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They say that there are but two ways; one is, to hire men and to allure them to labor by their own consent, and the other is, to buy the men and drive them to labor. This latter is slavery. Having assumed so much, they proceed to discuss the question of whether the laborers themselves are better off in the condition of slavery or of hired laborers; and they usually decide that they are better off in the condition of slaves.
In the first place, I say that that whole theory is a mistake. That there is a certain relation between capital and labor I admit. That it does exist, and rightfully exist, and that it is proper that it should exist, I think is true. I think, in the progress of things, that men who are industrious, and sober, and honest in the pursuit of their own interests, should, after a while, accumulate capital, and then should be allowed to enjoy it in peace, and also, if they choose, when they have accumulated it, use it to save themselves from actual labor, by hiring other people to labor for them. In doing so, they do not wrong the man they employ, for they find young men who have not of their own land to work upon, or shops to labor in, and who are benefited by working for others in the capacity of hired laborers, receiving their capital for it. Thus, a few men that own capital, hire others, and thus establish the relation of capital and labor rightfully; a relation of which I make no complaint. But I insist that the relation, after all, does not embrace more than oneeighth of all the labor of the country. At least seven-eighths of the labor is done without relation to it.
Take the State of Ohio. Out of eight bushels of wheat, seven are raised by those men who labor for themselves, aided by their boys growing to manhood, neither being hired nor hiring, but literally laboring upon their own hook, asking no favor of capital, of hired laborer, or of the slave. That is the true condition of the larger portion of all the labor done in this community, or that should be the condition of labor in well regulated communities of agriculturists. Thus much for that part of the subject.
Again: the assumption that the slave is in a better condition than the hired laborer includes the further assumption that he who is once a hired laborer always remains a hired laborer; that there is a certain class of men who remain through life in a dependent condition. Then they endeavor to point out that when they get old they have no kind masters to take care of them, and that they fall dead in the traces, with the harness of actual labor upon their feeble backs. In point of fact that is a false assumption. There is no such thing as a man who is a hired laborer, of a necessity, always remaining in his early condition.
The general rule is otherwise. I know it is so, and I will tell you why. When at an early age, I was myself a hired laborer, at twelve dollars per month; and therefore I do know that there is not always the necessity for being a hired laborer because once there was propriety in being so. My understanding of the hired laborer is this: A young man finds himself of an age to be dismissed from parental control; he has for his capital nothing, save two strong hands that God has given him, a heart willing to labor, and a freedom to choose the mode of his work and the manner of his employer; he has got no soil nor shop, and he avails himself of the opportunity of hiring himself to some man who has capital to pay him a fair day's wages for a fair day's work. He is benefited by availing himself of that privilege. He works industriously, he behaves soberly, and the result of a year or two's labor is a surplus of capital. Now he buys land on his own hook; he settles, marries, begets sons and daughters, and in course of time he too has enough capital to hire some new beginner.
In this same way every member of the whole commu munity benefits and improves his condition. That is the true condition of labor in the world, and it breaks up the saying of these men that there is a class of men chained down throughout life to labor for another. There is no such case unless he be of that confiding and leaning disposition that makes it preferable for him to choose that course, or unless he be a vicious man, who by reason of his vice, is, in some way prevented from improving his condition, or else he be a singularly unfortunate man. There is no such thing as a man being bound down in a free country through his life as a laborer. This progress by which the poor, honest, industrious, and resolute man raises himself, that he may work on his own account and hire somebody else, is that progress that human nature is entitled to, is that improvement in condition that is intended to be secured by those institutions under which we live, is the great principle for which this government was really formed. Our government was not established that one man might do with himself as he pleases, and with another man
I hold that if there is any one thing that can be proved to be the will of God by external nature around us, without reference to revelation, it is the proposition that whatever any one man earns with his hands and by the sweat of his brow, he shall enjoy in peace. I say that whereas God Almighty has given every man one mouth to be fed, and one pair of hands adapted to furnish food for that mouth, if anything can be proved to be the will of Heaven, it is proved by this fact, that that mouth is to
be fed by those hands, without being interfered with by any other man who has also his mouth to feed and his hands to labor with. I hold if the Almighty had ever made a set of men that should do all the eating and none of the work, he would have made them with mouths only and no hands, and if he had ever made another class that he had intended should do all the work and none of the eating, he would have made them without mouths and with hands. But inasmuch as he has not chosen to make man in that way, if anything is proved, it is that those hands. and mouths are to be co-operative through life and not to be interfered with. That they are to go forth and improve their condition as I have been trying to illustrate, is the inherent right given to mankind directly by the Maker.
