“For always in thine eyes, O Liberty!
Shines that high light whereby the world is saved;
And though thou slay us, we will trust in thee.”
The Beast of Communism.
Henri Rochefort is reported to have said to an interviewer the other day: “Anarchists are merely criminals. They are robbers. They want no government whatever, so that, when they meet you on the street, they can knock you down and rob you.” This infamous and libelous charge is a very sweeping one; I only wish that I could honestly meet it with as sweeping a denial. And I can, if I restrict the word Anarchist as it always has been restricted in these columns, and as it ought to be restricted everywhere and always. Confining the word Anarchist so as to include none but those who deny all external authority over the individual, whether that of the present State or that of some industrial collectivity or commune which the future may produce, I can look Henri Rochefort in the face and say: “You lie!” For of all these men I do not recall even one who, in any ordinary sense of the term, can be justly styled a robber.
But unfortunately, in the minds of the people at large, this word Anarchist is not yet thus restricted in meaning. This is due principally to the fact that within a few years the word has been usurped, in the face of all logic and consistency, by a party of Communists who believe in a tyranny worse than any that now exists, who deny to the laborer the individual possession of his product, and who preach to their followers the following doctrine: “Private property is your enemy; it is the beast that is devouring you; all wealth belongs to everybody; take it wherever you can find it; have no scruples about the means of taking it; use dynamite, the dagger, or the torch to take it; kill innocent people to take it; but, at all events, take it.” This is the doctrine which they call Anarchy, and this policy they dignify with the name of “propagandism by deed.”
Well, it has borne fruit with most horrible fecundity. To be sure, it has gained a large mass of adherents, especially in the Western cities, who are well-meaning men and women, not yet become base enough to practise the theories which they profess to have adopted. But it has also developed, and among its immediate and foremost supporters, a gang of criminals whose deeds for the past two years rival in “pure cussedness” any to be found in the history of crime. Were it not, therefore, that I have first, last, and always repudiated these pseudo-Anarchists and their theories, I should hang my head in shame before Rochefort’s charge at having to confess that too many of them are not only robbers, but incendiaries and murderers. But, knowing as I do that no real Anarchist has any part or lot in these infamies, I do not confess the facts with shame, but reiterate them with righteous wrath and indignation, in the interest of my cause, for the protection of its friends, and to save the lives and possessions of any more weak and innocent persons from being wantonly destroyed or stolen by cold-blooded villains parading in the mask of reform.
Yes, the time has come to speak. It is even well-nigh too late. Within the past fortnight a young mother and her baby boy have been burned to death under circumstances which suggest to me the possibility that, had I made this statement sooner, their lives would have been saved; and, as I now write these lines, I fairly shudder at the thought that they may not reach the public and the interested parties before some new holocaust has added to the number of those who have already fallen victims. Others who know the facts, well-meaning editors of leading journals of so-called Communistic Anarchism, may, from a sense of mistaken party fealty, bear longer the fearful responsibility of silence, if they will; for one, I will not, cannot. I will take the other responsibility of exposure, which responsibility I personally and entirely assume, although the stop is taken after conference upon its wisdom with some of the most trusted and active Anarchists in America.
Now, then, the facts. And they are facts, though I state them generally, without names, dates, or details.
The main fact is this,— that for nearly two years a large number of the most active members of the German Group of the International Working People’s Association in New York City, and of the Social Revolutionary Club, another German organization in that city, have been persistently engaged in getting money by insuring their property for amounts far in excess of the real value thereof, secretly removing everything that they could, setting fire to the premises, swearing to heavy losses, and exacting corresponding sums from the insurance companies. Explosion of kerosene lamps is usually the device which they employ. Some seven or eight fires, at least, of this sort were set in New York and Brooklyn in 1884 by members of the gang, netting the beneficiaries an aggregate profit of thousands of dollars. In 1885 nearly twenty more were set, with equally profitable results. The record for 1886 has reached six already, if not more. The business has been carried on with the most astonishing audacity. One of these men had his premises insured, fired them, and presented his bill of loss to the company within twenty-four hours after getting his policy, and before the agent had reported the policy to the company. The bill was paid, and a few months later the same fellow, under another name, played the game over again, though not quite so speedily. In one of the fires set in 1885 a woman and two children were burned to death. The two guilty parties in this case were members of the Bohemian Group and are now serving life sentences in prison. Another of the fires was started in a six-story tenement house, endangering the lives of hundreds, but fortunately injuring no one but the incendiary. In one case in 1886 the firemen have saved two women whom they found clinging to their bed-posts in a half-suffocated condition. In another a man, woman, and baby lost their lives. Three members of the gang are now in jail awaiting trial for murdering and robbing an old woman in Jersey City. Two others are in jail under heavy bail and awaiting trial for carrying concealed weapons and assaulting an officer. They were walking arsenals, and were found under circumstances which lead to the suspicion that they were about to perpetrate a robbery, if not a murder.
The profits accruing from this “propagandism by deed” are not even used for the benefit of the movement to which the criminals belong, but go to fill their own empty pockets, and are often spent in reckless, riotous living. The guilty parties are growing holder and bolder, and, anticipating detection ultimately, a dozen or so of them have agreed to commit perjury in order to involve the innocent as accomplices in their crimes. It is their boast that the active Anarchists the shall all go to the gallows together.
It is only fair to John Most, editor of the “Freiheit,” to say that he had nothing to do with originating the plots of these criminals and for a long time was unaware of what was going on; but it is none the less true that, after he was made aware of these acts, he not only refused to repudiate them, but persisted in retaining as his right-hand men some of the worst of the gang. The facts have been coming to light one by one for some time, and the knowledge of them has been a torture to all decent men who have had any connection with the Communists. Justus Schwab, who is an exceptionally honest man, sickened long ago. He abandoned the business management of the “Freiheit,” summarily ejected all the criminals from his saloon with a warning not to visit it again, and served notice on his friend Most that he (Most) must entirely sever his connection with the villains or he (Schwab) would sever his connection with him. Thus, called upon to choose, Most elected to lose Schwab and, keep the criminals as his lieutenants. Perhaps he was too dependent on them to do otherwise. Now Schwab is posted in the “Freiheit” as a man with whom no Socialists should have anything to do. An erroneous conception of party duty has kept Schwab quiet so far as the public are concerned. I trust he will realize ere long that he cannot truly serve his party in any such way. It is high time that he threw off this yoke of party loyalty and spoke out like a man.
One of the most astonishing features of this abominable business has been the blindness of the police, the press, and the insurance companies. Although in a number of cases the criminals have been detected and arrested, the fact that these men all belong to one or two organizations and are acting in accordance with a course agreed upon has not dawned upon the mind of any detective or reporter, although it is an open secret among the German-speaking Socialists of New York. So far as the authorities or the newspapers have hitherto suspected, each of these offences is simply an isolated case of crime. How vigilantly our lives possessions are protected by this government of ours. One would think that the interests of the insurance companies prompt them at least to greater vigilance. But they have been as blind as the rest, and paid this extraordinary series of losses seemingly without a question.
The attempt will doubtless be made in some quarters to vindicate these horrors as so many revolutionary acts. It will fail. Private greed and popular vengeance have nothing in common. Even so rigid a Communistic journal as La Révolté pointed out some time ago that the Revolution can have no solidarity with thieves. It was one thing to kill the Czar of Russia; it is quite another to kill and rob an innocent old woman; it was one thing for the striking miners of Decazeville to take the life of the superintendent who had entered into a conspiracy with the corporation to reduce the miners’ wages in consideration of a percentage, it is a far different thing for lazy, selfish, cowardly brutes to set fire to a tenement house containing hundreds of human beings. There are certain things which circumstances justify; there are certain others which all lofty human instincts condemn. To the latter class belong these deeds of John Most’s followers.
John Most has a great deal to say about the beast of property. Property as it now exists, backed by legal privilege, is unquestionably a horrible monster, causing untold and universal suffering; but I doubt if it can equal in essential cruelty the act of a father who will insure the lives of his wife and boy and conspire to cause their death that he may fill his pockets with a few paltry dollars. Of such acts as that the Beast of Communism seems to have a monopoly.
In conclusion, I appeal to every honorable newspaper in America to lay these facts before its readers, placing the blame where it belongs and distinguishing the innocent from the guilty. And especially do I address the Anarchistic press. Every Anarchistic journal ought to copy this exposure and send it forth with the stamp of its approval. The cause is entering upon a serious crisis. The malicious and the ignorant will do their utmost to damage it. Much will depend upon the promptness with which good men and true separate themselves from common criminals. He who is not against their crimes is for them.
Benj. R. Tucker.
What’s To Be Done?
By N. G. Tchernychewsky.
Translated by Benj. R. Tucker.
Continued from No. 77.
“You speak as if you were displeased that there are any,” said Katerina Vassilievna, laughing. Now it became very evident that she laughed often, with a gay and gentle laugh.
