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English translation will, I am told, certainly appear within the next few months, together with a translation of the unpublished second part. The works of Engels, Rodbertus, Held, Meyer, &c., however, are only to be read in German.
Since this work was in type an article on “Socialism in England” has appeared in the Quarterly Review. Forty pages are devoted to a little book of mine entitled, “England for All," published about two years and a half ago. The criticism, which is very laboured, has been fully met, by anticipation, in the following pages.
In leaving the book to the judgment of the public, I do so with the hope that, whatever errors and shortcomings I may have been guilty of, some readers will be induced to look more carefully than they otherwise would into the system of production and the social arrangements around them. My friends and fellow-workers of the Democratic Federation, whose zeal, enthusiasm, and self-sacrifice have given so great an impetus to the cause, will I trust find in it some help in the noble work they have undertaken.
10 DEVONSHIRE STREET, PORTLAND PLACE, LONDON, W.,
November 8, 1883.
THE HISTORICAL BASIS OF SOCIALISM
THE GOLDEN AGE OF THE PEOPLE.
In looking back through the history of our country, there is one period when by common consent men and women who worked with their hands were better off than at any time before or since. It may be doubted indeed whether any European community ever enjoyed such rough plenty as the English yeomen, craftsmen, and labourers of the fifteenth century. These days of well-being for the mass of the people lasted from the end of the fourteenth until the first quarter of the sixteenth century. The period includes in foreign affairs the battles of Cressy and Agincourt, and the other exploits of Henry V.; but it also saw the complete defeat of the English by Joan of Arc, and their expulsion from France. At home, the dethronement of Richard II. led up to the bloody Wars of the Roses, and the crowning victory of Bosworth Field, which seated Henry VII. on the throne. Great risings of the peasantry had obtained or confirmed for the people the freedom from personal slavery, and the security for their own property, which made the English of the fifteenth century the envy of Europe. Merry England it was then in spite of all drawbacks; and the conditions of life which gave the workers such comfort