“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.”
On Picket Duty.
Democracy has been defined as the principle that “one man is as good as another, if not a little better.” Anarchy may be defined as the principle that one government is as bad as another, if not a little worse.
Alfred E. Giles has written an admirable pamphlet entitled “Marriage and Divorce,” from which we should be glad to quote if we had space. He takes the most radical ground in favor of freedom. Published by Colby & Rich, 9 Montgomery Place, Boston.
In a lecture in Milwaukee a short time ago Clara Neyman of New York said that, “if women could have the right to vote, they would devise better means of reform than those of narrow prohibition.” Yes, indeed; there would be nothing narrow about their prohibition; it would be of the broadest kind, including everything from murder to non-attendance at church.
The carriage which contained Alexander II. at the time of the catastrophe of March 1, 1881, has been placed in the museum of the imperial stables at St. Petersburg. It looks just as it did after the explosion. The lower part of the rear panel is gone and the upper part shattered. The inside seat is displaced and damaged. There are also some cracks in the coachman’s seat. The successor of Alexander II. should pay frequent visits to this museum. He now may learn useful lessons there.
We receive with great pleasure the San Francisco “Truth.” It is daring, energetic, and enthusiastic, and — better still — is gradually working its way out of the darkness and tyranny of State socialism into the light and liberty of Anarchy. It will soon be marching by our side. We were pleased to see in a recent issue, by the way, the following short but significant letter from Mr. John F. Kelly: “Enclosed you will find $2.00, one year’s subscription for ‘Truth.’ Do not send me that capitalistic abomination, ‘Progress and Poverty,’ as a premium.”
Emile de Laveleye has been writing two articles on what he calls the “European Terror.” One appeared in the April issue of the “Fortnightly Review,” the other in the April issue of the “Contemporary.” In the former article he says that Socialists are divided into two sects, one of which aims to realize its desires through the State and the other to abolish the State. In the latter article, correcting Proudhon’s alleged statement that any one endeavoring to ameliorate social conditions is a Socialist, he states that Socialism necessarily implies the use of the State as an instrument of reform. Consistent, isn’t it? Yet this is a fair sample of what the economists know about Socialism. And M. de Laveleye is one of the fairest of the sorry lot.
Comrade Tchaikovsky writes us from London, under date of March 29, that Kropotkine and three of his fellow prisoners were removed from Lyons to Clairvaux a few days before, in order to prevent any demonstration in the former city on March 18, the anniversary of the Commune. A letter from Mrs. Kropotkine, who is staying at Clairvaux, says that her husband is still under the common régime of central prisons, though the sub-minister of the interior had positively assured her that he and his friends should be placed under special regulations. Kropotkine says that the cells are cold and damp. No light — not even a candle — is allowed for any purpose, and all literary work is forbidden. The food is rather above the usual prison fare, but no meat is allowed. In consequence of this prohibition, Kropotkine is suffering again from the scurvy which he contracted in Russian prisons. Under such conditions our valiant co-worker cannot live out half of his live years’ term.
The latest scheme of the French authorities to get rid of the troublesome Anarchists is a law, now under discussion, by which all criminals convicted of a second offence may be banished to New Caledonia. Of course the bill contains a provision nominally excluding political offenders from its application, but this amounts to nothing. We all know how easy it is for a judge — especially a French Roman Catholic judge — to construe a political offence into a violation of the common law. If the law passes, every man twice convicted of belonging to the International, or publishing revolutionary opinions, or manufacturing explosives, or doing any other similar thing will be shipped out of the country. By this steady drain on the revolutionary forces Premier Ferry hopes to avoid the necessity of again adopting the Thiers policy of wholesale massacre, which otherwise will be felt at no distant day. How much longer will tyrants continue guilty of the folly of resisting the inevitable!
If Henri Rochefort is correct in his statements, the French Orleanists have hit upon an instrument for effecting a coup d’Etat which has its advantages over the bayonet of the Napoleons and the bomb of the Nihilists. Somewhat more expensive, truly, but much less bloody. It is nothing less than the government bond. The French chamber of deputies recently voted to convert the five per cent. bonds into four and one-half per cents. For some days before the vote there was a panic in the stock market owing to the prevailing uncertainty as to the action of the chamber. Bonds were thrown on the market, in large quantities. Rochefort says that the sons of Louis-Philippe, in connection with their friends the Rothschilds, invested enormous sums in buying them up. By the vote of the chamber such bondholders as do not wish four and one-half per cents, may have their five per cent. redeemed. It is the intention of the Orleanists — we again quote Rochefort — to present themselves at the French treasury some fine May morning and demand fifty million dollars or so in redemption of their bonds. The government, it is expected, being unable to pay, will find itself confronted with the dilemma of repudiation on the one hand or Orleanist rule on the other. A very pretty plot, surely! The restoration of a dynasty by a run on the Republic!
