“For always in thine eyes, O Liberty!
Shines that high light whereby the world is saved;
And though thou slay us, we will trust in thee.”
The “Liberal” Love of Government.
[Rejected by the New York Truth Seeker.]
To the Editor of the Truth Seeker:
Dear Sir,— It is with great pleasure that I notice that Mr. Tucker and the “brainy but sophistical gentlemen who write editorials for his paper” are having an effect on the thoughts of the “Liberals.” If they only succeed in awaking thought, all they wish for will follow in due order. If the Liberals will stop but a moment to consider the position they have taken, they will find it very illogical. They tell us that they do not want to be taxed to support churches, or schools, almshouses, charitable institutions run in the interest of the established churches. Very good; neither do we; but we are more consistent, and we beg to be excused from being taxed to support any institutions whatsoever that we do not believe in. If the State has no right to say to what church we shall go, what religious doctrines we shall be taught, has it the right to say to what schools we shall go, what kind of science we shall be taught, what we shall drink, eat, or wear, what we shall read or look at, or how we shall amuse ourselves? You say the State has no right to enforce Sunday laws or to enforce Christian morality in any way; that is very good; that is in the right direction; we agree with you; just carry out your thought a little further, and you will arrive at Anarchy after all.
You seem, Mr. Editor, to be very much afraid of having government abolished, for we should then have nothing to protect us from thieves. No, but what have we now to protect us from the government, the biggest thief of all? If the real robber is the State, which originated in aggression, and whose only reason for existence is to support robbery in one form or another, must we keep it in existence to prevent the slight filchings of those whom the very conditions fostered by the State have made vicious?
If the crimes of individuals, as Quetelet, the great French statistician, says (L’experience demontre en effet, avec toute l’evidence possible, cette opinion, que pourra sembler paradoxale au premier abord, que c’est la société qui prepare le crime, et que le coupable n’est que l’instrument qui l’execute.” — Sur l’Homme, Vol. II, p. 325), are only the results of society’s own work, must we forever go on nourishing the cause of the crime? Governments were not instituted to promote justice, but to maintain and to foster injustice. There were no governments, until one tribe conquered another, and appropriated its persons and properties. It then set up a machine to keep itself in power, and to aid it in extorting from its subjects all that it could possibly take. (See Spencer, “Political Institutions.”) As was its birth, so has its life been; it lives, acts, and grows only on extortion and injustice. If you, Mr. Editor, will look back through history, and show us a single instance where government has done good, we shell be extremely obliged to you, for it is more than we have ever been able to find out. It occasionally seems to do good, but then it simply ceases to do harm, or at best undoes a little of the evil which it itself created. It has passed some laws against the employment of children in factories, it has passed some Anti-Corn laws, etc., it has abolished slavery, but were not these evils at first fostered by the government, and allowed to grow to the monstrous size they did under government protection, and only cast aside by the government, when it found that it or they should go? If the government did not favor the monopoly of lands, money, etc., in the hands of the few, there would have been no necessity to pass laws preventing the working people from grinding their children to death in the factories; if it had not protected the slave-holders in their property, the slavery question could have been settled without bloodshed. No, no, Mr. Editor, if there is one thing more than all others that we need protection from, it is government. Every advance in the world has been made in opposition to government. It is you, not the Anarchists, that are talking “bosh,” when you speak of the government as the protector of Liberty. When I was a child in the country, and saw the first telegraph lines, and asked what they were for, I was told “they were to tell if you touched them.” This answer has often been called to my mind since by persons who tell us that government is a “necessary evil,” a something to be watched, that “the people are oppressed by the natural tyranny of those they have chosen to enforce their rules.” We set up a government to protect our liberties, and then set to work to watch it, to see that it does not steal our liberties. What a protector! Why not spend all the energy in minding our own affairs ourselves? What is the necessity of setting up something “to tell if we touch it”?
But the part of your argument that struck me as most curious, Mr. Editor, was that we need the government to protect us from the priests! This is news to me, and I am sure it will be to most of your readers, who find themselves subjected to the priests only through the power of the government. Strange, that all along we have thought that the governments and the priests acted together to crush out the movement towards freedom. But light breaks in upon us now; we have been reading history wrong; the Spanish government did not help the Inquisition; the English government did not help in the persecution of the Jews, Catholics, and Puritans by the Established Church; the American government has nothing to do now with the crushing of the Mormons by the Christians, with the Comstock laws, with the Sunday laws; no, oh! no, the government protects us from the priests!
We should feel sorry for you Liberals in your inconsistency, our hearts should go out to you in sincere pity, did we not know that the “logic of events” will force you step by step to give up adherence to the government, as it forced the Abolitionists before you, in order to maintain the position that you have taken in the Church question, or it will force you out of the reform movement altogether. That you recognize that Anarchy is the millennium is already something gained, and the sooner you join the ranks of those that are marching towards it, the better it will be for your cause. Sooner or later you will be forced to recognize that you cannot break the power of the Church, without breaking that of the State on which it is supported; but, until then, your work will be in a great measure wasted. All we can wish for you is “Light, more Light!”
Gertrude B. Kelly.
Louise Michel’s Release.
[L’Intransigeant, January 16.]
We announced yesterday the release of Louise Michel; our excellent friend will permit us to edify our readers concerning her whom they justly consider the heroine of the socialistic cause, which is also the cause of humanity.
On the death of her brother, whom she adored, Louise Michel was plunged in such deep despair that for a time fears were felt lest she might lose her health and life. Study and labor saved her.
Since that time she has occupied in the prison of Saint-Lazare a rather spacious square room, furnished with a table, a few chairs, and an earthenware stove. In one corner was her trunk, containing a little clothing.
Her table was covered with books and papers. She wrote almost all day, and composed during her imprisonment several works, which will doubtless soon be published.
We know, from persons confined in Saint-Lazare during the same period, how well she knew how to win the love of the entire *personnel — singularly mixed — inhabiting that prison.
Did any one send her provisions, dainties, or other things? Quickly she hastened to distribute them secretly among the unfortunate who seemed to need them; especially among the children, for it is well known that, up to the age of three years, infants are allowed to share the fate of their imprisoned mothers.
It is a matter of public notoriety that Louise Michel is very fond of cats, of which she has several. She had them with her at Saint-Lazare.
Everybody knows the story of the spider tamed by Pelisson in the Bastile. The gentle patience of Louise Michel obtained a result still more surprising.
Her little clumber was located directly under the roof. A large number of gutter rats gnawing the walls and windows often ventured to show their noses in the apartment. Hunger is such an audacious counsellor! Louise Michel noticed this, and, subduing the race-instinct of her cats, she succeeded in enticing into her room these guests from the roof and in making the rats and cats eat together upon her floor, crumbling for them a little of her bread.
On Thursday, January 14, at two o’clock in the afternoon, while Louise Michel was at work on her last book, the director of the prison abruptly notified her that her pardon had just been signed by the president of the republic.
Our friend’s first move was to protest, as she had already done once before. A pardon! Who, then, had taken the liberty to ask for it in her name?
Immediately she took her pen and began to write to M. Grevy and the prefect of police to refuse a measure which she regarded as an insult.
“I do not want at any price,” said she to M. Gragnon, “a pardon or a partial amnesty, and I do not hesitate to declare that those who desire to act in this way are free to carry out their cowardice, but not to make others do likewise.”
As for M. Grevy, she asked him if it was not his intention to restore the empire by acting in this way.
Two hours later a tall, dry, stiff individual appeared in Louise Michel’s room.
It was the prefect’s first subordinate, who came, on the part of his master, to tell the prisoner that, if she did not leave Saint-Lazare voluntarily, he would be obliged to use force.
“I saw,” says Louise Michel, “that these people, having done everything they could that was odious, were now ready to render me ridiculous.”
“Very well, monsieur,” said she, in answer to M. Gragnon’s messenger, “I will not play a farce, I will not make a spectacle of myself to furnish pasturage for your comic journals. But remember that I reserve the right not to consider myself as pardoned and to act as I please.”
On leaving Saint-Lazare Thursday evening, about half past six, Louise Michel went directly, with a friend, Madame D———, notifying no one else, to the rooms which she is now occupying.
These rooms form a part of a house owned by Citizen Moise, municipal councillor. When Louise lost her mother, her furniture was transferred from the Boulevard d’Ornano to this house, Citizen Moise having declared his intention to reserve this part of his house for the prisoner to occupy as soon as she should be free and for as many years as she might like.
Many times Louise Michel had said to our friend Rouillon that she desired that the room destined for her might look like that occupied by her mother. It was in obedience to this sentiment that Citizen Rouillon arranged the furniture himself, disposing the various articles in the same order as at the Boulevard d’Ornano.
This house is in Levallois-Perret, 89 Rue d’Asnieres, now named Rue Victor Hugo. It is at the back of a large garden enclosed by an iron railing. The garden wears a gloomy aspect at this season because of the absence of foliage, but must be very charming during the fine weather.
The rooms are on the second floor, front. Much light, a free horizon, and a view of sky and fields. A more agreeable retreat could not have been chosen.
One of the rooms is a large study, where Louise Michel found again her desk, her books, and a piano. Adjoining is a sleeping-room, modestly furnished with a bed, an old commode, and the armchair in which her mother almost always sat. The happiness of Louise Michel at sight of all these objects which remind her so directly of her who is no more cannot he described.
There she slept the first night after her liberation. She received no visit except that of Madame Ferré, with whom she passed the evening.
The next morning, immediately after rising, our friend visited the cemetery of Levallois to see the tomb of her mother, who is buried in the vault of Ferré, shot at Satory, and his admirable sister.
As may be supposed, we were not the last to go to shake hands with our good Louise, as she is called by all who love her.
