“For always in thine eyes, O Liberty!
Shines that high light whereby the world is saved;
And though thou slay us, we will trust in thee.”
On Picket Duty.
The “New Nation,” with a parting shot at Anarchism, ceases publication just as Liberty is born again. Le roi est mort. Vive la Liberté!
Vaillant threw a bomb, the authorities cut his bead off, a few days later Henry threw another bomb, and now the authorities declare that here-after Anarchists will be sternly dealt with. What, then, do they propose to do to Henry? Pour boiling oil in his ears?
If subscribers to Liberty who are willing to circulate sample copies judiciously among people likely to be interested in the paper will apply to the editor by letter, stating how many copies they wish for the purpose, he will take pleasure in supplying them and will be grateful for such coöperation.
In September last, when Liberty suspended publication, several interesting controversies were in progress in its columns. Manuscripts bearing on these were then in hand, and others have accumulated since. The long break from which the continuity of these discussions has already suffered can safely be made a little longer with-out a perceptible increase of the damage. The authors of the delayed articles are requested therefore to pardon a further postponement until the publication of several issues of the paper shall have enabled me to clear up numerous other matters demanding attention.
In announcing an article by Spencer on Tyndall which it was about to publish, the New York “Sun” declared the article “important because it is the first that Mr. Spencer has ever contributed to a newspaper.” It is difficult to see how such a consideration, if true, could be determinative of an article’s importance. But it is not true. Not only has Spencer contributed other articles to newspapers, — to the London “Times,” for instance, — but the article on Tyndall he did not contribute to a newspaper. It was written for the “Fortnightly Review” and then “syndicated.” A few days after its appearance in the “Sun,” that journal criticised it editorially, and unwittingly contradicted its previous editorial announcement by starting off in this fashion: “Herbert Spencer, the English philosopher, confesses in a recent magazine article,” etc. There is evidently some one on the “Sun” staff who reads the “Fortnightly” more attentively than he reads the “Sun”; else the chief would not have been given away thus innocently. The first article was simply one of Dana’s vainglorious lies.
In 1890 Prof. J. Rhodes Buchanan, whom the editor of “Lucifer” considers “the most distinguished living psychometrist” and whom I consider a tomnoodle, made in the “Arena” eight specific prophecies which were to mature at intervals within three years. It now appears that Comrade Henry Cohen, of Denver, who is also a far-seeing gentleman, has been keeping tabs on the prophet. After giving him six months’ grace, he finds that but three of the eight, predictions have been fulfilled. If Buchanan’s predictions were simple guesses, this would not be a bad record, but, since they are based on and demonstrated by the “science of periodicity” and other “sciences esoterically cultivated,” the result is disappointing, especially when it is considered that of the three successful prognostications one was that the Democrats would win in 1892, — a proposition which several millions of speculative American citizens were willing to lay long odds on, — and another was that Blaine, whose obituary had been in type for many moons in every well-conducted newspaper office, would die within three years. Comrade Cohen endeavored to induce Editor Flower to reveal this failure to the readers of the “Arena,” but that gentleman, being a devout worshipper at the shrine of the occult and the esoteric, declined to make himself an instrument for casting ridicule upon his idol.
“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.
By the kind coöperation of a number of Liberty’s friends, who have agreed to make monthly payments for the purpose, the paper is able to resume publication at fortnightly instead of weekly intervals. It is probable that the number of pages will usually be twelve, as in the present issue, but it may be reduced to eight occasionally. John Beverley Robinson (whose address is 67 Liberty street, New York City) has consented to act as treasurer of the publication fund, and any readers not already approached and who may feel inclined to join in the effort to sustain the paper are invited to communicate with him, naming the amount of their monthly payment and making their first remittance. The present pledges range from fifty cents to five dollars a month. It is desirable that as much as possible should be done to extend the circulation of the paper, to the end that the necessity for the fund may gradually lessen. The ability to do this will be greatly increased if those subscribers who cannot afford to contribute to the fund will look to it that their subscription to the paper is paid promptly, or even as far in advance as circumstances will permit. The subscriber who obtains a new subscriber is perhaps the most helpful of all, for his work is cumulative in its effects. The editor, for his part, will do his utmost to improve the opportunity afforded by the increase in size to make the paper interesting, attractive, and a powerful factor in the achievement of economic enfranchisement and liberty in general. There never was a time more favorable than the present, when nearly all are face to face with trouble, for inducing people to inquire into the causes of the trouble. Let us take advantage of it.
What is “Government”?
Curious the shrinking is that comes to the mind for an entirely new idea. No government — do away with government — dispense with government? What can the fellows mean? They must be unbalanced. It is impossible, such a notion. Why, — why — why, what should we all do then without government? Give over everything to plunder, everybody to be murdered? What folly to talk of no government, indeed!
Gently, my friend, calm yourself and consider a little. What is government in reality? Protection, of course, you say. Protection to our lives and goods and liberties — protection to — One moment! there is no need of rhetoric: we will call it protection. Government, then, is protection; how does it protect? Why, by maintaining an army and navy and police and courts and so on, — there is no need of cataloguing.
But suppose that somebody — somebody of advanced ideas probably — thinks some of these mistaken, — superfluous? Suppose, for instance, that one of the most humane minds whom you, as a lover of virtue, must admire, — suppose such a one thinks the vast expenditure on a navy, for instance, an entire mistake, a condescension to antiquated brutal methods for an enlightened nation that in other aspects is the patron of international arbitration, a slung-shot in the pocket of a nineteenth-century gentleman; or suppose that another whose mind tends toward the perfecting of justice — another instance of virtue for you to admire — objects to the constitution of courts and police methods as injustice full-grown, prefers — either of these objectors — to dispense with protection rather than to receive what he thinks is at best inadequate and at worst retrograde and repellent to refined minds, — what will you do? Don’t you see that to force another to pay for such protection as you, with your majority behind you, choose to give, is not protection at all, is quite the opposite of protection, is attack, — nothing less.