Josephine S. Tilton, in an interesting and well-written account of the Heywood trial furnished by her to several Liberal journals, makes this statement: “Mr. John Storer Cobb worked up and furnished important matter, and indeed to him is due the credit of bringing forward the point upon which hinged the successful issue of the trial.” Mrs. Lucy N. Colman, in a letter to the “Truth-Seeker” makes this similar but more specific statement: “Mr. Cobb suggested that the government must be called upon to prove that the obnoxious advertisement was deposited in the mail by Mr. Heywood, and really that was the card which, in the technicality of the law, was the winning one.” Liberty has no desire to detract from the credit duo to Mr. Cobb, but must protest most seriously against this throwing away of the victory which Mr. Heywood’s act has won. If what these ladies say is true, then the very next man arrested on a similar charge, if he is unfortunate enough to have the fact of mailing fastened upon him, will go to prison. A tremendous victory, indeed! No, Mr. Heywood was acquitted on no such technicality. He was acquitted by the charge of Judge Nelson, especially those portions which declared questionable the evidence of a man who confesses, as Comstock did, his habit of deception, and that the government must prove that the article advertised was manufactured for the purpose of preventing conception. These decisions do secure the liberties of the people to a very considerable extent. Miss Tilton and Mrs. Colman will see this, we are sure, and insist with us that Mr. Heywood’s victory shall be utilized for all that it is worth.
The letter in another column from Patrick J. Healy of San Francisco is noteworthy. We little expected to receive from California a criticism of “Max” for his lack of liberality on the Chinese question: on the contrary, we expected to hear him condemned for excess thereof. But the disappointment is a gratifying one. Mr. Healy very properly condemns “Max’s” proposal to enforce the Restriction Act in order to show that the presence of the Chinese is not the real evil. Liberty was very glad, nevertheless, to print such a proposal from the pen of one who formerly wished to exclude the Chinese for the opposite reason that he then supposed them to be the principal cause of low wages on the Pacific coast. Such an advance is well worth noting. Regarding the responsibility of monopoly for the decline of wages in California, “Max” is right, we think, and not Mr. Healy. Had there been no land or money monopoly, wages would only have been higher in the Pacific states in consequence of the advent of Chinese labor from one direction and Eastern capital from the other. Easy access to capital always tends to increase wages. Mr. Healy is also wrong in supposing “Max’s” assertion that every man’s wages under a just system would be his product or its equivalent is identical with Henry George’s theory that every laborer produces his own wage-fund. The economists’ theory of the wage-fund is perfectly correct. Consumption comes before production, and every man’s wages are paid, out of the product of past labor (his own or another’s),— that is, out of accumulated capital. The trouble is that our present system, instead of allowing this capital to accumulate in the hands of its producers and rightful owners, drains it off into the pockets of usurers. But even if the laborers possessed the capital, they would still have to live upon it while working and waiting for the completion of new products; in other words, their wages would still come out of capital. The words “or its equivalent” in “Max’s” statement make his position, therefore, distinctly different from George’s, but ho would have been still more accurate had he said that every man’s wages under a just system would be an equivalent of his product paid in advance.
“A free man is one who enjoys the use of his reason and his faculties; who is neither blinded by passion, not hindered or driven by oppression, not deceived by erroneous opinions.” — Proudhon.
A Suggestion to Philanthropists.
The writer was lately witness of a brief colloquial encounter between an American mechanic enjoying his noontide lunch on a dock in a neighboring city, and a respectable representative of the shoddy-minded American bourgeois.
“Ah!” said the latter; “these inferral ‘communists’ are both lunatics and knaves. Suppose they should succeed in killing off the Czar and all the other crowned heads,— they would only injure their own cause; for other czars, even more despotic, would immediately take their places.”
“Well,” replied the mechanic, calmly, “as for myself, I would not harm a fly, and would rather give up my dinner to yonder dock-rat than witness the cruelty of killing it; but I tell you, sir, that, if the Czar of Russia, or the Emperor of Germany, or the Prime Minister of England should at this moment appear before me, I would kill either of them as soon as I could reach them. I would count my poor life cheap in such a service for humanity. Killing is the best use that these imperial and ministerial loafers can be put to. Not but that I well understand that others would immediately take their places; but whoever says that the assassination of tyrants does not put intelligence into anybody’s head is sadly mistaken. Dynamite in its infant career has already set more thought and intelligence in motion than the plain, naked wrongs of labor would have brought out in a century. The poor wretch who kills an emperor, a Bismarck, or a Gladstone, exchanges these bloody and worthless scoundrels for whole volumes of enlightening discussion which will surely follow the act. To what better use could they be put? I advocate dynamite, sir, on American principles — as an investment.”
