the old and the new production. In general, account is taken of the great new fact that the socialism of intelligence marks the last of the feudal concept.
(e) The Visible Church. This fifth and final division of the Day of Judgment book reflects on the one hand the results of an exhaustive inquiry into the state of endowments. The auditing principle is to be let in. It may appear that a close connection exists between the magnitude of endowments and certain false concepts that have gone to sustain private taxation through the bourse. Tracing out the connection, the aim will be to learn how far the present organization is, in its reality, a state church, and in turn how the full freedom that is to come in will go to rekindle religious zeal. With the truth man substituting the counter for the contribution box, there results a marked alteration in this region. On the other hand, the division deals with the fulfillment of the promise: “Ye shall know the truth and the truth will make you free.”16 The fact is disclosed that the truth had first to be freed, and that this is man’s part. It is further seen that through all the turmoil the principle of salvation has lain concealed in the activity, in the life-process of society. The church spiritual is at last organized; and through the distribution of truth the individual is raised into full membership. The church in the locality sense becomes the rendezvous in life.
2. THE QUICKENING SPIRIT. Having attained the unity of inquiry, that is, the development of science up to dealing with the whole, the State, it becomes possible to write the history of the struggle through which man has come to consciousness. This volume reports the growth of man’s thought towards its objective, full action—until, freed in commerce, it goes clear over. The separation between thought and action, theory and practice, is overcome. The spirit quickens. It is the growth in consciousness of the spiritual power. The principle makes possible a reconstruction of intellectual history, giving a unity to what is now treated dispersedly, in histories of philosophy, of literature, of art, etc., the uniting thought being the movement of intelligence to action. The volume pays especial attention to the spiritual history of the nineteenth century, setting forth as its secret the last desperate struggle of thought to attain completeness and thus reach action. The story is given of the first enthusiastic fore-glance as distance began to disappear; of the isolation of thought in Germany and of its violent outbreak in the streets of Paris at the close of the last century; of the stock men took of the world they were then living in; of the attempts to enter the promised land by some other than the straight and narrow way; and of the dashed hopes as men finally ran up against the cul-de-sac. Then comes the final suggestion of the physical machinery which was to break down the last barrier so that the highest thinking might go out into life. It is thus that thought takes possession of its own, getting full citizenship in the kingdom of ends.
3. THE CONQUERORS OF DISTANCE. Commerce when it completes itself in merchandizing truth is revealed as the integrating process of life—as the force which conquers separation and brings men together in action. This third volume tells the story of commerce through delineating typical cases of its struggle to realize unity in life. It thus develops the principles of the unified economics. It is the paean of commerce. The history of the movable type, of the printing press, of the locomotive, the telegraph and the telephone is told in the struggles of the men who brought them to birth. The twice told tale finds new and powerful interest in its fulfillment.
4. THE WORKING PSYCHOLOGY.17 The problem has been to grasp the varied psychic manifestations as a whole, in order that they might have related meaning. This is realized by setting up the mental characteristics as phases of a single movement in lieu of regarding them as apart and of themselves entities. In this, mind is unified and so given common rendering for all men. This common rendering of mind raised up, psychology becomes an instrument for the interpretation of life. It makes definite whole regions now indefinite and restores waste places in sciences which heretofore have found difficulty in dealing exactly with the interaction of mind. Workers in politics, the daily walk of business, in medicine, law, and the school, are to find the missing tool. In one of his latest writings, Professor William James, of Harvard University, says: “We live surrounded by an enormous body of persons who are most definitely interested in the control of states of mind, and incessantly craving for a sort of psychological science which will teach them how to act.”18 The Working Psychology undertakes to meet this demand.
5. THE TOOLS OF INQUIRY. The generic ideas of life, which have been worked out and raised up by the philosophers as notions, appear to be, as things stand, the especial property of philosophy and philosophers. With inquiry freed, these notions become tools for the direct handling of social fact. The need is for a critical account of the categories of thought and this without entering into an abstruse discussion as to their origin. This fifth volume arranges the ideas of the philosopher as tools for inquiring into the state of the body politic—that is, with reference to reporting the special event in the light of the whole or general interest. In turn, the light of the present advance of intelligence will be reflected backward by way of re-interpreting the notions. All the factors of knowledge have now to be viewed with a heightened consciousness as to the unity of subject and object.
6. THE ETHIC OF ACTION. This volume states the ideas resulting from the fuller perception now gained of the interaction of life—the relation of the individual to his fellows. Ethical distinctions at present are largely derived from the pre-locomotive age—from the age when man was isolated in his conduct through lack of full communication. With the Age of Commerce, men get together in their action; and we realize as fact the forces making for integrity (for responsibility and freedom) in life. Getting to the ethic of action, we transcend the ethic of precept. We are content to see the false ethic disappear because, perceiving the free play of intelligence, we recognize that each situation in life carries its own ethic—and this with relentless logic.
7. THE WORD AS TOOL. This volume marks a departure from existing helps in the use of words. With the reporting of life organized, the intellectual life identifies with that of action. Literature is the movement of ideas. The art of reporting is distinguished. The word is the tool of the reporter. The beautiful tool is the best tool and the reverse. That is, in literature beauty and use (conveyance) are at one. Literary criticism, so-called, does not differ from any other kind of criticism; it is to judge whether a given movement has attained its end—whether the idea of the writer has reached the point of effecting action or has remained abortive. Account is taken of the two sides of action—subjective and objective. It will be asked whether a given writing is merely individual opinion or whether it parallels life—the test being its compelling power. The point, in fine, goes to transfer the literature of criticism from a separated (or apart) sphere to the practical—the life of action.
8. THE CHILD OF DEMOCRACY.19 The development here identifies the school, from the back-woods district to the university inclusive, as the Embryonic State. It proceeds from the struggles of those who would teach when conventional methods only provide for “keeping school.” The book reveals the existing chasm between school and life as the source of the current dissatisfaction with the general conditions, methods, and results of instruction. In course it sets out the detail of disorder traceable to this primary schism or broken unity of the life movement. In contrast with this, the working relationship between school and state is defined, the unwitting disregard of which has its practical outcome in the withering up of the child through his lifeless environment. In its wider reach, the book takes account of the family on the one side as the movement towards the school, while on the other it has to do with the qualifications requisite for citizenship—the continued movement of the individual toward full functioning in the State. In fine, a basic principle is discovered which frees child, teacher and State on the side of education. This new freedom comes in because, through the development of commerce, contact has been so freed that the child may be directly connected with the moving intelligence instead of getting it second-hand through books or the mind of his teacher. The school is the State in process of formation—in embryo.
