“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.
The next number of Liberty will contain an article by Zelm, in which she will review some of the objections urged by her critics against the positions which she has taken in reference to the relations of parents and children.
Don’t fail to read in another column the description of the only city in America that hangs men for their opinions, from the pen of E. W. Lightner, a Pittsburgh journalist writing in the Chicago “Tribune.” When Joe Medill asked him for his opinion of Chicago, he caught a Tartar.
“What gives value to land?” asks Rev. Hugh O. Pentecost. And he answers: “The presence of population — the community. Then rent, or the value of land, morally belongs to the community.” What gives value to Mr. Pentecost’s preaching? The presence of population — the community. Then Mr. Pentecost’s salary, or the value of his preaching, morally belongs to the community.
Colonel Ingersoll has recently promulgated the theory that the husband should never be released from the marriage contract unless the wife has violated it, but that the wife should be allowed a divorce merely for the asking. Presumably this is intended for chivalry, but it really is an insult to every self-respecting woman. It is a relic of the old theory that woman is an inferior being, with whom it is impossible for man to treat as an equal. No woman worthy of the name and fully understanding the nature of her act would ever consent to union with a man by any contract which would not secure his liberty equally with her own.
If there are any believers in the “quiet beauty of duty” who are still of the opinion that Herbert Spencer shares their belief, their attention is respectfully directed to his criticism of Kant’s ethics in another column, wherein he shows that, if all people were to act from a sense of duty and against inclination, there would be hell upon earth, and that, if they were to act primarily from a sense of duty while at the same time in harmony with inclination, there would be, if not hell, nothing better than purgatory. Oh! the wretch! the horrible Egoist! Poor Spencer! He, too, must go with Liberty, Tak Kak, Donisthorpe, Spinoza, and Stirner, into the Altruistic Index Expurgatorius.
A very pretty story is going the rounds of the press to the effect that Courtlandt Palmer and Stephen Pearl Andrews, to test the theory of spiritualistic intercourse, made an agreement by which a sentence known only to themselves was to be sent by the one who should die first, within a year from his death, to the one still living, through some medium hundreds of miles away. The story further states that, as “Andrews died last autumn” and Palmer less than a year later, the experiment proved a fruitless one. The author of this “fake” deserves to be discharged as a bungler. To say nothing of the fact that neither of these men would have consented to pin their faith upon the issue of a test so utterly unscientific, the bottom drops out of the absurd story altogether immediately it is remembered that Mr. Andrews died, not last autumn, but over two years ago.
If Colonel Ingersoll, who once discovered that, meaning to write prose, he had accidentally penned a long passage of nearly perfect blank verse, now chooses, whenever he has anything to say, to try to write it in blank verse and print it in the form of prose, it is endurable even after it has become somewhat monotonous; for it is Ingersoll’s own trick, and he came by it honestly. But when half the Free-thought writers in the country try to ape him in this, the style becomes too tiresome to be endured without protest. Only the other day I began to read Helen H. Gardener’s criticism of the course of Courtlandt Palmer’s family in not strictly following his instructions regarding his funeral, and I’m sure she had something very sensible to say about it; but when I found that she was trying to spring poetry in the guise of prose upon my unsuspecting nature, I had to give it up in disgust.
“Never will I reject a measure because it seems violent or because it is moderate. I will always reject a measure which I consider false, illogical, dangerous, impracticable, contrary to the object sought. A measure is not revolutionary because it is violent; it is revolutionary, if it is of such a nature as to lead to the triumph of the revolution.” These words are Arthur Arnould’s, and they are golden; but it is difficult to understand their appearance in “La Revolte,” where I found them. Not that there is anything in them necessarily antagonistic to the position of “La Revolte”; I am far from accusing that paper of pure force-worship. But I should think it must realize that in the party of dynamite the great bulk of the followers and not a few of the leaders look upon any measure of violence as necessarily revolutionary and never dream of determining its revolutionary character by any other standard. Now, if these, under the influence of such advice as Arnould’s, become intelligent enough to adopt some other criterion, it is reasonably sure that a proportion of them will reject the policy of “propaganda by deed” as anti-revolutionary, which would be nothing but disappointing to “La Revolte.” If the conductors of that journal quote Arnould with approval because he speaks the truth and they are ready to accept whatever results from truth, they are acting a noble part; but if they quote him in the belief that his words will tend to sustain the faith in force as a revolutionary agent, they are blind, stone-blind.
The editor of the “Alarm” charges that my approval of his position upon the question of credit was given “for the purpose of damning with malicious innuendoes.” He is mistaken. In the past, whenever I have had occasion to say anything in approval or disapproval of him or any other man, I have done so with a considerable degree of directness, and the rule which I have observed in the past guides me now and will continue to guide me. My approval of the “Alarm’s” advocacy of free credit was simply incidental to an exposure of the utter inconsistency of John Most in regard to the question; which exposure has thus far been so effective that Most has not dared to respond to my annoying questions otherwise than by calling me the “Boston censor,” behind which epithet all the dodgers crouch and slink whenever Liberty drives them into a corner. The editor of the “Alarm” does his best to help him out of his awkward predicament by declaring that the organization of credit means nothing but the organization of confidence, that it does not necessarily involve the issue of money, and that he insists on no special form of credit, but only on freedom of credit. Which, indeed, is all that any of us insist on. But the qualification does not help Most a whit. He has expressly and repeatedly stated that no reform in credit can abolish exploitation, and that nothing less than the abolition of private ownership can abolish it. Yet he gives his unqualified endorsement to the teachings of the “Alarm,” which sees in free land and free credit the entire law and prophets.
A Mystic Forced to Take Flight.
At the memorial meeting of the Concord School of Philosophy, Mrs. Ednah D. Cheney read a paper entitled “Reminiscences of Mr. Alcott’s Conversations,” which has since been printed in the “Open Court.” The following extract will be interesting to Liberty’s readers, inasmuch as the Col. Greene referred to is the author of “Mutual Banking,” who was a Unitarian minister about forty years ago:
But the most remarkable passage of arms that I remember was with the late Col. Greene. Col. Greene was a master of the art of logic and almost rivaled Socrates in his skill in winding an adversary up into a complete snarl. Of course, he was quite antipathetic to Mr. Alcott. On one occasion, Mr. Alcott described the demonic man, and it was point for point a portrait of Mr. Greene, then Reverend and not Colonel, who sat directly before him. “The demonic man is strong, he has dark hair and eyes, his eye is full of fire, he has great energy, strong will. He is logical, and loves disputation and argument. The demonic man smokes, etc.” The company silently made the application, but Mr. Greene said, “But has not the demonic man his value?” “Oh, yes!” said Mr. Alcott, “the demonic man is good in his place, very good, he is good to build railroads, but I do not quite like to see him in pulpits, begging Mr. Greene’s pardon.”
Mr. Greene took the thrust very pleasantly, but sharpened his weapons for a retort. On the first convenient occasion he had a string of questions arranged so artfully that, while beginning very simply, they would inevitably lead to a reductio ad absurdum, if Mr. Alcott answered them frankly, according to his theory. Mr. Alcott replied with a simple affirmative or negative as Mr. Greene had planned, until the company began to perceive his intention, and that, if the next question were answered as it must be, Mr. Alcott would be driven to the wall. The question was put, but, instead of the simple answer, Mr. Alcott began to talk, and that most delightfully. He soared higher and higher, as if he had taken the wings of the morning, and brought us all the glories of heaven. I believe none of us could tell what he said, but we listened in rapture. Mr. Greene sat with one finger crossed upon another waiting for a pause to put in his question, but the time never came, his opponent was borne away in a cloud far out of sight.
I always queried whether this was intentional, or whether his good angel carried him away, but Louisa said, “O, he knew well enough what he was about.”
The Curse of Indecision.
[Henry Maret in Le Radical.]
Humanity in our century resembles a traveller who, on leaving the city which he is to see no more, lingers, has regrets, retraces his steps, has always forgotten something which he goes to find; and night overtakes him on the road, so that he has no shelter either in the city which he has left or in that at which he has not arrived, and must sleep in the beautiful starlight.
We are very willing to go forward to liberty, but there is always something that we regret in authority. We return, we take what we can, we bring it along, we load ourselves down, and we do not advance.
And this simply from not understanding that liberty and authority are two different countries, which have nothing in common, that one cannot live in two places at the same time, and that we must stay where we are unless it is our formal intention to go somewhere else.
Love, Marriage, and Divorce,
And the Sovereignty of the Individual.
Henry James, Horace Greeley, and Stephen Pearl Andrews.
Mr. James’s Reply to Mr. Andrews.
Continued from No. 130.
Your correspondent kindly applauds an observation of mine, to the effect, that “freedom is one with order”; and I infer from the general tenor of his letter that I have hitherto enjoyed a quasi patronage at his hands. Now I will not affect an indifference, which I by no means feel, to the favorable estimation of your correspondent, or any other well-disposed person, but I am incapable of purchasing that advantage at the expense of truth. It would doubtless greatly suit your correspondent if, when I say “freedom is one with order,” I should also add, “and order is one with license,” but I really can not gratify him in this particular. Somehow, as he himself naively phrases it, when I “apply my intellect to deduce that conclusion, it flickers out into obscurity and darkness.” Rather let me say, it reddens into a lurid damnable falsehood. I can not, therefore, regret the withdrawal of a patronage of which I have been both unworthy and unconscious. I can not reduce my brain to mud, were my reward to be the approbation even of a much more plenary “handful” of individual sovereignties than that represented by your correspondent is ever likely to grow.
