“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.
How great is the “Standard’s” love of freedom, and how deep its understanding of it, may be seen in its declaration that the suppression of lotteries properly comes within the police powers of the State governments.
General Sherman has little sympathy with the Peace Society. He thinks that wars will continue just as long as man exists. But we know that General Sherman’s opinion on sociological matters is of as much value as a certain animal’s feeling regarding the beauty of pearl.
The editor of “Freethought” says: “I have come to the conclusion that we should be cautious about resisting by force anything that is not imposed by force.” In other words, Mr. George Macdonald has come to the conclusion that the wisest philosophy is the Anarchistic philosophy.
The Australian labor market is of course overstocked in spite of the eight-hour day and the Saturday half-holiday. Now the labor organizations are agitating for a seven-hour work-day with no work on Saturday. These facts ought to suggest something to our American eight-hour agitators.
A contemporary wonderingly speaks of the “unfortunate fact that men of the people’s choice are not always a very choice lot.” But the people really never choose, nor are they competent to make a good choice. On the other hand, those who offer themselves as candidates for the people’s favor are mostly unfit for the work expected of them.
“At last the ‘Journal of the Knights of Labor’ squarely admits that in the fight of labor against monopoly trades unionism is a failure, and the ‘Glass-worker’ seems to be of the same mind. Well, then; now make your choice between State Socialism or Anarchism. There is no middle ground.” A piece of good news here, as well as an excellent suggestion. And it comes from the “Twentieth Century.”
The poor pope is obliged to leave Home. According to a religious newspaper, “Rome is fast becoming the headquarters of Atheism and free thought. The shop windows are full of shocking caricatures of the Deity, license is allowed for blasphemy, and its indecency has never been surpassed in history.” Perhaps Dana has prevailed upon his friend, the pope, to come to New York, where he can count on the loyal support of the Democratic politicians, including Henry George.
Referring to Liberty’s criticism of his position on the question of property, Mr. Auberon Herbert says in his paper of August “We cannot this week reply to (Mr. Tucker’s) friendly criticism, but we will do so as soon as ever our hands are free from a very heavy piece of work. We could wish for no better or fairer opponent; and we shall fight to get him over to our view, that liberty cannot exist apart from the ruling of the open market, as determinedly as he hopes to get us over into his camp.”
In the last number of the “Individualist” the readers are informed that “implicit obedience is not necessarily un-Anarchistic; provided that obedience is given voluntarily and can be denied at will.” But in the issue of July 26 one of the editors attacked Pentecost and accused him of most astonishing ignorance and confusion for making a similar statement. Cannot the editors of the “Individualist” call a meeting for the purpose of discussing “What is Anarchism”? Is their paper so prosperous under ignorance and chaos that they think it folly to try to be wise and clear?
It was naturally to be expected that the habit of editors and reviewers to criticise books without reading them would lead to ludicrous results. The editor of the “Boston Investigator” says: “That there is in Tolstoi’s book ‘more or less philosophical free-love arguments,’ as one of our daily papers expresses it, no one can deny, but if all literature is to be classed as obscene that does not teach Orthodox notions of love and marriage, a great many books in circulation will come under the ban.” It is perfectly evident that the editor and the writer he quotes have neither read “The Kreutzer Sonata” nor ever listened to a free-love argument.
The Boston “Globe” tells the following yarn: “A well-known Anarchist, viewing the Grand Army parade, shook his head mournfully and ejaculated, ‘Anarchy has no show here!’” Nothing could possibly show in a more striking manner the decay of govern mental ism than this very farce we have just witnessed, called the Grand Army Encampment. The marching of the pension-beggars, the petty quarrels of the intriguers who fancy themselves military geniuses, the speeches of the politicians, the transparent hypocrisy of everybody connected with the affair,— all was calculated to disgust the more or less intelligent observer and make him dream of a state of society free from political, military, and journalistic frauds and humbugs.
The editor of the “Journal of the Knights of Labor” objects to the statement of a correspondent that equality of natural opportunities under freedom would be the only thing needed in order to abolish involuntary poverty and idleness. “In our present social conditions,” he says, “artificial, socially-created opportunities are just as necessary to life and labor as natural ones. Men may be starved into submission to the terms of capitalism by those who control the machines and the money just as effectually as by those who own the land.” Very well; we Anarchists demand free competition in the supply of money and equality of all opportunities. Is the editor ready to join us? I fear not. He is arguing in favor of State Socialism; but he can never show that the Anarchist view of the social problem is incorrect. Why does he refrain from a critical examination of Liberty’s economic position?
I confess I have a very poor opinion of the literary education of the good people who fancy that they discover genius in the writings of Helen Gardener. If there is a subject which she thoroughly understands, I do not know what it is. Then she certainly has no style. She might make a bright reporter, but she has so far given no promise of anything worthier. She has written one or two tolerably fair stories, but there is no trace of originality or genuine artistic power in them. Helen Gardener would be a useful worker in the ranks of the social and religious reformers if she were induced to devote herself to serious study of modern thought and modest attempts at the popularization of its most vital results. But she has been spoiled by flattery and led astray by foolish admiration. People that are indulgent to themselves and that meet with no candid and earnest appreciation in the early part of their career never amount to anything.
The following newspaper item is interesting as illustrating the kind of victories strikers are gaining in their struggle with privileged capital: “Chicago is threatened with another carpenters’ strike. It will be remembered that last May the men demanded eight hours and forty cents an hour. Arbitration was resorted to, and it was agreed that, until the first of the present month, the men should receive thirty-five cents an hour, and thenceforward until March 1, 1891, thirty-seven and one half cents an hour. It was a fair and square agreement, ratified by both parties in interest, and under it the men went to work in good faith; but when the first of August came, their employers, individually and collectively, repudiated their agreement, and refused to pay the advance. Hence the carpenters have met and resolved that, ‘much as they deplore the occasion that makes it necessary, their only course is to quit work in a body,’ and this they will do on the first day of September unless the employers hold to the original agreement.”
Helen Gardener has contributed an essay on “The Fictions of Fiction” to the Chicago “Open Court.” She properly protests against certain scoundrel maxims and ridicules certain traditional absurdities. But when she classes the aphorism, “Man’s inhumanity to man makes countless thousands mourn” among the “fictions” of fiction, she betrays profound ignorance of the most fundamental social truths and realities. I suspect that she is ignorant, too, of the fact that this sentiment was uttered by Burns,— certainly one of the least conventional of poets. Another instance of fiction in fiction Helen Gardener finds in that deeply philosophical and significant expression, “He was one of the best and therefore one of the saddest of men.” I can only pity the mind that fails to respond to this melancholy truth, so abundantly illustrated in history. Helen Gardener evidently knows nothing of Socrates’s life, or of Spinoza’s life, or of Comte’s, or of Emerson’s, or of Ruskin’s. She had better, on the whole, leave literary philosophy and criticism to more serious and reflective minds.
The following passage from George Parsons Lathrop’s letter on John Boyle O’Reilly to the “Critic” is certainly significant. “When I last saw him,” writes Mr. Lathrop, “he was discouraged and sad; not for himself, for he never made any personal complaint, and, besides, he was pecuniarily prosperous; but because of the hopelessness of the conflict between generous idealism for the good of humanity, and that selfish indifference which controls most individuals, whether they belong to the small class that rules, or to the great mass that pretends to rule yet in fact submits to the dictation of the few. Boyle O’Reilly is said to have died from failure of the heart. My own sincere belief is that he died, not from failure of the heart, but from the failure of society, and of those who now parade as men, to make room for a great and generous heart which throbbed with good will for all mankind.” To those who understood the poet these words will suggest more than-they intimate. A whole tragedy, in fact, will be revealed to them,— a tragedy which will shed light on the enigmatic life of the revolutionist and poet and augment their admiration for his nobility and greatness.
Wealth and Legislation.
“Today” of August 21 has a remarkable article entitled “Ten Million a Year.” It traces the connection between wealth and legislation, between colossal fortunes and government interference with trade. The editor says: “I have often been deterred from contenting myself with the general conclusion that the colossal fortunes which have been accumulated in America in recent years owed their existence to governmental interference with trade, by reflecting on particular cases in which the mode of interference was not obvious. In no instance has governmental interference appeared less responsible than in the case of the great Vanderbilt fortune.” But research and reflection at last led the editor to the surprising discovery that “governmental interference of a very clear and unmistakable kind is indeed a necessary link in that chain of circumstances out of which the Vanderbilt fortune has sprung.” It may be confidently asserted, he says, “that the cause of the Vanderbilt fortune is the Erie Canal, built by the State of New York, and the Western railroads, built by the Federal government.”