Upon looking over the current literature of the day, since the time that God was pleased to take the late Emperor of Russia to himself, the plain-spoken American mechanic is not so lightly to be set down among the knaves and lunatics. As capital, sacrificed in the act of investment, the departed Czar practically cost humanity nothing, since, as our educated bourgeois friend with great force averred, his place is immediately filled by another without additional cost. But the income on this investment, reckoned on the basis of the volumes of light-spreading discussion which has since rolled in from every quarter of the world, is something astonishing to contemplate. Mark, then, the status of this captivating position in scientific usury as applied to the disposal of imperial tyrants and loafers. Under the bourgeois’s own terms, as stated in his oft-reiterated proposition that the place of a “dynamited” tyrant is immediately made good without expense, the invested capital is practically zero. On the other hand, the income realized in the consequent animated epoch of light-spreading investigation and discussion is incalculable. One of two things, then, logically follows:— either the ready bourgeois argument, above-stated, against lifting tyrants, has some deeper subsidiary grounds never yet shown up, or else the disgusted law-and-order bourgeois is persistently offering the most convincing mercantile and humanitarian argument for wide-spread investments in tyrant killing.
The justice or expediency of taking away the State’s agents of tyranny and robbery with dynamite is not affected a feather’s weight by the fact that others will immediately fill their places. Why are all the great popular reviews to-day discussing social topics which they have persistently ignored in the past? Why are the great popular journals actively scouring about for articles on social topics and importuning writers for contributions which five years ago their editors contemptuously threw into the waste-basket when offered without money and without price? Why are the newspapers freighted every day with articles on socialism, communism, and anarchism, already half conceding the bottom wrongs that are threatening two continents? What is it that has aroused the popular interest so suddenly? What has excited the thirst after enlightenment all at once? Chiefly the fact that in the happy accident of history the Czar of Russia, Lord Leitrim, the Phoenix Park victims, and other fiends in authority have been offered up as paying investments in behalf of popular education. To say that a rich income of enlightening discussion has not been realized would be wilful perversion of a notorious fact. These fruitful investments, according to the ready bourgeois argument, involved no sacrifice to humanity. The nearest and dearest friends of the invested persons claim that God has taken them home to himself. To what better use, then, in the interest of all concerned, could they have been put?
As one of the sure results of enlightenment, it will yet become clear (and in the near future, too) in the minds of large masses of enslaved peoples that emperors and prime ministers have no more right to murder their subjects than the latter have to murder them. Once the dazzling mask of office torn from these legalized assassins, the standing wonder of posterity will be that they were not sacrificed as humanitarian investments sooner. We agree heartily with the disgusted and dynamite-haunted bourgeois that there can be no substantial and lasting advancement of the masses except to the extent that they become elevated by education and enlightenment. The only question at issue between us hinges upon a practical question of facts,— namely, whether the late investments in sacrificed tyrants have not already yielded a greater income of education and enlightenment than would have accrued had they been spared to live, even a century longer, in peace, with their duped and dutiful slaves. If so, then the minor objections to the investment have already been sufficiently answered by our bourgeois friends themselves. If God will only have the goodness to send for a tyrant now and then in the interest of popular education, humanity will soon be in shape to fill the orders cheerfully and promptly on the most favorable terms. To capitalists interested in sound, paying educational investments, the question may yet become a serious one whether it would not be wiser to pay some poor fellow a few hundred dollars for killing an emperor than to endow Harvard College with material for perpetuating the cowardly flunkyism which Wendell Phillips so righteously rebuked within its walls a year or two ago.
An Undeserved Criticism.
To the Editor of Liberty:
Dear Sir,— Do you consider it either wise or just to complicate the solution of the social problem by stirring up racial prejudices as is done in the article entitled “Anarchism and Republicanism” in the last number of Liberty? I hoped for better things from the paper that so bravely defended the Chinese in the face of the almost unanimous denunciation of them by labor reformers throughout the country.
I am fully sensible of the many and grievous sins which may be laid at the doors of my race and of the negroes; but it certainly is utterly unfair to charge us with the entire social and political demoralization of the country. Has not the “cultured” native white class furnished, proportionately, by far the largest number of public thieves and political bosses? Would the Republic be any better, Anarchy any less desirable, if all the States enjoyed a combination of the present election laws of Rhode Island with those of the slave States before the war, thus effectually excluding the vulgar gin-drinking Irish and negroes from the suffrage and concentrating the power in the hands of the respectable element?
If this proscription of races for political vice continues, we may have Liberty next, with “Le Révolté,” demanding the extermination of the Germans for their devotion to governmentalism, and then of the French for some other cause, and so on until none out the pure-blooded descendants of the Pilgrim Fathers remain to inherit the earth.
Really, it would appear as if the writer of the article in question were an Anarchist, not on principle, but because himself and the New England Brahmins are unable to monopolize the offices, and an atheist because the God of the Fathers has gone bade on them. The writer should enroll himself amongst the clergy of some positivist community, where his culture would be respected.
To me a government of the cultured appears as evil in principle, as fruitful in bad results, as intolerable as any other kind.
I send this merely to give you an idea of how this sort of thing appears to a member of one of the outcast races. It is with regret I write, for I have generally found myself in complete accord with the teachings of Liberty.