For my own part, Mr. Editor, I can conceive of no “individual sovereignty” which precedes a man’s perfect adjustment to nature and society. I have uniformly viewed man as under a threefold subjection, first to nature, then to society, and finally to God. His appetites and his sensuous understanding relate him to nature; his passions and his rational understanding relate him to society or his fellow-man; and his ideas relate him to God. Now, as to the first two of these spheres, man’s subjection is obviously absolute. If, for example, he indulge his appetites capriciously or beyond a certain limit, he pays a penalty, whatever be his alleged “sovereignty.” And if he indulges his passions beyond the limit prescribed by the interests of society, he pays an inevitable penalty in that case also, however sublime and beautiful his private pretensions may be. To talk of man’s sovereignty, therefore, in either a physical or moral point of view, save as exerted in the obedience of physical and moral limitations, is transparent nonsense. And even regarded as so exerted, the nonsense is scarcely more opaque. For what kind of sovereignty is that which is known only by its limitations, which is exercised only in subjection to something else? There are, indeed, indisputable sovereigns without any territorial qualifications; but their titles are allowed only because they are men of diseased faculties, whom one would be unwilling to rob of a soothing illusion.
What, then, is the sphere of human freedom, of human sovereignty? It is the sphere of ideas, the sphere of man’s subjection to God. As ideas are infinite, as they admit no contrast or oppugnancy, as they are perfectly good, and true, and beautiful, so, of course, the more unlimited becomes his freedom or sovereignty. He who obeys his appetites merely, finds himself speedily betrayed by the inflexible laws of nature to disease and death. He who obeys his passions merely, finds himself betrayed by the inflexible laws of society to shame and seclusion. But he who obeys ideas, who gives himself up to the guidance of infinite goodness, truth, and beauty, encounters no limitation at the hands either of nature or society, and, instead of disease and shame, plucks only the fruits of health and immortal honor. For it constitutes the express and inscrutable perfection of the Divine life, that he who yields himself with least reserve to that, most realizes life in himself; even as He who best knew its depths mystically said, Whoso will lose his life temporarily shall find it eternally, and whoso will save it shall lose it.
But the indispensable condition of one’s realizing freedom or sovereignty in this sphere, is that he be previously in complete accord with nature and society, with his own body and his fellow-man. Because so long as a man’s physical subsistence is insecure, and the resect of his fellow-men unattained, it is evident that his highest instincts, or his ideas of goodness and truth, can receive no direct, but only a negative obedience. His daily bread is still uncertain, and the social position of himself and family completely unachieved; these ends consequently claim all his direct or spontaneous activity, and he meanwhile confesses himself the abject vassal of nature and society In this state of things, of course, or while he remains in this vassalage – while his whole soul is intent upon merely finite ends – the ideal sphere, the sphere of infinitude or perfection, remains wholly shut up, or else only faintly imaged to him in the symbols of a sensuous Theology. I say “of course,” for how can the infantile imagination of man, instructed as yet only by the senses, receive any idea of a good which is infinite? It necessarily views the infinite as only an indefinite extension of the finite, and accordingly swamps the divine life – swamps the entire realm of spiritual being – in gross materiality.
No man accordingly can realize the true freedom he has in God, until, by the advance of society, or, what is the same thing, the growing spiritual culture of the race, he be delivered from the bondage of appetite and passion. A’s appetites and passions are as strong under repression as B’s. Why does he not yield them the same ready obedience? It is because society has placed A above their dominion, by giving him all the resources of spiritual culture, and bringing him accordingly under the influence of infinite ideas, under the direct inspirations of God. The sentiment of unity he experiences with God involves that also of his unity with nature and society, and his obedience to appetite, therefore, can never run into vice, not his indulgence of passion into crime. In short, the inexpugnable condition of his every action is, that it involve no degradation to his own body and no detriment to his fellow-man. Now, what society has done for A it has yet to do for B, and the entire alphabet of its members. when it has brought them into perfect fellowship with each other, or made duty and interest exactly reciprocal, then every man will be free to do as he pleases, because his appetites and passions, receiving their due and normal satisfaction, will no longer grow infuriate from starvation, nor consequently permit the loathsome and morbid displays they now yield. I will not say any such stupidity, as that man will then “be free to do as he pleases, provided he will take the consequences”; for in a true fellowship of mankind no action of any member can possibly beget evil consequences, either to himself or others, since the universal practical reconciliation of interest with duty will always make it his pleasure to do only what is noble and undefiled. A freedom which consists in taking the consequences of one’s actions, when one’s actions are not at the same time perfectly regulated by a scientific society or fellowship among men, is such a freedom as men may enjoy in hell, where might makes right, and insensibility constitutes virtue. But I incline to think that hell, with its fashions, is dying out of human respect every day, and that society is continually approximating that contrary state in which a man’s power will accurately reflect the measure of his humanitary worth, or, what is the same thing, his elevation be strictly proportionate to his humility.
Your correspondent, very consistently, exhibits a sovereign contempt for society, and calls the State a “mob;” and this judgment gives you a fair insight into his extreme superficiality of observation. Irresponsible governments, or those which do not studiously obey the expanding needs of society, are doubtless entitled to hearty contempt. Their day, indeed, is over, and nothing remains in the sight of all men but to give them a decent interment. But society never decays. It increases in vigor with the ages. It is, in fact, the advance of society among men, the strengthening of the sentiment of fellowship or equality in the human bosom, which is chiefly uprooting arbitrary governments. It is because man is now beginning to feel, as he never felt before, his social omnipotence, or the boundless succor, both material and spiritual, which the fellowship of his kind insures him, that he is looking away from governments and from whatsoever external patronage, and finding true help at last in himself. Accordingly, if there is any hope which now more than another brightens the eye of intelligent persons, it is the immense social promise opened up to them, by every discovery in the arts and every new generalization of science. Society is the sole direct beneficiary of the arts and sciences, and the individual man becomes a partaker of their bounties only by his identification with it. Thus the best aspiration of the individual mind is bound up with the progress of society. Only as society ripens, only as a fellowship so sacred obtains between man and man, as that each shall spontaneously do unto the other as he would have the other do unto himself, will the true development of individual character and destiny be possible. Because the very unity of man’s creative source forbids that one of its creatures shall be strong, except by the strength of all the rest.
Yours truly, Henry James.
New York, January 29.
Mr. Andrews’s Reply to Mr. Greeley.
[Rejected by The Tribune.]
I might insist that leading positions in my last article are not replied to at all in yours. I will content myself, however, with noticing what is said and suggested by you.
First, then, believe me, it was by oversight, and not intentionally, that I included “Freedom from State Systems of Religion,” among the kinds of freedom which you had assigned to the broader designation of “the Sovereignty of the Individual.” It so obviously belongs in the same category, that you must confess the mistake was a very natural one. I observe now, however, that the grouping of the various applications of the doctrine was my own, and I was wrong in attributing it, in its full, logical, and legitimate extension, to you. It was not until you directed my attention to the point, that I discovered that, while your approbation is given to just those developments of Freedom which have, up to the present time, been accredited and rendered popular in the world, you classify under the obnoxious “Sovereignty of the Individual” those varieties, and those only, which are, as yet, unpopular, or against which you happen to have a personal prejudice. This species of reasoning, though not very rare, I believe, is still so little understood by me, that I do not even know the scientific name by which to designate it. Excuse me, then, that I did not perceive why Free Trade comes under the head of the Sovereignty of the Individual (or the general right to do as one chooses), and Freedom of the Press not so; or why there is a similar difference between Freedom of the Affections, and Freedom of the Conscience, or of the Intellect.
I certainly thought you held the Kossuthian doctrine of national Non-Intervention. You set me right, and say you “deplore the absence of competent tribunals to adjudicate questions of International difference,” etc. Here you obviously do not speak of a mere advisory council, each nation being free to accept or decline the recommendation, but of an actual Court. “Tribunal,” “Competency,” and “Adjudication,” are well-known technicals of the so-called “administration of justice.” They always relate to the functions of a body having power to enforce its decrees. There is no Court without a Constable, no Sentence without a Sanction, no Judiciary without an Executive! The Constabulary of an International tribunal must be the united Armies and Navies of the majority of the combined powers. Any other notion of such a Court is nonsense. Now, dare you affirm, in the face of the American people, that you would favor the surrender, by solemn treaty, into the hands of such a tribunal, representing the national policy of Austria, Russia, Spain, Portugal, Rome, Naples, etc. – the majority of nations in Christendom even – the right to adjudicate for the United States all the international questions, even, which they might themselves individually provoke with us, and to enforce such decisions by their combined power? You say such a Court would have prevented the Mexican war. Yes, as order reigns at Warsaw. Give up, I beseech you, the search after the remedy for the evils of government in more government. The road lies just the other way, toward Individuality and Freedom from all government. The evil in the case of the Mexican war, lay in the stupendous folly which authorized James K. Polk, of Tennessee, by a stroke of his pen, to set 30,000,000 of men to cutting each other’s throats – to begin the next morning – for no cause which would have induced one of them to do anything of the kind on his own responsibility. It is the inherent viciousness of the very institution of Government itself, never to be got rid of until our natural individuality of action and responsibility is restored. Nature made Individuals, not nations; and while nations exist at all, the liberties of the individual must perish.
