THE SOCIAL TERRITORY, OR, POOR MAN’S PARADISE.
Probably the biggest wholesale emigration scheme ever undertaken was that of Israel out of Egypt into Canaan, under the leadership of Moses. The circumstances were so very similar to those with which we are dealing, that I may be excused for referring to them, as they have a direct bearing on the present problem, and may help largely towards its solution. It is said that “History repeats itself” and certainly this is true in regard to the evils that then existed, and we do not see why the remedy should not in some respect correspond.
Looking back then, we find that there was in Egypt in the year 1,500 B.C. a submerged tenth, consisting of 600,000 able-bodied men with their wives and families and numbering therefore at least two and a half million souls. They constituted a distinct caste, or nation, which had been grafted into the original Egyptian stock 430 years previously. Owing to hereditary customs, race distinctions and religious differences they had preserved their identity and had never become assimulated with the Egyptians. It was a famine that had driven them to take refuge in Egypt at a time when their numbers were so few that their presence caused no particular inconvenience to the original inhabitants, while the services of the King’s Vazir, to whose caste they belonged secured them a suitable reception.
At the time however when we take up their history a change had taken place. Their numbers had immensely increased. The labor market was deluged with them. The rulers, capitalists and landowners began to tremble for their very existence. Enormous public works were planned and the enslaved caste were compelled to carry out their allotted labour under rigorous taskmasters, who made their lives a burden to them. Still their numbers continued to increase. Alarmed at the prospect of an impending revolution, the King gave orders that every male child of the Hebrews should be drowned, thinking thus to stamp out the nation. It is easy to imagine therefore that affairs must have come to a desperate pass, when from the palace of Pharaoh and yet from among their own caste a deliverer was raised up to organise and carry out the wholesale emigration of the entire nation.
Looked at in this light it was certainly the boldest venture and greatest scheme of the kind that had ever been conceived, and without the aid of remarkable miraculous displays of Divine power Moses could never have carried out so magnificent a project.