John F. Kelly.
Little Falls, N. Y., April 18, 1883.
The above communication comes from a gentleman whom Liberty has every reason to regard as one of her most intelligent, earnest, and enthusiastic friends. Under ordinary circumstances he would have seen the exact purpose of the article which he criticises, and would have endorsed it. But he is an Irishman; and so numerous and outrageous have been the insults heaped upon his race, that he, in common with all his countrymen, has become unduly sensitive, and fancies that he sees insults where none exist or were intended. It is our belief that, had we designated Sambo only and left out Big Mike and McGuinness, his keen and unclouded mind would have told him that the article in question in no way favored the proscription of Sambo, but simply used him as a type of the illiteracy and ignorance which unscrupulous rascals, where universal suffrage prevails, can mould to serve their purposes. Now, just as the negroes, generally speaking, are considerably below the average citizen in education and intellect (though not by their own fault), so Irishmen are peculiarly prone to political “bossism.” It is the misfortune of the writer to frequently come in contact with the ward “bosses” and ward “strikers” who largely control the politics of Boston, and he estimates that three out of four are Irishmen. In consequence of this experience, whenever he thinks of political “bosses,” the first figure to come before his mind is “McGuinness, the corner gin-slinger.” So we used him as a type. But in doing so we did not proscribe him or even blame him. We lay everything to the system; and to the influence of systems Irishmen are more immediately susceptible, on account of their temperament, than the more torpid Germans or Americans. Instead of charging the Irish with the “social and political demoralization of the country,” we charge the country’s system of government with the demoralization of all the people, and especially the impressible Irish. If Mr. Kelly were discussing a vice which he had seen most frequently and most perfectly typified among Yankees, would he not very probably use “Brother Jonathan” to symbolize his thought? And if the editor of Liberty were to complain, would he not think him a trifle touchy? Now, Mr. Kelly admits, if we understand him, that the Irish race is not perfect.
Still more surprising is our correspondent’s assumption that our unfortunate pen has ever written a line in favor of restricted suffrage. Does Mr. Kelly not know that we have always advocated the utter abolition of suffrage? Did we not print approvingly, in the very next column to the article which has so stirred Mr. Kelly, a sweeping article regarding the foolishness of voting? To point out the evils of universal suffrage is not to deny the greater evils of restricted suffrage. Why did not Mr. Kelly, instead of indulging in unworthy and unjustifiable flings regarding our motives, read our article to the end, and pay some attention to our unequivocal statement in the closing paragraph that “the Anarchist denies at one stroke the authority of any individual or combination of individuals to govern others without their consent?” Had he done so, he must have seen that this sentence places “race proscription,” “government of the cultured,” and all other government whatsoever entirely out of the question.
Let it be understood, once for all, that, as far as human rights are concerned, Liberty knows no nationality, but is thoroughly cosmopolitan.
What Political Verdure!
The High and Mighty, Supreme, Irresponsible, and Irresistible Government of the United States, having made known its displeasure at the audacity of a few obscure persons in New York City, in presuming to carry and deliver letters within the city at one cent each — one half the price charged by the great and supreme government itself — whereby, as it alleges, this same great and supreme government … “defrauded” of many thousand dollars per annum — and having commenced the execution of its vengeance upon these audacious individuals, and declared its intention to crush them altogether, the innocent and unsophisticated editor of the New York “World” expresses his surprise in this manner:
The public imagine that the Post-Office is an institution established for their convenience, and to carry their correspondence. The official view, as announced by the Attorney-General, and acted upon by Mr. Pearson [postmaster of New York] is that people correspond with each other in order to provide revenue for the Post-Office.
All this implies that this editor of the “World,” whom we must presume to have come to years of discretion, and to be also a citizen of the United States, is nevertheless so verdant that he imagines that the government was made by and for the people, instead of the people having been made by and for the government! Has he always lived in the woods, and known nothing of our political affairs except by hearsay, that he does not understand the palpable fact that the people were made by and for the government, instead of the government’s having been made by or for the people? What, we would ask him, does he imagine that mankind were made for, if it were not for the support of governments? What visible means of support has a government other than the people? Evidently none, whatever! What other evidence, then, can this editor expect or desire, in proof that the sole object of the creation of human beings was that they might support governments? What would governments do, we beg to know, if there were no human beings to support them?
The only way in which we can account for the verdure of this editor, is by supposing that he has never held any government office. Give him but the government postmastership of New York, and we venture to say that he will discover, as if by magic, that such beings as men would have never been created, if they had not been needed for the support of government. What else, we beg to know, are they good for? And if they are good for nothing else, who can say that they were created for any other purpose?
We rejoice to know that such stolid ignorance as that of the “World,” is not to be permitted to be perpetual, or to become universal; that that great and good man, Senator George F. Hoar, representing the most enlightened State that ever existed, to wit, the State of Massachusetts, is determined to dispel this deplorable ignorance, by the establishment of national schools, in which shall be taught, henceforth and forever, the great truth that the people were made by and for the government alone, and not the government by or for the people.
