“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.
Professor Huxley says that “extinguished theologians lie about the cradle of every science, like strangled snakes beside that of Hercules.”
Just as the last issue of Liberty was going to press, the sad news came of the death of D. M. Bennett, the old editor of the “Truth-Seeker.” It was then too late to take from our columns Mr. Walker’s article written in criticism of Mr. Bennett’s conduct toward the Heywood prosecution, or even to insert an explanatory note. No one can regret more than its author and ourselves its publication at such an hour. We freely criticised Mr. Bennett living, when he could defend-himself; but we would be the last to intentionally attack the memory and wound the friends of one essentially so brave and true. His death was a great loss to the Liberal cause, and Liberty mourns it with the rest.
Dr. F. H. Hamilton, in presenting a modest claim of we forget how many thousand dollars for his services in attending Garfield, stud to the controller of the treasury: “My intention is only to indicate to you what I would regard as the minimum compensation for similar services in the case of a private citizen who was pecuniarily responsible and who would not be embarrassed by such a payment.” And yet Josiah Warren was laughed at as silly because he said that our commercial practice of making value the measure of price would justify the man who should save a man of wealth from drowning in extorting from him his whole fortune in return therefor. Dr. Hamilton’s remark is a virtual confession of Mr. Warren’s charge that modern commerce is nothing more than “civilized cannibalism.”
Such Liberals as still hug the delusion that Gambetta was their friend should read the following from the London “Pall Mall Gazette” before gushing further over his memory. The “Pall Mall” is a moderately Liberal journal, but prone to eschew that intensity of utterance to which men engaged in vigorous battle for great ideas generally give vent; nevertheless, read in their full meaning and between the lines, its statements bear out the truth of almost all that Liberty more bluntly says in another column. “There are two great tendencies at present within the [French] Republican party. One sets towards decentralization, local self-government of all sorts, the removability of the judges, and above all the separation of Church and Stale. The opposite tendency is towards authority, centralization, a Concordat, an active foreign policy — towards, in short, a maintenance of the old tradition of France. Of the latter school the great representative was Gambetta. He has stood for governmental ideas against democratic ideas. Though far too sagacious a man to be Other than a convinced partisan of the Republic for France, he has always been very susceptible of the force of French tradition. He thought of himself as the Mazarin or Richelieu of a new time. It was a very mistaken identity, for Gambetta, unlike either Mazarin or Richelieu, was impulsive, violently imaginative, much the creature of ideals, and constitutionally indifferent to details. He resembled them, his enemies would say, in his lack of moral sense. However that may have been, Gambetta was undoubtedly filled by a sense of the necessity of government. He insisted on the scrutin de liste because that only, as he thought, would produce a majority that would follow its leaders. There are some who think that the present majority, if it had been more patiently handled a year ago, would have been gradually consolidated. Gambetta, as we have said, was mastered by the necessities of government; but it can hardly he said that he had shown, or perhaps had an opportunity of showing, that he could himself govern. He was emphatically bon garçon, but he showed no capacity for separating the sheep from the goats among his companions. The first condition of success was that he should have attracted a sufficient number of able and upright men to his banners. This he never did, nor seriously tried to do.”
We are glad to announce a more favorable outlook for Mr. E. H. Heywood. His trial has been postponed till the March term of the United States District Court, and he will defend his own case. Fate has been kind in forcing him to this course, which we have all along urged upon him. Mr. J. F. Pickering, the senior counsel, who never inspired in us much confidence in his ability, tact, or earnestness, happily deserted his client, and Mr. George W. Searle, junior counsel, felt it his professional duty to retire with Mr. Pickering, who had brought him into the case. Mr. J. Storer Cobb, third in order, did not feel competent to conduct the case alone, and so withdrew, promising, however, to give Mr. Heywood all the assistance possible in an advisory capacity. This left the accused without counsel on the very eve of trial, which was to have occurred last month. When the case was called in court, Mr. Heywood very reasonably asked for a continuance until March, in order that he might have time to prepare himself for the discharge of the momentous duty thus suddenly devolving upon him. Judge Nelson granted his request, paying no heed to the government’s insinuation that the whole thing was a put-up job to secure delay, further than to require an affidavit from Mr. Heywood to the effect that he was in no way responsible for the turn affairs had taken. In support of his motion for a continuance, Mr. Heywood made a little speech, exactly adapted to the occasion, which, in our judgment, could scarcely have been improved. It was brief, calm, courteous, dignified, and at the same time manly, forcible, tremendously earnest. It went just far enough in denunciation of the character of the prosecution to have the effect of a firm protest rather than an abusive tirade. It impressed the court, the spectators, and doubtless the government itself, and fully vindicated the wisdom of the policy which Liberty was the first to urge. We congratulate Mr. Heywood upon his first victory, in the belief that, if he devotes the coming months to careful preparation, and shows the same ability and preserves the same demeanor during the trial itself, he will make conviction impossible. We shall not believe, until the facts establish it, that twelve men can be drawn by lot from the citizens of Massachusetts of whom not one will be found with justice enough in his composition to secure a man whose moral superiority is thus made patent in the possession of his Liberty.