9. FORD’S COMMON SCHOOL. It is proposed in this volume to deliver the new principles of education to the teacher as working tools, the aim being their detailed application. The movement looks to connecting the schools with life, and this up to the point of admitting the electric wire, the writing machine and the printer’s case.
10. UNIVERSITY ENDOWMENT AND ORGANIZATION. This volume undertakes to set out the integrated university. In point of internal arrangement this is found to turn on the unity of inquiry. Existing university organization is but the reflection of prevailing mental lesions, that is, abstractions carried to the point of dividing the one life of action. When the necessary divisions of inquiry are made clear, a model for all time may be erected. The university connects itself with life; taken out of their isolation, teachers and students are no longer content with false values. The report also deals with the external side—the base of money supply. Is the university of the future to rest on the endowment principle, on taxation, or on both? Now, when we are able to read the movement of the bourse in a more definite way, this whole matter of university foundations takes on a transcendent interest. When the university is brought into full relations with life, it may turn out that taxes for its needs, for the higher education, will no longer appear to the commonalty like giving money for some far away, disconnected thing.
11. THE TRUTH AND THE LAW. Under this heading we report the growth of accuracy in society between citizens, as realized in municipal law. By this is meant the gradual insistence upon responsibility among men for statements made to each other, throughout the whole range of action. There is the rise of the law of forgery and of libel. New jurisprudence is involved. It deals with the relations of the individual with the newspaper, with the movement of intelligence. Must not this relationship pass into the region of extraordinary remedies in order that correction may be prompt and punishment more swift? The security for individual privacy is indicated. But privacy is at an end whenever on the one hand, through unusual service to the state, public applause is invited, or whenever, through infraction of the social equation, public penalty is incurred. Does not the movement of publicity on the commercial lines work out its own law? This whole aspect of life can now be reported in the light of ascertained principles. It goes back to the statute of frauds and forward into the newer day.
12. SYMPTOMS OF HEALTH. With the beginnings of the elimination of distance, owing to cheapened postage, and the like, the quacks in medicine began advertising in the newspapers, especially in the country prints, certain books for sale through the mails. With extreme dishonesty these books turn the ordinary facts of physiology into pathology. The newspapers of to-day abound in such advertising. The remedy for all this can only proceed from a commercial advance. The quack in the expectation of selling, say, 50,000 copies by specious advertising, can in a month write a book in which everything is tortured into pathology. On the other hand, the physiologist is not led to write and advertise his book, wrought out on the truth lines at every point, until through the universality of the mails he is in the way of selling, say, from 500,000 to 1,000,000 copies. Such a book, under the title indicated, it is proposed to put out. Various approaches of late have been made to the book, but they lack incisiveness and point. They are not artistic, i. e., they do not get to the truth. The method here is one with perceiving that large profits would result from just the right thing. This identifies the artist and the merchant. Again, it suggests inquiry into the whole “patent medicine” business, while at the same time it looks to discovering the true state of the practice of medicine. The book is what its title indicates—the symptoms of health.
(FOUR TITLES COPYRIGHTED)
Monroe County. Among minor volumes in prospect, leading interest attaches to the report on Monroe County. The summing up here cannot fail to make a considerable volume, since the new order of ideas will be realized on this one locality. Entering into the life of the region, its movements will be studied in the light of the organic principle—the future will be read into the present. Such a cross-section of life must give results of the greatest interest. There is as much news in Switzerland as in Russia, the difference being simply a question of detail. The whole enters into a given locality or part, as well as the part into the life of the whole. Thus, the reporting of Monroe County goes to complete all the volumes herein set forth.
The following list of categories, roughly classified, will serve to indicate the nature and scope of the reporting to be done in Monroe County.
A. Physical Basis:
1. Soil. 2. Drainage. 3. Climate. 4. Sanitary conditions. 5. Flora and fauna. 6. Rivers and harbors.
B. State of Commerce:
1. Agriculture. 2. Fruit and vineyards. 3. Market gardening. 4. Cattle. 5. Dairying. 6. Fishing—lake and rivers. 7. State of labor and the labor market. 8. Manufacturing. 9. Roads. 10. Railroads. 11. Banks, savings and investments. 12. Business habits in the villages and among the farmers.
C. Social Environment:
1. Movement of population—immigration and emigration. 2. Language. 3. Habits of life—amusements, morals, etc.
D. Institutional Development:
1. Government organization of county; work of the local courts, etc. 2. State of family; marriage, births, divorce, etc. 3. Embryonic State: schools, libraries, etc. 4. The visible church. 5. Status and movements of political parties. 6. The existing state of intelligence—means of communication; registration machinery, condition of newspapers, etc.
E. Pathological Status:
1. Pauperism, both physical and spiritual. 2. Insane and defective. 3. Crime. 4. Strange psychical developments. 5. State of the practice of medicine.
It should be noted that items of information are not to be collected per se. Monroe County is reported not statistically but as representative. It is viewed at every point as reflecting the life of the whole. The harbor at Monroe, for example, cannot be reported without touching upon the federal appropriations for such lake harbors—thus raising up the practical, or working, relation of the general government to the locality. So the fishing industry of the county cannot be treated without asking what the fish commission of the state is doing. The bourse interest is prominent in the county, owing to the fact that two lines of the Vanderbilt system cut across it. This will compel examination of railroad accounting at New York. To report the schools and churches of one county is to judge those of the country at large. To study insanity in but a single county is to report the influences working everywhere to disintegrate the mental movement in the individual. Thus the resulting volume states, by type, the existing organization of life in America.
2. Political Parties in the United States. This report depicts the migration of parties from one to the other side of the line of battle in the progress to freedom through organization.
3. The Notion of Copyright. With the incoming of intelligence as commodity, the notion of copyright changes. Only the form in which ideas are presented can be protected through legal devices. The content of this or that new outgiving is always at the disposal of the journalist, and through him the life-bearing will be distributed. The need is to get at the whole meaning for this region of the great new fact that has come in.
4. Property in Trade Marks. One of the astonishing things of the day is the great money value of certain trade marks. If the advertisement is made general, the popular brand of varnish or of baking powder becomes a veritable gold mine. Through the protection of the State, prices may be kept so high that enormous private taxation results. It is conceived that the only adequate remedy here must be had through an enlarged publicity. The report to be made will take account at once of the legal side and the trade facts.
Other minor volumes must result, but it is not necessary to anticipate further. Small books having from fifty to one hundred pages, bound in limp cloth, will be put out. The method is but another way of setting news dealing over against the existing paper-and-ink business.
