“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.
Will every reader of Liberty kindly call the attention of his friends in general and his Irish friends in particular to the serial story begun on the second page of this issue, entitled “Ireland,” translated from the French by Sarah E. Holmes?
At the recent French elections Henri Rochefort was elected a member of the chamber of deputies. It is a pity. Why should a man who has proved himself so powerful in guiding men by reason and wit descend to the business of governing them by arbitrary power? Rochefort, the parliamentarian, can only neutralise the efforts of Rochefort, the pamphleteer.
The short-sighted censors of the drama in France have forbidden the representation of Zola’s “Germinal” — the only novel fairly entitled to dispute with Hugo’s “Les Mislrables” the honor of being the greatest ever written — on the stage of the Chatelet theatre in Paris. The ground of this outrageous decree is not, as some may suppose, Zola’s unparalleled audacity of expression concerning the sexual lives of laborers and capitalists, but “the socialistic tendency of the work, and especially the seventh scene, the strike of the miners,” where the police fire on the unfortunate workingmen. I join my voice with Henri Rochefort’s in urging Zola to “render a real service, not only to letters, but to the great cause of Liberty,” by insisting that the manager of the Chatelet shall produce “Germinal” in spite of the censors and the “republican” government behind them.
R. R. Bowker, writing on capital and interest in the Des Moines “Million,” says: “Proudhon, the French socialist, who warred against capital and held that ‘property is robbery,’ organized a ‘People’s Bank,’ which was to abolish interest proper, get rid of insurance by dividing the loss among all the depositors, and bring the rate of interest down to the mere cost of administration. Before it got to that point the bank failed, just as the man’s horse died when he had him down to one straw a day and expected him to live on nothing tomorrow.” Practically this is a lie, for it is an attempt to deceive. Though carrying the inference that the bank failed from its inherent weakness, the writer probably knew, as Richard Ely of Johns Hopkins certainly knew when he made a similar statement in his book on “French and German Socialism,” that such was not at all the real reason of its failure. The bank failed because it never got started, and it never got started (although its prospects were most flattering) because Napoleon III cast Proudhon, its manager, into prison, nominally for a political offence, but really for the express purpose of killing the bank.
A new subscriber in Melbourne, Australia, David A. Andrade, sends the following encouraging word: “I am well satisfied with your paper as far as I have seen it; and I intend diligently to read through the whole file as soon as I can find time, after which I may probably have something to say to you on the subject. I have not yet satisfied myself as to the correctness of your views regarding capital and profit and one of two minor subjects; and I do not feel justified in deciding upon the merits of all your principles until I have read and considered what you have to say on the subject. As regards laws and governments, however, I can say safely that I am at one with you. A freethinker in theory, and as far as possible in practice, I heartily detest the tyrannies of priests and rulers and the contemptible servility of the religious and the loyal. Individualism is the principle which I cherish above all others; and humility I abhor, whether it be in the form of respect for monarchy, republic, aristocracy, democracy, majority rule, minority rule, or what not. Every law I regard as either oppressive or superfluous, every lawmaker either a rogue or a fool.”
The most healthful sign recently exhibited by American daily journalism is the experimental innovation of the Boston “Globe” in adopting in its Sunday edition the French idea of signed editorials. The very first issue established the value of the system, and from it, if the idea is adhered to, may fairly date the advent of honesty into our metropolitan newspaper offices. The “Globe’s” editorial page last Sunday breathed a spirit of fearless and untrammeled sincerity which made it at once superior to itself in the past and to its contemporaries in the present. Even the New York “Sun,” which has achieved the highest degree of independence that impersonal journalism has yet shown itself capable of, must take second place to the “Sunday Globe” in this respect. The “Globe,” however, should beware of the magazine policy of making its editorial page a receptacle for star papers by celebrated writers. Its opportunity for rivalling the magazines is to be found in its “special article” columns. The editorial columns should be filled exclusively by two or three forcible writers, broadly in sympathy on questions of principle and policy, who will discuss from day to day the issues of the hour in such weighty, bright, and vital fashion that their opinions will become, not exactly oracular, but as valuable and interesting to the people as if they were. That is the French idea in its fullness, and it combines the advantages of individuality, originality, and freedom with those of consistency, steady purpose, and cumulative power.
To the Czar of Russia is due the credit of applying practically to taxation the reductio ad absurdum. Heretofore all his subjects have enjoyed at least the highly estimable privilege of praying for their rights free of cost. Any morning any of them could put in as many petitions as they chose to Alexander himself or any of his ministers for relief from any grievance whatsoever. Now, however, this state of things is no more. The last liberty of the Russian has been taken from him. The right of petition has been made the subject of a tax. Before the aggrieved citizen can make his grievance officially known, he must pay sixty kopecks into the treasury of His Imperial Nibs for the purchase of a stamp to put upon his document. Other sovereigns have taxed every other right under the sun, but it was left for Alexander III. to tax the right to demand your rights. No citizen of Russia can now ask his “dear father” to let him alone without paying sixty kopecks an ask. This is the act of a notoriously cruel despot. See now how much wiser the policy of a reputedly benevolent one, Dom Pedro of Brazil. He also is the author of a novelty in taxation. No Brazilian husband, who, becoming suspicious of his wife, detects her and her lover in flagrante delicto, can hereafter legally establish such discovery until he has first poured into the State’s coffers a sum slightly exceeding two dollars and a half. This is a use of tyranny that almost indices me to wink at it. Bleeding domestic tyrants is better business than political tyrants are wont to engage in. If there must be a tax-gatherer, I shall vote for Dom Pedro.
The New York “Graphic” says: “A crank journal in Boston, which calls itself Liberty, takes sides with the Franco-Canadians who refuse to be vaccinated, and advises them to ‘vaccinate the doctors with cold lead.’ If that principle were carried to its logical outcome, it would be criminal to restrain a lunatic or shoot a mad dog.” From the governmental standpoint the “Graphic” is perfectly correct. Governments are blind despots, unable to discriminate between reason and rabies, between liberty and lunacy. Thought is a function of which they know nothing, brains an article of which they cannot take cognizance. To governments and the “Graphic” there is no distinction between Alfred Russell Wallace, the scientist, refusing to be vaccinated, and a mad dog running through the streets. Both should be restrained or shot down. The “crank journal in Boston,” however, sees a difference between them, and would treat them differently. If it is cranky or eccentric to possess this high degree of discriminative power, the fact is a sad one for ordinary people.
M. D. Conway’s address on “Our Armageddon,” delivered at the reception lately given him by the Boston Free Religionists, was the grandest thing that I have heard from one of that school in a long time. The remark of Colonel Higginson, the presiding officer, that Mr. Conway still professed theism seemed hardly borne out by the essayist’s own statements. For although he declared the only article of his confession of faith to be, “God is good,” he went on to explain that his god was not the author of all phenomena, for, since all phenomena are not lovable, no one can worship the author of all phenomena; that his god is not omnipotent, but sometimes almost helpless; that his god did not create the evil that exists, and is not responsible for it; that his god, in short, is simply the goodness to be found in the human heart, which is always doing battle with evil,— a battle which the essayist proceeded to discuss as “our Armageddon.” Such a god is no god at all. Strip God of his omnipotence, his creatorship, and his ruling power, and you take away the divine essentials. Whatever words Mr. Conway may use, his position is that of the atheist. Michael Bakounine himself would not hesitate to stand by his side. And it is among the atheists and Anarchists that Mr. Conway will have chiefly to look for recruits for “our Armageddon.” The Free Religionists whom he addressed listened to him almost without enthusiasm. His glowing words were unable to fuse their enamel of “respectability.” With very rare exceptions these people are upholders of the chief social iniquities of the worst political tyranny. You seldom hear from them a direct and specific word against the monopolies that rob labor (save now and then a protest against the comparatively innocent protective tariff), and the men who do oppose such monopolies they regard as cranks and impracticables. The horrible institution of marriage, which Mr. Conway has dealt so many terrific blows, finds its strictest apologists in the Free Religionists, Colonel Higginson had words of honey for Mr. Conway for upholding old Mr. Truelove when imprisoned in England for his opinions, but Colonel Higginson’s voice was silent when, in this country, E. H. Heywood and D. M. Bennett were imprisoned for their opinions. In fact, I am not sure that it was not lifted in favor of their imprisonment. Ah! Mr. Conway, you have mistaken your hosts.
By Georges Sauton.
Translated from the French for Liberty by Sarah E. Holmes.
Now Paddy Neill breathed freely again. He travelled no longer in the darkness, like a thief, passing the day crouched in the branches of trees, hid in the bottom of a ravine or in the caves of beasts to escape the English emissaries who were scouring the country.
Neither soldiers nor spies had yet pushed their reconnaissances in this direction, and he no longer dreaded being informed against, as a dangerous Irishman, on account of his run-away garb, his vest in tatters, his breeches spotted with mud, and, above all, his face, frightfully scarred, like the canvas of a torn portrait,— cruel stigmata of the torments which he had suffered the previous month, in the dungeons of Dublin.
He slept during the night, and walked from daybreak, taking the roads or footpaths at his fancy, tending, however, to the shorter, being in haste to reach again his village, in the region of Cork, left nearly a half year since, and to which he brought grave news and instructions.
Ireland fermented from one end to the other, perturbed at many points; already the people were rising in arms, announcing themselves “formidable.” The poor old woman, as her children sadly called Ireland, lived yet, showing her teeth, and soon would set them in the pitiless heart of these cursed tyrants. The atrocity of the preventive repression did not dismay her.
