“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.”
Germinal and the Censors.
By Émile Zola.
Ah! writers, my brothers, what a week I have just passed! I wish no one the misfortune of having a piece in distress at the office of the minister of public instruction. A week of vain agitation amid imbecile goings on! and cab drives through a beating rain in a filthy Paris swamped in mud! and the waits in the ante-chamber, the goings and comings from office to office! and the pity of the attendants, who begin to know you! and the shame of feeling one’s self becoming stupid in the midst of all this administrative stupidity!
The heart beats; one would like to hit somebody. One feels lessened, diminished, in the attitude of a brave man who bends his spine, taken with anguish and glancing behind him to see if any one is looking at him. A thorough disgust rises in my throat, and I want to spit it out upon the ground.
Well, then, the Censure, which our poor Republic has had the shame to garland with the title of Examining Commission had singled out “Germinal,” the drums constructed from my romance by M. William Busnach, as a socialistic work, the representation of which would involve the greatest langers from the standpoint of order. And right here I insist on the absolutely political character if the quarrel that has been raised with us. Nothing contrary to morals has been pointed out in the piece. We have been condemned solely because the piece is republican and socialistic. Let no one try to create a misunderstanding.
As for the Censure, it has performed its function, and one can only complain that its function is such a dirty one. These people are paid to strangle written thought: they strangle it; at least they earn their money. If they exist, the blame rests on those who vote them salaries. A question which I must put aside that I may not be too long, but which perhaps I shall consider some time, with the developments that it permits.
But, as far as we are concerned, the Censure disappears, retires into its muddy cellar to crawl; and here we are in presence of a high functionary, M. Edmond Turquet, undersecretary of fine arts. M. Busnach and myself enter upon the campaign hopefully, for it seems to us impossible for a republican government to prohibit a republican piece. The elections of the fourth of October had caused us a good deal of anxiety, which the second ballotings of the eighteenth had just happily dissipated.
First visit. M. Turquet receives us with an artist’s non-chalance, an ingenuous air, and a sympathetic shake of the hand. We find him simply a little fatigued. Moreover, he has read nothing, he has just arrived; and he flames against the Censure more violently than ourselves, and asks us if we have not sufficient influence in the press to get this odious institution abolished. He had asked for the suppression of the censors, but has not been listened to. And every moment he lifts his hands to his head, crying: “My God! what a cruel position is mine! No, no, I prefer not to concern myself in the matter; it will be the misfortune of my life.”
Finally, in an outburst of benevolence, be tramples upon administrative customs, and tries to read aloud the report of the Censure: but his emotion is too much for him, and he calls his secretary, who reads the document in our presence. A pretty document, I assure you; Jocrisse in the róle of critic, the opinions of a janitor stated in the style of a constable: it is a shame to see our works in such hands. In short, the good M. Turquet, who seems to be on our side, promises to examine the piece; and we go away, certain that matters are going to be arranged.
Second visit. I had returned quietly to the country, and M. Busnach makes his appearance alone. This time he finds M. Turquet very much agitated, but still fraternal. New outcries against the Censure; but the Censure exists, and M. Turquet does not want to lose his place. He is still indefinite; some passages will have to be expunged, but he does not get so far as to specify these passages; and he requires my presence. Another meeting is arranged; M. Busnach sends me a dispatch, summoning me in all haste.
Third visit. M. Turquet is pained to see us, and I begin to pity him seriously, for it is evident that all this work that we are making him is tiring him more and more. Yet we try to discuss, to learn from his mouth what the objectionable passages are. But this róle of the executioner upsets him, he hands us the manuscript twenty times over, and cries: “No, no, enough of this; I prefer to prohibit it!” It was becoming touching and trying. At last, after pressing questions, we gather from him that his fears are confined almost exclusively to the scene of the police.
Here I must say that our famous police, about whom there has been so much talk, simply crossed the stage amid the strikers, and that they fired only from the wings, where their guns went off of themselves in the hubbub. We had made all possible extenuations, substituting for the army a squad of policemen, explaining that neither the miners nor the police detested each other, but that both were the victims of fatality. The piece is a work of pity and not of revolution.
Never mind, M. Turquet would have no police. “But they can cross the stage?” No! “Then they shall not appear; only gun-shots shall be heard.” No! “Not even gun-shots in the distance?” No! Thanks, at last we know what M. Turquet wants: the scene of the police modified, some passages too distinctly socialistic expunged, and the piece is restored to us. We arrange another meeting, again believing the affair settled.
But here another character enters upon the scene,— M. Goblet, minister of public instruction. In the course of our interviews with M. Turquet, we had asked to see him, and he had sent us word that he was in agreement with his undersecretary and left the matter entirely to him. I return to spend Sunday in the country, where I receive from the ministry a dispatch announcing that the minister expects us on Monday. At first, stupefaction at this jumble; then, satisfaction at the hope that at last we are to see a man who will settle the affair in five minutes.
In a cab, under a diluvian rain, I give M. Busnach such information as I have concerning M. Goblet.
A petty lawyer at Amiens, enjoying a certain reputation in his neighborhood; attorney-general on the Fourth of September; elected deputy in 1873, under the favor of Gambetta; an energetic republican, who has passed from a soft red to a brilliant red in company with events; a traitor to Gamhetta’s memory and at swords’ points with the opportunists, who hate him; and, to finish with a stroke, it is whispered at the ministry that “he receives secret visits from Clémenceau.”
“You see,” said I, innocently, to M. Busnach, “this is our man.”
Fourth visit. First, we fall into the midst of an agitated ministry. Ever since morning the minister has been raging in his private office; we see messenger running to and from consternation, and young secretaries passing with disconcerted faces. Again it is the good M. Turquet who has unchained this storm, for he has had the politeness, in one of his forgetful moments, to hand back to us the manuscript annotated by the Censure that we might expunge the objectionable passages. It seems that this was wrong. The minister is in a stew to get this manuscript, which he wanted to read before receiving us.
We enter. From the door I see my man: he is the enemy. A little man, dry, cold, and irritable,— one of those little men who are never resigned to their littleness. The sinister month of the lawyer, the hard eyes of the bourgeois whom ambition has made a republican under the Republic, and who takes his revenge when he can by satisfying the malice and prejudices of his race. Evidently this man does not know Paris; he does not know how to receive a writer or how to talk to him; all that he knows of our Parisian theatre he has learned from the provincial tours of Madame Sarah Bernhardt. Polite, however; he asked us to sit down.
And, before a single word had been exchanged, I felt his look fastened upon us. At last ho held us both in his hands, and saw his opportunity of avenging Amiens. I will not say that he does not like my literature, for he has not read me; but I am greatly mistaken if there is not some one in his family who abominates me. Anxious, we cast furtive glances I behind the draperies to see if officers were not stationed there to take us away. We were malefactors before a judge; and the frightful silence continued.
Nevertheless M. Busnach sacrificed himself by giving back the manuscript to M. Goblet, and what then followed stupefied me. The minister, who had not read the piece, could not speak of it; and yet he did speak of it, on the strength of what had been told him, but senselessly, accusing us, among other things, of winding up with a general massacre, when the scene of the police is the seventh out of twelve: undoubtedly, the good M. Turquet had confused them. Impossible to come to an understanding; in fact, a frightful mess.
And then, abruptly, M. Goblet starts off on a tirade against the press. Ah! M. Goblet does not like the press; for it be has the hatred of the provincial and the authoritarian. In his most disagreeable tone he says to me: “And this campaign that you have begun against me in the newspapers! It is impossible to govern, if my decisions are to be discussed before they are taken.” I looked at him, amazed, and responded: “Monsieur, I have begun nothing at all; I cannot prevent the newspapers from speaking. If I take part in the discussion, I shall sign my name and you will see it.”
Then he falls upon M. Edouard Lockroy. “My excellent friend, M. Lockroy, has written to me saying that he feels sure that we will restore the piece to you. I should like to see him in my place!” I greatly desired to answer that that might happen sooner than he wished; I wondered at the anger of this man floundering about in our Paris without knowing it. In fact, at the request of M. Busnach, his friend, M. Lockroy had written a letter, my profound gratitude for which I ought here to signify; and this letter was what it should have been, the letter of a child of Paris, of a literary man of great wit and talent, of a man, in short, who knows our dear city, who does not fear the effect upon it of theatrical battles, for he knows that it lives principally upon passion and that the finest days of our literature have been days of struggle. But make that intelligible, if you can, to a determined man who would like to see our theatre — us calm as that of Amiens!
“Monsieur,” I say to him, “I am not a party man, as you know; I am an artist. All opinions have the floor in ‘Germinal.’” And he answers: ‘I do not like this eclectictism.”
He turned over the leaves of the manuscript, wishing to know the climax. Then, after reading, he declares: “That might have hem said differently, but it is not what they described to me.”
From that moment we were lost. I had still one more feeble ray of hope, for the good M. Turquet came in, having been sent for by the minister, and it was agreed that he should read the piece again in order to give us a final answer. He shuts himself up in his private office, forbids any one to enter, and asks us for two hours with mournful gestures.
Fifth visit. Two hours later we return. M. Turquet had fled, leaving word that the manuscript bad been returned to M. Goblet, and that the latter would give us a reply the next day.
Sixth visit. The rain again pouring in torrents. We are exactly on time, and they seem stupefied and embarrassed at seeing us. M. Goblet is not in, M. Turquet is not in; they finally explain to us that the minister decided to write us a letter, entirely with his own hand, like the emperor, to inform us that he regretted his inability to authorize the representation of our piece. They did not condescend to receive us: they sent us word that they were not in, as if we were beggars. We are only writers; it is safe to treat us with contempt. And we put on our hats, and went out into the rain again.