Must it be said? Why not? It is to her credit. We found her still very much irritated over the measure taken in regard to her. Her generous soul overflowed with indignation and bitterness.
“Yes,” said she, “congratulate me on the fact that they have selected me as the one to sully, because I am but a poor woman.”
And when we reminded her that the indignity of the procedure could sully no one save those who had employed it, she answered;
“I had better have stayed in prison till I died. They throw eleven pardons to the people as they would throw a bone to a dog, hoping that they will be satisfied; for be sure that they will use this pretended clemency as a reason for refusing amnesty to the other condemned.”
It is evident that the imprisonments and tortures of all sorts which Louise Michel has undergone have not been able to shake her courage or her devotion to the cause of the disinherited.
By Georges Sauton.
Translated from the French for Liberty by Sarah E. Holmes.
Continued from No. 74.
Many protested, without going so far as to vouch for the gentleman, simply to avoid confessing that they must agree with their comrade’s opinion, and also to keep from giving way to discouragement.
The contagious fear, nevertheless, attacked them, and enervated, one after another, the whole company. Before the evening was fairly set in, they resolved to send out scouts, and appointed for this object Arklow and five or six resolute young men.
They decided to distribute themselves in all directions where there was any chance, in consequence of forced retreats and detours necessitated by the course of the enemy, of meeting the chief and his escort and, failing to find him, they would rally at Bunelody.
They shook hands; they might meet the English riflemen, or Gowan’s wretches, and their fate in either case would be sealed. If a man was alone at this hour beyond the open roads, his business — especially since the last week — was clear.
Arklow clambered up a steep foot-path which led by the side of the farm of Nicklosein, where they had sent the gelder. An old sailor, used to climbing, he came out very soon on a plain which commanded a view of an immense stretch of country, and, in the darkness which reigned, he tried to distinguish some one.
He perceived no one any where; but flashes of light were tinting the horizon and tongues of fire were licking a curtain of smoke which grew in height at first, then in breadth, as the wind unrolled it. A conflagration? Where? Doubtless at Neyrandy. At least it was in that direction.
To better his view, he looked about for a tree to climb; there was none at hand; but the gigantic cross of a calvary rose, unfolding its arms; he hoisted himself up as if he were climbing the mast of a ship; as he passed over the Christ, the rust-eaten nails gave way, and it fell to the ground.
Vexed by this accident, he nevertheless finished his ascent, and took observations more at his ease. Neyrandy was not burning; the flames, more intense, more lofty every second, devoured, beyond, the hamlet of Tiffenhos.
“Probably on account of the blacksmith!” said Arklow, in sorrowful wrath.
And, still vigilant, he kept peering in every direction, endowed with a rare acuteness of vision acquired in his capacity of a sailor, who had been obliged to take observations in thick fogs and darkness.
The land everywhere — earth, grass, bushes — grew darker and darker, except the roads which remained pale and the great stones which still glistened in their whiteness; a man walking became difficult to distinguish from a tree swung by the wind; nevertheless, Arklow distinguished a moving human mass.
It went along by the side of the road with an uncertain gait, as if stumbling over the stones; at last it went, heels over head, got up again, staggered, and fell again to rise no more.
“It is Casper!” said Edith’s husband.
And he scrambled down from his observatory in order to run to the spot and learn from the drunken fellow, whom he would shake, whether Harvey had joined him.
The road being winding on account of the hills, Arklow cut across lots, across meadows, across woods, leaping over trunks of uprooted trees which barred his way and over fences, jumping in the darkness from heights of fifteen or twenty feet. Often the earth fell in at the top under the weight of his spring, and below under the weight of his fall.
Once it seemed to him as if he were leaping into space, and would break his skull on fragments of rock, or bury his head in the sand up to his chest. But by an unprecedented exertion of strength, he fell on his feet like a cat, continued his course without a sprain, without dislocation, without a scratch, and went on in the darkness, the intensity of which constantly increased, like a phantom hunter, displacing as would a water-spout, the vibrating air, startling the game squatted on the edge of its burrows, crushing under the soles of his boots the crackling branches, and now and then throwing out sparks under his feet.
In his haste he lost his way, but found it again very soon, settling upon a mark and setting out again more bravely, more swiltly, ah! yes! than a breathless horse, his elbows at his sides, in a wonderful way for an old sailor, not as familiar as other people with terra firma.
When he came out on the road, at the place where this beast of a Casper was working off his disgusting drunkenness, he did not see him anywhere; but the blackguard, though he had been able to regain his legs, had not been able to drag himself very far; he lay close by; Arklow listened; a snore which sounded like the noise of a flail guided him; the gelder, in the scoria of his drunkenness swept by his seal-like breath, short and oppressed, lay asleep, on his stomach, with clenched fists, at the side of a ditch, stuck in the mud, his head lower than his body.
Unquestionably, apoplexy awaited him; it swelled his arteries; he would die soon, giving up his unclean life in a hiccough or a repulsive vomiting. Arklow asked himself if he should help him, if he should not leave him to die so, if it would not be a beautiful death compared with that which he would suffer as a traitor if Burn’s suspicions should be confirmed!
But humanity prevailed, as did also the desire to be enlightened, however incompletely, however stingily, on the subject of Harvey!
“Hello! hello! Casper! dirty pig . . . wake up.”
But he saw upon reflection that these amiable appellations, even accompanied by a succession of blows on his shoulder-blades or the roughest sort of punches, would have no effect.
“Casper! Casper!” he cried in his ear, “here is a glass to drink; say, will you empty it? Where did you so fill yourself to overflowing?”
The tympanum of the drunken man, which no other summons would have reached, moved, and a growl testified that the stupefied brain of the deplorable personage had comprehended the invitation.
At the same time, he tried to rise; with much assistance he managed to get himself in a horizontal position on the road, and his head level with his heels; but this was the only result of his forced energy, though vainly lashed by Arklow, who whipped him, defied him in vain to drink, calling him a coward, an idler, a brat at the breast, who cared more for milk than for gin!
He turned him over on his back, tickled his lace and nose with a wisp of grass moistened with dew, and grasped locks of his hair and pulled them hard; but no result! Nothing but the snoring, which began again, sonorous, guttural, hoarse, interrupted only by occasional snorts.
Arklow surely would not get a word out of him; so, charitably pushing him back into the ditch, that an improbable carriage might not drive its wheels into his flesh, he set out for the farm.
But a singular phenomenon arrested his attention, puzzling him. At the distance of perhaps a league fluttered in the black plain a saraband of lights. They advanced with very great speed, judging by their growing intensity, then ran right and left, fading away to glimmers, minute burning points, and then disappeared. Suddenly increasing, they appeared at a distance of perhaps only a mile, dancing about, and again disappearing, suddenly, like a fire winch is blown out.
And this sport lasted, passing again through the same phases, the same alternations of appearance, growth, aberration, and disappearance.
Old women would have piously crossed themselves, imploring the Lord in behalf of these wandering and outcast souls; younger ones would have run away, their teeth chattering, or crouched down in some thicket, praying to heaven on their own account. Arklow believed neither in ghosts nor in will-o’-the-wisps, and for this reason, infinitely more perplexed, foreseeing the reality of a danger, he desired to solve the enigma, and directed his steps towards the mysterious vision.
It approached, and now to the luminous display was added a confusion of vociferations, blasphemies, a stamping of horses’ hoofs, neighings interrupted by cries of anger, blows furiously applied, and slashings of drawn swords and scabbards rattling at the sides of the wearers in their mad haste.
“The Gowans, the Infernal Mob!” said Arklow.
He was not mistaken. It was really Gowan’s hand.
It whirled in a frenzy of furious madness, veritably possessed, not only morally, but physically, and the blows which rained more thickly and with excessive fury, the collisions between horsemen, and the exchange of challenges to temporary duels made the Bunclodyan hope that he might finally witness the fitting destruction of the bandits by themselves.
His illusion, alas! was not prolonged. Gowan, calling his men, each in turn by his name, threatening to blow their brains out or crack their skulls if they did not follow him without protest like faithful dogs, awed them, disciplined their madness, and led them at full speed.
Arklow had only time to take refuge behind the trunk of an enormous tree; the charge passed like a hurricane, the noise of the bushes breaking under it sounding like a succession of gunpowder explosions.
They tore up the stones, which flew as terrible as bullets. One of the soldiers bruised his thigh against the tree which shielded the old sailor, making a noise that sounded like the discharge of a piece of artillery.
“But they are drunk!” said Arklow.
And by the smoking light of the lanterns which certain ones carried fastened to the points of their sabres, by the glimmer of the lights fixed to the saddle-bows, attached to the stirrups, and hung to the breastplates and cruppers, he could see that not one could keep his equilibrium.
They rolled in their saddles, swayed on the backs of their beasts, oscillated forward and backward; movements too abrupt threw them back their whole length, and, as they did not slacken the reins, but, on the contrary, tightened them, the horses reared as if they would scale the heavens, scattering the light, increasing the shadows, and enlarging the profiles into gigantic proportions.
Five or six together were lying on the neck of their horse; he half relieved himself of them; some beat the air with both arms, as if about to fall; the others appeared to go quietly to sleep.
They did sleep in fact, their fingers set into the horses’ manes, borne along in the general sweep of which Arklow perceived no longer anything but the confused mass and noise; a vague uproar of remarks and reflections communicated in an undertone.
One of the fellows wheeled about and went back. Gowan, who was watching him, denounced him in abusive language borrowed from the vocabulary of galley-slaves or prostitutes.
“We are still on the wrong road,” said the man.
“Hold on! Take the road to Paradise!” answered sharply the ex-valet of Newington, pulling the trigger of his carbine.