In the name of George the Fourth, they had in vain multiplied tortures, the whip, the stake, summoning to the thresholds of their houses and shooting without warning peaceful citizens, putting caps of pitch on the heads of suspected parsons: these savage proceedings succeeding only in kindling the spirit of the lukewarm, and in exasperating the more ardent.
The cap of pitch had been Paddy’s fate, and he counted absolutely on the ignoble ravages of his face to revolutionize every man down there at Bunclody and in all the country where they knew him; he doubted only one thing,— the not being disfigured enough to excite sufficient wrath; so he was devoured by curiosity to get to his hut and see himself in the bit of looking-glass ornamented with the green Shamrock leaf and hung in the chimney corner under the colored image of Saint Patrick.
Since he had left, the hands of the torturer, traversing no village in his flight, systematically avoiding habitations, he had seen neither glass nor window, and, having met no living soul whose degree of fright had informed him, he could not at all render to himself an account of his condition. The only cottage he had entered (being thirsty) was wholly without panes to the windows which shook in the wind; and, more than three-quarters blind, the old octogenarian who was mechanically knitting within, judging him by the mildness of his words, had experienced neither terror nor repulsion.
Feeling his scars with his hand, he fully realized that the pitch, in fusing, had corroded and shred his eyelids, cutting the skin of the forehead; his fingers penetrated into the sinuous furrows and pressed the swellings of the flesh; but he could not picture adequately to himself the whole of these horrors, and he deviated sometimes from his path in search of a spring or brook which would reflect his image.
He discovered none, the unusually hot summer having dried up the water as it had consumed the foliage of the trees and devoured the grass of the meadows, casting desolation over all the country.
Tired at last, Paddy leaned against the side of a knoll and looked on at scenes of real tragedies.
Miserable cows, in a pasture without a shadow of vegetation, turned towards the pale autumnal sun their noses parched with fever. Yawning with hunger, pushing back parched lips over their long, yellow, shaking teeth, they exhaled lamentable lowings like a doleful appeal for help, to which, at last, responded the far-away voice of a man. Aroused by the noise, one beast, more consumptive than the rest, made an heroic effort, to rise, accompanied by a grievous lamentation, only to tremble and almost immediately drop down, exhausted, on the soil arid and naked as an empty sack.
The others, doubtless aware of this fall, redoubled their bellowing; and the man whose voice — gently encouraging in spite of the characteristic accent of sorrow — drew nearer, appeared behind the slashed hedge, where now not even the skeleton of a leaf remained. The animals ran to him at a panting trot of their feeble legs, the flabby hide flapping on their hollow flanks, but, immediately wearied, they slackened their speed, proceeding with a painful gait. They surrounded him affectionately, licking the hands which caressed their rough and withered hide.
A sharp sadness seized the countryman; by turns he contemplated the dull stretch of meadow, bare as a cloth that shows its thread, and the knotty spines and skeleton frames of the cows whose bones showed with such painful sharpness.
“Would it not be better to kill them at once?” murmured he, loud enough, however, for Neill, in the silence of this solitude, to understand.
He appeared himself emaciated by privations; and, very gloomy, powerless to alleviate this deplorable distress, he hastened the denouement, exciting by some deceptive words the dying animal to stand on her feet, helping her with a supreme goodness; then slipped a leather strap under her belly, so supporting her in her unsteady step; and together they left the field.
Here also misery allied itself with the English. Paddy had hoped that it would be otherwise; but, since the evil existed, he believed that this complication would hasten the insurrection; the famine would come sooner, and the wolf more readily spring from the forest.
Having again set out on his way and passing by the side of the enclosure, the cows which were left, bellowing their desolation in a despairing rhythm, came towards him. Whether by chance or because he was a stranger to them, when they saw him at their side, they stopped suddenly as if stupefied. He attributed their attitude to horror, and went on his way, enchanted.
Decidedly, he would produce on his friends a strong impression, and, to enjoy as soon as possible this result, he lengthened his steps, regretting his pause and rest which had delayed him. By taking short cuts he calculated to reach the end of his journey in five good hours by wasting no time, never stopping to stare at the rooks which in black hands flew swiftly cawing toward the regions where the murderers strewed the pavements of the streets with corpses.
Barely four hours and a half sufficed, and he reached Bunclody as the setting sun encircled the top of the steeple from which the Angelus had just finished sounding.
The country nearer the sea, refreshed by its humid breath, had suffered less from the drought than most of the other regions: it preserved yet some green thickets, and an appearance of harvest, very incompletely ripened, waved in the breeze, balancing on the ears of corn a multitude of sparrows that were stuffing themselves, regardless of the immoderate gestures of manikins rigged upon poles.
These represented vague types of the English, and the timid attempts at rough caricature pleased Paddy Neill, who smiled.
They had not, since Iris departure, lost their hatred of the oppressor; quite the contrary, as he received proof some minutes later.
The last vibrations of the Angelus died away in an imperceptible hum as a murmuring, rumbling sound of voices readied him: voices of youths, delicate but positive, at intervals suddenly grave with solemn inflections, or as if stifled in their throats, breaking forth unexpectedly in irritated exclamations.
“The truant school of Treor!” said Paddy to himself, and in his heart, surged spontaneously the memory of his forgotten childhood.
He ran over his twenty-seven years, and again it was Treor who, in the shade of the flowering hedges, on the cool river banks, had instructed himself and his comrades in rebellion against the law, the odious law which forbade the sons of Erin to read elsewhere than in the Anglican catechism.
Going by the side of the road, in the field within the thorny fence, they did not see him approach; the sound of his steps deadened by the fallow ground, he drew near without, betraying his presence, and through the network of brandies perceived a dozen young boys, the sons and brothers of his old schoolfellows, grouped by the side of a ditch around the proud old man; while a little farther on, his little girl Marian, a sweet and serene face, taught the younger ones, those of five or six years.
With eyes opened wide at the recitals of the master, the older ones read the lesson on his lips before hearing it, and, shuddering, their clear foreheads contracted, they seemed in the strong anger which swelled their breasts already like men.
Most assuredly, Treor was speaking to them of their country, of her ruins, her sufferings, her griefs, and her bondage, and in this way rousing their generous, exuberant emotion, Neill listened.
“Then,” said the volunteer tutor, “Cromwell, having found in Drogheda a fierce resistance, burned the town relentlessly.”
A pale little fellow, with the veined face of a sickly girl, cried out, in a hissing voice:
“At least, he is for all eternity in the flames of hell!”
“After which,” continued the old man, “the Protector tried to sell the whole of Ireland, at auction, to the Jews!”
“The Judas!” exclaimed a patriot of thirteen years, with a blazing face.
And all the pupils, in a noisy uproar and confusion of questions, begged for enlightenment on points still obscure to them. Treor, probably for the hundredth time, retraced for them in a rapid resume the whole history of the contest undertaken by the rapacious Albion: her lords joining in a scramble for the land, building their castles on the battle-fields still drenched with blood mixed with crushed flesh; at the least, manifestation of discontent on the part of the conquered, depriving them of all chance of retaliation, all hope of an equitable restoration in the future, by exile en masse, transportation en masse, massacres, slaughter of inoffensive populations, veritable unclean butcheries with only incendiary fires everywhere to purify the air!
“At last,” concluded Treor, who was growing enthusiastic amid the increasing tumult of hearts, “they soon drove all the natives from the right bank of the Shannon as if they were penning up a flock, and the fate of whoever ventured there was death, death without sentence, the unpunished, applauded death of game by the hunter! The adage with which you are familiar is borne out by experience and the height of the hecatombs: ‘It is not a felony to kill an Irishman!’”
During this time, the teaching of the little ones, calmer but yet patriot like, was going on, and, to repay them for their sustained attention, the young teacher repeated to them the always applauded legend of Ireland surviving, like the ark, the deluge; and of her inhabitants, rescued from the waters, repeopling afterwards the neighboring islands.
And the marvellous legend provoked this logical reflection from an infant as chubby as the cherubs in church paintings:
“In that case, it is England that ought to belong to us.”
Slow and melancholy, the speech of the young girl seemed to disengage itself from the midst of tears; her whole look breathed intense grief, restrained and forced back, and the oblique rays of the sun which was disappearing kindled a faint light in her wet eyes. Paddy Neill remarked at the same time, in the neighborhood, a castle window illuminated by the same sun, and this chance coincidence recalled to him what he believed to have discovered before his departure,— the love of Treor’s little girl for the son of Newington, deceitful, fatal love, without issue, devoted to sorrow, reprobation, and despair.
Sir Richard Bradwell, who was its object, was as forbearing and humane, as his father was harsh and hateful to the Irish, but he belonged none the less to the odious race, and the sons of hangmen do not marry without profanation and sacrilege the daughters or sisters of their victims.
So Neill exulted once more in the thought of his mutilations; when Marian should see him, when he should explain to her in detail the torments, the refined atrocities, of the torturers, it would be impossible that she should keep for one single instant longer her heart’s passion for a man speaking the same language as the wretches who commanded these tortures or the brutes who executed them.
To listen to the words, “I love you,” pronounced with the accent of the beings who were guilty of such atrocities,— no, Paddy could not admit that Marian, so tender, so delicate, could tolerate even the thought.
He formulated his opinion to himself, but with such warmth that some words escaped him, and two or three children, turning their heads, saw him, and, uttering screams of fright, trembling, livid, took refuge in Marian’s skirt. She sprang up, pale, haggard, horrified, and stood quite motionless, her lips half open, without articulation, no sound whatever issuing, her look riveted on the apparition by an unconquerable force, the fascination of the hideous.