Regarding authorship, the place of designer or architect is now distinct. The notion of authorship changes with the incoming of full registration, and the decadence of merely individual literature. Who first conceives a given bit of reporting may indeed have no mention therewith. Personal credit in the matter of authorship is a question of exigency and of circumstance. At times, reports will find their way into book form which from the very nature of the work cannot be credited to individuals, any more than can a crop report, or the like. Again, other reports would have little or no meaning did not the responsibility therefor depend upon an individual name. These volumes comprehend vast detail, but it is all at command through the primary divisions of labor already established. The force of the unifying principle is such that co-operation is at its highest. Men are competing together for the common end. The organic principle of life and mind in place of being an academic fad becomes a unifying force in relation to which the facts of politics, of society, fall into place.
The work of organizing inquiry has already proceeded so far that publication may begin. We make connection with the Distributive University—the daily newspaper. Fifty years ago new literature embodying the outcome of an extension of inquiry was sold to the public in “parts.” But with inquiry organized as a whole, the results tread so closely on the heels of life that books, as such, are out of date before they leave the binder. The old bottles will not hold the new wine. What is needed is an instrument of daily communication. This is to be found only in the daily newspaper, the common carrier of ideas. The movement of inquiry in its highest and deepest sense squares itself with the work of the newspaper, simply because the business of the newspaper has come to be inquiry.
The movement out to the newspapers of the country consists in marketing the many fragments into which at the outset the above schedule of work divides. The range is co-extensive with life itself. In point of length, the matter for the newspapers when ready for shipment, will vary from a stickfull to a column, or perhaps at times to a full page.
The unity of inquiry pressed upon life, news rises in all directions. The new point of view acts as a revelation. Without attempting to characterize, here are a few things of immediate newspaper interest:
Herbert Spencer’s Hunt for the Sensorium
Local Extension of Telegraph Lines
The State and the Professions
University Development in Ann Arbor
The Rise of Press Clubs
The Mercantile Agency Business
The Newspapers Called Religious
Changes in Proverbs
The Pathos in the Progress of Inquiry
Beginnings of the Newspaper
Labor Papers and their Difficulties
Christ’s Idea and its Fulfillment
The American Tract Society
The New Slang
Changes in Libel Law
The Scunner Against Commerce
The Endowment of Letters
Law of the Newspaper with Respect to Privacy
Competition and Law
The Trust in Congress and in the Law Writers
The Schoolbook Incubus
Pathos of Faith without Sight in Thomas Carlyle
The Trade Paper Business
Bulwer’s Last of the Barons
Prime Movers in Literature
The Two Enthusiasms, or the Study and the Market-place
The Economics of Emerson
The Psychology of Emerson
From James Morrison until Now; the Dry Goods Truth Shop of 1825 at London
The New York Times and the Rise of Tweed
The Trader and the Merchant
The Notion of Conservatism Changing
The Pope’s Outgivings since the Locomotive
The Civil Service Question and the Journalist
Art in Industry; How the Printer’s Roller is Made
Position of the Painter and Sculptor
Josiah Strong and the Nation’s Crisis
John Morley in his “Voltaire” and the Place of the Man of Letters
The Rogers Typograph and Class Interest
The Two Armies: the Spirit and the Flesh
The Individual in Walt Whitman’s Writings
At the doors of the News Association, the distinction between journalism and literature breaks down. There are no books—there are only newspapers. There are no newspapers—there are only books. The prediction of the Frenchman, Lamartine, that the ultimate book was to be the morning newspaper, comes true. Literature becomes the recorded movement of ideas—of life. That is, the publishing business gets its unity through detection of its proper commodity—news. The commodity discovered, the business organizes. There are just as many modes of publishing as there are demands for the intelligence at hand—no more, no less. Under this conception each publication, newspaper, leaflet, or book, is the size of the news. Nothing is put out beyond leaflet -size, save as compelled by the volume of intelligence. No padded books or papers which impress by their volume and so go to make high prices, will be issued. Given intelligence as commodity, the transfer is made from the “book” business to the goods business. High prices are no longer necessary to support literary men and “ideas”—as on the endowment principle. Instead, the News Association is a dealer in news. News of enduring interest is at once re-issued as leaflet or book. Thus a piece of news printed in the Newsbook on a given morning may appear as a leaflet on the afternoon of the same day. Here and there the principle has already taken effect, but only incidentally; with the News Association it is the rule of action. Here is the “literary revolution.” This does not consist in reprinting old books at new prices, but in selling new intelligence in such volume as to compel a re-forming of publishing methods.
One remarkable thing is the preparedness of existing literature for the advance. This is manifest in various ways. As to matters of controversy, recent writers have done much to bring into clear relief both the truth and the error contained therein. A striking illustration here is the reduction John Morley’s writings have effected in the pre-revolutionary literature of France. Further, as to matters of fact: the publications of the last twenty years—in series and handbooks—have reduced the past to convenient shape for use. However it may be for the technical scholar, the past, for the ordinary reader, is now brought up for reference and distribution. As for the present, the accumulation of fact has come to be far beyond the use that is made of it, or that can be made of it, save through an advance on the part of the newspaper.
Take, for an example, recent census reports. For the people, they have little or no direct value; they can be utilized only by the journalist. This is true generally of the results of government inquiry, whether state or national. The lessons to be found therein must reach the public through the diurnal man. Again, specialists in science have been lamenting the obstacles to the distribution of scientific intelligence. In 1884 John Eaton, one time United States commissioner of education, addressed the American Association for the Advancement of Science on this question of distribution. Among other things, he said: “The dissemination of truth is as scientific as its discovery. . . . Toward the gathering up, for man’s daily use, of all the lessons of nature, the progress of the race is tending. . . . The era of this diffusion of knowledge has already commenced. Men not engaged in scientific pursuits are gradually coming to feel the necessity of gathering, grouping, and generalizing the data which give them a clear measure of health, comfort, pleasure, as well as the profit and loss involved. . . . But the correlation of all these and their actual results have not yet been reached. Nevertheless, money sees the profit of this wisdom and is more willing to pay for it.”20 The view put forth by Mr. Eaton has also had voice at later meetings of the American Association. What is perhaps the last word on this point was long ago spoken by Agassiz: “Scientific truth must cease to be the property of the few; it must be woven with the common life of the world.”21 At the last meeting of the British Association, a demand was made for a central institution which should adequately check the results of scientific inquiry. But these facts must be more than simply “checked”; they must be interpreted and delivered in their application to life. True distribution of them can take place only through a commercial advance.
