“For always in thine eyes, O Liberty!
Shines that high light whereby the world is saved;
And though thou slay us, we will trust in thee.”
On Picket Duty.
Proudhon’s profound and brilliant article on the nature, object, and destiny of the State, begun in this issue, will be concluded in the next. After that I shall have some interesting announcements to make regarding forthcoming serials.
It is very commonly urged in opposition to the no-government doctrine as taught in this paper that it contradicts itself by maintaining the right to use force in self-defence. Defence, it is claimed, is as truly government as offence. Do those who make this claim realize the position they take? It is nothing less than this: There is no difference between governing and I refusing to be governed. Put that in your pipes and smoke it, critics mine.
The next meeting of the Anarchists’ Club will be addressed by C. S. Griffin on the subject of “Law, Communism, and Anarchy.” Mr. Griffin is a Communist, and is not put forward by the Club as an exponent of its principles. But it is glad to hear what he has to say. No doubt the discussion to follow his address will be of an interesting character. The meeting will be held on Sunday, January 29, at half past two o’clock. At what hall may be ascertained from the Sunday Notice columns of the “Herald” and “Globe” of Saturday and Sunday.
If the Anarchistic Communists contemplated any such voluntary arrangement as Comrade Labadie supposes in another column, there would indeed, as he claims, be no confusion in thought, no conflict between them and the Anarchists. But they do not; that is just the trouble. If you drive them with logic, they will fall back upon authority; if you let them alone, they will talk liberty one minute and authority the next. I perfectly agree with John F. Kelly’s statement in the “Alarm” “that universal Communism (and all the preachers of Communism mean it to be universal) is impossible without the most rigid, despotic control.”
Rev. R. I. Holaind, a learned Jesuit father and professor of ethics in Maryland College, has written a book entitled “Ownership and Natural Right,” in the preface of which he says: “Ownership of every description has been assailed by Pierre Proudhon with a sort of blasphemous fierceness which has compelled both Christians and scientists to turn away in disgust.” Either through ignorance or malice, Rev. R. I. Holaind, the learned Jesuit father and professor of ethics in Maryland College, lies. Every one familiar with the writings of Pierre Proudhon knows that he did not assail ownership of every description, but, on the contrary, defended ownership of a certain description with a force and vigor never equalled.
Some honorable judge was reported in the newspapers the other day to have announced that “no Anarchist, Socialist, or other enemy of the government,” need apply to him for naturalization papers. He would refuse them all. The poor Socialists are punished for too much devotion to government just as severely as the Anarchist is for his deadly hatred of all government. Yet I fancy that, were some foreigners to be tried by this learned judge, he would pompously lecture to him on the necessity of getting acquainted with the “spirit of American institutions.” By the way, are not the men connected with the big dailies now advocating government control of the telegraph (which idea is indisputably Communistic) in danger of being disfranchised?
Dr. Gifford, a Boston clergyman, recently announced his conversion to George’s Anti-Poverty cause, but took pains to explain that he only believes in the “brotherhood of man and fatherhood of God” principle of their propaganda, and is not given over to the land-value tax plan of salvation. The tax idea is George’s only contribution to the Anti-Poverty cause, which is as old as history, and for a minister of Christ to be “converted” to the principle of the fatherhood of God, etc., of George is to repeat the experience of the sailor who, brought before a judge on a charge of soundly thrashing a Jew, pleaded his desire to avenge the blood of his Saviour whom the Jews crucified, and, when asked why he sought to recall events eighteen centuries old, replied in astonishment that he had heard of the crime “only the night before.”
[Letter to Gramont, a writer for L’Intransigeant. — Translated from that journal for Liberty by F. R. C.]
You have often stood up against the cruel situation of women, in actual society, when they find themselves without resource, left to themselves. Since it is not possible for them to earn their livelihood by laboring, they find themselves placed, you say, in this mournful alternative,— to become prostitutes or die of hunger. I repeat your words in all their crudeness. You added that a woman ought to be free; to dispose of her person as she sees fit. But that she cannot escape the obligation of making a trade of her favors,— this is what seems revolting and odious to you.
I agree with you. I wish only to add to what you have already said some thoughts which have come to me on this subject.
It will surely be necessary to procure for women the means of taking care of themselves, if they please,— of earning their own living. But do you not think that at the same time certain old ideas of conduct which have been imposed upon women should be given up, and, by the adoption of larger conceptions, an independent life be made easier for them?
Already a tendency to modify the condition of women has been manifested. We are in a period of transition, of compromise, when old systems are disappearing, when the new are not yet firmly established, but are beginning to appear in the world. Formerly woman was considered only able to live with and by man, under his direction, under his tutelage. Accordingly she had given her — I speak of the rich and educated classes — only a superficial elementary instruction. It is no longer the same today. A few efforts to emancipate woman, or at least to give her the possibility of emancipating herself, are being made. An attempt is being made to give her a more extended education, approaching in a degree that which is given to man; careers are being opened to her which formerly were shut against her. Great effort is being made, in a word, to make women able to take care of themselves and to walk through life unencumbered.
But to walk unencumbered the first condition is to be unhindered by restraints of any kind. Then it will be logical to disencumber women, liberated and made independent by their studies and profession, of the restraints of old prejudices, however respectable they may be; I mean not to refer them a priori to the same moral obligations as the women who marry, to whom marriage was the only career. One should not treat with the same severity, or judge after the same way, the woman to whom instruction has given personal resources, and the woman who is only destined for the making of a home, for a companion for a man.
In other words, if there is a desire to form women who will be able to dispense with the aid of man, in order to provide for their own needs, and to permit them to live an bachelors live, this permission should be complete and thorough, and should grant them the same indulgence as is shown the other sex.
This indulgence has long been witnessed in the cases of exceptional women who have deliberately put themselves outside the pale of society in order to enter upon an artistic career,— those who were authors and actresses. Our eyes are shut to the caprices of their behavior and to the eccentricity of their morals.
In my opinion the same latitude should be given to women exercising professions hitherto reserved to men. If, not married, they have passions, caprices, this ought to injure them in their careers and should arouse no prejudice against them, any more than the passions and the gallantries of their colleagues of the male sex diminish the esteem in which they are held.
Indeed, if you wish women to be independent, give them perfect liberty, and when they feel the desire to satisfy their natural inclinations, do not restrain them under the pain of social forfeiture, or make them submit to the bondage from which you have delivered them. If, of their own free will, they submit themselves to it, all well and good; nothing can be better or more laudable; but they should not be compelled to it. Which amounts to saying that, to produce its full result, any change in social organization must be accompanied by a change of morals and ideas.
Such are, sir, the remarks which have been suggested to me by the new condition which we hope to make for women, the new kind of life which we hope to offer them.
Excuse, I pray, the length of this letter, and believe me yours, etc.,
Self and Its Gratification.
To the Editor of Liberty:
The subtile distinction between care for self and acting out the self is not a rational one to my mind. In this light Tak Kak may revise his argument. What is a benefit to self? Evidently the gratification of a desire of self. To guard against injury to others is to guard against pain — otherwise injury — to self. Generous impulses are selfish desires, and intelligence considering probabilities directs the acts which follow from such desires in the line of greatest pleasure to self. Tak Kak’s object in informing me is to gratify himself; in his method he acts out himself. To say that a man need only know that it is not unsafe to follow his natural bent of generosity in order to guard against ruining himself by generosity is absurd, unless it is understood that his natural or acquired self-wisdom will be his safeguard. To reflect before acting does not imply that the act will be the result of a consciously-entertained prospect of benefit to self to the harm of others. Retaliation is a sentiment of justice, and the desire to retaliate rises as suddenly as a generous impulse. An intelligent man will act upon neither without reflection.
The explanation of the editor of Liberty requires a stretch of the imagination that would make a stony-hearted old miser appear an Angel of Charity.
But where is Mr. Lloyd?
Geo. B. Prescott, Jr.
Newark, N. J., January 8, 1888.
No Irish Anarchists, Says the “Pilot.”
To the Editor of Liberty:
Enclosed find twenty-four dollars, principally from members of the Peter O’Neil Crowley branch of the Irish National Emergency Association, for purposes as specified:
|Liberty||Proudhon Library||Spooner Publication Fund||Club Dues|
|J. R. Armstrong||1.00||3.00|
|Dr. P. A. Gavin||$1.00|
|P. K. O’Lally||2.00||3.00||$3.00|
|P. O’Neil Club||1.00|
P. K. O’Lally
Boston, December 21, 1887.
Its Nature, Object, and Destiny.
By P. J. Proudhon.
Translated from La Voix du Peuple of December 3, 1849, by Benj. R. Tucker.
The Revolution of February raised two leading questions: one economic, the question of labor and property; the other political, the question of government or the State.
On the first of these questions the socialistic democracy is substantially in accord. They admit that it is not a question of the seizure and division of property, or even of its repurchase; neither is it a question of dishonorably levying additional taxes on the wealthy and property-holding classes, which, while violating the principle of property recognized in the constitution, would serve only to overturn the general economy and aggravate the situation of the proletariat. The economic reform consists, on the one hand, in opening usurious credit to competition and thereby causing capital to lose its income,— in other words, in identifying, in every citizen to the same degree, the capacity of the laborer and that of the capitalist; on the other hand, in abolishing the whole system of existing taxes, which fall only on the laborer and the poor man, and replacing them all by a single tax on capital, as an insurance premium.