The frightened rebel, scratched by the projectile, turned about, took his place in the file, and the gang henceforth continued to move on with no new incident, following always the track of the flames of the lanterns which were beginning to detach themselves, having burned their strings and cruelly bitten the horses, wounded also by the fragments of glass.
Arklow stood frozen to the spot, surprised, dazed; but he recovered himself promptly, pulled up his feet, and rushed in pursuit of the guerillas.
The discharge of the weapon lighting up still more the leader of this mob, Edith’s husband had perceived a human body, extended like a mantle across the shoulders of Gowan’s horse, and a sudden, intense foreboding said to him that it was the body or the corpse of Harvey, hung by Casper, and that the intoxication of the gelder and of all his acolytes was the result of the libations poured out in honor of this capital prize!
In his turn, he swore.
Why had he not seen and divined sooner, when the gang filed past him? He would have thrown himself between the horse’s legs: he would-have seized him by the nostrils, overthrown him, choked him, and, in the uproar produced by this unexpected attack, who knows? perhaps he would have saved the prisoner?
In any case, he would have done his duty. They would have knocked him down, they would have killed him, no matter! remorse at having failed in sagacity, in initiative, in presence of mind, weighed upon him more than death under those conditions.
Now what presumption to keep his already diminishing and fading hope of overtaking the highway robbers! He could hear no longer the gallop or the voices; the last lights that they carried were successively extinguished. He put his hand to his forehead; a fever was mounting there; he set his nails in his temples; the thought occurred to him that, if he could kill himself, his self-reproaches would not torture him longer; but this weakness seemed to him unworthy; he began to run again.
The others, meanwhile, rushed straight on, without hesitation, without making a halt, or giving a breathing-spell to the tired horses, whose pasterns were stained with blood from contact with the briars and projecting stones; several, annoyed by pressure on the curb, ran away, and several fell down; but the unbridled course of the others went on none the less in the silence and torpor of the last stage of drunkenness. No more brawling, no more irritation, no more madness: a torpidity of mind and body! The memory of the day’s events lived no longer in them, nor the consciousness of their actions. Inert, all rode on without knowing or asking why or toward what end. They would have continued indefinitely without troubling themselves, without complaining, about the length of their journey. Had there been an abyss under their feet, they would have fallen into it without feeling any impression of their descent, going to their death as peaceably as to the stable.
Gowan, however, in his capacity of leader, did not lose himself entirely. A misty instinct of his responsibility floated in his leaden brain. An obliteration of important facts which he tried to seize again rose before his eyes; but what facts? They related to this body which hit him in the knees and forced him to sit uncomfortably and insecurely on the extremity of his saddle; but the connection escaped him.
For what motive, then, had he burdened himself with this encumbrance?
The corpse of the blacksmith they had completely mangled on the anvil; after the hands they had forged the head, which, not being malleable, had broken under the first blows of the hammer.
He stooped down, stretching out his hand and passing it over the whole length of the body which he carried. The head hung intact; to whom did it belong?
A very dim recollection crossed his mind; the face, of Casper outlined itself and then that of an elegant and fine gentleman,— Sir? Sir! Sir! Hov . . . Herv . . . Ber . . . . Harvey!
Harvey! Harvey! . . . . But the name signified nothing to him, nor the personage . . . . although he well knew, although he recalled in the mists, in the night, in the darkness of his drunkenness, that the name and that the individual had a significance of the first order! His horse suddenly stopped, frightened; he had just, perceived, by the smoky light of the last lantern, the calvary and the cross where, an hour before, the sailor Arklow had hoisted himself.
“Oh! oh!” said Gowan, recognizing the instrument of execution, and struck with an idea,— one of those ideas which he never lacked,— “oh! oh! we will have some fun!”
[To be continued.]
A Letter to Grover Cleveland:
On His False, Absurd, Self-Contradictory, and Ridiculous Inaugural Address. By Lysander Spooner.
[The author reserves his copyright in this letter.]
But, not content with having always sanctioned the unlimited power of the State lawmakers to abolish all men’s natural right to make their own contracts, the Supreme Court of the United States has, within the last twenty years, taken pains to assert that congress also has the arbitrary power to abolish the same right.
1. It has asserted the arbitrary power of congress to abolish all men’s right to make their own contracts, by asserting its power to alter the meaning of all contracts, after they are made, so as to make them widely, or wholly, different from what the parties had made them.
Thus the court has said that, after a man has made a contract to pay a certain number of dollars, at a future time,— meaning such dollars as were current at the time the contract was made,— congress has power to coin a dollar of less value than the one agreed on, and authorize the debtor to pay his debt with a dollar of less value than the one he had promised.
To cover up this infamous crime, the court asserts, over and over again,— what no one denies,— that congress has power (constitutionally speaking) to alter, at pleasure, the value of its coins. But it then asserts that congress has this additional, and wholly different, power, to wit, the power to declare that this alteration in the value of the coins shall work a corresponding change in all existing contracts for the payment of money.
In reality they say that a contract to pay money is not a contract to pay any particular amount, or value, of such money as was known and understood by the parties at the time the contract was made, but only such, and so much, as congress shall afterwards choose to call by that name, when the debt shall become due.
They assert that, by simply retaining the name, while altering the thing,— or by simply giving an old name to a new thing,— congress has power to utterly abolish the contract which the parties themselves entered into, and substitute for it any such new and different one, as they (congress) may choose to substitute.
Here are their own words:
The contract obligation . . . . was not a duty to pay gold or silver, or the kind of money recognized by law at the time when the contract was made, nor was it a duty to pay money of equal intrinsic value in the market. . . . . But the obligation of a contract to pay money is to pay that which the law shall recognize as money when the payment is to be made. — Legal Tender Cases, 12 Wallace 548.
This is saying that the obligation of a contract to pay money is not an obligation to pay what both the law and the parties recognize as money, at the time when the contract is made, but only such substitute as congress shall afterwards prescribe, “when the payment is to be made.”
This opinion was given by a majority of the court in the year 1870.
In another opinion the court says:
Under the power to coin money, and to regulate its value, congress may issue coins of the same denomination [that is, bearing the same name] those already current by law, but of less intrinsic value than those, by reason of containing a less weight of the precious metals, and thereby enable debtors to discharge their debts by the payment of coins of the less real value. A contract to pay a certain sum of money, without any stipulation as to the kind of money in which it shall be made, may always be satisfied by payment of that sum [that is, that nominal amount] in any currency which is lawful money af the place and time at which payment is to be made. — Juilliard vs. Greenman, 110 U. S. Reports, 449.
This opinion was given by the entire court — save one, Field — at the October term of 1883.
Both these opinions are distinct declarations of the power of congress to alter men’s contracts, after they are made, by simply retaining the name, while altering the thing, that is agreed to be paid.
In both these cases, the court means distinctly to say that, after the parties to a contract have agreed upon the number of dollars to be paid, congress has power to reduce the value of the dollar, and authorize all debtors to pay the less valuable dollar, instead of the one agreed on.
In other words, the court means to say that, after a contract has been made for the payment of a certain number of dollars, congress has power to alter the meaning of the word dollar, and thus authorize the debtor to pay in something different from, and less valuable than, the thing he agreed to pay.
Well, if congress has power to alter men’s contracts, after they are made, by altering the meaning of the word dollar, and thus reducing the value of the debt, it has a precisely equal power to increase the value of the dollar, and thus compel the debtor to pay more than he agreed to pay.
Congress has evidently just as much right to increase the value of the dollar, after a contract has been made, as it has to reduce its value. It has, therefore, just as much right to cheat debtors, by compelling them to pay more than they agreed to pay, as it has to cheat creditors, by compelling them to accept less than they agreed to accept.
All this talk of the court is equivalent to asserting that congress has the right to alter men’s contracts at pleasure, after they are made, and make them over into something, or anything, wholly different from what the parties themselves had made them.
And this is equivalent to denying all men’s right to make their own contracts, or to acquire any contract rights, which congress may not afterward, at pleasure, alter, or abolish.
It is equivalent to saying that the words of contracts are not to be taken in the sense in which they are used, by the parties themselves, at the time when the contracts are entered into, but only in such different senses as congress may choose to put upon them at any future time.
If this is not asserting the right of congress to abolish altogether men’s natural right to make their own contracts, what is it?
Incredible as such audacious villainy may seem to those unsophisticated persons, who imagine that a court of law should be a court of justice, it is nevertheless true, that this court intended to declare the unlimited power of congress to alter, at pleasure, the contracts of parties, after they have been made, by altering the kind and amount of money by which the contracts may be fulfilled. That they intended all this, is proved, not only by the extracts already given from their opinions, but also by the whole tenor of their arguments — too long to be repeated here — and more explicitly by these quotations, viz.:
There is no well-founded distinction to be made between the constitutional validity of an act of congress declaring treasury notes a legal tender for the payment of debts contracted after its passage, and that of an act making them a legal tender for the discharge of all debts, as well those incurred before, as those made after, its enactment. — Legal Tender Cases, 12 Wallace 530 (1870).
Every contract for the payment of money, simply, is necessarily subject to the constitutional power of the government over the currency, whatever that power may be, and the obligation of the parties is, therefore, assumed with reference to that power. — 12 Wallace 549.
Contracts for the payment of money are subject to the authority of congress, at least so far as relates to the means of payment. — 12 Wallace 549.
The court means here to say that “every contract for the payment of money, simply,” is necessarily made, by the parties, subject to the power of congress to alter it afterward — by altering the kind and value of the money with which it may be paid — into anything, into which they (congress) may choose to alter it.
And this is equivalent to saying that all such contracts are made, by the parties, with the implied understanding that the contracts, as written and signed by themselves, do not bind either of the parties to anything; but that they simply suggest, or initiate, some non-descript or other, which congress may afterward convert into a binding contract, of such a sort, and only such a sort, as they (congress) may see fit to convert it into.