We reproduce in a condensed and imperfect form the editor’s elaborate and searching examination of the case:
The first railroad to be built in New York State was the Mohawk & Hudson, from Albany to Schenectady, I think, at a cost of $100,000 a mile, including terminal facilities. This was in 1826, and in the same year the Erie Canal was completed. At this time the State government had expended over ninety million dollars on canals, a very large part of which had gone for the Erie Canal. The little Mohawk & Hudson road was successful from the start, and paid good dividends; and for this and other reasons numerous plans were set afoot to build other roads. In 1831 some citizens of Rochester and Buffalo applied to the Legislature to charter a railroad to run between Buffalo and Albany. This, it will be observed, was a quarter of a century before Cornelius Vanderbilt took control of the New York Central Railroad.... Their application for the charter was refused by the Legislature. Had the application been granted, it is perfectly obvious that the ownership of the resulting road would have been distributed in the first place principally among the men who proposed to build it. But the charter was refused; and the reason for the refusal was, that the State had just completed the Erie Canal, built with money raised by taxation from the daily earnings of the people, who had been saddled with a great debt besides. Now, it is an extremely curious and interesting fact, deserving of the most careful attention, that the Erie Canal was completed in 1826, the very year in which the first railroad charter was granted in New York, and only one year after the building of Stephenson’s railroad between Stockton and Darlington, England. The significance of this fact is unmistakable. The unavoidable inference, it seems to me, is, that if the Erie Canal had not been built by the State, it never would have been made at all. In this connection it is worthy of note that the advantages of rail transportation seemed so evident to the applicants for the charter in 1831, that they proposed to the Legislature to pay to the State a toll on all freight carried by the proposed road equal to the toll that would have been collected had the freight been transported by the canal....
Nevertheless, as I have said, the charter was refused, on the ground that it would be injurious to the interest of the people whose millions had just been invested in the Erie Canal; as though it would not be vastly more injurious for the people to be mulcted of heavy tolls over the canal for years and years after a cheaper means of transportation might have been obtained! ....
Instead of chartering this through road from Buffalo to Albany and leaving the stockholders to share the vicissitudes of fortune which might befall them, the Legislature of New York proceeded to charter in succession a number of short local roads, some of which were placed under absolute prohibition of carrying freight between points served by the Canal.... They all belonged to different companies, were therefore managed incoherently and expensively.
Finally the crash came. Crash in the stock of the railroads? Let the Vanderbilt fortune answer. The crash that came was in the State Legislature, when, in 1853, the road chartered in 1837 was completed, and the last charter for the roads now forming the New York Central property had been granted. Then, this Legislature, whose unwise, and, probably also, corrupt predecessor of twenty-two years before had refused to permit the building of one road between Albany and Buffalo, proceeded to reverse that policy, and passed the act permitting the consolidation of all these local roads.
Now, when we inquire into the origin of the Vanderbilt fortune, the consideration of which I have no manner of doubt has turned the scale in the shallow mind of more than one person hesitating whether to lend his attention to the fiery orators of socialism, I think we should not be at a loss what view to take. It is not the Legislature of 1853 which is responsible for this vast accumulation: the consolidation of those railroads was inevitable; but the Legislature of 1831, which tried to protect the Erie Canal, and the previous Legislatures, which built the Canal by taxation, are necessary links in the chain of causation which finally gave to oue man a greater income in one day than the majority have in ten years.
Another cause of the Vanderbilt fortune is the construction by the Federal Government of Western railroads. It needs no amplification to show that, great as is the fortune represented by the New York Central alone, it is not so great as that represented by the whole group of roads called the “Vanderbilt System.” The value of this entire property, including the Central, evidently depends very largely upon the freights to and from the West, especially the Northwest, including, under this description, Michigan, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Iowa, Kansas, and all the intervening States and Territories to the Pacific Coast. It is more than twenty-five years since the Federal Government commenced the construction of railroads throughout this territory by guaranteeing the bonded debt and making enormous grants of land to corporations composed, generally, of two or three persons. At any rate, twenty-five years would carry us back to 1865, and Vanderbilt became president of the New York Central & Hudson River Railroad in 1866, I believe. This, you observe, is a coincidence,— but one of the terms of the coincidence is the action of the Government....
It is more probable than not that most of the important railroads built in the West by the general Government would have been built by this time even without the Government. So the Vanderbilt system was bound, when the time came, to reap the great advantages of exchange of freights and travel between the East and Northwest. But I am not aware of any general necessity or special providence why the Vanderbilt family should be in possession of the Vanderbilt system, when that time came. It is notorious, as a matter of fact, that in 1882 or 1883 the control of the New York Central was sold by the second Vanderbilt president of the road. Suppose that, instead of nearly all the important routes in the Northwest having been completed in 1876, they were Just being surveyed then, and were only now in course of completion. Then it is obvious that when the second Vanderbilt died, a few years ago, he would not have left a fortune of one hundred and fifty millions or more to his heirs. And this is the point under consideration. Not what some other fortune might have been, not what the Vanderbilt fortune might have become at some future time, but what it has already become, or rather, why it has become what it is. And the considerations suggested in the foregoing seem to show satisfactorily that governmental interference, first of the New York Legislature, then of the Federal Congress, is a necessary link in the chain of causation which has produced this particular fortune.
Socialistic Vulgarity and Brutality.
[London Personal Rights Journal.]
The Christian Socialist “Church Reformer” has two instructive paragraphs on the Bradlaugh-Hyndman debate on the right of A and B to say that C shall neither work nor employ others to work more than eight hours per diem, and on the revolt of the Post-office and Police employés. The debate, it says, “was a barren and useless affair so far as argument went. The chief value of it consists in the warning it ought to give to all Socialists. Anything more disgraceful than the conduct of Mr. Hyndman’s supporters towards Mr. Bradlaugh is difficult to imagine: the conduct of the supporters of the Athanasian creed in the presence of the late Dean Stanley or of Mr. Price Hughes’ friends in the presence of a defender of Music Halls, are the only parallels which can be found. No wonder men are afraid of State Socialism, when Socialists show so little fairness or self-restraint. For surely the main objection to State or municipal Socialism consists in a fear lest the Socialist majority should crush individual freedom as much as modern competition under restrictive laws does.” Really there is nothing very new in this behavior of the Social Democrats, and we are only sorry that Mr. Bradlaugh should waste health, and strength in a vain endeavor to argue with these people. When Mr. Levy endeavored to explain the “Outcome of Individualism” at Leicester, it was just the same.
“The Socialists in St. James’s Hall,” says the “Church Reformer,” “showed no sweet reasonableness: they seemed as unwilling to hear Mr. Bradlaugh as the Post-office and Police authorities (both of them distinctly Socialistic organizations) have been to the postmen’s and policemen’s demands. The conduct of these heads of State departments should, we think, also be a warning to some of our friends. Until we get universal suffrage and payment of election expenses and of elected people” — when the leopard of Socialism will change its spots, as we observe in countries where “universal” suffrage and payment of members are faits accomplis — “it may be very dangerous to put much more power into the hands of municipal or State officers. Mr. Raikes and Mr. Matthews are the elected representatives of the people (under the present narrow franchise) putting down a minority. Surely it would be dangerous to give to such men,— largely middle class landlords and capitalists,— more power to deal with labor questions, or to interfere with the rights and liberties of a minority. We invite the Socialists, in view of the action of Messrs. Raikes and Matthews, and of Mr. Hyndman’s supporters at St. James’s Hall, and of the Teetotalers, and of the Social Purity Magistrates who burn Zola’s novels, to make it clearer than they have hitherto done, that perfect freedom of opinion and expression will be granted when they have full power.”
Really Mr. Stewart Headlam is a very Ingenuous person. He wants it made clearer that perfect freedom of opinion and expression will be granted when these sweetly reasonable folks have full power. He has seen how they act when power is not theirs, and when, like every other minority, they are on their good behavior; and he seemingly wants some verbal assurances from them that, when they are the force majeure, they will not “hunt down atheists to their ugly idol.” If he would only take the trouble to reason, he would see that Socialism means repression, whatever else it may mean — that its essence is despotism — and that to hope that it will not bring forth fruit after its own kind is to expect figs from thistles.
Russia: An Ode.
[Written after reading the account of “Russian Prisons” in the Fortnightly Review for July, 1890.]
Out of hell a word comes hissing, dark as doom,
Fierce as fire, and foul as plague-polluted gloom;
Out of hell wherein the sinless damned endure
More than ever sin conceived of pains impure;
More than ever ground men’s living souls to dust;
Worse than madness ever dreamed of murderous lust.
Since the world’s wall first went up from lands and seas
Ears have heard not, tongues have told not things like these.
Dante, led by love’s and hate’s accordant spell
Down the deepest and the loathliest ways of hell,
Where beyond the brook of blood the rain was fire,
Where the scalps were masked with dung more deep than mire,
Saw not, where the filth was foulest, and the night
Darkest, depths whose fiends could match the Muscovite.
Set beside this truth, his deadliest vision seems
Pale and pure and painless as a virgin’s dreams.
Maidens dead beneath the clasping lash, and wives
Rent with deadlier pangs than death — for shame survives,
Naked, mad, starved, scourged, spurned, frozen, fallen, deflowered,
Souls and bodies as by fangs of beasts devoured,
Sounds that hell would hear not, sights no thoughts could shape,
Limbs that feel as flame the ravenous grasp of rape,
Filth of raging crime and shame that crime enjoys,
Age made one with youth in torture, girls with boys,
These, and worse, if aught be worse than these things are,
Prove thee regent, Russia — praise thy mercy, Czar.