“And indeed they may lead you to sad thoughts: if, with such inadequate means of judging of the needs and characteristics of men, young girls still know enough to make a tolerably happy choice, what lucidity and sagacity that argues in the feminine mind! With what clear, strong, and just mental vision woman is endowed by nature! And yet it remains useless to society, which rejects it, crushes it, stifles it; if this were not the case, if her mind were not compressed, if such a great quantity of moral power were not destroyed, humanity would progress ten times more rapidly.”
“You are a panegyrist of women, M. Beaumont; may not all this be explained more simply by chance?”
“Chance! explain what you will by chance; when cases are numerous, they are the result of a general cause. No other explanation of this fact can be given than a well-weighed choice proportional in its wisdom to the mental intensity and perspicacity of the young girls.”
“You reason on the question of women like Mrs. Beecher Stowe, M. Beaumont. She demonstrates that the negro race is endowed with greater intellect than the white race.”
“You jest, but I am not jesting at all.”
“You do not like it because I do not bow before woman? But consider at least as an extenuating circumstance the difficulty that there is in kneeling before one’s self.”
“You are jesting; it annoys me seriously.”
“You are not annoyed with me, I hope? If women and young girls cannot do that which, in your opinion, is indispensable to them, it is not at all my fault. But I am going to give you my serious opinion, if you wish it, not, however, upon the woman question,— I do not care to be judge in my own cause,— but simply upon yourself, M. Beaumont. You, by nature, are a man of great self-control, and you get angry when you talk upon this question. What does this mean? That you probably have had some personal experience in connection with it. Probably you have been the victim of what you consider an inexperienced young girl’s erroneous choice.”
“Perhaps myself, or perhaps some relative of mine. Nevertheless, think about this, Katerina Vassilievna. I will tell you, after I have received your reply. In three days I will ask you to give me a reply.”
“To a question which is not formulated? Do I know you so little that I need to reflect for three days?”
Katerina Vassilievna stopped, placed her hand upon Beaumont’s neck, bent the young man’s head towards her, and kissed him on the forehead.
According to all precedents, and even according to the demands of common politeness, Beaumont ought to have embraced her and kissed her lips; but he did not: he only pressed the hand which had been thrown around him. “Very well, Katerina Vassilievna, but think about it, nevertheless.” And they began to walk again.
“But who told you, Charlie, that I have not been thinking about it for much more than three days?” she answered, still holding his hand.
“Of course I saw it clearly. So I will tell you all forthwith; it is a secret; let us go into the other room and sit down, that we may not be overheard.”
They said these last words as they passed by the old man: he, seeing them walking arm in arm, which had never happened before, said to himself: “He has asked her hand, and she has given him her word. Good!”
“Tell your secret, Charlie; here papa will not hear us.”
“It seems ridiculous, Katerina Vassilievna, to appear to have fears on your account; certainly there is nothing to fear. But you will understand why I put you on your guard in this matter when I tell you of the experience through which I have passed. Certainly we might both have lived together. But I pitied her. How much she suffered, and of how many years of the life that she needed was she deprived! It is very sad. It matters little where the thing occurred,— say New York, Boston, Philadelphia, or where you will. She was an excellent person and looked upon her husband as an excellent man. They were extremely attached to each other. And yet she must have suffered much. He was ready to give his head to procure for his wife the slightest additional happiness. And yet she could not be happy with him. Fortunately it ended as it did. But it was painful to her. You do not know this, and that is why I have not yet your final answer.”
“Can I have heard this story from any one?”
“From herself, perhaps?”
“I have not yet given you an answer?”
“You know it.”
“I know it,” said Beaumont, and the ordinary scene that occurs between lovers began with ardent embraces.
The next day at three o’clock Katerina Vassilievna called at Vera Pavlovna’s.
“I am to marry day after tomorrow, Vera Pavlovna,” said she, as she came in, “and tonight I will bring my sweetheart to see you.”
“Undoubtedly it is Beaumont, over whom you have been mad so long.”
“I? Mad? When all has happened so simply?”
“I am willing to believe that you have acted simply with him, but with me nothing of the sort.”
“Really? That is curious. But here is something more curious still: he loves you much, both of you, but you, Vera Pavlovna, he loves even much more than Alexander Matveitch.”
“What is there curious about that? If you have spoken to him of me with a thousandth part of the enthusiasm with which you have spoken to me of him, it is needless to say” . . . .
“You think that he knows you through me? That’s just the point; it is not through me, but through himself that he knows you, and much better than I do.”
“That’s news! How is that?”
“How? I will tell you at once. Since the first day of his arrival at St. Petersburg, he has wanted very much to see you, but it seemed to him that he would do better to postpone your acquaintance until he could come, not alone, but with his sweetheart or his wife. It seemed to him that it would be more agreeable to you to see him in this way. So you see that our marriage has arisen out of his desire to make your acquaintance.”
“He marries you to make my acquaintance?”
“Marries me! Who said that he marries me for your sake? Oh, no, it is not for love of you that we are to marry. But when he came to St. Petersburg, did either of us know of the other’s existence? And if he had not come, how could we have known each other? Now, he came to St. Petersburg on your account. Do you begin to see?”
“He speaks Russian better than English, you say?” asked Vera Pavlovna, with emotion.
“Russian as well as I do, and English as well as I do.”
“Katennka, dear friend, how happy I am!”
Vera Pavlovna began to embrace her visitor.
“Sacha, come here! Quick! Quick!”
“What is the matter, Verotchka? How do you do, Katerina Vass” . . . .
He had not time to pronounce her name before the visitor embraced him.
“It is Easter today, Sacha; so say to Katennka: ‘He is risen indeed.’” *
“But what is the matter with you?”
“Sit down, and she will tell us; I myself know almost nothing as yet. It is enough to embrace you,— and in my presence, too! Say on, Katennka.”
In the evening the excitement was certainly still greater. But, when order was restored, Beaumont, on the demand of his new acquaintances, told them the story of his life, beginning with his arrival in the United States. “As soon as I arrived,” said he, “I was careful to do everything necessary to enable me to speedily become a citizen. To that end I had to connect myself with some party. With which one? The abolitionists, of course. I wrote some articles for the ‘Tribune’ on the influence of serfdom on the entire social organization of Russia. This was a new argument, of considerable value to the abolitionists, against slavery in the Southern States, and in consequence I became a citizen of Massachusetts.** Soon after my arrival, still through the influence of the abolitionists, I obtained a place in one of their few business houses in New York.” Then came the story that we already know. This part of Beaumont’s biography, then, is beyond doubt.
It was agreed that the two families should look for two suites of rooms next to each other. Until convenient suites could be found and prepared, the Beaumonts lived in the factory, in which, in accordance with the orders of the house, a suite had been arranged for the manager. This retreat into the suburbs might be looked upon as corresponding to the trip which newly-married couples make, in accordance with an excellent English custom, which is now spreading throughout Europe.
When, six weeks later, two convenient suites next to each other had been found, the Kirsanoffs went to live in one, the Beaumonts in the other, and the old Polosoff preferred to remain in the factory suite, the extent of which reminded him, if only feebly, of his past grandeur. It was agreeable to him to remain there for the additional reason that he was the most important personage for two or three miles around: innumerable marks of consideration were shown him, not only by his own clerks and commissioners, but by those of the neighborhood and by the rest of the suburban population, some of whom were beneath and some slightly above the former in social position. And it was with immense pleasure that he received, after the manner of a patriarch, these marks of respectful consideration. The son-in-law came to the factory every morning, and almost every day Katia with him. In summer they went (as they still do) to live entirely in the factory, which thus serves as a country-house. During the rest of the year the old man, besides receiving every morning his daughter and his son-in-law (who does not cease to be a North American), has the pleasure of receiving once a week and oftener visitors coming to spend the evening with Katerina Vassilievna and her husband, or the Kirsanoffs with some other young people, or an even more numerous company: the factory is made the objective point of frequent suburban excursions by the acquaintances of the Kirsanoffs and the Beaumonts. Polosoff is made very contented by all these visits, and how could it be otherwise? To him belongs the role of host, the patriarchal role.
Each of the two families lives after its own fashion, according to its own fancy. On ordinary days in one there is more stir, in the other more tranquillity. They visit each other like relatives; one day more than ten times, but for one or two minutes at a time; another day one of the suites is empty almost all day, its inhabitants being in the other. There is no rule about this. Nor is there any rule when a number of visitors happen to come: now the door between the two suites remains closed (the door between the two parlors is generally closed, only the door between Vera Pavlovna’s room and Katarina Vassilievna’s being always open) — now, when the company is not numerous, the door connecting the reception rooms remains closed; at another time, when the number is greater, this door is open, and then the visitors do not realize where they are, whether at Vera Pavlovna’s or at Katerina Vassilievna’s, and the latter hardly know themselves. This might perhaps be affirmed: when the young people wish to sit down, it is almost always at Katerina Vassilievna’s; when their inclination is to the contrary, they are almost always at Vera Pavlovna’s. But the young people cannot be looked upon as visitors: they are at home, and Vera Pavlovna drives them away without ceremony to Katerina Vassilievna’s.
“You tire me, gentlemen; go and see Katennka; you never tire her. And why do you behave yourselves more quietly when with her than when with me? I am even a little the older.”