But the kind of intervention you advocate between nations, bad as it is, is no parallel, as you seem to think it, to that unsolicited and impertinent interference between Individuals, which you defend and I denounce. What would you say to an International Tribunal which should arrogate jurisdiction to itself over nations who have never consented to, and wholly repudiate, its interference – basing its usurpation on the assumption that somebody must look after the International morality? Further still, fancy Mr. Greeley signing a treaty to give Austria, Naples, etc., the right not only to settle differences between us and other nations, but to forbid us, also, to have relations of friendship or commerce with more than one other nation, for example; and generally to regulate, not merely our foreign but our purely private affairs as well, by prohibiting whatever in the judgment of that tribunal was setting a bad example before the other nations of the earth! No, thank God! nations have not fancied it necessary to sink their individuality in a mass, as Individuals have done, granting the right to suppress Genius, and Enterprise, and Free Thought, and Superior Development. To this national freedom from an overruling legislation, the world owes the height to which a few nations have attained, which, being attained, will react on the others, and finally develop the whole earth. No, Sir, ten Individuals in the world, who had thoroughly comprehended their own absolute right to Freedom, and vindicated it as against the impertinent interference of legislation, would be worth, as an example and as a power for good, all the international tribunals there might be in the Universe.
I claim individually to be my own nation. I take this opportunity to declare my National Independence, and to notify all other potentates, that they may respect my Sovereignty. I may have to fight to establish my claim, but he claim I make, and sooner or later I will come to the recognition of it. You have notified me that you will resist it. I will conduct the war with you, if possible, by the pen. If you may determine to resort to other weapons, I will adjust my defense to the nature of the onset.
To be continued.
The Rag-Picker of Paris.
By Felix Pyat.
Translated from the French by Benj. B. Tucker.
Continued from No. 130.
“Why do I abandon her?” repeated the widow, with a look of surprise.
“Because I cannot do anything else, Monsieur; because I have no more milk,” said Louise, staggering as if she had been drunk; “because it is my blood that flows”. . .
“Blood . . . or wine.”
“Oh I wretch,” murmured the widow, falling back on her bench; “have I, then, committed a crime, that I should be punished in this way?”
The clerk did not hear or did not want to hear.
“Received!” he cried to the girl, who disappeared with the child through a low door-way on the other side of the barrier.
And he continued in a tone of doubt:
“Then you say this child has a father?”
“That’s it, she has no father.”
“She no longer has one.”
“I understand; he is traveling. Known?”
“He is dead,” replied the widow; “murdered at night while defending his collections. And if you doubt it, come with me. He is at our house . . . this is the third day, and I have no money to pay for his burial.”
“The devil I look out for disease in the house,” said the clerk. “Murdered . . . stay! we will put down this detail!”
And he mentioned this “detail” on his register, interested by the peculiarity of the circumstance; then, handing a sheet of paper to the widow, he said:
“Sign that . . . good! . . . Now, I must tell you of the regulations. Your daughter will be sent into the country in the course of a fortnight. You will not know where she is, do you understand?”
“But, Monsieur,” cried Louise, horrified by this atrocious revelation, the crown of this scheme of official charity invented by the believers in the family . . . “but it is impossible. I swear to you that I will take the child back right away, as soon as I can find a way to earn my living. Oh! it will not be long!”
The bureaucrat shook his head impatiently.
“Take it back . . . You will not see it again, I tell you. The most that can be granted you, if you get work and behave yourself, is an occasional bulletin of life . . . or of death, as the case may be; and it is rather the latter that you should expect. There’s not one in five that . . . But that will do. Go; good evening.”
The mother gave an inexpressible cry. She rushed to the railing and leaped over it, crying with love, fright, and fury:
“My child! Give me back my child! I take her again.”
“You have signed! Stop!” cried the bureaucrat, but he could not prevent her. Mad and strong with grief, she opened the low door through which Marie had disappeared in the examiner’s arms, and found herself in a large, dismal room, recalling the infants’ limbos of the AEneid, filled with poor little creatures, consumptive and timid, some stretched upon benches, others stuffed into coarse cradles, all guarded and watched by Sisters of Charity, most of whom were old and whose repressed maternity had turned, by a sort of physical and moral allotropy, into poisoned gall. Parodies of motherhood, caricatures of womanhood, jailers of childhood, guardians of this orphans’ morgue, they glided about like black spectres, with rods in their hands, ill-tempered and awkward, distributing among their angels consecrated box, holy water, and whippings, instead of caresses, cakes, and toys.
Louise uttered a groan.
“Where is Marie?” she cried, in anguish, looking about among the mass.
“Find her,” said a sharp voice.
“Lost! I want her; she is mine! She is my child!”
A wail answered her.
Without heeding the fright and indignation of the good Sisters, the mother ran to a distant cradle, whence came a familiar plaint, which had moved the mother to the heart.
“You!” said she, grasping and clasping her with frenzy. “Not take you back, not see you again! She live without me and I without her! Never! never! we will die together.”
On returning to the office, she found herself face to face with Jean, who cried out to her:
“No, you shall live together.”
Jean, who had, as we know, caught sight of her and followed her to the Public Charities building, had then gone almost at one bound to the Berville mansion, where, fortunately, he had found the good and honest Bremont.
Then he had returned quickly, in a perspiration, with joyous heart, pockets full, and hands loaded with a cradle and other articles.
“I arrive in time, and with all that you need; you have taken her back, that’s the main thing,” said he to the stupefied Louise; “put Marie in this cradle, and come; I will carry everything home. Thanks to M. Bremont, a worthy man, you will pay rent, funeral expenses, and all. Let us leave here, and quickly!”
And he led away Louise, who had to lean upon his arm in order to walk and was unable even to thank him.
As they went out, three personages entered, two of whom seemed to be subordinates of the third.
They advanced with covered heads and an air of authority; and the chief said in an imperative tone:
“That’s my name, Monsieur,” said the midwife, in surprise.
“You are really Madame Gavard, midwife?”
“Yes, Monsieur,” said she, growing alarmed.
“Then, in the name of the law, I arrest you,” said he, showing his scarf.
Upon a signal from the police official, his two subalterns surrounded the Gavard, now fairly thunderstruck.
“Why? For what?” she cried.
Without answering her, the official went straight to the clerk and said to him: “In the name of the law, I arrest you too, Monsieur, as an accomplice.”
The Hotel Meurice.
We will now pass from the East End to the West End of Paris, from the poor quarter to the rich quarter; for in Paris as in London and in every place where west winds prevail, carrying all vapors and miasma to the east, wealth naturally occupies the healthiest part of the city, the western part.
In the Rue de Rivoli, therefore, in the Hotel Meurice, then as now the most sumptuous hotel for travellers of high position, and in its finest suite of rooms, the suite on the second floor with a balcony, facing the garden of the Tuileries and commanding a view of the Faubourg Saint Germain, were two guests, who had arrived two days before, with heavy trunks apparently new, and had established themselves as patrons with full pockets.
One was the valet and the other the master; they seemed to be of the same age and resembled each other in size and complexion; both had a rich look and a haughty air, making it impossible to tell which was the master and which the valet.
The suite which they occupied consisted of sleeping apartments, parlor, and dining-room, coupling Parisian luxury with English comfort, and including all the superfluous features necessary to the habitues of the house.
Carpets, curtains, and furniture,— all were of silk and velvet, stuffed, thick, soft, dark, padded, upholstered, and close, made in short for the eyes, feet, and backs of aristocrats; shielding their delicate senses from light and noise, deadening the glare of the day, stifling the sound of steps . . . and a good fire in every room to keep away the chill and the dampness. What a bill to pay!
Already the master, on inscribing his noble name on the hotel register, had paid for a fortnight in advance, without calculation, at the maximum rate, with a generous fee for service.
On the morning of the second day after the arrival of the two new comers, they had ordered a fine breakfast served in their dining-room at an early hour.
Two plates only were laid on a table loaded with silver and glass ware elaborately chased and cut in forms of flowers and fruits, pell-mell, a la Russe, with poultry, fish, and venison with truffles, vegetables and fruits out of season and reason, green peas and red strawberries in winter, June products in March, in Lent, two days after Mardi Gras, on the very morrow of Ash Wednesday.
Every day is carnival for the rich, as every day is fast-day for the poor. And as the poor man has no summer, so the rich man has no winter. He carries the sun in his pocket, in his purse.
The valet was superintending the service performed by other valets, those of the hotel, who looked out for him as solemnly as for the master.
The master was still stretched upon his featherbed, though not asleep; for the whisperings of a bitter-sweet conversation could be heard, proving that he was awake and not alone.
A ring of the bell, coming from the chamber, proved it still more conclusively. The valet, answering it quickly and coming back likewise, said to the waiters in an imperious tone:
“Serve the breakfast!”
The door of the chamber then opened, allowing a charming couple to enter the room arm in arm, the woman in all the splendor of beauty, fashion, and pleasure, the man in all the strength and joy of a well-spent night and the hope of a well-served meal.
They took their places at the table, and all the hotel servants went out; the valet was following them, when his master said to him:
“John, has the tailor come?”
“Not yet, Monseigneur.”
“Ah!” exclaimed the master, in a tone of irritation; “as soon as he arrives, show him into the parlor and let me know; I expect him. Now go!”
And the valet bowed and withdrew.
The couple, left alone, attacked the viands with a keenness of appetite which a good night imparts to the young, devouring side dishes, principal dishes, sweetened entrees, obelisks of asparagus, and then the dessert, with its pastries large and small, with its ices and jellies melting in the fire and flame of the choicest brands of wine, Madeira, Bordeaux, champagne, coffee, pousse-cafe, cordials. . . . and tea to digest the whole. A meal for two rich people, the price of which would have kept a hundred Didier families alive.
The conversation, begun in bed and continued at the table, gradually became animated, and finally, under the influence of Comus and Bacchus, multiplied by Venus, passed from gay to grave, from lively to severe.