The new publishing business transcends the judgment of European critics regarding America. A type of these may be found in a foot-note to the essay on the Rationality of History, written by Mr. D. G. Ritchie, and printed in a book of essays published by English university men about ten years ago. Succeeding his attempt to give the various nations of the earth their spiritual rating or position, Mr. Ritchie said:
It may be objected that no account is taken of one of the greatest nations of the world—the United States of America. But to this we can answer that it is as yet too new; in spite of its immense achievements in the material elements of civilization, it has contributed little as yet, except a few eccentric religions and some startling experiments in literature, to the spiritual existence of mankind. It is performing a gigantic political and social task; but the task is not nearly completed. Its population is constantly increasing by immigration, and its best culture is still an echo of the “old world.” Yet, even apart from the doctrine that “westward the course of empire takes its way,” the American can certainly feel that to him belongs the future. Whether the Slavonic races of Eastern Europe have an equally great future before them is more doubtful. In any case America and Russia are not old enough to belong to philosophic history. All study of their development is too much that of contemporaries.22
Another type comes to us from Germany. It was in 1878 at Cologne that Professor Du Bois-Reymond, of the University of Berlin, gave his well-known lecture on Civilization and Science. At the last he brought up with the dangers which, as he thought, were threatening modern civilization. Surveying the movement of the time he saw in it “the decay of intellectual production.’’ Looking further he saw a growing aversion to going “down into the deep well of truth.” “Even the universal participation in the over-estimated benefits of political life diminishes the respect for ideas.” He found that “art and literature prostitute themselves to the gross and variable taste of the multitude, swayed hither and thither by the daily newspaper.” To him, “Idealism is succumbing in the struggle with Realism, and the kingdom of material interests is coming.” And all this our scientist identifies as the process of “Americanization.” “The dreaded overgrowth and permeation by realism of European “civilization” is held to proceed from America, “where no historic memories and literary traditions were available for stopping the tendency of the popular life, too exclusively directed toward the useful arts and the acquisition of wealth.”23 Finally, “America has become the principal home of utilitarianism. While at times the very first conditions of human society are there in dispute, it is in America especially that those existences come into being whose wealth, luxury, and external polish, contrasting as they do with their ignorance, narrowness, and innate coarseness, give one the idea of a neo-barbarism.”24
Casting about for a remedy, Professor Du Bois-Reymond finds it in a reversion to the past, to the ideas of a time that was without natural science. He declares that “as humanism rescued man from the prison-house of scholastic theology, so let it enter the lists once more to battle against the new enemy of harmonious culture.” It is from this influence “that we can most confidently hope for victory in the struggle with the neo-barbarism which, though as yet its hold upon us is loose, is, from day to day, tightening its iron grasp. It is Hellenism that must ward off from our intellectual frontier the onset of “Americanism.”25 And in so many words Prussian gymnasium education is set over against “the progress of Americanization.” The great scientist distrusts science; he believes in it in his own field but not beyond. He does not see the practical outcome of the century’s advance in physical science; that the last result of science is the commercializing of truth. He finds the immediate source of modern science in the arrival of monotheism, which inspired man “with the ardent longing for absolute knowledge,”26 yet he is unable to trust the future to the principle of unity. One is reminded of Goethe who thought politics and religion a troubled medium for art.
The English critic Matthew Arnold left to us this reminder: “And so I say that, in America, he who craves for the interesting in civilization, he who requires from what surrounds him satisfaction for his sense of beauty, his sense for elevation, will feel the sky over his head to be of brass and iron. The human problem, then, is as yet solved in the United States most imperfectly; a great, void exists in the civilization over there; a want of what is elevated and beautiful, of what is interesting.”27
The one thing to set opposite these and other like criticisms, which have not, been altogether beyond reason, is the new order of ideas flowing out from the very conditions that prompted the fault-finding. The message that is to be sent across the water to Oxford and Cambridge, to the men of England, to the professors in German universities, to the French Academy, tells of the foundations that have here been laid; of the incoming of the spiritual control; of the organization of democracy. The revolution has come full circle. We have “the fusion of the States into the only reliable identity, the moral and artistic one.”28 Here is the American Idea. Matthew Arnold and his kind were unable to read the period of American activity now closing as its paint-grinding stage—its artistic preparation. The message accepts as fact that “the United States are destined either to surmount the gorgeous history of feudalism, or else prove the most tremendous failure of time.” The message undertakes to make good the position of Whitman:
Viewed, to-day, from a point of view sufficiently over-arching, the problem of humanity all over the civilized world is social and religious, and is to be finally met and treated by literature. . . . Above all previous lands, a great original literature is surely to become the justification and reliance (in some respects the sole reliance) of American democracy. . . . For I say at the core of democracy, finally, is the religious element. All the religions, old and new, are there. Nor may the scheme step forth, clothed in resplendent beauty and command, till these, bearing the best, the latest fruit, the spiritual, shall fully appear.”29
The western nation comes to consciousness. Civilization changes front to meet the new conditions.
The advance of letters which America compels can come about only through an integration of men. In spite of his great faith and insight, Whitman was unable to see this with any clearness. His point of view was on the whole individualistic. He looked to the rise of “two or three really original American poets, perhaps artists or lecturers” who should “give more compaction and more moral identity . . . to these States.”30 He could not see that the prophet of old is merged in organization. Once merged in the social body, the great man—the mighty poet, the national expresser of Whitman—is more distinctive, more individual than ever; he has entered into action. Each man, great and small, at last functions—is an organ. It is the final arrival of the individual. This from Carlyle: “I call this anomaly of a disorganic literary class the heart of all other anomalies, at once product and parent; some good arrangement for that would be as the punctum saliens of a new vitality and just arrangement for all.”31 The man of highest insight related, functioned, the whole is in each individual. The individual is the political unit in its relations. Personality is the man, the unit, distinguished from his environment—the man in his privacy. The historic controversy regarding the place of the individual in the State is closed. We now have the final word in reply to Sir Henry Maine, to whom democracy was “nothing but a numerical aggregate, a conglomeration of units.”32 Here, also, is the last of the checks-and-balances notion in politics—the end of Calhounism—and this without moving to the other extreme, namely, that of a state pinned together by bayonets. The social system provides its own balance. The principle of the grand division of labor meets the last behest of Carlyle: “How in conjunction with inevitable Democracy indispensable Sovereignty is to exist.”33
Whitman was unable to grasp that the dreams indulged in by philosopher and savant, of a time when the dross, the merely personal element, should be driven from literature, were about to come true. In 1848 Ernest Renan, struggling to pierce the future, wrote of “a state of things in which the privilege of writing will no longer be a right apart, but one in which masses of individuals will only think of bringing into circulation this or that order of ideas without appending to them the label of their personality.”34 Nor could Whitman attain to this without fully transcending the individualistic position. “Imaginative literature” was still, to him, a thing apart. He put journalism to one side as a “specialty,” in this not being in advance of Matthew Arnold35 to whom “literature” was one organ and “journalism” another. The daily literature was away from both of them. Whitman was unable to read the forces compelling a new ordering of fact from the base, through a gathering of men acting on a common principle. Without this, however many-sided the individual, there is only the dreary round of opinion. An integration of men is defined by what it does— through it, grasping and directing the movement of fact, all sides of life are reflected.