“Do not worry yourself; we like her better than you.”
“Katennka, why do they like you better than me?”
“Katerina Vassilievna treats us like serious men, and that is why we are serious with her.”
A device which was very effective was often made use of last winter in their narrow circle, when the young people and their most intimate friends came together: they placed the two pianos back to back: the young people, by drawing lots, divided themselves into two choruses, made their protectresses sit down one at each piano, opposite each other, and then each chorus placed itself behind its prima donna, and they sang at the same time, Vera Pavlovna and her forces La donna e mobile or some song from Beranger’s Liseite, and Katerina Vassilievna and her forces Depvis longtemps repousse par toi or La chanson pour leraemouchka.*** But this winter another amusement was in fashion; the two women had reorganized in common, in conformity with their habits, “the discussion of the Greek philosophers concerning the beautiful”; it begins thus: Katerina Vassilievna, raising her eyes to heaven, says, with a languishing sigh: “Divine Schiller, intoxication of my soul!” Vera Pavlovna replies, with dignity: “But the prunella boots from Koroloff’s store are beautiful also,” and she advances her foot. Whichever of the young people laughs at this controversy is put in a corner. Towards the end of the controversy, of the ten or twelve individuals there remain but two or three who are not doing penance. But the gayety was at its height when they inveigled Beaumont into this play and sent him into a corner.
What else? The workshops continue to exist and to work in closer concert; now there are three of them; Katerina Vassilievna organized hers long ago, and now very often acts as a substitute for Vera Pavlovna in the latter’s shop; soon she will take her place entirely, for in the course of this year Vera Pavlovna — forgive her for it — will pass her medical examination, and then she will have no more time to give to the shop. “It is a pity that the development of these shops is impossible; how they would growl” sometimes said Vera Pavlovna. Katerina Vassilievna made no answer; only her eyes flashed with hatred.
“How headlong you are, Katia! You are worse than I am,” said Vera Pavlovna. “It is fortunate that your father has something left.”
“Yes, Verotchka, one feels easier about her child.” (Then she has a child.)
“But you have set me dreaming about I know not what. Our life will go on gently and tranquilly.”
Katerina Vassilievna made no answer.
“Yes, why don’t you say yes to me?”
Katerina Vassilievna smiled as she answered:
“It does not depend on my ‘yes’ or my ‘no’; therefore to please you I will say: ‘Yes, our life shall go on tranquilly.’”
And indeed they do live tranquilly. They live in harmony and amicably, in a gentle yet active fashion, in a joyous and reasonable fashion. But it does not at all follow from this that my story about them is finished; by no means. All four are still young and active, and, though their life is ordered as above described, it has not ceased on that account to be interesting; far from it. I still have much to tell you about them, and I guarantee that the sequel to my story will be much more interesting than anything that I have yet told you.
To be continued.
* During the Easter festivities the Orthodox, when they meet, embrace each other three times, one of them saying at the same time, “Christ is risen,” whereupon the other responds, “He is risen indeed.”
** Tchernychewsky’s ideas of the method by which foreigners acquire citizenship in America are novel. His error, however, probably will not be considered a vital one except by the reader with the penetrating eye. — Translator.
*** By Nekrassoff, the most famous Russian poet.
By Georges Sauton.
Translated from the French for Liberty by Sarah E. Holmes.
Continued from No. 77.
“And resolved,” continued the sergeant, “to make an end of the hope upon which rebellious subjects live of shaking on our yoke, inform the people that we shall use the utmost severity towards every Irishman who shows the least disposition to rebel; that every insurgent will be hunted like a wild beast and shot as soon as taken; that whoever shall have previously concealed him. or, knowing his retreat, shall not have informed against him, will be hanged and have his house burned.”
A shudder ran through the crowd, which increased and raged in spite of Treor and Paddy.
“Was it not understood that we would be patient and submit to everything?” they wore out their lungs in exclaiming.
“Success can be purchased only at that price.”
Yes! No one denied it, and all had listened, as they had promised, to these provocations without replying; but this invitation to treason was too much for them. To hear it and not reply exceeded the stock of inertia which they laid in from day to day. Even Paddy and Treor with difficulty bridled their tongues.
“In order to show our utter abhorrence,” continued the unfortunate sergeant, whose voice hesitated and whose cheek crimsoned with confusion,— “in order to show our utter abhorrence of the guilty and encourage in serving us those of our subjects who remain faithful to our government and our royal person, we promise the sum of twenty-five thousand pounds to whomever will bring us the head of Bagenel Harvey, the recognized chief of the insurrection!”
A thunder ot indignant outcries punctuated this conclusion; a roar of formidable wrath crowned it, and Paddy, to divert it, tried to find, against his wish, some way of exciting laughter.
“Sergeant?” asked he, “is what they have been saying true, then?” . . .
And as the soldier looked at him questioningly, he added:
“That His Majesty has no longer a head of his own, since he wishes to buy that of another.”
In truth, a general hilarity applauded this remark, extremes meeting in the simple souls of these people still frank and ingenuous and of a childlike susceptibility to impressions.
The young officer, Sir Edward Walpole, withdrew. Invited to breakfast at the castle, where the bell was summoning the guests to the table, he hurried away; though desiring to remain until the end of the royal proclamation had been reached, he disliked to appear at the Duchess’s breathless, crimson, the snow of his powder covering his shoulders, and his boots spotted with mud.
Besides, the Bunclodyans were taking matters well enough; after some clamor not unexpected and without import, they were calming down and indulging in jests, impertinent perhaps, irreverent surely, but such as John Autrun could check himself, if they carried the thing too far.
The little sergeant was not pleased with his office; he condemned sometimes, often, always, in his inner conscience, the severity which his commanders or the laws obliged him to apply; and yet, a slave of passive obedience, he executed his orders, with death in his soul and tears filling his throat, but promptly nevertheless.
Between the two camps, his sympathies leaned towards the enemy, and he avowed it; he acknowledged the right, the claims of the sons of the “poor old woman.” Still he never forgot what uniform he wore, and to the sarcasm of his comrades who invited him to throw it to the Shamrock, he replied laconically:
“The time has not come!”
Being a mystic, he is expecting some absurd, idiotic prophecy, in which he really believes, to be realized, thought Sir Walpole. But so far his loyalty and his scruples warranted reliance on him; so Sir Edward quietly set out for Cumsien Park, carefully picking his way, avoiding the pools of water, and, when dry ground released his attention, cleaning the rosy pointed finger-nails of his hands, as smooth and fair as a prelate’s.
Less peaceful than their lieutenant, the Ancient Britons, though making sport of the monarch whom Paddy Neil had made the butt of his jests, were horrified by the muttering of the people, which excited their spleen, as bravado not properly punished. Such a fine opportunity to give themselves up to their appetite for slaughter, to thrust their bayonets into the breasts of men and the throats of women, to search for hearts and offer entrails for sale, as they said,— really they were wronged.
As well cut off their pay as deprive them of this perquisite of delicious satisfaction!
They grumbled, the gun-barrels rattled in their nervous hands, and one of the savages, indicating Paddy, muttered in his beard, as stiff as a wild boar’s bristles:
“As for a head, we ought first to take his!”
“Faith,” answered the mutilated man, amid the venomous growls of the soldiers and the laughs of the people, “I agree to it; it depends only on the price you offer for it. It is not pretty, like that of your baby officer,— a fresh April blossom under his flour-besprinkled wig; but the loss is due to the ardor of your comrades in Dublin; they kept my skin, you can ask it of them again!”
The flayed man was insulting their lieutenant now, and the sergeant tolerated it! A thrill of ill omen ran through the ranks, and some demanded the putting of the village “outside of the King’s peace,” that is to say, outside of the law, beyond the protection of any magistrate. All license being accorded to each, the property of the people, their liberty, their life, their honor would belong to whoever felt the desire to take possession thereof.
Plunder, conflagration, murder, rape, would become habitual; weariness alone would set the limit to these crimes.
“Yes, yes, outside of the King’s peace!” began again in chorus several of the Britons, with great animation. They emphasized their clamors by striking the ground with their muskets, and the severe look of John Autrun did not intimidate them.
They had been drinking gin to excess, urged on by their leaders, and the fumes were now boiling in their brains; nevertheless, they submitted to the peremptory injunction of the sergeant, who avoided in this way an immediate collision.
The lust for women above all excited these satyrs of several weeks’ abstinence, and their native impulses were exasperated still more by the food and drink with which they had gorged themselves.
Paddy, on his part, grown serious again, employed himself in calming the effervescence of his friends. Some soldiers unrolled a placard and inquired for a place to post it, in full sight; it reproduced in inch letters the offensive terms of the royal edict.
So the wind would not carry away the revolting phrases of this infamous document; they were displayed on the walls of the locality, with their constant invitation to treason, which implied, on the part of its authors, the hope that some day or other certain Bunclodyans would succumb to the temptation.
Well! they would consent to pass for cowards, by maintaining their tranquillity in face of the provocation emanating from the Britons; but that any one believed them capable of this Judas deed,— to sell one of their own . . .