The Czar’s Latest Victims.
New gallows are soon to be erected in Russia. The tribunal before whom the Nihilists recently arrested were tried has passed sentence. The trials were conducted with closed doors. Accurate information concerning them cannot be had, the authorities preserving the most absolute secrecy in regard to the acts attributed to the victims of His Majesty the Emperor of All the Russias.
“L’Independance Belge” lately published a long summary of the indictment. In this document the accused are said to be connected with the “Will of the People,” but no precise charge is brought against them.
Bagdanovitsch, who had taken the name of Koboseff, was, it appears, the proprietor of a cheese shop, under the floor of which was found a mine which it was intended to explode under Alexander II., in case Ryssakoff’s bomb should fail to do its work.
Gratieffski, Klemenko, Boutsevitsch, and Slatopolski are charged with complicity in the execution of the Czar.
Telatoff, Stephanovitsch, Madame Fouschkova, and the others are simply accused of having been engaged in propagandism.
The first hearing is thus described by the correspondent of the “Dix-Neuvième Siècle”:
All entrances to the court-room are occupied by policemen, and the room, very dark, has a lugubrious aspect. At eleven o’clock all the accused are brought in. They are guarded by a numerous escort of policemen with drawn swords. They seem to be suffering severely. They spend some minutes in embracing and shaking hands, after which they seat themselves on the benches provided for them at the left of the large semi-circular table around which the judges are seated.
Bagdanovitsch, alias Koboseff, is a typical Russian; he has a small sandy beard. His exterior gives no idea of his extreme energy, boldness, and shrewdness.
Slatopolski has a satisfied air. Very restless, nevertheless, with bright eyes.
Stephanovitsch looks intelligent, but excessively tired.
Of the seven women, only Mlle. Smirnitskai has a countenance at all ordinary; the others, on the contrary, have a very distinguished appearance and sympathetic exteriors. Madame Pribilova is a hearty of the first order. Mlle. Ivanovskaia, only thirty years old, is pale, thin, suffering; she coughs like a consumptive; one would easily take her to be forty.
After the customary formalities the president of the tribunal inquires the name, age, and profession of each prisoner, and then the witnesses summoned by the prosecution and defence are called, when it is found, to the astonishment of all, that the State police have refused to allow the witnesses at their disposition — that is, the political criminals already condemned — to appear before the tribunal.
At noon they proceed to the reading of the indictment, which lasts till three o’clock.
The trials lasted a week. It is needless to say that the attitude of the accused was dignified in the highest degree. None of them entertained any illusions regarding the fate which their “good father Alexander” had in store for them.
On Friday, April 20, at three o’clock in the morning, the tribunal rendered its decree.
Koboseff, Slatopolski, Gratieffski, Klemenko, and Boutsevitsch were sentenced to be hanged; Stephanovitsch and Mlle. Ivanovskaia to hard labor for life; Madame Korba to twenty years; Telatoff, Pribiloff, Mlle. Lisoffskaia, Kalouschni, and Mlle. Smirnitskai to fifteen years; Madame Pribilova to four years; and Boreischa, Madame Alexandrovna, Mlle. Iouschkova, Mlle. Gherscheva, and Gremberg to perpetual exile in Siberia.
Condemnations such as these will not stop the Russian Revolution. On the contrary.
“Max,” the Chinese, and Liberty.
Most Estimable Liberty:
Your issue for March 17 contains an article, signed “Max,” on the Chinese question, to which I take some exceptions. I looks to me as if “Max” was balancing himself between two delicate points,— the principle of Liberty and the expedient of Restriction. Out here at the verge of the continent, at the felloe of the wheel, I don’t like to see such wavering at the Hub. Therefore I propose to furnish some starch to stiffen “Max’s” moral backbone. How inconsistent it sounds to hear a man talking about being an Anti-Chinese, Anti-Irish, Anti-Jewish, or Anti-any-other man “in the light of Liberty”! How can a man for a moment presume to call himself a liberal — even by implication — and advocate the enforcement of the Restriction Act or any other act which would prevent any man or woman going all over this earth at their own cost? What kind of Liberty is it that would endanger a principle for the sake of educating a generation of disappointed and disappearing speculators up to a point in political economy which only needs a lucid exposition to be accepted by every one but the prejudiced or the crystallized? Can we, for the sake of satisfying a remnant of the poor decaying Argonauts and the refuse of the Sand-Lot, ignore the rights of the rising generation,— their right to come into contact with the personality of all races and the culture of all nations? The irresistible logic of events forced the Asian to our shores. He has as much right here as we have, and we cannot ignore the fact that the natural friction of competing races is one of the great factors in the education of mankind. What natural right have we to say how many Chinamen or other men shall come here? The right to do this is not based upon Liberty, but upon the idea of a permanent governing institution for the support of which men are born, are taxed, and go to war from age to age. Liberty is inconsistent with any such form of government. Liberty assumes government to be a provisional convenience formed by man for the benefit of man and dissolvable at his pleasure. If I have no natural right to put a Chinaman out of this country, I would like to know by what process of political chemistry I can confer this right upon a convention of my peers in Congress assembled. I had no such right; I could not confer it upon a representative; therefore, the Restriction Act is against natural rights, and what is against natural rights is an injury to every human being. In the light of this definition of Liberty, how can we for a moment range ourselves with the men of expediency? It is our duty to stand like a wall of adamant against the political trimmers who would steal the livery of freedom to disguise slavery.