Now, what? Shall we laugh, or get angry? Evidently there is but one man to complain of in all this,— M. Goblet. He has gone through the farce of getting the approval of the Cabinet, which was easy, by bringing false quotations. But he certainly did not tell the Cabinet that we had taken out the police and offered to soften down all the passages that seemed to him disturbing in their tendency. And besides, it is inadmissible that the entire Cabinet could be capable of suppressing a work in this fashion. M. Goblet alone is responsible, and, when M. Goblet is turned out, “Germinal” will be played.
Would a single one of the deputies of Paris be against us? If I were to collect signatures for the abolition of the Censure, would not every one of them sign? Would the republican majority of the Chamber prohibit our piece, if I could ask it to pronounce upon it? Therefore, I am entirely tranquil. It is absurd to suppose that, when the question of the Censure comes up in the discussion of the next appropriation bill, it will not be abolished with the stroke by refusing it the twenty thousand francs which it costs and which alone maintain it; for when the money stops, the dirty work will stop; it lives only by the toleration of the Chamber; I even believe it to be illegal now. We have fallen upon a country lawyer, that is all. We will wait until we have a man of brains for minister of public instruction.
What a murder to entrust these ministries, where the heart of Paris beats, to politicians who do not know us and who hate us! Let M. Goblet be given prefects to manage, well and good! But artists, writers!
And, to conclude, there is we thing that M. Goblet does not suspect,— that he has become famous. The country lawyer, the attorney-general, the protégé of Gambetta, the minister, will pass away; but the man who prohibited “Germinal” will remain. M. Goblet will never be anything else than that man. It is fatal; every minister who prohibits a piece is consigned to eternal ridicule. Some day the piece gets played whether or no, people look at each other, and all Paris says: “Was it necessary to have been so stupid?” “Germinal” will kill M. Goblet.
By Georges Sauton.
Translated from the French for Liberty by Sarah E. Holmes.
Continued from No. 69.
The Circle again gathered round him, curious, palpitating, in the solemn and religious silence of mysterious initiations; but Neill moved his tongue only to say:
“Somewhere else than on the road.”
“There are only brothers here,” urged an impatient one, “brothers and the birds who have gone to sleep.”
All were not asleep.
The heavy flight of a partridge gaining a neighboring thicket beat the air ten steps behind them, and at the same time the furious yelping of the dogs which were held chained broke forth, reinforced by redoubled blows of the whip and furious oaths of the valet, whom they pulled about, tugging at their collars.
“Hunter Gowan!” said Treor.
A brute, cruel as his master, Newington, and singled out for the righteous blows Of popular vengeance at the day of reckoning; they could hear distinctly what he said to his beasts.
“If it is to set your fangs in the carcass of the party below, I’ll let you loose; but no, you would die poisoned by such crow’s meat.”
Treor repressed the keen retorts with which they started to lash him, and advised them to treat him with silent scorn; but when Gowan, coming nearer, distinguished their attitudes of sovereign contempt, he railed at them directly:
“They will make you look at us from a higher point yet, presently,— from the top of the trees where they will hang you!”
Through a noten in the hill which hid the sun, a ray of light illuminated suddenly Paddy Neill, and the abusive and malicious pride of the valet turned into rough hilarity.
He coarsely reviled the Irishman.
“If is not near enough to the holidays to wear masks, and too far from the summer to have the head shaved.”
Ah! I see,” he continued, “the fellow has had a quarrel with his lady-love, and she has pulled his ugly head of hair out by the roots.”
The muttering which grew louder, precursor of an irrepressible explosion; the threatening attitude of all in the group,— did not intimidate him, but rather stimulated his stupid and silly wit, and he continued:
“Really, friend, I pity you; with such a muzzle, you will not soon find a woman who will consent to embrace you.”
“You deceive yourself!” said Marian, in whom, in a moment, a tempest of feeling had risen; and advancing in the midst of the moved and respectful admiration of every one.
And while Gowan’s surly dogs violently shook their leash in an effort to break it and throw themselves on Paddy Neill, Treor’s little daughter kissed with her virgin lip the martyr’s lacerated forehead and his eyes, through which a fountain of blood scented to be coursing.
As he saw, for the third time that evening, a gentle half-opening of the heavy tapestry curtain which covered one of the entrances to the hall where he was receiving the report of Hunter Cowan and that of Casper, the gelder, the Duke of Newington, quite beside himself, his furious voice filling the lofty room and making the suits of armor under the ancestral portraits resound, demanded: “Who is there? Who is there?”
Receiving no answer, he rose hastily, kicking his dog Myrrha, who lay curled in a ring near his chair, and hurried to the door in order to unmask the intruder, the inconsiderate man, perhaps the spy who had either been betrayed by his own stupidity or else defied him.
He grasped furiously in his fingers his hunting-whip, which never left him, and through the thickness of the carpet the floor groaned under his enormous weight that multiplied the fury of his gait. Woe to the man whom he in his apoplectic rage should strike a single blow of this whip or of his boxing-glove which broxe in two the tavern tables.
But, half way to the curtain, it opened wide, and, in the angle of light cut off thereby, the white profile of the Duchess Ellen, smiling and mocking, framed itself.
“You!” said he, astonished, but reassured, amused, brightened up, this virulent giant having in regard to this extraordinary young woman, proud and feline, at once the mildness and rapture of a lion subdued and fawning.
“Me,” said she, entering; “curious about what is going on, and waiting till you should be alone in order to find out.”
“And there, then, secrets from you, watchwords which do not fall when you present yourself?” demanded he, with reproach in his tone, in his attitude.
“Oh!” she answered, “I do not meddle with the affairs of State. My women have told me of trouble in the village, laughing to kill themselves at a scandalous and ridiculous scene of which Gowan was a witness; just tell me whether we are in any immediate danger.”
She spoke without any emotion of irritation or fear; she inquired without the least real curiosity. With evident indifference to the facts which she related and to the possible peril, her mind wandered elsewhere.
Then, suddenly, the vermillion arch of her sensuous mouth stretched and became pallid, expressing ferocious vindictiveness; her bushy eyebrows met, crossing her disdainful face with a hard red line and shading the clearness of her eyes, as changeable as the sea; her sensitive nostrils quivered, and her high and prominent bosom lifted with hurried breaths the silvery brocade of her dress; so many phenomena indicating a vehement anxiety.
And suddenly, perceiving that the Duke was looking at her with solicitude, she resumed her former smile, like a closed flower which opens again, and, foreseeing embarrassing questions, drew away to retire, yielding prettily and with an amiable abandon her hand to Newington, who imprisoned it in his.
“I will return immediately,” said she.
At the same time she lent a listening ear to steps along the middle corridor, the sound of which caused her nervous shocks, and she fretted at finding herself captive in the strong pressure of her husband’s hands, who, finding her skin burning hot and her pulse abnormally accelerated, begged her not to alarm herself in this way.
“Yes, there are footsteps that way, but it is one of the servants, or perhaps Richard who is returning.”
“No,” interrupted she, briefly and ceasing to listen, weaker, more feverish, forcing Newington to relax his hold, “it is not Sir Richard.”
“And you fear that it may be, say it, what? an assassin?”
Dismissing Hunter Gowan, the Duke ordered him to go and see, and to make a minute patrol everywhere in order to prove that every door was well bolted and carefully barricaded.
Vainly the Duchess deelared this luxury of precaution needless, and tried to keep from trembling with fear. What was she experiencing? Why this uneasiness, this fever, these irregular pulsations? And her confused features, this sentinel-like vigilance, this hearing as acute as a sentry’s?
At last she admitted — with a bad grace, it true, and as if to cut short all observations — that vague apprehensions haunted her; but they would disperse, quite of themselves, later, at daybreak.
The Duke comprehended them; in the heat of the first instant, the rioters had declared an intention of charging on the castle. But they would not venture; they were more brawlers than brave men, and well knew how they would be received.
With the end of his whip he pointed out conceitedly the overwhelming panoplies which decorated the walls, where glittered the steel of all imaginable weapons: sabres sharp enough to cut stones; lances (minted like fishbones; pistols of all sizes, muskets of all patterns, not to mention the pikes, the arrows, the spears, and hoarding-axes newly ground and glittering like a gull’s wings; clubs thicker than a man’s thigh.
A complete orchestra, irresistible to make the Bunclodyans and their relatives and comrades living near dance with the frogs of the ditch!
Quite silent, the Duchess had turned to a window, and, leaning her forehead against the glass, the cold of which refreshed her, looked into the dark court and over the top of the trees which were dimly defined and through which the wind moaned, into the open country where the darkness was still more dense.
“You are bent on assuring yourself that the enemy is not preparing in the darkness to make an assault on us,” said Newington; and, full of earnest solicitude for her, he proposed — it was very simple — that the servants should light the environs with torches, and, if they chanced to encounter tramps, wandering about instead of sleeping, they should cover them with rosin and light them like lanterns.
“Give the order, Casper!”
The gelder shook his head and, without moving, criticised the idea, calculated to frighten the parishioners, while it was desirable, on the contrary, to fill them with a mistaken sense of security while they were plotting their conspiracy; unless, indeed, it were better to capture the bird in the nest.
He convinced the Duke; but the young lady, who had appeared not to hear, suddenly thanked Newington for his perfectly ingenious proposition, and accepted it, save in that which concerned the living torches.
“Yes, yes, light in profusion,” said she, with enthusiasm, “especially at the entrances of the village streets. The chief counsellor is Treor, they tell me; let them flood his house with light.”