Sons of man, men born of women, may we dare
Say they sin who dare be slain and dare not spare?
They who take their lives in hand and smile on death,
Holding life as less than sleep’s most fitful breath,
So their life perchance or death may serve and speed
Faith and hope, that die if dream become not deed?
Nought is death and nought is life and nought is fate
Save for souls that love has clothed with fire of hate.
These behold them, weigh them, prove them, find them nought.
Save by light of hope and fire of burning thought.
What though sun be less than storm where these aspire,
Dawn than lightning, song than thunder, light than fire?
Help is none in heaven: hope sees no gentler star:
Earth is hell, and hell bows down before the Czar.
All its monstrous, murderous, lecherous births acclaim
Him whose empire lives to match its fiery fame.
Nay, perchance at sight or sense of deeds here done,
Here where men may lift up eyes to greet the sun,
Hell recoils heart-stricken: horror worse than hell
Darkens earth and sickens heaven; life knows the spell,
Shudders, quails, and sinks — or, filled with firier breath,
Rises red in arms devised of darkling death.
Pity mad with passion, anguish mad with shame,
Call aloud on justice by her darker name;
Love grows hate for love’s sake; life takes death for guide.
Night hath none but one red star — Tyrannicide.
“God or man, be swift; hope sickens with delay:
Smite, and send him howling down his father’s way!
Fall, O fire from heaven, and smite as fire from hell,
Halls wherein men’s torturers, crowned and cowering, dwell!
These that crouch and shrink and shudder, girt with power —
These that reign, and dare not trust one trembling hour —
These omnipotent, whom terror curbs and drives —
These whose life reflects in fear their victims’ lives —
These whose breath sheds poison worse than plague’s thick breath —
These whose reign is ruin, these whose word is death,
These whose will turns heaven to hell, and day to night,
These, if God’s hand smite not, how shall man’s not smite?”
So from hearts by horror withered as by fire
Surge the strains of unappeasable desire;
Sounds that bid the darkness lighten, lit for death;
Bid the lips whose breath was doom yield up their breath;
Down the way of Czars, awhile in vain deferred,
Bid the Second Alexander light the Third.
How for shame shall men rebuke them? how may we
Blame, whose fathers died and slew, to leave us free?
We, though all the world cry out upon them, know,
Were our strife as theirs, we could not strike but so;
Could not cower, and could not kiss the hands that smite;
Could not meet them armed in sunlit battle’s light.
Dark as fear and red as hate though morning rise,
Life it is that conquers; death it is that dies.
Algernon Charles Swinburne
Beauties of Government.
[Clippings from the Press.]
Concord, N. H., July 28. Att’y-Gen. Barnard has delivered the following opinion, which can hardly produce other than a depressing effect upon a business enterprise already popular and extensive among retail jewellers: “In the light of our statutes and the interpretation placed upon them by the court, I have no hesitation in saying that the scheme referred to as a ‘watch association’ is a lottery within the meaning of the law. The scheme involves substantially the same sort of gambling chances as in any other kind of lottery. From the frequent violations of these statutes it would seem as if the people had forgotten in a great measure that they ever existed. It is for this reason that I have answered your inquiries at greater length than I otherwise would have done.” The scheme which the Attorney-General condemns he describes as follows: “The membership of the watch association ‘consists of clubs of 70 members. Each member pays $1 the first week. Then the drawing takes place, and the person securing the lucky number receives an ‘elegant gold-filled gentleman’s watch’ for the dollar he has paid, and gets an honorable discharge from the association, which has no further claim upon him. The second week the 60 remaining members pay in $1 each, and the fortunate individual at the succeeding drawing gets his watch for the 32 he has paid. Thus the system is carried for 35 weeks, and the last week the 35 members who are still in the association will receive their 35 watches, so that none can be dissatisfied, for every watch is warranted to be full value for $35.”
London, July 30. The Times says: The Russian government has ordered the application of the edicts of 1882 against the Jews. These edicts have hitherto been held in abeyance. According to these, Jews must henceforth reside in certain towns only. None will be permitted to own land or hire it for agricultural purposes. The order includes within its scope towns and hundreds of villages that have large Jewish populations. No Jew will be allowed to hold shares in or work mines. The law limiting the residence of Jews to 16 provinces will be enforced. No Hebrew will be allowed to enter the army, to practise medicine, or law, to be an engineer, or to enter any of the other professions. They will also be debarred from holding posts under the government. The enforcement of the edicts will result in the expulsion of over 1,000,000 Jews from the country.
New York, July 28. The Chairman of the Cloak Cutters’ Union, Arthur Dale, was arrested today for conspiracy in trying to have non-union men discharged from the manufactories. Judge Duffy gave Dale a very severe lecture on the right of every man to earn his living. A meeting of the cloak cutters was held tonight, and they agreed to support Dale. In an interview Dale says that he is not acting the rôle of a conspirator, but claims the privilege for his men to leave if they don’t wish to work with non-union men. The strike is not really settled yet.
The Massachusetts secretary of state finds himself unable to comply with the provisions of a law enacted by the last Legislature, permitting municipal authorities to designate certain ornamental and shade trees on highways for preservation, by driving into them a nail on which the letter “M” is imprinted on the head, which is to be provided by the secretary of state. Wanton injury to such trees is subject to a penalty. By a strange oversight the Legislature failed to make an appropriation for providing the nails, and so none are to be had.
Washington, D. C., Aug. 16. The anti-lottery bill was passed today. It provides that no letter, postal card, or circular concerning any lottery, so-called gift-concerns, or other similar enterprises offering prizes dependent upon lot or chance (or concerning schemes devised for the purpose of obtaining money or property under false pretences), and no list of the drawings at any lottery or similar scheme and no lottery ticket or part thereof, and no check, draft, bill, money, postal note, or money order for the purchase of any tickets, ticket or part thereof, or of any share or any chance in any such lottery or gift enterprise shall be carried in the mail or delivered at or through any post-office or branch thereof, or by any letter carrier; nor shall any newspaper, circular, pamphlet, or publication of any kind containing any advertisement of any lottery or gift enterprise of any kind offering prices dependent upon lot or chance, or containing any list of prizes awarded at the drawings of any such lottery or gift enterprise, whether said list is of any part or of all the drawing, be carried in the mail, or delivered by any postmaster or letter carrier.
It is made a misdemeanor punishable by not exceeding $500 fine or imprisonment for not more than one year, or both, for any person to knowingly deposit, or cause to be deposited, anything to be carried through the mails in violation of this preceding section, or that is forbidden to be carried through the mails by this act. Violators of the law may be tried or punished either in the district of mailing or in the district to which the matter is mailed or sent.
The postmaster-general may, upon evidence satisfactory to him that any person or company is engaged in conducting any lottery business, such as is prohibited by the act, instructing postmasters at any postoffice at which registered letters arrive, directed to any such person or company, or to an agent or representative, to return all such registered letters to the postmaster at the office at which they were originally mailed, with the word “fraudulent” plainly indicated ( on the outside thereof, and returned to the writers. Nothing in this section, however, shall authorize any postmaster or other person to open any letter not addressed to himself.
The public advertisement by such person or company so conducting such lottery, gift enterprise, scheme or device, that remittances for the same may be made by registered letters to any other person, firm, bank, corporation or association named therein, shall be held to be prima facie evidence of the existence of said agency by all the parties named therein. But the postmaster-general shall not be precluded from ascertaining the existence of such agency in any other legal way satisfactory to himself. The postmaster-general is also given the same powers and authority with regard to postal notes and orders directed to the prohibited concerns or their agents as is conferred upon him by the section relating to registered letters.
Washington, Aug. 24. There was a big flurry among the Louisiana lottery people here yesterday. Early in the morning the police descended upon the headquarters of the lottery company, at 1305 F street, and gathered in all the belongings of W. W. Gould, the Washington agent. Gould has been arrested and is now out on bail. The lottery people are thoroughly demoralized and have no hope of defeating the anti-lottery bill in the Senate. One of the agents of the company declared yesterday: “It is all up with us, and the company realizes that its business outside the city of New Orleans is about finished. If Louisiana can’t support the company it will have to go under.”
London, Aug. 10. A bill will be introduced into Parliament next session which proposes to restrict the public performance of hypnotic experiments, which are now so greatly in vogue. There is no cause to doubt the medical testimony, which asserts that much injury is done to their health by the repeated attempts which are made by amateur dabblers in the science.
Cork, Aug. 20. A sheriff, accompanied by a posse of bailiffs and a body of police, proceeded to the village of Brides-bridge, near Castle Lyons, about fifteen miles from this city, and evicted the whole of the inhabitants, who were subsequently permitted to return to their homes as caretakers. Great excitement prevails throughout the district, but no violence has occurred up to the present time.
Berlin, Aug. 21. There is intense excitement here over the conduct of Colonel Schoeller, commanding the Ninth Regiment of Infantry, who yesterday compelled his men to march from Würzburg to Marktbreit, when the mercury marked 91° Fahrenheit. The men were marshalled in the Würzburg barracks in heavy marching order at 3.30 in the morning with a full field equipment and winter overcoats, tents, etc. After waiting two hours, the march began at a quick step.