By these two great reforms social economy is reconstructed from top to bottom, commercial and industrial relations are inverted, and the profits, now assured to the capitalist, return to the laborer. Competition, now anarchical and subversive, becomes emulative atd fruitful; markets no longer being wanting, the workingman and employer, intimately connected, have nothing more to fear from stagnation or suspension. A new order is established upon the old institutions abolished or regenerated.
On this point, the revolutionary course is laid out; the meaning of the movement is known. Whatever modification may appear in practice, the reform will be effected according to these principles and on these bases; the Revolution has no other issue. The economic problem, then, may be considered solved.
It is far from being the same with the political problem,— that is, with the disposal to be made, in the future, of government and the State. On this point the question is not even stated; it has not been recognized by the public conscience and the intelligence of the masses. The economic Revolution being accomplished, as we have just seen, can government, the State, continue to exist? Ought it to continue to exist? This no one, either in democracy or out of it, dares to call in question; and yet it is the problem which, if we would escape new catastrophes, must next be solved.
We affirm, then, and as yet we are alone in affirming, that with the economic Revolution, no longer in dispute, the State must entirely disappear; that this disappearance of the State is the necessary consequence of the organization of credit and the reform of taxation; that, as an effect of this double innovation government becomes first useless and then impossible; that in this respect it is in the same category with feudal property, lending at interest, absolute and constitutional monarchy, judicial institutions, etc., all of which have served in the education of liberty, but which fall and vanish when liberty has arrived at its fullness. Others, on the contrary, in the front ranks of whom we distinguish Louis Blanc and Pierre Leroux, maintain that, after the economic revolution, it is necessary to continue the State, but in an organized form, furnishing however, as yet no principle or plan for its organization. For them the political question, instead of being annihilated by identification with the economic question always subsists, they favor an extension of the prerogatives of the State, of power, of authority, of government. They change names only; for example, instead of master-State they say servant-State, as if a change of words sufficed to transform things! Above this system of government, about which nothing is known, hovers a system of religion whose dogma is equally unknown, whose ritual is unknown, whose object, on earth and in heaven, is unknown.
This, then is the question which at present divides the socialistic democracy, now in accord, or nearly so, on other matters: Must the State continue to exist after the question of labor and capital shall be practically solved? In other words, shall we always have, as we have had hitherto, a political constitution apart from the social constitution?
We reply in the negative. We maintain that, capital and labor once identified, society exists by itself, and has no further need of government. We are, therefore, as we have more than once announced, anarchists. Anarchy is the condition of existence of adult society, as hierarchy is the condition of primitive society. There is a continual progress in human society from hierarchy to anarchy.
Louis Blanc and Pierre Leroux affirm the contrary. In addition to their capacity of socialists they retain that of politicians; they are men of government and authority, statesmen.
To settle the difference, we have, then, to consider the State, no longer from the point of view of the old society, which naturally and necessarily produced it, and which approaches its end, but from the point of view of the new society, which is, or must be, the result of the two fundamental and correlative reforms of credit and taxation.
Now if we prove that, from this last point of view, the State, considered in its nature rests on a thoroughly false hypothesis; that, in the second place, considered in its object, the State finds no excuse for its existence save in a second hypothesis, equally false; that, finally, considered in the reasons for its continuance, the State again can appeal only to an hypothesis as false as the two others,— these three points cleared up, the question will be settled, the State will be regarded as a superfluous, and consequently harmful and impossible, thing; government will be a contradiction.
Let us proceed at once with the analysis.
I. Of the nature of the State
“What is the State?” asks Louis Blanc.
And he replies: —
“The State, under monarchical rule, is the power of one man, the tyranny of a single individual.
“The State, under oligarchical rule, is the power of a small number of men, the tyranny of a few.
“The State, under aristocratic rule, is the power of a class, the tyranny of many.
“The State, under anarchical rule is the power of the first comer who happens to be the most intelligent and the strongest; it is the tyranny of chaos.
“The State, under democratic rule, is the power of all the people, served by their elect, it is the reign of liberty.”
Of the twenty-five or thirty thousand readers of Louis Blanc, perhaps there are not ten to whom this definition of the State did not seem conclusive, and who do not repeat, after the master: The State is the power of one, of a few, of many, of all, or of the first comer, according as the word State is prefaced by one of these other adjectives,— monarchical, oligarchical, aristocratic, democratic, or anarchical. The delegates of the Luxembourg — who think themselves robbed, it seems, when any one allows himself to hold an opinion different from theirs on the meaning and tendencies of the Revolution of February — in a letter that has been made public, have done me the honor to inform me that they regard Louis Blanc’s answer as quite triumphant, and that I can say nothing in reply. It would seem that none of the citizen-delegates ever have studied Greek. Otherwise, they would have seen that their master and friend, Louis Blanc, instead of defining the State, has only translated into French the Greek words monos, one; aligoi, a few; aristoi, the great; demos, the people; and the privative a, which means no. It is by the use of these qualifying terms that Aristotle has distinguished the various forms of the State, which is designated by the word archê, authority, government, State. We ask pardon of our readers, but it is not our fault if the political science of the Luxembourg does not go beyond etymology.
And mark the artifice! Louis Blanc, in his translation, only had to use the word tyranny four times, tyranny of one, tyranny of many, etc., and to avoid it once, power of the people, served by their elect, to win applause. Every state save the democratic, according to Louis Blanc, is tyranny. Anarchy especially receives a peculiar treatment; it is the power of the first comer who happens to be the most intelligent and the strongest; it is the tyranny of chaos. What a monster must be this first comer, who, first comer that he is, nevertheless happens to be the most intelligent and the strongest, and who exercises his tyranny in chaos! After that who could prefer anarchy to this charming government of all the people, served so well, as we know, by their elect? How overwhelming it is, to be sure! at the first blow we find ourselves flat on the ground. O rhetorician! thank God for having created for your express benefit, in the nineteenth century, such stupidity as that of your so-called delegates of the working classes; otherwise you would have perished under a storm of hisses the first time you touched a pen.
What is the State? This question must be answered. The list of the various forms of the State, which Louis Blanc, after Aristotle, has prepared, has taught us nothing. As for Pierre Leroux, it is not worth while to interrogate him; he would tell us that the question is inconsiderate; that the State has always existed; that it always will exist,— the final reason of conservatives and old women.
The State is the external constitution of the social power.
By this external constitution of its power and sovereignty, the people does not govern itself; now one individual, now several, by a title either elective or hereditary, are charged with governing it, with managing it affairs, with negotiating and compromising in its name; in a word, with performing all the acts of a father of a family, a guardian, a manager, or a proxy, furnished with a general, absolute, and irrevocable power of attorney.
This external constitution of the collective power, to which the Greeks gave the name archê, sovereignty, authority, government, rests then on this hypothesis: that a people, that the collective being which we call society, cannot govern itself, think, act, express itself, unaided, like beings endowed with individual personality; that, to do these things, it must be represented by one or more individuals, who, by any title whatever, are regarded as custodians of the will of the people, and its agents. According to this hypothesis, it is impossible for the collective power, which belongs essentially to the mass, to express itself and act directly, without the mediation of organs expressly established and, so to speak, posted ad hoc. It seems, we say,— and this is the explanation of the constitution of the State in all its varieties and forms,— that the collective being, society, existing only in the mind, cannot make itself felt save through monarchical incarnation, aristocratic usurpation, or democratic mandate; consequently, that all special and personal manifestation is forbidden it.
Now it is precisely this conception of the collective being, of it life, its action, its unity, its individuality, its personality,— for society is a person, understand! just as entire humanity is a person,— it is this conception of the collective human being that we deny today; and it is for that reason that we deny the State also, that we deny government, that we exclude from society, when economically revolutionized, every constitution of the popular power, either without or within the mass, by hereditary royalty, feudal institution, or democratic delegation.
We affirm, on the contrary, that the people, that society, that the mass, can and ought to govern itself by itself; to think, act, rise, and halt, like a man; to manifest itself, in fine, in its physical, intellectual, and moral individuality, without the aid of all these spokesmen, who formerly were despots, who now are aristocrats, who from time to time have been pretended delegates, fawners on or servants of the crowd, and whom we call plainly and simply popular agitators, demagogues.
We deny government and the State, because we affirm that which the founders of States have never believed in, the personality and autonomy of the masses.
We affirm further that every constitution of the State has no other object than to lead society to this condition of autonomy; that the different forms of the State, from absolute monarchy to representative democracy, are all only middle terms, illogical and unstable positions, serving one after another as transitions or steps to liberty, and forming the rounds of the political ladder upon which societies mount to self-consciousness and self-possession.
We affirm, finally, that this anarchy, which expresses, as we now see, the highest degree of liberty and order at which humanity can arrive, is the true formula of the Republic, the goal towards with the Revolution or February urges us; so that between the Republic and the government, between universal suffrage and the State, there is a contradiction.