Opinionated and stubborn, Casper only looked grim, twisted viciously his cap of otter in his short, fat, hairy lingers, and did not stir, swearing that the Duchess was quite wrong in her anxiety, that she might sleep night after night as calm as the leopards in the coats-of-arms, carved on the sides of the towers and embroidered on the tapestries.
“The revolt is hardly born yet,” concluded he; “it must grow, and, in any case, cannot bite till it is unmuzzled.”
The Duchess not comprehending this metaphor, Casper went on to elucidate:
“The signal for the explosion will come from Dublin; at present, we are organizing ourselves.”
“We!” This man belonged then to the conspirators. Ah!...good, this was a traitor. The Duchess Ellen scrutinized him. Dirty, sickening, in the blotched wrinkles of his unhealthy flesh lodged all manner of vile instincts, and on the pimply skin of this squint-eyed and sullen drunkard were traced the thousand infamies of an existence which was, doubtless, as criminal as intemperate. A man who followed the trade of a traitor was capable of no matter what crime! Up to this time her restless eyes had certainly been filled with some absent image; but now, softening the contempt which deluged her, she let her gaze hover about this miserable wretch.
“Move yourself, then, Casper, and obey,” said Newington, irritated by the inertia of this block. “Torches in both hands: fifty through the fields and over Bunclody; let the cocks wake up and crow, believing that the sun has risen.”
But Ellen had changed her mind, and hoped now to hear reports on what had already taken place, what was planned, and the names of the conspirators,— all, all, without exception; above all, be it well understood, above all if there were among the number friends, servants, or residents in the castle!
“Do you suspect any of our people?” questioned the Duke, suspiciously.
“Who knows?” she said.
And the gelder, now in his element as informer, narrated complaisantly and with all the details what he knew.
The emissary of the secret committee seated in the capital, Paddy Neill, the mutilated, had transmitted strict orders from the leaders. Far from acting hastily, the future rebels were to feign absolute calmness, indifference to injuries, pardon to outrages; opposing to all vexations, all direct provocations, only the resignation of the conquered, of Christians ready for martyrdom; but, by means of this appearance of peacefulness, to reunite clandestinely, in isolated places, at unseasonable hours of the night, in order to take account of their numbers, encourage each other, preserve the determination to demand their rights, and fan the flame of retaliation without mercy!
And the knave sneered at the thought of these illusory precautions, when he assisted at all their couucils.
“They have commenced this evening their dark work,” said the Duke; “with grand preparation, inviting their God to the ceremony, swearing solemnly, on the Bible, to unite for the deliverance of their country, though it should cost the property of those who have any, their liberty, their lives, and even the risk of infernal tortures.”
“On the Bible!” repeated the Duchess, who was visibly interested in this news, and only simulated an indifference which she did not inwardly feel.
“Is it only the men who have bound themselves by oath, or the women also?” demanded she.
“The women also!” responded Casper; “imagine them in that atmosphere of nauseating fumes of gin.
“The women, faith!” commented the Duke in an outburst of frankness and humanity very unusual with him. “They are the ones who seem to me most in need of a change. Death would be, on the whole, better than their situation, and their torment is to devote themselves from daylight till dark, without, rest, to hard and fruitless labor on the land, or to bleach out at the bottom of some hovel in the stench of housekeeping; for they always have a litter of children.”
He caressed paternally, and like the head of an adored child, the silken neck and cool nose of Myrrha, who lolled at his feet, and felicitated her on not being one of those. Irishwomen obliged to got their living by digging in the earth, or to mould with their litters in some filthy corner!
Meanwhile Casper enumerated all those who had taken the oath of deliverance, had promised on the sacred book to sacrifice, in the common cause, their lives, their families, their hearts.
Lawrence Murphy of the tumbled-down but near the pond where the cattle drank freely; the widow of Effy Padge, who lived in a veritable pig-sty opposite the tavern, and who idled the whole blessed day among the yellow books, preferring the scrawl of a printed leaf to a morsel of bread.
Lady Ellen, before a Venetian glass set on the shelf of an Italian credence, busied herself in re-arranging in coils a heavy tress that had fallen from her neck to her heels, and, unskilful, turned it indefinitely about the sheaves of fawn-colored hair upon which the light of the chandelier threw its sparkling reflections.
She wearied her arms with this work, but the impatience which she showed and which arched the curve of her imperial nose proceeded from the exasperating delay of Casper in pronouncing, instead of those which were indifferent or unknown, the one single name which signified anything to her, and which was on the end of her tongue.
He continued monotonously to file off his list in chronological order, as the oaths had succeeded each other.
Nathaly Durk, the wife of the peddler, whom the soldiers had thrown into the waters of Bann to drown books and French revolutionary journals which he refused to part with; Edith, who, in a pressing need of motherhood, had adopted Paddy Neill as a son while waiting the return of the real one, now in the service of the devil.
At this paroxysm of humor, the Duchess, unable to wait longer, inquired directly about the matter which tormented her unceasingly:
“And Marian, did she take the oath?” affecting a perfect indifference, but without success.
“Treor’s little daughter?” demanded the gelder, “because there are several Marians.”
“Yes, that one.”
“How? What do you mean? She extended her hand and repeated the same formula as her comrades:
“‘Before God who sees our acts and who will judge us, I swear to consecrate myself, in thought, in word, in action, to the work of the United Irishmen. I swear, by God who has sacrificed himself for our redemption, to labor for the success of this work, without a complaint, without a regret, without faltering; having, until success is achieved, no other aim, no other passion, no other love.’”
To be continued.
Then and Now.
Something in Way of an Apology for the People of Today.
Boston, November 28, 2085.
My Dear Louise:
On recommendation of Mr. De Domain I have been reading a book entitled “The Nineteenth Century in the Light of Today,” written by one of the most popular authors of the present time. I have found the work intensely interesting, and, in order to give you an idea of what it contains, I will make a few extracts.
The author says in his introduction that the people of today are much too apt to criticise the people of two centuries ago for their methods of social life. “While,” says he, “the methods were constructed, or suffered to remain, by the people, yet they should always be considered separately. The methods may be bad without qualification, but there is always something that palliates the offence of the people in using such methods. There is that in humanity, instilled by Nature, which makes it slow in adopting new methods of living, in every century there have been those — and not a few to a generation — who have cried: ‘Try my remedy; I have the only genuine cure-all. You are sick unto death; my medicine will make you well and strong.’ With scores of these nostrum-venders, each crying a different remedy, is it strange that the people for so long did not try the medicine that their ills needed?
“There were those with free trade, with unlimited coinage of money, with restricted coinage, with absolute freedom of suffrage for both sexes, with State Socialism in infinite variety of phases, and with other ‘isms’ unlimited. Each had honest men for advocates, and each had attractions of which much could be said.
“How were the people to distinguish between these and the true remedy for their social disorders? All these would-be reformers were constantly disputing among themselves and calling each other’s schemes shams.
“When reformers disagree, who shall decide?”
Further on in the book the writer says: “The people of the nineteenth century knew that the methods governing society were unjust, unnatural, and they desired something better, but they were slow to accept any radical change. It is, perhaps, better that this was so. There were plenty of poisons with labels upon them which read ‘panacea.’ Humanity was sick. Had it been of more hasty action, it might have drunk of the poison and been made mad or have died. It found the cure at last; for that it is to be praised.”
Under the title of “Free Trade” he says: “If ‘free trade’ had meant absolute freedom of trade, and not simply an absence of tariff on imported goods, we might well call the people fools for not adopting its principles. Tariff restrictions on trade were among the least. There was a feeling that trade was not so free as it should be. The people knew that something was wrong, but they were slow in accepting the assertion of a large class of reformers who said: ‘Remove the duties from imported goods, and poverty, long hours of labor, and half a dozen other social ills will vanish.’ The people had sense enough to see that there were many other and far greater restrictions on trade than a tariff on imported goods. They realized, to be sure, that many people were amassing vast fortunes because of the protection incident to a high tariff, but they were not in any great measure inclined, for the sake of cutting off the source of wealth of a few, to make themselves poorer.
“There were those who said the dissatisfied poor laborer was so dissatisfied simply because some one had more than he himself, and that the object of agitation was to make the rich poor. Not so. The poor laborer was dissatisfied because he did not have as much as others, and the object, of his agitation was to make the poor rich. A vast difference in sentiment.
“What was a high tariff as a trade restriction compared to the protection, the monopoly, given inventors and the national banks? Where a high tariff robbed the laborer of a cent, the national banks robbed him of a dollar, and the inventor robbed him of seventy-five cents.
“There was nothing that had the power to interfere with trade that the national banks had. National banks were the offspring of the government. Directly to the government can be traced all manner of trade restrictions. The government was the prime source of poverty and of wealth. The people were not so blind that they could not see this, but what were they to do? We can say today: ‘Why, they should have accepted Anarchy and abolished the State;’ but, if we today realized that Anarchy was causing a hundred social evils, should we he hasty to accept any one of a dozen different, remedies that might be offered us, never mind how grand it looked as pictured by its advocates? I think not. Human nature has not changed to that extent.
“We must not judge the people of 1885 too hastily. There were so many alluring traps set for them that they did not dare venture on the right oath for fear of pitfalls and enemies waiting in ambush. Then, again, they were bound in service to the government, and, if they fled from their master, they well knew that his bloodhounds would be sent out to capture them.
“Let us put the curse where it belongs, not upon the people, but upon the State.”
I think I have quoted enough to show you the drift of the book, but in order to make you appreciate how interesting it is, I should be obliged to transcribe pages, and that, would make my letter too long.
What’s To Be Done?
By N. G. Tchernychewsky.
Translated by Benj. R. Tucker.
Continued from No. 69.