The result was soon apparent, fifty of the men being stricken down, and before Marktbreit was reached, a distance of thirty kilometers (18½ miles), four hundred had been compelled to leave the ranks. Notwithstanding, the inhuman colonel kept up the march, and the sight presented by the sufferings of the poor fellows was most pitiful. The peasants along the road traversed, having been attracted by the spectacle, rendered what aid they could, caring for the disabled soldiers and begging their own physicians to take the place of those attached to the regiment, who were riding in front of the column. They also brought up wagons and carried the patients to the nearest hospitals.
Of those now undergoing treatment, fifty are thought to be in a dying condition, having received the last sacraments. Colonel Schoeller is a new man and was formerly in command at Metz.
New York, Aug. 27. Policeman William J. Nally of the East 126th street station was charged by Roundsman Reiss before Commissioner McLean yesterday with being absent from post in the watchman’s shanty at the Park avenue junction of the New York Central and Hudson River Railroad. Reiss said that he found Nally lying down in the shanty with his bat, coat, and waistcoat off. Nally said that it was dangerous to patrol on the bridge on account of the many trains that cross it. Ho was new on the post, and the watchman, he said, told him that all the cops stopped at the shanty.
Policeman James Reilly of the Charles street station was charged with being off post in the saloon 211 Bleecker street. He said in his defence that he was sent to St. Vincent’s Hospital with a prisoner. He was feeling sick and did not enter the hospital, but asked the nurse to get him something. She told him he would have to wait an hour, and ho started to find a drug store. He thought he was in one when he was in the saloon. He ordered hot drops and ginger.
Policeman Murphy of the West Forty-seventh street station was accused of being off post in a tailor shop on August 9. The roundsman stated that there was a row over a game of cards in the shop and that Murphy was in there half an hour. Murphy pleaded that the proprietor called him in to decide a game of draw poker. Decision in the three cases was reserved.
The Revolt Serviceable to Freedom.
The operations of this sort heretofore have not appeared to be of sufficient importance to attract the notice and remarks of editors of the big dailies, but the ruling adverse to Tolstoi’s “Kreutzer Sonata” has aroused them to talk of “dangerous precedents,” “paternalism,” “no power of national government to regulate morals of American homes,” “governed too much,” “too much of this meddling business,” etc.; and even an administration organ says distinctly that this censorship has not public approval, and is likely to lead to “sequences that the American people never would permit.”
This official slop-over, this error of going too far in censorship, occurred opportunely to call forth public sentiment on this matter at a time when even greater restrictions by mail laws are ready for action in bills before Congress.
We are, of course, glad that official interference with the people’s rights has at last brought forth a general outburst of indignant rebuke from the secular press, and a protest against this attempt at exercise of censorship power in the United States post-office.
Although this has called attention to the fact that though there is no provision in the United States Constitution for exercising any censorship of the press, nor any law’ really enacted for the purpose, it is nevertheless true that this function has been exercised, apparently under sanction of laws limiting the use of the mails, by officials who assume to have the right to pass upon the moral quality of literature offered for mailing.
This assumption of authority is no new thing, as in matters of less public importance it has been employed for nearly fifteen years against individuals who had not the means to cope with the United States government as represented by officials usurping unconstitutional powers. These petty cases have attracted no considerable attention, and created only indignation among a select few of those who have valued and wished to guard and preserve the liberties of the press, as provided for in our Constitution; but this attempt to curtail the privileges of large numbers of the people by denying then» the getting of a popular book by mail has inaugurated a revolt which may be of great service to the cause of free press and free mails.
It is necessary to state here as part of the history of this governmental assault on the “Kreutzer Sonata,” that it is credibly reported from Washington that the postmaster-general denies responsibility for this action, and stands ready to reverse the decision of his subordinates if anyone will take the trouble to appeal for such favorable action in behalf of the book; but no one appeals, no one recognizes the ruling-out; even local postmasters ignore it, the fulminators of the “bull” are in general contempt, and this department of the government in an amusing dilemma.
If officialdom believed its decision would be echoed by a jury of twelve men in a United States court, there would no doubt be a prosecution of some one somewhere to vindicate the majesty of the government and the wisdom of its censors, but such a prosecution, in spite of no end of offences, is not begun; and the moral is that these censors should be sure they are right before they go ahead; or better, let this questionable function alone, that they may be sure to commit no nuisance.
[Rene Bache in the Boston Transcript.]
The funniest thing in connection with this Government’s diplomatic relations is the letters sent to the President of the United States by the rulers of other nations, announcing births and such events in sovereign families. Such communications are the custom among the Powers, and there is a stereotyped form for them. For instance, on the occasion of the last important domestic happening in the household of Queen Victoria, a letter came from her to President Harrison, as follows:
“Victoria, Queen of Great Britain, Empress of India, Defender of the Faith, etc., etc., to Benjamin Harrison, President of the United States:
Great and Good Friend — I have the pleasure of announcing to you the birth of a fine boy on the 21st inst. to my granddaughter, the Princess Battenberg, who is doing as well as can be expected. This event will doubtless cement the cordial relations existing between our governments.
Your good friend, Victoria.”
This letter is written on blue, ruled paper, and to it President Harrison replies, on white vellum paper in a big sheet, as follows:
“Great and Good Friend — I have received the pleasant news conveyed to me by your communication of the 22d inst., and am glad that the happy event came off safely. It is my earnest prayer and expectation that the said event will strengthen the bonds of amity and friendship which so happily subsists between our two governments.
Your good friend, Benjamin Harrison.”
It is worth noting that the President never sees these letters from Queen Victoria and other sovereigns at all; and the replies, which are written in an elegant Spencerian hand by a $1200 clerk in the Department of State, are merely taken to him for his signature. Such is the nonsence of diplomacy.
“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.
Until further notice Liberty will be issued under the editorial control of Mr. Yarros, as the editor will be absent from the office for several weeks.
The Best Way to Help Harman.
I have said in Liberty that I know no way of helping Moses Harman, editor of “Lucifer,” out of prison. I still know none. But there is a way of making his burden lighter, and — what is more important — of foiling his enemies in their real purpose, the suppression of his paper. That way is to keep his paper alive till he is free. In such an effort any Anarchist may well take part, whatever his opinion may be of the paper itself. I certainly hold it in very light esteem. But it is a Liberal paper, and that is enough. The foes of liberty want to suppress it, and if they fail, it will afford them little satisfaction to have imprisoned Moses Harman. Let us then keep “Lucifer” alive. All funds received for that purpose will be acknowledged in this column and forwarded to the office of “Lucifer.”
Benj. R. Tucker. . . . . . . . . $10.00
Jour Orth, Boston . . . . . . . . 1.00
C. Schulenburg, Detroit. . . . . . . 3.00
A. H. Simpson, Boston . . . . . . . 2.00
Mrs. M. B. Groves, Washington, D. C. . . . . 4.00
Robert Reitzel, Detroit . . . . . . . 1.00
“Egoist” . . . . . . . . . . 3.25
Liberty mourns the loss of one of her truest friends — Robert Lieber. Traveling in Germany and Switzerland since May last, his friends were expecting him to start on his homeward journey when a grief-laden despatch announced his death at Heidelberg on the 17th of August. This sad intelligence cast a gloom over all who knew him, and many were unable to realize that this plain man of the people and ardent lover ot every noble cause lay indeed pierced by the shaft that flies in darkness, never again to cheer and brighten the dull and dreary days by his radiant presence. For, as Robert Reitzel truly says in “Der Arme Teufel,” he passed through life as a spirit that had to scatter joy wherever he went, as a guarantee that there are still good and free men in the world. Lieber was only a private man, the public gaze never rested on him, but his strong, unique, and beautiful character won him the respect and affection of thousands who came in contact with him. And for the splendid attitude he preserved towards radical thought, for the magnificent generosity he bestowed on its propaganda, for the ready hospitality he always and everywhere extended to its most maligned and unpopular champions I would fain erect him a memorial in Liberty if but my pen were equal to the task.
Springing from lowly conditions, reared in the dominant religious superstition of his childhood, growing to manhood in environments anything but friendly to an ideal view of life, he worked his way almost unconsciously into the bright noonday light of modern philosophy, until he could stand face to face with the most advanced minds of the time and find in the association with them the chief delight of his life. His development took a natural course as it does with all healthy characters. His first step was consequently a step away from religion. But, unlike many others, he did not content himself with that. Nor should I celebrate him here if he had. His mind once cleared of the cobwebs of religious superstition, he proceeded to question the political and social conditions of the people, only to find things very much out of joint here also and to join hands with the revolutionists bent on setting them right. He became an outspoken Anarchist. But it was not so much a process of intellectual theorizing as rather a native sense for the fitness of things that led him to accept Anarchy as the form of society promising a minimum of suffering and the maximum number of strong, free, and happy men and women.