In the exercise of this right you must have room. In the filling up of countries, it turns out after a while that we get so thick that we have not quite room enough for the exercise of that right, and we desire to go somewhere else. Where shall we go to? Where shall you go to escape from over-population and competition? To those new territories which belong to us, which are God-given for that purpose. If, then, you will go to those territories that you may improve your condition, you have a right to keep them in the best condition for those going into them, and can they make that natural advance in their condition if they find the institution of slavery planted there?
My good friends, let me ask you a question-you who have come from Virginia or Kentucky, to get rid of this thing of slavery let me ask you what headway would you have made in getting rid of it, if by popular sovereignty you found slavery on that soil which you expected to be free when you got there? You would not have made much headway if you had found slavery already here, if you had to sit down to your labor by the side of the unpaid workman.
I say, then, that it is due to yourselves as voters, as owners of the new territories, that you shall keep those territories free, in the best condition for all such of your gallant sons as may choose to go there.
I do not desire to elaborate this branch of the general subject of political discussion at this time further. I did not think I would get upon this topic at all, and I have detained you already too long in its discussion.
Lincoln, in his message to Congress in December, 1861 elaborated more carefully and effectively his view of the relation to labor of capital that he first set forth
in his Cincinnati speech. Later, on March 21, 1864, he quoted from this message to a labor delegation that called upon him in Washington, stating in conclusion that he had not changed his views on this subject.
DOCTOR HENRY SOLOMON LEHR
A great educator, to whom Ohio owes much, has passed away. At four o'clock on Monday morning, January 29, 1923, Dr. Henry S. Lehr, aged eighty-five, founder and former president of Ohio Northern University, died at his home in Ada. Funeral services were held in the Lehr Memorial Building of the University on Wednesday, January 31. President E. A. Smith, successor to the deceased, presided at the services. The funeral sermon was delivered by Dr. P. H. Welshimer. President W. O. Thompson of the Ohio State University spoke in behalf of the Ohio colleges. Dr. W. H. McMaster, President of Mt. Union College, read the resolutions adopted by the Mt. Union College students and faculty. Dr. Lehr was a graduate of Mt. Union, receiving his A. B. degree from that institution in 1871 and his M. A. degree two years later. United States Senator Frank B. Willis and Mr. E. L. Miller of Ravenna paid tributes to their great teacher.
Among the prominent alumni present were United States Senator Frank B. Willis; R. M. Wanamaker and E. S. Matthias, Ohio supreme court judges; J. L. Newhouse, supreme court judge of Oklahoma; Timothy S. Hogan, former Attorney General of Ohio; ex-Congressman Ralph D. Cole; Earl D. Bloom, Lieutenant Governor of Ohio; Judge George P. Baer of Cleveland, and Judge Charles Crittenden of Toledo.
Dr. Lehr's ancestors were Germans. They came to America before the Revolution. He was born in a rented log cabin March 8, 1838, at Oldtown, Mahoning County, Ohio, then a part of Trumbull County. While he was still quite young his parents moved successively to Stark and Wayne Counties. He was the eleventh of a family of twelve children. It is said he did not learn to speak the English language until he was eight years old. At the age of sixteen he began teaching school. In 1854 he attended a ten weeks' term under Alfred Holbrook, another great Ohio teacher, at Marlboro, Stark County.
He determined to study medicine, but his father persuaded him to take up the profession of teaching. His first certificate was signed by John McSweeney, for many years the most famous criminal lawyer in the Middle West.
When the war came on he enlisted at Wooster, Ohio, but was rejected as undersized. He again enlisted in the fall of the same year and was a second time rejected. In May, 1862, he enlisted in the Eightysixth Ohio Volunteer Infantry and was accepted, but because of poor health was discharged in September of the same year. He then entered Mt. Union College and again enlisted in the army, this time in the One Hundred and Seventy-sixth Ohio Volunteer Infantry. He was discharged from the hospital at Nashville, Tennessee, May 20, 1865. Soon afterward he taught school in Stark County. He was ambitious to establish a normal school and finally decided to begin this work at Johnstown, now Ada, Ohio.
The writer has heard Dr. Lehr describe his first