Repenting the trouble he had caused, which exceeded all his previsions and calculations, Paddy advanced in order to make himself known to her and to reassure her; but, at the first step, she threw herself backward, all at once, like a statue from its pedestal; and, as he sprang forward to support her or to lift her, the hand of Treor, who had run with his young pupils, grasped him nervously by the back of his neck, brutally hurled him to the earth, and sent him rolling away.
At the same time the most hot-headed of the old man’s scholars flung themselves on him to secure him and bring him to justice. But, while struggling, he succeeded in announcing himself: “Paddy Neill, the cartwright, son of the dead Mat Neill,” and he made a comic explanation of Marian’s accident.
“The English have scalded me like a calf; the sight took her breath away, I beg pardon for it. I ought not to have shown myself without warning.”
“It is his voice, let him go!” said Treor, who, encircling his daughter’s waist with his arm, was supporting her inert body on his knee bent on the ground.
He pressed his cheek against her mouth, watching the faint breath that showed it to be a simple fainting fit. The children, gathered in a group, elbow to elbow, stared, petrified, at this monster who had suddenly risen up as if vomited by the soil; and he himself, as if he had seen Medusa’s head, could not remove his gaze from this cranium of a skeleton, naked and dazzling; from this death-dance mask, where the new flesh of the forehead and nose displayed itself by repellent whitish spots, like the juice of a poisonous herb; where, without lashes, the ball of the eye, streaked with blood, appeared a disgusting, living sore.
And, surely, the worst of all was in the contrast between such deformity and the strength of the face which now tried to correct its expression by mildness.
Marian gave sign of life; sighs mingled with feeble wails came from her breast, her jaws parted, she tried to draw breath, moving her hand from the painfully contracted heart to the swollen neck where the tension of the muscles gave her the feeling of strangling.
Paddy understood that, recovering her senses, she ought not to find herself vis-a-vis with the same phantasmagorical image, and he widened his mouth in a smile which, disclosing formidable rows of enormous teeth, became the summit of ghastliness: the nose of a dog, of a flayed wolf that laughs.
Faith, he should have taken himself off! His good sense told him that, but, stupefied by the incident he had occasioned, confused by the clamors of the countrymen who ran up, he had not the energy.
They shook spades, mattocks, and pitchforks at him, covering him with abuse, without knowing it; the women picked up stones to pelt him. Treor, calling out to them who he was, saved him from blows and mortal injury, and the unfortunate man inwardly exulted in the discomfiture of the chance comers.
Paddy Neill! this spectre, this vision from another world, was this Jesus possible? And most of them doubted, examined him with distrust, recognizing him not by any vestige of his features, but rather by some peculiarity of his clothes, in spite of their rags and the dirt that covered them. The women seemed shocked; then, letting their arms fall, they stiffened into tearful attitudes, standing straight as stumps, exclaiming, “My God! My God!” till satisfied. They rattled off harangues, certain ones adding a lamentation, “What a misfortune!” remembering the Paddy Neill of old, with skin fine and smooth as a girl’s, laughing, sparkling eyes, and such a merry temper!
“Paddy! . . . Paddy!” . . . came in a stifled whisper from a pleasant, rosy-cheeked gossip of twenty years, Nelly Pernell.
Not long before she had been suspected of having deceived her husband, to Neill’s advantage, a short time after her marriage; but by chance had escaped slander. Wan and bloodless, she stood there with folded hands, the fingers clenched so tightly that they cracked; with an admirable naivete and exceeding candor of remorse seeking confusedly and stammeringly for words with which to ask of her lover a pardon she dared not hope. She had provoked Paddy to court her and had yielded readily, ardently desiring her fall. Heaven’s punishment ought then rather to have fallen on her.
Now she, reflected also on all the possible, dreadful consequences of her fault. Imagine that she had conceived a child of sin! Instantly, because of the shock which she had received, the scars of the father would be imprinted on the face of the little being! She kept herself on her feet by a miraculous effort, struck with a sort of mental paralysis, seeing nothing, hearing nothing, yet because of those present keeping herself from falling like Marian. Marian had the right to faint, being innocent.
Recovered from their first repulsion, the comrades of the disfigured man crowded around him affectionately, fraternally, and seized his hands, growling vehemently about the authors of these outrages, those damned Saxons. And they menacingly shook their fists in the direction of England, gradually lifting them higher and higher as they were made familiar with the history.
Having bound him, arms, thighs, and ankles, the ruffians, four or five in number, bent his head between the knees of the torturer, and shaved his hair nearly off. Then, the steel having surely and unceremoniously notched the skin, while he, blinded by the flow of blood, asphyxiated, snorted wildly, the cap filled with boiling pitch was clapped down over his ears. Ah! ah! the smart of the razor lasted no longer.
He was interrupted by vociferations and outcries; throbs like an inward rain of intolerable sufferings permeated the flesh of the women, who felt under their own hair the cold and cut of the steel. With widely dilated eyes, the children, even the little ones, with their extraordinary gift and power of imagination, discerned through space and time the living scene of torment.
Seeing them so violently moved, they wished to send them away. Paddy, to spare them, ceased his story, but they drew themselves back that they might not be led away and begged him to go on, calling out greedily:
“What then? what then? tell us. We must have vengeance!”
Neill hesitated, then answered negatively, promising the conclusion later when their excitement should be lessened; in a few days, perhaps tomorrow.
But, with a great tumult, they set themselves against all delay.
“No: immediately! Go on!”
“Then?” urged one, who was dying of impatience.
“Finish, then!” added another.
“Yes, finish!” said a voice, pressing and imperious, that rose above the general uproar.
They looked round: it was Marian, readjusting her unfastened dress, and coiling up her hair, which had fallen during her fainting fit.
Neither melancholy nor fright remained longer on her face, but in their place only determination, an inexorable will to know all.
She scrutinized without swooning and with increasing pity Paddy’s poor grimacing face, the sores badly healed in places; and an immeasurable indignation took possession of her, body and soul, against the authors of this nameless crime!
“Finish!” she reiterated, in a voice doubly strong and peremptory.
Still Neill hesitated. He interrogated the silent Treor, who nodded assent.
“The end!” continued he then, “the end, heavens! it is very simple. The pitch, cooling, shaping itself to the skull, stuck well. Ugh! they took off the cap and the skin with it and the flesh with it; the bones would have followed if they had not been well fastened in.”
The men swore, and, among the women, almost the whole village being collected there, arose a kind of howl, a prolonged rattle exhumed from the depths of their hearts; their commiseration doubling, as it had done before, in proportion to the physical sensation of the torments described.
Under their hair, from the neck to the eyebrows, they all experienced absolutely the atrocious impression of a brutal tearing off of their own skin, their own flesh. This personal agony calmed, they related to each other the sensations they had experienced, told of the cold sweat which still ran down their backs and over their skin parched as by a violent fever. Then they exchanged reflections on the event which had come to this unfortunate boy. Next followed their comments — analogous or contradictory, timid or angry, according to the temperament of each — on the results which would ensue.
The majority demanded instant retaliation, returning like for like, implacably; they would take it in hand, would show themselves more furious than the men. The timid foresaw the work of vengeance and that they would not be the stronger party. What would follow? They would expiate their revolt with unspeakable chastisements; cottages demolished, conflagrations everywhere, people basely killed, disemboweled, women, old people, children, without distinction, the whole history taught them by Treor, all that they had themselves seen these two years, all which had been practised in various sections of the country since the terrible year of ’96.
But all these wasted their preaching; they were only interrupted and forbidden to reply.
Edith Arklow, a woman of fifty years, gloomy and restless, drying the tears she had been silently shedding, said a few plain things in favor of action.
“My son Michael is a little younger than Paddy Neill; not much, a few months. They have drafted him into the English army, and sent him to India. Being an Irishman, they molest him, torment him perhaps. Who knows if I shall ever see him again? He might cry out sometime: ‘Long live Ireland!’ in the presence of his general, before the gun-barrels levelled at him. When Paddy was telling of his tortures, it seemed to you that you suffered them yourselves. For me, I imagined that it was my child, my Michael, who endured. So my mind is for revenge.”
Marian applauded her warmly; but a poor neighbor warned the mother of her imprudence; the enemy held him as hostage, this son whose memory she was invoking. And, disconcerted, struggling between her generosity and her dread, Edith grew silent, bathed in new tears, suddenly dried by the fire of this agonizing thought:
Michael, ordered out to be killed; a dozen balls in his breast, in his dear face, breaking his bones, all this because of the advice she had been giving.
Among the men, a similar debate was going on as to the course to be adopted; Treor, whom she called to the rescue, and Paddy were the only ones who counselled delay. The mass, with a unanimous voice, demanded that they act and that they should begin by an immediate march on the castle, talking of blazing the fir trees which shaded it, like a forest of wax-tapers around edifices transformed into cenotaphs.
“Not at all! not at all!” insisted Paddy Neill; and Treor argued that this would only be to incur inevitable defeat, a most disheartening failure, and compromise the general movement which was in preparation.
They refused to listen, molested them turbulently, and made objections, twenty at a time. They declared that, on the contrary, this daring example would drag the reluctant by its contagion, and that the initiative work of vengeance, of liberation, would constitute an eternal glory for the men of Bunclody.
In presence of this undisciplined blindness of courage, Paddy decided to disclose his mission, but, disliking to unfold it so publicly, he lowered his voice, saying:
“I have orders for us to wait.”
To be continued.