“O reader with the penetrating eye!” I say to him, “you are quite right: the blue-stocking is stupid and tiresome, and it is impossible to endure him. That you have seen correctly; but you have not seen who the blue-stocking is. You shall see him, as in a mirror. The blue-stocking is the man who speaks with importance and stupid affectation of literary and scientific matters, of which he does not know the a I e, and who speaks of them, not because he is interested in them, but to make a show of brains (of which nature has been very niggardly to him), of his lofty aspirations (of which he has as many as the chair on which he sits), and of his learning (he has as much as a parrot). Do you know this coarse face, this carefully-brushed head? It is you, my dear sir. Yes, however long you let your beard grow, or however carefully you shave it off, in any case you are indubitably and incontestably a blue-stocking of the most authentic stamp. That is why I have twice put you out doors, simply because I cannot endure blue-stockings. Among us men there are ten times as many as among women.
“But any person, of whatever sex, who, with any sensible object in view, engages in something useful, is simply a human being engaged in business, and nothing else.”
The Kirsanoffs were now the intellectual centre of a large number of families in a condition similar to their own and sharing their ideas: these associations took half of their leisure time. But there is one thing of which unfortunately it is necessary to speak at too great length to many individuals in order to be understood. Whoever has not felt himself must at least have read that there is a great difference between a simple evening party and one where the object of your love is present. That is well known. But what very few have felt is that the charm which love gives to every thing should not be a passing phenomenon in man’s life, that this intense gleam of life should not light, simply the period of desire, of aspiration, the period called courting, or seeking in marriage; no, this period should be only the ravishing dawn of a clay more ravishing yet. Light and heat increase during the greater part of the day; so during the course of life ought love and its delights to increase. Among people of the old society such is not the case; the poetry of love does not survive satisfaction. The contrary is the rule among the people of the new generation whose life I am describing, The longer they live together, the more they are lighted, and warmed by the poetry of love, until the time when the care of their growing children absorbs them. Then this care, sweeter than personal enjoyment, becomes uppermost; but until then love grows incessantly. That which the men of former times enjoyed only for a few short months the new men keep for many years.
And why so? It is a secret which I will unveil to you, if you wish. It is a fine secret, one worth having, and it is not difficult. One need have but a pure heart, an upright soul, and that new and just conception of the human being which prompts respect for the liberty of one’s life companion. Look upon your wife as you looked upon your sweetheart; remember that she at any moment has the right to say to you: “I am dissatisfied with you; leave me.” Do this, and ten years after your marriage she will inspire in you the same enthusiasm that she did when she was your sweetheart, and she will have as much charm for you as then and even more. Recognize her liberty as openly, as explicitly, and with as little reserve, as you recognize the liberty of vour friends to be your friends or not, and ten years, twenty years, after marriage you will be as dear to her as when you were her sweetheart. This is the way in which the people of our new generation live. Their condition in this respect is very enviable. Among them husbands and wives are loyal, sincere, and love each other always more and more.
After ten years of marriage they do not exchange false kisses or false words. “A lie was never on his lips; there was no deception in his heart,” was said of some one in a certain book. In reading these things we say: The author, when he wrote this book, said to himself that this was a man whom all must admire as one to be celebrated. This author did not foresee that new men would arise, who would not admit among their acquaintances people who had not attained the height of his unparalleled hero, and the readers of the aforesaid book will have difficulty in understanding what I have just said, especially if I add that my heroes do not consider their numerous friends as exceptions, but simply as estimable, though very ordinary, individuals of the new generation.
What a pity that at the present hour there are still more than ten antediluvians for every new man! It is very natural, however. An antediluvian world can have only an antediluvian population.
“See, we have been living together for three years already [formerly it was one year, then two, next it will be four, and so on], and we are still like lovers who see each other rarely and secretly. Where did the idea come from, Sacha, that love grows weaker when there is nothing to disturb possession? People who believe that have not known true love. They have known only self-love or erotic faculties. True love really begins with life in common.”
“Am I not the inspiration of this remark?”
“You? You will in a few years forget medicine, unlearn to read, and lose all your intellectual faculties, and you will end by seeing nothing but me.”
Such conversations are neither long nor frequent, but they sometimes occur.
* * *
Conversations like these are more frequent.
“Sacha, how your love sustains me! It inspires in me the power of independence even against you. Does my love give nothing to you?”
“To me. No less than to you. This continuous, strong, healthy excitement of the nerves necessarily develops the nervous system [gross materialism, let us note with the reader with the penetrating eye]; consequently my intellectual and moral forces grow in proportion to your love.”
“Yes, Sacha, I understand what they say (I should not dare to believe it if I were the only one to see it, not being a disinterested witness); others see, as I do, that your eyes are becoming clearer and your expression more intense and powerful.”
“There is no reason to praise me for that, even in your behalf, Vérotchka. We are one and the same being. But it is sure that my thought having become much more active, it must be reflected in my eyes. When I come to draw inferences from my observations, I now do in an hour what formerly required several hours. I can hold in my mind many more facts than before, and my deductions are larger and more complete. If I had had any germ of genius in me, Vérotchka, with this sentiment I should have become a great genius. If I had been given a little of the creative power, with the sentiment which dominates me I could have acquired the strength to revolutionize science. But I was born to be only a drudge, an ordinary and obscure laborer able to handle special questions only. That is what I was without you. Now, you know, I am something else: much more is expected of me; it is believed that I will revolutionize an entire branch of science, the whole theory of the functions of the nervous system. And I feel that I shall meet this expectation. At the age of twenty-four man has a broader and bolder intellectual view than at the age of twenty-rune, or thirty, or thirty-two, and so on. I am as strong as I was at twenty-four. And I feel that I am still growing, which would not be so were it not for you. I did not grow during the two or three years preceding our union. You have restored to me the freshness of early youth and the strength to go much farther than I could have gone without your love.”
* * *
Conversations like these are very frequent also.
“My dear friend, I am reading Boccaccio now [what immorality! let us note with the reader with the penetrating eye. Only we men may read that; but for my part I am going to make this remark: a woman will hear the reader with the penetrating eve give utterance to more conventional filth in five minutes than she will find in all Boccaccio, and she will not hear from the reader with the penetrating eye a single one of those luminous, fresh, and pure words in which Boccaccio abounds]: you are right in saying that he has very great talent. Some of his tales deserve to be placed beside the best dramas of Shakspere for depth and delicacy of psychological analysis.”
“How do his humorous stories, where Boccaccio is so broad, please you?”
“Some of them are funny, but generally they are tiresome, like every farce, from being too coarse.”
“But he must be pardoned; he lived five hundred years before our time. What now seems to us too filthy and too much like Billingsgate was not considered improper then.”
“It is the same with many of our manners and customs; they will seem coarse and unclean in much less than five hundred years. But I pay no attention to the license of Boccaccio; I speak of those novels of his in which he describes an elevated and passionate love so well. It is there that his great talent appears. I come back to what I was going to say: he paints very well and very vividly. But, judging from his writings, we may say that they did not know in those days that delicacy of love which we know now; love was not felt so deeply, although it is said to have been the epoch when they enjoyed it most completely. No, the people of that day did not enjoy love so well. Their sentiments were too superficial and their intoxication too mild and transient.”
A year had passed; the new shop, thoroughly organized, was doing well. The two shops cooperated: when one was overworked, it sent orders to the other. They kept a running account with each other. Their means were already so large that they were able to open a store on the Perspective Nevsky: but they had to cooperate more closely, which embarrassed Véra Pavlovna and Madame Mertzaloff not a little. Although the two associations were friendly, met frequently, and often took walks together in the suburbs, the idea of complete cooperation between the two enterprises was new, and a great deal had to be done. Nevertheless the advantage of having their own store on the Perspective Nevsky was evident, and, after experimenting for some months, Véra Pavlovna and Madame Mertzaloff finally succeeded. A new sign appeared on the Perspective Nevsky in French: Au bon travail. Magasin de Nouveautés.* With the opening of the store business began to improve rapidly, and was done to better and better advantage. Madame Mertzaloff and Véra Pavlovna cherished the dream of seeing the number of shops rise from two to five, ten, twenty.
Three months after the opening of the store Kirsanoff received a visit from one of his colleagues with whom he was somewhat acquainted. The latter talked to him a great deal of various medical applications, and especially of the astonishing efficacy of his method, which consisted in placing on the breast and belly two small bags, narrow and long, filled with pounded ice and each wrapped in four napkins. In conclusion, he said that one of his friends wished to make Kirsanoff’s acquaintance.
Kirsanoff complied with this desire. The acquaintance was an agreeable one, and the conversation turned on many things,— among others the store. Kirsanoff explained that it had been opened for an exclusively commercial purpose. They talked a long time about the sign; was it well to have the sign bear the word travail? Kirsanoif said that Au bon travail meant in Russian a house that filled its orders well; then they discussed the question whether it would not be better to substitute for this motto the name of the manager. Kirsanoff objected that his wife’s Russian name would drive away much custom.** At last he said that his wife’s name was Véra, which, translated into French, was foi, and that it would be sufficient to put on the sign, instead of An bon travail, A la bonne foi. This would have a most innocent meaning,— simply a house that was conscientious,— and besides the name of the manager would appear. After some discussion they decided that this was feasible. Kirsanoff led the conversation on such subjects with especial zeal, and, as a general thing, carried his point, so that he returned home well satisfied.
Madame Mertzaloff and Véra Pavlovna, however, had to abate their fine hopes, and think only of preserving what had been already achieved.
The founders of the establishment considered themselves fortunate in the statu quo. Kirsanoff’s new acquaintance continued his visits and proved very interesting. Two years went by, and nothing of especial note happened.