He was one of the few men whom worldly success could not demoralize. The thought oppressed him that he had more than enough for himself and family, while other hard working men could barely procure the necessaries of life. “I feel,” he said one day, “that these men look at me askance; there is envy, even hatred in their eyes, and I feel ashamed, humiliated.” And this while his possessions came to him only as the ample reward for his own labor. Nor could he, like Tennyson’s friend, understand how money breeds, thought it a dead thing. Well do I remember his account of the feeling of shame that came over him when he first accepted the interest on a sum of money deposited in the bank. On the other hand, intellectual association with kindred spirits to him was “scrip and share” and humanitarian aspirations “more than cent for cent.”
I account it as one of the privileges of my life to have been admitted to the friendship and confidence of such a man as Robert Lieber. It is men like him that save one from the despair of pessimism.
Lieber belonged to the class of those of whom George Eliot writes that their full natures, like that river of which Cyrus broke the strength, spend themselves in channels which have no great name on the earth. But the effect of their being on those around them is incalculably diffusive: for the growing good of the world is partly dependent on unhistoric acts; and that things are not so ill with you and me as they might have been is half owing to the number who lived faithfully a hidden life and rest in unvisited tombs. G. S.
A Word to a Wise Man.
Mr. Pentecost seems to think that all reformers are bound to take the Salvation Army for a model. Unless a person completely fulfils the law of right as revealed to him, he is lightly and religiously branded as a hypocrite and moral coward by the editor of the “Twentieth Century,” who singularly errs in imagining that the type of a reformer of the first century (destitute of scientific conception of man and of environment) is in every respect worthy of being imitated and followed in the nineteenth. In simple societies it is no doubt true that the good man is distinguished from the bad wholly by the character of his conduct. It is easy to perceive and acknowledge superiority when it can and does manifest itself in moral traits exclusively,— in gentleness, sincerity, or disinterestedness. But no man who reflects, who has a suspicion of the complexity of the question presented in the relation of a member of a modern society to his fellows, will ever venture to decide hastily or summarily problems of personal conduct. The most pure and exalted types of humanity known to us have been least inclined to reproach those they considered guilty of practical sin. It argues an utter incapacity for realizing the infinite variety and interaction of the influences governing a man’s conduct to pronounce him false when his deeds conflict with his beliefs. If to understand is to forgive, then those of us who do not understand have simply to indulge in long brilliant flashes of silence. Remembering that it is impossible for a man to be moral in immoral surroundings, let us not waste our time and degrade our discussion by charging one another with higher or smaller degrees of immorality.
The time for asceticism is past. The futility and sterility of preaching and moral exhortation is patent to all. We do not denounce in the style of the religious censors, and do not mount the pedestal to be admired by the crowd. We reason with those who can think, and invite them to discuss with us the actualities and possibilities of life. It is purely and solely a question of intellectual agreement and harmony, this movement for social reform. Is this system of society one satisfactory to all concerned, or is it deeply objectionable? If so, lives there a man who can point out a better arrangement,— no matter who he is, what he does, or what his object,— and who can help us to solve our problem? The world is eager to hear from him. Come forward, one and all, express your opinions, and — let the wisest counsel prevail. V. Y.
A Word about Capital Punishment.
Since the execution of Kemmler, I have seen it stated repeatedly in the press, and especially in the reform press, and even in the Anarchistic press, that that execution was a murder. I have also seen it stated that capital punishment is murder in its worst form. I should like to know upon what principle of human society these assertions are based and justified.
If they are based on the principle that punishment inflicted by a compulsory institution which manufactures the criminals is worse than the crime punished, I can understand them and in some degree sympathize with them. But in that case I cannot see why capital punishment should be singled out for emphatic and exceptional denunciation. The same objection applies as clearly to punishment that simply takes away liberty as to punishment that takes away life.
The use of the word capital makes me suspect that this denunciation rests on some other ground than that which I have just suggested. But what is this ground?
If society has a right to protect itself against such men as Kemmler, as is admitted, why may it not do so in whatever way proves most effective? If it is urged that capital punishment is not the most effective way, such an argument, well sustained by facts, is pertinent and valid. This position also I can understand, and with it, if not laid down as too absolute a rule, I sympathize. But this is not to say that the society which inflicts capital punishment commits murder. Murder is an offensive act. The term cannot be applied legitimately to any defensive act. And capital punishment, however ineffective it may be and through whatever ignorance it may be resorted to, is a strictly defensive act,— at least in theory. Of course compulsory institutions often make it a weapon of offence, but that does not affect the question of capital punishment per se as distinguished from other forms of punishment.
For one, I object to this distinction unless it is based on rational grounds. In doing so, I am not moved by any desire to defend the horrors of the gallows, the guillotine, or the electric chair. They are as repulsive to me as to any one. And the conduct of the physicians, the ministers, the newspapers, and the officials disgusts me. These horrors all tell most powerfully against the expediency and efficiency of capital punishment. But nevertheless they do not make it murder. I insist that there is nothing sacred in the life of an invader, and there is no valid principle of human society that forbids the invaded to protect themselves in whatever way they can. T.
An Individualist on Anarchy.
Reviewing my pamphlet on “Anarchism: Its Aims and Methods,” the London “Personal Rights Journal,” after some complimentary allusions to my personality which I highly appreciate, speaks as follows:
Mr. Yarros seems singularly mixed in his appraisement of the times in which we live. It is an “enlightened age” (p. 20), but “the masses of the people” are “blind slaves” (p. 23), whom “light and rational ideas” — i.e. those of Mr. Yarros and his colleagues — “can reach .... but to a slight degree. The Anarchists do not delude themselves with the false expectation of converting the world and reorganizing society by mere theoretical propaganda.” (P. 24.)
What then is to be done with an age so enlightened but unappreciative of Anarchism? “We warn the State,” says Mr. Yarros, “that we will not consult its wishes as to the weapons to be used against it” (p. 21). “Dynamite” — Mr. Yarros is bold enough to use the word — “has no respect for numbers. Majorities are taught to have some consideration for individual liberties when they are shown the practical uses of the ‘resources of civilization.’ Gunpowder shook the thrones; dynamite paralyzes majorities.” Now we put it to Mr. Yarros whether this explosive theory of human emancipation is correct — whether gunpowder, and the military violence which it symbolizes, have not done more for thrones than ever they will do against them — whether dynamite as a political factor is not much more likely to shatter the recognition of personal rights than to make way for it.
After all, Mr. Yarros’s dictionary dynamite is not very terrible. A majority which it would paralyze must be made up of persons after the calibre of Daniel O’Connell’s fishwife, who was overwhelmed by being called a parallelogram. And so we are very glad to find Mr. Yarros recognizing that “wisdom teaches” the acceptance of “methods which, though doing their work slowly and even imperceptibly, compensate for this drawback, if such it be, by the virtue of leading surely and safely to the final triumph. Premature change, or desperate attempts to make the world move onward in disregard of the laws of social growth, result in violent reaction..... This policy precludes the use of all but constructive and educational methods. To smash the idol is to excite the rage and hatred of the worshipper; to gently and gradually dissipate the fog of superstition and expose the worthlessness and the impotency of the idol may require patience, time, and endurance, but the issue is certain and satisfactory.” (pp. 23–4.) These are sensible words; and we would add to them a still further consideration: if, as Mr. Yarros must own is possible, there is some admixture of error in the teaching of his friends, this stands the best chance of being eliminated by submitting that teaching unreservedly to the peaceful ordeal of criticism and competition with other political theories.
My reviewer is singularly mistaken in thinking that I am “singularly mixed in (my) appraisement of (our) times.” If it is a paradoxical statement that in this “enlightened age” the masses of the people are “blind slaves,” the facts which are accurately represented by the statement are more than paradoxical. If, puzzled by the facts, I make a statement of my impression, it is natural for those who read my statement to be puzzled by it, if they are not themselves fully alive to the actual condition of things. Is not this age an enlightened one? Is the age of the positive philosophy, of political radicalism, of sociological science, other than a truly enlightened age? At the same time, are there not millions of illiterate people in the midst of our civilization, millions of vicious, ignorant, brutal, degraded caricatures of humanity? In the words of Carlyle, are not “the four-and-twenty letters of the alphabet still Runic onigraas” to our millions of “two-legged beasts of labor”? Verily, it is a paradox that the age of Comte and Spencer and Mill and thousands of other scientists and philosophers should yet be overwhelmed with the darkest religious and political superstitions and the most hopeless social and economic miseries. But I don’t see why the “Personal Rights Journal” should blame me for the paradox.
“The explosive theory of human emancipation” is not peculiar to me. It is countenanced by some very philosophical historians. And as to the virtues of dynamite, it is sufficient to point out that our political and economic slaveholders are not as serenely conscious of their safety as the writer thinks they might be. Still, I am not interested in this business. While the “resources of civilization” might indeed paralyze “the enemy,” they never could improve the material and intellectual condition of the desperate assailants.