“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.
Another Tyrant Fallen.
Not this time a Czar of Russia by the hand of a Sophie Perovskaya, but Leon Gambetta by the hand of Madame Léonie Léon; not a frank, outspoken, unmistakable tyrant by the hand of a woman representing the people he had oppressed, but a cunning, two-faced, plausible tyrant by the hand of a woman representing in her own betrayal the people he had betrayed. It is a fitting ending to the life of one of the most dangerous characters of Europe, over whose disappearance Liberty, not in a spirit of triumphant revenge, but simply voicing a sincere desire for the public welfare, can only rejoice. And yet journals and public men the world over — professed radicals among the rest — vie with each other in doing homage to the memory of this self-seeking political adventurer!
Only ignorance can explain this senseless adulation coming from well-meaning lips. For who is this man whose praises they are sounding? Would that we had space to answer fully, to put before our readers a detailed history of the shameless career of Leon Gambetta!
Let no one think that we underrate either his abilities or the value of the services which on one or two occasions ambition, and ambition only, has led him to render. He was a wonderful man in many ways — in some respects a giant. Immense energy, surpassing eloquence, and great ability of a certain order,— these were his in abundant measure; but truth, sincerity, devotion, fidelity, the highest courage, and depth of mind,— of these there was none in him. He did many good things, but always with a selfish end. His defense of “Le Réveil” in 1868 when that paper was prosecuted for opening a subscription toward a monument fund in honor of Baudin, his conduct while a member of the government of national defense in 1870, and his memorable struggle with and triumph over the reactionary MacMahon in 1877 deserve to be counted as great and valuable deeds well done; but the light of subsequent events has shown so clearly that good and bad were all one to him so long as Leon Gambetta’s ends were served that no credit can fairly be given him from a moral standpoint even for such of his acts as intrinsically were praiseworthy.
His game was this: to win the confidence of the people by his eloquence and fair promises of devotion to their rights; to float into power on the wave of popularity thus acquired; once in power, to break every promise he had made; to watch every chance to strengthen his position; to oppose every measure looking toward Liberty; and by these means finally to become, if not nominally, at least virtually, dictator of France. And all but the last move he successfully accomplished. In 1869 he went before the citizens of Bolleville, the stronghold of Parisian radicalism, and in a powerful discourse elaborated a complete and absolutely unequivocal programme of principles, accurately representing the advanced opinions of his auditors, and, not satisfied with declaring his adhesion thereto, solemnly subscribed to it in the form of an oath. Elected overwhelmingly, ho straightway went into the Chamber of Deputies, and in a parliamentary career of fourteen years managed to combat nearly every one of the principles and measures which be had sworn to support. One of these principles was the separation of church and State; yet, though a pretended free-thinker, ho never lost an opportunity of defending the taxes levied in support of the church, and was the recognized leader of the State-church party in the Chamber. Another plank in the Belleville platform was amnesty for the exiled communists; yet he voted steadily against amnesty — that is, for the continued exile of the immediate relatives of his constituents in his “beloved Belleville,”— until 1880, when, Belleville having declared its indignation by electing Trinquet, one of the exiles, to the municipal council of Paris over Gambetta’s candidate, Rabagny, he dared not offend it further in that direction, and so summoned his parliamentary followers to the support of the amnesty bill. In 1869, at Belleville, he took his stand on a squarely socialistic platform, and on July 14, 1872, at a banquet, he uttered the sentence which has since become famous: “There is no social question.” He overturned and recreated ministries at his will, and at last was compelled, though not yet ready, to take the reins of government himself. Then the real incapacity of the man for actual guidance became apparent. The “Grant Ministry” was short-lived. Gambetta brought forward a bill providing for the election of a Congress to revise the Constitution, but confining its revising powers solely to the question of substituting the scrulin de liste for the scrutin d’arrondissement. Clemenceau asked him what the government would do in case this Congress, elected by the people, should decide to revise the Constitution in other points than those indicated by the Government. Then the man who, in 1877, had said to MacMahon, “When France shall have uttered her sovereign voice, you will either have to submit or resign,” uttered the following threat of a coup d’Etat: “We will use the right that governments have against insurrectionary forces.” The people took alarm, and Gambetta fell. But he continued his machinations, and till the time that his forsaken mistress shot him he was occupied in schemes for plunging his country into troubles by which he might profit.