Every one of these judges knew that no two men, having common honesty and common sense,— unless first deprived of all power to make their own contracts,— would ever enter into a contract to pay money, with any understanding that the government had any such arbitrary power as the court here ascribes to it, to alter their contract after it should be made. Such an absurd contract would, in reality, be no legal contract at all. It would be a mere gambling agreement, having, naturally and really, no legal “obligation” at all.
But further. A solvent contract to pay money is in reality — in law, and in equity — a bona fide mortgage upon the debtor’s property. And this mortgage right is as veritable a right of property, as is any right of property, that is conveyed by a warranty deed. And congress has no more right to invalidate this mortgage, by a single iota, than it has to invalidate a warranty deed of land. And these judges will sometime find out that such is “the obligation of contracts,” if they ever find out what “the obligation of contracts” is.
The justices of that court have had this question — what is “the obligation of contracts”? — before them for seventy years, and more. But they have never agreed among themselves — even by so many as a majority — as to what it is. And this disagreement is very good evidence that none of them have known what it is; for if any one of them had known what it is, he would doubtless have been able, long ago, to enlighten the rest.
Considering the vital importance of men’s contracts, it would evidently be more to the credit of these judges, if they would give their attention to this question of “the obligation of contracts,” until they shall have solved it, than it is to be telling fifty millions of people that they have no right to make any contracts at all, except such as congress has power to invalidate after they shall have been made. Such assertions as this, coming from a court that cannot even tell us what “the obligation of contracts” is, are not entitled to any serious consideration. On the contrary, they show us what farces and impostures these judicial opinions — or decisions, as they call them — are. They show that these judicial oracles, as men call them, are no better than some of the other so-called oracles, by whom mankind have been duped.
But these judges certainly never will find out what “the obligation of contracts” is, until they find out that men have the natural right to make their own contracts, and unalterably fix their “obligation”; and that governments can have no power whatever to make, unmake, alter, or invalidate that “obligation.”
Still further. Congress has the same power over weights and measures that it has over coins. And the court has no more right or reason to say that congress has power to alter existing contracts, by altering the value of the coins, than it has to say that, after any or all men have, for value received, entered into contracts to deliver so many bushels of wheat or other grain, so many pounds of beef, pork, butter, cheese, cotton, wool, or iron, so many yards of cloth, or so many feet of lumber, congress has power, by altering these weights and measures, to alter all these existing contracts, so as to convert them into contracts to deliver only half as many, or to deliver twice as many, bushels, pounds, yards, or feet, as the parties agreed upon.
To add to the farce, as well as to the iniquity, of these judicial opinions, it must be kept in mind, that the court says that, after A has sold valuable property to B, and has taken in payment an honest and sufficient mortgage on B’s property, congress has the power to compel him (A) to give up this mortgage, and to accept, in place of it, not anything of any real value whatever, but only the promissory note of a so-called government; and that government one which — if taxation without consent is robbery — never had an honest dollar in its treasury, with which to pay any of its debts, and is never likely to have one; but relies wholly on its future robberies for its means to pay them; and can give no guaranty, but its own interest at the time, that it will even make the payment out of its future robberies.
If a company of bandits were to seize a man’s property for their own uses, and give him their note, promising to pay him out of their future robberies, the transaction would not be considered a very legitimate one. But it would be intrinsically just as legitimate as is the one which the Supreme Court sanctions on the part of congress.
Banditti nave not usually kept supreme courts of their own, to legalize either their robberies, or their promises to pay for past robberies, out of the proceeds of their future ones. Perhaps they may now take a lesson from our Supreme Court, and establish courts of then own, that will hereafter legalize all their contracts of this kind.
“A free man is one who enjoys the use of his reason and his faculties; who is neither blinded by passion, nor hindered or driven by oppression, nor deceived by erroneous opinions.” — Proudhon.
Mr. Macdonald Once More.
The “Truth Seeker” devotes nearly three columns to answering “X” and myself. Upon the reply to “X” I shall have nothing to say, as I understand that Mr. Macdonald objects to the interposition of third parties in his controversies. Such, at any rate, was given by him as his reason for rejecting the article by Gertrude B. Kelly printed in another column. This, of course, goes still further to prove that his object in controversy is truth-seeking, and not display of skill in sophistry to achieve personal triumph. With his reply to me I am certainly at liberty to deal.
Mr. Tucker is evidently in a state of mental exacerbation. Without doubt he is angry.
Oh, no, not angry; simply disgusted with Mr. Macdonald’s trickery.
Yet why should he be? In all our controversy he has never done more than jerk out from our criticisms of Anarchy a single sentence to belabor. We did not complain, because our statements are self-supporting.
Exactly. There is no ground for complaint where the statement quoted is self-supporting; and the statements which I have quoted from Mr. Macdonald have been self-supporting, so far as they have had any support at all. Pretty poor support, to be sure! But I had reason to complain precisely because the statement quoted from me was not self-supporting. I suppose it is legitimate for me to make such a statement provided I furnish accompanying statements to support and explain it. But it is entirely illegitimate for another to reprint it alone and unsupported. And that Mr. Macdonald knows this, and nevertheless did it in order to score a point, I do not doubt.
But when we give the whole substance of his remarks, the very kernel, he waxes indignant, and says we have made him out a fool. We can only reply, in the words of the Hindoo poet, “You say it, and not I.” But we never intended to injure the fine sensibilities of our Boston friend, and to make amends we give herewith the props depended upon by him to support the assertion (which, standing alone, he admits is foolish) that “the thief is the government.”
More pettifoggery. I have never admitted that this assertion, standing alone, is foolish. I have only admitted that, standing alone, it must seem foolish to those unfamiliar with Anarchistic thought. This is another distinction too plain to have been lost sight of by Mr. Macdonald. But it was necessary to cover it up in order to score another point.
Here Mr. Macdonald reprints the portion of my paragraph which he formerly omitted, and continues thus:
If this betters Mr. Tucker’s position in the slightest degree, we are glad of it. We do not want to take an unfair advantage of him. But it would, we believe, be impossible to underrate the reasoning powers of a man who can see in “sneak-thief” or “highway robber” a synonym for “government.”
And yet E. C. Walker, junior editor of “Lucifer,” recently reprinted my argument on this point with apparent approval, and it was but a week or two before that Mr. Macdonald gave Mr. Walker a first-class certificate of his reasoning powers. I grieve over Mr. Walker’s sudden loss of brains.
When a thief breaks into Mr. Tucker’s hallway and takes his overcoat from the rack, is he seeking to govern Mr. Tucker?
Most decidedly. If appropriation of another’s property by force or fraud is not an act of government, I should like to know what is.
Rather, is not the thief afraid Mr. Tucker will seek to govern him by shutting him up in jail, and controlling his actions for a term of years?
Such a course would not be governing. To use whatever measures may be necessary to vindicate your right to be let alone is not to govern others, but to prevent others from governing you.
We have been referred to Webster for definitions. Mr. Webster says Anarchy is a “state of society where individuals do what they please with impunity.” Is not this thief a practical Anarchist? and in punishing him is not Mr. Tucker acting the part of government?
No, this thief is not a practical Anarchist, but a destroyer of Anarchy. It will be observed by all except Mr. Macdonald that Webster says individuals (plural). Now, the moment the thief begins his stealing, there is at least one person, his victim, who is prevented from doing as he pleases, and thus Anarchy disappears. The terms of Webster’s definition imply an exclusion of such individual acts as are inconsistent with the liberty of all individuals to do as they please,— that is, an exclusion of all acts of invasion, interference, government.
Although Mr. Tucker is physically capable of coping with the strongest thief, yet suppose he were not, and should call to his aid the sinewy “X,” would not their united efforts be a cooperation corresponding to the municipal government?
No; for “X” and I would constitute a voluntary partnership and pay our own bills, whereas a municipal government is a compulsory partnership of all persons living in a certain district, each one of whom is compelled to pay a portion of the expenses.
Carrying the simile further, suppose both “X” and Mr. Tucker disliked to engage in physical struggles, and out of their wealth hired their eminent townsman, Mr. John L. Sullivan, to grapple with the purloiner of goods, would they not be exactly in the position of the people of the State, and would not Mr. Sullivan be their executive officer, precisely as the police and the militia are the executives of the State and municipality?
The distinction made in the previous answer applies equally here.
Supposing, further, that it became their method or custom (we have been referred to Webster for definitions) to hire their police work done, would not they then have an institution, and is not the State an institution?
This question, hinging on the definition of the word “institution,” is for “X.” I have never said that institutions per se are objectionable. However, using the word as “X” evidently uses it, I think that he is right.
The Senator and the Editor.
III. Quite Another Affair.
“Thus Saith Our Own Report.”
We ask the reader’s pardon. We have done a very stupid thing. We have blundered.
We ask the senator’s pardon.
We ask the editor’s pardon.
We are without excuse.
We confess our fault.
There is no penalty so heavy we would not willingly accept it as our just due, our merited punishment.
Such is the fullness of our contrition.
Let us hasten to make atonement.
The speediest thing is best.
So at once we say that by sheerest heedlessness we overlooked our own report of the “Merchants’ Dinner,” and relied upon that of a wicked contemporary.
And it was not the “Herald,” after all!
That is the strangest part of it.
For excellent reasons we withhold the name of the vile sheet whose fabricated report and witless editorial we have expended so much labor upon.
What remains but that we now give the true report of what the senator said to the manufacturers and capitalists at Hotel Atendome?
And what a relief, too, to turn to the columns of the truly independent “Herald,” and find, instead of the indecisive, misleading, meandering sentences we have been quoting, the words of the fearless statement, so wise, so inspiriting, that we now, escaping our contrition, with joy present!