These systematic affirmations we establish in two ways: first, by the historical and negative method, demonstrating that no establishment of authority, no organization of the collective force from without, is henceforth possible for us. This demonstration we commenced in the “Confessions of a Revolutionist,” in reciting the fall of all the governments which have succeeded one another in France for sixty years, discovering the cause of their abolition, and in the last place signalizing the exhaustion and death of authority in the corrupted reign of Louis Philippe, in the inert dictatorship of the provisional government, and in the insignificant presidency of General Cavignac and Louis Bonaparte.
We prove our thesis, in the second place, by explaining how, through the economic reform, through industrial solidarity and the organization of universal suffrage, the people passes from spontaneity to reflection and consciousness; act, no longer from impulse and enthusiasm, but with design; maintains itself without masters and servants, without delegates as without aristocrats, absolutely as would an individual. Thus, the conception of person, the idea of the me, becomes extended and generalized; as there is an individual person or me, so there is a collective person or me; in the one case as in the other will, actions, soul, spirit, life, unknown in their principle, inconceivable in their essence, result from the animating and vital fact of organization. The psychology of nations and of humanity, like the psychology of man, becomes a possible science. It was this demonstration that we referred to in our publications on circulation and credit as well as in the fourteenth chapter of the manifesto of “La Voix du Peuple” relative to the constitution.
So, when Louis Blanc and Pierre Leroux assume the position of defenders of the State,— that is, of the external constitution of the public power,— they only reproduce, in a varied form peculiar to themselves which they have not yet made known, that old fiction of representative government, whose integral formula, whose completest expression, is still the constitutional monarchy. Did we, then, accomplish the Revolution of February in order to attain this retrogressive contradiction?
It seems to us — what do you say, readers? — that the question begins to exhibit itself in a somewhat clearer light; that the weak-minded, after what we have just said, will be able to form an idea of the State; that they will understand how republicans can inquire if it is indispensable, after an economic revolution which changes all social relations, to maintain, to please the vanity of pretended statesmen, and at a cost of two thousand millions per annum, this parasitic organ called government. And the honorable delegates of the Luxembourg, who, being seated in the arm-chairs of the peerage, therefore think themselves politicians, and claim so courageously an exclusive understanding of the Revolution, doubtless will fear no longer that we, in our capacity of the most intelligent and the strongest, after having abolished government, as useless and too costly, may establish the tyranny of chaos. We deny the State and the government; we affirm in the same breath the autonomy of the people and its majority. How can we be upholders of tyranny, aspirants for the ministry, competitors of Louis Blanc and Pierre Leroux?
In truth, we do not understand the logic of our adversaries. They accept a principle without troubling themselves about its consequences; they approve, for example, the equality of taxation which the tax on capital realizes; they adopt popular, mutual, and gratuitous credit, for all these terms are synonymous; they cheer at the dethronement of capital and the emancipation of labor; then, when it remains to draw the anti-governmental conclusions from these premises, they protest, they continue to talk of politics and government, without inquiring whether government is compatible with industrial liberty and equality; whether there is a possibility of a political science, when there is a necessity for an economic science! Property they attack without scruple, in spite of its venerable antiquity; but they bow before power like church-wardens before the holy sacrament. Government is to them the necessary and immutable a priori, the principle of principles, the eternal archeus.
Certainly, we do not offer our affirmations as proofs; we know, as well as any one, on what conditions a proposition is demonstrated. We only say that, before proceeding to a new constitution of the State, we must inquire whether, in view of the economic reforms which the Revolution imposes upon us, the State itself should not be abolished; whether this end of political institutions does not result from the meaning and bearing of economic reform. We ask whether, in fact, after the explosion of February, after the establishment of universal suffrage, the declaration of the omnipotence of the masses, and the henceforth inevitable subordination of power to the popular will, any government whatever is still possible, whether a government would not be placed perpetually in the alternative either of submissively following the blind and contradictory injunctions of the multitude, or of intentionally deceiving it, as the provisional government has done, as demagogues in all ages have done. We ask, at least, which of the various attributes of the State should be retained and strengthened, which abolished. For, should we find, as may still be expected, that, of all the present attributes of the State, not one can survive the economic reform, it would be quite necessary to admit, on the strength of this negative demonstration that, in the new condition of society, the State is nothing, can be nothing; in short, that the only way to organize democratic government is to abolish government,
Instead of this positive, practical, realistic analysis of the revolutionary movement, what course do our pretended apostles take? They go to consult Lycurgus, Plato, Orpheus, and all the mythological oracles; they interrogate the ancient legends; they appeal to remotest antiquity for the solution of problems exclusively modern, and then give us for answer the whimsical illuminations of their brain.
Once more: is this the science of society and of the Revolution which must, at first sight, solve all problems; a science essentially practical and immediately applicable; a science eminently traditional doubtless, but above all thoroughly progressive, in which progress takes place through the systematic negation of tradition itself?
To be continued.
By Georges Sauton.
Translated from the French for Liberty by Sarah E. Holmes.
Continued from No. 116.
“Probably,” said one of the officers, “because she has become bewildered while wandering in the fields, sleeping in the woods, and not eating at all.”
The young woman, pampered and coddled, accustomed to a full table, to idle mornings, could not endure this vagabond’s existence.
And through pity, on this hypothesis that she was a compatriot and not one of those demoniacs of Irish patriotism, with the end of his sword the officer covered her again with her dress and suggested laying her on the embers which were still warm.
Zounds! they could not burden themselves with this baggage, carry the girl on their backs to the next houses, or stop to give attention to her; with the warmth, she would recover consciousness, if she still lived.
“She breathes,” affirmed the sergeant, who had already pleaded the nationality of the unknown, and who, kneeling close to her, bent over the lips of the fainting woman.
“Execute my orders!” repeated the officer.
The sergeant, before obeying, placed his mouth on that of the young woman, long and passionately, and lifted her by the shoulders, while the soldier who had lifted the skirts just before now carried her by the legs; and when she was deposited on the embers, the column, at last, at the sound of the trumpet, took up the line of march.
For a long time the steps resounded on the frozen crust of the road; it was only when they could be heard no longer except as a sound dying in the distance that the poor woman raised herself on her elbow.
Up to this time, though apparently herself again and warm, the blood circulating in her veins, she had continued to simulate death, half-opening imperceptibly her eyes and closing them immediately.
Now, inspecting the road in every direction and the country on the right and the left, listening to the noises brought by the wind or reverberated by the soil, she lifted herself at first on her knees, still examining the far-off solitude, scrutinizing the least cluster of stunted trees, waiting to see if from some bend in the earth no one emerged, and, reassured on this subject, she lifted herself at last to her feet, not without difficulty.
Evidently extremely weak and with members yet stiff from the coldness of the night, she tottered, and was obliged, to save herself from falling, to sit down quickly on the ground, seized with rage and anguish at the same time.
“But no!” she protested against this weakness, “I must conquer. To die here, after having escaped so many massacres, passed through all perils, triumphed over all investigations, diverted curiosities, suspicions,— that would be really too foolish.”
Shaking off the torpor which, in spite of everything, was regaining possession of her and enervating her completely, she leaped, forcing herself, by a powerful effort of the will, upon her smarting feet, which seemed to give way under the weight of her body, light as it was, diminished through fasting.
And, conquering her unheard-of, incessant suffering, she took a hundred steps, which she accelerated, and then suddenly stopped. She went along the road, in the direction opposite to that followed by the troops, and she turned at intervals, deceived by the sound of her steps, to assure herself that she was not pursued. But she asked herself aloud where she was going in such haste, in this vague hope of she knew not what, like an animal escaped from the knife of the butcher.
Just then, yonder, emerging from the horizon, a black mass began to take shape, leaving behind a space of road which increased little by little in depth; then this mass advanced, and, from time to time, a sudden gleam shining below it, there was cause to think it another body of troops escorting prisoners; immediately the woman turned suddenly to one side into a field, where she at once crouched down for fear that they should distinguish her in her trembling flight, and until the band had defiled at the heels of the other company, the unhappy woman remained in her crouching posture, moved, nevertheless, by a violent wrath mingled with contempt for herself and interrupted with crises of real despair.
“Ah!” she sighed at last, when there was no longer a risk of the departed soldiers hearing or seeing her, “it would have been better to have surrendered myself, to have told my name; if I had brazened it out, I should, perhaps, have saved my life, and they would not refuse me a little nourishment, warmer clothes, and a refuge!”
A late comer, a straggler, appeared, hurrying to rejoin the column.
She wanted to hail him; she even moved her arms, but the words died on her compressed lips and it was in very low tones that she said:
“Help! I am the Duchess of Newington!”
She repeated aloud this title winch sounded like a sarcasm, and looked with a bitter and disgusted smile upon her strange garb, assumed at the top of the castle after having lighted the fire, and expressly chosen in this state of raggedness to better deceive the Irish with whom she would have to mingle. She contemplated her blackened fingers, encrusted with filth, and her broken nails, those nails once so long and pink now bordered with a repulsive line of black.
Her hands, bleeding in spots through her thin skin, cracked by the cold, had been skinned by the pebbles when she had dragged herself along the ground to keep out of people’s sight; she had covered them with mud in digging up the earth, in her furious hunger to reach a forgotten root which she feasted on voraciously, with the gluttony of the poor whom, formerly, they served with soup in porringers at the castle gate.