What the writer wishes to convey in his last remark I fail utterly to grasp. Have the Anarchists ever sought to avoid competition with other political theories, and do they manifest any reluctance in the matter of submitting their views to the ordeal of intelligent criticism? We have always courted unreserved discussion and philosophical controversy. To be sure, we are impatient with dullards and artful dodgers, and also like to answer fools according to their folly; but nothing gives us greater delight than respectful discussion with fair and enlightened opponents. For instance, we would like to learn why the writer thinks,
and how he proves, that the one-tenth of the Anarchistic arguments which, as he says, fails to influence the Individualists has logically no “go” at all. If the writer heartily endorses nine-tenths of our arguments, it ought to be an easy thing for us to come to an understanding‘on the remaining tenth. Well, in a recent article (“A Crisis”) I called attention to the differences between us and the “Personal Rights Journal” — the one-tenth — and have attempted to defend our position. I shall watch with interest the fate of my logic when the “Personal Rights Journal” subjects it to the ordeal of criticism. V. Y.
Where is the Victory?
To the Editor of Liberty:
In No. 160 you reply to my comments on your reference to the Walker and Harman cases, and I was content to leave the matter as it stood. Your “Lesson in Tactics,” however, forces me to recur to the matter. In your reply you said: “The liability to prosecution depends less on the views expressed than on the way of expressing them. It is possible to forcibly express the most radical views without giving the authorities the slightest pretext for interference.” And, in pointing the lesson, you say in the last number that Hey wood and Harman “proceeded to discuss tabooed subjects in language as obnoxious to the general public as it was possible to choose.... I, on the other hand, have acted according to my plan of campaign .... and the result is victory, instead of defeat.”
One would get the impression that you had forcibly expressed the most radical views and discussed a tabooed subject in a manner that did not give the slightest pretext to the authorities for interference, by simply avoiding “nasty” or “obscene” words: otherwise, where is the relevancy in referring to Hey wood and Harman? Where is the victory in publishing a book that according to your own language is “written in sober language and from the standpoint of the most puritanical morality, without a nasty word or the slightest salacious suggestion; a book which the Boston ‘Transcript’ characterizes as ‘probably one of the most moral books ever written’”?
Even the Springfield “Republican,” which saw immorality in Ibsen’s “Doll’s Home,” saw no immorality in the “Sonata.” It said: “So far from proposing any laxity of sexual morals, Tolstoi preaches a rigid and bitter asceticism.” And “Puck,” which caricatures Wanamaker, says: “It is not a book which calls for exclusion. It is the work of a man of an unbalanced mind, of a religious enthusiast, of a man who has in all sincerity conceived and formulated a doctrine which he holds to be the doctrine of Christ. His conception, to a sane mind, is silly and un-Christian, but — what harm can come of his preaching it?”
There’s the rub, and there is where you are unfair to Harman and Heywood. They were not prosecuted so much for the use of a word as for the fact that they advocated “laxity of sexual morals,” etc. The unwise choice of words made their defeat more certain; but you have not scored a victory where they failed. The book was reputed to be a “nasty” book before you translated it; the press gave credit to the idea as soon as it was published, and Comstock, knowing you as “an attendant at free-love meetings,” and a “seditious and immoral person,” hastily snapped at the baited notices and made a fool of himself.
The Chicago “Tribune,” which comes to your rescue, said: “When it is considered how many lewd and lascivious stories are allowed the freedom of the mails, and how many lewd, obscene, and lascivious volumes of poems are circulated by the mails without interference, the decision becomes incomprehensible.” Not quite so incomprehensible if it is remembered that the book was suspected of expressing radical views. Lewdness and lasciviousness go for little, provided there is nothing to upset established institutions, “destroy the sacredness of the family,” and advocate laxity in sexual morals.
You will have established your assertion as to possibility of expressing radical views, and have gained a victory also where Harman and Heywood failed, when, without interference, you can publish a paper for general circulation that shall advocate sexual variety in free love, tell wives they owe no allégiance to husbands they no longer love and whom they wish to leave, promulgate the ideas to be found in the “Word,” “Mother Letter,” and state the sum and substance of the O’Neill letter. A. H. Simpson.
My critic says that “one would get the impression” that I had forcibly expressed the most radical views. Yes, it appears that one would, inasmuch as one did. And very likely two did, or three, or perhaps four. But very few did; of that I am sure, for I gave no reasonable ground for any such impression. My criticism of Harman and Heywood has been directed, not against their failure to win the particular victory for which they were striving, but against their policy of inviting a struggle where defeat is certain; and in my last article the contrast which I pointed out between them and myself lay, not in any claim that I had won the precise victory which they failed to win, but in the fact that my methods had proved victorious and strengthened the existing liberty of speech, whereas theirs had proved disastrous and weakened the existing liberty of speech. If Mr. Simpson had read my article with any heed to the meaning of words, its very title, “A Lesson in Tactics,” would have convinced him of this.
Where is the victory? Why, just in this,— that the authorities tried to suppress a book, and not only signally failed, but brought down upon their heads a storm of denunciation and ridicule and brought the idea of press censorship into sudden disrepute. The victory is so plain that even the “Truth-Seeker” can see it. It is not often that that paper has eyes where Mr. Simpson has none. But Mr. Simpson will say that this is not the victory that Harman and Heywood sought. Well, who said it is?
Mr. Simpson tells me what the real motives of the censors are. I appreciate his kindness, but does he really suppose he is enlightening me? These motives were clearly discerned and pointed out years ago by me and many others. But they are not to the point in this discussion. I care not why Comstock wished to suppress Heywood; just now I care only for the fact that Heywood is suppressed, invited the suppression, and made the suppression possible.
Nevertheless, as this extraneous point has been raised, I will remind Mr. Simpson that I not only can but do publish a paper for general circulation that advocates sexual variety in free love and tells wives that they owe no allegiance to husbands they no longer love (or to husbands they still love, for that matter). But when he asks me to promulgate the ideas to be found in the “Word,” that is quite another thing. I do not intend to talk nonsense in order to vindicate the right to talk nonsense. If that is the proper method, Mr. Simpson himself is rapidly vindicating it. But the light is forcing itself upon him. Not long ago he was greatly displeased because I declared that Mr. Heywood used words rashly. Now he admits the unwisdom of Mr. Ileywood’s choice of words. I think he will soon be able to recognize victory when it stares him in the face. T.
An Apology Demanded.
The editor of “Today” writes:
With regard to the attack on Spencer’s view of the ethics of majority rule, I would say that it is a very interesting subject, which I should gladly pursue further did not propriety forbid. I learn with regret from the Denver “Individualist” that Mr. Yarros saw fit to ascribe certain motives to Mr. Spencer in writing his criticism of majority rule,— something about wanting to recover the esteem of the “Pillars of Society,” or stuff like that. It goes without saying that Mr. Yarros knows nothing about Spencer’s motives; that his statement is another flight of the imagination, which may be regarded rather as absurd than as impertinent. Still I cannot pass it over. If he will publicly confess his error, I shall be glad to reply to his remarks on the subject, which are really very much to the point.
I am glad to learn that the editor of “Today” considers my remarks on the subject of Spencer’s illogical defence of majority rule “very much to the point,” and am anxious to hear his elucidations and constructions. But I fear that it is the editor of “Today” himself who is guilty of an error and who will be obliged to make public confession of it. I, certainly, am guilty of no such absurd offence as he alleges against me, and have nothing to recant or recall. And I am certain that even the “Individualist,” unreliable and inaccurate as it is, never made the accusation against me in the manner in which it is expressed in “Today.” The case is just this: In my first article on the subject, after stating my objections to Spencer’s defence of compulsory government and pointing out the inconsistency between that defence and the view taken in “Social Statics” on the relation between the individual and the State, I said that Spencer was either illogical or insincere in assuming the position which I criticised. Nothing impertinent or absurd in that, I hope. To be sure, a smart paragrapher in the “Individualist” immediately accused me of having described Spencer as “either a knave or a fool,” but surely “Today” will not hold me responsible for the idle frivolities of persons totally unrecognized by me. Then, in another article on the same subject, I reiterated ray charge of inconsistency against Spencer and distinctly stated that I could not undertake to say whether the cause of Spencer’s error was intellectual or moral. This article it is which contains the observations declared to be very much to the point by “Today.”
It is plain that I have not been guilty of any impertinence, and the editor of “Today” may, if he likes, proceed to argue the essential points. The “Individualist,” however, has good reason for complaint against the editor of “Today,” and might call upon him to apologize for misrepresenting it and misstating its language in reference to my manner of dealing with Spencer. I hope the editor of “Today” will apologize for his carelessness and without delay open the argument for the defence. V. Y.
Doubts and Comments.
To the Editor of Liberty:
I read each number of Liberty as I receive it, and endeavor to understand it. I believe firmly in the principle that you carry at your mast-head. I think that individuality is a great and universal principle in the universe, from the smallest molecule up to man; that the interference with the units of any organism by arbitrary regulations produces discord and injury; that the more highly developed the organism the more forcibly is this proposition apparent; therefore I conclude that any regulation interfering with the sovereignty of the individual at his own cost is vicious. Liberty, however, has shown this more forcibly than I am permitted to do by my limited capabilities.