Is such a man entitled to praise and honor? Should not his memory rather go down in French history side by side with the murderer Thiers’s,— perhaps not as bloody, but more contemptible?
Well did Henri Rochefort say the other day, when rebuked by Edmond About for making light of Gambetta’s death:—
“What! we have had before us a barrier which arrested the progress of our ideas, our aspirations, and our propagandism; for several years we have been doing our utmost to remove it; and now, when we see it definitively demolished, you would have us shed tears that it cannot again be placed in our path and continue to bar it? Only crocodiles have such emotions.”
Liberty’s Aims and Material.
The student of Liberty must constantly endeavor to disassociate his imagination from sanguinary dramas of assassination and revolt. These constitute the accidents of the struggle, which are no outcome of Liberty’s philosophy, and for which despotism, not she, is alone responsible. Liberty is the foundation-stone of a system of scientific treatment as to human relations and adjustments, and has primarily nothing to do with enthroned potentates and other executives of the State. Its teachings are applicable to every situation and relation in life, and it is an eminent truism that Liberty, like charity, begins at home.
The home is the beginning of the State; it is the State in miniature. The enthroned monarch is here the male lord of creation. The government is, however, a mixed system of monarchism, constitutionalism, and communism. Under the old Roman law the father was absolute over the wife as well as the children,— having even the power of life and death over the latter; but under the modern changes of governmental administration the status of the wife, although less servile, is quite undefined. The connubial pair are supposed to merge into each other, and hence the children are subjects of a joint government of the parents. The functions of neither being defined, this joint government is generally cut of joint, and the merging arrangement becomes a farce in practice, except to the extent that the lucky wife whose matrimonial traps have taken in a good keeper succeeds in merging extensively into the pockets of her nightly companion in legalized “unchastity.”
Communism, when properly organized, is a system,— a false system, as we believe, but a system. The communism of family life, however, is not even a system, but a degrading and demoralizing chaos. Neither parents nor children have any defined rights. They all govern each other, though nobody learns how to govern himself or herself. In attempting to govern the children jointly the merged parental pair merge daily and hourly into a quarrel. In the dilemma the daughters step in to govern the old folks until the gathering complications compel some big brother to step in and govern the crowd. In daily life the big brothers are supposed to supervise the associations of the inexperienced sisters; the big sisters look after the little sisters; and thus the members of our first and last families are severally charged with the sacred duty of governing each other.
This is the blessed institution among us known as the family, which learned reviewers tell us is the precious basis of the State, and must not be tampered with by unholy hands. And yet we challenge any one to refute the statement that the family is nothing more than an unordered and chaotic potpourri, having not even the merits of systematized communism. Strife, bickerings, envy, stealth, and mutual disgust naturally breed in such an institution, and no intelligent social observer need be reminded of the shameful scenes that daily befoul the family nest in all quarters, among high and low alike.
But it was not the especial purpose of this article to attack the family relation. The matter is only touched upon incidentally to indicate to the disciple of Liberty that despotism lurks everywhere, and that there is plenty of work on hand at every door. He who already has faith enough in Liberty to practice with it experimentally may begin with his wife, children, brother, sister, sweetheart, or friend, and without doubt he will soon find a job on his hands so large that no time will be left to him in one mortal life to make a pilgrimage to St. Petersburg with a bomb in search of the czar. Perhaps, if the experimenter in Liberty should begin with himself, it would take him so long to understand the heights and depths of all that is involved in its adjustments that he might not be able to get far into his neighbor. The whole subject of Individual Sovereignty, as balanced by the Cost Principle, is one of almost infinite richness in thought and attainable benefits. The most convenient season for studying it experimentally is now, and the student need not even go outside of himself to find plenty of good material to work upon.
Liberty welcomes a stanch ally in the West. The “Kansas Liberal,” always a good paper, is now made doubly so by the addition of E. C. Walker to its editorial staff. It is a thorough-going advocate of absolute individual sovereignty, and matains its attitude within striking ability. Read the advertisement in another column, and send your subscription.