A Letter to Grover Cleveland:
His False, Absurd, Self-Contradictory, and Ridiculous Inaugural Address.
By Lysander Spooner.
[The author reserves his copyright in this letter.]
In still another way, the government denies men’s natural right to life. And that is by denying their natural right to make any of those contracts with each other, for buying and selling, borrowing and lending, giving and receiving, property, which are necessary, if men are to exist in any considerable numbers on the earth.
Even the few savages, who contrive to live, mostly or wholly, by hunting, fishing, and gathering wild fruits, without cultivating the earth, and almost wholly without the use of tools or machinery, are yet, at times, necessitated to buy and sell, borrow and lend, give and receive, articles of food, if no others, as their only means of preserving their lives. But, in civilized life, where but a small portion of men’s labor is necessary for the production of food, and they employ themselves in an almost infinite variety of industries, and in the production of an almost infinite variety of commodities, it would be impossible for them to live, if they were wholly prohibited from buying and selling, borrowing and lending, giving and receiving, the products of each other’s labor.
Yet the government of the United States — either acting separately, or jointly with the State governments — has heretofore constantly denied, and still constantly denies, the natural right of the people, as individuals, to make their own contracts, for such buying and selling, borrowing and lending, and giving and receiving, such commodities as they produce for each other’s uses.
I repeat that both the national and State governments have constantly denied the natural right of individuals to make their own contracts. They have done this, sometimes by arbitrarily forbidding them to make particular contracts, and sometimes by arbitrarily qualifying the obligations of particular contracts, when the contracts themselves were naturally and intrinsically as just and lawful as any others that men ever enter into; and were, consequently, such as men have as perfect a natural right to make, as they have to make any of those contracts which they are permitted to make.
The laws arbitrarily prohibiting, or arbitrarily qualifying, certain contracts, that are naturally and intrinsically just and lawful, are so numerous, and so well known, that they need not all be enumerated here. But any and all such prohibitions, or qualifications, are a denial of men’s natural right to make their own contracts. They are a denial of men’s right to make any contracts whatever, except such as the governments shall see fit to permit them to make.
It is the natural right of any and all human beings, who are mentally competent to make reasonable contracts, to make any and every possible contract, that is naturally and intrinsically just and honest, for buying and selling, borrowing and lending, giving and receiving, any and all possible commodities, that are naturally vendible, loanable, and transferable, and that any two or more individuals may, at any time, without force or fraud, choose to buy and sell, borrow and lend, give and receive, of and to each other.
And it is plainly only by the untrammelled exercise of this natural right, that all the loanable capital, that is required by men’s industries, can be lent and borrowed, or that all the money can be supplied for the purchase and sale of that almost infinite diversity and amount of commodities, that men are capable of producing, and that are to be transferred from the hands of the producers to those of the consumers.
But the government of the United States — and also the governments of the States — utterly deny the natural right of any individuals whatever to make any contracts whatever, for buying and selling, borrowing and lending, giving and receiving, any and all such commodities, as are naturally vendible, loanable, and transferable, and as the producers and consumers of such commodities may wish to buy and sell, borrow and lend, give and receive, of and to each other.
These governments (State and national) deny this natural right of buying and selling, etc., by arbitrarily prohibiting, or qualifying, all such, and so many, of these contracts, as they choose to prohibit, or qualify.
The prohibition, or qualification, of any one of these contracts — that are intrinsically just and lawful — is a denial of all individual natural right to make any of them. For the right to make any and all of them stands on the same grounds of natural law, natural justice, and men’s natural rights. If a government has the right to prohibit, or qualify, any one of these contracts, it has the same right to prohibit, or qualify, all of them. Therefore the assertion, by the government, of a right to prohibit, or qualify, any one of them, is equivalent to a denial of all natural right, on the part of individuals, to make any of them.
The power that has been thus usurped by governments, to arbitrarily prohibit or qualify all contracts that are naturally and intrinsically just and lawful, has been the great, perhaps the greatest, of all the instrumentalities, by which, in this, as in other countries, nearly all the wealth, accumulated by the labor of the many, has been, and is now, transferred into the pockets of the few.
It is by this arbitrary power over contracts, that the monopoly of money is sustained. Few people have any real perception of the power, which this monopoly gives to the holders of it, over the industry and traffic of all other persons. And the one only purpose of the monopoly is to enable the holders of it to rob everybody else in the prices of their labor, and the products of their labor.
The theory, on which the advocates of this monopoly attempt to justify it, is simply this: That it is not at all necessary that money should be a bona fide equivalent of the labor or property that is to be bought with it; that if the government will but specially license a small amount of money, and prohibit all other money, the holders of the licensed money will then be able to buy with it the labor and property of all other persons for a half, a tenth, a hundredth, a thousandth, or a millionth, of what such labor and property are really and truly worth.
David A. Wells, one of the most prominent — perhaps at this time, the most prominent — advocate of the monopoly, in this country, states the theory thus:
A three-cent piece, if it could be divided into a sufficient number of pieces, with each piece capable of being handled, would undoubtedly suffice for doing all the business of the country in the way of facilitating exchanges, if no other better instrumentality was available. — New York Herald, February 13, 1875.
He means here to say, that “a three-cent piece” contains as much real, true, and natural market value, as it would be necessary that all the money of the country should have, if the government would but prohibit all other money; that is, if the government, by its arbitrary legislative power, would but make all other and better money unavailable.
And this is the theory, on which John Locke, David Hume, Adam Smith, David Ricardo, J. R. McCulloch, and John Stuart Mill, in England, and Amasa Walker, Charles H. Carroll, Hugh McCulloch, in this country, and all the other conspicuous advocates of the monopoly, both in this country and in England, have attempted to justify it. They have all held that it was not necessary that money should be a bona fide equivalent of the labor or property to be bought with it; but that, by the prohibition of all other money, the holders of a comparatively worthless amount of licensed money would be enabled to buy, at their own prices, the labor and property of all other men.
And this is the theory on which the governments of England and the United States have always, with immaterial exceptions, acted, in prohibiting all but such small amounts of money as they (the governments) should specially license. And it is the theory upon which they act now. And it is so manifestly a theory of pure robbery, that scarce a word can be necessary to make it more evidently so than it now is.
But inasmuch as your mind seems to be filled with the wildest visions of the excellency of this government, and to be strangely ignorant of its wrongs; and inasmuch as this monopoly of money is, in its practical operation, one of the greatest — possibly the greatest — of all these wrongs, and the one that is most relied upon for robbing the great body of the people, and keeping them in poverty and servitude, it is plainly important that you should have your eyes opened on the subject. I therefore submit, for your consideration, the following self-evident propositions:
1. That to make all traffic just and equal, it is indispensable that, in each separate purchase and sale, the money paid should be a bona fide equivalent of the labor or property bought with it.
Dare you, or any other man, of common sense and common honesty, dispute the truth of that proposition? If not, let us consider that principle established. It will then serve as one of the necessary and infallible guides to the true settlement of all the other questions that remain to be settled.
2. That so long as no force or fraud is practised by either party, the parties themselves, to each separate contract, have the sole, absolute, and unqualified right to decide for themselves, what money, and how much of it, shall be considered a bona fide equivalent of the labor or property that is to be exchanged for it. All this is necessarily implied in the natural right of men to make their own contracts, for buying and selling their respective commodities.
Will you dispute the truth of that proposition?
3. That any one man, who has an honest dollar, of any kind whatsoever, has as perfect a right, as any other man can have, to offer it in the market, in competition with any and all other dollars, in exchange for such labor or property as may be in the market for sale.
Will you dispute the truth of that proposition?
4. That where no fraud is practised, every person, who is mentally competent to make reasonable contracts, must be presumed to be as competent to judge of the value of the money that is offered in the market, as he is to judge of the value of all the other commodities that are bought and sold for money.
Will you dispute the truth of that proposition?
5. That the free and open market, in which all honest money and all honest commodities are free to be given and received in exchange for each other, is the true, final, absolute, and only test of the true and natural market value of all money, as of all the other commodities that are bought and sold for money.
Will you dispute the truth of that proposition?
6. That any prohibition, by a government, of any such kind or amount, of money — provided it be honest in itself — as the parties to contracts may voluntarily agree to give and receive in exchange for labor or property, is a palpable violation of their natural right, to make their own contracts, and to buy and sell their labor and property on such terms as they may find to be necessary for the supply of their wants, or may think most beneficial to their interests.
Will you dispute the truth of that proposition?
7. That any government, that licenses a small amount of an article of such universal necessity as money, and that gives the control of it into a few hands, selected by itself, and then prohibits any and all other money — that is intrinsically honest and valuable — palpably violates all other men’s natural right to make their own contracts, and infallibly proves its purpose to be to enable the few holders of the licensed money to rob all other persons in the prices of their labor and property.
Will you dispute the truth of that proposition?
Are not all these propositions so self-evident, or so easily demonstrated, that they cannot, with any reason, be disputed?
If you feel competent to show the falsehood ot any one ot them, I hope you will attempt the task.
“A free man is one who enjoys the use of his reason and his faculties; who is neither blinded by passion, nor hindered or driven by oppression, nor deceived by erroneous opinions.” — Proudhon.
In this number of Liberty is begun the serial publication of a new and thrilling romance, entitled:
translated especially for this journal by Sarah E. Holmes from the French of the great novelist,
The author weaves into a drama of unusual poignancy and melancholy power the story of one of the heroic struggles of the sons of Erin to lift the accursed yoke of the English,— the English who have stolen their lands, burned such cities as resisted too vigorously, exterminated entire and inoffensive populations, and established as an axiom this monstrosity:
It is not a felony to kill an Irishman.