Heads seemed excited no less than hearts. Teeth and forks at rest, they were at their last cup of tea, when Monsieur said to Madame:
“Well, my dear, you see my position. What is your decision? A conclusion must be reached. Whom do you choose?”
“Why choose?” she answered, with an adder-like movement.
“Because I want you for myself alone as before,” said he, passionately.
“Impossible,” said she, with a cold coquetry; “I have engagements now.”
“What! in spite of our child?”
“It is not my fault if you have not been able to keep your promises. For my part, I have other ties.”
“Do not speak of them,” said he, in a threatening tone; “break them, and come back wholly to me, I pray you, or”. . . .
“Or what?” said she, defiantly.
“Or I kill myself in your presence.”
“Ah! no nonsense. You ask for too much, indeed. Remember that he wishes to marry me, exactly that! To become Countess de Frinlair is a fine chance, isn’t it? And you would think me a fool to lose it.”
“The wife of Frinlair! Never!” said he, in a voice full of hatred, envy, jealousy, wrath, and revenge.
The fury of the one increased with the cynicism of the other.
“Well, why not? Each one for himself!”
“But I am richer than he.”
“Yes, but you will not marry.”
“I pay only the more on that account.”
“But you owe so much! Do you know that you are running great risks here, imprudent man?”
“There is nothing that I would not brave for you, so much do I love you.”
“Suppose some one should inform against you! In your place I should be afraid of Clichy.”
“If I go there, I shall be like Ouvrard; my prison will be a palace. But Frinlair is tracked, and unless he has promised you an allowance” . . . .
“Let us see, how much have you?”
A light and discreet knock at the door interrupted the conversation.
“Come in,” said the master.
And the valet, entering, announced the arrival of the tailor.
“Very well; let him wait in the parlor. I will be there presently.”
The valet gone, the bitter conversation was taken up where the interruption had broken it off, and rose rapidly to the pitch of violence.
Bitten to the heart by jealousy, in the sensitive spot, pride, the gentleman grew more and more enraged, as he sipped his brandy.
“So you will not leave him?” said he.
“Not without knowing whom I take back!”
“You ask me how much I have?”
“Yes, and you do not answer,” said she, with an air of doubt, suspicion, and bravado; “let us see.”
“Well! I have all that is necessary for you, traitress,” said he, frantically. “I have gold to pay you or lead to punish you.”
And suddenly, drawing a pistol from his pocket, he placed it squarely against her heart and fired. Without a cry or a gesture, the report stifled by the proximity of the weapon to her body, the woman sank back over her chair, dead.
Without even looking at his victim, the assassin reloaded the weapon, put it back in his pocket, went out, locked the door, and walked straight to the parlor, glutted with all the pleasures of man and of the gods, lust and revenge, cooled by his crime and calm in his ferocity.
Led back to his mistress by passion which had overcome his prudence, he had killed her through jealousy and prudence, which in turn had become stronger than his passion.
In the parlor the tailor was waiting with the valet, having taken from its wrappings a full suit cut in the latest fashion and spread it on the divan.
“You are behind time,” said the master, severely.
“Monseigneur was in such a hurry,” said the tailor, respectfully. “Will Monseigneur try it on?”
“I have no time.”
“When shall I come again, Monseigneur?”
“I will let you know.”
“I think no alteration will be needed; but if perchance” . . . .
“Oh! there’s no hurry, Monseigneur,” said the tailor, while presenting the account as quickly as obsequiously.
“How much?” asked the master, without looking at the price any more than at the clothes.
“Seventy-five dollars, Monseigneur.”
“It is receipted?”
Then he looked at the suit as if examining the cloth, placed the bill in the pocket of the coat, opened his purse, paid cash, and dismissed the surprised tailor, charmed at having a customer as prodigal as he was easy to satisfy.
“John,” then said the master to the valet, “I am in a hurry; Madame is waiting for me; I have no time to try these on, to undress and dress again; try them on yourself, and right away.”
“I! Monseigneur,” said John, surprised at this queer order.
“Yes, I tell you! Besides, there’s no large mirror in this beggarly parlor; I could not see myself from head to foot; you are just my size, and I can see them better on you! Come, be quick!”
Thereupon John felt a valet’s last scruple at donning his master’s effects.
“I beg pardon, Monseigneur,” said he, blushing almost like a virgin; and he took off his coat, vest, and pantaloons and replaced them with the new suit.
When he was completely dressed, the master, at a distance, surveyed him from head to foot as if to judge of the effect, as an expert looks at a picture.
“That fits well. . . . except in the neck. There’s a slight wrinkle there!”
And approaching as if to make sure of the fault, he quickly took out his weapon and fired full in the face of the poor John, who fell stiff, dead and disfigured.
Immediately, without loss of time, he in turn threw off his clothes, dressed himself in those of the valet, put the weapon in the right hand of the dead man, and, as he rang the bell, called for help with frightful audacity. To the servants who came running in answer to the hubbub, he said with sobbing voice and his hands over his face as if to wipe away his tears: “My master, my poor master! He has killed himself together with his mistress, she in the dining-room and he here. . . .see!”
Then, thanks to the surprise, the tumult, and the bewilderment of all, he left the scene of his double murder, applauding his success and saying to himself: “All the crime necessary, but nothing superfluous. . . . I have paid the hotel bill.”
And, to avoid having to reenter the rooms, he went away with every chance of impunity and security.
The next day, in the local columns of the “Constitutionnel,” the following paragraph appeared, to the great joy of the Liberal opposition:
It is known at last what has become of one of the highest livers of the aristocracy and purest blue-bloods of the noble faubourg, the criminal madman who, after having dazzled Paris for so long, disappeared in an abyss of debts with a charge of forgery hanging over him. Instead of ending his life of scandal and crime at Clichy or Brest, this swindling courtier, this very high and very powerful lord and bandit, the Duke Crillon-Garousse, committed suicide yesterday with his mistress at the end of a Mardi-Gras breakfast in Lent, in the finest apartments in the Hotel Meurice, Rue de Rivoli.
All is flux and reflux in this life. In Paris especially “destiny and the floods are changing” according to Béranger. The current of sympathy for the banker Berville which the assassination of the bank collector had created on the first day had disappeared on the morrow, or rather changed into an exactly opposite current.
The world also is a banker, demanding the return with usury of the benevolence which it lends.
So inconstant opinion had already turned, and the wind of injustice blew upon the unfortunate.
A real fire of straw is human sympathy,— all flame for an instant, and only ashes afterwards. “Oh, my friends, there are no friends,” said the Greek proverb. “Heaven defend me from my friends, I will defend myself from my enemies,” says the English proverb. “Prompt payments make good friends,” says the French proverb.
Berville’s friends therefore were the first to believe that his misfortune was his fault,— worse, his crime; that he had shown extreme imprudence, bordering upon or rather screening deceit, theft, and murder. Once entered on this path, friendship and imagination never halted; hints became charges. The story of the Duke d’Orléans procuring the assassination of the broker Pinel was recalled. In short, as often happens, especially in France, where fancy is queen and imagination overpowers reason, to the idlers who are weary, to the wicked who amuse themselves, and to the fools who swallow everything, in a word, to the changeable, maliguant, credulous, and sensation-loving mass, the unfortunate was the culprit.
“It is worse than a crime, it is a mistake,” said Talleyrand. With us failure is always both a mistake and a crime. It was a Gaul who cried: “A curse upon the conquered!”
- Berville had fallen a victim to this fatal reaction. Around him isolation had succeeded eager attentions. The rare faces which he still saw grew longer. The very stockholders and creditors who at first had aided him, who had given him a footing and granted him delay, believing no longer that he could recover himself, were now the first to bury him.
It is pretended that wolves do not eat each other. A mistake; they bite the wounded.
The third day after the disaster the banker and his faithful cashier were shut up together at an early hour in the office with which we are familiar, the clock not replaced.
Under the weight of these charges which reached his ears (there is always one friend left to bring good news), the banker had no more recovered health than fortune; the congested brain had lost its natural clearness, even in the matter of accounts. Bankruptcy, “hideous bankruptcy,” as Mirabeau called it, possessed him, showing him all sorts of horrible images,— seizure, execution, auction, published shame and ruin, house for sale, and the hands of the law upon his books and upon his honor.
Now comatose and now convulsive, he spent whole hours in examining and balancing columns of figures, which all cried in his ears the same word, failure, and assumed before his eyes shapes of claws and teeth ready to tear and devour him.
“Enough of suffering! I want no more of it,” said he to the honest Bremont, who had just added up the debits and credits. “There is no hope!”
The cashier answered only by a sad sign of assent.
“Delay would only make the disaster worse.”
“Yes, for those who at first held out their hands now withdraw them.”
“To borrow is not to pay, my good Bremont, and it is better to refuse. That will shorten the agony by a fortnight. I had rather leap out the window than tumble down stairs. I desire to end the matter at once.”
And he rose, as if he had come to a final decision.
“Put out the announcement of suspension. Go on.”
Bremont rose in his turn and went out in despair. His master’s honor seemed to him his own. There are still these poodles among those whom his master called knaves.
Then the banker took a box of pistols from a drawer, and seized paper and pen, doubtless to write his last directions.
Just then he heard a knock at the door.
“I,” said a woman’s voice, and Gertrude entered, even paler than usual.
“What do you want, my dear Gertrude?”
“I have just seen Bremont, who informs me of the suspension of payments.”
“Yes, the end has come.”
“But, my cousin, it is madness.”