“Would you rather sell him really?” said Marian suddenly, in a low voice, unexpectedly appearing and placing softly on the arm of the most excited one her little hand, one finger of which she then carried mysteriously to her pale lips.
They were amazed, and she entered into some vague explanations.
But yes, a brawl, and all would be lost. Sir Harvey would go out to join them; he would fight, and be killed at their side!
“What! he is in the village?”
Many repeating this question, she signified to them an affirmative answer by half closing her eyes and whispering, and then said no more, having noticed the suspected merchant, Tom Lichfield, who had arrived at the inn and installed himself there a week before.
But, in their perplexity, many lacked the prudence to wait for the information; they begged clandestinely of one and the other details which the few initiated gave them, describing the crucifixion of the agitator, and how, exhausted by the hemorrhages, dying, he owed his salvation to Arklow, who, sublimely, providentially inspired, had found his scent, taken him down from the calvary, and carried him under his own roof.
To be continued.
A Letter to Grover Cleveland:
His False, Absurd, Self-Contradictory, and Ridiculous Inaugural Address.
By Lysander Spooner.
[The author reserves his copyright in this letter.]
If anything could add to the disgust and detestation which the monstrous falsifications of the constitution, already described, should excite towards the court that resorts to them, it would be the fact that the court, not content with falsifying to the utmost the constitution itself, goes outside of the constitution, to the tyrannical practices of what it calls the “sovereign” governments of “other civilised nations,” to justify the same practices by our own.
It asserts, over and over again, the idea that our government is a “sovereign” government; that it has the same rights of “sovereignty,” as the governments of “other civilized nations”; especially those in Europe.
What, then, is a “sovereign” government? It is a government that is “sovereign” over all the natural rights of the people. This is the only “sovereignty” that any government can be said to have. Under it, the people have no rights. They are simply “subjects,” — that is, slaves. They have but one law, and one duty, viz., obedience, submission. They are not recognized as having any rights. They can claim nothing as their own. They can only accept what the government chooses to give them. The government owns them and their property; and disposes of them and their property, at its pleasure, or discretion; without regard to any consent, or dissent, on their part.
Such was the “sovereignty” claimed and exercised by the governments of those, so-called, “civilized nations of Europe,” that were in power in 1787, 1788, and 1789, when our constitution was framed and adopted, and the government put in operation under it. And the court now says, virtually, that the constitution intended to give to our government the same “sovereignty” over the natural rights of the people, that those governments had then.
But how did the “civilized governments of Europe” become possessed of such “sovereignty”? Had the people ever granted it to them? Not at all. The governments spurned the idea that they were dependent on the will or consent of their people for their political power. On the contrary, they claimed to have derived it from the only source, from which such “sovereignty” could have been derived; that is, from God Himself.
In 1787, 1788, and 1789, all the great governments of Europe, except England, claimed to exist by what was called “Divine Right.” That is, they claimed to have received authority from God Himself, to rule over their people. And they taught, and a servile and corrupt priesthood taught, that it was a religious duty of the people to obey them. And they kept great standing armies, and hordes of pimps, spies, and ruffians, to keep the people in subjection.
And when, soon afterwards, the revolutionists of France dethroned the king then existing — the Legitimist king, so-called — and asserted the right of the people to choose their own government, these other governments carried on a twenty years’ war against her, to reestablish the principle of “sovereignty” by “Divine Right.” And in this war, the government of England, although not itself claiming to exist by Divine Right,— but really existing by brute force,— furnished men and money without limit, to reëstablish that principle in France, and to maintain it wherever else, in Europe, it was endangered by the idea of popular rights.
The principle, then, of “Sovereignty by Divine Right” — sustained by brute force — was the principle on which the governments of Europe then rested; and most of them rest on that principle today. And now the Supreme Court of the United States virtually says that our constitution intended to give to our government the same “sovereignty” — the same absolutism — the same supremacy over all the natural rights of the people — as was claimed and exercised by those “Divine Right” governments of Europe, a hundred years ago!
That I may not be suspected of misrepresenting these men, I give some of their own words as follows:
It is not doubted that the power to establish a standard of value, by which all other values may be measured, or, in other words, to determine what shall be lawful money and a legal tender, is in its nature, and of necessity, a governmental power. It is in all countries exercised by the government. — Hepburn vs. Griswold, 8 Wallace 615.
The court call a power,
To make treasury notes a legal tender for the payment of all debts [private as well as public] a power confessedly possessed by every independent sovereignty other than the United States. — Legal Tender Cases, 12 Wallace, p. 529.
Also, in the same case, it speaks of:
That general power over the currency, which has always been an acknowledged attribute of sovereignty in every other civilized nation than our own. — p. 545.
In this same case, by way of asserting the power of congress to do any dishonest thing that any so-called “sovereign government” ever did, the court say:
Has any one, in good faith, avowed his belief that even a law debasing the current coin, by increasing the alloy [and then making these debased coins a legal tender in payment of debts previously contracted], would be taking private property? It might be impolitic, and unjust, but could its constitutionality be doubted? — p. 552.
In the same case, Bradley said:
As a government, it [the government of the United States] was invested with all the attributes of sovereignty. — p. 555.
Also he said:
Such being the character of the General Government, it seems to be a self-evident proposition that it is invested with all those inherent and implied powers, which, at the time of adopting the constitution, were generally considered to belong to every government, as such, and as being essential to the exercise of its functions. — p. 556.
Also he said:
Another proposition equally clear is, that at the time the constitution was adopted, it was, and for a long time had been, the practice of most, if not all, civilized governments, to employ the public credit as a means of anticipating the national revenues for the purpose of enabling them to exercise their governmental functions. — p. 556.
Also he said:
It is our duty to construe the instrument [the constitution] by its words, in the light of history, of the general nature of government, and the incidents of sovereignty. — p. 55.
Also he said:
The government simply demands that its credit shall be accepted and received by public and private creditors during the pending exigency. Every government has a right to demand this, when its existence is at stake. — p. 560.
Also he said:
These views are exhibited . . . . for the purpose of showing that it [the power to make its notes a legal tender in payment of private debts] is one of those vital and essential powers inhering in every national sovereignty, and necessary to its self-preservation. — p. 564.
In still another legal tender case, the court said:
The people of the United States, by the constitution, established a national government, with sovereign powers, legislative, executive, and judicial. — Juilliard vs. Greenman, 110 U. S. Reports, p. 438.
Also it calls the constitution:
A constitution, establishing a form of government, declaring fundamental principles, and creating a national sovereignty, intended to endure for ages. — p. 439.
Also the court speaks of the government of the United States:
As a sovereign government. — p. 446.
Also it said:
It appears to us to follow, as a logical and necessary consequence, that congress has the power to issue the obligations of the United States in such form, and to impress upon them such qualities as currency, for the purchase of merchandise and the payment of debts, as accord with the usage of other sovereign governments. The power, as incident to the power of borrowing money, and issuing bills or notes of the government for money borrowed, of impressing upon those bills or notes the quality of being a legal tender for the payment of private debts, was a power universally understood to belong to sovereignty, in Europe and America, at the time of the framing and adoption of the constitution of the United States. The governments of Europe, acting through the monarch, or the legislature, according to the distribution of powers under their respective constitutions, had, and have, as sovereign a power of issuing paper money as of stamping coin. This power has been distinctly recognized in an important modern case, ably argued and fully considered, in which the Emperor of Austria, as King of Hungary, obtained from the English Court of Chancery an injunction against the issue, in England, without his license, of notes purporting to be public paper money of Hungary. — p. 447.
Also it speaks of:
Congress, as the legislature of a sovereign nation. — p. 449.
Also it said:
The power to make the notes of the government a legal tender in payment of private debts, being one of the powers belonging to sovereignty in other civilized nations, . . . we are irresistibly impelled to the conclusion that the impressing upon the treasury notes of the United States the quality of being a legal tender in payment of private debts, is an appropriate means, conducive and plainly adapted to the execution of the undoubted powers of congress, consistent with the letter and spirit of the constitution, etc. — p. 450.
On reading these astonishing ideas about “sovereignty” — “sovereignty” over all the natural rights of mankind — “sovereignty,” as it prevailed in Europe “at the time of the framing and adoption of the constitution of the United States” — we are compelled to see that these judges obtained their constitutional law, not from the constitution itself, but from the example of the “Divine Right” governments existing in Europe a hundred years ago. These judges seem never to have heard of the American Revolution, or the French Revolution, or even of the English Revolutions of the seventeenth century — revolutions fought and accomplished to overthrow these very ideas of “sovereignty,” which these judges now proclaim, as the supreme law of this country. They seem never to have heard of the Declaration of Independence, nor of any other declaration of the natural rights of human beings. To their minds, “the sovereignty of governments” is everything; human rights nothing. They apparently cannot conceive of such a thing as a people’s establishing a government as a means of preserving their personal liberty and rights. They can only see what fearful calamities “sovereign governments” would be liable to, if they could not compel their “subjects” — the people — to support them against their will, and at every cost of their property, liberty, and lives. They are utterly blind to the fact, that it is this very assumption of “sovereignty” over all the natural rights of men, that brings governments into all their difficulties, and all their perils. They do not see that it is this very assumption of “sovereignty” over all men’s natural rights, that makes it necessary for the “Divine Right” governments of Europe to maintain not only great standing armies, but also a vile purchased priesthood, that shall impose upon, and help to crush, the ignorant and superstitious people.