The new publishing business transcends the past; it undertakes to decipher American life, to detect its inner meaning; to wrest from the confusion of the hour the principle of order that is silently working toward just ends, and thus to find in Law a refuge from the curse of endless statute making. “The riddle of the painful earth”36 shall vex us less.
Three steps are distinguished in a commercial advance: (1) the discovery and working out of a new principle, (2) the finding of men to execute it, and (3) the external action—this last involving the relations with money capital.
The News Association is in possession of a new idea. This is attested by more than one prophecy. The most notable is that of Mazzini. Writing in 1849, he said: “Perhaps in religion, as in politics, the age of the symbol is passing away, and a solemn manifestation may be approaching of the Idea as yet hidden in the symbol. Perhaps the discovery of a new relation—that of the individual to humanity—may lay the foundation of a new religious bond.”
The foreglance of the great Italian finds confirmation in the principle of the grand division of labor, through which the individual is made at one with his fellows—with humanity. It is the development of interest. The possession of this idea has for its practical outcome a new method in journalism—in letters. Turned upon any corner in life, the result is a revelation. When it is considered how largely existing literature, the reigning concepts in jurisprudence, the prevailing social arrangements, are built upon the supposed antagonism of truth and commerce, it will be seen how great is the overturning compelled by the fact that the two have come to be in harmony. It is the transforming power of an idea. It is the method of science. “When the right thing comes to hand we shall know it by this token: it will solve many riddles.”37
This new method gives such a lead to the News Association as to amount to a practical monopoly. Each step in the action can only serve to make the lead more certain. The secret can only be communicated in the doing; once done, however, the publishing business is centralized and the new organization secure in its position. All the forces of the time are making to this end. The News Association is at one with the tendencies of the day and hour, so that in place of fighting an established order of things, as some might think, it strikes in just when the old order, undermined at every point, is about to give place to the new. The contention of the News Association with present newspaper methods is but that of Sir Henry Bessemer, the new steel-making principle in hand, with the iron business. The rising and dawning state of intelligence is detected in advance. In order to provide for registration at a center it has been necessary to subject the movement, to get it in control; without this, registration could not obtain in the primary region. Failing to register there, the confusion must continue. This preparation is the work of the News Association, constituting its vantage ground.
The way has been prepared for a co-operative movement that is all-embracing. The partnership in all science, in all art, of which Burke wrote, becomes an every-day fact. The inquiry men of the world, never so numerous and strong as now, are but waiting to be organized on a common center, so that the life-bearing may be drawn from the work of each for the benefit of all.
The concurrence of many can never be really effective, until it finds an individual organ to gather it up, and concentrate it to a definite result. Sometimes the individual comes first, fixes his mind on a determinate purpose, and then gathers to himself the various partial forces which are necessary to achieve it. More often in the case of great social movements there is a spontaneous convergence of many particular tendencies, till, finally, the individual appears who gives them a common center, and binds them into one whole. But in all cases the effective co-operation, the real social force, is not present till it has concentrated and individualized itself.38
The News Association functions as this center of activity; through it the movement of intelligence concentrates and individualizes itself.
The question of men is solved. Workers in whom the practical and organizing impulse is strong—the primary men—have already come to the support of the principle in such numbers as to act as a guarantee on the individual side, the present position having been brought about through their labors. Beyond, the several gradations of men are coming into view. There can be no difficulty here, since the changes in conditions making for the advance serve at the same time to disclose the new order of men. The course of things in school and college during the last ten years has gone to turn the new supply of young men in this direction. But more, the very conditions of all life in recent years have so far stimulated the spirit of inquiry that an order of men is at hand who can function only by going into the intelligence business after the manner and on the lines proposed. Evidence as to the truth of this multiplies on every hand. The point goes to make good the claim of monopoly, for there is need of but one gathering of men. Inquiry freed, the movement of men is toward the one center.
In secure possession of an idea, the movement gets revenue from the start. Experience, indeed, shows that distinct advances in the publishing business do not absorb money capital to any great extent. The history of successful publishing ventures confirms this on all sides. It is the failures, the misconceptions, that absorb the money without return. A movement rightly conceived justifies itself at every step. At the very beginning there is an accumulation of goods for sale. This is more true in the present case than in any previous advance. Greeley made an advance in the case of the New York Tribune. Beginning with a stock of salable goods, his movement was almost of necessity commercial. His business idea, though he may never have phrased it to himself, was that social organization had about come to the point of rejecting negro slavery. When the principle passed out into the minds of men generally, and slavery actually began to be rejected—in other words, when the civil war began—the stock of news-capital was so large that no one paper could carry it. In fact it taxed the powers of all the newspapers in this country. Thus the principle for which Greeley stood, as soon as it became effective in shaping men’s actions, gave rise to an almost unlimited amount of immediately profitable news. We may apply this illustration in the following way. The social organism has now reached the point where it must speedily reject all remaining slaveries—hindrances to full social activity. Those who clearly perceive this fact have, therefore, an unlimited stock of news at command. They can sell to the present first-hand newspaper the announcement of the impending rejection. When this announcement begins to take effect, to influence the actions of men, the new organization can report and publish the progress of the war. Moreover, having already mastered the lines of social organization, there results a monopoly of intelligence, not obtainable without the possession of an all-embracing principle.
To make the most of the change in conditions, organization is entered upon a little in advance, that is, just before improved facilities come to the full. Here is the timeliness of the action. The growing completeness of facilities is perhaps best illustrated by an extract from Postmaster General Wanamaker’s last report:
One cent letter postage, three cent telephone messages, and ten cent telegraph messages are all near possibilities under an enlightened and compact postal system, using the newest telegraphic inventions. The advantage of tying the rural postoffice by a telephone wire requiring no operator to the railroad station must be obvious. It is not chimerical to expect a three cent telephone rate; the possibilities of cheapening these new facilities are very great. All account-keeping could be abolished by use of stamps or “nickel-in-the-slot” attachments. Collection boxes everywhere in the cities and many places in the country towns would receive telephone and telegraph messages, written on stamped cards like postal cards.39
Here are the conditions toward which we are moving. Just ahead is the local distribution of the telegraph wire. In consequence, the cry is for the entrance of the integrity of commerce into the publishing business.