“Man,” the organ of the Liberal League, is making rapid strides in influence and excellence. It is fast overtaking Liberty.
The Arrest of Kropotkine.
From “L’Intransigeant” and “Le Révolte” we glean the following details of the French government’s outrageous arrest of Pierre Kropotkine:
On Friday, December 15, Madame Kropotkine, wishing to go from Thonon to Geneva to consult a doctor in behalf of her brother who was a victim of lung disease, made arrangement to take the train leaving a few minutes after four o’clock, and was already in one of the railway carriages, when the district attorney, accompanied by a few policemen, invited her to step out again to be searched. Madame Kropotkine asking him for what reasons this search was demanded, he replied that she was accused of transmitting her husband’s correspondence with Anarchists living in Geneva, that the orders given by the examining magistrate at Lyons were explicit, and that she would have to follow him in order that they might be carried out. In vain did she explain why she was going to Geneva, and that her business in that city was of vital importance, involving, if not the salvation of her brother’s life, at least its preservation for as long a time as possible; in vain did she hand over the little basket which she carried to the attorney with the request that to inspect it at once that she might not miss the train; he only replied with the order, several times repented, to follow him in the name of the law.
She was then led into one of the rooms in the depot, while Kropotkine, who had accompanied her to the train and had witnessed the whole scene, was kept in sight by a few policemen in the waiting-room. It took an hour and a half to find in Thonon a woman willing to undertake the contemptible task of searching her; and even then, in the absence of any one else to execute the explicit orders of M. Rigot, the examining magistrate at Lyons, it was the police commissioner’s wife who, at the bidding of her husband, had to begin the exploration of Madame Kropotkine’s person. The explicit orders of this rascal having been executed, and his wife having brought him, as the results of a half-hour’s search, the compromising papers destined for tho Geneva Anarchists,— consisting of two numbers of the Russian journal called the “Golos,” two books (one French and the other Russian), a memorandum-book, and a wallet,— the attorney then declared to Kropotkine that they were going to search his dwelling. Kropotkine observing that such a search probably had already been made in bis absence, the official rejoined:
“Do you think, Mr. Prince, that we would ever consent to violate your domicile in your absence?”
Nevertheless, on reaching his house, accompanied by the attorney and his subordinates, Kropotkine saw that the police bad been there; everything had been upturned, downturned, and ransacked. Although Kropotkine had warned the officers that there was a dying man in the house, his brother-in-law, a young man of twenty-one, confined to his bed with tuberculosis, whose death the slightest emotion might precipitate, the commissioner rushed brusquely into tho chamber, compelled the sick man to rise, and made a minute examination of every nook and corner of the apartment. For an hour they kept the unfortunate man, shaking with fever, from all communication with the rest of the household, who had been put in the kitchen. Finally, overcome by intense suffering, he fell back upon the foot of his bed like an inert mass. A little later, when his sister arrived to relieve him and bestow upon him the necessary cares, the officers did not leave her alone with the sick man, but remained continually in the chamber, so provoking him in his agony that, collecting what remnants of strength were left him, he seized an alarm-clock, which lay upon a table at his bedside, to throw it at the heads of the officers who poked their noses through his doorway. Exhausted by this effort, his weak arm fell, and he sank into the arms of Madame Kropotkine.
All this was going on on the ground-floor, while the attorney and a number of others were searching Kropotkine’s study on the floor above. But though they searched a long time, they evidently did not find what they expected. They seized, nevertheless, some unfinished manuscripts, among them the preface of a work on Anarchy. Then they found some English letters concerning Kropotkine’s scientific and literary labors for English publications. But these letters, as well as those of his wife (in Russian), they did not touch. Next they seized two letters — one from Geneva, the other from Paris — of absolutely no importance.
But the pièce de résistance, the pearl of their discoveries, was two other letters: one from London, in which the writer claimed to be the bearer of hundreds of thousands of francs for Kropotkine, which he would deliver to the Russian revolutionist if the latter would meet him in London; the other, of a similar nature, from a man in Switzerland. On both of them Kropotkine had written: “The work of international police-spies.” Of such letters Kropotkine receives dozens every month. Further than this the plunderers got no booty and departed at a late hour.