“No, all is over. . . hopelessly ruined!”
“But could you not delay, renew? You have had offers. . . . and with an arrangement whereby you could pay in installments. . . . I have already told you, Berville, that my property is at your disposition.”
“Thank you, my friend,” he answered, affectionately. “Thank you, it is useless, insufficient! You would ruin yourself without saving me! Keep all for yourself and Camille; he will need it after me.”
“After you!” exclaimed Gertrude, noticing the weapons. “What do you say? What are you going to do? Ah! Monsieur, why this weapon? A suicide, great God! You are only unfortunate; do you want to be guilty? I say nothing to you of God; you do not believe in him! But your duty as a father! Your poor child!”
“I leave him to your affection; he will not lose by the change,” said he, with genuine emotion; “go find him . . . no, you will kiss him for me. . . . Adieu.”
“I shall not leave you, madman.”
“I beg of you to go. Nothing will shake my determination. Life is intolerable to me. Go, I tell you, unless you wish to be a witness of my death.”
Bremont came back, with a card in his hand.
“Have you put out the placard?” said Berville.
“Yes, Monsieur.” answered Bremont.
“You hear, cousin, it is settled. Go now, both of you.”
“A person who handed me this card for you desires to speak with you,” said Bremont.
“Another creditor who wants to aid me; doubtless an impatient undertaker! Who is he?”
“You know very well that I do not wish to receive any one.”
“I told him so; but he insisted obstinately and handed me his card with a pressing word penciled upon it.”
“‘Baron Hoffman,’” the banker read aloud. “I do not know him. . . . and ‘on important and pressing business.’ Important! What is there of importance to me now? Send him away!”
“Who knows?” said Bremont.
“Yes,” added Gertrude. “I have prayed so much to God in your behalf.”
And the banker, like the drowning man who instinctively catches at every straw, said:
“Let him come in!”
Gertrude quickly covered the weapons with the table-cloth.
Bremont opened the door and said:
“Come in, Monsieur.”
A man of about thirty years, with a distinguished air and correct deportment, in bourgeois dress of white cravat and blue brass-buttoned coat, such as the rich of that day wore, entered and bowed, with perfect politeness, first to Gertrude and then to the banker.
A general rule. From policy as well as from politeness, if there is a woman in a house, every visitor who wishes to be welcome should bow to her before the man.
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.
Shall the Transfer Papers be Taxed?
To the Editor of Liberty:
During the past six months I have read your paper searchingly, and greatly admire it in many respects, but as yet do not grasp your theory of interest. Can you give space for a few words to show from your standpoint the fallacy in the following ideas?
Interest I understand to be a payment, not for money, but for capital which the money represents; that is, for the use of the accumulated wealth of the race. As that is limited, while human wants are infinite, it would appear that there will always be a demand for more than exists. The simplest way of solving the difficulty would, therefore, be to put the social capital up and let open competition settle its price. Added accumulation means greater competition to let it, so that its price will be lowered year by year. But can that price ever become nothing so long as men have additional wants that capital can assist to fill? Yet Mr. Westrup advocates a rate of interest based on the cost of issuing the money,— that is, allowing nothing for the capital. Is “stored labor” so plenty as to be cheaper than blackberries?
For illustration, A has $1000 worth of land, buildings, etc., in a farm, but sees that he can use $1500 worth profitably. So he places a mortgage of $500 on the place and invests it in more property. Now to say that he should have that additional property merely for the cost of issuing the paper which represents it during the transfer would be like saying that, when he bought his house, he should have it merely for cost of the transfer papers,— the deeds, etc.,— paying nothing for the house itself.
In a line my query is: Where do your definitions of interest and discount on money diverge.
Yours truly, J. Herbert Foster.
Discount is the sum deducted in advance from property temporarily transferred, by the owner thereof, as a condition of the transfer, regardless of the ground upon which such condition is demanded.
Interest is payment for the use of property, and, if paid in advance, is that portion of the discount exacted by the owner of the property temporarily transferred which he claims as payment for the benefit conferred upon the other party, as distinguished from that portion which he claims as payment for the burden borne by himself.
The opponents of interest desire, by reducing the rate of discount to cost, or price of burden borne, to thereby eliminate from discount all payment merely for benefit conferred.
But they are entirely innocent of any desire to abolish payment for burden borne, as it certainly would be abolished in the case supposed by Mr. Foster, were A to obtain his extra $500 worth of property simply by paying the cost of making out the transfer papers. A certainly could not thus obtain it under the system of credit proposed by the opponents of interest. His obligation is not discharged when he has paid over to the man of whom he buys the property the $500 which he has borrowed on mortgage. He still has to discharge the mortgage by paying to the lender of the money, at the expiration of the loan, in actual wealth or valid documentary claim upon wealth, the $500 which he borrowed. That is the time when he really pays for the property in which he invested. Now, the question is whether he shall pay simply the $500, which is supposed to represent the full value of the property at the time he made the investment, or whether he shall also pay a bonus for the use of the property up to the time when he finally pays for it. The opponents of interest say that he should not pay this bonus, because his use of the property has imposed no burden upon the lender of the money, and under free competition there is no price where there is no burden. They declare, not that he should not pay the $500, but that the only bonus he should pay is to be measured by the cost of making out the mortgage and other documents, including all the expenses incidental thereto.
The only reason why he now has to pay a bonus proportional to the benefit he derives from the use of the property is found in the fact that the lender of the money, or the original issuer of the money, from whom the lender procured it more or less directly, has secured a monopoly of money manufacture and can therefore proportion the price of his product to the necessities of his customers, instead of being forced by competition to limit it to the average cost of manufacture. In short, what the opponents of interest object to is, not payment for property purchased, but a tax upon the transfer papers; and the very best of all arguments against interest, or payment for the use of property, is the fact that, at the present advanced stage in the operation of economic forces, it cannot exist to any great extent without taking this form of a tax upon the transfer papers.
Shall the Transfer Papers Be Taxed? That is the question which Liberty asks, and Mr. Foster has already answered it in the negative by saying that open competition should be left to settle the price of capital. But when this open competition is secured, it will be found that, though there may be no limit to the desire for wealth, there is a limit at any given time to the capacity of the race to utilize capital, and that the amount of capital created will always tend to exceed this capacity. Then capital will seek employment and be glad to lend itself to labor for nothing, asking only to be kept intact, and reimbursed for the cost of the transfer papers. Such is the process by which interest, or payment for the use of property, not only will be lowered, but will entirely disappear.
The Anarchists, I think, owe it to themselves, as well as to the little understood and much misunderstood American philosopher, to emphasize and proclaim the true relation between their movement and the grand and beautiful truths abundantly strewed in their path by Emerson regarding man, society, and progress. Everybody eulogizes Emerson, everybody cites him and claims him. Authoritarians, pious pretenders, cultivators of mental imbecility, corrupters of public opinion,— all seek to lay their sophistical traps in the shadow of the dead intellectual lion.
Observe, for instance, the outrage which that narrowest of narrow authoritarians, Gronlund, commits upon the dead thinker: what ideas he fastens to his responsibility, what interpretations he puts upon his expressions, and with what company he surrounds him. We read in “Ca Ira”:
It is inexcusable that any thoughtful person in our generation should, with the experience and teachers we have had, still be making an idol of liberty, and not yet know that absence of restraints is valuable only as a means, never as an end. Never! When liberty is made an end, it always and necessarily defeats itself,— that is to say, when citizens are unrestrained, completely “at liberty,” they always will, if able, encroach upon their fellows and monopolize all power. However virtuous, in the long run they will always do it: it is human nature. In truth, this is the lesson which Carlyle and Emerson have so unceasingly been trying to inculcate,— that Liberty in that sense is a very poor thing indeed. And that noble man, Mazzini, likewise insisted continually that Liberty. . . is impotent to found any thing.
Whether or not Emerson entertained any such view of liberty will appear clearly enough from the passage quoted below, which is taken from one of his articles on “Life and Letters in Massachusetts” in an old number of the “Atlantic Monthly.” It will doubtless occur to every reader with the exception of Mr. Gronlund that the criticisms of Fourierism apply with equal, if not greater, force to all sorts of “Cooperative Commonwealths” of modern invention.
Our feeling was that Fourier had skipped no fact but one,— namely, life. He treats man as a plastic thing,— something that may be put up or down, ripened or retarded, moulded, polished, made into solid, or fluid, or gas, at the will of the leader; or perhaps as a vegetable, from which, though now a poor crab, a very good peach can, by manure and exposure, be in time produced; but skips the faculty of life, which spawns and scorns systems and system-makers, which eludes all conditions, which makes or supplants a thousand phalanxes and new harmonies with each pulsation. There is an order in which in a sound mind the faculties always appear, and which, according to the strength of the individual, they seek to realize in the surrounding world. The value of Fourier’s system is that it is a statement of such an order externized, or carried outward into its correspondence in facts. The mistake is that this particular order and series is to be imposed, by force or preaching and votes, on all men, and carried into rigid execution. But what is true and good must not only be begun by life, but must be conducted to its issues by life. Could not the conceiver of this design have also believed that a similar model lay in every mind, and that the method of each associate might be trusted, as well as that of his particular Committee and General Office, No. 200 Broadway? Nay, that it would be better to say, Let us be lovers and servants of that which is just, and straightway every man becomes a centre of a holy and beneficent republic, which he sees to include all men in its law, like that of Plato and of Christ? Before such a man the whole world becomes Fourierized, or Christized, or humanized, and, in obedience to his most private being, he finds himself, according to his presentiment, though against all sensuous probability, acting in strict concert with all others who followed their private light.