“Max” asserts that the decline of wages which occurred here at the completion of the Central Pacific Railroad was due to the land-grabbing schemes connected with and growing out of this monstrous monopoly. This, in my opinion, does not give the true reason; it is more in accordance with natural law to assume that the railroad acted as a channel connecting two communities: one old and populous, overflowing with capital and its results; the other young and sparsely settled, with little capital to invest in manufacturing enterprise. The overplus capital and labor of the East rushed along the Central Pacific channel until the regions supplied by it and its tributaries were saturated with the results of cheap capital and labor. Force moves in the direction of the least resistance and tends to an equilibrium. The flow is still westward. We have not yet reached an equilibrium. Notwithstanding our so-called inexhaustible supply of Chinese cheap labor, we have never been aide to supply ourselves with boots and shoes or cigars,— the two products mostly influenced by “John”; and at no time would the Sand-Lotter wash his own shirt,— therefore, the Chinese washerman is a permanent institution. How “Max” could for a moment consent to a restricted emigration I cannot see, especially as he admits that every man’s wages under a just system would be his product or its equivalent, or, in other words, adopts Mr. George’s doctrine of wages, viz., every man that produces furnishes his own wage fund.
This I accept as an economic truth, and I think it has only to be accepted to settle the Chinese question forever as far as its economic relation is concerned; but the difficulty is that there has always been a race antagonism. It sticks out very plainly in what is called the Anglo-Saxon. Are not my countrymen a living, or rather a dying example of this fact? Is there not a prejudice all over the English speaking world against an Irishman? Have I not heard from my earliest years how the Celt by his very nature was unfitted for self-government; that his presence here was the sole hindrance to an honest administration of the law; that his laziness was the cause of his poverty, and all that sort of thing? As a fellow-laborer, I accept the Chinaman as a blessing. He comes here and without fuss accepts the conditions of our economic system on the battlefield we have chosen ourselves, and calmly wins the prize offered to persistent labor. His advent will show us the rottenness of our industrial system better than any other single event of the age. As a man of Irish birth, I would advise my countrymen here in the United States to accept the economic situation as we find it. We certainly can get as much, even in competition with the Chinese, as our English cousins ever gave us; and, if we are the superior race we sometimes claim, we have no cause to fear the result. To those familiar with the subject nothing new has been said, and, if an apology is necessary, it is that I wish our Eastern friends to know that here on the picket line there is at least one sentinel who views this subject “in the light of Liberty.”
Patrick J. Healy.
Sax Fuancisco, April 2, 1883.
The Civilizing Power of Dynamite.
The appearance of the following editorial in a recent issue of the New York “Home Journal,” the leading organ of fashionable society, and dependent for its patronage solely upon the privileged classes, is one of the most remarkable phenomena of these remarkable times. It is the best defence of the use of dynamite that we have ever seen, and was evidently written by some one who has thought deeply upon the subject. We commend these bold but philosophical utterances to the penny-a-liners who fill the columns of the daily press with frantic and superficial ejaculations about the “cowardly depravity of the modern revolutionist.”
We may denounce dynamite with righteous indignation, but we must acknowledge the revolution it is effecting in the arts of offence and defence. As gunpowder and rifled cannon and railroads changed the former methods of war, so this new agent has shifted again the balance of power, reducing still further the supremacy of brute force and mere numbers. Great armies and vast cities are, indeed, a source of weakness in dynamite warfare, furnishing, as they must, the most vulnerable points of attack for its wholesale destruction. A barren rock in the secret mountains of Switzerland, with its dynamite laboratory and convoys by air or land, may set at naught all the standing armies of the proud Garman empire, and drop annihilation upon its walled cities at any hour by night or day. At this moment a single wayfarer, with dynamite in his pocket, throws the cities of England in greater terror than would an army of a hundred thousand men landing at Dover, with only the ordinary weapons of guns and sabres. A handful of hunted, homeless Nihilists are able to terrorize all the Russias, forcing its Emperor to live the life of a fugitive, and making his very coronation a problem of chance. Jupiter with his lightnings was scarcely more a master of the ancient world than is the mob with its bomb of dynamite the avenging Fate of modern monarchies.