The excitement proved fatal to the unfortunate consumptive, who expired a few days later in the arms of his sister and his brother-in law. The day after iris death, while Kropotkine was caring for his suffering and distracted wife, and while a doctor whom he had called was at her bedside, the house was surrounded by the police, and the commissioner, girt with his seuf, presented himself upon the ground-floor, in a room adjoining that where lay the corpse, and asked for Kropotkine. The latter having been called, the commissioner read to him a warrant for his arrest issued by the examining magistrate at Lyons, and told him at the close that he might have a few hours in which to prepare for his departure. Kropotkine, then opening the door of the next room, showed him the body of his brother-in-law, and, telling him that his wife had had a fainting-fit and that a new and sudden emotion might endanger her life, asked a delay of two days in which to assure himself of his wife’s health and break to her the news of his arrest less brutally, the house in the meantime to be guarded by the police. The commissioner and his men, who, old soldiers of the Empire, were by no means tender-hearted, recoiled at the picture that confronted them, and, perceiving, in spite of their thick skins, the utter ignominy of an arrest made at such a time, did not wish to take upon themselves the responsibility of such an act. The commissioner therefore ordered one of his men to report the situation to the district attorney with Kropotkine’s request, the latter giving his word of honor to appear two days later before the examining magistrate at Lyons, or, if his word should not he accepted, then in the custody of the police. The doctor entering at this moment, the commissioner took occasion to ask him if what Kropotkine had said concerning the health of his wife was correct, and the doctor confirmed Kropotkine.
After a wait of fifteen minutes the officer returned with the attorney’s answer. The latter, he said, had telegraphed to Lyons the request of Kropotkine and had just received the reply. The magistrate allowed Kropotkine a few hours in which to prepare for his departure, and ordered that he be taken at five o’clock to the prison in Thonon there to spend the night, that he be permitted on the following morning to attend the burial of his brother-in-law guarded by four officers, and that immediately afterwards he be sent to Lyons. In view of this answer, Kropotkine, after telling the commissioner that it was not alone to be able to attend his brother-in-law’s funeral that he had asked for a delay, but to assure himself concerning his wife and give her the care which her condition called for, declared that he was ready to go at once.
The inhabitants of Thonon exhibited much sympathy for him at his departure. On his arrival at Lyons he was committed to the St. Paul prison on two charges: first, of having I been connected with an association between Frenchmen and foreigners, whose object is social upheaval and whose methods are assassination and pillage; second, of having been the chief instigator and organizer of this association in France, and especially of having visited Lyons to foment revolt in secret meetings.
Of the ridiculous allegations upon which these charges are based the following are fair specimens: (1) that Kropotkine, replying to a young man of St. Etienne who had urged him to start the revolution, said the time was not yet ripe; (2) that he wrote to a committee of workingmen, who had invited him to attend a private reunion, that he could not give his presence at any but a public meeting; (3) that he wrote to the “Droit Social” declining to become a Contributor to that journal; (4) that he corrected the proofs of a pamphlet on Nihilism, the author of which had requested him to point out whatever material errors he might discover. And yet, held upon such trifles as these, the French magistracy declined to accept for him the proffered bail of no less a person than the eminent radical and millionaire member of the British house of commons, Joseph Cowen of Newcastle.
At Rochefort’s request Georges Laguerre, the lawyer who recently defended the miners of Montceau with great ability, bravery, and eloquence, consented to take charge of Kropotkine’s case, but Kropotkine, on receiving the offer, declined it in the following loiter:
My dear Rochefort:
I thank you earnestly for your kind remembrance and your friendship, and I beg you to warmly thank the friends who remember me. Of what consequence are governmental prosecutions, if they gain us the sympathy of those whom we esteem?
Extend my best thanks also to M. Laguerre for his kind offer. I shall engage no counsel, but defend myself. Most of my comrades will do the same.
What is the use, indeed, of a defence based on legal grounds when the material facts on which the prosecution is based are null? The charge amounts simply to constructive treason, a prosecution of a class.
Accept a hearty handshake and my good wishes.
In consequence of his arrest, his wife underwent a severe nervous crisis, which created no little anxiety among her friends. Fortunately she came out of it safely.
The event caused much discussion in the newspapers, and the Gambettist organs insinuated that Élisée Reclus was avoiding France in order to escape the fate of his fellow-worker in the revolutionary movement. Thereupon M. Reclus wrote the following letter:
Monsieur Rigot, Examining Magistrate at Lyons:
Sir,— I read in the Lyons “Republican” of December 23 that, “according to the warrant,” the two chiefs and organizers of the “revolutionary Anarchists” are Élisée Reclus and Prince Kropotkine, and that I do not share my friend’s imprisonment for the sole reason that French justice cannot go beyond the frontier to arrest me.