After all is said, it is through the economies brought in that the News Association gets its field. The saving to be effected by throwing out the editorial page and so getting order in place of dire confusion will in itself be large. The resulting economies to the first-hand papers will be so great as to yield substantial revenues to the central office, to the News Association. Marked economy will result from reducing the number of daily and weekly papers, and from cutting into the business of the present so-called book houses. In New York and Chicago to-day there are half a dozen or more deliveries of the one fact; that is, six or seven papers are engaged in selling the same news. The multiplicity of papers here came about at a time when the difficulty of getting at the fact—the whole truth—put a premium on opinion. With distance gone, the access to the fact is complete. In this light the superfluous daily papers in the leading cities are seen to be but survivals from the age of opinion—they are mediaeval. Their displacement only waits upon the centralized action. Much the same is to be said of things on the book side. Taken as a whole, the existing publishing business is the surviving piracy. The waste of time to men of business in trying to keep at one with the fact is so great that a remedy has to be provided. On the money side it is safe to say that one-half of the great sum paid by the people to sustain the present paper and book business is just so much waste. It is the last great division of commerce to submit to the modern economies. The present newspaper accumulates error: the new one will record history. Truth is organizable: untruth not. The waste in the business of publishing trade papers—the peculiar field of the Class News Company—is fully equal to that in the general publishing business. The waste on the side of the bureau of information is shown in another place (No. 5). Of the sum drawn from the merchants of the country each year, amounting to $6,000,000, one-half is paid under protest—this in response to a half-formed theory that two or three concerns must be sustained in order to keep up so-called competition. The advance here, as in the general publishing field and in the sale of class news, waits upon the incoming of scientific method.
Something like an equalization has to be brought in, as between the newspapers of the metropolis and the outside centers. On a rough estimate, the more profitable papers of New York take in one hundred cents and pay out thirty. The News Association will undertake to reverse this, paying out seventy cents, say, and retaining thirty, the difference going to the public. Through compelling this economy the Intelligence Trust gets its function. The existing newspaper does not know how to pay back its revenues in the form of intelligence; it does not know how to do legitimate merchandising. James Gordon Bennett, of the New York Herald, gives $100,000 to starving Ireland and sends explorers into Africa, while the New York treasury tangle waits upon the man who can reduce it to order.
The mark of the action centering in the News Association is its deliberateness and certainty. This is possible only through the possession of a sure business principle. For the first time in the history of the publishing business, money can be expended in advance of publication. Heretofore this has been possible only on the physical side in the purchase of machinery and the like. Here was the absence of method from the business of dealing in intelligence. To make clear the meaning, it is necessary to think of architects and builders without the spirit-level, the plumb-line and the square. Having found his center of gravity, the journalist now becomes a builder. With the new tools in hand, it becomes possible to expend money systematically in organizing the news of New York City on original lines. The use of money in this wise, to the amount of say $25,000, will give to those doing it a clear vantage ground. Yet no amount of money would avail in this direction without the new principle possessed by the News Association. Here is the key to the business movement. In the absence of a unifying principle, the newspaper is compelled to wait upon the catastrophe, upon the event. In this way the pathology of life is given undue prominence. Detecting the central principle in life, the physiology of the State is grasped. With sure step, the newspaper now enters the field of prediction. Thus, with a small expenditure of money in advance, we are able to raise up great areas of new news.
The underlying principle unites conservatism and radicalism in the one business of inquiry. Impartial inquiry has its way, for the nearer the truth the greater the profit.
The fundamental titles in literature rest in the copyrights of the News Association. With one or two exceptions, these volumes are by no means class literature; they relate equally to the school and to life.
With respect to political ideas, the movement is the last of utopianism. The practical everywhere obtains.
Present reporting methods are transcended through taking more definite account of the play of moral forces. The play of interest in life is reported to the full. This has not heretofore been regarded as possible.
America is the great news field of the world. This fact is only now coming into general recognition. The first business will be to organize the news of this country. Its food news is the leading fact in the world’s commerce.
One of the things that the action will cleanup is the limit to the endowment of scientific research. Commerce will now pay scientific men, as never before, for interpretations. The interest of the news merchant in scientific inquiry is enlarged on all sides.
The unity of intelligence is laid bare in the fact that men do not want two crop reports; there is but the one report.
To bring science into the publishing business is to take a great step in the direction of making all business scientific, since each branch of commerce will be subject to scientific reporting. A great struggle has been going on for the organization of the business of the country, to cut off waste, to reach the highest economy. Business can only organize, become scientific, through the distribution of intelligence. The public need here is prodigious; the profit must correspond.
The News Association looks only to re-forming the publishing business. It is not in the business of “reforming” society.
The principle is so worked out into its resulting facts, that to institute and carry on the new publishing business is a simple matter of administration, like bridging a river or building a railroad.
In relation to districting the country it is found that each district is a whole within itself. There results a seeming paradox. Thus, it will pay to organize a single news-district, the state of Ohio say, because of the fact that the whole country is to be dealt with in like manner—the news of one district is to be exchanged for that of the country and the world, and the reverse. And yet it will pay to organize each district in and for itself—this because of the demand within the state for village and county news. The district of Ohio may be used to illustrate. Making its headquarters at Columbus, the News Association will go over the state county by county, raising up the self-registering machinery already coming into place. The motor here comes from the necessity of organizing the whole country. The result is a large amount of desirable and immediately salable news. This news is sold in the first instance to the local journal, and especially to the first-hand newspapers of Columbus, Cincinnati, Cleveland and Toledo. Pittsburg also comes in for a share because of its interest in southeastern Ohio. It will pay to press the triangle on each district. News of local value must be gathered up in order to get from it the news of general interest, for sale to the entire outside list of first-hand papers. At the same time the class news in each region is singled out for collection, while the needs of Fords are looked after in all ways. The intelligence market is the most expansive known; to glut it is impossible.
The movement on the side of the idea, as such, has been from the whole to the part—from the principle to the resulting facts. Reversing this, the external action is from the part to the whole. The work of realizing the new thinking on Monroe County well along, the business of organizing the news of New York City on original lines will be entered upon. Meanwhile, the division of the country into news-districts, and their close organization will go forward. There are two streams of news, the city to the country and the reverse—Urbs and Orbis. The country organized in good part, the metropolitan news-district mastered, and European and other foreign connections in progress, we may issue the daily Newsbook at New York, and so, in turn, bring up the organization of the entire country.
A new principle in the field of profit-getting has to be reduced to action, and in such a way as to provide at once for stability and freedom of movement. The principle asserts the unity of truth-seeking and the money motive in the publishing business; that the interests of the study and the market-place have come together. The “editorial” room and the business office of the newspaper are thus brought to their own unity. The controlling principle of the newspaper is disclosed in its own commodity—intelligence.
It is found that the action involves seven primary divisions of labor. In this light it is proposed that the direction of the enterprise be lodged in a board of seven trustees, to be made up of the persons standing for the primary divisions of labor. Here is the reality of the incorporation, the legal forms providing therefor being a question of detail.
The seven divisions may be thus indicated:
The chairmanship, or the administrative head.