Thus saith our own report:
Senator Edmunds, being presented to the company, offered felicitous remarks on a variety of topics. At length he turned upon the manufacturers and capitalists, who had greeted him with cheers when he arose and rapturously applauded his slightest period up to that moment, and overwhelmed them. Pharaoh and his hosts never floundered deeper in the Red Sea’s mud than did these same solid men (merchants) of Boston in their own now hapless, utterly confused state of mind.
Cried the senator:
“Gentlemen! One subject has not been touched upon. Perhaps it has been reserved for my friend, the distinguished senator from New York, to deal with. His proverbial directness and terseness of speech, illumining and exhausting whatever subject he chooses to treat, would certainly carry to your ears words of wisdom and best of counsel. But I must forestall him. I cannot debar myself from the privilege of confiding to you, if in homeliest of phrase, certain sincere convictions at which I have arrived upon the one subject that should, in my judgment, in these perilous yet most auspicious times, engross your pro-foundest consideration.
“Gentlemen, the subject I suggest to you for your entirely serious reflection is the one that brings to the front the relations that you as manufacturers and capitalists sustain to those who supply the hard, ann, I make bold to add, the unrequited labor that gives vigor and success to your enterprise.
“I ask you, gentlemen, you who are, or should be, watchmen on the walls, what the signs and omens are? That there is a wide-spread agitation among the toiling millions to secure a more equitable compensation for their service, you require no word: of mine to apprise you of.
“This agitation is the outgrowth of a fundamental sentiment. Nihilism, Communism, Anarchism,— what are these isms, and kindred isms, but so many voices proclaiming the general discontent? Do not be deceived; do not deceive yourselves. Wild or irrational as some of these movements may be, they one and all have a substantial basis of truth and justice to start upon. Depend upon it, there is something wrong at bottom. I conjure you, study well this impending problem of industrial emancipation. You who have a hundred thousand spindles buzzing in your factory, when you hear even a little squeak in, one corner, you know for a surety that some part of the machinery is out of order; that it must be attended to, especially when the unpleasant sound is near the engine, or there will probably be an explosion. The law holds equally in that vast and complicated machinery we call society. As regards principle, as regards prudence, I urge you to give the matter your soberest, most unbiased investigation. If I mistake not, in so doing you will discover that you are contemplating the advance of civilization; the expansion, the evolution, the culmination of the Republic. American independence should mean the independence of the humblest individual, an independence which his own labor should be entirely competent to create and sustain.
“Look about you.
“Contemplate the condition of your fellow-countrymen, as you behold them this day in their varied avocations. Consider the gulf that divides them class from class.
“To bridge, to dose up, that chasm; to abolish poverty from the homes of industry! That, gentlemen, is the legacy of thought I this evening leave you.”
The reader will observe that, while even our own report does not show the senator in the role of the practical statesman who points to the remedy while proclaiming the disease, it nevertheless must satisfy the expectation of any rational mind who has studied American politics even superficially, or much noted the public-festival-utterances of our public men. The senator has at least — if our report be the true one — committed himself to the full sweep of the Industrial Revolution.
Evidently such is also the opinion of our esteemed editor, who, seizing the senator’s text, has fearlessly improved upon it.
The reader cannot help being amazed, when he reads the following, to find how completely unlike it is in every respect to the quotations from the editorial we last presented. What gives us decided pleasure is the surprise we feel to find ourself forestalled (as the senator might say) in all the important criticisms of our editor with which our own mind was burthened.
We have but one more preliminary word. Should the curious reader, referring to the columns of the “Herald” the day after the Vendome festival, fail to find there set down the remarks below set forth, let him remember that we also experienced a like failure on the occasion of our first reading; nor only so: we read something entirely different,— the very opposite, indeed, of most that we now are prepared to vouch for.
But is it not a gratifying thing that our independent “Herald” is not the same yesterday, today, and forever?
Keep, gentle reader, keep up the search and the expectation. You will surely some day read in that thoroughly progressive sheet something precisely like this we now present:
Senator Edmunds at the Vendome.
The great praise of Socrates is that he drew the wits of Greece by his instruction and example from the vain pursuit of natural philosophy to moral inquiries, and turned their thoughts from stars and tides, and matter and motion, upon the various modes of virtue and relations of life. — Samuel Johnson, in “Rambler,” June 9, 1750.
“That comparison is not always odious was illustrated by Plutarch, many centuries ago in his lives of illustrious men. The praise bestowed by Dr. Johnson upon the world-renowned Socrates comes vividly to our mind as we are led to reflect upon the career of the eminent and gifted senator whom the people of Vermont are so fortunate as to secure as their chief representative in the councils of the nation. And again we say comparison is not odious. To lead the wits of any people from vain philosophies and pursuits and turn their thoughts upon modes of virtue and right relations of life, is always a role of honor in whatever age or country. Of those who are deserving of high praise in this respect Senator Edmunds stands, among his contemporaries, easily foremost. The brief remarks which we have the pleasure this morning to report strike no uncertain note in regard to the momentous problem, now moving steadily to the front, of labor and its just reward.
“It will be discovered, we believe, that the time-disregarded saving, that ‘the love of money is the root of all evil,’ covers much of the ground it has now become by almost universal consent a duty to explore. Dr. Johnson’s remark, to quote his wise words once more, that ‘riches are of no value in themselves, their use is discovered only in that which they procure,’ adds the common sense interpretation to the saying of the Nazarene. The love of money, not the legitimate craving for what money will bring, is the evil to be cured. Nor is it a despairing thought. Already from the lives of the best and noblest of the human race in all ages has this ‘root of all evil’ been eliminated. Riches for what riches will procure,— the good sense of the world is sure one day to appropriate this dictum and reprobate any contrary thought.
“Already, indeed, do we thrust it forward to throw light upon the obscurity that has so long shrouded the problem of labor. For what shall men labor? For riches? Yes, truly. In this democratic age all mankind may rightly aspire to riches. Is it not in truth the commonest of boasts that the way is open for all? That there is an equality of opportunity in the pursuit of wealth?
“If, then, the desire of wealth is a natural desire, and the pursuit of it not only permissible, but incumbent on every human being competent in mind and body,— and this is our own cherished democratic doctrine, which we lose no opportunity to proclaim,— why, it behooves us, as the senator has advised, to study well the problem of capital and labor, and discover why the inequality in this world’s wealth which we behold in the ranks of the industrious continues.
“Is it not time to cry a halt?
“The growing disparity between the gains of money and muscle, between the results of financiering skill and mental or manual labor, may well cause grave senators to sound the alarm.
“Forced to content ourselves with this brief word today, we shall resume the subject tomorrow.”
And so, again, patient reader!
A Clever Trick.
The Knights of Labor is a great and rapidly-growing organization. If holds out glorious promises to the workers,— better wages, shorter hours of labor, and more constant employment,— and it certainly has within its power the control of legislation. This power is growing, and so fast, too, that all men who have political aspirations must soon join the Knights in order to satisfy their ambition, or avarice, in this direction. I know personally of several instances where this has been done already. Soon, at this rate, most everybody who can or cares to vote will be a member of the organization.
When that time comes, what will be the result?
The Knights of Labor will be a government within a government, and the wheel within the wheel will run the outer wheel.
The strong, the rich, the ambitious, the grasping, the unscrupulous, will do the same as they did before the Knights became a power,— make and execute the laws,— with this difference only,— they will act in the name of the Knights of Labor instead of the people as they have been doing so long.
A distinction without a difference, but a very clever trick, withal.
Methods of Constructive Anarchism.
We Anarchists are forever accused of having no practical methods of putting Liberty into a living fact. We are called mere theorists, dreamers, fantasts, brainy impracticable, etc. I never feel the indictment so keenly as when soliciting subscribers to renew. Most of them admit that we are right in theory, but they all want to know our practical way out.
I confess that to my mind Liberty has been a little thin on the constructive side. But it cannot do everything with limited space and means. Whenever plentiful subscriptions afford it more scope, it will not be wanting in that line. Foundations first, and details next, is the logical order of things. The essential promise of practical success for Anarchism lies in the concession that its foundation principles are correct.
The main problem before us is how to abolish the State; the State being the efficient cause of monopoly, and monopoly being the direct parent of usury. Usury in its entirety covers the whole field of social slavery,— mental, moral, and material. Usury is the system by which our persons and substance are used by others, through the lever of authority and monopoly, to the end of making one portion of society the slaves and subjects of the other.
Since every branch of usury is part of the whole structure, a successful attack upon one arm of the monster is sure to end in the ultimate disintegration of the whole. Friend Tucker says that an attack upon interest, through associative free banking, is the most practicable point of attack. Others think that land monopoly is the bottom curse to be struck at, and some affirm that the establishment of equity from the standpoint of labor, the source of all wealth, is the proper direction to work in.
I am strongly of the opinion that centralization inevitably pins us down to conditions which make the success of any attack upon the enemy problematical till a move is made to colonize the best intellect and conscience among us, under conditions that will make Liberty immediately safe and practicable. My mind drifts more and more in this direction the longer I study this immense problem. It is possibly a sign of retrogression, but I cannot help it. If such utterly anti-individualistic conditions are to remain as exist in our great cities, how long must the fight endure till natural order is hewn out of this chaos?
Friend Tucker proposes to stay in these great rotten pots of social disorder and diseased conditions, and battle the tiling into shape by the competition of free money with interest burdened money, by the competition of free banking with slave banking. He admits that the fight will be a hard and prolonged one, but that it makes no difference if it takes a thousand years.
The thought often occurs to me, however, whether competition is not, after all, a direct species of compulsory brute force, against which the whole philosophy of Anarchism is at war. Is not the peaceable rivalry of colonized little new worlds outside our great cities, inaugurated from the start on conditions that make Liberty immediately possible and practicable, the true Anarchistic method?