The proud, the resplendent, the triumphant Duchess, in her rags, whom the breaking of the branch of a tree by the north wind made start with fright, who searched the furrows like a famished beast, who picked up from under the soldiers’ feet a scrap of dirty bread, and who, to eat until satisfied, to sleep quietly under a roof, felt herself ready for any meanness, any compliance, any submission!
Ah, yes! if a passer-by, a soldier, had wished her in exchange for something to appease her intense hunger, she would have abandoned herself without a rebuff. The bit of dirty bread, devoured during the night, had rather re-awakened her drowsy stomach, and its demands now tortured her, rending that organ, pulling and pinching it, with atrocious burning sensations.
But the local suffering which was so acute was not to be reckoned by the side of the general suffering which extended from the head tormented with headache, from the temples which seemed as if bored with gimlets, to the lower extremities, the bones of which seemed broken in a thousand pieces by drubbings, by a fall from immeasurable heights,— the sensation which those experience who are tortured on the wheel.
It was almost a fortnight since she had fled from the castle, since she had roamed about like a criminal, equally in fear of falling into the hands of the Irish, who would not spare her, remembering her misdeeds as the despotic Duchess, and into the power of the English, who would inflict upon her the punishment due to the murderess of Sir Newington; and during this time Lady Ellen could not remember having found, more than two or three times, enough to eat, stuffing herself with sour berries, or cramming herself with raw potatoes which she found now and then in the fields.
The rest of the time she had passed her days with an empty stomach, searching for impossible food, limited to chewing herbs respected by the frost, and here and there the bodies of birds or little animals killed by the cold.
Then these twenty-four hours followed each other like centuries, during which, crouched anywhere at the appearance of a danger, not a grain had passed her teeth.
And from one of these famishing retreats, one day, she had suffered the torture of Tantalus, perceiving a squad which suddenly stopped, in consequence of an accident to a horse which fell on the road.
Vainly trying to lift the beast, who had broken a leg, they had finished by killing him and detaching the four quarters, which they cooked at the next halting place; and, at the heels of the departed soldiers, the miserable woman was preparing to rush on the deserted carcass, when a second squad unexpectedly arrived and took its share of the food, a disappointment which was repeated four times, the different portions of the marching body always arriving at the moment when Lady Ellen believed herself at last admitted to this unhoped-for feast.
It was not permitted her to participate till after interminable hours, in the night; and then she greedily sucked the blood and gnawed the rags of mangled flesh remaining on the skeleton.
Now the memory of the red and tender meat made her dry mouth water, and the cold congealed the drops into pieces of ice which pricked the lips.
And in a frenzy of need, she pleaded aloud, with abrupt words, begging with tears, in cries to the whistling wind, for immediate relief.
“I am hungry! I can bear no more; have pity on me!”
And, deserting the fields, she strode over the ditch, lying in ambush by the roadside, waiting, hoping, wishing some one to pass of whom she could beg the favor of something to eat, ready to offer herself in case they should not show pity.
The sentiments of modesty and reserve existed no longer in her, and at intervals, even nothing human; the necessity of satisfying herself possessed her and led her; and the instincts of flesh-eaters revealed themselves in her blood, inflating her nostrils at the idea of some wounded man dying somewhere near, whose remains would satisfy her at last.
Forthwith a reaction was effected in her mind which revealed the hideousness of her conceptions, of her hopes, and she became alarmed at having arrived at this degree of perversion of the senses.
To be continued.
“In abolishing rent and interest, the last vestiges of old-time slavery, the Revolution abolishes at one stroke the sword of the executioner, the seal of the magistrate, the club of the policeman, the gunge of the exciseman, the erasing-knife of the department clerk, all those insignia of Politics, which young Liberty grinds beneath her heel.” — Proudhon.
The appearance in the editorial column of articles over other signatures than the editor’s initial indicates that the editor approves their central purpose and general tenor, though he does not hold himself responsible for every phrase or word. But the appearance in other parts of the paper of articles by the same or other writers by no means indicates that he disapproves them in any respect, such disposition of them being governed largely by motives of convenience.
Anarchy in German.
Early in the spring, probably in March, there will be issued from this office the first number of a fortnightly Anarchistic journal, to be called Liberty, But to be printed entirely in the German language. Though the new paper will be under the same general management that controls the English Liberty, its active editors will be George Schumm and Emma Schumm, who are coming to Boston from Minnesota to undertake the work. The paper will be of the same shape and size as the English Liberty, and the two will alternate in the order of publication,— the English appearing one week and the German the next. The subscription price will be one dollar a year. Send in your subscriptions at once to Benj. R. Tucker, P. O. Box 3366, Boston, Mass.
Liberty’s Light for the Old World.
To the Editor of Liberty:
I observe in a late Liberty that you are to publish a similar paper in the German language, and I hope for success. I would suggest that a club of liberal-minded persons from all the States be formed with the object of sending quite a number of this new paper to such names of liberal people in Germany as are too poor to subscribe to the paper.
As the German government would not openly allow so liberal a paper as yours, it would be necessary to send the same under letter postage, which would entail some extra expense; but there ought to be found enough true men and women in this country sufficiently acquainted with the difference between any government in general, that of Germany in particular, and Anarchistic principles, and who would, or rather ought to, be willing to subscribe for this object? Would it not do for you to open a subscription column in your paper for this object? In order to start, I enclose you post-office order for five dollars; if the scheme is found impracticable, then use the money as you think best.
Very faithfully, Jess Moeller.
Galveston, Texas, January 18, 1888.
This is an excellent idea. Of course, as Mr. Moeller intimates, it will cost a good deal to send copies to Germany, but in a country where the greatest pains are taken to suppress such papers as Liberty they are valued proportionally. Letter postage to Germany on a single copy of Liberty properly sealed is ten cents. To send a hundred copies would cost, for postage, $10; for envelopes of the necessary size and thickness, 40 cents; and for the papers themselves (furnished for this purpose at less than cost of paper and presswork), $1,— a total of $11.10. At this rate, then,— $11.40 per hundred,— sample copies of the German Liberty will be sent to all addresses that may be furnished me of persons living in Germany, Switzerland, or any other country belonging to the Postal Union, and I hope that there will be a response to the call for funds for the purpose as generous as the contribution with which Mr. Moeller inaugurates it. No sum is too small to be acceptable. And let those who cannot give anything furnish all the German addresses they can, whether in foreign countries or the United States. This appeal is addressed especially to those who know what Liberty has been in the past and feel confident as to what both it and its German ally will be in the future. It is scarcely necessary to state that no one is expected to part with his money in aid of a project the importance of which he does not sufficiently appreciate. All such will prefer, perhaps, to await the appearance of the first number. The object in beginning thus early is to circulate at the start as many sample copies as possible.
A Noble Design in Danger of Wreck.
The editor of Liberty has been asked to connect himself with a society recently formed in Boston for the purpose of erecting a Wendell Phillips Memorial Hall with the double view of honoring the memory of one whom nearly all progressive men revere and of furnishing a building in which all reformatory organizations may be sure of securing, on reasonable terms, halts and headquarters suitable to their respective purposes. In either aspect a most commendable design, in the furtherance of which the editor of Liberty will feel honored by the privilege of taking part, if he can only be assured that it will never be defeated or thwarted or diverted in such a way as to make it less a memorial than a mockery of the noble name it is to bear.
Such a building is sadly needed in Boston. All the large balls are in the hands of the conservatives, who will not let them for extremely radical meetings, to say nothing of the fact that radical purses are not long enough to pay the enormous sums at which they rent. Even Faneuil Hali, the Cradle of Liberty, is now so hedged about with fees and restrictions and enmeshed in red tape, and is often so reluctantly granted to the “dangerous classes” by the City Grandmothers after tedious hearings and discussions,— a condition of things likely to be worse before it is better,— that it is fast becoming apparent that the puling infant who has been rocked in it for so many years has developed into a lusty-limbed boy (or girl, if you will) who wants no more rocking, no more maternal or grandmaternal care, is conscious that he is too big for his cradle, and has fully made up his mind that, if any more slats are put in it, he will at once launch out upon a useful career of manhood. Paine Memorial Building does not contain a sufficient number or variety of small halls, it is not central, and its owners demand exorbitant rents. There is but one building in the city that approaches the required conditions, and the owner of that, free from the influence of competition, cares for it in such a slovenly and slipshod fashion that his tenants are constantly growing more restive under his negligence.
It is plain, then, that a new building should be erected, as soon as time and money will permit. But it takes six figures to represent the estimated cost, and no such sum should be invested without an approximate certainty of the return contemplated,— that is, a structure in which opinion may find opportunity for expression unembarrassed by greedy landlords or authoritarian intolerance. Whether any such security is provided by the articles of incorporation I know not, but the make-up of the administration entrusted with the management of the undertaking is calculated to arouse suspicion in the minds of those who have learned by expedience and are still watchful of events. It is as follows: president, Nathaniel E. Chase; directors, Benjamin F. Butler, John Boyle O’Reilly, Mary A. Livermore, Alonzo A. Miner, William H. Dupree, Edwin M. Chamberlin.