At first glance the dynamite tomb seems an implement of fiends, but a closer view discovers in it a potent minister of good. All triumphs of science and invention work inevitably in the end for the people. It is these scientific victories which have made the populace of to-day other than the slaves and chattels of the ancient civilizations. But for these “the divine right of kings” would still dominate the world, and the great mass would be but cheap material to build the tombs of the Pharaohs. Every advance in science has given the people an additional hold of the sceptre of power. Sometimes by an increase of the general wealth, as in the case of the steam engine, the loom, the sewing machine, sometimes by a general multiplication of the means of destruction, as in the invention of gunpowder, cannon, and firearms, making a single man often more formidable than a phalanx of ancient swordsmen. Every increase in the destructiveness of weapons of war has brought increased respect and importance for the individual war-maker. Thus to-day the poorest Nihilist with his dynamite is an object of more consideration from the Czar and his nobles than would be forty thousand serfs of the olden time armed simply with staves and forks. As a direct consequence the case of these poor malcontents will be more heeded than it has been heretofore. Not even proud England can escape the alternative. She may resist for a time and try laws of excessive rigor, but at last she will come to respect this bidden force and find it wiser and cheaper to cultivate the Irishman’s good will than his ill will. Thus it will be found, when the first mad outburst of murder and destruction has cleared away, that there will follow throughout the world a more ready disposition on the part of governments to listen to the petition of the humblest classes of the community, and to see that no burdens of unjust laws are maddening them to revolt. The consequence will be an era of comparative peace and good will, greater stability and less frequent revolutions in governments, and the eventual abolition of standing armies. This consummation can evidently be achieved most directly by some agency like the perfected dynamite bomb and electrical battery, which will make great armies useless, make them mere targets for destruction en masse, instead of reserves of strength. In the future, little corps of engineers with telescope, batteries, and balloons will take the place of the lumbering armies of the past, and finish in a few days, perhaps hours, what in olden times would have been a thirty years’ war.
These effects will be observed wherever the dynamite wave reaches; horror and attempts at repression at first, then the better counsels of discretion and humanity, and at last a genuine recognition of the brotherhood of the despised classes, and a sincere purpose to relieve their estate and remove from them all unjust discriminations. We say unjust discriminations, for it is incredible that all this discontent, this unanimity of outcry, should appear through all Europe without some serious justification in bad laws. It is not human nature to wince without pain; and in all ages the common people have been more ready to accept and endure impositions than to rebel without cause against fair and equal institutions. It is a weakness in all governments to favor the rich at the expense of the poor. Monarchies are avowedly governments of privileges for the few; but even republics cannot quite counteract the tendency of power to gravitate to the powerful. Here is New York, which has been a hundred years perfecting its system of free institutions, and yet how many of its laws discriminate against the poor in plain defiance of principle? Happily the case is not one to call for the interposition of dynamite, but the discriminations are irritating to the classes discriminated against, and tend to alienate them from the State which they should look up to as a sure protector, and love as a second father. Without such regard from the humblest, from the great mass of the people, no government can stand in entire security. And it will be well for our legislators to heed the warning that comes to us from Europe, and to give due diligence to hunting out from our statute books all traces of vicious, partial, and superflous laws, and especially such as tend to keep up the old antagonisms between the poor and the rich.
Degrees in Sexual Morality.
The following article, contributed to “L’Intransigeant” by that brilliant writer, Gramont, contains volumes of philosophy:
The other day I was at Mrs. A. B.’s. A charming woman, though very conservative. She looks upon me as a frightful drinker of blood. But she suffers my visits out of whimsical caprice.
“What has become of your friend Henriette?” I asked her.
“Henriette K., who married Mr. C. D.?”
“Mrs. C. D. and I see each other no more.”
“Ah! something has come between you?”
“Nothing at all. But Henriette was not married at church.”
“What is that to you?”
“That is much to me. I have religion. In my eyes the religious marriage is the only one that counts. The civil marriage goes for nothing. For me to receive Mrs. C. D., who is married only civilly, would be equivalent to receiving a woman who had not been married at all. You do not understand?”
“Indeed, I do not!”
“You have no moral sense.”
A few days later I happened to be at Mrs. C D.’s.
“It is some time,” I inquired, “since you saw Mr. E. F.”
“Mr. E. F.? I have not seen him since his marriage.”
“Does that astonish you?”
“Are you not aware, then, that he married his mistress?”
“Well! I do not wish, to receive Mrs. E. F.”
“Because she has been the mistress of E. F.”
“But is she not now his wife?”
“That is nothing. She has been his mistress. That is sufficient reason why I should not wish to form her acquaintance. If I were to receive mistresses whom their lovers have married, I should soon have to receive those whom their lovers intend to marry! You think me absurd?”
“You have no moral sense.”
On a subsequent evening, when I was calling on Mr. E. F., his wife in her turn said to me: “Would you believe that E. F. actually wished to introduce me to his friend G. H.?”
“Ah! And why not?”