He also gives the bloody history of the repression of this noble attempt at deliverance, terrible, frightful, cowardly repression, by exile, punishment, and execution without trial.
Will Professor Sumner Choose?
Professor Sumner, who occupies the chair of political economy at Yale, addressed last Sunday the New Haven Equal Rights Debating Club, before which Henry Appleton recently spoke. He told the State Socialists and Communists of that city much wholesome truth. But, as far as I can learn from the newspaper reports, which may of course have left out, as usual, the most important things that the speaker said, he made no discrimination in his criticisms. He appears to have entirely ignored the fact that the Anarchistic Socialists are the most unflinching champions in existence of his own pet principle of laissez faire. He branded Socialism as the summit of absurdity, utterly failing to note that one great school of Socialism says “Amen” whenever he scolds government for invading the individual, and only regrets that he doesn’t scold it oftener and more uniformly.
Referring to Karl Marx’s position that the employee is forced to give up a part of his product to the employer (which, by the way, was Proudhon’s position before it was Marx’s, and Josiah Warren’s before it was Proudhon’s), Professor Sumner asked why the employee does not, then, go to work for himself, and answered the question very truthfully by saying that it is because he has no capital. But he did not proceed to tell why he has no capital and how he can get some. Yet this is the vital point in dispute between Anarchism and privilege, between Socialism and so-called political economy. He did indeed recommend the time-dishonored virtues of industry and economy as a means of getting capital, but every observing person knows that the most industrious and economical persona are precisely the ones who have no capital and can get none. Industry and economy will begin to accumulate capital when idleness and extravagance lose their power to steal it, and not before.
Professor Sumner also told Herr Most and his followers that their proposition to have the employee get capital by forcible seizure is the most short-sighted economic measure possible to conceive of. Here again he is entirely wise and sound. Not that there may not be circumstances when such seizure would be advisable as a political, war, or terroristic measure calculated to induce political changes that will give freedom to natural economic processes; but as a directly economic measure it must always and inevitably be, not only futile, but reactionary. In opposition to all arbitrary distribution I stand with Professor Sumner with all my heart and mind. And so does every logical Anarchist.
But, if the employee cannot at present get capital by industry and economy, and if it will do him no good to get it by force, how is he to get it with benefit to himself and injury to no other? Why don’t you tell us that, Professor Sumner? You did, to be sure, send a stray shot somewhere near the mark when, in answer to a question why shoemakers have no shoes, you said that, where such a condition of things prevailed, it was due to some evil work of the government, said evil work being manifest at present in the currency and taxation. But what is the precise nature of the evils thus manifest? Tell me that definitely, and then I will tell you whether you are a consistent man.
I fancy that, if I should ask you what the great evil in our taxation is, you would answer that it is the protective tariff. Now, the protective tariff is an evil certainly, and an outrage, but so far as it affects the power of the laborer to accumulate capital it is a comparatively small one. In fact, its abolition, unaccompanied by the abolition of the banking monopoly, would take away from very large classes of laborers, not only what little chance they now have of getting capital, but also their power of sustaining the lives of themselves and their families. The amount abstracted from labor’s pockets by the protective tariff and by all other methods of getting governmental revenue is simply one of the smaller drains on industry. The amount of capital which it is thus prevented from getting will hardly be worth considering until the larger drains are stopped. As far as taxation goes, the great evils involved in it are to be found, not in the material damage done to labor by a loss of earnings, but in the assumption of the right to take men’s property without their consent, and in the use of this property to pay the salaries of the officials through whom, and the expenses of the machine through which, labor is oppressed and ground down. Are you heroic enough, Professor Sumner, to adopt this application of laissez faire? I summon you to it under penalty of conviction of an infidelity to logic which ought to oust you from your position as a teacher of youth.
If taxation, then (leaving out the enormous mischief that it does as an instrument of tyranny), is only one of the minor methods of keeping capital from labor, what evil is there in the currency that constitutes the major method? Your answer to this question, Professor Sumner, will again test your consistency. But I am not so sure what it will be in this case as I was in the other. If you answer it as most of your fellow-professors would, you will say that the great evil in the currency is the robbery of labor through a dishonest silver dollar. But this is a greater bugbear than the protective tariff. The silver dollar is just as honest and just as dishonest as the gold dollar, and neither of them are dishonest or robbers of labor except so far as they are monopoly dollars. But being monopoly dollars, and all our other dollars being monopoly dollars, labor is being robbed by them all to an extent perfectly appalling. And right here is to be found the real reason why labor cannot get capital. It is because its wages are kept low and its credit rendered next to valueless by a financial system that makes the issue of currency a monopoly and a privilege, the result of which is the maintenance of interest, rent, and profits at rates ruinous to labor and destructive to business. And the only way that labor can ever get capital is by striking down this monopoly and making the issue of money as free as the manufacture of shoes. To demonetise silver or gold will not help labor; what labor needs is the monetization of all marketable wealth. Or, at least, the opportunity of such monetization. This can only be secured by absolutely free competition in banking. Again I ask you, Professor Sumner, does your anxiety lest the individual be interfered with cover the field of finance? Are you willing that the individual shall be “let alone” in the exercise of his right to make his own money and offer it in open market to be taken by those who choose? To this test I send you a second summons under the same penalty that I have already hung over your head in case you fail to respond to the first. The columns of Liberty are open for your answer.
Before you make it, let me urge you to consistency. The battle between free trade and protection is simply one phase of the battle between Anarchism and State Socialism. To be a consistent free trader is to be an Anarchist; to be a consistent protectionist is to be a State Socialist. You are assailing that form of State Socialism known as protection with a vigor equalled by no other man, but you are rendering your blows of little effect by maintaining, or encouraging the belief that you maintain, those forms of State Socialism known as compulsory taxation and the banking monopoly. You assail Marx and Most mercilessly, but fail to protest against the most dangerous manifestations of their philosophy. Why pursue this confusing course? In reason’s name, be one thing or the other! Cease your indiscriminate railing at Socialism, for to be consistent you must be Socialist yourself, either of the Anarchistic or the governmental sort; either be a State Socialist, and denounce liberty everywhere and always, or be an Anarchist and denounce authority everywhere and always; else you must consent to be taken for what you will appear to be,— an impotent hybrid.
Anarchy and Peace.
During a recent brief sojourn in Philadelphia, where I had an engagement to lecture, I fell across an experience which greatly impressed me and was something akin to touching. I called upon a venerable old Quaker, who all his life had been identified with peace and is still one of the foremost figures of the Universal Peace Society.
During the fatherly remarks of this good old man he observed: “I have not cast a ballot for fourteen years, and never intend to cast another.”
“And may I be permitted to ask you the grounds of your conduct?” said I.
“Yes, and I will answer you frankly,” he replied: “I refuse to vote, because in casting a ballot I am casting a bullet. The whole framework of existing government rests on force, and as a consistent peace man I cannot recognize it.”
To my surprise and intense gratification I subsequently found several leading peace men in the city of brotherly love who took substantially the same position. They were practically Anarchists. Here is food for reflection for some of these trembling, cultured, ethical creatures who will have it that Anarchism means the inauguration of murder, violence, and savagery. How is it that the leading peace men of the land always manifest a kindly disposition towards scientific Anarchism? Simply because they wish to substitute peace, consent, and arbitration in the place of existing civil war, compulsion, and the despotic authority of irresponsible power. They can see nothing in the purposes sought by the Anarchists as sociologists but what they are seeking as humanitarians. They see that the source of the existing war of classes lies largely with governments, who refuse to employ any other than their own methods of coercion, backed by bayonets and those incarnated orthodox hells called prisons. They rather choose to secede, and not soil their hands with what practically stands for bullets.
I met another man who was lately driven into Anarchism by pure disgust with the fraud that falsely stands for government among us. On going to the polls one day he took his little three-year-old boy in his arms, and, on approaching the ballot box, asked the balloting-clerk if the little one might drop in the ballot for him. “Certainly,” replied that officer. At a subsequent election his wife was walking by his side, and he asked her if she would like to step up and put in his ballot. She was delighted at the idea, but, on approaching the box, she was forbidden to do so, even as an agent of her other half. In his indignation the man returned home, gathered a bull-pup in his arms, and, on reaching the ballot-box, he asked the clerk if the dog might be permitted to drop in the ballot for him, which he had placed between his paws. “With pleasure,” replied the clerk. “And with pleasure,” responded the man, “I bid good bye forever to an infernal machine where my wife is denied the same recognition that is accorded her baby and my bull-pup.” Here is again some food for reflection for the Woman Suffragists who are regularly bending the servile knee before thieves and rowdy politicians, asking “that your honorable body might be pleased to grant our humble prayers.”
The tide is making rapidly for Liberty. I can see it at every step. That the Anarchist is destined to take the field in the near future is written in every sign of the times. The old order is disintegrating through its own audacity and rottenness. The wisest and brightest on every side are silently getting ready to depart from it. Nothing will eventually remain in the old rookery but the political rats and bats and owls, lurking after the last offerings of plunder.
The Order of Creation.
You apologize for your government with its majority tyranny. You patronize it as a necessary evil. Where, you ask, are your individuals with free minds to seek the truth, find the truth, and live the truth? A far greater tyranny is that which enslaves the mind than any that enslaves the body. To have free men capable of self-government, we must have the right of private judgment on all matters pertaining to all the concerns of life freely and persistently exercised.