I believe that Mr. Yarros’s criticisms on Mr. Lum’s article, “The Status of the Scab,” are sound. How Mr. Lum can take the position he does in that article after writing what he has about “Free Labor” in his paper and in his “Economics of Anarchy,” passes my comprehension.
I cannot agree with Mr. Yarros’s comments as to the merits of Lum’s little book. It seems to me that Lum’s arguments as found in this book are cogent and consistent with your position and the principles of Anarchism. On the subject of “Mutual Credit,” after a careful perusal, I have an abiding conviction that Lum handles this subject ably, and that his postulates in that behalf square perfectly with the writings of Proudhon and Tucker.
Mr. Yarros contends that Mr. Spencer is inconsistent in his positions as taken in Social Statics as to the right of the individual to ignore the State, and that in his subsequent writings he defends State action. Will he please give his reference on the latter point?
Denver, August 16, 1890.
I am not troubled by the fact that Mr. Millett “cannot agree” with what I did not say and did not imply. Mr. Millett will not find a single word in the article he discusses about the unsoundness or illogicality of Mr. Lum’s economic views. What I said was (and I now reiterate the charge the more confidently, since several intelligent Anarchists have expressed to me their concurrent view upon the matter), that the pamphlet is dull, empty, and obscure; that not a single proposition is proved and clearly made out; and that it affords no light to an anxious but ignorant inquirer. Perhaps I should have added that I did not regard the pamphlet as an exception, but that I held Mr. Lum generally incapable of clear exposition and logical argument. I am glad to hear that Mr. Millett was benefited by the pamphlet; but the exception is said to prove the rule. As a rule the pamphlet has the effect, not of clarifying the reader’s thoughts, but of confusing them.
But let no one infer from this explanation that I have nothing to say with regard to the validity or cogency of Mr. Lum’s economic reasoning. I might, were it profitable, point out at least two gross blunders in the pamphlet, and easily show that Mr. Lum fails to grasp Proudhon’s and Greene’s banking theory as well as their general conception of the economic situation. He has also made an absurd criticism upon Stanford’s financial proposal (in an unsigned article in the “Rights of Labor”), a criticism which reveals the chaotic state of his mind on the subject of money and currency. But as Mr. Lum’s polemical methods are peculiar, and as I do not see any chance of agreement or even mutual understanding, I am not disposed to attempt a refutation of his heresies.
If Mr. Millett will re-read my articles on that subject, the inconsistency of which I accuse Spencer will
become apparent to him. In all probability, the question will yet be discussed at length in these columns, and Mr. Millett will have ample opportunity to make up his mind. V. Y.
I find the following curious suggestion in the Boston Post: “A new idea was tried at the sham fight which took place in Portsmouth in the presence of the Emperor during his visit to England. Smoke-balls were thrown to conceal the advance of the attacking force, but when they entered this friendly curtain its odor was so pungent that they had to hold their noses. From this science has taken a suggestion. Why throw balls of lead among advancing troops? Why not overcome them with smoke, delivered in bombs, smoke so pungent as utterly to unfit them for fighting? Certain chemists in Vienna already declare that they can furnish a bomb which will deprive of consciousness for several hours every person who chances to be within 500 yards of the place where it explodes. What a delightfully humane weapon that would be in case of a mob I No bloodshed, no suffering, but just a heap of sleeping law-breakers whom the police would carry away on stretchers and lock up at their leisure. What a handy thing that compound would be to discourage garrulous people. Just a whiff, and away they would go into a harmless but effectual sleep.” But the “Post” forgets that the same humane and effective weapon might serve to discourage our legislators and governors. To explode such a bomb in a legislative assembly when an exceptionally objectionable piece of legislation was in danger of being enacted would be easy and comparatively safe. “No dynamite, no bloodshed, no suffering,” but “just a whiff, and away our law makers would go into a harmless but effectual sleep.” What do the revolutionists think of it?
The most absurd and insufferable person in the world is the “liberal” correspondent of the liberal reform press (usually the “liberal” correspondent is a woman). The correspondent takes a very enlightened view of things, sympathizes with the radicals, protests against attributing to them base motives, and points out, not without pride and dignity, that the real causes which produce such unreasonable extremists as the Anarchists are to be found in the bigotry of judges, corruption of politicians, and injustice of the law. Then the liberal correspondent earnestly calls upon all fair-minded and liberty-loving people to exert themselves individually and collectively in behalf of pure politics and honest legislation, this being the only true remedy against the spread of extreme and un philosophical Anarchistic doctrines among well-meaning people outraged by existing evils. And all this is expressed in a most charming, dispassionate, gentle, truly liberal manner. Oh, how I hate this liberal correspondent I One can fight a determined opponent, reason with a severe antagonist, deride a sneering critic; but one is utterly helpless in the presence of a polite and liberal sympathizer. Who has the courage to frankly tell such a “friend” that she or he is an unmitigated and absolute nuisance?
Free Trade in Drink.
[Frederick Millar in the Whirlwind.]
Free trade in drink? Yes, why not? It would conduce to temperance and the elimination of drunkenness; it would be best for the consumer and best for the honest trader; it would settle once and for all what is called a “vexed question,” and leave Government to mind its own business; and last, but not least, it would silence the insane babbling, the clamor, and the gush of those most intolerable of social and political pests — the hydrocephalic fanatics of the pump-water brigade.
State control and regulation, local option, prohibition, and every other phase of Socialistic liquor legislation, have failed — miserably and ignominiously failed — whenever and wherever they have been tried. Instead of the evils of excessive drinking being diminished, they have been aggravated and intensified by State meddling and muddling. Acts of Parliament and policemen cannot make men sober. To promote sobriety we must have freedom, and the altered conditions which freedom would bring about.
Free trade in drink would conduce to temperance, and diminish drunkenness; because it would call into existence establishments of a totally different character to the modern English public-house — establishments in which pure and wholesome drink could be obtained, and where the temptations to keep sober would be greater than those to get drunk. The average public-house of today is not a place for either social intercourse, amusement, or healthy recreation. Tho time-serving and defective legislation of successive Governments has made it simply a place to stand up and drink, and to get drunk, in. In France a man can take his family to a café, order what be likes to drink, and spend a pleasant hour in pleasant company, amid pleasant surroundings, listening to music, reading the papers, playing dominoes, and so on, every influence tending to the opposite of excess and drunkenness. The hundreds of thousands who visit such places as the Crystal Palace, and the Alexandra Palace, where unlimited facilities exist for obtaining drink do not get drunk, simply and solely because the surrounding circumstances of such places tend towards self-respect and innocent amusement, and against drunkenness. Free trade in drink in England would break down the present State-created monopoly which is responsible for a great deal of tho drunkenness, as it compels the publican to sell as much drink, and of as inferior quality, as he can, compatible with his own interests, make his customers swallow, in order to recoup himself of the enormous sum he has had to pay for his licensed house. As the result of healthy competition a better kind of public-house should exist, survive and flourish, and the present drinking-shops would die a natural death.
That free trade in drink would be best for the consumer, goes without saying. Under the present system, which encourages the manufacture and sale of impure and unwholesome drink, people have to drink what they can get, or go without. Under the Individualist system of free trade, pure and wholesome drink would be produced, and the trader who supplied it would succeed, while the man who supplied “swill” would quickly go to the dogs.
I am quite prepared to admit that if free trade in drink becomes established, the present class of drink-shops would, for a time, increase in number. But only for a time: the increase would not, and could not, continue if the thing was left to settle itself. The millions of moderate drinkers would patronize the better kind of public-houses, which free trade and competition would call into existence, and drunkenness, becoming an ever diminishing quantity as the result of better and more wholesome conditions, would finally disappear, and with it the places in which it was encouraged.
Let us try what freedom can do in the matter; let us give a fair trial to open competition, and trust to the self-control and the self-respect of men and women to do the rest.
The True Idea of the Revolution.
[Dr. S. Engländer.]
Opposition to the State is one of the chief features of our age; it alone gives sense and meaning to revolution.
Practically, a revolution is only thereby important that it denotes the struggle of nations to get rid of the morbid matter of government — the State. During the victory of a revolution the people is for one moment free, and lives long on the memory of this moment.
But immediately after the victory mistrust and discontent slink in among the people. Without knowing why, each one feels that this wild fanatical state of affairs, this morbidly heightened wantonness, this mutual animosity, as little constitutes freedom as the recommencement of governing, decreeing, place-hunting, and organizing can achieve any real alteration. Discontented and deceived, we are deafened in the wild tumult of the revolution. Happily the unhealthy-wave of life which is thrown up does not leave us time to consider whether the battle has been really useful, and whether the victims which have been slain have been offered in a noble cause.
But when sobriety sets in, the old chains are once more felt, the old complaints of having been cheated are once more raised, and the firm resolve is taken, having learned something by experience, to do it better next time. As if the chain had not again been rattled the very day after the revolution, only we did not hear the clank. As if the political strife had not been waged the very day after the fall of the Government; and as if by the juggle of election, we had not been worse defrauded of our liberty by the democrats than a countryman of his money by a common thimble-rigger. Let the revolution but take a name, let it be personified, whether in Robespierre or Lamartine, and it shrivels up and is lost.