“G. H. and his wife!”
“I do not wish to receive Mrs. G. H. Are you not aware that, before marrying G. H., she was his mistress, and that” —
At this point I looked at Mrs. E. F. with so stupefied an air that she divined my thought, and, interrupting herself, said:
“Oh, I know what you are going to say,— that I, too, lived with my husband before marrying him. But I have lived with him only. I was a maiden when I first knew him. While Mrs. G. H. not only was once the mistress of G. H., but had previously been the mistress of several gentlemen. There is a distinction there. Do you see it?”
“Not very clearly.”
“No? Then you have no moral sense.”
“Faith!” said I to myself, “since all these ladies, who agree so little with each other, agree in denying me the moral sense, I begin to believe that I really am devoid of it.”
Moreover I learned afterwards that Mrs. G. H. also had the moral sense, or at least had acquired it.
For I found that she was unwilling to receive a couple who had lived together for ten years,— but were not married at all.
Finally, the other morning, I met Mariette on a street corner. It was very early. Mariette had come from I don’t know where. Not from her house, for she told me she was on her way there. She had her corsets in her hand, wrapped in a newspaper.
“How tired I am!” she said to me; “buy me, please, a cup of coffee.”
At the coffee-house, while Mariette soaked buttered bread in a bowl filled with yellowish liquid, I related to her the bits of conversation which I have reproduced above.
“Oh, well! I,” she cried,— “I am not like that. All these ladies, from the one who was married both at the mayor’s office and at the church to the one who is not married at all, may come to my house; I will give them all a hearty welcome. If I were in funds to-day, I would even ask them all to breakfast.”
A good girl, this Mariette! Not prudish. Without prejudices.
Unhappily, I fear that she has not much moral sense.
A Foe to His Own Cause.
Anthony Comstock, having been foolish enough to pass severe strictures upon Judge Nelson’s conduct of the Heywood trial, the New York “Sun” comments thus pertinently:
A discreet and prudent person in the place of Mr. Anthony Comstock could probably do a great deal of good in the detection and prosecution of the particular forms of crime to which that notorious enthusiast devotes his retention.
The cause which he professes to have at heart, however, can never be promoted by such harangues as that in which he indulged at Boston on Thursday.
Speaking there before the New England Society for the Suppression of Vice, Mr. Comstock publicly declared that in the course of a recent trial in the Circuit Court of the United States, in that city, “the court was turned into a free-love meeting.”
The indictment, he went on to say, though it was perfectly good, was overruled on a technicality, and he distinctly charged the Judge with having “practically endorsed and encouraged” the prisoner’s transactions in circulating vicious literature.
Now, of course, no person familiar with his history believes that Mr. Comstock is competent to form an opinion worthy of respect as to the conduct of a court which has decided against his wishes. Intelligent people, whether they know anything about the man or not, will also naturally doubt the justice of such an attack upon learned and reputable judges, whose fitness no one else has ever questioned. But too many of Mr. Comstock’s hearers are apt to receive his statements with implicit faith, and are thus led to believe that those who should administer the laws specially designed for the maintenance of good morals are faithless to their trust.
Hundreds of prominent citizens in New York and elsewhere contribute money every year to enable Mr. Anthony Comstock to carry on his work. Do they propose to sustain him in baseless assaults upon honorable public officers, such as the attack to which we have called attention?
Don’t keep Liberty to yourself, share it with others!
Leonard E. Read: Accent On The Right: To Frederic Bastiat (1801–1850), who sought for truth rather than outcome and never witnessed the fruits his labor bore. Obedience to conscience was his first rule; we witness the results.
Leonard E. Read: Anything That’s Peaceful: Many favor peace but not many favor the things that make for peace. — Thomas à Kempis
Leonard E. Read: Awake for Freedom’s Sake: Finally, share with others. Forget about “reforming” them! The more we share, the more we learn. This is in the interest of self and freedom!
Leonard E. Read: Castles in the Air: If you have built castles in the air, your work need not be lost; there is where they should be. Now put foundations under them. — Henry David Thoreau
Libertarian Anarchy: Against the State: Political philosophy is dominated by a myth, the myth of the necessity of the state. The state is considered necessary for the provision of many things, but primarily for peace and security. In this provocative book, Gerard Casey argues that social order can be spontaneously generated, that such spontaneous order is the norm in human society and that deviations from the ordered norms can be dealt with without recourse to the coercive power of the state.
Major Conservative and Libertarian Thinkers: Murray Rothbard: Murray Rothbard (1926–1995) was an economist, historian, philosopher, and legal theoretician. His work was unified by a passionate and resolute commitment to a libertarianism that may be characterized as ‘anarcho-capitalism’ and which implied a belief that even the legal system may be provided privately without the need for a coercive collective authority. Hence, anarcho-capitalists envisage a society where the traditional role of government is wholly subsumed by private, profit-making enterprises and all social relationships are ultimately founded upon consent.