The department of politics. Its chief supervises the reporting of social organization, as such, in all directions.
The work under the third division is closely related to that of the second. Its chief has an eye to reporting the Embryonic State—the business of teaching and the schools. The practice of medicine, and in general the psychical side of all social doing, comes under this head.
The chief of this division has charge of the whole field of physical inquiry. He may pick out a chemist for Fords or for the Class News Company, or he may have directly to do with the meteorology side of crop reporting. This fourth division is closely related to the reporting of all price-making influences.
The legal department of the Association is prominent. It looks to reporting the work of the courts and has an eye to the legal complications which the business will involve. To buy and sell the truth is to attack convention. A lawyer’s care is needed here so that the Association may always be on sure ground.
The treasury embraces the printing or selling department. The treasurer of the News Association will have general charge of the finances of both the Class News Company and Fords. He organizes the action on its counting-room side.
This division comprehends the managing directorship on the goods or buying side; especially with regard to the daily reporting of life through the Newsbook and the Town, and the first-hand distribution. The chief of this division looks to the artistic side more particularly, to the detail of the great business of expression. He is the chief buyer of the Association.
It has not been found possible to add to or take from these seven divisions. One or more heads of divisions may act as officials of either the Class News Company or Fords.
It is proposed that an advisory board composed of merchants and professional experts be brought together. It will be made up of men having an intimate and comprehensive knowledge of particular groupings of commerce, men whose occupations are parallel with the fact and who at the same time are in sympathy with the enterprise in all its bearings. A board thus composed would make up in the several departments represented a kind of register of practical experience. One of its members should be a representative banker, another a merchant having knowledge of the realities of foreign trade, and so on.
To build from the fact in the publishing business is to provide for the same integrity in the handling of its goods as now obtains on the physical side. The methods to be brought in rank with engineering. The degree of integrity corresponds to that insistence upon accuracy, to that responsibility between men, which drives in disgrace from the Produce Exchange of New York or the Board of Trade of Chicago, the member who brands mouldy flour. The morale of the publishing business with respect to the integrity of its wares is to-day so far below this that to act on the straight-goods principle is to bring in a new order of men. The movement enlists, therefore, the responsibility that bridges Niagara, invents a perfecting press, or predicts an eclipse. It is these men—the truth men—who have brought to the perfect working point the printing press, the locomotive and the telegraph. It is this order of men that is to make the advance. The energy wrapped up in the basic movement having been freed, it may now be enlisted for the spiritual uplifting. The forward movement has indeed waited upon the coming of those who could construct the new machine, for the new principle with its ramifications is no less a machine than the thing of bands and iron which, multiplied, prints, folds and counts unlimited copies per hour of a great newspaper. In this case the new machine is the further building of intelligence. The one is written in iron, the other in our changed ideas of institutions, of associated life, consequent upon the disclosure of publicity as commodity. In either case it is an integration, a co-ordination of parts. It is simply the order of men referred to taking new direction and re-forming for the advance. These men can only think full circle, that is, relative to action.
The present nominal organization of the newspaper has made great progress of late toward consciousness of its own confusion. The men themselves are widely seeking for new direction. The definite outleading waits upon the new drawings. The rise of press clubs and the like are indicative of growth in morale.
The present situation, the strength of the position, has come about through the joint work of men at the University of Michigan. This not alone through those who are in official relation with the institution. Instead, the breeding of ideas has proceeded from mixing with men on the outside. Bringing the new principle here, it was found indeed that approaches toward it had already been made from the official side. But, in course, others beside the writer had come up to the University with kindred ideas, those men having also no official connection. Here is illustrated the growing tendency on the part of men with idea-germs to find their way to a university center for friction and light.
A university is the unit of intelligence in the organized social body. In the locality sense, it is the organized movement of life in a given region through its center; the center is the university.
The question of university organization and the newspaper problem, in essential character and in their wider relations, are one. In each case the solution lay in removing the hindrances to free inquiry. University organization has got to be worked out; it cannot be thought out as a thing apart. It is the organization of life itself. The remaining chasm between the university and life—its isolation from the people—coincides with the limit to inquiry. The old-time limit turned upon the difficulty of access, distance standing in the way. Under such conditions university habits partook of the cloister. The great resistances cleared away, inquiry is freed for the journalist and the college man alike. Responding to this change, the university connects itself with the daily movement. The alternative is the multiplying of professors and tutors for the mere iteration of past knowledge.
As now constituted, the university does not face any immediate demand, is not connected on the whole with any direct market, by which the character of its product, and so its method may be exactly determined; that is, the university does not have to answer to the movement of intelligence. It is seen that the university lacks direction and so definiteness. The newspaper, on the other hand, cannot obtain certain high grades of goods, cannot obtain assured quality and kind in news, and so do all-round and legitimate merchandising. The identity of need here is that the university, lacking its organ of distribution, lacking communication with its market, cannot get its daily and hourly direction and so its function; and that the newspaper, which should be concentric with the university as source of certain generics and particulars in life, is cut off from this important center of supply. The newspaper is shut out from the laboratory of the scientist and savant. On the other hand, the university is shut in, is apart from life. The action here lies in co-ordinating these two phases of the one movement of life. On the one side is the News Association as universal news dealers; on the other, the university as a distinctive phase of inquiry.
This development already has its beginnings within the university in the Seminary. A number of students by co-operating under the leadership of a single instructor become an organized instrument of investigation. Mental forces that would otherwise be dissipated are brought to a focus, and act with telling effect. The word seminary, used in this sense, comes to us from Germany. In America the principle is better known among teachers and students as the “university,” in distinction from “college” development. In German universities during the last fifty years the seminary principle has been applied to Biblical criticism, to philology, to the history of jurisprudence, to the past development of economic notions, and the like. In America the spirit of inquiry in university life has likewise been gathering force, but here the movement has followed the lines of “political science.” Evidence of this is seen at Harvard, Yale and other eastern universities and in the schools of Political Science.
In Germany, under the direct plea of State interest, sharp limits are set to political inquiry whether in or out of the university. In America we have nothing of this, yet hindrances to free inquiry exist which, so far as they go, are not less definite. Held back by merely conventional ways of looking at life, or by the immediate pressure of class interest, political inquiry, in our universities, has halted at the point of greatest need; it has dwelt upon the past in place of looking into the present and the future. Or, at most, it has touched the present in an academic way only, that is, as if the present were dead.