These judges talk of “the constitutions” of these “sovereign governments” of Europe, as they existed “at the time of the framing and adoption of the constitution of the United States.” They apparently do not know that those governments had no constitutions at all, except the Will of God, their standing armies, and the judges, lawyers, priests, pimps, spies, and ruffians they kept in their service.
If these judges had lived in Russia, a hundred years ago, and had chanced to be visited with a momentary spasm of manhood — a fact hardly to be supposed of such creatures — and had been sentenced therefor to the knout, a dungeon, or Siberia, would we ever afterward have seen them, as judges of our Supreme Court, declaring that government to be the model after which ours was formed?
These judges will probably be surprised when I tell them that the constitution of the United States contains no such word as “sovereign,” or “sovereignty”; that it contains no such word as “subjects”; nor any word that implies that the government is “sovereign,” or that the people are “subjects.” At most, it contains only the mistaken idea that a power of making laws — by lawmakers chosen by the people — was consistent with, and necessary to, the maintenance of liberty and justice for the people themselves. This mistaken idea was, in some measure, excusable in that day, when reason and experience had not demonstrated, to their minds, the utter incompatibility of all lawmaking whatsoever with men’s natural rights.
The only other provision of the constitution, that can be interpreted as a declaration of “sovereignty” in the government, is this:
This constitution, and the laws of the United States which shall be made in pursuance thereof, and all treaties made, or which shall be made, under the authority of the United States, shall be the supreme law of the land, and the judges in every State shall be bound thereby, anything in the constitution or laws of any State to the contrary notwithstanding. — Art. VI.
This provision I interpret to mean simply that the constitution, laws, and treaties of the United States, shall be “the supreme law of the land” — not anything in the natural rights of the people to liberty and justice, to the contrary notwithstanding — but only that they shall be “the supreme law of the land,” “anything in the constitution or laws of any State to the contrary notwithstanding,” — that is, whenever the two may chance to conflict with each other.
If this is its true interpretation, the provision contains no declaration of “sovereignty” over the natural rights of the people.
Justice is “the supreme law” of this, and all other lands; anything in the constitutions or laws of any nation to the contrary notwithstanding. And if the constitution of the United States intended to assert the contrary, it was simply an audacious lie — a lie as foolish as it was audacious — that should have covered with infamy every man who helped to frame the constitution, or afterward sanctioned it, or that should ever attempt to administer it.
Inasmuch as the constitution declares itself to have been “ordained and established” by
We, the people of the United States, in order to form a more perfect union, establish justice, insure domestic tranquillity, provide for the common defence, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity,
everybody who attempts to administer it, is bound to give it such an interpretation, and only such an interpretation, as is consistent with, and promotive of, those objects, if its language will admit of such an interpretation.
To suppose that “the people of the United States” intended to declare that the constitution and laws of the United States should be “the supreme law of the land,” anything in their own natural rights, or in the natural rights of the rest of mankind, to the contrary notwithstanding, would be to suppose that they intended, not only to authorize every injustice, and arouse universal violence, among themselves, but that they intended also to avow themselves the open enemies of the rights of all the rest of mankind. Certainly no such folly, madness, or criminality as this can be attributed to them by any rational man — always excepting the justices of the Supreme Court of the United States, the lawmakers, and the believers in the “Divine Right” of the cunning and the strong, to establish governments that shall deceive, plunder, enslave, and murder the ignorant and the weak.
Many men, still living, can well remember how, some fifty years ago, those famous champions of “sovereignty,” of arbitrary power, Webster and Calhoun, debated the question, whether, in this country, “sovereignty” resided in the general or State governments. But they never settled the question, for the very good reason that no such thing as “sovereignty” resided in either.
And the question was never settled, until it was settled at the cost of a million of lives, and some ten thousand millions of money. And then it was settled only as the same question had so often been settled before, to wit, that “the heaviest battalions” are “sovereign” over the lighter.
The only real “sovereignty,” or right of “sovereignty,” in this or any other country, is that right of sovereignty which each and every human being has over his or her own person and property, so long as he or she obeys the one law of justice towards the person and property of every other human being. This is the only natural right of sovereignty, that was ever known among men. All other so-called rights of sovereignty are simply the usurpations of impostors, conspirators, robbers, tyrants, and murderers.
It is not strange that we are in such high favor with the tyrants of Europe, when our Supreme Court tells them that our government, although a little different in form, stands on the same essential basis as theirs of a hundred years ago; that it is as absolute and irresponsible as theirs were then; that it will spend more money, and shed more blood, to maintain its power, than they have ever been able to do; that the people have no more rights here than there; and that the government is doing all it can to keep the producing classes as poor here as they are there.
“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.
Professor Sumner on Interest.
One of the cardinal principles of Anarchism is that it recognizes none of that numerous class of individuals whom the Germans characteristically call Kleingotter (little gods). These Kleingotter move in the world as authorities, not by virtue of their sense and superiority as men, but as erected objects of semiworship, posited upon empty position. Their names are King, Pope, President, Professor, Doctor, Judge, etc. They are all ramifications of the Godhead, and those not oiled and petticoated for ecclesiastical service figure as a sort of secular priesthood.
Two of these ordained priests of science did me the honor to attend my late lecture on Anarchism in New Haven,— the one Professor William G. Sumner, and the other the professor of jurisprudence (I forget the name),— both members of the faculty of Yale College. How the learned and dignified law professor relished my peculiar sizing-up of the majesty of the Law and the State I do not know; for he did not let himself be heard. As for Professor Sumner, I was led to esteem him highly as a gentleman and a scholar; and the fact that he is manly and democratic enough to come among the people and take part in such a meeting is infinitely to his credit as a man and to his sagacity in wishing to keep abreast of all the new social drifts in the realm of ideas.
But to show how far accredited authorities in economics are in the rear, as compared with thousands of day-laborers who have mastered the usury problem through labor publications, I wish to state the position I took as regards the legitimacy of interest, and Professor Sumner’s arguments in opposition. My proposition was this:
“Interest has no existence in Nature, but is solely due to monopoly, whose parent the State alone is.” It is a statement of exactly the same import as that valuable concession of Henry George: “Rent is the price of monopoly.”
After I had finished, Professor Sumner rose in his seat and challenged the proposition emphatically. “Interest does exist in Nature,” he replied, and he proceeded to illustrate his position as follows. Suppose a farmer has ten bushels of seed. If he planted it, the increase of Nature would return him, say one hundred dollars. But another farmer, who has no seed, wishes to borrow it. To lend the seed requires a sacrifice, varying with the circumstances. Should, then, the borrower not in equity make good this sacrifice? In other words, on the cost principle, should he not pay a just debt of value received?
In such a state of mental obscurity is it possible for a Yale professor to be,— and one, too, who is authority on economics. Because Nature yields increase, he calls this interest. Were this so, then the lender’s sacrifice on the score of alienating Nature’s increase could only be made good by returning to him the increase. Should the lender incur other sacrifices, such as forced idleness and many other items that could be mentioned, then Nature has provided no fund with which to pay the bill. The only reserve is the additional labor of one man in order to support another in idleness. This, as Proudhon has shown, ends in social suicide. Henry George, the un-colleged lamplighter, was keen enough to see that existing interest tribute could not sustain itself on the ground of natural increase alone, and hence ascribed interest to the varying fertility of soils and the wise adaptation of skill and means to production. This, however, does not create a fund in Nature with which to pay interest in general. None exists, and hence the forced exaction of what is called interest, as Proudhon mathematically demonstrated, is simply homicide.
No Anarchist or anti-usurer ever denied the right and duty of a borrower to make good the sacrifices of a lender. But, the point at issue lies further back than this. The vital question that the Anarchist puts is this: Are the sacrifices involved such as rest on their just merits under Liberty, or are they sacrifices artificially created through monopoly? For instance, the sacrifices of the man who lends his ten bushels of seed to another depend upon his being able to replace it with more seed. Now, suppose that some monopolist, whose practices are legalized by the State, has gotten into his possession nearly all the seed in the country. Then the sacrifices of the lender will be measured by the exactions of this monopolist. When the borrower makes good this sacrifice, it is returned only medially to the lender, and the bulk of it goes to the man behind them both, who, rather than having made any sacrifice, is sacrificing them. In Nature, and under Liberty, the sacrifice of lenders in the aggregate is at its minimum,— the bare cost of the transference of values from one to another. In practice it is any amount which monopoly, created by the State and backed by repression and brute force, can exact.
The chief social monopolist is the landlord. Even Henry George, wild as are his social remedies, was wise enough to see that his form of usury, rent, was the price of monopoly. Shall I ever live to see George wise enough to declare that monopoly is the price of the State? The second social monopolist is he who monopolizes the currency. Who is his creator and defender but the State? The third type of monopolist is he who monopolizes the means of transportation. Who creates him but the State?