You are right. Thomas Paine was as wise in the early days of the Republic. With his “Common Sense” he had severed the tie that bound the colonies to Great Britain. Then he turned to Jefferson and said: “The church with its superstitions, its authority, its zeal for other-worldliness, is now the foe in our path. We must begin the attack upon that. In other words, we must now carry the Revolution into religion.”
“Don’t,” said Jefferson, “the church will grind you into dust.”
“Let it,” Paine replied, and produced his “Age of Reason,” which threw the theological world into convulsions.
Jefferson was right. Paine was buried under a load of obloquy it will take ages to remove. But the Age of Reason he proclaimed was not buried with him. That has gone steadily on, until at length, science coming steadily to the support, intellectual liberty in affairs of religion is assured. More and more the religious world dares to think, and in church as everywhere else the words of Lucretia Mott, “Truth for authority, not authority for truth,” lead the way.
Two evils are thus disappearing. The one pernicious and enslaving, the submission to authority of church or infallible book; the other the degrading of the life that now is, to enhance the value of the riches of a life to come.
All this is being left to the darkness of the past.
Ignorance is less and less esteemed as the necessary outfit for a religious life. The very words of the Lord, so abjectly worshipped, become a liberating message to the enslaved: “Why do ye not even of your own selves judge what is right?” No other thought of the Nazarene stirs a profounder depth in our modern life than this.
Again, the conflict science has waged with old-fashioned religion has resulted in turning the chief, the basic dogma of the Christian church end for end. No longer do we wrestle with the bewildering statement that the work of creation was ended in six days, the creator then taking a rest, congratulating himself that all was very good, including his crowning triumph, the perfect man and perfect, woman; on whom, however, he had hardly turned his back, when, lot into their Paradise stole the also very good serpent, to persuade them to forsake all their blessedness and follow him down to an everlasting perdition, and so bring sin into the world, with all our woe.
We of this generation are more fortunate. We open our eyes on the fact that the work of this world’s creation began, as all work does and must, with modesty and patience. A vast big job, to quote Abraham Lincoln, not to be dismissed with six days of prestidigitorial labor. We are now enabled to perceive that the god of the world, the creative spirit in matter, could not so acquit itself and withdraw; for it is immanent and continuous in all life. As Tennyson sings: “Through the ages one increasing purpose runs.” From smallest beginnings, from ovum of life, the evolution advances. The divine worker was not led astray by an ambition to do at the outset that which was only possible at the end. The work was to be fashioned and projected into time and space.
Thus has science reversed in our minds the order of creation. Instead of the perfect man at the dawn, we yet look for him at the meridian or in the far twilight. Instead of the race tumbling down when it first began into a state of evil, where it has ever since been floundering with an almost heart-breaking despair, we have the goodly encouragement of a progressive order of life,— the earth unfolding, transfigured, as Swedenborg declared, into the form of the perfect Man.
In plainer speech we have the idea of human progress placed upon a scientific basis, with its worst foe, the church, more than half conquered and submissive.
This, without going farther into the matter, is the phase of the religious evolution which I deem important, coming, as it does, to deliver us, in part, at least, from the dissatisfaction consequent upon the discovery that the Revolution ending with our political achievement can never have other than a lame and impotent conclusion.
This idea of human progress by the process of a natural evolution is an inspiration to every great and generous work. Man himself a participant in his own creation has all the incentive of an original creator.
I have clipped here and there from exchanges, without specially searching for such things, items of daily news which illustrate some of the falsities, injustices, and hypocrisies of the grotesque imbroglio of things called progress, or modern civilization.
The futility and dishonesty of politics and legislation are pictured unconsciously in one stroke of the reporter’s pencil thus:
A New York lawyer tells a reporter that Vanderbilt spends one hundred thousand dollars every year in heading off hostile legislation at Albany, the money going to “poor, but appreciative men.”
The rascality of business is hypocritically worshiped under the name of “success” in this obituary notice of William Jennings, recently deceased capitalist of Fall River:
He was a wise counselor, able manager, and shrewd business man, and his like will probably not be developed in the next generation. He was what might be styled a self-made man, and is an example of what may be accomplished by energy, economy, and ability, three traits of character rarely successfully united.
This man was notoriously the greatest scoundrel in Fall River, whose mill magnates are preeminently distinguished for their robberies and abuses of mill slaves. When Bill Jennings, as he was called, died, I did not hear one expression of regret from the mouth of man, woman, or child in Fall River. There was undisguised rejoicing at his untimely — because so long delayed — death. He was the most rapacious landlord, the hardest-hearted employer, the meanest, stingiest, and altogether the most despicable robber and oppressor of labor who ever cursed this capital-ridden, poverty-stricken city with his presence. It is not probable that his like will be developed in the next generation; one Bill Jennings is enough to exhaust the malevolent fecundity of a century.
But this wretch was rich, and a newspaper writer who knew his character and was well aware that every person in the city, outside of the bereaved family circle, said; Thank God!” when Jennings died, hypocritically slobbered over his malodorous memory.
Next comes a sketch of a scene in the Rhode Island Supreme Court. “Shepherd Tom” of Vaucluse comes in before court is opened, and tells the three wise men on the bench that he has a little application to make. The newspaper report says:
The court expressed a willingness to hear what the aged citizen had to say, and Mr. Hazard proceeded to ask the court for an opinion as to what rights people had over his land for the purpose of digging sand. This was a surprise for the judges; but the chief justice was equal to the occasion, and promptly stated that it was impossible for the court to give an ex parte opinion, and that, if he desired to get at the true inwardness of the rights regarding the sand question, he must begin a suit. Then up spoke Shepherd Tom. He informed the court that he was well nigh ninety years of age, and he thought it was rather late in his life’s day to begin a law suit. The court were of the same opinion, and Shepherd Tom bowed himself out.
Somebody is taking Shepherd Tom’s sand, and he wants to know if that is right. Solemn old jackass on the bench says he must hire one of those hyenas of society, an attorney, to ask the question and snarl over it with another hyena, in order that, between the two, Shepherd Tom’s bones may be picked clean. Three old stupidities, minded ass-wise and featured like owls, set up to administer justice, know nothing but attorneyisms; will give no honest opinion concerning a larceny. Poor, musty-brained old Chief Injustice and Associate Humbugs! Shepherd Tom is a better man than any one of you, and has more sense in the noddle of him than all three of you together. He knows better than to hire a lawyer.
Shepherd Tom, I think, never read the following extract from a report of a lawyers’ banquet in New York, which was printed some time ago:
It is a favorite amusement of witty lawyers like Joseph H. Choate or Chauncey M. Depew to embellish their after-dinner speeches with sly jokes at the expense of clients in general, and Mr. Evarts adopted this practice last evening with excellent effect. “The glory of the American lawyer,” he said, “is the poverty of himself and the wealth of his client;” and when the laughter had ceased, he went on to show how tenderly the lawyer watched over the interests of his client. The climax was reached when he explained that the lawyer might fleece his client, but he never flayed him; fleeces would grow again more abundantly under judicious clipping. There were many other touches of humor to which I have not time to allude, and which brightened up the literary exercises greatly. Mr. Evarts’s address had, too, its serious side, full of thought and suggestion, and is well worth reading.
Truly, there are suggestions for serious thought in this. Mr. Evarts’s sly jokes are founded upon frozen facts, also at the expense of clients. The sole object of the legal profession is to fleece fools,— a very humorous operation, no doubt. The solicitude of the attorney for his clients’ interests is the tenderness of the sheep-shearer for the sheep; he is careful not to spoil the pelt, for the ultimate fate of the animal is to be flayed when dead. The attorney is the most noxious species of human vermin that infests this planet. He is the product and symbol of a system of falsities and incredibilities; he is the maggot that crawls slimily through the decayed boweling of civilization’s corpse, feeding upon the corruption that generates him. Henry F. Durant, himself a lawyer, said: “Law is the most degrading and narrowing of all professions. There is not enough of thought or principle in our whole system of law to occupy a man of intellect for an hour; all the rest is mere chicanery and injustice.” This is expert testimony; the fellow had guilty knowledge whereof he spoke. And Mr. Evarts, whose sentences are masterpieces of multiloquent bosh, adds his testimony that the lawyer lives by practices inferior in dignity and honesty to the picking of pockets; for that after-dinner speech was no joke.
Another old newspaper clipping relating to “justice”:
Storekeepers will have to be careful in the future how they trust women of the town for silks and fine raiment. Judge Churchill of the Municipal Court decided, in the case of L. Frankelstein against a young woman by the name of Hunter, that a dealer could not recover for garments sold to such women for the purpose of ornamentation. He held that the clothes were used to fascinate and beguile men, and that such sales were accordingly against the public good, and therefore void.
This is simply grotesque idiocy. The wearing of clothes by prostitutes is “against the public good”; it is “immoral,” and probably immodest. I have no doubt, knowing the man, that Judge Churchill would prefer to see them without clothes.
What’s To Be Done?
By N. G. Tchernychewsky.
Translated by Benj. R. Tucker.
Continued from No. 67.
“Almost all the paths of civil life are formally closed to us, and those which are not closed by formal obstacles are by practical difficulties. Only the family is left us. What occupation can we engage in, outside of the family? That of a governess is almost the only one; perhaps we have one other resource,— that of giving lessons (such lessons as are left after the men have chosen). But we all rush into this single path and stifle there. We are too numerous to find independence in it. There are so many to choose from that no one needs us. Who would care to be a governess? When any one wants one, he is besieged by ten, a hundred, or even more applicants, each trying to get the place to the detriment of the others.