Even more indicative of his real distrust and dislike of cherished democratic superstitions, and of his unclouded confidence in the natural and spontaneous order resulting from liberty, is the following from the “Young American”:
We must have kings and we must have nobles. Nature provides such in every society,— only let us have the real instead of the titular. None should be a governor who has not a talent for governing. How gladly would each citizen pay a commission for the support and continuation of good guidance. Many people have a native skill for carving out business for many hands, a genius for the disposition of affairs. There really seems a progress toward such a state of things, in which this work shall be done by these natural workmen. The national post office is likely to go into disuse before the private telegraph and the express companies. The currency threatens to fall entirely into private hands. Justice is continually administered more and more by private reference, and not by litigation. It would be but an easy extension of our commercial system to pay a private emperor a fee for services, as we pay an architect, an engineer, or a lawyer. We have feudal government in a commercial age. If any man has a talent for righting wrong, for administering difficult affairs, for combining a hundred private enterprises to a general benefit, let him in the county-town, or in Court Street, put up his sign-board, Mr. Smith, Governor; Mr. Johnson, Working King.
Emerson’s views of the utility of existing so-called protective institutions may best be learned from the paragraph which I take out of the essay on “The Conservative”:
I cannot thank your law for my protection. I protect it. It is not in its power to protect me. I depend on my honor, my labor, and my dispositions for my place in the affections of mankind, and not on any convention or parchment of yours. But if I allow myself in derelictions, and become idle and dissolute, I quickly come to love the protection of a stronger law, because I feel no title in myself to my advantages. To the intemperate and covetous person no love flows; to him mankind would pay no rent, no dividend, if force were once relaxed; nay, if they could give their verdict, they would say that his self-indulgence and his oppression deserve punishment from society, not the rich board and lodging he now enjoys. The law acts then as a screen of his unworthiness, and makes him worse the longer it protects him.
But the most discouraging words for the artificial reformer and intolerant partisan are the following from his “Lecture on the Times”:
I think that the soul of reform,— the conviction that not sensualism, not slavery, not war, not imprisonment, not even government, are needed, but, in lieu of them all, reliance on the sentiment of man, which will work best the more it is trusted; not reliance on numbers, but, contrariwise, distrust of numbers. . . . The young men who have been vexing society for these last years with regenerative methods seem to have made this mistake,— they all exaggerated some special means, and all failed to see that the reform of reforms most be accomplished without means.
While thus trusting to the high light of liberty alone for the salvation of mankind, Emerson could but take one attitude toward contemporary reform movements, and it is much the same as that assumed by Anarchists:
The reforms have their high origin in an ideal justice, but they do not retain the purity of an idea. They are quickly organized in some low, inadequate form, and present no more poetic image to the mind than the evil tradition which they reprobated. . . . I think the work of the reformer as innocent as other work that is done around him; but when I have seen it nearer, I do not like it better. It is done in the same way, it is done profanely, not piously; by management, by tactics, by clamor. . . . I must act with truth, though I should never come to act, as you call it, with effect. I must consent to inaction.
The word inaction is here used, as the context shows, in a strictly relative sense. To write such “Essays” as those of Emerson is no small “action,” and the good accomplished by such action, or “inaction,” is, perhaps, the only good that is accomplished in the interest of reform. There are times, as one of Tourgeniet’s characters says, when words are deeds. And when we Anarchists are reproached for inaction and disorganizing propensities, let us remember Emerson’s words about reform and reformers and persevere in our “ineffective” methods. It may be better, indeed, “to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all,” but it is certainly not better to have acted and made matters worse than to have remained inactive, especially if the inaction is of a kind that compares favorably as to results with any possible action.
The University of Thelema.
Those who are familiar with Rabelais’s description of the Abbey of Thelema, that delightful abode of Anarchy where the only law was Fais ce qve veux (Do what you like), will especially enjoy the following sketch of the University of Thelema, written by Paul Heusy and translated from “Le Radical”:
It is built on the side of a hill shaded by beautiful trees, at the foot of which flows a wide river with a swift current. The numerous pavilions that compose it form a sort of little city in which each house rises in the middle of a garden full of shrubs and flowers. In every direction air and light in abundance. The halls, large and high, running north and south, receive through immense bay windows the white rays of the morning and the purple rays of the afternoon.
Over the main entrance, whose two swinging doors are never closed, appears the following inscription:
Learn what you like.
There are taught all sciences, all philosophies, all legislations, all literatures, all tongues, old and new. Sanscrit has its chair, but so has the barbarous jargon of the Polynesian tribes.
There is no discussion whether greater attention should be given to living than to dead languages, or to science than to literature, for the excellent reason that all are equally well treated.
The University pays no attention to the student’s programme. It asks nothing of him, imposes nothing on him.
The student is expected to investigate for himself. He goes and comes at will from pavilion to pavilion. So much the worse for him if, after trying everything, he does not find his way. In that case, apparently, study is scarcely his forte. He is not obliged to stay. There are enough occupations in the world that do not require a previous poring over books. Let him go to them.
Never are any prizes distributed to students, never any ribbons given to professors; usually the latter teach in vests; some, however, prefer jackets; I have even heard that sometimes, in hot summer days, these gentlemen appear in their shirt-sleeves.
These costumes excite great astonishment among the doctors from neighboring countries who visit the University of Thelema.
Generally they raise their arms to heaven and cry:
“What! you do not wrap yourselves in robes and wear square caps on your heads?”
“No,” answer the professors, smiling.
“But how do you inspire respect without robes or caps?”
“Why should any one dream of failing in respect, inasmuch as we do not compel any one to follow our lessons?” say the professors of Thelema.
“Prizes excite emulation,” continue the foreign doctors; “without the hope of reward most of our students would not work.”
“Perhaps you are mistaken,” gently hint the professors of Thelema; “the emulation which you provoke seems to us purely artificial. It results more from a desire to shine than from a desire to know.”
“People have to be taken by their weak sides.”
“Such is not our opinion; we believe they should be encouraged to recognize their strong sides.”
“The maxim seems to us to fit grown men only; and yet all your students are not grown men.”
“True, we admit lads of fifteen.”
“At fifteen they begin to think; that is all we want.”
“And you do not divide the studies into different stages to be taken successively?”
“Oh, yes, we grade the studies.”
“Very good, but you do not submit the students to any examination in passing from one grade to another?”
“Then how do you know whether they are fit to rise one degree?”
“We do not trouble ourselves about that,” answer the professors of Thelema; “the students must question themselves and judge for themselves.”
At this reply the foreign doctors generally shake their heads and run away frightened.
The University of Thelema, it is scarcely necessary to say, gives no diplomas. The student leaves when he considers himself sufficiently a lawyer, doctor, engineer, man of letters, or man of science.
And as in the country where Thelema is situated all professions are open, these young people are not subjected to the slightest embarrassment. They practise law, medicine, build bridges, etc., without fear of being stopped in the midst of their work by a policeman who asks for their parchment.
It is even remarked that, having no papers in their pockets which declare them “doctors,” they never feel themselves freed from the obligation to continue to learn. So, when they have any leisure, they spend it at the University of Thelema, on whose benches they hasten to take their places again as attentive listeners.
Such a phenomenon is rarely observed in countries where diplomas are given, inasmuch as the diploma serves famously as a substitute for knowledge.
A Great, Drunk, Mad City.
Shortly after the rush of newspaper men to Chicago to “do” the Republican convention, the editor of the Chicago “Tribune” invited a number of them to answer in his columns the question: “What do you think of Chicago?” When among the replies he received the following from E. W. Lightner of the Pittsburg “Dispatch,” he probably regretted his rash act, but he could not avoid printing it:
What do I think of Chicago?
I think it is earth’s sublimest illustration of the fiendish spirit of modern civilization.
It is the crowned king devil of trade, the most worthy paramour in all the world of the harlot of competition for money profit.
Its grand temples of Mammon, dedicated to skinning the people; its seething humanity, a few struggling to increase their thousands and millions, the mass fighting for their daily bread; the vast machinery for the exploitation of the many for the benefit of the few; the clash and clatter and roar of the strife of man with man and woman with woman for place and preference, for sticks and coals, for bread and bones,— make Chicago, even in its gigantic youth, a sublime fury, a fascinating bell.
All commercial cities have something of this aspect, but Chicago is supreme.
Nowhere else does humanity seem to tumble over and tramp upon humanity with such recklessness and fiendishness. Nowhere else do the poor seem to be so held in contempt by the municipal power that is dominated by the rich. Where lie the interests of the princes of the grain elevator, the dukes of the pork barrel, the lords of the dry-goods palace, there are the contents of the public treasury emptied, while in the regions of the lower million the streets are neglected, the sewers fuming, the gutters reeking.
Never was contrast between castle of baron and hovel of serf more marked and sinister. Section looks over against section, the one gnashing teeth and the other clashing arms. The one rushing madly and ever more madly on in the acquirement of wealth it cannot use, the other waiting bitterly for that evolution of social affairs that is sure to bring the day of reckoning. In this situation and atmosphere the wealthy, and the branches of municipal authority controlled by them, naturally become proud of their power and cruel to the limit of their pride when assailed. In this situation and atmosphere revolutionists are bred as they were in those days, almost exactly a hundred years ago, when in a night the walls of the Bastile were burst asunder and baronies melted away with the mists of the morning.