Now, the pressure of these combined monopolists makes the sacrifices of lenders not normal and natural ones, but purely artificial and forced ones. Lenders who make good sacrifices are therefore obliged to include in their returns the heaviest part of the bill, which goes, not to those who have made legitimate sacrifices, but to those who live by sacrificing all production to their greed, and forcing society to support them and their luxurious broods in idleness. This vast tribute is usury, or, if Professor Sumner chooses, interest. It utterly fails to justify itself on the ground of sacrifice. It is purely the creature of force. The State is its creator and defender, and is maintained for the purpose of supplying the brute force which alone makes its exaction possible. The combined prerogatives of monopolists are called “the rights of property.” These rights mean simply the right of monopolists to be protected in their forced levy of tribute upon production. Behind all its hypocritical gammon about protecting life and liberty (property being the chief enemy of life and liberty), the bottom purpose of the State is to defend monopoly, without which property is stripped of its power to destroy, if, indeed, it be not stripped of any existence at all.
I do not wish to accuse Professor Sumner of dissimulation and cowardice; but to see a Yale professor, whose very occupation is study and thought, rising to defend interest as it now exists on grounds of legitimate sacrifice and cost is a pitiable spectacle of intellectual babyhood. I have in mind burly, ignorant fellows, daily sweating in coal-scuttles and factories, who have gone far deeper into the roots of these social iniquities than he. The one work of Edward Kellogg, if Professor Sumner will read it, is as final a demonstration of the fallacy of his arguments as any theorem in geometry which the Yale boys demonstrate in their class-room.
No wonder that laboring people and labor reformers are turning away from college professors and getting their own economic education from their own sources. The day is fast coming when the professors will come to them for instruction, if some of the most earnest of them, like Professor Sumner, are indeed not already doing it on a small scale. These pressing issues cannot await the slow motions of the Kleingotter. The age is moving ahead of the colleges, while dusty books and musty brains, embossed with empty titles, begin to pile up far in the rear on the road of progress.
Free Money First.
J. M. M’Gregor, a writer for the Detroit “Labor Leaf,” thinks free land the chief desideratum. And yet he acknowledges that the wage-worker can’t go from any of our manufacturing centres to the western lands, because “such a move would involve a cash outlay of a thousand dollars, which he has not got nor can he get it.” It would seem, then, that free land, though greatly to be desired, is not as sorely needed here and now as free capital. And this same need of capital would be equally embarrassing if the eastern lands were free, for, still, more capital would be required to stock and work a farm than the wage-worker can command. Under our present money system he could not even get capital by putting up his farm as collateral, unless he would agree to pay a rate of interest that would eat him up in a few years. Therefore, free land is of little value to labor without free capital, while free capital would be of inestimable benefit to labor even if land should not be freed for some time to come. For with it labor could go into other industries on the spot and achieve its independence. Not free land, then, but free money is the chief desideratum. It is in the perception of this prime importance of the money question that the greenbackers, despite their utterly erroneous solution of it, show their marked superiority to the State socialists and the land nationalizationists.
The craze to get people upon the land is one of the insanities that has dominated social reformers ever since social reform was first thought of. It is a great mistake. Of agriculture it is as true as of every other industry that there should be as few people engaged in it as possible,— that is, just enough to supply the world with all the agricultural products which it wants. The fewer farmers there are, after this point of necessary supply is reached, the more useful people there are to engage in other industries which have not yet reached this point, and to devise and work at new industries hitherto unthought of. It is altogether likely that we have too many farmers now. It is not best that any more of us should become farmers, even if every homestead could be made an Arcadia. The plough is very well in its way, and Arcadia was very well in its day. But the way of the plough is not as wide as the world, and the world has outgrown the day of Arcadia. Human life henceforth is to be, not a simple, but a complex thing. The wants and aspirations of mankind are daily multiplying. They can be satisfied only by the diversification of industry, which is the method of progress and the record of civilization. This is one of the great truths which Lysander Spooner has so long been shouting into unwilling ears. But the further diversification of industry in such a way as to benefit, no longer the few and the idle, but the many and the industrious, depends upon the control of capital by labor. And this, as Proudhon, Warren, Greene, and Spooner have shown, can be secured only by a free money system.
Out of His Own Mouth.
So Mr. Powderly calls a halt in forming new assemblies of the Knights of Labor!
Cheap, dissatisfied laborers must not be taken in; the order must be kept small, comparatively, and select, if it would win the esteem of society.
Society! how everybody does worship it! Its good opinion is more desired than bread,— than life even.
Mr. Powderly’s idea evidently is to make the Knights of Labor an aristocracy, dependent for its power, like all aristocracies, not so much upon its numbers, as upon the awe with which the outsider regards it.
Can the great body of workingmen and working-women expect anything from such an organization?
Mr. Powderly says members of the Knights of Labor make a great mistake in inaugurating strikes. Take away the strike, and what weapon is left to labor?
Arbitration, says Mr. Powderly.
There is a state of warfare between labor and capital, and this state will exist so long as it is recognized and fostered by the State,— or, in other words, so long as the State exists; and in warfare words are not weapons.
Of what offect would arbitration be without the strike back of it?
Anarchists, Mr. Powderly has told you himself just what the writers in Liberty have been telling you,— that the Knights of Labor as an organization is as bad as the State, and in a way to become even worse.
C. M. H.
The Senator and the Editor.
Editorial — Concluded.
“We wish to finish with our editorial from the “Herald” in this number, but, in order to do so, we are obliged to omit a few paragraphs that should properly continue from our last. They are an amplification and rounding-out of the argument against the claim that Deacon Rich had made for compensation against the supposed risk he would run in putting his money-capital into business. We think we can better omit this part than that that follows. The statements of the new truth that property has no power of increase and that nothing can be claimed in its behalf already given are we think sufficient to lead those who follow them in the spirit of truth into all truth. One thought, unnoticed or not presented by our editor, we will venture here to supply. To the Deacon’s query whether, if no inducement was offered in the shape of interest or profit on moneys invested as a security against losses, capitalists would be found in any great numbers to embark in business enterprises, one pertinent response might be the following: Is it so bad a thing to contemplate the possibility of a check being placed upon these multitudinous wild-cat enterprises and speculations? Deacon Rich and his co-conspirators will act with more circumspection when they come to feel that they have to shoulder their own risks. But in any legitimate business, under the sway of better ideas of equity, the risks, so-called, will greatly diminish, if they do not wholly disappear.
“But, to conclude with the editorial of the “Herald”: “If what we have said in regard to the accumulation of wealth can be accepted as truth,—and we challenge any contrary showing,—then there remains—having dismissed the popular remedial measures as only tentative or approximating efforts—to consider what course lies within the power of the well-disposed by which to reach some solvent principle that shall touch that ‘something wrong at bottom,’ removing and destroying it forever.
“For ourselves, we are quite ready to enter upon the work of the great Reform. Why shall we not, then, at once present our demands?
“We will do so—and beg that no reader will turn away from or neglect them, unless he can say: ‘I have considered them, and I am able to declare that they are without a practical value.’
“1. We demand a new civilization, because we demand a true civilization. This civilization shall be ultra-democratic. It shall omit no individual, however humble or of whatever race, from its constant, nourishing, saving, ennobling care. It shall be the guardian of the Human Race.
“2. We demand—in summing up the characteristics of the new civilization—perfect freedom for the individual in all concerns in which he is the necessary responsible agent,—that is, in all that pertains to his own welfare: which proposition defends each individual from invasion of his personal rights against the world.
“3. The invasion of the State in all its multitudinous forms must cease. Let it be understood that invasion is invasion. Popular sanction by ballot or otherwise in no way changes its character. The methods of the highwayman in his attack upon individuals are simpler, but what added right does the State secure by its multiplication of forms and ceremonies? Right is right, and wrong is wrong; no added pomp and show can change the character of either.
“4. The invasions of capital would practically cease, if they were not backed up and supported by the State. How completely is the individual cornered and defrauded by this invader’s monopoly of the business of issuing money? The right of banking should be inalienable: the individual’s necessity in operating his capital. If this has been sometime an enigma, the new civilization will demonstrate it. Then, it will be self-evident—even to the blind.
“5. We demand all these clearings out of the survivals of the old invasive civilization in order that Liberty, in whose eyes ‘shines that high light whereby the world is saved,’ may have her opportunity. We need to return to the more natural and trustful ways of the earlier races, aided and abetted by all the newly discovered laws and agencies that give the earth into the hands of man, dedicating it to his service.
“6. Left thus unprotected in their schemes of self-aggrandizement against individuals as rightfully here and as rightfully heirs to freedom and power as themselves, the moneyed despoilers of the race will lose their grip. There will be no basis for their operations either in the might of governments, or in un-moral instincts of the populace: for it shall not be said, then, that every poor man is a money despot in embryo. The tyranny of money, the devastations and enslavements of capital, will have no lodging in the popular ambition. The new civilization we demand, coming not by force and outward display, but in the intelligence and good-will of the race, shall put an end forever to the despotic idea.