I raise this question, not that “I am fully given over to the free township and colonization idea, but in order to provoke discussion. I know that friend Tucker will wholly disagree with me, but we have no infallible popes in this movement. Sooner or later this question as to the most efficient direction of constructive reform is sure to divide those of us who are thoroughly sound on foundation principles,— in fact, it does already divide us. As superb fighters, men having the temperament of Mr. Tucker may be able to do their best work in the camp of the enemy; but for those having less combativeness and destructiveness and more sociability and constructiveness in their makeup,— is not their proper place in the Liberty-conditioned colony, attracting the best forces of society away from these centralized “hells known as our great cities? And would they not be doing the most consistent and morally-satisfying Anarchistic work? I pause for a reply.
Comments on the Foregoing.
My co-laborer, “X,” has a most ingenious and convenient faculty, in private conversation, of taking a position in which he does not believe and devising all possible arguments in support of it simply to excite others to attack this position; after which, in some article from his pen, he presents the arguments advanced by them with all the added force of his own incomparable style. What need it mind so fertile as his in original thought should feel of resorting to this process I never could see, but that such is his habit I think he will not deny. It will not work, however, on this occasion. Although I must admit that he sometimes succeeds, in spite of my disinclination, in pumping me in private, the attempt to pump me in public will fail. Nor can I see why he should desire to. He already knows the objections that I have to offer to the colonization policy, and the readers of Liberty know them also. They were stated in these columns many months ago. With that statement I rest content, my “combativeness” not being sufficiently aroused as yet to make me desire to specifically attack any colonization scheme that does not violate individual sovereignty.
When, however, “X” has thoroughly made up his mind that he is in favor of colonization, and has stated his position positively in all its length and breadth and depth, I may try to save him from the error of his ways, and, in the event of failure, may have to use against him those “superb” fighting powers which he kindly attributes to me. But, until then, I must refuse to believe that he is really drifting away from the competition which he has so ably advocated in these columns into the communism which he has repeatedly pounced upon with a “combativeness” and “destructiveness” which I can never hope to equal. And I must also refuse to believe that my desire to stay and work in society indicates “combativeness and destructiveness,” while his desire to go out of it indicates “sociability and constructiveness.”
Meanwhile I like to go back to Liberty of November 8, 1884, and read “X’s” article on “New Jerusalem Reformers,” which concludes as follows:
This heaven and this earth are all the material we have out of which to construct the new. They cannot be rolled overboard by threats nor spirited away by Utopian dreams. Every true man must go to work upon them and transform them here, now, and just where he stands. My plain advice to the New Jerusalem reformer is to either go to work or else got out of this way. There is plenty of work, and there are plenty of tools to work with, right where he stands.
In leaving “X” to ponder over these words of “Philip sober,” I also commend to his attention the appended comments of one of the most clear-sighted of Liberty’s champions, Charles T. Fowler, upon the policy of colonization.
“The Credit Foncier of Sinaloa.”
I was asked the other day, by one to whom I showed “Integral Cooperation,” why I did not join the colonization movement. I told him there were three reasons.
First, I do not believe in corporations, majority rule, or compulsory taxation. These I regard as crimes, and criminals are the very persons we do not want to encourage.
Second, the idea of running away from the present order of things because of its “competition” is a fallacy. It is privilege that we are against, which is to be throttled by competition. And as soon as the better is instituted in the midst of the old, the old will fall into our laps. This view of regarding the old as wholly wrong, to be antagonized, is the reason governmentalists do not see how to mend it.
Third, the new is to be grown, not made, as the paternal philosophy would indicate. And it must be grown in accordance with the constitution of man and the law of his natural relations in peaceable society. Such a society never will be perfect or infallible, or a New Jerusalem.
Fourth,— Conclusion. Therefore, while much educationally will be gained, and, through association, economy reached, the “Credit Foncier” will be disappointed in becoming the Exchange for the World, but will settle down into “our set” a la Godin, or be wrenched asunder by two parties representing liberty and authority, one of which will have their experience and the other will be left with the “machine,” arbitrary power in the organism always surviving and determining the species. Mr. Owen’s administrative faculties, as Harriet Martineau said of his namesake, Robert Owen, seem to have been developed at the expense of his reasoning ones.
C. T. Fowler.
What’s To Be Done?
A Romance. By N. G. Tchernychewsky.
Translated by Benj. R. Tucker.
Continued from No. 74.
She said to herself that she wished only to convince herself that she had injured him needlessly, but at the same time she felt that she had less confidence in him than before. And again she could not go to sleep, and this time it was with him that she was vexed: why had he spoken in such a way that, instead of quieting her doubts, he had strengthened them? She was vexed with herself too, and in this vexation could be seen clearly enough thin motive: “How could I have been so blind?”
It is easy to understand that two days later she was completely absorbed by this thought: “It will soon be too lait to repair my error, if I am mistaken.” When Kirsanoff returned for the first time after his conversation with Solovtzoff, he saw that he might speak to Katerina.
“Formerly you desired to know my opinion about him,” said he: “it is not as important as yours. What do you think of him yourself?”
Now it was she who kept silent.
“I do not dare to press you for an answer,” said he. He spoke of other things, and soon went away.
But half an hour afterwards she called on him herself.
“Give me your advice; you see that I am hesitating.”
“Why, then, do you need the advice of another, when you know yourself what should be done in case of hesitation?”
“Wait till the hesitation is over?”
“You have said it.”
“I could postpone the marriage.”
“Why not do so, then, if you think it would be better?”
“But how would he take it?”
“When you see in what way he will take it, you can reflect further as to the better course to follow.”
“But it would be painful to me to tell him.”
“If that be the case, ask your father to do it for you; he will tell him.”
“I do not wish to hide behind another. I will tell him myself.”
“If you feel in a condition to tell him yourself, that is certainly much the better way.”
It is evident that with other persons — with Vera Pavlovna, for instance — it would not have taken so long to bring the affair to a conclusion. But each temperament has its own particular requirements: if an ardent nature is irritated by delay, a gentle nature on the contrary rebels against abruptness.
The success of Katerina Vassilievna’s explanation with her sweetheart surpassed the hopes of Kirsanoff, who believed that Solovtzoff would have wit enough to drag the matter along by his submission and soft beseechings. No; with all his reserve and tact Solovtzoff could not restrain himself at seeing an enormous fortune escape him, and he himself permitted the escape of the few chances that were left him. He launched out in bitter complaints against Polosoff, whom he called an intriguer, telling Katorina Vassilievna that she allowed her father to have too much power over her, that she feared him, and that in this matter she was acting in accordance with his orders. Now, Polosoff as yet knew nothing about this resolution of his daughter; she felt that she was entirely free. The reproaches heaped upon her father rounded her by their injustice, and outraged her in showing her that Solovtzoff considered her a being destitute of will and character.
“You seem to think me a plaything in the hands of others.”
“Yes,” he said, thoroughly irritated.
“I was ready to die wihout thinking of my father, and you do not understand it. From this moment all is over between us,” said she, quickly leaving the room.
For a long time Katerina Vassilievna was sad, but her sadness, which grew out of these events, soon turned to something else.
There are characters who feel but little interest in a special fact in itself and are only pushed by it in the direction of general ideas, which then act upon them with much greater intensity. If such people possess minds of remarkable vigor, they become reformers of general ideas, and in ancient times they became great philosophers: Kant, Fichte, Hegel, did not elaborate any single special question; such tasks they found wearisome. This refers only to men, be it understood; women, according to generally received opinion, never have strong minds; nature, you see, has denied them that, just as it has denied blacksmiths soft complexions, tailors fine figures, and shoemakers a pleasant odor. What do you expect? Nature is queer, and that is why there are so few great minds among women.
People of uncommonly small minds, with such a tendency of character, are generally phlegmatic and insusceptible; those having minds of ordinary calibre are prone to melancholy and reverie. Which does not mean that they let their imaginations run riot: many of them are deficient in imagination and very positive, only they love to plunge into quiet reverie.
Katerina Vassilievna’s love of Solovtzoff had been inspired by his letters; she was dying of a love created by her imagination. It is evident from this that she had very romantic tendencies, although the noisy life of the commonplace society which filled the Polosoffs’ house did not dispose her to exalted idealism. It was one of her traits, therefore. The stir and noise had long been a burden on her; she loved to read and dream. Now not only the stir, but the wealth itself, was a burden on her. It does not necessarily follow that she was an extraordinary person. This feeling is common to all rich women of gentle and modest natures. Only in her it had developed sooner than usual, the young girl having received harsh lesson at an early age.
“In whom can I believe? In what can I believe?” she asked herself, after her rupture with Solovtzoff; and she was forced to conclude that she could believe in nobody and in nothing. Her father’s fortune attracted avarice, strategy, and deception from all quarters of the city. She was surrounded by greedy, lying, flattering people; every word spoken to her was dictated by her father’s millions.
Her inner thoughts became more and more serious. General questions — concerning wealth, which wearied her so much, and poverty, which tormented so many others — began to interest her. Her father allowed her a large amount of pin-money; she — in that respect like all charitable women — helped the poor. At the same time she read and reflected; she began to see that help of the kind which she lavished was much less efficacious than might have been expected. She was unworthily deceived by the base or pretended poor; and, besides, even those who were worthy of aid and knew how to profit by the money given them could not get out of their poverty with the alms which they received. That made her reflect. Why so much wealth in the hands of some to spoil them why so much poverty for others? And why did she see so many poor people who were as unreasonable and wicked as the rich?