Revolutionary heads are lopped off without sense or justice, revolutionary assemblies are clubbed and dispersed by police who have no higher intelligence than brute force, and the gluttonous monster of proprietary interest thinks it has done a righteous thing and is safe. It says grace over its table groaning with the richest food and flowing with the rarest wines; it goes to church and listens in fat content to gorged priests who are paid to fetch pleasing messages from heaven to them; and then goes forth anew to cheat and exploit and gamble and call it honest trade, and dole out pittance to the lower million and call it fair wages, and imagine that this monstrous business can go on forever.
Such thoughts must come to the thoughtful in any great city, but in Chicago they are thrust into the heart and burned into the brain, for nowhere else does the cut-throat game of commercial competition seem so reckless and cruel; nowhere else do the fortunate and unscrupulous seem so successful at driving the honest and unspeculative to the wall; nowhere else has the press of America seemed so eager and vindictive in fighting the kindly spirit of justice down from its throne with the blind and reckless spirit of vengeance.
But while the bird of gloomy omen shadows everything with its outstretched wings, and while the night approaches that is to give way to the dawn of a more glorious day for society than the world has yet seen, the terrible orchestra which plays requiems and dirges and roars out war blasts in the frenzied streets will continue to fascinate; the prostitution of honest trade by day and the prostitution of body and soul by night will go on in neighboring streets, slaying its victims innumerable; the palace of commercial exploitation, the palace of the creator of drunkards, and the palace of the scarlet woman, nestling side by side, will continue to dazzle and delude and betray, and the gay and reckless will laugh and sneer at every protestant, and the law will throttle every one who dares to seriously threaten this astounding civilization.
And Chicago will, while this endures, continue to outrival all comers in all that makes a city great, drunk, and mad; it will grow to proportions to which its present will seem absurdly insignificant; it will inspire more and more the wonder and awe, if not the pity and alarm, of all who behold it.
The Single Tax a Partial Tax.
[Robert Ellis Thompson in the Irish World.]
I do not dispute the abstract justice of taking for public use the unearned increment of the value of land, provided the same be done with unearned increments generally. If the State will go through the stores and tax every gain the merchant has made by rises in price; if it will levy on the Goulds and the Vanderbilts all the unearned increment in the current price of their securities; if it will apply in every other field the same maxim that any increase in pricey which results from “the general movement of society” shall belong to society,— then well and good. Then land will be treated like everything else, and the land-owners shall have no injustice to complain of. But everybody knows that no such maxim is capable of general application; and the owner of a farm is quite justifiable in insisting that the application of it shall not begin and end with him. For this reason the single tax is as impracticable as it would be unjust.
L’Homme Qui Rit.
To the Editor of Liberty:
Tourgenief, in one of his prose poems, relates how a fool, after having tried his hand at various vocations with signal failure as the inevitable result, concluded to become a professional critic. His success was immediate and phenomenal, as, according to Tourgenief’s experience with the world, an impudent fool has altogether an easy and delightful time among cowards.
Cannot some such reason as this account for the way in which the Socialist official English organ is editorially conducted? It is one of the chief claims of State Socialists that, under a proper industrial system, those invested with the authority and function of educating youth would constantly aim to put the right man in the right place. Yet here we see a clown put by a Socialistic organization in an editorial chair! True, the Socialists are not at the helm just yet, and consequently cannot tax the people for the establishment of “free” circuses in which to employ their clowns, but the sanctum of a newspaper is the very last place where to teach clowns to make themselves useful.
The individual who “edits” that organ will never do us the honor to refer to the term Anarchism otherwise than with a sneer. He insists upon defining it as disorder, and pretends to believe that no sensible man can call himself an Anarchist. This freak has long ceased to appear comical. In the last issue he has a reply to my editorial in the last Liberty that “for skillful manipulation of words, conscienceless misrepresentation, and aggressive self-assertion is quite remarkable.” Of course, as usual in such cases, he does not quote me, for honesty is not the part of a “funny man.” No Anarchistic writer or lecturer would ever expect him to take a sober and fair view of any fact or theory, but they certainly expect it from the thinking elements of the Socialistic body. Unless they mean to convert their organ into a circus, it is time they learned the futility of counteracting nature and went about hunting for a more rational person to champion their cause. Yours for compassion on mental deformity,
Herbert Spencer on the Ethics of Kant.
I omit here all actions which are already recognized as inconsistent with duty, although they may be useful for this or that purpose, for with these the question whether they are done from duty cannot arise at all, since they even conflict with it. I also set aside those actions which really conform to duty, but to which men have no direct inclination, performing them because they are impelled thereto by some other inclination. For in this case we can readily distinguish whether the action which agrees with duty is done from duty or from a selfish view. It Is much harder to make this distinction when the action accords with duty, and the subject has besides a direct inclination to it. For example, it is always a matter of duty that a dealer should not overcharge an inexperienced purchaser, and wherever there is much commerce the prudent tradesman does not overcharge, but keeps a fixed price for every one, so that a child buys of him as well as any other. Men are thus honestly served; but is not enough to make us believe that the tradesman has go acted from duty and from principles of honesty: his own advantage required it; it is out of the question in this case to suppose that he might besides have a direct inclination in favor of the buyers, so that, as it were, from love he should give no advantage to one over another[!]. Accordingly the action was done neither from duty nor from direct inclination, but merely with a selfish view. On the other hand, it is a duty to maintain one’s life; and, in addition, every one has also a direct inclination to do so. But on this account the often anxious care which most men take for it has no intrinsic worth, and their maxim has no moral import. They preserve their life as duty requires, no doubt, but not because duty requires. On the other hand, if adversity and hopeless sorrow nave completely taken away the relish for life; if the unfortunate one, strong in mind, indignant at his fate rather than desponding or dejected, wishes for death, and yet preserves his life without loving it,— not from inclination or fear, but from duty,— then his maxim has a moral worth.
To be beneficent when we can is a duty; and besides this, there are many minds so sympathetically constituted that, without any other motive of vanity or self-interest, they find a pleasure in spreading joy around them, and can take delight in the satisfaction of others so far as it is their own work. But I maintain that in such a case an action of this kind, however proper, however amiable it may be, has nevertheless no true moral worth, but is on a level with other inclinations. — Kant.
I have given this extract at length that there may be fully understood the remarkable doctrine it embodies,— a doctrine especially remarkable as exemplified in the last sentence. Let us now consider all that it means.
Before doing this, however, I may remark that, space permitting, it might be shown clearly enough that the assumed distinction between sense of duty and inclination is untenable. The very expression sense of duty implies that the mental state signified is a feeling; and, if a feeling, it must, like other feelings, be gratified by acts of one kind and offended by acts of an opposite kind. If we take the name conscience, which is equivalent to sense of duty, we see the same thing. The common expressions “a tender conscience,” “a seared conscience,” indicate the perception that conscience is a feeling,— a feeling which has its satisfactions and dissatisfactions, and which inclines a man to acts which yield the one and avoid the other,— produces an inclination. The truth is that conscience, or the sense of duty, is an inclination of a complex kind as distinguished from inclinations of simpler kinds.
But let us grant Kant’s distinction in an unqualified form. Doing this, let us entertain, too, his proposition that acts of whatever kind done from inclination have no moral worth, and that the only acts having moral worth are those done from a sense of duty. To test this proposition let us follow an example he sets. As he would have the quality of an act judged by supposing it universalized, let us judge of moral worth as he conceives it by making a like supposition. That we may do this effectually let us suppose that it is exemplified, not only by every man, but by all the acts of every man. Unless Kant alleges that a man may be morally worthy in too high a degree, we must admit that the greater the number of his acts which have moral worth the better. Let us then contemplate him as doing nothing from inclination but everything from a sense of duty.
When he pays the laborer who has done a week’s work for him, it is not because letting a man go without wages would be against his inclination, but solely because he sees it to be a duty to fulfill contracts. Such care as he takes of his aged mother is prompted, not by tender feeling for her, but by the consciousness of filial obligation. When he gives evidence on behalf of a man whom he knows to have been falsely charged, it is not that he would be hurt by seeing the man wrongly punished, but simply in pursuance of a moral intuition showing him that public duty requires him to testify. When he sees a little child in danger of being run over, and steps aside to snatch it away, he does so not because the impending death of the child pains him, but because he knows it is a duty to save life. And so throughout, in all his relations as husband, as friend, as citizen, he thinks always of what the law of right conduct directs, and does it because it is the law of right conduct, not because he satisfies his affections or his sympathies by doing it. This is not all, however. Kant’s doctrine commits him to something far beyond this. If those acts only have moral worth which are done from a sense of duty, we must not only say that the moral worth of a man is greater in proportion as the number of the acts so done is greater; but we must say that his moral worth is greater in proportion as the strength of his sense of duty is such that he does the right thing, not only apart from inclination, but against inclination. According to Kant, then, the most moral man is the man whose sense of duty is so strong that he refrains from picking a pocket, though he is much tempted to do it; who says of another that which is true, though he would like to injure him by a falsehood; who lends money to his brother, though he would prefer to see him in distress; who fetches the doctor to his sick child, though death would remove what he feels to be a burden. What, now, shall we think of a world peopled with Kant’s typically moral men,— men who in the one case, while doing right by one another, do it with indifference and severally know one another to be so doing it, and men who, in the other case, do right by one another notwithstanding the promptings of evil passions to do otherwise, and who severally know themselves surrounded by others similarly prompted? Most people will, I think, say that even in the first case life would be hardly bearable, and that in the second case it would be absolutely intolerable. Had such been men’s natures, Schopenhauer would indeed have had good reason for urging that the race should bring itself to an end as quickly as possible.