“7. We demand of all labor organizations everywhere marching to the front, as if the decisive battle of man’s industrial enfranchisement was to be fought with a foreign foe, that they halt where they are and examine well their own declared cause. Let them set forth their principles in the light of liberty, and consider well the forceful methods they are pledging themselves to adopt. We assure them that the foe they seek is yet lodged in their own camp. It is of their own household. Let them not persist in fighting fire, with fire. The water of life, the flowing force of right, the flooding light of liberty, are far more powerful and successful agencies.
“8. Finally, we demand discussion. If there are any who think that we are astray in all this, let them come forward and speak their mind. Our columns are open, our welcome shall be cordial. Knights of Labor! To you especially we address our challenge. For you have proclaimed yourselves chief and foremost in the cause of industrial reform, as ‘liberty-loving and earnestly truth-seeking.’ We do not doubt for an instant your sincerity of feeling. But we do suggest that there is also such a thing as intellectual sincerity,—the following of truth for truth’s own sake. If you swerve from this latter following, no sincerity of any other sort will avail you. ‘Tis a common failing. But to be delivered from it, is the beginning of wisdom.
“Now, we have put our hand to the plough; we shall not turn back.
“The ‘Herald’ declares for the new civilization!”
Reader, our task is done.
Burnette G. Haskell of San Francisco, who once called frantically and in vain for a Brutus to plunge his dagger into the Anarchistic Caesar who sits on the editorial throne of Liberty, now sends the said Caesar what he calls “an account of the facts of the recent Seattle (W. T.) horror,” and urges him to “give it, in the interest of American Liberty, the widest possible publicity.” As Haskell’s signature is the only evidence that he has that this document states facts, and as his past experience with Haskell warrants him in presuming that anything appearing over his signature is a lie until proved to be the truth, Caesar, in the exercise of his sovereign will and with the fear of another summons to a possible Brutus haunting him, declines to give the document any publicity at all.
The Haverhill “Laborer” discusses the merits of the new novel, “The Dawning,” by assailing the personal character of its author with the charge that he is unwilling to sacrifice anything in the cause of labor. The author of “The Dawning” has reached an age which forbids him to expect many more years of Me, while the editor of the “Laborer” is still a stripling who may be favored in the matter of existence beyond his deserts; but, however long may prove the career of the latter, he has neither the ability nor the will to make for himself a record of devotion equal to that which will stand justly credited to the man whom he thus wantonly assaults, and who has sunk nearly all that he possessed in efforts to secure justice to labor.
Thank You, Brother Swinton.
[John Swinton’s Paper.]
Now that the railway kings are “itching for an empire,” we again suggest that Boston Liberty would he an excellent paper for free circulation in the regular army. If every private soldier of the infantry, cavalry, and artillery were supplied with a copy of Brother Tucker’s Liberty weekly, there would be no danger of anybody ever using our army as a foundation for an empire,— no matter how he “itched” for it.
The Wife of Number 4,237.
By Sophie Kropotkine.
Translated from the French for Liberty by Sarah E. Holmes.
Continued from No. 77.
“But you too, poor girl, you are sick; you need rest very much,” she said to her, when Julie explained that she had come to see her husband, but, he being sick, she might perhaps remain eight or ten days.
While talking with her customers, the old woman tried to make her swallow some spoonfuls of soup and a few drops of wine. But Julie could take nothing: after twenty-two hours of traveling, of expectation and blasted hopes, the bread seemed bitter, the wine sharp. She hurried up to her room, hoping to find a moment of repose in her bed. But when she entered the room, she went to the open window and stood there motionless.
A shapeless mass of buildings, added during the centuries one after the other, work-shops blackened with smoke and crowned by high chimneys, a whole city, but a city dead, hushed, without the least sign of life, rose before her. Beyond the exterior wall, which sent here and there steely reflections in the moonlight, she saw endless rows of grated windows, strongly lighted. One would have said they might be palaces illuminated for a festival; they were the dormitories of a thousand prisoners. Julie tried to guess which was Jean’s window. She pressed her burning forehead against the glass; her eyes tried to penetrate space, to pierce the walls and discover the sick man’s bed.
He is there; a single wall separates them. She might take care of him, bring a ray of light into his sad existence, whisper in his ear one of those sweet words which he has not heard in so long a time, and which would encourage the man bowed down under the weight of this sad life. But the barbarous law is there too — putting between them impenetrable walls, bristling with soldiers ready to fire.
Oh, yes, the law! It does not fail, poor Julie, to destroy the happiness of a family, under the pretext of correcting men.
“Jean, Jean, my love!” she calls, in the silence of the night. For sole answer, the cry of “Sentinels! Attention!” rises every quarter hour, dying away in the distance and then returning, always so menacing.
“If he should die,” thought Julie, “I shall not survive him. I have no one in the world, not a single heart to whom I am dear. With him gone, the last hope vanished, what would be left to me? The poor pity of a few neighbors? No! He alone attaches me to life!”
Julie was of an impressionable, loving nature. Up to the present time, she had always loved, had always been loved; life without affection seemed harder than death to her. In her childhood she had been cared for and petted as much as the poverty of her parents would permit.
Her father, a miner in one of the pits of a great company, serious, often grave, had always a caressing word for his little Julie,— as gay and full of life as a bird.
Her mother, until the sickness which kept her to her bed for long years, had been able to provide for the household out of the meager wages of her husband. Julie always had her little neat apron and some dainties in her basket when she ran to school.
She was fifteen years old when her mother fell sick, a sickness from which she never recovered. This first serious sorrow transformed Julie. From a girl, gay and rebellious, she became serious and industrious. Her great black eyes acquired then an experience of pensive gravity.
The task now fell upon her of conducting the little household, of doing her best to fill her mother’s place by her father’s side. You should have seen how grateful he was to her in consequence, with what tenderness he caressed his child’s pretty head. They were more than a father and daughter; they were two friends.
From time to time, on Sundays, the young people of the village held a little fete in the large hall of the inn.
They danced to the music of the violin, and some ribbon-weavers in the vicinity were invited to these fetes. There Julie made the acquaintance of Jean Tissot, a fine boy, with a sprightly face, expressive eyes, and a black mustache. They finished by loving each other.
The young people were happy. Only one thing threw a shadow over their happiness,— the military service which Jean had still before him. But everything seemed to smile on them, and the day when the lots were drawn, Jean came to announce that he had a good number; he had only one year to serve. How happy that evening was at the miner’s. It was the occasion for a little party. Julie, beaming with happiness, was still more beautiful than ever.
It was decided that the marriage should take place on Jean’s return.
They would not leave her father’s house. It would be a little far for Jean; he certainly could not come to breakfast; but Julie would fix his basket for him every morning, she would go to meet him, and in the evening they would all reunite about this same table. All a dream of happiness — a dream!
This was at the beginning of the autumn. A heavy heat weighed on the village; not a breath to refresh the stifling air. The evening before, the father had returned more serious than usual. He had seen the old miners shake their heads on leaving the pits. “It smells bad in the mine,” they said. Foreseeing an explosion of firedamp, they looked anxiously at the sky, longing for a gust of wind from the east.
But the east wind did not come the next day. Not a breath of air in the morning, when the anxious father left the house, giving his wife and child a longer and more tender embrace than usual.
At four o’clock, a rumbling noise was heard. In less than a quarter of an hour, the women, pale, with haggard eyes, were already around the shaft, striving to read their destinies in the black depths of the abyss. Preparations were being made for the work of rescue.
Two hours passed before they had news from below, brought by men blackened with smoke, bruised, who could hardly believe in the happiness of seeing again the blue sky. They said that about thirty men must have been buried by the explosion: Julie’s father was among the number.
Three days, three times twenty-four hours, passed before they succeeded in opening a way. The women were beside themselves.
During these three days, Julie remained there, seated on a heap of that mineral, every cartful of which is stained with human blood. Neither the rain which began to fall in torrents nor the entreaties of Jean could make her quit her post. She had even forgotten her mother.
When the basket began to bring up the corpses, the distracted women broke the chain of sentries and rushed towards the abyss, uttering heart-rending cries when they saw again, disfigured, calcined, these same faces which three days before had smiled at them on leaving. Certain bodies were recognizable only by the clothes; among others Julie’s father, whose head had been crushed by a mass of rock.
“Dear father, my love,” she cried, covering with kisses his icy-cold breast. Jean drew her away by force: he feared lest he might see her also grow rigid on the corpse.
With her head pressed against the window, Julie saw all these horrible scenes pass again before her eyes.
She resumed the thread of her memories.
A month passed before she could return to her occupations. Misery menaced the fireside. The Jean left for military service. To support her mother it became necessary to seek work.
To be continued.