You know, however, that it would have been very easy to arrest me, since I have just passed more than two mouths in France. Nor are you ignorant that I returned to Thonon to attend the burial of Ananieff the day after Kropotkine’s arrest, and that I pronounced a few words over his grave. The officers who were stationed immediately behind me and who repented my name had only to invite me to follow them.
But whether I reside in France or in Switzerland matters little. If you desire to institute proceedings against me, I will hasten to respond to your personal invitation.
Name the place, the day, and the hour.
At the appointed time I will knock at the door of the prison designated.
Accept, sir, my civilities.
It is needless to say that this letter was not heeded. The trial of Kropotkine, Emile Gautier, and a number of other Anarchists began at Lyons on the 8th instant,— not before a jury, but before a tribunal of three judges,— with what result is not yet known. Liberty will keep its readers informed concerning the sequence of this shameful affair.
In this issue we can only give the following encouraging news sent by cable to the New York “Sun:”
The French Socialists have enjoyed a great triumph in the trial of Prince Kropotkine and his fifty-two brother Anarchists at Lyons. If the trial had been designed as an elaborate scheme for the propagation of Socialism, the result could not have afforded more satisfaction to its projectors. The whole affair was practically controlled by Prince Kropotkine. He was cool, courteous, and self-possessed, and in his replies to the president of the tribunal showed his entire mastery over his judges. The ability which he disclosed was extraordinary, and the exasperation of the court was complete. All of the prisoners took a firm stand, gave their testimony sometimes with unconcealed sarcasm, and betrayed no apprehension of the result. So far the trial is a failure. Not one has been identified with the International, which was the immediate intention, while all have boldly avowed their political beliefs and practices.
No Pardon Desired.
The executive committee of a revolutionary society in Rome, convened in special session to consider Victor Hugo’s appeal to the emperor of Austria to spare the life of Oberdanks the bomb-thrower, who has since been executed, passed the following resolution:
The committee, having taken cognizance of Victor Hugo’s letter asking the emperor of Austria to pardon William Oberdank, condemned to death;
Interpreting the sentiments of the Italian party of action, which never compromises, and the invincible pride of the condemned hero;
While rendering homage to the heart of the great poet and to the Italian students who called upon him, does not unite in the petition for pardon sent to the oppressor of Trente and Trieste, because such a course diminishes and profanes Oberdank’s sacrifice, and it rejects especially the statement of Victor Hugo that the Austrian emperor, by signing the pardon, would become grand.
Despotism can know neither true grandeur nor true generosity, because it is guided only by interest and restrained only by fear.
Whether the Austrian emperor shoots or condemns to slow death in the galleys our valorous friend, he will never be grand; he will ever remain in the conscience of the people as the oppressor of our brothers, cursed by all Italian mothers.
A Warning to the Blind.
[Henry Maret in “Le Radical.”]
We have reached an epoch when it is highly imprudent for the governing and well-to-do classes to deny social questions and ignore the wretched, from whom they have taken away heaven and to whom they refuse the earth. All such partial outbreaks as the Montceau-les-Mines troubles are not very disquieting in themselves, but they are precursory signals. The great earthquakes which engulf cities are generally preceded by slight upheavals and lugubrious rumblings. It will not do to exclaim tranquilly: “Bah! we will end the matter with a few gendarmes.” There will come a day when the gendarmes will be lacking and when misery will raise everywhere its immense black flag.
Who does not see the necessity of giving light and happiness to the obscure and the suffering is himself a blind man and to be pitied. We may laugh at conventions which end in nothing; we may despise certain ridiculous theories and the envious persons who live by them; but there is one thing permanent, which we cannot laugh at or despise: the suffering of the poor. The laborer wishes his part of the Revolution; he means to take his place at the grand banquet; the guests must sit closer and give him a seal among them if they wish to finish in peace the repast they have begun. [Rather, should they not retire from the table? Who besides the laborer is entitled to a plate? — Editor Liberty.]
And that is just, and what is just eventually becomes actual. It is not possible that one portion of humanity will forever labor to enrich another portion and that the same sun shall not shine for all. And since you can no longer promise him a paradise in which you no longer believe, do not be surprised when the poor man rises and says to you:
“Brother, where is the share of our inheritance which you have stolen from me and which I did not sell while in my mother’s womb?”
Come into the Alley, Mac!
Written at the time of the attempted enforcement of the Sunday laws in New York’s new penal code.