Contemplate now the doings of one whose acts according to Kant have no moral worth. He goes through his daily work, not thinking of duty to wife and child, but having in his thought the pleasure of witnessing their welfare; and on reaching home he delights to see his little girl with rosy cheeks and laughing eyes eating heartily. When he hands back to a shopkeeper the shilling given in excess of right change, he does not stop to ask what the moral law requires: the thought of profiting by the man’s mistake is intrinsically repugnant to him. One who is drowning he plunges in to rescue without any idea of duty, but because he cannot contemplate without horror the death which threatens. If for a worthy man who is out of employment he takes much trouble to find a place, he does it because the consciousness of the man’s difficulties is painful to him, and because he knows that he will benefit, not only him, but the employer who engages him: no moral maxim enters his mind. When he goes to see a sick friend, the gentle tones of his voice and the kindly expression of his face show that he is come not from any sense of obligation, but because pity and a desire to raise his friend’s spirits have moved him. If he aids in some public measure which helps men to help themselves, it is not in pursuance of the admonition “Do as you would be done by,” but because the distresses around make him unhappy and the thought of mitigating them gives him pleasure. And so throughout: he ever does the right thing, not in obedience to any injunction, but because he loves the right thing in and for itself. And now who would not like to live in a world where every one was thus characterized?
What, then, shall we think of Kant’s conception of moral worth, when, if it were displayed universally in men’s acts, the world would be intolerable, and when, if these same acts were universally performed from inclination, the world would be delightful?
At the Unveiling of Garibaldi’s Statue.
A few weeks ago, witnessing the unveiling of the statue of Garibaldi on Washington Square, my attention was strongly drawn to the thousands of our Italian fellow-citizens who were revolving round the pedestal upon which stood the image of their worshipped patriot.
All grades of intellect and development were represented there, from the faintest accentuation of those principles to the clearest signs of their presence. An observer could view the stages of progress, visible as they were, from the immigrant just landed on this soil to the thoroughly Americanized Italian.
The newly landed Italian can easily be recognized by the coarse expression of his face. His clothes are odd and unclean. His skin seems to correspond to the description of “Mark Twain” in “A Tramp Abroad,” when he defines himself as “being in the position of an important land-owner who carries his real estates on his person next to the skin.”
But, in the languid and fixed black eye can be seen, now and then, a spark of intellect peeping out faintly, as if that spark were either in its first or last stage of existence. It is the dormant germ of the mentality for which his ancestors, the pagan Romans, were so famous.
Every great and noble development has disappeared from the poor classes of Italy. Garibaldi sounded the trumpet for the resurrection of Italian greatness and freedom; but the lowest classes have not heard its sound. Eighteen centuries of papal authority and crushing laws have smothered to apparent death the wondrous activity of that remarkable people. Their sense of individual dignity and rights has collapsed under the weighty rule of an implacable temporal and spiritual despotism.
All the Latin races of Europe bear the characteristics of the demoralization of bondage in a far greater degree than the Saxon races. The former drank deeper at the cup of Christianity and evolved more blindly into devotion, unquestioned beliefs, and adhesive obedience. The clergy possessed them, soul and body. Even to this day they have been unable to relieve themselves altogether from the crushing weight of superstition.
The Saxon races first gave the death-blow to Roman Christianity and clerical absolutism by rallying round Luther and the Reformation. They are the freest races of Europe. Not that I wish by any means to imply that Roman Catholicity means bondage and ignorance for the believer, while Protestant Catholicity means freedom and knowledge! Only bigoted and prejudiced persons could fall into such a glaring error. All religions whatever rest on abstract beliefs and clerical authority at the expense of reason and freedom. The Protestant Church did not exert such an implacable authority over its adherents because the very revolt of progressive minds against papal autocracy and intolerance was the seed out of which she was brought to life. She was the outcome of an effort of progress to clear the road for evolution. But, once established, she was prepared to carry out her intolerance as far as the state of society would permit her to do so.
By comparing the two races — i. e., Latin and Saxon — in their modern respective positions, we behold the forceful demonstrations of the benefits of Liberty in the development of mankind.
Look at the English immigrant as he stands next to the Italian at Castle Garden. The former bears in all his countenance strong indications of individualism. “Ego” is branded on his forehead. The latter moves with faltering steps, as if waiting for some one’s permission to be allowed to go on. He stands in the position of an isolated atom striving to gravitate towards some adhesive body. The eyes of the one look around and about with the consciousness of a judge; the other gazes furtively, as if he were trespassing on a private property.
Authority and coercive laws paralyze and extinguish our mental and physical faculties in direct proportion to the pressure they bring to bear upon the individual. They act like a bandage tightly wound round a limb of our body. The circulation of the blood is stopped, and the limb gradually withers and dies. But the share of vitality thus displaced from the limb is not wasted. It passes over, making an addition to the vitality of the other limbs of the body. All, in nature, is perfectly harmonized. The production and distribution of energy are governed by immutable principles. Energy is never wasted. It may be diverted from its channel, but it will soon find other outlets. John the Baptist is reported to have said of Jesus Christ: “He must grow and I must diminish.” This prophecy implied that John was expecting a Master, a new development of the faith he was preaching. As the master more or less asserts his rights, the bondage of the servant tightens more or less. As a new view of a principle expands more or less, the former view of it recedes more or less.
To encroach upon the rights of our fellow-men is nothing but a natural endeavor. That endeavor does not spring from the encroacher; it is forced upon him and called into action by the presence of some individual whose lack of knowledge and power keeps him below the line of social equilibrium. The servant creates the master; the slave calls forth the tyrant. Supply is born out of demand. Destroy the servant and the slave, and the master and the tyrant vanish like smoke!
But to return to the sons and daughters of beautiful Italy paying their homage to the memory of their hero Garibaldi, in Washington Square.
It was most interesting to observe them as they strolled round the statue. The comparatively large measure of liberty enjoyed in this country has developed the mental and physical qualities which were dormant in them while under the oppressive systems of their native land. From the newly-arrived immigrant upward to the American nationalized Italian could be perceived a course of regular and gradual development corresponding to the length of time they had been in America. Following those grades, the observer could notice more and more cleanliness, more and more value and style in clothing and jewelry, more and more ease in the countenance, more and more clearness and transparency in the skin, more and more brilliancy in the beautiful black eye, more and more self-reliance and individuality in the general expression of the face. Here, in America, freedom affords to mankind all the opportunities which can be enjoyed under a liberal government and liberal laws. Imperfect as these may seem (and undoubtedly are), they are the best ever yet produced by our modem civilization. They offer to the mind and body the widest range for education and happiness that can ever be secured under any State authority and laws. Corrupted as our legislators appear to be, they are as near to the level of honesty as any rulers of a free nation can ever be.
Corruption and demoralization are part and parcel of authority and legislation. The iniquity of “man ruling over man” can produce nothing but iniquitous results on both the ruled and the ruler. The system is a double-edged weapon; it strikes and wounds on both sides.
Wisdom can only be acquired by experience. No laws can either teach it to mankind, or compel a nation to be directed by it. Capital punishment has not done away with murder; so true is this that governments are gradually abolishing that penalty. The Italian parliament has just voted its abolition, and all other nations will soon follow the example. What is true about the law of capital punishment is also true about all other laws relative to their influence on the human mind.
We, in this country, enjoy but a small amount of the sum of liberty which is our birthright, but the benefits derived from that installment are very great indeed. The European immigrant coming to these shores is a living proof that freedom inspires morality and kindness. He breathes in the atmosphere a gentle feeling of sympathy for the suffering and forsaken. Spontaneous manifestations of benevolence are by no means scarce in this land, and the intelligent immigrant must testify to the correctness of this statement. Animals are treated with more humanity and kindness in this Republic than in any place outside of it, be it in Europe or in America.
I am myself a two-fold immigrant. When I came to this country from Europe several years ago, the loftiness of the unrestrained friendly feelings of the people struck me very forcibly. Leaving the States two years later, I went to settle in a neighboring land, where I remained a good many years, and once more I emigrated to this country. If, on my arrival here from fossilized Europe, I had been favorably impressed with the unassuming kindness of the American people, on my second arrival my good impression on that point was tenfold. That neighboring province in which I had lived many years and which I had just left had stored my mind with impressions arising from the cold-blooded greed and the cat-like, steadfast watchfulness for prey which are the uniform characteristics of that Law-and-Church-abiding people.
The statue of Garibaldi erected in this city stands on a ground and among a people worthy of that great cosmopolitan. He was a noble, liberty-loving soul. Impressed with the belief that the unity of the Italian races and centralization of power were indispensable to the emancipation of his people, he devoted his entire life to that end; sparing neither his own sufferings nor his life. He may have been mistaken in his deductions regarding centralization as related to Liberty, but he never shrunk from the duties impose on him by his convictions. He stands among us as one of those magnificent spirits of the past whose greatness fills the universe; whose name echoes and re-echoes throughout the vastness of the Infinite!
Italy may well be proud of her glorious son and devoted emancipator. She gave him birth; but who brought to life in him the immense flood of love and devotion which was ever overflowing? Liberty did it. She is his true mother, and also the mother of all noble, devoted, unfettered men and women. Garibaldi belongs to the World, and the World claims him as its own.
The “Marseillaise” hymn was composed by a Frenchman, and France is proud of the soul-stirring production. But who inspired that man to compose such a poem, in which the outbursts of a soul filled with bitterness against tyranny, with agony, with an indomitable resolve to be free or die, are heard so distinctly? Liberty inspired him! The hymn does not belong to France. It belongs to all down-trodden people struggling to be free. It belongs to all the world, and the world has taken possession of it.
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.