By Catherine Gallagher
Booklet by way of Gallagher, Catherine
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Additional info for The industrial reformation of English fiction: social discourse and narrative form, 1832-1867
It is required for the happiness and future improvement of mankind, that they be qualified to think, to judge, t9 reason; in short, that they be qualified as intelligent and accountable agents, to govern them- . selves. " · I ndeed, the only agent in the above quotation is the "system" of factory production itself. By the 1830s it was no longer just the factory hands who were likened to slaves; in the propaganda of the Ten Hours Movement, the "system" was often depicted as the enslaver of everyone associated with it.
4_ ~ .. Wm·kers and S[a'()eS I 17 growing corpus-of industrial social criticism: the Romantic and Arminian tradition that insisted on the inviolability -pf human free wili. The deterministic view of moral development undermined a belief that activated many religious opponents of both-slavery and the factory system, including most of the industrial novelists. S. T. Coleridge was one of the earliest and most influential writers to oppose what he called the laissez-faire social theory of the political economists on the grounds that it contradicted the doctrine of free will.
The underside of the Weaver's design, in contrast, appears chaotic and irrationaL No amount of observation and calculation could allow people to predict its ultimate configuration. Finally, the Divine Watchmaker had withdrawn from his work; the godly act was in the past, and the eternal, predictable, self-enforcing law alone remained. God the Weaver, on the other hand, worked on unceasingly, realizing in time his eternal pattern. He intervened daily in people's affairs, overturning their plans, thwarting their desires, testing them, but ultimately, if the people accepted this interference, saving their souls.