Letter of Katérina Vassilievna Polosoff.
St. Petersburg, August 17, 1860.
My dear Polina, I wish to tell you of something new which I have just discovered, which has pleased me greatly, and which I am now zealously concerned in. I am sure that it will interest you. But the most important point is that you perhaps will engage in something similar. It is so agreeable, my friend.
It is about a sewing-women’s shop,— two shops, to speak more accurately, both based on the same principle, both founded by one woman, whose acquaintance I made only a fortnight ago and whose friend I have already become. I am now helping her on condition that she will help me to organize a similar shop. This lady’s name is Véra Pavlovna Kirsanoff, still young, kind, gay, quite to my fancy; she resembles you, Polina, more than your Katia, who is so quiet. She is an energetic and fearless person.
To be continued.
* Good work. Linen-draper’s store.
** The most famous and well-known dressmaking and millinery establishments in St. Petersburg are kept by Frenchwomen.
“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.
How utterly the heads of even professed thinkers are turned by the existing order strikes me with singular force in my walks among them. The most advanced thinkers are so buried in the idea of the institution that it seems almost impossible to extricate their minds from the idea that, when one is talking of Anarchy, he is talking of an institution. Quite unable to contemplate Anarchy, except as an instituted machine, they eternally want you to show your plans and specifications. They will know how every cog, screw, valve, and stop-cock is adjusted and handled, and how the whole machine will run under every imaginable condition.
Friend Putnam says he is an Anarchist, but has no sooner said it than he shrugs himself together anxiously, scratches his head thoughtfully, and in painful hesitation remarks: “But I don’t quite see how your plan would work in the case of a man who insisted upon the individual right of standing his neighbor on his head and making a town pump of him. It is the difficulty I find in solving a few such problems as this under your institution of Anarchy that keeps me from coming out a full-fledged Anarchist.”
McDonald, the valiant iconoclast of the “Truth Seeker,” concedes cheerfully that he goes a long way with the Anarchists “but what I want to know,” he says, snappishly, “is how your institution of Anarchy proposes to deal with ruffians who go about breaking heads, flinging Greek fire and dynamite bombs into the faces of innocent pedestrians, and raising hell generally at other people’s expense. I have stumped Tucker to solve these problems and answer my puzzles, but cannot get a word out of him. Your system is all head and no body,— impracticable bosh.”
Young Dr. Foote, brave and progressive, says that his tendencies are all Anarchistic; “but what I want to know,” he says, “is how the institution of Anarchy proposes to deal with a leper or small-pox victim who insists on the right as an individual sovereign of squatting in a healthy, thickly-settled neighborhood.” He then proceeds to unroll quite a bundle of conundrums, and concludes by saying that, if he could satisfy his mind as to how the Anarchistic machine could successfully dispose of these knotty problems, he would ship for the whole voyage and stay on deck through thick and thin.
Now, all these timid doubting Thomases are simply institution-ridden. Anarchy is not an institution, but rather the sworn enemy of all institutions. Its essential mission is the disintegration of institutions, wherever found. An institution implies authority, and force. Anarchy poises itself on consent. Every instituted machine denies Liberty. Liberty is the life principle of Anarchy; hence, Liberty and the institution are natural enemies. The Anarchist finds order (natural social combination) only in Liberty, just as the chemist in his laboratory only finds natural physical combination (chemical order) when the given elements are “set free.” To view Anarchy, then, as an institution is to utterly distort it, and render a correct understanding of its aims and workings impossible. To attempt to study out the workings of Anarchism in given social problems involving good order by instituting correspondences with existing machines is to artificially make it the very thing which it starts out not to be, and nothing but confusion is obtainable.
Anarchists are not trying to set up a system. Nature has provided the system in the very integral order of things, if only the grip of authority can be loosened from human concerns and Liberty be allowed to awaken the responsive life of natural reciprocity in social commerce. As surely will the very best methods of social adjustment respond to given wants as fast as men are set free as do the laws of natural combination respond in the chemist’s laboratory the moment he sets given elements free. Liberty is to the social laboratory what heat is to the chemical. It is the universal disintegrator,— the eternal promise of natural order.
But away all childish puzzles, dear friends, into your intellectual toy-boxes. Stop your silly conundrum-making, and look deeply and soberly into natural law. If your first faith is not laid in that, you are still poor, institution-ridden children,— priest-ridden, when you think you are not. The institution-maker holds up his machine, and while you grasp his stately petticoats with one hand, you hold your toy puzzles in the other, refusing to let go of either and come over to Liberty. We have no institution to offer, but in that very fact lies the whole promise of order. When you get upon intellectual footing that will enable you to realize this, you will be ashamed of your toy puzzles and the ridiculous parade you are making with them.
Died November 21, 1885, Aged 81.
It is only the simplest truth to say that Mr. Wright was one of the earliest, most talented, most courageous, most indefatigable, most self-sacrificing, and most efficient of that little band of heroes who first compelled the people of this country to look in the face the great question of the abolition of slavery. Faithful and heroic at the outset, he was faithful and heroic to the end. Although it was very easy for him to make a short and pungent speech, he was not given to making long speeches; and therefore never acquired such a reputation for eloquence as did some of his associates. But I think it will be acknowledged that he could put more vim and fire into a paragraph than any of them.
In private life, he was one of the most unselfish, generous, sympathetic, and courageous of men. Ready to do his duty everywhere, as regardless of the smiles, as of the frowns, of what is called “society.”
A moral and intellectual hero, he has laid down his arms only with his life.
Blind to Their Own Logic.
The Boston “Herald,” as stupid as usual, says:
The declaration of the British Catholic bishops that ‘free education is tantamount to a State monopoly’ cannot be sustained,— at least in this country. Every one has a right to educate his children as he will, but, if he wishes to have them taught dogmas, he must pay for it. Those who don’t like our institutions should go to some country that pleases them better.
Of course he must pay for it; he expects to. What he kicks at is having to pay for another school to which he does not wish to send his children. If “every one has a right to educate his children as he will,” he has a right, if he thinks best, to have them taught dogmas and mathematics in the same school: but, if he is a poor man, he cannot afford to do this after paying his State school-tax, and therefore has to send his children to the public schools. Hence the Catholic bishops are right, and our system of “free education is tantamount to a State monopoly.” Of course the rich man who prefers private schools can afford to send his children to them and still pay for the public schools, but this does not make the system any the less a monopoly, any more than the fact that the rich man who prefers foreign goods can afford to buy them and pay the duty on them makes the tariff less a monopoly.
The Boston “Investigator,” a little more stupid than usual, indorses the Herald’s position. Now, the “Investigator” makes a great fuss because Infidels, through the exemption of church property from taxation, are taxed to support churches. But suppose the Catholic “Pilot” should turn upon it and say: Every one has a right to worship as he will, or even not to worship at all; but, if, instead of going to the Cathedral Sundays, he wishes to attend the Paine Hall debates, he must pay for it. The “Investigator” would promptly answer: That’s what we expect.; we are willing to pay our own bills, but we are unwilling to pay yours too. When it comes to schools, wherever, instead of churches, the “Investigator” is blind to its own logic, and not a whit less orthodox and narrow than the “Pilot.”
And suppose the “Pilot” should politely add: Those who don’t like our institutions should go to some country that pleases them better. In that case I should expect to see Messrs. Seaver and Mendum of the “Investigator” and Messrs. Haskell and Pulsifer of the “Herald” emigrate about as promptly as George F. Hoar did when General Butler was elected governor. I suppose that Garrison and Phillips were told something less than five hundred thousand million times that, if they didn’t like our institutions, they could pack their trunks and go. But those obstinate, pestilential fellows stayed right on. And, at last, the country, in order to stop their mouths, had to comply with their demands. We Anarchists remember that history repeats itself.
The majority superstition makes the mind of man play mad pranks with logic. Not long ago the Boston “Advertiser” solemnly said:
Government in a republic cannot live, unless the lawful majority can consummate their intention without unreasonable impediment or hindrance. The most that the minority can rightly ask for is full opportunity of discussion, and full liberty of recording their judgment. When they take advantage of rules made to secure these rights, and abuse them to prevent the majority from exercising their fundamental right, they are trespassers and anarchists.
The divine right of numbers, according to this fantastic logician, is as absolute as the divine right of kings. The minority can talk, but it must not make any effective protest against the tyranny of the larger crowd. Their belief in a principle is of no consequence. They “owe a higher allegiance to the law of liberty and the principles of republican government than to their individual prejudices or their interested constituencies,” says the “Advertiser.” And then, to illustrate the enormity of refusing to permit the larger number to govern, it adds: “A denial of the right of the majority was the essential motive of the Rebellion.” Wherefore, I say, the Rebellion was not only justifiable, but commendable. Slowly the Republican North is beginning to admit that the desire to perpetuate slavery was not the essential motive of the seceding States, and that the noble purpose of abolishing property in man was not the inspiring principle of those who fought against secession. The war was fought to perpetuate the tyranny of majority rule, which the poor old “Advertiser” thinks is the “law of liberty.” What an imbroglio of ideas and no-ideas!
* * *
John D. Long talked to a convention of woman suffragists recently, arguing in favor of giving women the privilege of voting, and all unconsciously he struck the bed-rock of the whole subject. He said:
The whole logic lies in a nutshell. Either women should vote or men should not. Who will say that the women are not as intelligent as some of the men who will cast their ballot next November? Who can say that they cannot exercise equally good judgment in casting a ballot for prohibition, for civil service reform, etc.?