It needs but a glance to see that this board was constituted chiefly with a view to having upon it a representative of each of the causes to which Wendell Phillips devoted his life. This is eminently proper; but it is a still more important consideration that Wendell Phillips’s unwillingness to subordinate the cause of free speech to any other cause whatsoever should be typified in every member of the administration. Looking over the list, I find the names of Chase and Chamberlin the only ones calculated to inspire any great degree of confidence in this regard.
General Butler was Wendell Phillips’s political hero, and many of his instincts are doubtless in the right direction; but there is no reason to doubt that, if he could at any time further a personal ambition by closing the doors of Phillips Hall to an unpopular party, he would not hesitate to do so.
John Boyle O’Reilly represents Phillips’s interest in the Irish race and its liberties. He is full of glowing, manly impulses, and his heart responds to every humanitarian call. But he is chief editor, and joint owner with a Catholic archbishop, of the principal Catholic journal of America, and I know from personal experience that the command of the Catholic Church is his supreme law. I am casting no reflection upon his honesty; many a sincere Roman Catholic is willing thus to paraphrase the advice of Polonius to Laertes: “To the Catholic Church be true, thou canst not then be false to any cause”; I am only saying that the interests of freedom are not to be safely entrusted to any man who recognizes a higher law than freedom. In Boyle O’Reilly’s case, moreover, I say this in opposition to my personal bias, for he is my friend, and has endeared himself to me by many an act of kindness.
Dr. Miner represents Phillips’s interest in temperance. He, too, is a man of many staunch and noble qualities; but, if he would vote to let a hall for use in spreading the doctrine of free trade in alcohol, he is a less fanatical Prohibitionist than I have always supposed him to be.
Mr. Dupree represents Phillips’s devotion to the colored race. The objection to him is that he is unknown. He may be as true to liberty as the needle to the star, but, as the people who are to be asked to invest in Phillips Hall do not know whether he is or not, it was unwise to choose him as a director.
Finally, Mary A. Livermore represents Phillips’s devotion to woman. If anything could be honestly said in favor of this creature, I should be pleased to temper with it my objection to her as a director of Phillips Hall. I know nothing in her character that deserves anything but contempt. As a type of insincerity I should select no one before her. And as for tolerance, heaven save the mark! John Calvin might as fitly have been appointed to guard the interests of Michael Servetus as Mary A. Livermore to guard the liberty of speech. If she has her way, the Anarchists will fare hard at Phillips Hall. She has repeatedly declared that the Chicago men were rightfully hanged, and I am told that she recently gave utterance in the People’s Church to the infamous lie that Spies and his comrades were drunk when they went to the gallows.
Liberty speaks of this enterprise in no unfriendly spirit. It ardently desires its success. It sounds this note of warning only to save it from catastrophe. May it be heeded! If not; if Mary Livermore is to remain one of its managers,— it remains only to add the names of Anthony Comstock and Michael Corrigan and call the hall after Torquemada instead of Wendell Phillips.
Where Silence Would Have Been Golden.
A Boston labor reformer who believes in Anarchism, in an address meant to be in favor of eight hours before the last Eight-Hour agitation meeting of the local Central Labor Union, very earnestly protested against the indifference of the various schools of reform to the eight-hour movement, which, he claimed, is in the line of advancement and emancipation. “It is not a cure-all, a panacea for all ills, to be sure, but nobody assumes that it would cure small-pox, measles, cholera, rheumatism, etc.” Now the speaker is well aware that those who oppose or ignore the eight-hour movement do so, not because it is not a cure-all, but because it is a cure nothing, because it is a quack remedy long ago discarded by people more or less familiar with the scientific side of the labor question as utterly worthless. Unfairness and intentional misstatement would seem to be the only remaining explanation of his fling, and yet he is not supposed to belong to that class of public men (and their name is legion) who would mislead an audience in order to “catch” it, and do things calculated to make them lose credit with their better selves and with others in order to win the applause of the mob. Moreover, he began his speech by an affirmation that, despite all appearances, honesty is really the best policy and virtue the safest quality, which circumstance still further increases the difficulty of accounting for his strange and sneering remark about the acknowledged impotency of the eight-hour remedy in the matter of small-pox and measles.
A Pickwickian Apology.
I said in the last number that I should not again notice the gibes at Liberty with which it has pleased the editor of the “Alarm” to grace his columns. It was impossible to foresee, when making this statement, that Mr. Lum, in the “Alarm” of the same date, would not only substitute compliments for his abuse, but try to make it appear that he had not intended any abuse. This unexpected turn makes it necessary to violate my resolution, or else allow this absurd pretence to pass unchallenged.
In an article headed “To Whom It may Concern” Mr. Lum writes as follows:
I am not so vain as to imagine that I can please all my friends, yet some criticisms move me to greater plainness. One correspondent is pleased with the “Alarm” in every respect save in its “flings at Liberty.”
Liberty, edited in Boston by Benjamin R. Tucker, has been a teacher to me. To it I am indebted more than I can express. Its editor is a gentleman whom I not only respect, but honor his moral courage, his self-sacrifice, his undaunted devotion to his principles. On several points we disagree, but upon those questions I do not care nor deem it necessary to enter. If, in my off-hand manner, I have given the impression that I oppose Liberty, I must apologize. Where I differ it will be stated plainly when the occasion arises, but I deem them secondary questions, though upon this, also, we may not agree.
Mr. Lum declares that Liberty has been his teacher. Observe now the “off-hand manner” in which he is wont to refer to his pedagogue. Writing of Lingg in the “Alarm” of December 17, he said:
His earnest and zealous devotion to Anarchy cannot be questioned save by those who arrogantly claim a pedagogical censorship over its exposition.
To be sure, it is not “stated plainly” here to whom the writer refers, but those accustomed to put two and two together will find no difficulty in drawing the intended inference from the following sentence taken from a previous paragraph of the same article:
Theoretical purists of what may be aptly called the Anarchistic Quaker school, not altogether unknown in this country, object that, Anarchy being the description of a social state under a peaceful regime, the use of or reliance upon force is un-Anarchistic.
The sweetness of spirit which Mr. Lum now professes toward Liberty was so heavily veiled by the words “not altogether unknown in this country” that the correspondent who saw in them a “fling at Liberty” was well entitled to the explanation of this “off-hand” remark which Mr. Lum offers him, especially when it is remembered that he read them in the light of such paragraphs as the following:
What are those terrible doctrines, for preaching which these men [the Chicago martyrs] stood condemned as social heretics and such papers as the Denver “Enquirer” and Boston Liberty shrieked in accord?
To quote Parsons against Fischer or Spies against Lingg may be congenial occupation to ghoulish minds, or patentees of plumb-line theories, who would pose as censors of thought or as having a copyright claim on principles for which others are willing to die.
The editor of the “Alarm” would announce that he does not assume to be a teacher of patent methods nor a censor of his friends’ plumb-linedness.
But if Mr. Lum’s correspondent is now satisfied that all these paragraphs were but the outpourings of a heart overflowing with brotherly love, I fancy that, on recalling the following, he will still entertain a doubt whether Mr. Lum, in now expressing honor for my moral courage and devotion, does not use the words “honor,” “courage,” and “devotion” in a Pickwickian sense:
While we may admire the devotion and courage of the man who will “oppose abstract authority wherever found,” there will still arise in some minds a question whether a higher meed of praise be not due to men who needed no theoretical telescope to find authority, and refused to take shelter behind a figure of speech or wage war with lath swords.
No, no, Mr. Lum, your apology will not do. Nor do I value your compliments. Honest appreciation and intelligent criticism I always welcome heartily; but, when adulation is offered me as an offset for abuse, I find file antidote more sickening than the poison. Your so-called apology simply makes a bad matter worse.
Opera Bouffe in Court.
Every day brings new evidence that “law” is a miserable failure. At one time people believed that the “king can do no wrong”; it now bids fair to soon become a maxim with intelligent minds that the “law can do no good.” The crimes which it commits, the blunders of which it is guilty, the indignation which it inspires, and the hostile opposition which it creates, all, without doubt, fatally weaken it and undermine its base. But nothing is so certain to deprive it of influence and terminate its sway as its own stupid folly and asinine behavior. And the law is making itself ridiculous in the eyes of every one who does not utterly lack the sense of humor. Especially in the matter of love and sexual relations does the law furnish inexhaustible material for writers of comic operas to show that not only “the policeman’s lot is not a happy one,” but that the lot of legislators, judges, juries, lawyers, and all connected with the business of law-making and law-administering is rapidly becoming a very unenviable one.
No one hears without a smile of breach of promise suits, and no one who reads the funny reports of such cases by the newspaper “smart young men” can be seriously impressed with the majesty of the law, the dignity of the presiding judge, or the impartial justice of the jurors. Love abhors vulgarity and rudeness. That sentimental suffering can be made a legal claim for damages and tears of love’s disappointments dried away by the sight of glittering cash is something so revolting to the finer sensibilities of humanity that the law recognizing it must be looked upon with disgust and contempt. Generally speaking, young people are naturally inconstant and changing in love relations. Only in highly virtuous and moral novels, “novels with a tendency” in the direction of “purity” and angelic devotion, do the heroes lawfully wed the heroines and pass together a century of uninterrupted bliss and unalloyed happiness in the “golden chains of matrimony.” In real life things are a little different, and those who never change heir minds (or hearts) should fall under the suspicion of having no minds (or hearts) to change. How, then, conscious of the probability of change, can a young dreamer make love with the prospect of a suit for damages? Who can write love epistles, utter endearing names, describe depth of feeling or pledge future joys, with the mocking thought of the likelihood of having these repeated before a sensation-craving audience, a host of cynical professorial wits, and a coldly-critical world? If marriage is the grave of love, breach of promise suits are, or will be, the cause for the disappearance of the love-making practice. The coarse touch of the law’s ’prentice hand breaks the romantic spell and arrests the play of the imagination. That “the course of true love never runs smooth” is largely the fault of the law, which is the sworn enemy of all that is good, grand, beautiful, and makes life worth living.