Come Into the alley, Mac,
For the Saturday night has gone;
Come It to the alley, Mac,
Ol’d discourse will yeself alone;
For the roundsman shure will not come back,
And the sergeant’s bloind as a stone.
The throuble will soon begin
Wid the new Sunday law, d’ye see,
And we’ll have our hands full wid runnin ‘em in
And consthruin’ the Code legally;
So Ol’d have ye attind till the wag av me chin,
And poshted an law ye will be.
All noight was Ol kept awake
By a chap wid a big bassoon,
And Ol foind by the Code it’ll be legal to make
An exhample av that gosscon,
On the charge av wilfully thryin to break
Thu Sabbath all up wid his chune.
By the selfsame section, av ye hear a dbrum
Will a funeral gang on Broadway,
Arresht the corpse, Mac, the son-av-a-god,
For not dyir, some other day.
And shuake in thim Dutchmen, ivery wan,—
It’s no roight, has a band, to play
And sorely disthract wid haythenish fur.
Thim payple as wants to pray.
Ol’d advoise ye to slug and take to the jug
That naygur down on yer bate,
Av ye catch him shavin’; ye’ve a roight to lug
Anny barber tru the sthrate
For breaking the Sabbath wid a lather-mug.
It’s a croime now to be nate.
Thim bootblacks too, we have thim foine,
And the Arabs as sells the “Sun;”
For the Code sez naythur av thim shall shoine
On Sunday for annywan.
Such deshperate villains do be in our loine,
And Ol’m antishipathin some fan.
It’s a jooty, d’ye see, to squelch the news
What thim rashcally papers do print;
And anny mon wid black on his shoes
Is on worldly vanity bint
An’ divil a bit betther nor Chatham-sthrate Jews,
Who won’t kape Sunday or Lint.
And by the same token, there’s orthers given
Reshspecthin’ the measures to take
Wid Moses an’ Aaron, who niver count sivin
From the proper front ind’av the wake,
But shpile all their show av getthin’ to hivin,
Giving the Code the cowld shake.
We’ll have thim pulled in by half pasht ellvin
For the law and the goshpel’s sake.
But, Mac, av ye think to remain on the foorce,
Kape in wid the boss av the ward.
Thin sellin’ av rum there’s mony things worse.
And a wink’s as good as a nod
To wan av “the foinest,” the same’s a bloind horse;
So ye’ll govern yerself in accord
Wid the charity clause in the Code, av coorse,
The consthruin’ av which is broad.
There’s more Oi’d call till yer moind
Consarnin’ thim Sunday laws,
But it’s dhry Oi’m getthin’, Oi foind,
Wid exshpoundin’ the why an’ because,
And Oi’m thinkin’ it’s toime to be takin’ some koind
Av a dhrink to moisthen me jaws;
Which being necessithy, Codes don’t boind
You and me to shplit laygal sthraws.
The Prisons of Siberia.
The following letter, containing accurate and detailed information concerning the atrocious treatment inflicted upon the political prisoners of Alexander III., was received from Siberia during the closing week of 1882 by the Russian refugees at Geneva:
On the first of May, at two o’clock in the morning, two consecutive shots were heard near the political prison of Nigni-Kara. The sentinels had fired at a man who was escaping from a workshop located just beyond the grounds. Soon afterward a special visit was made at the prison, and the keepers established the escape of nine prisoners: Michkine, Ilroustchow, Bolomiesow, Voinarolsky, Lestcheuko, Jurkowsky, Dikowsky, Ilrjanowsky, and Minakow.
This escape so disturbed the authorities at St. Petersburg that they threatened to recall the governor, Iglichewitch, unless the fugitives should be recaptured. A few days before, on the twentieth of April, Iglichewitch and Galkine-Vrajsky had inspected the prison and found it in good order. To mitigate their responsibility these two functionaries conceived the ingenious idea of fomenting a revolt among the prisoners.
On the fourth of May the manager, Potolew, ordered that the heads of the political prisoners be shaved. The prisoners replied that the instruction of the ministry exempted them from this process, that only the ministry could rescind the instruction, and that consequently they refused to submit to Potolew’s order. This decided stand of the prisoners led the authorities to reflect, and on the sixth of May they officially notified the condemned that no violence would be done them and that they might be tranquil. Five days passed without incident, and the prisoners began to breathe again.