The social disease of which Insurrection, as Carlyle says, is the “mere announcement, is visible now even to Sons of Night.” Fifty thousand starving workingmen rioting in London streets, breaking aristocratic windows and raiding hotels and bakeshops, is a very alarming symptom. Miners shooting and burning each other in Pennsylvania, workingmen in Washington Territory expelling brother workingmen from the soil, militia composed of the sons and brothers of workingmen shooting down the expellers at the bidding of the capitalist exploiters of all, and their tool, the government, proclaim that the crisis is near at hand, and all the doctors are summoned to decide what must be done for the patient. Many are the doctors, many are the remedies proposed, many are the plasters applied to sore places, with the hope that by covering them up they may heal of themselves. Great is the delusion! When the plaster is removed, or falls off, owing to the rottenness beneath, the sore is found to have extended in breadth and depth, and to have invaded parts which would have been entirely free from it, had no attempt been made to conceal it from public view. Yes, society is sick, sick nigh unto death, and still the doctors cannot agree on the remedies; what is still more reprehensible, the majority have not even attempted to make a diagnosis. The quacks have at present the upper hand, they are in the majority, and the voices of the scientific brethren are lost in the great hubbub of quack jargon. The quacks are in the ascendant, the symptoms are to be modified, transformed, crushed out, their existence denied; the “Sun” would crush out the symptom of street-rioting, if it occurred in New York, by a well-disciplined and well-armed police, the Women’s Christian Temperance Union would treat the symptom of intemperance by a prohibitory liquor and tobacco law, the white workingmen would expel the Chinese, the unionists would starve the non-unionists, the Rev. Hale would “lend a hand” to overworked and underfed working girls, Gladstone would give Home Rule to Ireland, Collings would give three acres and a cow, Chamberlain would house the poor, Burns and Hyndman would have the State supply labor and food, Bismarck would expropriate the Poles for the benefit(?) of the German proletariat,— in short, all would treat symptoms in the most approved Middle Ages style. But nineteenth century medicine, and the doctors who really belong to the nineteenth century, and not to the Middle Ages, will not be satisfied with treating symptoms, will not be satisfied till they have really discovered the cause of the disease, and applied the remedy, be it never so heroic, that is necessary to the restoration to health, of tho body social, or more truly, the production in it of health for the first time. The scientific physician will seek out the pathological conditions and apply his remedies to those, will relieve whatever suffering may arms daring the process as far as in his power lies, but will use no palliatives that would ultimately tend to the patient’s detriment, no matter how great the temptation, no matter how large the reward of popular approval that may be held up to his view.
But even those who agree with us as to the cause of the social disease,— the exploitation of man by man,— still insist that we must cure symptoms; otherwise we are not practical, we are mere theorists. No, my friends, it is you that are not practical, it is your work that is useless, it is you that should be sued for malpractice, for it is you that are dallying with the patient’s life. You may, with your palliatives of eight hours a day, union labels, increased wages, cooperative or rather joint-stock associations, cause some of the symptoms to diminish or even disappear for a time, only to reappear with all the greater force later, when the patient's powers of recuperation are lessened by the longer duration of his sickness. It is not those who see only the symptoms, but those who see the cause and still confine themselves to treat their symptoms that the world will some day most severely condemn. It is the leaders of the people, the false leaders who lead only to destruction, that the people themselves will some day most heartily curse.
Nothing is possible, nothing is practical, nothing is practicable, but what is right and just. To quote again the great seer of the nineteenth century: “If you do not know eternal Justice from momentary Expediency and understand in your heart of hearts how Justice, radiant, beneficent, as the all-victorious Light element, is also in essence, if need be, an all-victorious Fire-element, and melts all manner of vested interests, and the hardest cannon as if they were soft wax, and does ever in the long-run rule and reign, and allows nothing else to rule and reign — you also would talk of impossibility! But it is only difficult, it is not impossible. Possible? It is, with whatever difficulty, clearly inevitable.”
Gertrude B. Kelly.
Is Professor Sumner an Anarchist?
To the Editor of Liberty:
The Equal Rights Debating Club had engaged Henry Appleton of Boston to lecture before them on Sunday, February 28, on “Labor Organization.” Mr. Appleton has the reputation of a philosopher, radical reformer, and devoted friend of the oppressed toilers. It has got abroad somehow that he does not favor the workings and practical methods of the various trade and labor organizations in the country large and small. The Club has great confidence in Mr. Appleton, and wanted to know why, being in accord with their ultimate aims and ideals, he is so uncompromisingly opposed to the ways and means chosen by them for the achievement of those aims. Besides, there was certainly a chance for a very lively and instructive debate. Through some misunderstanding, Mr. Appleton failed to fulfil his engagement, and the Club was loft without a speaker. Among those who came to have the pleasure of listening to Mr. Appleton was Professor William G. Sumner. We considered him not a him substitute, and, being invited to speak, he offered to discuss the question of “Free Trade.”
He spoke long and admirably well. It was, in fact, one of the most sweeping, radical, and unanswerable arguments I ever listened to. He did not confine his remarks to the free trade question. He spoke about taxation generally, denounced governmental supervision and interference, and ably advocated the laissez-faire principle in trade and industry.
It is safe to any, began the professor, that scarcely one in a thousand among the people knows anything about the tariff,— what it is, and what it costs us. The government lays import duties on about four thousand commodities. This is not tariff for revenue, as we pay the same tax to our own manufacturers when we buy the commodities here. We can buy pig iron or coal cheaper outside of the country than it costs to produce it here, but the advantage is lost to us. The government puts a heavy tax on these commodities, thus compelling us to patronize our native manufacturers. All prices are enhanced. I am prepared to prove that, putting it low, these taxes amount to thirty cents of every dollar. Why do we submit to it? Because, we are told, we want to protect our native industries, encourage enterprise, and look out for our interest and prosperity at home. But I claim the right of a free American citizen to buy wherever and whatever I please, and any attempt to restrict and abridge this right is a tyrannical invasion. Well, we are told again, there is really no uso of making so much noise about it; practically it does not hurt us. Everybody being a producer as well as a consumer, the burden falls on everybody alike, and we come out even. We are all more or less protected. The thing thus reduces itself simply to this alternative: either we are taxing ourselves and others, and are being taxed by others, who tax themselves,— and in this case we are engaged in a ridiculous, absurd, and foolish play that gives neither gain, nor loss; or we rob and plunder each other in the dark, with great gains to some and proportionate loss to others. We cannot avoid this conclusion. It is either folly or crime. And if anybody docs suffer, who is it but the wage-worker? He pays these heavy taxes, although the protected manufacturer does not pay more to his laborers than the unprotected. There is always a market rate of wages, and the competition among the laborers is constantly decreasing this market rate. The capitalist reaps all the benefit of the protective taxes. Those that contribute most to the election campaign funds get the most protection from their congressmen, who, with a view to the next election, try to give full satisfaction. But the other members got there on exactly the same conditions. So this everlasting grab.
This system of protection tends to kill competition and restrict trade. How is it possible for our industries to develop and grow up naturally when we are compelled to support unprofitable undertakings by chipping in so much every time to keep it alive? A thing that does not pay, that cannot stand on its own merits and compete with the natural rivals, must perish and make room for such as are self-supporting and self-maintaining. The sooner it is out of existence, the better. Now, think of these people in Washington controlling and regulating the industries of this country! Do they want to make us better off than we would be if let alone? Time brings changes, new inventions, improvements. When unrestricted and uncontrolled, the people easily and naturally adapt themselves to the circumstances. But, who is so wise, so well informed, and so powerful that he pretends to be able to foresee and “fix” everything in the best possible way? The truth is that all these “regulators” are completely and hopelessly ignorant, have no information whatever, and care too little about others to try and enlighten themselves on these points. There is not a single page in the history of the legislation on the tariff that is decent or respectable! They talk about our national prosperity, about our high wages, and want to make us believe that we owe all this to their protection. But the opposite is the true explanation. It is because we are us yet better off than other nations that we can stand the tariff. And if there is anything in the world that can reduce our wages to the “European basis” and dwarf our growth, it is heavy taxation. Of course, not only these protective taxes; there is the currency question to be looked into; but we will leave that for some other time. (It occurred to me that Professor Sumner had your criticism in mind.) Taxation is the bottom invasion of government.
We demand the removal of all restrictions and boundary lines. Trade must be free. There is no need of any protection, artificial stimulation, or driving. Give us freedom to regulate our own affairs, and we are well able to take care of ourselves. Our soil is rich and fertile, our population small, and our people energetic and ambitious. Give us our chances, and we will get all we can and keep all we get.
Our Anarchistic friend, Mr. Franklin, asked the professor if he thinks these doctrines of unrestricted private enterprise and non-interference hold good in other branches of industrial and commercial activity. The professor seemed to take in the full meaning of the question, when he smilingly said: “Yes.”
The gentleman, who is a strong individualist, paid his compliments to the State Socialists, and made them feel uncomfortable by stating that the mischief resulting from protection, which is certainly a State Socialistic policy, is simply a trifle in comparison with the evils that the “cooperative commonwealth” would inevitably produce. Another gentleman told Professor Sumner that there is not a single page in the history of legislation generally, not that of tariff only, that is decent or respectable. He hoped the professor would open his eyes to the real nature of our legislation, and squarely come out against it in the interests of labor.
Is Professor Sumner an Anarchist? I will leave it to the reader to judge.
New Haven, February 28, 1886.
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.