She was dreamy, but her dreams were mild, like her character, and had as little brilliancy as herself. Her favorite poet was Georges Sand; but she represented herself neither as a Lelia, or an Indiana, or a Cavalcanti, or even a Consuelo; in her dreams she was a Jeanne, and oftener still a Genevieve. Genevieve was her favorite heroine. She saw her walking in the fields and gathering flowers to serve as models for her work; she saw her meeting Andre,— what sweet rendezvous! Then they find out that they love each other; those were dreams, she knew. But she loved also to dream of the enviable lot of Miss Nightingale, that sweet and modest young girl, of whom no one knows anything, of whom there is nothing to know, except that she is the beloved of all England. Was she young? Poor or rich? Was she happy in her private life or not? No one speaks of that, no one thinks of it, but all bless the consoling angel of the English hospitals of the Crimea and Scutari. Returning to her country after the war was over, she had continued to care for the sick. This was the dream that Katerina Vassilievna would have liked to realize for herself. Her fancy did not carry her beyond these reveries about Genevieve and Miss Nightingale. Can it be said that she is given to fantasy? Can she be called a dreamer?
Had Genevieve been surrounded by the noisy and commonplace society of the lowest rank of sharpers and coxcombs, had Miss Nightingale been plunged into a life of idle luxury, might they not have been sad and sorrowful? Therefore Katerina Vassilievna was perhaps more rejoiced than afflicted when her father was ruined. It affected her to see him grow old and weak, he who was once so strong; it weighed upon her also to have less means with which to do good. The sudden disdain of the crowd which had formerly fawned upon her and her father offended her somewhat; but this too had its consoling fide,— the being abandoned by the trivial, wearisome, and vile crowd, the being no more disgusted by its bareness and treachery, the being no more embarrassed by it. Yes, now she was tranquil. She recovered hope.
“Now, if any one loves me, it will be for myself, and not for my father’s millions.”
Polosoff desired to arrange the sale of the stearine factory of which he was a stockholder and director. After six months of assiduous search, he finally found a purchaser. The purchaser’s cards read: Charles Beaumont; but they did not give this name the French pronunciation, as persons unacquainted with the individual might have done, but the English; and it was very natural that they should so pronounce it, for the purchaser was the agent of the London house of Hodgson, Loter & Co. The factory could not prosper; everything about it was in bad condition,— its finances and its administration; but in more experienced hands it probably would yield large returns; an investment of five or six hundred thousand roubles might give an annual profit of a hundred thousand. The agent was conscientious: he carefully inspected the factory, and examined its books with the utmost minuteness before advising his house to purchase. Then began the discussions as to the condition of the business and how much it was worth; these dragged along almost interminably, from the very nature of our stock companies, with which the patient Greeks themselves, who for ten years did not weary of besieging the city of Troy, would have lost patience. During all this time Polosoff, in accordance with an old custom, was very attentive to the agent and always invited him to dinner. The agent kept himself at a respectful distance from the old man, and for a long time declined his invitations, but one day, feeling tired and hungry after an unusually long discussion with the directors, he consented to go to dinner with Polosoff, who lived on the same floor.
Charles Beaumont, like every Charles, John, James, or William, was not fond of personal intimacies and effusions; but, when asked, he told his story in a few words, but very clearly. His family, he said, was of Canadian origin; in fact, in Canada a good half of the population consists of descendants of French colonists; to these descendants belonged his family; hence his French name. In his features he certainly resembled a Frenchman more than an Englishman or a Yankee. But, he continued, his grandfather left the suburbs of Quebec and went to New York to live; such things happen. Therefore his father went to New York when still a child and grew up there. When he became an adult (exactly at that time), a rich and progressive proprietor, living in the southern part of the Crimea, conceived the idea of replacing his vineyards with cotton plantations. So he despatched an agent to find an overseer for him in North America. The agent found James Beaumont, of Canadian origin and a resident of New York,— that is, an individual who had no more seen a cotton plantation than you or I, reader, have seen Mount Ararat from our St. Petersburg or Kursk; progressive people are always having such experiences. It is true that the experiment was in no wist spoiled by the American overseer’s complete ignorance of this branch of production, since it would have been quite as wise to try to grow grapes at St. Petersburg as cotton at the Crimea Nevertheless this impossibility resulted in the overseer’s discharge, and by chance he became a distiller of brandy in the government of Tambov, where he passed almost all the rest of his life; there his son Charles was born, and there, shortly afterwards, he buried his wife. When nearly sixty-five years old, having laid by a little money for his old age, he began to think of returning to America, and finally did return. Charles was then about twenty years old. After his father’s death Charles desired to return to Russia, where he was born and where, in the fields of the government of Tambov, he had spent his childhood and youth; he felt himself a Russian. At New York he was a bookkeeper in a commercial house; he soon left this situation for one in the London house of Hodgson, Loter & Co.: ascertaining that this house did business with St. Petersburg, he took the first opportunity to express a desire of obtaining a place in Russia, explaining that he knew Russia as if it were his own country. To have such an employee in Russia would evidently be of great advantage to the house; so it sent him from the London establishment on trial, and here he is in St. Petersburg, having been there six months, on a salary of five hundred pounds. It was not at all astonishing, then, that Beaumont spoke Russian like a Russian and pronounced English with a certain foreign accent.
Beaumont found himself a third at dinner with the old gentleman and his daughter, a very pretty blonde with a somewhat melancholy cast of countenance.
“Could I ever have thought,” said Polosoff at dinner, “that my stock in this factory would some day be a matter of importance to me? It is very painful at my age to fall from no high a point. Fortunately Katia has endured with much indifference the loss of her fortune sacrificed by me. Even during my life this fortune belonged more to her than to me. Her mother had capital; as for me, I brought but little; it is true that I earned a great deal and that my labor did more than all the rest! What shrewdness I have had to show!”
The old man talked a long time in this boasting tone; it was by sweat and blood, and above all by brains, that he had gained his fortune: and in conclusion he repeated his preface that it was painful to fall from so high a point, and that, if Katia had been consumed with sorrow because of it, he probably would have gone mad, but that Katia, far from complaining, still encouraged and sustained him.
In accordance with the American habit of seeing nothing extraordinary in rapid fortune or sudden ruin, and in accordance also with his individual character, Beaumont was not inclined either to be delighted at the greatness of mind which had succeeded in acquiring three or four millions, or to be afflicted at a ruin which still permitted the employment of a good cook. But, as it was necessary to say a word of sympathy in answer to this long discourse, he remarked:
“Yes, it is a great relief when one’s family bears up so well under reverses.”
“But you seem to doubt it, Karl Iakovlitch. You think that, because Katia is melancholy, she mourns the loss of wealth? No, Karl Iakovlitch, you wrong her. We have experienced another misfortune: we have lost confidence in everybody,” said Polosoff, in the half-serious, half-jocose tone used by experienced old men in speaking of the good but naive thoughts of children.
Katerina Vassilievna blushed. It was distasteful to her to have her father turn the conversation upon the subject of her feelings. Besides paternal love there was another circumstance that went far to excuse her father’s fault. When one has nothing to say and is in a room where there is a cat or a dog, he speaks of it, and, if there is no cat or dog, he speaks of children; not until these two subjects are exhausted does he talk about the rain and the fine weather.
“No, papa, you are wrong in attributing my melancholy to so lofty a motive. It is not my nature to be gay, and, besides, I am suffering from ennui.”
“One may be gay or not, according to circumstances,” said Beaumont; “but to suffer from ennui is, in my opinion, unpardonable. Ennui is the fashion among our brothers, the English, but we Americans know nothing about it. We have no time for it: we are too busy. I consider . . . . . It seems to me,” he resumed, correcting his Americanism, “that the same should be true of the Russian people also: in my opinion you have too much to do. But I notice in the Russians just the opposite characteristic: they are strongly disposed to spleen. Even the English are not to be compared with them in this respect. English society, looked upon by all Europe, including Russia, as the most tiresome in the world, is more talkative, lively, and gay than Russian society, just as it yields the palm to French society in this particular. Your travellers talk of English spleen; I do not know where their eyes are when they are in their own country.”
“And the Russians have reason to feel ennui,” said Katerina Vassilievna; “what can they busy themselves about? They have nothing to do. They must sit with folded arms. Name me an occupation, and my ennui probably will vanish.”
“You wish to find an occupation? Oh! that is not so difficult; you see around you such ignorance,— pardon me for speaking in this way of your country, of your native country,” he hastened to add in correction of his Anglicism; “but I was born here myself and grew up here, and I consider it as my own, and so I do not stand on ceremony,— you see here a Turkish ignorance, a Japanese indifference: I hate your native country, since I love it as my own country, may I say, in imitation of your poet. Why, there are many things to be done.”
“Yes, but what can one man do, to say nothing of one woman?”
“Why, you are doing already, Katia,” said Polosoff; “I will unveil her secret for you, Karl Iakovlitch. To drive away ennui she teaches little girls. Every day she receives her scholars, and she devotes three hours to them and sometimes even more.”
Beaumont looked at the young girl with esteem: “That is American. By America I mean only the free States of the North; the Southern States are worse than all possible Mexicos, are almost as abominable as Brazil [Beaumont was a furious abolitionist]; it is like us to teach children; but then, why do you suffer from ennui?”
“Do you consider that a serious occupation, M. Beaumont? It is but a distraction; at least, so it seems to me; perhaps I am mistaken, and you will call me materialistic?”
“Do you expect such a reproach from a man belonging to a nation which everybody reproaches with having no other thought, no other ideal, than dollars?”
“You jest, but I am seriously afraid; I fear to state my opinions on this subject before you; my views might seem to you like those preached by the obscurantists concerning the uselessness of instruction.”
“Bravo!” said Beaumont to himself: “is it possible that she can have arrived at this idea? This is getting interesting.”
Then he continued aloud: “I am an obscurantist myself; I am for the unlettered blacks against their civilized proprietors in the Southern States. But pardon me; my American hatred has diverted me. It would be very agreeable to me to hear your opinion.”