“No, until women launch out into a greater number of careers, they will not enjoy independence. It is difficult, to be sure, to open a new road. But I occupy an especially favorable position for doing it. I should be ashamed not to profit by it. We are not prepared for serious duties. For my part, I do not know how far a guide is indispensable to me in order to confront them. But I do know that every time I need him I shall find him, and that he will always take great pleasure in helping me.
“Public prejudice has closed to us such paths of independent activity as the law has not forbidden us to enter. But I can enter whichever of these paths I choose, provided I am willing to brave the usual gossip. Which shall I choose? My husband is a doctor; he devotes all his leisure time to me. With such a man it would be easy for me to attempt to follow the medical profession.
“Indeed, it is very important that there should be women-physicians. They would be very useful to persons of their own sex. It is much easier for a woman to talk to another woman than to a man. How much distress, suffering, and death would thus be averted! The experiment must be tried.”
Vera Pavlovna finished the conversation with her husband by putting on her hat to follow him to the hospital, where she wished to try her nerves and see if she could stand the sight of blood and whether she would be capable of pursuing the study of anatomy. In view of Kirsanoff’s position in the hospital, there certainly would be no obstacles in the way of this attempt.
I have already unconsciously compromised Vera Pavlovna several times from the poetical standpoint; I have not concealed the fact, for instance, that she dined every day, and generally with a good appetite, and that further she took tea twice a day. But I have now reached a point where, in spite of the depravity of my tastes, I am seized with scruples, and timidly I ask myself: Would it not be better to conceal this circumstance? What will be thought of a woman capable of studying medicine?
What coarse nerves, what a hard heart, she must have! She is not a woman, she is a butcher. Nevertheless, remembering that I do not set up my characters as ideal types, I calm myself; let them judge as they will of the coarseness of Vera Pavlovna’s nature, how can that concern me? She is coarse? Well! be it so.
Consequently I say in the most cold-blooded way that she found it one thing to look at others do and quite another to do herself. And indeed whoever is at work has no time to be frightened and feel repugnance or disgust. So Vera Pavlovna studies medicine, and I number among my acquaintances one of those who introduced this novelty among us. She felt transformed by the study, and she said to herself: In a few years I shall get a foothold.
That is a great thought. There is no complete happiness without complete independence. Poor women that you are, how few of you enjoy this happiness!
One year, two years pass; yet another year will pass from the time of her marriage with Kirsanoff, and Vera Pavlovna’s occupation will be the same as now; many years will pass, and her days will still be the same, unless something special happens. Who knows what the future will bring? Up to the time when I write these lines, nothing special has happened, and Vera Pavlovna’s occupations have not changed. Now that the frank confession of Vera Pavlovna’s bad taste in daring to study medicine and succeed in it has been made, it is easy for me to speak of anything; nothing else can harm her as much in the estimation of the public. So I will say that now, in the Rue Serguievskaia, Vera Pavlovna’s day; into three parts,— by her morning cup of tea, her dinner, and her evening tea; yes, she has kept up the unpoetic habit of dining every day and taking tea twice a day; she finds it pleasant; in general, she has kept up all her habits of that sort.
Many other things have remained the same as before in this new and peaceful life.
The rooms are divided into the neutral and the non-neutral; all the rules regarding entrance into the non-neutral rooms are still the same. However, there are a few notable changes.
For instance, they no longer take tea in the neutral room; they take their evening tea in Kirsanoff’s study and their morning tea in Vera Pavlovna’s chamber.
On awaking in the morning she dozes and tosses about as of old, now sleeping, now meditating. She now has two new subjects of reflection, which in the third year of her marriage were followed by a third, the little Mitia,* so named in honor of her friend Dmitry; the two others are, first, the sweet thought of the independence that she is to acquire, and, second, the thought of Sacha: the latter cannot even be called a special thought, being mingled with all her thoughts, for her dear husband participates in her whole life.
After having taken a bath, she takes tea, or rather cream, with Sacha, after which she lounges again, not on her bed this time, but on her little divan, until ten or eleven o’clock, the time when Sacha is to go to the hospital, or the clinique, or else the academical lecture-room. But her mornings were not on that account devoted to idleness; as soon as Sacha, after drinking his last cup, had lit his cigar, one of the two said to the other: “Let’s go to work,” or else: “Enough! enough! now for work!” What work? you ask. The private lesson. Sacha is her private tutor in medicine; she is aided by him still further in mathematics, and in Latin, which is perhaps even more tiresome than mathematics, but for that matter the Academy of Medicine requires but very little. I should be very careful about asserting that Vera Pavlovna will ever know enough Latin to translate oven two lines of Cornelius Nepos, but she already knew enough to decipher the Latin phrases which she met in medical books, and that was what she needed. This is the finishing touch; I see that I am compromising Vera Pavlovna enormously: probably the reader with the pen” . . . . .
A Digression Concerning Blue-stockings.
“A blue-stocking! The last degree of blue-stocking! I cannot abide a blue-stocking. A blue-stocking is stupid and tiresome!” exclaims angrily, but not without dignity, the reader with the penetrating eye.
The reader with the penetrating eye and myself are considerably attached to each other. He has insulted me once, I have put him out doors twice, and, in spite of all, we cannot help exchanging cordial words; a mysterious inclination of hearts, is it not?
To be continued.
* Mitia is the diminutive of Dmitry.
Then and Now.
Quotation from the Address of a Barbarian of 1885.
Boston, November 14, 2085.
My Dear Louise:
Mr. De Demain’s old scrap-book furnished him with another text for a little lecture on a recent evening. The extract which he quoted was from an address delivered by some man, whose name time had obliterated, before a convention of bankers held in Chicago in 1885. It said:
The capital of the day-laborer consists of his health, strength, experience, intelligence, and honesty; his stock in trade is so much of these as can be worked out of him in ten hours; his business consists in selling every day one day’s worth of himself, and in replenishing by food, shelter, and warmth so much of his vital forces as have been either worked off or wasted. If they have been worked off for wages, these supply the means of replenishment: if they have run to waste, from want of profitable employment, they must be replenished at the expense of his savings, or remain either partially or wholly impaired.
“Do you wonder,” said Mr. De Domain, “that I have frequently alluded to the age from which you come as an age of barbarism? Could anything better illustrate the feeling of the rich toward the poor in the Christian year 1885 than the words of this mail? Could anything show better the true position of the laborers? The very same men who patted the workers on their backs and told them they were the foundation of civilization, the upholders of liberty, the backbone of the republic, whose power through the ballot was unlimited, told them also to their very faces that their whole stock in trade was so much of their health, strength, experience, intelligence, and honesty as could be worked out of them in ten hours!”
I must confess that this quotation staggered me. There was no doubt, however, but it was genuine, for extracts pasted above and below it on the same page contained in themselves evidence of having been printed in 1885.
“I have only this comment to make,” said I: “the laboring men and women of two centuries ago were fools not to have denounced such sentiments by very decisive action. They should have taken the power of the ballot to have rid themselves of men who would act as this man talked. That they did not do it was their misery. If the rich could make the people believe that it was well for them to have their health, intelligence, and honesty squeezed out of them at so much per day, I do not see that the rich were so much to be blamed, after all.”
“Allowing that the people were fools, is it any wonder, when they were expected to work the intelligence out of themselves at so much per ten hours? Allowing that they were vicious, is it to be wondered at when, to sustain life, they were expected to work out their honesty at so much per day?
“Here we have the acknowledgement of the rich that they considered the poor, the workers, as so many sponges which could be dipped into the springs of nature’s wealth and then squeezed to the last drop into the dish of him who squeezed.
“You think the rich were not to blame if the workers, after they had been drained of their health, strength, experience, honesty, and intelligence by the rich, did not raise objections strong enough to overthrow the system? I am too well acquainted with you to believe that your heart will allow you to entertain such ideas. What could the laborers do after their “stock in trade” — including strength, intelligence, and virtue — had been worked out of them? Is it any wonder that they submitted to the robbery of profit for so many generations? Is it not a wonder that they were ever able to emancipate themselves from such serfdom as my quotation shows them to have been in? Is it, any wonder that they are so happy and prosperous now, when their stock in trade is not worked out of them, so much everyday? Is it any wonder that I state so positively that Anarchy will never give place to governments? Is it any wonder that I speak in such strong language against the rich men and the statesmen of your generation and of the generations before it? Is it any wonder that we of today call profit robbery?
“I think not.”
“I presume,” said I, “if a man were to use such expressions in an address today, he would be mobbed?”
“Nothing of the kind. I doubt if he would draw a large audience, but he certainly would be offered no violence. Fear is the main cause of violence always; such a man would be looked upon as a harmless lunatic. We do not in this age mob men who hold views contrary to those of the majority. We do not call them a dangerous class. We feel secure, perfectly, in our social system. We know that Anarchy is right. We fear no innovation. There is no wronged class crying for redress of society’s evils. There are no subdued mutterings of discontent; there are no cries for vengeance; there are no cries for work; there are no cries for bread; there is no selling of health, strength, intelligence, and virtue at so much per ten hours. We are satisfied with Anarchy, yet always striving for better things under it.”
Privately, I wish that you would tell some one to find out who made this address, referred to by Mr. De Demain, and have him informed that it would be better for him and for the social system of your time if he will be more guarded in his remarks in the future.
The New Haven Meeting.