Philanthropists and politicians are the bane of revolutions: the former, because they will not leave the people to themselves, but will always be doing something for them; the latter, because they create parties, and thereby the ambitious struggle for power. The greatest revolution will therefore be achieved when we revolt no more, but only resolve. The true will of the people is greater than any revolution. All revolutionary movements only overthrow one government to set up another; but we do not dispute the sublimity of the error which is involved in a revolution.
Every rebel is a genius; to rebel is to be in advance of the age, to make a leap out of the State, to fly against the Government. A revolution is a species of birth, a coming of age, a mystical idea of liberty. Every barricade is an altar of liberty, a negation of police regulations, a humorous criticism of the State, a stumbling-block which trips up the State.
Still revolution never reaches its goal, because it is always cheated; and so fast as it cuts off one head from the Hydra government, another starts up. For instance, France succeeded in escaping from Louis XVI. to fall into the hands of Robespierre; then came the France of Napoleon, Louis XVIII., Charles X., Louis Philippe, Lamartine, Cavaignac, Louis Napoleon, and Thiers. But the France which belongs to no one, and therefore to every Frenchman, is still to come.
Government is the tool, to obtain which avarice and ambition strive; it is the sword with which now this, now that one strikes and hits, and calls it governing. We shall constantly be struck and wounded, let who will wield the sword, until we have destroyed the weapon itself.
Hitherto the sovereignty of the people has alone been sought after, but we must achieve the sovereignty of each separate individual. The sovereignty of the people is an abstract empty idea, good for nothing but the fiction of transferring the sovereignty of the people to a king. The uniform is the true symbol of the State. The fewer gaps exist in the constitution of the State, the more zealously is the uniformity of individuals carried out. Despotism does not allow the single individual to count; Constitutionalism gives him only a little paint; the Republic plays with its booty: in every form of government we are the victims of the State. By it we are crippled, with our mother’s milk we imbibe the submission which makes us serviceable to the State. Only a few thinkers have hitherto escaped the State, and while in horror they have been gazing back at the monster, in order to divulge the enigma, they have been swallowed up by it.
A bloody line goes through the history of every people and of all times. It divides mankind into hostile camps, and on both sides blind hatred and a spirit of persecution are ranged. This line it is which divides parties; where they come in contact, there do prejudice, hatred, persecution, and murder break out.
What is the meaning of all these victims of party? What significance is there in these countless corpses? What do we read in their stark pale features? Why cannot the sublime peace of the humanitarian idea calm this barbarous fever glow? Why do we go so far as to estimate the culture of a nation by the perfection of its factions? What unholy fire is it that burns within us, and causes us to shrink back from the sobriety and self-advantageousness of absence of party? Why is it that we nevertheless comprehend how the artist who lives in a world of beauty need belong to no party in order to fulfil his high human calling?
Is faction a necessity? and is it only by chance that it becomes a reality through birth and station, speech and nationality, labor and capital? Cannot the present mediate peaceably between the past and the future? or must the past be murdered, and the future receive a baptism of blood?
Is party strife in accordance with the laws of life and history? Can only hatred and murder maintain the world?
Is there no peaceful solution for the combatants of humanity? Dreadful thought! And yet even party faction is a witness against the State. Faction is abhorrence at government. We struggle to be ruled in a certain manner, yet we fall into the error of desiring to govern in our own way. Every party is only 60 near the truth as it prevents another coming into power and ruling. All parties must devour each other until not one remains. The quarrels of parties among themselves serve progress and truth. The development of humanity will never assume any other form than that induced by faction. But the noxious, confining influence of faction can be destroyed. The horror and the bloodshed of party strife will cease, and only the blessing which arises out of their contradictory natures will remain, when government no more exists, or, what is the same, when there is no party desiring to rule another.
Every man lives in his fellow-man, and is forced by a mighty impulse to care for him. From this mighty impulse to benefit his neighbor springs all faction. Therefore humanity cannot be lost, it cannot fall to pieces and dissolve. This impulse binds men faster together than the State. The hatred engendered by civil war has its roots only in the State, and all love is sucked out by government.
The Pillars of Society.
Washington, D. C., Aug. 27. The Republican side of the House was this afternoon the scene of the most disgraceful behavior in many years. Cannon, the parliamentary leader of the Republicans, made a vulgar remark which created all the trouble. Before it was over Wilson of Washington and Beckwith of New Jersey had struck each other, and Mason and Cannon had only failed to do so because they couldn’t get at one another, while similar rows had occurred all over that side of the chamber. Cannon, smarting under a stinging criticism by McAdoo upon his resolution directed against the absentees yesterday, used this phrase in his reply: “My friend from New Jersey abounds in one thing and that is wind, and under pressure it goes out both ways.” No one had any doubt at that moment what Cannon meant. The whole house rose to its feet. Mrs. Mason and other ladies left the gallery. Mr. McAdoo shouted but to Mr. Cannon: “If you can afford to let that go on record as a specimen of your stable jockey wit, I can afford to have it there. I cannot Indulge in blackguardism with you. You ought to argue with a stable jockey. That is your size.”
Enloe was demanding that the offensive words be taken down and two dozen other members were shouting out the same thing. Reed did not want the journal disfigured with them. While the House was voting on the appeal, which was promptly taken from the decision, everybody on the floor was talking about Cannon’s remark, and the hum almost drowned the clerk’s voice. All the Democrats universally condemned it, but there was a difference of opinion on the Republican side, some standing by Cannon, although the majority disapproved, especially those whose families were in the gallery. Among these was Mason of Illinois, who was trying to get at Cannon across a section of desks which separated them, but, being restrained by friends on his own side, was hurling epithets at his colleague, which were almost audible in the gallery. “You wouldn’t have said that if your family had been in the gallery,” Mason said, “and you wouldn’t have said it at all if you hadn’t been a ——— ——— dirty tramp,” and so on, winding up, as Cannon protested to break his wrath, that his words had been misunderstood: “You’re a ——— ——— lying son of a ———.” This excited Cannon so that his friends had to hold him, or he would have climbed over the desk to hit Mason.
While they were exchanging profane epithets, the same dispute was going on all over the Republican side. Every member expressed his opinion out loud, and where different opinions were expressed, they almost came to blows in their excitement. Suddenly, two of them did come to blows. Wilson of Washington, a nervous brunette, and Beckwith of New Jersey, a nervous blonde, were sitting on either side of the stalwart and stolid Lehlbach of New Jersey watching Mason as he shook his fist and hurled his epithets at Cannon, just behind them. Wilson arose and struck at Beckwith. Lehlbach, rising at the same moment, caught most of that blow and all of the one Beckwith aimed at Wilson. Nothing was said by either as they continued sparring over Lehlbach for a quarter of a minute longer, but without hitting one another.
To the great majority of the House this whole episode was nothing but pantomime. For a moment the House became quiet. Mason ceased to curse Cannon, Cannon ceased to curse Mason, and all eyes were fixed on Wilson and Beckwith. The other members seemed rooted to their places, and Speaker Reed seemed paralyzed. Then red-faced Williams of Ohio rushed down the aisle to catch Beckwith’s arm, while Richard Vaux walked solemnly across from the Democratic side to seize Wilson’s. Bergen of New Jersey, not knowing that Williams was coming as a peacemaker, struck at Williams just as Williams laid his hand on Beckwith, and Beckwith, thinking he was being attacked in the rear, turned to fight him. Gov. Gear, by clambering over an intervening desk, checked the row, which threatened to become general, while Wilson sunk into his seat as he saw Vaux coming. The other Democrats were laughing and applauding, except Gen. Joe Wheeler of Alabama, who was endeavoring to get over to help Vaux. By this time Reed had gotten the sergeant-at-arms, with his mace out. The sergeant-at-arms marched slowly up to the group, and solemnly presented the mace at Williams, who ejaculated: “My God, man, I’m not in it!” However, the sergeant-at-arms, who apparently had not seen the fight, insisted on following Williams to his seat, while Beckwith sat quietly down in his. While he was doing this, the Democrats, who had been yelling with delight at the Republicans’ family quarrel, subsided.... The sergeant-at-arms replaced the mace, Cannon and Mason were induced to sit down, and the most disorderly roll-call the House has known for years was concluded. Members gathered around Lehlbach and the others, who sat near, and tried to get a connected story of the Wilson-Beckwith row. It seems that Beckwith, who had a private grievance against Cannon for naming him among the absentees in his resolution yesterday, had said to Lehlbach as they watched Mason and Cannon that Mason was quite right. “No, he isn’t,” said Wilson; “Cannon’s right.” “What have you got to do with it?” demanded Beckwith. “Oh,” said Wilson, “you’re mad because Cannon put your name in the list yesterday.” “Well,” said Beckwith, “it had no business there, for I was here all the day.” “Well,” said Wilson, “it was all right, for it’s d — d little you’re here anyway.” “You’re a liar,” said Beckwith. “You’re a ——— ——— liar,” said Wilson. “You’re a ——— ——— son of ———,” retorted Beckwith. Then they fell to blows.
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.