“Baby” Arbuckle and “Bonnie” Campbell filled the newspapers for several days and entertained the whole English-speaking world with their “ks” and “hs.” The case was very simple. An elderly and uninteresting merchant, whose accumulated wealth made it possible for him to take a wife unto himself, proposed marriage to a comparatively young lady, who of charms had an abundance, but of gold an extreme scarcity. She raid “yes,” and for a time they were happy. “Baby” then began to manifest signs of weariness and a desire “for pastures new,” end “Bonnie” proceeded without delay to fortify herself by legal advice. Finally his love went as it came, without his knowing whence or whither. But a breach of promise suit also came. A male jury made him pay forty-five thousand dollars, to which comfortable sum a judge of the same sex added another cool thousand, for his atrocious crime of undergoing a change of heart.
Occasion for surprise there’s none. Of course the jury and the judge have but little respect for a woman who asks “Your money or your love” (the money is the essential article in either case); but this sentiment gives way to the chivalrous spirit which a pretty face arouses in every male breast,— especially when somebody else pays the costs. The man did nothing wrong; the woman, if she really suffered any material loss, has nobody but herself to blame for imprudence and being “too previous,” — yet the law punishes the man and puts a premium upon simulation and vulgarity.
Great and good is the law. Long may it live! — in opera bouffe and the memory of fun-loving people.
To the Editor of Liberty:
I thank you for your courteous treatment of my questions in your issue of December 31, and, as you express a willingness in this direction, I will follow in the same line, and trust you will still think my questions are pertinent and proper.
Do you think property rights can inhere in anything not produced by the labor or aid of man?
You say, “Anarchism being neither more nor less than the principle of equal liberty,” etc. Now, if government were so reformed as to confine its operations to the protection of “equal liberty,” would you have any quarrel with it? If so, what and why?
Will you please explain what “jury trial in its original term” was? I never knew that it was ever essentially different from what it is now.
I do not believe in any inherent right of property. Property is a social convention, and may assume many forms. Only that form of property can endure, however, which is based on the principle of equal liberty. All other forms must result in misery, crime, and conflict. The Anarchistic form of property has already been defined, in the previous answers to Mr. Blodgett, as “that which secures each in the possession of his own products, or of such products of others as he may have obtained unconditionally without the use of fraud or force, and in the realization of all titles to such products which he may hold by virtue of free contract with others.” It will be seen from this definition that Anarchistic property concerns only products. But anything is a product upon which human labor has been expended, whether it be a piece of iron or a piece of land.
If “government” confined itself to the protection of equal liberty, Anarchists would have no quarrel with it; but such protection they do not call government. Criticism of the Anarchistic idea which does not consider Anarchistic definitions is futile. The Anarchist defines government as invasion, nothing more or less. Protection against invasion, then, is the opposite of government. Anarchists, in favoring the abolition of government, favor the abolition of invasion, not of protection against invasion. It may tend to a clearer understanding if I add that all States, to become non-invasive, must, abandon first the primary act of invasion upon which all of them rest,— the collection of taxes by force,— and that Anarchists look upon the change in social conditions which will result when economic freedom is allowed as far more efficiently protective against invasion than any machinery of restraint, in the absence of economic freedom, possibly can be.
Jury trial in its original form differed from its present forms both in the manner of selecting the jury and in the powers of the jury selected. It was originally selected by drawing twelve names from a wheel containing the names of the whole body of citizens, instead of by putting a special panel of jurors through a sifting process of examination; and by its original powers it was judge, not of the facts alone, as is generally the case now, but of the law and the justice of the law and the extent and nature of the penalty. More information regarding this matter may be found in Lysander Spooner’s pamphlet, “Illegality of the Trial of John W. Webster,” advertised on another page.
A Result of Passive Resstance.
Owing to the determined passive resistance offered to vaccination in Leicester (Eng.) only one child in every thirteen is now vaccinated in that county. Bravo, Leicester!
Dialogues of the Dead.
[Journal des Economistes.]
Montesquieu and Diogenes.
The manuscript of the “Dialogues of the Dead,” found among Fontenelle’s papers, contained sketches, imperfect to be sure, of some dialogues which the heirs of the illustrious centenarian did not see fit to publish. One of our friends, a book-collector, has kindly placed one of these rough draughts at our disposition. It is a conversation between Montesquieu and Diogenes the Cynic upon the principle of governments and especially of popular government. It contains some thrusts which might be applied to recent events, were one maliciously inclined, but it should not be forgotten that the conversation before us took place between shades.
Scene, the Elysian Fields. The shade of Montesquieu has just crossed the Styx. After having paid the obole due to the boatman Charon, it follows a newly-made path and finds itself face to face with the shade of Diogenes, sitting in the shade of a tub and holding in its hands the shade of a bowl.
I should have preferred my first meeting to be with Socrates or Plato. Bah! the Cynic!
You are much disgusted. The finest geniuses of Athens did not disdain my conversation, and Alexander the Macedonian himself once stopped before my tub. It is true that he could not have written the “Spirit of the Laws.”
Montesquieu (in a relenting tone).
You have read it?
I could not have failed to do so. We read a great deal here. We have nothing else to do. The Elysian Fields are, beyond dispute, an enchanting place of residence, but a little monotonous. Your book has greatly diverted me.
I did not use the word to offend you. You are a great genius, and your “Persian Letters” have been the delight of Elysium, but, between ourselves, you were too honest a man to understand anything of the principles and maxims of government.
Must one, then, be a dishonest man to understand anything of those matters? Pray, why have you written nothing upon politics?
You are angry, you are wrong. I meant to pay you a compliment, albeit such is not my habit. But what! when one prides himself on knowing men and the way of the world, he does not write that a government may be based upon virtue. All governments, the republican as well as the monarchical or despotic, are based upon corruption.
Truly the remark of a cynic. Virtue, I have said,— and I insist upon it,— is the principle of popular government, as honor is of monarchical and fear that of despotic. I have explained clearly enough how this principle is applied in the mechanism of popular government. “The people,” I have said, “should do for themselves all that they can do well, and what they cannot do well should be done by their ministers. Like monarchs and even more than monarchs, they need to be guided by a council or senate.
“But — and here, may it not displease you, O Cynic, is where the virtue of popular government appears — the people are admirably fitted to choose those to whom they must confide some portion of their authority. They are guided in their decisions only by things of which they cannot be ignorant and facts of which their senses are cognizant. They know very well that a man has been engaged in many wars and won such and such victories; therefore they are very capable of electing a general. They know that a judge is faithful, that many people leave his tribunal with a feeling of satisfaction, and that he has not been convicted of corruption; that is enough to enable them to elect a pretor. They have been struck with a citizen’s magnificence or wealth; upon such evidence they can choose an edile. All these things are matters of which they learn more in the market-place than a monarch in his palace.”*
This theory of popular government is really refreshing to souls, and I can understand the fine success it has had. I am willing to grant you, too, that popular government can rest only on virtue, but you, in turn, will be good enough to agree with me mat it cannot go ahead without corruption.
It is easy to see, Diogenes, that you have attended the school of the Sophists. You deal in arguments with false weights, just as, if report be true, you manufactured false money and were for that reason driven from Sinope, your native country, whence you fled to Athens as a refuge.
Though I had manufactured false money, it would take nothing from the weight of my arguments. But would that be such a criminal operation? I conversed yesterday upon this subject with the shade of a Scotchman named Law, who lately descended to the gloomy shores and who had the reputation of being a very shrewd man in financial and monetary matters. He assured me that he had been granted a privilege which authorized him to make money of paper on condition of sharing the profit with the government; he added that several respectable States had begun to issue this money, and that their example could not fail to be imitated on account of the large profits which it yielded that it was, to tell the truth, liable to lose one half and, when abused, even the whole of its value, but that nevertheless it was found to be of great advantage in paying debts and buying supplies, though the payment of taxes was demanded in good, ringing, full-weight coin, and that this passed in preference to anything else. My false money was of better alloy, for it always contained a little metal. As near as I can remember, I put into it at least one-fourth fine metal with three-fourths alloy, while their paper money is all alloy. Might you not fitly reserve a little of your contempt for these counterfeiting governments?
I shall not undertake to excuse them, and I will even admit, Diogenes, that beside them you were a delicate counterfeiter, but I will never grant you that corruption is necessary to a popular State; at most could it be such to a despotic State.
You really would have figured with honor in the Clouds, in company with that good Socrates. What do I say? You were born in them, and never descended.
Well, I consent to descend, and even never to go back again, if you shall succeed in your undertaking to prove to me that corruption is necessary to a popular State.