The university has long been free to study physiology in the individual man. A further change in conditions now frees it for investigating the physiology of the State. As with the conditions affecting the newspaper so with the university, the limits to inquiry have been fixed politically; class interest has barred the way. The mental tools, the treasures from the past, may now be turned directly upon life, and this with sole reference to co-ordinating the facts of life. Until these tools are turned upon social life, the full connection for the department of politics is not secured. Intimate union for the whole university waits upon the political connection; there the pressure of class interest is keenest. With distance gone, the material of the chair of politics in the university is no longer a mass of abstractions. The material is around everywhere, each turn of affairs presenting an object lesson. The generals are brought to bear on the particulars, and these, in turn, re-shape and further organize the generic ideas. The change in direction made, near-by things will be studied first, getting access through railroad, telegraph and telephone. Already in the region of Ann Arbor, as one instance, the telegraph has been given local distribution, the farmers taking the wire into their houses. The farmer’s daughter learns to use the Morse instrument. One step more and the wire is taken into the schools and university, thus making the direct connection with life. The chair of politics now has its clinic; the psychologist may observe directly the mental habits of the people pursuing their daily vocations. Developed to the full on the inquiry side, the university becomes a center of action. The university is at one with science; with commerce which is everywhere becoming scientific. The university is then a ganglion in the nervous system of the state.
On its internal side the university organizes—relates with life. It is in this way that the natural divisions of labor will be found, inquiry subdividing as light is got in action. The university builds and expands from its own unity—the unity of inquiry. The people now come up to the university since it is meeting specific demands; they are in daily communication with it. The News Association handles fact and may apply to the university laboratories for special analyses or investigations. The university indeed furnishes the laboratory of a given region. Certain lines of fact can only be got there. Experts on related lines must be within easy call. The chemist before certifying a given analysis may have to confer with the histologist and pathologist of the university.
The university gets its hearing through commerce. Without the direct and plain demand from commerce it cannot cross over to full inquiry. The demand once made it has to be met, for it comes in the majesty of public need, which crushes if not obeyed. The connection with life—the electric wire and all that it implies—is presented by commerce.
The allied forces proving strong enough, the university is able to break through the walls of convention behind which class interest finds shelter. To get to the people the university must go clear over and inquire into the general interest. The university and democracy thus identify; science and the commonalty are one. The identity gained, the university organizes on its external side. The fiscal problem in university organization finds permanent solution. There is a popular feeling, which does not altogether lack justification, that the university is in many respects painfully at odds with the real movement of life. It should now be evident how this obstacle can be overcome. Through the organic principle, science—which is the university—and the people may be brought together. The university connected with life, its position is commercial. That is, it is always giving a return and, moreover, this return is obvious. The university is seen to play its part in the interaction of life. Thus, its position established, its necessary demands for money are met willingly as a man pays for anything he wants: Sympathy with the university increases at every point.
This outlook calls up Cardinal Newman’s40 opinion in his book on the “Idea of a University.” He bore testimony to the prime value of the free mingling of students from which “they gain for themselves new ideas and new views, fresh matter of thought, and distinct principles for judging and acting, day by day.” The effect “may be fairly called . . . an enlargement of mind.” After all limitations are taken into account, students so situated, adds Newman, “are likely to have more thought, more mind, more philosophy, more true enlargement, than those earnest but ill-used persons who are forced to load their minds with a score of subjects against an examination.” As opposed to the extreme officialism, he preferred a university “which did nothing” beyond providing a center for the coming together of truth-seekers.
While these points relate to university organization in general, they have a more direct bearing on the particular problem of the University of Michigan, where the considerations have been worked out. It is there that the spirit of inquiry is yearning to mix itself with life. Already the University has moved out so far that its future is bound up with the organic principle. Happily it has not cumbered itself with a ponderous school of philosophy, nor has the school of political science, so-called, assumed unreal proportions. Should the organic principle obtain, Ann Arbor becomes the seat of the representative university of the world—the model for all time. It is the National University.
The recent increase of students at the University of Michigan is an indication of the way in which the university system of the United States is organizing—centralizing. In obedience to the tendency of the hour, a given group of states pitches upon a particular locality as its university center. Thus as matters now stand Ann Arbor is the chief center of learning for Michigan, Ontario, Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, and perhaps Wisconsin. Students come, of course, from beyond these states in proportion to the fame of the University. That a body of new ideas should have been worked out at Ann Arbor is traceable, as already indicated, to the freed conditions existing here. From the beginning the University set its face to the future. It would be going into a digression to detail the reasons for this attitude; it is enough to say that, having to do without great money endowments, the University of Michigan has had no recourse save to meet the incoming life through outward movement. Institutions, like men, without money are thrown upon their effective ideas. Great endowments, on the other hand, stand for the ideas of the past. The fact is to be noted that the men and women who come here for instruction, for inquiry, are, more than those of any other great American university, from the homes of the people. From farm and village they are here to work out the new ideas which promise to confer upon the University its highest usefulness and distinction. It is indeed significant that a university is the nursery of these ideas. “Before printing,” writes Michelet in his history of France, “before the supremacy of the press, under which we now live, the only channel of publicity was the oral instruction dispensed by the universities.”41 The time has now come when the confusion incident to the great incubus of printed matter can be cleared away only by a return to the university.
This nation is at its mental crisis. Secession lurks in our statutes and stalks in our courts. Our whole body of jurisprudence is built upon the supposed antagonism of the individual and the common good. This must persist until through the functioning, the getting there of the man of letters the great accounting can be made. The man who sells truth reveals the identity of the individual and the common interest. It is the union of the whole with the part. Perceiving all this we also see that to avoid a fatal issue, or at least a period of dire confusion in the life of the State, the division must be fought out in the “still and mental” field; otherwise, there is a return of physical conflict. Unless intelligence be unified here, unless a single mind can be secured from Maine to California, the nation in the moral sense must go to pieces. The solution of this great problem is the new Gettysburg.
The war cry of a false socialism is heard on every hand. Through this and that mechanical change, by some hocus-pocus in the fiscal region, or by some other device, it is thought to heal the division in the State. But the road to social union lies through the organization, the socializing, of intelligence. It is the straight and narrow way; only by following this road will the nation gain the victory over itself. Hope lies in the very greatness of the need—it guarantees the execution. But the situation is pressing. The centralizing tendency of the physical commerce is seriously hindered by ignorant and hostile legislation. The new machinery is opposed by the owners of the old. The men so hindered in their operations are at a loss to account for it. Charged with “selfishness,” they have no adequate reply; are not able even to make return in kind. Violence is opposed to violence, and only through the incoming of the Intelligence Trust can the breach be healed.
Great significance is bound up in the fact that it is English-speaking men who are to bring intelligence to a centre and distribute it. In this is finally certified the power resting in the hands of England and the United States jointly. Mr. Gladstone, writing of the English and American peoples, said: “They with their vast range of inhabited territory, and their unity of tongue, are masters of the world, which will have to do as they do.”42
ANN ARBOR, MICH., July 1, 1892.