Not only are some women as intelligent as some of the men, but some of them are as ignorant as some of the men, and neither men nor women are competent to enact laws for the government of the world or any part thereof. The objection to giving woman the power of the ballot is precisely that she would vote for prohibition and for any kind of a tyrannical measure to interfere with individual rights and force compliance with her own notions. Woman mistakes her whims, prejudices, and emotions for laws of the universe, and would have them enacted into statutes if she had the power. She would make human legislation even more monstrous and invasive than men have made it. It is unquestionably true that woman should be on an equal footing with man, and that the latter should exercise no privilege or power over her. The right way to equalize the conditions is to abolish the ballot. Mr. Long is right. Either women should vote or men should not,— and men should not.
* * *
This is what the Now York “Herald” calls “the truth about socialism.”
There are a few persons in the United States who seem to have persuaded themselves that a new order of aristocracy can be founded upon the single basis of incapacity to acquire property. Whoever is unable to make money shall be deemed entitled to whatever may be made by his neighbor. The fact that a man has nothing, if supplemented by the fact that he never had anything, shall be conclusive proof that he has been robbed, and of this right to take possession of the property of other people. Thus all stealing becomes “restoration,” all murder becomes “vindication of justice,” and war on industrious, frugal, and peaceful citizens becomes a “rectification of wrong.”
The only comment necessary is that the “Herald” lies and knows it lies.
But here is another sentence from the “Herald”: “Long essays have been written to show the fallacies of the theory which, under different names, holds that men who work for their living should support those who detest work for any purpose whatever.” True enough. Proudhon’s letters to Bastiat, for instance. The “Herald” holds to the theory that the men who work should support the idlers. It believes in interest.
Illinois coal miners out of work six months and starving. Willing to work at any price, but corporations cannot profitably employ them, and they must starve. Better let miners run mines and profitably employ themselves. — Sky-pilot appointed professor of socialism at Harvard. He won’t teach what Christ preached. — Pope denounces popular government, and insists upon obedience of subjects to their sovereigns, and upon sovereigns’ obedience to Pope. Same old conspiracy of Church and State against Liberty. — Pope also urges Catholics to take part in all municipal political elections. Ballot is tyranny’s most effective weapon. Self-locking manacle. — Tribe of Alaska Indians discovered who never heard of Christianity or civilization. Invasion of missionaries, enlightenment, rum, bibles, and social ruin imminent. — New York paper says: “Any crank who has sense enough to head an armed revolt has sense enough to be hanged when he does it twice.” That is more sense than governments have. — Herbert Spencer: “If men’s sympathies are left to work out naturally without legal instrumentality, I hold that the general result will be that the inferior will be sufficiently helped to alleviate their miseries, but will not be sufficiently helped to enable them to multiply; and that so the benefit will be achieved without the evil.” Why not be logical, and leave men’s perceptions of justice to work out naturally and without legal instrumentality? — Louis Riel murdered by government. Lieutenant Howard with his murdering machine still at large.
To lecture bureaus, liberal clubs, and all other organizations seeking the newest and best light on education, government, and true social growth generally, I earnestly recommend Henry Appleton, whose tongue is no less attractive than his pen in expounding the rich realm of thought involved in scientific anarchism. Mr. Appleton, who is Liberty’s contributor, has graced its columns in every number since its first issue. As “Honorius,” formerly of the “Irish World,” he is known in every city and hamlet of the United States, and as a champion of the rights of the common people has but few equals on this continent. His lectures on Anarchism have thus far proved astonishingly fascinating and thought-inspiring to his hearers, and elicited unstinted approbation everywhere. Those wishing to know just what Anarchism is and what it aims at from the lips of one of its most gifted and eloquent champions can address Mr. Appleton at this office, or at 150 Transit Street, Providence, R. I.
John McLaughlin, brave and true, has started a little paper at Scaminonville, Kansas, called the “Radical Democrat.” It is needless to say that he champions Anarchistic principles breezily and sturdily. But I do not like to see him dallying with politics. To advise as he does, all anti-prohibitionists to “work for the Democratic party or none” is practically to advise them to work for the Democratic party. Every wavering man will so understand it. This is the voice of a man whose reason tells him to touch not the unclean thing, but in whom still lingers a hunkering after the flesh-pots. It is a natural feeling, which I have often shared. But I always stifle it. Reminiscences of the political campaigns which I went through when in my teens still haunt me,— especially of my last one, the Greeley campaign, during which I became an Anarchist,— and every year, when a new campaign begins, like the war-horse who sniffs the battle from afar, I find myself beginning to prance. But then I remember that my war-horse days are over, that I no longer have any real desire to shoot men down or vote them down, and that for me, in common with all true men, there is deeper work, from the line of which we should not deviate. And so I warn my friend McLaughlin to be careful lest he wander.
George Schumm, formerly editor of the Chicago “Radical Review,” is preparing a number of lectures on Freethought, social, and historical subjects, and proposes to take the field early in 1880. This is gratifying news, Mr. Schumm being one of the men who have been forced by their brains into an acceptance of Anarchy. Such are always to be relied upon. I wish him all possible success in his new line of work. Liberals who desire to engage him may address him at Watertown, Wisconsin.
John Swinton shows a characteristic stroke of enterprise in engaging the brilliant Donn Piatt to write for his “Paper” a series of “Tales of Labor,” each to be given complete in one issue, beginning the first week in December. The first one is entitled: “The Sales Lady of the City.” I don’t always agree with Piatt and often disagree with Swinton, but I admire the genius and honor the manliness of both, and recognize the fact that they make a splendid journalistic team.
The “Irish World” calls William Morris selfish because he invites the Irish to abandon the struggle for “Nationalism” and join the English Socialists in an effort to overthrow “Capitalism.” On the same page it glories in the revival of the No-Rent agitation in Ireland. Yet the No-Rent, agitation is nothing more nor less than the substitution of alight against “Capitalism” for a fight for “Nationalism.” Consistency never was a virtue of the “Irish World.”
The new work, “Social Wealth,” by the veteran land reformer, J. K. Ingalls, the scope and purpose of which is announced in the advertisement in another column, is one of the most important of the year. It will receive further attention in Liberty hereafter at the hands of a competent reviewer. Meanwhile, I advise each of my readers to send me a dollar for a copy.
- Heber Newton is appearing before the public in his grand act of equilibration of riding two horses. As a clergyman, he feels obliged to insist upon Christ; divine authority and an overruling providence are permanent factors in the problem to solve as presented to his mind. As a man, his feelings go out for the sufferings of his fellows; he sees the injustice of existing conditions, and would produce on earth the harmony he believes to exist in heaven. His heart protests against his head, and he would reconcile the two.
Can authority be accepted in principle into any form of logical socialism? We differ from Dr. Newton radically, though fully appreciating the kindness of heart which has called out his burning words. We object because authority is the tap-root of our social upas tree. Historically, Caesar preceded Christ; Rome and political unity made monogamy and Christian unity possible. Our civilization is Caesarian; God and Christ, Father and Anointed Son, instead of being the sources of civilization, are but its effect. They are branches from the Caesarian trunk, and draw their vitality from its tap-root. Revealed truth may be diluted,— as in Dr. Newton’s case,— but authority will reveal itself notwithstanding, like a drop of ink in water.
Authority, whether postulated on earth or in cloud-land, has no affinity with Liberty. Heretofore every advance of personal liberty has been accompanied by a decrease of divine authority. If progress is to continue, we can neither halt nor turn back. A priori argument, that the two should not conflict does not alter the historical fact that they ever have.
Dr. Newton, though unconsciously, is aiding the work of progress; for, as he brings Man more prominently forward, God recedes. He is less visible; dissolves into a met-empirical entity. Our struggle is against Caesarism, and only against Christianism as a growth from it. We want neither the sanctified nor the unsanctified robber of human rights: neither Christ nor Barabbas.
So far, therefore, as Socialism is an advance toward Liberty, it cannot, be Christian. We can imagine Christian Caesarism, but not Caesarian Socialism. The words are as devoid of meaning thus yoked as “Self-government” in modern politics. Behind the figure of the Christ we discern the leer of the imperial Caesar. The shadow of the Cross cannot inclose the light of Liberty. Man and God are antipodal ideas. The divine and the human are the nadir and zenith of thought; whoever tries the dangerous experment of looking both ways at once must suffer from intellectual strabismus. Eighteen hundred years have been passed in endeavoring to unite the two characters,— the divine and the human nature in Jesus Christ. But the divine Christ has ever trampled upon the human Jesus; the Fatherhood of God has dwarfed the Brotherhood of Man. The path of progress is away from Caesarism and all of its offshoots. The hands of Time will not now turn backward.
Dyer D. Lum.
Port Jervis, New York.
Sowing the Seed in Newark.
To the Editor of Liberty:
Henry Appleton of Providence lectured before the Newark Liberal League last Sunday. His subject was the “Logic and Method of True Anarchism.” The growing spirit in favor of Anarchism in this section of the country is shown in the fact that this is the second lecture on this subject before this society in one month. Mr. Appleton dwelt on the fact that the position which the free thinkers have taken on the religious question forces them logically to take similar positions on all other social subjects; for, if you deny the right of private judgment in reference to education, art, association, etc., you also deny it in regard to religion; and let the free thinkers act as they may, and talk as they will, you cannot destroy God, you cannot remove the Jewish despot from his throne, as long as the State exists. The Church and the State must stand or fall together.
The tyranny of majority rule, or, as the speaker called it, “major force,” was next very clearly shown. He showed how the same spirit that ruled in Russia, Germany, and France, also ruled in free America. In Russia the czar was the majority, or major force, for “one with God makes a majority,” and the superstition of the Russian serfs was what voted to keep him in power. In America the mere majority of numbers, the most despicable force which has ever yet existed in the earth, was held to he able to regulate all social, moral, and veligious questions, no matter how great their intricacy, and no matter what the sentiments of the minority might be.