At last you have become reasonable. In your present disposition of mind this undertaking will not be too difficult, if you will consent to distinguish between theory and practice.
I do not separate them.
You are wrong. It is possible indeed to found a government upon virtue, and it would even be unfitting to found it on anything else; but when one studies men, he soon sees that they cannot be made to cooperate in the government of a State except by the use of corruption. You have said truly that “what the people cannot do well should be done by their ministers,” and you have added that “they are admirably fitted to choose them.” But it is further necessary that they should take the trouble to choose them. Now, the people are very busy; they are compelled to carefully watch their I affairs, to direct their slaves when they have any, and to fulfil slaves’ offices when they have none: some citizens are employed every day in caring for their olive-trees or in gathering and pressing their olives; others devote themselves to the trade of Vulcan or the profession of Aesculapius; still others are occupied in wholesale traffic in merchandise, under the auspices of Mercury, or perhaps sell goods at retail. Why should they interrupt their occupations, at the risk of losing their custom or running into debt, in order to choose an archon, a nomothete, or a nomophylarch, if they are not to be rewarded for their trouble? Do not lose sight of the fact that it is not only an honor to participate in the government of Athens, but that it is also a profit. The archons do not administer the republic gratis, and the nomothetes receive a daily indemnity for the exercise of their legislative functions. They also enjoy various privileges which can be relied upon to bring their price. They have the right to travel in the chariots of the republic, to go from city to country and come back from country to city without paying for their seat. At their disposition are placed the finest triremes in which to visit the islands of the Aegean sea and even the colonies of Sicily. They are at all the festivals and all the banquets. They make speeches whenever they desire to; their names are known throughout Greece, and their fame resounds even among the Barbarians; they can even cherish the laudable ambition of going down to the remotest posterity. How do you expect citizens of Athens, who are not fools, to turn aside from their affairs to confer all these advantages upon strangers without deriving, in their turn, a reasonable profit? Have they not families to support and interests to protect? Cleomenes is burdened with children, and, since his brother’s death, takes care of his nephews. Hippias owns a marble quarry on the slope of Pentolicus, but he cannot work it because there is no road leading to it. Aristippus has some barren lands which he sowed with wheat, but he no longer finds it profitable now that the Athens market is inundated with grain from Egypt and Sicily. Hipparchus, the large owner of olive-trees on the banks of the Cephisus who used to control the price of oil throughout Attica, complains of the preference given to Peloponnesian. Is under the pretext that they have a better flavor and do not smell rancid. Now here come Aristobulus and Cleon to solicit their votes for the office of archon. They do not know either Cleon or Aristobulus, but they know what the archonship is worth. Why should they give one rather than the other the enjoyment of this commodity at their disposal? Did a man of common sense ever give for nothing an article that was worth anything? Besides, their demands are modest: Cleomenes is satisfied with an office in the custom-house of the fiftieth for his eldest son, who excels in playing the lyre and of whom jealousy of Apollo has made an idiot. Hippias asks a road that will permit him to work his quarry. Aristippus and Hipparchus claim nothing for themselves, but the blush of shame mounts to their brow when they reflect that Athenians are tributaries of Egypt and Sicily for grain and of Peloponnesus for oil, and they are unwilling to endure this degrading tribute longer. They demand the prohibition of the foreign oils and grains that come to pollute the soil of Attica. They set this price upon their votes. If Aristobulus hesitates to conclude this bargain, Cleon will have fewer scruples, and Cleon will be archon. Cleon is not a virtuous man, but he is a shrewd politician. He procures offices, gets roads built, protects grains and oils, and is the model of archons and the idol of the people. Such is the fruit of corruption when it is healthily practised.
Healthily? What a strange corruption of words!
I mean with wisdom and moderation. Oh! there is a limit which must not be overstepped. I remember, in this connection, the scandal which broke out under the government of Pericles and which saddened the last days of that honest man, in whom they never found anything to reproach except his tendency to extravagance. It was the custom to give crowns of laurel to the warriors who had distinguished themselves in battle. These crowns were highly prized, and sometimes influential citizens succeeded in obtaining them, though they had been neither at Marathon nor at Salamis. The taste for them spread to such an extent, that rivals of Phidias and Apelles, disciples of Aesculapius, and even dyers in purple, tunic cutters, oil merchants, and copper-smiths, were seen to put in operation all the resources of intrigue to procure for themselves a distinction so enviable. Nor was this pure vanity on their part. The sculptors and painters decorated their pictures and statues with these crowns, the disciples of Aisculapius wore them on their heads when visiting their patients, the dyers and cutters adorned their fabrics with them, the oil merchants their casks, the copper-smiths their caldrons, for they had noticed that people would pay higher prices for articles that were crowned than for articles that were not. A sick man, for instance, did not dare to pay less than ten drachmas for the visit of a doctor whose head was encircled with a nimbus of laurels, whereas the ordinary disciples of Aesculapius were obliged to content themselves with five drachmas, and it was the same with tunics and caldrons. Now it happened that some courtesans who were on the wane conceived the idea of adding to their trade in myrtles, which was getting dull, the trade in laurels, customers for which were never lacking. They offered to share the profits with two old strategi who had become indebted to them through having bought too many myrtles. Rumor said even that they succeeded in enlisting other important personages in their operations. (He says a few words in the ear of his interlocutor.)
What! a nephew of Pericles?
It was a widespread rumor, For a fortnight they talked of nothing else in Athens. One of the strategi compromised succeeded in taking refuge in Corinth; the other, lesss nimble, was brought before the court of heliasts in company with the courtesans. The nomothetes, sharing the public indignation against the traffickers in honor, resolved to open an investigation which should go back to the foundation of Athens by the Egyptian Cecrops. At last the scandal was forgotten, but not before it had involved a good many wearers of crowns.
At least it taught a salutary lesson.
This lesson did not prevent the traffic in offices and honors from flourishing again, and I could not help pitying the unfortunate strategi and even the waning courtesans who fell victims to this spasm of public virtue. A little race of people from Judaea, who now fill the best offices in the Elysian Fields, but who are sagacious enough to sell them when they find it profitable to do so,— the Jewish people, in such cases, followed a custom deserving of imitation. When the measure of abuses and iniquities began to overflow, the politicians of Israel went after a billy-goat, which they loaded and sacrificed with great pomp in the temple. That did no damage to anybody, and the people came back from the ceremony with consciences reassured. I am not unaware of the fact that in Athens a single billy-goat would not have sufficed, and that at least a dozen would have been required. But there is no difficulty in procuring billy-goats, and such treatment of them can do no harm to anybody but the nanny-goats. Thus the abuses of corruption may be corrected at a trilling cost, and the profits thereof continue to be gathered in.
Yes, until the day when the poisoned breath of corruption causes liberty and virtue to perish together.
“When this virtue ceases, ambition enters the hearts of such as can receive it, and avarice enters into all. Desires change their objects; what one liked he likes no longer; we were free with the laws, we wish to be free against them; each citizen is like a slave escaped from his master’s house; what was formerly a maxim is called severity; what was an accepted rule is called constraint; what was consideration is called fear. It is frugality, and not the desire to have, that constitutes avarice. Formerly the wealth of individuals made the public treasury; but now the public treasury becomes the patrimony of individuals. The Republic is a shell, and its strength is now simply the power of a few citizens and the license of all.”** Corruption delivered the Athenians to Philip of Macedon, and the liberty of Athens died at Chaeronea.
Bah! one must die somewhere. Meanwhile the politicians of Athens led a merry life.
Adieu, cynical philosopher.
A pleasant journey to you, innocent law-giver. Go you and join Socrates in the Clouds.
(The shade of Montesquieu buries itself in the groves of the Elysian Fields, while the shade of Diogenes reenters the shade of his tub.)
* “Esprit des Lois,” vol. II, chap. II.
** “Esprit des Lois,” vol. III, chap. III.
Mr. Franklin Returns to the Charge.
To the Editor of Liberty:
You insist that the Communistic Anarchists are authoritarians, governmentalists; that they would deny the individual laborer the possession of his tools, not to say the freedom of exchange. But that does not prevent you, an avowed individualist, from calling them dear comrades. Is this plumb-line? Would you call monarchists comrades? Would you apply to them the brilliant lines, “They never fail,” if they happened to be wrongfully executed by the State which they sought to destroy simply because their motives might have been a fancied love to humanity? I would not insult your intelligence with such supposition. Yet monarchism is by far not so bad as Communistic Anarchism as you interpret it.
You claim that Most did not mean what he said when he emphatically declared that under his Communistic scheme the individual who would find it more advantageous for himself to work and exchange on his own hook would not be interfered with. But you insist that he meant what he said to you long before that,— that under Communistic Anarchism force would be used against the individual who would work for wages. I think just the contrary,— that he did not mean what he said to you, and in this I have the support of Moritz Bachmann, an unquestionable Anarchist, who told me so three years ago when he and Most lectured in this city on “The International: Its Aims and Methods.” “Most is a hot nature,” he said; “he can hardly talk English. I think he did not understand what he said, for he knows too well that, when there is no government, no force can be used.” That Most never answered you on this subject may be for the same reason that you declined the discussion with Mr. Kelly on Egoism. I am aware that Most is not the only editor who is afraid to show inconsistency in his notions.