“It is very prosaic, M. Beaumont, but I have been led to it by life. It seems to me that the matter with which I occupy myself is but one side of the whole, and, moreover, not the side upon which the attention of those who wish to serve the people should be first fixed. This is what I think: give people bread, and they will learn to read themselves. It is necessary to begin with the bread; otherwise it will be time wasted.”
[To be continued.]
Self-Interest or Love the Foundation of Justice?
This question was suggested to me recently by a lecture of Mr. Wakeman’s of New York, in which he developed the Positivist idea of the Religion of Humanity.
As this very question lies at the foundation of all right thinking on equitable social relations, a little time spent in its consideration may not perhaps be amiss *** the question may seem trivial, and not worth wasting time upon *** *** importance seems extreme, and on the development of it depends the difference between Individualism and Positivism, between Anarchism and State Socialism. Upon the right solution depends whether we are to have freedom of mind and body, or whether we are to have the old machinery of the Church and State, reintroduced under a new form, which will teach us, guide us, govern us, tax us, regulate us, burn us if necessary, all for love of us.
As Bakounine says, “all development implies a negation of the point of departure.” Now, if this grand idea of all-embracing brotherly love be the starting-point of our new ethics, the only road we can travel is that back to the most narrow and deprived selfishness. This has been already proved in the history of Christianity. What more grand and beautiful idea of brotherly love and charity can the Positivists furnish us with than the Christians have already supplied? And how much justice has Christianity succeeded in establishing in the world? Has not every possible crime been committed under the cloak of Christianity and its love? Has not all advance in freedom and justice been in opposition to Christianity? How can we love people whom we have never seen? Must not love be a spontaneous outgrowth, not an enforced condition of society? Could a society that originated in love end in anything but despotism?
Now, on the other hand, self-interest, starting out with the interests of each individual in society, originating in the most narrow egoism, ends in the most far-reaching altruism. But this altruism, unlike that of the Christian and Positivist, does not consist in the “suppression of self,” but in the highest and greatest development of self. It is founded, not upon the emotion, but upon the intelligence of mankind, and hence has a far greater chance of survival. If we can appeal to the intelligence of men; if we can show them, as we can, that only by having regard to the interests of others can their own best be subserved; if we can show them, as we can, that, while a single member of society is treated unjustly, society cannot reach its highest perfection,— then we have something sure and solid to build upon, which the passions or impulses of a moment cannot wash away, it is not to the emotions, not to the moral sentiments of the people, but to their intelligence, to their self-interest, that we must appeal, if we wish to make any permanent improvement in society. As Buckle has shown in a masterly manner, all the great moral revolutions, all the changes for good in society have been due, not to advances in morality, but to a more general diffusion of knowledge.
It may be very delightful to imagine that the regeneration of humanity can be accomplished through love; but facts are facts, and the sooner we acknowledge them, the nearer we shall be to being able to make the best use of the materials at our command. The highest altruism is only the most enlightened egoism. No, justice is not dependent upon love, but love upon justice,— as true cooperation is founded only upon the most extreme individualism. As Proudhon expresses it: “In a word, as individualism is the primordial fact of humanity, association is its complementary term; but both are in incessant manifestation, and upon the earth justice is eternally the condition of love.”
Gertrude B. Kelly.
An Object Lesson.
Object teaching appears to be the coming method of popular education. To see is more impressive than to hear. To feel is more impressive than to imagine sensation; at least, the memory retains the impression longer.
Of a truth the high-priced lessons of experience often remain bright in the memory, when mere hearsay and once brilliant theories have faded to vagueness.
Object teaching is very effective in reform, too. If a drunkard knocks you down, you forcibly appreciate the evils of intemperance; if you “fight the tiger” till severely bled, you do not fail to see the sin of gambling. So the evil effects of all crime and vice appear nebulous until we are injured or some one dear to us, and then they suddenly become concrete.
I have lately had an object lesson on the criminal possibilities of government, which is something the average American can hardly comprehend, because trained to be too oblivious on the subject.
Being a new settler in Florida, I knew nothing of its road laws, but took it for granted that they bore a general resemblance to the road laws of the States of my previous residence. But it is safer to bet on the weather than on the law.
In due course of time I was “warned” to work on a certain road on a specified day. This I fully intended to comply with, but the fates forbade. On the appointed day I was sick and blind with the “Florida sore eyes,” and “did not care whether school kept or not.” I supposed (as had been the case in all places where I had previously lived) that I could, on my recovery, see the supervisor, pay my dollar, and be “free from the law.” But here again I counted an unhatched brood. I had scarcely recovered, and had crawled out to try and do a little work on my new house, when my startled eyeballs beheld the apparition of the fat thief-taker approaching, his little grey eyes peering anxiously at me through the long ears of his red-haired mule, as though he feared I would explode with sudden invective or firearms. It was truly a “sicht for sair een.” This portentous functionary, having tacked within grappling distauce by the aid of sundry artful questions on the orange business, laid his hirsute paw on my shoulder, and solemnly informed me that he had a warrant for my arrest as a “defaulting road worker.” Nolens volens, I must go, for Law and Death know no excuses. To do this man justice, he seemed ashamed of his errand, but, having undertaken a dirty task, felt that he must perform it.
Behold me then, haled by this awful and adipose presence (with rusty pistol in breast pocket) and the sad and rufous mule before the magistrate, also somewhat shamefaced and apologetic, who, after hearing my case, decided that I was guilty. Guilty, not of attempting to evade road duty, nor of evading it in fact (for he admitted that I, being sick and helpless, was, according to the laws of Florida, exempt from road-work), but of the heinous crime of not properly excusing myself according to the method by law duly made and provided for such cases, thereby putting the law to the grievous necessity of arresting me. Wherefore, having done so wickedly, I must pay a small fine and costs, unless I chose to appeal to a trial by jury. But he furthermore informed me that, even if found innocent, this would cost me some ten or twelve dollars. Sufficiently appalled by the expensiveness of innocence under these conditions, I did not inquire what it would cost me to be declared guilty by a jury of such sapient ignoramuses, but humbly paid my score and departed, a sadder, wiser, and, it must to added, more Anarchistic man.
O brother Anarchists! has it come to this complexion at last,— that a man who never smote his fellows in anger, never stole, or defrauded, or betrayed the innocent, or knowingly conspired against any man’s liberty, can be ignominiously arrested and deprived of liberty and property, simply because he is ignorant of the requirements of an arbitrary law? Had I resisted this man who arrested me (and who had no rightful authority over me, because I had never given him permission to exercise such authority, nor had justified his using it by invasion of his own or others’ rights), he could have chained, clubbed, or shot me, and the law would have been on his side.
This magistrate (horribly misnamed “Justice”) could have fined me ten times what he did, and imprisoned me if too poor to pay it. All this for no crime, or intention to commit crime, nor even for any evasion of law or attempt to evade law, but for failing to adequately protect myself against the invasion of the law by the special machinery it had devised for that purpose. Faith! I am not sure but it was half right after all, far a man who will not resist the invasion of the law, if able, ought to suffer; though to use the lawful machinery for that purpose is usually to add to the suffering.
But how guilty would I have been if I had indeed refused to work on this road? I had never been consulted in the matter of its laying out. No one had ever asked my consent. No one had asked me if I was willing to contribute anything in work or money to its maintenance. Of course not! Why should I be consulted? “The word of command, sharp as the click of a trigger,” that is the only argument fit for slaves. And let us never forget that the Government is Master and we are Slaves. I, at least, have had my lesson, and will not forgot it.
J. Wm. Lloyd.
“All that I have of political science,” said George E. McNeill, in opposing biennial elections a few days ago at a legislative committee hearing, “I have learned because the fathers of this Commonwealth gave me the opportunity to listen to political orators who have considered yearly the great questions that have come up before us.” I do not think that any one who has ever had occasion to gauge the amount of political science which Mr. McNeill has will feel inclined to doubt his statement of its origin.
Henry Appleton is to address the New York Liberal Club on February 19 upon the subject of “Scientific Anarchism.” Liberty’s friends in the metropolis and vicinity should rally to hear him.
Whom to Kill?
D. D. Lum, in the “Alarm,” indicates Jay Gould for assassination. He does not mention the reasons for this distinction among millionaires. Suppose his verses move a hand proper to the deed. The lesson would be nearly lost by public ignorance. The “Alarm” might very usefully give biographical sketches of the men most pernicious to the country’s health, by whose taking-off in systematic succession some sensible good may be achieved. Now, in my ignorance, if I were ready and anxious to expose my life in killing somebody, I should be utterly at a loss where to strike. Merely to scatter a great fortune among greedy heirs does not appear to me a desideratum. It touches neither class nor system.
On the other hand, if, to obviate this objection, we were to blow up the Capitol during a session of congress, though the lesson would be plain enough, yet the number of innocents sacrificed might provoke a reaction unfavorable to Liberty. This is a delicate question. To kidnap some intelligent scoundrel, to indoctrinate him impressively with a cat o’ nine tails, brand him, and then let him loose like a rat with a bell on his neck, might be more to the purpose then to kill either one or many. In a reign of terror the characters most pernicious to social welfare will probably gain the ascendant, as in the French Revolution. Let us have rather a reign of judgment. If revolutionists were united on the question of land limitation and forfeiture of the grants to railroads, foreigners, and speculators generally, it would be easier to distinguish men by their behavior with regard to such a measure.
The Enemies of “Pauper Labor.”
[Joseph A. Labadie in the Labor Leaf.]
So long as the idlers and rulers and robbers can keep the laborers contending with each other, just so long will they feel safe with their privileges and plunder, and be the loudest to cry out against the “pauper labor” of the old world.