On the eleventh of May, at three o’clock in the morning, six hundred Cossacks, under the command of Iglichewitch, Roudenko, and Potolew, authorized by Galkine, surrounded the prison, occupied all the passages and courts, and rushed upon the sleeping prisoners. They proceeded first to a general visit, summoned the prisoners to dress themselves, and obliged them to go out in five groups. The Cossacks then invaded the prison and took the prisoners’ effects; their chiefs set the example by appropriating articles of value. They took everything, even photographs. Twenty-six prisoners were sent to Oust-Kara, and as many more to Vechnia-Kara and to the prison of l’Amour. The Cossacks, urged by their leaders, insulted and struck the unfortunates. When the latter, worn out with suffering, made a show of resisting the bad treatment, the order was given to break the heads of all who should utter a word of protest. They tied their hands behind their backs, and thus our unhappy comrades were marched to Oust-Kara.
At the moment when the prisoners remaining at Nigni-Kara were beginning to dine, Potolew and Roudenko appeared with the Cossacks. The prisoner Orlow demanded an explanation of what had happened. “Silence!” was the only answer that he obtained. Orlow insisted. The Cossacks rushed upon him, struck him with the butts of their guns, and then took him off to put him in the dungeon. During the excitement Potolew struck some blows and ordered the Cossacks to do likewise. Orlow’s companions received similar usage. When at last, this scene of savagery ceased, Potolew shouted gleefully: “That is how we make visits!”
The cruel wretches then passed into the next room. The prisoner Bobohow was seated when the inspectors entered. “Take him by the hair!” yelled Roudenko; and Bobohow, dragged by the hair, received a shower of blows. Filled with indignation, the prisoners Starinkewitch and Jastrowsky seized boards and threw them at Roudenko, who unfortunately was not hit by them. This attempt at resistance was followed by a frightful scene of violence. The Cossacks set to beating the prisoners with such zeal that the stock of one of their guns broke. Of all the prisoners Starinkewitch suffered the most.
After which the unfortunate prisoners were submitted to a whole series of persecutions. Their books, tea, and tobacco were taken away; they were restricted to ordinary prison fare — spoiled bread and soup made from tainted fish. Not content with that, the authorities confined them in twos and threes in narrow cells, prohibited them from going out even to take the air, took away their beds, refused them their own linen and deprived them of light. The women were treated in the same way, and the sick had neither cure nor medicine. Vlastopoulo went mad!
A few weeks went by without any modification in their condition, when Holtongrine, major of the gendarmes, arrived. Holtongrine told the prisoners that they were accused of receiving stolen goods, and that the authorities had taken away all their things as compensation for the twenty-three thousand roubles which the search for the fugitives had cost. “I will make them die of hunger!” said Holtongrine, speaking of the political prisoners.
At present this is the situation at Kara. The prison is divided into small compartments. Each compartment contains six or seven men all shaven and in irons; some are handcuffed, notably Popro, Berousnik, and Fomitchew. All are expressly forbidden to go out, and are deprived of books, journals, ink, and paper. The prisoners are formally prohibited from writing to their relatives and friends. Twice a day they receive an official visit. The authorities are disposed to send back the women who have voluntarily followed the political prisoners. Among the latter there are twenty-two who have finished their sentences, but Holtongrine says: “Russia has its term, and we have ours.” We are no longer allowed to work in the shops, or to care for the sick, who are numerous. The women are treated like the men, with the single difference that they can spend their money, which they do in buying tea and tobacco for the prisoners. Several of the women are sick: Bronchkowska, Kowalska, Kobenkina, Lechern, and Levenson. Among the men the following are very seriously ill: Fihanow, Jurkowsky, Dikowsky, Bogdonowitch, Stavinkewitch, and Jounow. Stariukewitch and Jastrawsky are under sentence for resisting the authorities. Pont-Kara has vowed an implacable hatred for Holtongrine, Roudenko, Iglichewitch, Galkine-Vrajsky, and Potolew. Kochnitzeff, Weimar, Michdailow, and Frostchausky are well. Preobrajensky is thin an feeble. Ziplow has received one hundred blows of a musket in the hands of Anoutchine; while they were being struck, Holtongrine continually encouraged the wretch with these words: “Strike! Strike hard! These rascals must be killed!” Those most compromised in the resistance provoked by the authorities are Bogomolsky, Kovalsca, Chedrinc, Ivanow, Volochenko, Popow, Ratzinsky, Kobilensky, and Gachisch. They have all been taken, with irons on their feet, to the fort of Novogulorguivsky. The fugitives have been recaptured and fastened to die walls. Lechern had been hanged. Bronchkowska swallowed dissolved matches, but the authorities saved him.
All these facts are irrefutable. What could be added to the terrible list?
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.