To the Editor of Liberty:
Our expectations were fully realized. Mr. H. Appleton complied with our request, and came to New Haven for the purpose of addressing the debuting club on Anarchy. Every seat in the hall was occupied, and all were greatly interested in the meeting. We had a table on which were displayed the beautiful books and pamphlets of Liberty’s Library. The editor of the New Haven “Working Men’s Advocate,” who is something of a State Socialist and much of a labor reformer, was, of course, opposed to our selling Anarchistic literature “in that hall of the Unions,” as Anarchism is at war with organized labor and trades-unions. I am sure I don’t know where he could have got that interesting piece of information. Certainly not in Anarchistic works. And that for two reasons. First, he never read them. Second, he would not find it, if he had. But he saw at a glance that we meant business and would not listen to any argument against free competition. Judging from the receipts, a great many were poisoned by that literature of yours!
Mr. Appleton’s speech was short, but extraordinarily good. It was indeed refreshing, after the labor reform and socialistic commonplace that the club had got tired of listening to for a long time previous to the meeting, to hear a deeply philosophical, scientific, and brilliant address. I will not report his speech here, for the readers of Liberty are not unfamiliar with his logic. They will be interested to know, however, that he made a good job of it. After stating what Anarchism is, he showed that it is not a mere theory, but a direct and logical outcome of the progressive movement to simplify and popularize government. The patriarch giving way to absolute monarchy, absolute monarchy to limited, constitutional monarchy, which, in its turn, was succeeded by a republican form of government and then a democratic, we must now go a step farther and establish Anarchy, or self-government. What can be said, then, of that kind of insanity, which is getting hold of some advanced people, who want more and more government, and would set up a big machine, a big monopoly, and thus return to absolutism! He went on to show that those who devise means and plans to reform the world are profoundly ignorant, and have yet to learn that Sociology is a science, and that its laws must be gradually discovered. Set the masses free, and let them act according to their own reason, stimulated by their wants and needs, and we will soon see the good result. I must stop. Your space is limited, and I want to say something about the objections that were raised to the Anarchistic doctrine of abolishing all authority, government, and statute law.
One said that he would readily grant perfect liberty to the individual if he were worthy of it. While the people are ignorant, uneducated, and selfish, some authority must direct them, lead them, and make laws for their benefit. Just think of a man who would flog his children every day in order to teach them self-respect! While government exists, the people will be slaves. “To liberty through liberty” must be the motto of every progressive mind. Trust to human nature. Trust to common sense and self-interest. Abolish all written, man-made laws and regulations, and you will find a higher, unwritten law operating and working in the field of human relations.
Another gentleman wanted to know if the Anarchists recognize the fact that humanity is an organism. As the brain is the authority over the whole human body, so humanity as a whole must have some authority to control it. “And that authority is common sense, enlightened self-interest,” replied Mr. Appleton.
The speech made a deep impression upon the audience. The novelty of the ideas, the force and clearness of thought, and the unanswerable logic of the speaker charmed them, and gave them food for reflection.
Right here I must make some exceptions. Among these entirely converted, half-converted, interested, and delighted men there are a few who have neither the ability nor the willingness to accept new ideas and seek the truth. These abuse us, ridicule our work, and do all they can to oppose it. But where are they not to be found? More bigotry, ignorance, impudence, and self-conceit can be found in the second-class labor reformers than in all the churches in the world. But Anarchism pities them and tries to instruct them. “With malice toward none, with charity toward all,” should be the motto of all radicals.
Yours fraternally, Victor Yarros.
Birmingham, Conn., Novembers, 1885.
Let the Landlords Rot!
[Henry Labouchere in London Trnth.]
The state of the case is this, and every resident Irish landlord knows it until he forgets himself in the golden day-dream of the “Times’s” leading article. The Irish farmers can’t sell their cattle. They are prepared to sell at a loss; to sell on almost any terms, if only to avoid the expense of winter keep; but they can’t sell at all. The beasts are driven about from fair to fair, and no one even asks the price of them. This is the story that is coming in from all parts of Ireland. What folly, then, to “call upon the government to stand firm,” and the landlords to “keep a stiff backbone.” Stiff, indeed! If they are stiff now, they will be mighty limp in another six months. If they do not want to break, they had better bend. The choice is not between a little rent and much, but between a little rent and none. When the land act was passed, it was foreseen by all persons whose eyes were not at the back of their heads that it would not prove a final settlement. The most that was hoped for was that it would give a breathing space. But it has not even done that. The times have moved faster than one could have imagined. What was a “fair rent” four years ago is a “rack rent” now. Add to this that the commissioners, as a rule, took a sanguine rather than a despondent view of the prospects of Irish agriculture. The present situation is the result. As to remedies, one thing at least is plain. All the coercion in the world won’t raise the price of farm produce. But with regard to the landlords, we may take one of two courses,— buy them up or let them rot where they are. As a taxpayer, I object to buying them up. My advice is to let them rot. I don’t know what use they are, and, besides, it is their turn. All Ireland has rotted under their sway. But, by the way, if they don’t like rotting, there is one thing they might do,— work for their living.
A Broadside into Grantolatry.
A brave official of the United States navy is sending the following to American editors. As no other paper is likely to have the courage to print it, it shall find a place here. There is more truth in it than good prose.
Had Grant’s name not been short and crisp, and therefore adapted to belug hysterically chirruped, it had not been so I glibly sung by the emerald goslings of the land. He could not have had godly humility, or he would not have allowed fellow-beings to make themselves such condemned fools concerning him. Likely enough, pleaded for Paradise his own editor-created merits, instead of the only sesame, the Merits of Christ. A test of generalship is heavy adverse odds; but Grant’s proportion in Virginia was six lusty, well-supplied Unionists to each ragged, starving foe; yet his loss more than half his forces, political influence replenishing him, as no predecessor was, with inexhaustible numbers; thus enabling him, destitute of strategy, or any other remarkable talent, except for puffing cigars, to slowly drown out Lee’s army in the blood of his own. Such blundering was shame instead of glory, and only kept every true general out of the leadership. His presidency was a notorious saturnalia of jobbery, malfeasance, and illegalities; debauchery of Congress, the judiciary, and public service. The national fabric seemed then hopelessly rotting down. Devotee and minion of millionaire cads, monopolists, and land stealers. Caused Cuba’s independence to fail, and her patriot blood to be shed in vain,— this to please Fish, whose son-in-law was Spanish advocate; altogether one of the basest crimes in history. Held the carpet-baggers up, and the Southern Legislatures down, by bayonets in time of peace, till his last executive day. Persecuted adverse witnesses wherever possible; thus Thomas, the victor of Nashville, was denied every favor; Custer, the prince of youthful heroes, was arbitrarily degraded in rank; and a New York firm had to put its eight ships under a foreign flag as the only escape. Wanted and expected to be President for life, and never forgave his party its withholding a third nomination. Did his utmost to exclude President Tilden, and bring in the impostor Hayes, when nothing but the amazing patriotism and self-sacrifice of Tilden averted another civil war, “Grant, the grim grabber” (Burdette’s phrase) standing ready for a dictatorship, or anything else grabable. Travelled around the world, leaving the impression that we are a nation of hogs, by his carrying away costly courtesy offerings not intended for acceptance unless reciprocated. His bankership was characteristic; the same surrounding himself with the worst men obtainable; never known to listen to any warning or complaint against them; deeming nothing dishonest so it seemed to pay; and as wasteful of the dollars of his friends as of the lives of his soldiers. Toady editors proclaimed this illustrator of “the dignity of dulness,” the perfection of all wisdom and knowledge; the infallible judge, gauger, and sizer-up of all men. But when he bilked, they had to make him out an ignoramus, or a gander, to try and save him from having to follow his partners to states-prison. Died just in time. A man is known by the company he chooses. Monument fund (headed by Jay Gould) better be applied to the swindling debts of “Grant and Ward.” As these editors now conspire to make a Jeroboam Calf, Diana of the Ephesians, or Chinese Joss of this Hiram (alias Ulysses) Grant, I feel it my duty (merely for Christianity vs. Paganism — that is all) to luff up and rake a broadside into their grantolatry, and to post this Grant, as, in his three capacities,— General, President, Banker,— never aught else than a blooming Humbug and a National Nuisance; which these facts sustain. His domestic virtues must not obscure the truth that, in public life, open to any man’s reviewing, he was the most overrated and dangerous character that ever pestered the Republic which my family helped to found.
Robert Rodney, U. S. N.
It is not an Irish Parliamentary Party in the House of Commons so much as a determined organization in Ireland which Landlordism dreads; and where this infamous system can be hit the hardest, there is where I deem it my duty to be.
A gentleman who prides himself on having renounced his allegiance to two despotisms, that of the Bible and that of King Alcohol, an ardent prohibitionist, who in his prayers changes the spelling of God to Government, has been reading Liberty and “Lucifer” a little, and says “he is free to admit that Anarchy thus far seems more attractive than State Socialism, but that the moral necessity for prohibition would remain the same after the establishment of Anarchy or of Stale Socialism.” See how even sincere men can tinker with words, while absolutely blind to the principles for which they stand. This casuist, who wants legislation to help him keep sober, professes not to be a party man, and is scandalized at the idea that his majority-vote prohibitionism brings him into line with the “God-in-the-Constitutionists.” He boasts of being a “Free Thinker,” because he would not vote for St. John upon that party platform, nor uphold the authority of Moses, who does not happen to be the candidate for president or governor. But the majority vote to control individual conduct, and pass laws to make men good or to keep them out of temptation to do wrong,— oh, that is all right, when it happens to agree with his own notions. Personal liberty that does not square with them does not deserve a moment’s consideration. Is there not here something like delirium tremens in the moral sphere?
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.