The speaker next showed the evils of this rule of the majority, and what the ultimate effect on character and true culture must be, when no one dared to have an opinion of his own, or at any rate to express it, until perfectly sure that it was in accordance with the opinion of his neighbors, and that “respectability” approved of it.
He said what the Anarchists wanted was the return to the Individual as the source of all power, all movement, all growth, each individual to have perfect liberty at his own cost. The necessity for the right of secession, disintegration, individualization, with re-integration and segregation, was very clearly brought forth.
Every word of the lecture was eagerly listened to, and, as the discussion later brought out, the thought of the audience was mainly in accord with that of the speaker. The interest manifested in the subject was shown by the sale after the lecture ot several copies of “God and the State,” “Prohibition,” “An Anarchist on Anarchy,” “A Female Nihilist,” and “A Politician in Sight of Haven.” A special vote of thanks was accorded by acclamation to the speaker.
Gertrude B. Kelly.
Newark, N.J., Nov. 10, 1885.
In reading this article (Liberty, October 24) without having noted the remarks in the previous number to which it alludes, one would infer that I had been defending a political movement at Albany to which I am a stranger, and the idea of which had not occurred to me in excusing Macdonald from the imputation of hypocrisy, on account of inconsistency of principle; seeing that the dawn of ideas, as of the day, is very gradual at the equinox in New York. I regret that a gentleman who inspires the highest intellectual esteem should regard me as a fretful porcupine, and this when my sincere aim was to pour oil on the troubled waters. Were the truth known, I have more reason than “X” to deplore Macdonald’s shortcomings, and the policy I defended was simply that of every specialist who has adopted a certain line of business and makes a living at it without interfering with others. Not the politician, but the editor, was in question.
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.]
If, now, you wish to form some rational opinion of the extent of the robbery practised in this country, by the holders of this monopoly of money, you have only to look at the following facts.
There are, in this country, I think, at least twenty-five millions of persons, male and female, sixteen years old, and upwards, mentally and physically capable of running machinery, producing wealth, and supplying their own needs for an independent and comfortable subsistence.
To make their industry most effective, and to enable them, individually, to put into their own pockets as large a portion as possible of their own earnings, they need, on an average, one thousand dollars each of money capital. Some need one, two, three, or five hundred dollars, others one, two, three, or five thousand. These persons, then, need, in the aggregate, twenty-five thousand millions of dollars ($25,000,000,000), of money capital.
They need all this money capital to enable them to buy the raw materials upon which to bestow their labor, the implements and machinery with which to labor, and their means of subsistence while producing their goods for the market.
Unless they can get this capital, they must all either work at a disadvantage, or not work at all. A very large portion of them, to save themselves from starvation, have no alternative but to sell their labor to others, at just such prices as these others choose to pay. And these others choose to pay only such prices as are far below what the laborers could produce, if they themselves had the necessary capital to work with.
But this needed capital your lawmakers arbitrarily forbid them to have; and for no other reason than to reduce them to the condition of servants; and subject them to all such extortions as their employers — the holders of the privileged money — may choose to practise upon them.
If, now, you ask me where these twenty-five thousand millions of dollars of money capital, which these laborers need, are to come from, I answer:
Theoretically there are, in this country, fifty thousand millions of dollars of money capital ($50,000,000,000) — or twice as much as I have supposed these laborers to need — now lying idle! And it is lying idle, solely because the circulation of it, as money, is prohibited by the lawmakers.
If you ask how this can be, I will tell you.
Theoretically, every dollar’s worth of material property, that is capable of being taken by law, and applied to the payment of the owner’s debts, is capable of being represented by a promissory note, that shall circulate as money.
But taking all this material property at only half its actual value, it is still capable of supplying the twenty-five thousand millions of dollars — or one thousand dollars each — which these laborers need.
Now, we know — because experience has taught us — that solvent promissory notes, made payable in coin on demand, are the best money that mankind have ever had; (although probably not the best they ever will have).
To make a note solvent, and suitable for circulation as money, it is only necessary that it should be made payable in coin on demand, and be issued by a person, or persons, who are known to have in their hands abundant material property, that can be taken by law, and applied to the payment of the note, with all costs and damages for non-payment on demand.
Theoretically, I repeat, all the material property in the country, that can be taken by law, and applied to the payment of debts, can be used as banking capital; and be represented by promissory notes, made payable in coin on demand. And, practically, so much of it can be used as banking capital as may be required for supplying all the notes that can be kept in circulation as money.
Although these notes are made legally payable in coin on demand, it is seldom that such payment is demanded, if only it be publicly known that the notes are solvent: that is, if it be publicly known that they are issued by persons who have so much material property, that can be taken by law, and sold, as may be necessary to bring the coin that is needed to pay the notes. In such cases, the notes are preferred to the coin, because they are so much more safe and convenient for handling, counting, and transportation, than is the coin; and also because we can have so many times more of them.
These notes are also a legal tender, to the banks that issue them, in payment of the notes discounted; that is, in payment of the notes given by the borrowers to the banks. And, in the ordinary course of things, all the notes, issued by the banks for circulation, are wanted, and come back to the banks, in payment of the notes discounted; thus saving all necessity for redeeming them with coin, except in rare cases. For meeting these rare cases, the banks find it necessary to keep on hand small amounts of coin; probably not more than one per cent, of the amount of notes in circulation.
As the notes discounted have usually but a short time to run,— say three months on an average,— the bank notes issued for circulation will all come back, on an average, once in three months, and be redeemed by the bankers, by being accepted in payment of the notes discounted.
Then the bank notes will be re-issued, by discounting new notes, and will go into circulation again; to be again brought back, at the end of another three mouths, and redeemed, by being accepted inpayment of the new notes discounted.
In this way the bank notes will be continually re-issued, and redeemed, in the greatest amounts that can be kept in circulation long enough to earn such an amount of interest as will make it an object for the bankers to issue them.
Each of these notes, issued for circulation, if known to be solvent, will always have the same value in the market, as the same nominal amount of coin. And this value is a just one, because the notes are in tho nature of a lien, or mortgage, upon so much property of the bankers as is necessary to pay the notes, and as can be taken by law, and sold, and the proceeds applied to their payment.
There is no danger that any more of these notes will be issued than will be wanted for buying and selling property at its true and natural market value, relatively to coin; for as the notes are all made legally payable in coin on demand, if they should ever fall below the value of coin in the market, the holders of them will at once return them to the banks, and demand coin for them; and thus take them out of circulation.
The bankers, therefore, have no motive for issuing more of them than will remain long enough in circulation, to earn so much interest as will make it an object to issue them: the only motive for issuing them being to draw interest on them while they are in circulation.
The bankers readily find how many are wanted for circulation, by the time those issued remain in circulation, before coming back for redemption. If they come back immediately, or very quickly, after being issued, the bankers know that they have over-issued, and that they must therefore pay in coin — to their inconvenience, and perhaps loss — notes that would otherwise have remained in circulation long enough to earn so much interest as would have paid for issuing them; and would then have come back to them in payment of notes discounted, instead of coming back on a demand for redemption in coin.
Now, the best of all possible banking capital is real estate. It is the best, because it is visible, immovable, and indestructible. It cannot, like coin, be removed, concealed, or carried out of the country. And its aggregate value, in all civilized countries, is probably a hundred times greater than the amount of coin in circulation. It is therefore capable of furnishing a hundred times as much money as we can have in coin.
The owners of this real estate have the greatest inducements to use it as banking capital, because all the banking profit, over and above expenses, is a clear profit; inasmuch as the use of the real estate as banking capital does not interfere at all with its use for other purposes.
Farmers have a double, and much more than a double, inducement to use their lands as banking capital; because they not only get a direct profit from the loan of their notes, but, by loaning them, they furnish the necessary capital for the greatest variety of manufacturing purposes. They thus induce a much larger portion of the people, than otherwise would, to leave agriculture, and engage in mechanical employments; and thus become purchasers, instead of producers, of agricultural commodities. They thus got much higher prices for their agricultural products, and also a much greater variety and amount of manufactured commodities in exchange.
The amount of money, capable of being furnished by this system, is so great that I every man, woman, and child, who is worthy of credit, could get it, and do business for himself, or herself — either singly, or in partnerships — and be under no necessity to act as a servant, or sell his or her labor to others all the great establishments, of every kind, now in the hands of a few proprietors, but employing a great number of wage laborers, would be broken up; for few, or no persons, I who could hire capital, and do business for themselves, would consent to labor for wages for another.
The credit furnished by this system would always be stable; for the system is probably capable of furnishing, at all times, all the credit, and all the money, that can be needed. It would also introduce a substantially universal system of cash payments. Everybody, who could get credit at all, would be able to get it at bank, in money. With the money, he would buy everything he needed for cash. He would also sell everything for cash; for when everybody buys for cash, everybody sells for cash; since buying for cash, and selling for cash, are necessarily one and the same thing.
We should, therefore, never have another crisis, panic, revulsion of credit, stagnation of industry, or fall of prices; for these are all caused by the lack of money, and the consequent necessity of buying and selling on credit; whereby the amount of indebtedness becomes so great, so enormous, in fact, in proportion to the amount of money extant, with which to meet is, that the whole system of credit breaks down; to the ruin of everybody, except the few holders of the monopoly of money, who reap a harvest in the fall of prices, and the consequent bankruptcy of everybody who is dependent on credit for his means of doing business.