I am not so certain that Kropotkine’s “Expropriation” involves the denial of freedom of exchange. But I am very certain that in “Freiheit” and in Most’s “Die Freie Gesellschaft” freedom of exchange is repeatedly granted, while in the platform adopted by the congress of the International Working-People’s Association at Pittsburg it is one of the principal planks. That being a fact, there is no foundation for your assertion that the Communistic Anarchists would deprive the individual laborer of his second or tenth spade, or of what he has got through an equitable exchange for the same. The expropriation they advocate is confined thoroughly to the capitalists and monopolists of the present system. I repeat that you cannot prove even by a single article ever written by Most or a Chicago Anarchist, that they would deprive an individual laborer of freedom of production or exchange. To accuse them of advocating Communism by force is as fallacious as to assume that you would establish by force some of your pet principles (the cost theory, for instance.)
Most’s “Beast of Property” — which, by the way, was written long ago, when his conception of Anarchism was in its infancy — has never been used by any Anarchist as an exposition of the principles of Anarchism. The Chicago Anarchists, like Most himself, recommended that pamphlet as a means for agitating the indifferent masses, as criticism on the present system, and in so doing they were less inconsistent than you when you published in Liberty and in pamphlet form and continually recommend by advertising in your columns Elisee Reclus’s “An Anarchist on Anarchy” or Bakounine’s “God and the State,” the author of which you call “an apostle of Anarchy.” There is no paragraph in Kropotkine’s, Most’s, and the Chicago Auarchists’ writings under which Bakounine would hesitate to sign his name. There is very much in your writings that he, like Kropotkine, would declare “bourgeois philosophy.”
In conclusion, let me tell you that your attempt to involve Most in particular and Communistic Anarchism in general in the rascalities committed by some individuals was the greatest injustice ever committed by an editor. And who can tell how much the execution of the Chicago Auarchists and the prosecution of Anarchists at large in this country is due to those “exposures”? In that article you actually blamed the police for their indifference to the “Beast of Communism” (though the rascals, according to your own statement, were individualistic egoists, since they have put the money obtained from the insurance companies in their own pockets and did not divide it up with Most or any other Communist). The police picked up your hint, and we know what followed. But that is not the end yet. Most is now between the penitentiary and the gallows, and the beast of egoism is gaping for his blood. It may sometime have it. From the scaffold with the rope on his neck, he will cry out, like his comrades, “Hoch die Anarchie!” The trap will fall. Most will be no more. But his “soul” will be marching in the air. Then you will find more poems to eulogize him with; you will call him “dear comrade,” too, and claim consistency and plumb-line.
New Haven, Conn., January 16, 1888.
[There seems to be no reason for answering the above, so many times has the same ground been traversed in these columns. It is useless to try to convince Mr. Franklin as long as he is unwilling to be convinced, and the readers of Liberty are well acquainted with all that I have to say upon the matter. Still, any spontaneous request for enlightenment upon any point made by Mr. Franklin will receive attention. Before closing the discussion, however, it should be stated that there is some justification for one of my critic’s statements,— namely, that it was inconsistent in me to call Bakounine an apostle of Anarchy. It is true that he was a Communist. But his “God and the State” is a thoroughly Anarchistic work. In publishing it I am not at all inconsistent. There is not a word of Communism in it. Some time ago, however, I decided that it was unjustifiable in me to speak of him as an Anarchist, and from the cover of the sixth edition of “God and the State,” which appeared several days before I received Mr. Franklin’s letter, the words “apostle of Anarchy” were removed. — Editor Liberty.]
Progress of the Anarchists’ Club.
The Auarchists’ Club opened a new year’s programme with a debate on Henry George’s Land Tax Plan, between Victor Yarros, and E. M. White, of the Land and Labor Club. The weather was very unfavorable, but the hall was well filled. Considerable interest was manifested, Mr. Yarros raising objections pointing out the injustice and inadequacy of the plan which were entirely new to many of the audience. Mr. White made a very fair defence, and, if he did not get too close to the issues raised, it was presumably because they were too deep for him, or that he found them unanswerable.
Since the Club started, the following have been some of the subjects dealt with: “Gen. Francis A. Walker and the Anarchists”; “The Tendency to Anarchy”; “The Sovereignty of the Individual”; “The Principles of Freethought are the Principles of Anarchy.”
The debates on these subjects were interesting and sometimes amusing. There are two sets of critics; one set are afraid that Anarchists are too good and docile for this wicked world, and that it doesn’t pay to be so. When it is explained that non-aggression does not mean non-resistance, and that Anarchists will undoubtedly associate for self-protection against enemies of liberty, then the other set of critics declare that Anarchists are unbearable tyrants,— or would be, “if it wasn’t for the law”; that they are inconsistent or ignorant of the spirit of the American Constitution and the American idea.
The opening address by V. Yarros has been put up in a neat pamphlet, to which is added the Constitution of the Club. It can be had from Liberty’s office; price, five cents. Wherever there can be found ten enthusiastic Anarchists, a Club should be at once formed. Ten members who would contribute a small monthly payment could maintain regular meetings, no other expense being needed than for advertising and hall rent. A meeting once a fortnight would give the club a footing, and the interest manifested in such a club would soon be a source of free advertisement. Let one or more readers of Liberty in any one place make an effort, and by communicating with the executive committee of the Boston Club, any help or advice will be freely given.
A. H. Simpson, Secretary.
P. O. Box 3366, Boston.
Categories of Truths.
[N. K. Michailovsky.)
There are truths of which one does not like to talk, because they are exceedingly flatulent. Twice two is indisputably four, and precisely for the reason that this is so indisputably true an assertion of it would be as comical as an attempt to break through an open door. There are other truths, uncomfortable for a perfectly opposite reason,— the immaturity of the interlocutors, who will in the best case call them paradoxes, if not plainly ridiculous or dangerous heresies. Finally there are truths in which are strangely united the inconveniences of both the above classes.
The confusion in thought that arises from the term “Anarchist-Communist” can certainly be overcome. I see no conflict between Communism voluntarily entered into and Anarchy. For example, suppose there exists Anarchy in all the relations of life,— that is to say, no one has the authority to coerce us into doing what we do not want to do,— and a given number of persons desire to have the results of their labor in a common fund, to which each contributes according to his ability and from which each draws according to his needs,— is there any violation of Anarchy in this? There is no principle of Anarchy that denies the right of free contract, and have I not a right to contract with others to live with them under the principles of Communism? To me it is of little concern what people shall do after Anarchy is the recognized principle for the guidance of human conduct. Anarchy — the sovereignty of the individual over his own actions — is the goal for which we strive. Communism is one of those incidents that come afterwards. But if Authority comes to me and says: You shall put all the results of your labor into the common fund, and you shall take from it only that which you need, then my individual sovereignty is destroyed and Anarchy does not exist.
* * *
One of the notions that we should try to make clear to those who are opposed to Anarchy on the supposition that we aim to abolish the State in a week or ten days is that we do not aim to do anything of the kind, and that complete Anarchy, or the liberty of the individual in all things, will come from necessity, if we only go in that direction in a few things.
In the first place, we are unequivocally opposed to the doctrine of total depravity. We hold that men are depraved only in so far as their surroundings make them so, and if those surroundings were removed. their depravity would disappear. Men steal because the avenues to healthful, pleasant, and remunerative employments are closed to them. I believe that an analysis of our present social-economic condition will reveal the truth that nearly all crimes of all kinds are directly or indirectly traceable to the fact that the avenues to free employment and exchange are practically closed to the mass of mankind. Were these avenues to employment and exchange open to all alike, the incentive to crime would be very largely removed and crime would naturally decrease. The decrease of crime would necessarily lead to the decrease of police forces and courts. They would have but little to do, and the people would not long tolerate a large police force and innumerable courts when there was nothing for them to do. We may find in this fact a most potent reason for the opposition to Anarchy on the part of policemen and judges and their hangers-on. If everybody had the right to use land without cost,— in other words, if the sole title to land was occupancy and use,— and the organization of credit was free to all, it would not be long before the State would fall of its own weight and leave the way clear to higher social conditions and a more vigorous manhood.
* * *
A man who is a free trader said to me the other day: “Look here, if your Anarchistic notions prevailed, we would have no police force, would we?” “If we had Anarchy in trade and industry,” I answered, “there would be no need of a police force.” “Oh, pshaw! I don’t believe that. Suppose I had a neighbor who was in the habit of getting drunk and creating a disturbance, ain’t it much better for me to call my agent — a policeman — to have the man removed and the disturbance quieted than for me to go and try and do it myself?” “Possibly,” said I, “I don’t object to your having an agent to keep your drunken neighbors quiet, if you pay him out of your own pocket, but I object to your putting your hands in my pockets to pay your agent with.” “But it is right that you be compelled to pay taxes to preserve the peace!” “Is it? Wherein does that differ from the claim of the protectionist that a tariff is just because it builds up native industry — at the expense, as we claim, of those not protected?” He went off scratching his head and with a thoughtful look on his face.
* * *
The best evidence in the world that private enterprise can do for the people better than the government can is in the government refusing to remove the restrictions to the freest competition.
Joseph A. Labadie
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.