It would be inadmissible for me, in this letter, to occupy the space that would be necessary, to expose all the false, absurd, end ridiculous pretences, by which the advocates of the monopoly of money have attempted to justify it. The only real argument they ever employed has been that, by means of the monopoly, the few holders of it were enabled to rob everybody else in the prices of their labor and I property.
And our governments, State and national, have hitherto acted together in maintaining this monopoly, in flagrant violation of men’s natural right to make their I own contracts, and in flagrant violation of the self-evident truth, that, to make all traffic just and equal, it is indispensable that the money paid should be, in all cases, a bona fide equivalent of the labor or property that is bought with it.
The holders of this monopoly now rule and rob this nation; and the government, in all its branches, is simply their tool. And being their tool for this gigantic robbery, it is equally their tool for all the lesser robberies, to which it is supposed that the people at large can be made to submit.
Sanborn’s John Brown.
Mr. Sanborn’s book at first glance is disappointing. One feels as though Brown were hero entombed in a mass of letters, the greater portion of them unimportant, if not wholly irrelevant. You ask why the attention of the reader should he arrested by so much that is purely of a private or domestic character. You could match it all in interest by most any man’s life and letters. What you hoped to find was tho story of that marvellous career in which for the lime was personified the spirit of fearless justice. You wish to he reminded in what manner this one man by his consecration to liberty for the slave, thereby redeemed and liberated the Republic of Washington and of Jefferson, But, if the reader does not permit this first glance to deter him, he will discover, on perusing the seventeen chapters, that Mr. Sanborn has done very much as he would have advised him to do. He has given us in simple detail the story of Brown’s life as he lived it from the cradle to the gallows You are led to confess that here at last is furnished a vindication complete and convineing of the anti-slavery career of that strange man who, as Victor Hugo wrote, “completed the sacrifice of a life consecrated to the most generous of aims.” Brown’s “Ancestry and Childhood”; his “Youth and Early Manhood”; his efforts as a “Business Man’’; his “Pioneer Life in the Adirondacks,” — were all “Preparations for the Conflict.” His “Family Councils and Home Life” prepare the way for that hearty belief and support rendered him by all the members of his household when the times of hardship, disaster, and defeat had overtaken him. “Verily a man’s foes are (not always) they of his own household.”
It would be impossible within the limits of my space to present the various and succeeding steps by which Mr. Sanborn portrays the sterling, abiding qualities of the hero’s character. He shows him to have been in all his relations with family’, friends, and foes even, a kind, humane, considerate man. Brown appears to have shared in common with till strong characters who have lent their names to history the belief in a special, peculiar, personal calling. “For this purpose was I sent,” cried the man of Nazareth, and it is undoubtedly true that no man has ever devoted himself — taking in his hands his life — to a great cause, who has not felt either the stress of an imperative command laid upon him, or some inward prompting and persistent urging from which he could in nowise escape. He must do his work, follow his vision; be true and steadfast to that, cost what it may. All other considerations become subordinate. Peace, happiness, family’ ties, the good opinion of the time,— the time which he perchance has come to judge and condemn,— he must and will sacrifice, appealing only to that other time, that future, when his work shall be understood and justified. Brown was an Abolitionist from his youth up. In his letter of Autobiography, written to young Harry Stearns, he tells how he was affected at the age of ten by the treatment of a negro boy of about his own age, held in slavery by the family where he was visiting. From that time he brooded over the subject, until he was persuaded beyond a doubt that it was his mission to destroy the slave-system in the United States. By what various means he did not know; but by all means in his power that would accomplish the result. He was not, as was Garrison, a non-resistant. Indeed, Brown appears to have been from the beginning following along a quite independent line of thought and of action. When he came to Boston, his meeting with Garrison developed by no means a common sympathy in the choice of methods. Garrison’s “moral suasion” had its good side, and produced certain strong and telling effects upon the North. But the South would never yield by persuasion. A “forcible separation of the connection between master and slave” he believed the inevitable, the only, solution of the problem possible. “I believe in the Golden Rule and the Declaration of Independence. I think they both mean the same thing; and it is better that a whole generation should pass off the earth — men, women, and children — by a violent death than that one jot of either should fail in this country. I mean exactly so, sir.”
Perhaps the most instructive chapter in Mr. Sanborn’s book is that entitled “Kansas and the Civil War.” I have nowhere else met with so clear and exhaustive a statement of that early struggle between the respective forces of the free and slave states. The part Brown and his sons took in the conflict to save the territory to freedom is fully set forth in the three or four succeeding chapters. Here we have a fine illustration — paralleled in modern times only by the career of Garibaldi in Italy — of the superior moral power that resides in the indomitable spirit of one man, untrammelled by the State’s authority,— setting it at defiance, despising its weak, vacillating, cowardly course. And the fate of Kansas drifted it to its final admission as a State. With no John Brown to cut the red tape of the Free State government clinging to rules of “law and order,” there is little doubt but that the whole course of subsequent history would have been changed. Mr. Sanborn gives a chapter fo “The Pottawatomie Executions.” It will be necessary to read the full account of this transaction to form a just opinion in regard to the “bloody deed.” Mr. Sanborn says: “Upon the swift and secret vengeance of John Brown in that midnight raid hinged the future of Kansas, as we can now see: and on that future again hinged the destinies of the whole country.” That Brown himself so believed there is not the shadow of a doubt. But I cannot introduce the discussion here.
The final blow at Harper’s Ferry; the failure; the hero’s moral victories in jail and on the gallows,— are given by Mr. Sanborn in a most interesting manner.
It is a book for the rising generation to read and ponder.
Life and Letters of John Brown, Liberator of Kansas. Martyr of Virginia. By F. B. Sanborn. Boston: Roberts Brothers. 1885.
Let me relate a reminiscence of my boyhood.
It was a cold winter afternoon. Released from the bated confinement of the red brick school-house, with all its tyrannies and stupidities, I was as wild as an unhaltered colt. There was a long walk home, and I was keen for my supper. Just the atmosphere for original sin to come to the surface. My companion was the butt of the school. Lean and lank as a greyhound, with pale eyes, straight, light hair, awkward joints, and a horrible stutter, he was certainly a tempting target. I was not usually guilty of bullying, but that time I was atrocious. I joked him, quizzed him, called him names, and pelted him with snow-balls, till, goaded to madness at last, he struck me with his little bony fist, and I struck back. Then he stopped, and quivering with an overwhelming consciousness of my injustice and his own impotence, he screamed out; “Now, J-J-John Lloyd, you-you-you l-l-leave m-m-me alone! I’m go-go-going ’long, pip-pip-peaceable ’nough!” It was the appeal of an Anarchist. It was irresistible. Smitten with a sudden sense of the shamefulness of my persecutions, I desisted, and the remainder of our homeward walk was harmonious.
That incident has often haunted my remorseful memory since; but not till the sun of Anarchy with its light of Justice and its warmth of Liberty and Fraternity rose upon my beclouded horizon, did I fully comprehend its moral, or the depth of solemn meaning in that poor boy’s stuttered appeal. It contained in its few simple and broken words the whole pith and marrow of Anarchism, and proclaimed the eternal right of the inoffensive person to be unmolested, ungoverned, uncontrolled, by any other person or persons whatsoever.
J. Wm. Lloyd
Believing that usury, or interest for the use of money, is wrong, the cause of immeasurable suffering, and one of the greatest hindrances to the advancement of civilization, we unite in asking an enrollment of all men and women of like opinion, to the end that we may know something of our numerical strength and be the better able to judge, what action is the wisest in the premises.
All who are opposed to the taking of usury, or interest upon money, please report name and post office to C. C. Post, North Evanston, III.
You are invited to make suggestions regarding future organization or work.
The Same Old Fool Notion.
[Joseph A. Labadie in the Detroit Labor Leaf.]
A protectionist said the other day; “I believe in protection, but I am a consistent protectionist. I believe in putting a heavy duty on imported goods to protect our business men, and prohibiting the importation of foreign laborers altogether. We have too many foreigners coming here to cut down wages, and the workingmen should be protected as well as the business men.” This is the same old fool notion the boy had that went to mill and put wheat in one end of the bag and stones in the other end so as to make it balance on the horse’s back.
The Police and the Poor.
[Gramont in L’Intransigeant.]
Just as there is a priest spirit and a bourgeois spirit, so there is a police spirit. Everything relating to the police is animated by this peculiar instinct, by this special propensity. And whoever sets foot in the Police Department to fill no matter what position, though previously exempt from these professional tendencies, is filled with them the minute he gets there.
In what does this police spirit consist? One of its distinctive, idiosyncratic characteristics is a hatred of the poor. The police, in fact, were established especially for this purpose,— to see that the rich may sleep in peace. Its principal object, its great social function, is to protect those who possess, is to prevent those who have nothing from taking anything from those who have all.
Hence, the policeman must always look on the poor man as an enemy. A probable or possible, if not a certain enemy. The policeman is the born adversary of the poor man, because he is the adversary of the malefactor, and to the policeman every poor man is a malefactor in embryo.
Moreover, the police institution is essentially repressive, not at all preventive. Consequently, it does not aim to permit poor people to earn their living honestly or to enlarge their opportunities in the struggle for existence. It only tries to watch the poor, to hold them in its hand and in its power and, at the first sign of weakness, to arrest them. That is why it will never hesitate — especially if it will please people of well-established position — to turn unfortunates out of their houses into the streets at the risk of transforming these unfortunates into criminals.
Besides, the police have no interest in the disappearance of crime. The existence of malefactors is exactly the excuse for their own existence. Now, just as the instinct of individuals is to last, so is it that of constituted bodies, collectivities: and you will always find them acting, without even realizing it, in such a way as to justify and therefore to prolong their existence.
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.