So that government in its best sense, in the sense in which only the freest minds of the past and of the day have permitted government at all, as self-protection, — in this best sense government is invasion, government is the enslavement of the forwardest minds to the backwardest.
But government as it exists is far more than a minimum of coercion for mutual protection. As it exists, it is an engine which the majority uses to compel the rest to do what the majority calls “right.” Half the time, yes, nine-tenths of the time, the majority is but a blind fool in the hands of a few who play upon the “moral sense” of the community, the “patriotism” of the masses, the “religious fervor” of the crowd, and the other sentiments which obscure the sight and bind the hands of men, for their own distinctly perceived pocket-profit.
In this sense, the supporters of government are of the same moral status as a band of White Caps, bent upon beating and burning, not for any benefit to themselves, but to enforce a moral ideal.
The very first instinct of a free mind is to let people alone. In ordinary social intercourse this rule is imperative. To offer advice to others upon how they shall bring up their children, or how they shall conduct themselves; to suggest, for instance, that it would be more agreeable if they would deal the cards without wetting the thumb, — is not tolerated.
It is only where the mind is enslaved by religious and moral frenzy, by custom of the past, by prejudice of the present, — in brief, by fear, — that people are willing either to “govern” or to submit to being governed.
Let others do as they will so long as they interfere not with my doing as I will; should our desires conflict, I will yield as far as possible, will refuse to yield only where a rational agreement with mutual respect of each for the liberty of the other is refused by the other side. John Beverley Robinson.
A False Confession.
In a letter written by Hugh 0. Pentecost to District Attorney John R. Fellows on January 2, 1894, in which the writer (by order of Tammany and much against his will) declined the office of Assistant District Attorney to which he had just been appointed at a salary of $7,500 a year, the following words occur: “It is a gratification to me to observe that among all the criticisms that have been made of my past opinions no one has ventured to assail my moral character, my personal integrity.”
Well, then, I will begin. I distinctly say that Hugh O. Pentecost lies. And I propose to make good my words.
Before doing so, however, I wish to disclaim all intention of attacking Mr. Pentecost on moral grounds. He is his own master. He is free to choose his own course. He knows what he wants, and he thought he knew how to get it. It is not for me, or for any one, to blame him. I do not even say that I am better than he. He takes his happiness where he finds it, as I do mine. I only say that what he wants is not what I want, but so different from it that here-after he must be my enemy, instead of the comrade which he once was and which I hoped he would always be. I simply establish facts.
It is not necessary to reprint here Mr. Pentecost’s long letter of recantation. It has been published in full in the daily papers and in the “Twentieth Century.” Most of Liberty’s readers are familiar with it. Many of them doubtless believe it to be a sincere confession of error. To completely undeceive them I need only call attention to the two or three salient points which I shall exhibit as absolute falsehoods.
Mr. Pentecost declares in his letter that he ceased his Utopian imaginings, and was converted from the no-government views which he used to expound in the “Twentieth Century,” in consequence of the study of Blackstone. This is a lie. Mr. Pentecost began the study of Blackstone many, many months before he ceased to write for the “Twentieth Century,” and his writings in that limier were as hostile to government at the end as ever before. He has since reiterated these views both in public and in private. He gave utterance to them little more than a year ago on the platform of Paine Hall at Boston. Some weeks after that lecture he told me that he had not changed his opinions. “Why, you know, Tucker,” said he, “that, when a man gets where I have, he can never go back.” And only last August I heard him chuckle as he recounted at a dinner party his experience in winning applause from Tammany audiences by giving them libertarian doctrine in disguise. In the first place, then, he has not changed his political opinions. Much less, in the second place, has he changed them through reading Blackstone. The evidence on this point is directly contradictory of his declaration. He told me two years ago that his study of Blackstone had confirmed him in his most radical views. And this same statement he has repeated within eight months to a friend of mine, reenforcing it by taking the book from his shelves, reading passages, and asking: “What better Anarchism do you want than that?”
The other important and equally false declaration contained in Mr. Pentecost’s letter is this: “Judge Gary’s somewhat recent article in the ‘Century Magazine,’ which I read as a lawyer, convinced me that they [the men hanged at Chicago] had been convicted on evidence sufficient to establish their guilt.” Shortly after the appearance of Judge Gary’s article I called on Mr. Pentecost at his law office. The “Century Magazine” lay upon his desk. He told me that be had not yet read Judge Gary’s article thoroughly, but that such examination as he had been able to give it left him with a decided impression of its weakness. Then, at my solicitation, he took active part with me in an effort to secure the publication in the “Century Magazine” of a reply to Judge Gary by General Trumbull. His words and his conduct were not those of a man whom Judge Gary had converted. Nevertheless such evidence is not quite conclusive. But all doubt is removed by an occurrence of later date. An intimate friend of Mr. Pentecost, happening to meet him, remarked concerning Judge Gary’s article that it was strong, meaning thereby that there was sufficient sophistry in it to produce an effect upon the general public unfamiliar with the case; to which Mr. Pentecost rejoined that Gary’s argument was weak, that it utterly failed to connect the accused with the bomb, and that any lawyer reading it would at once perceive its fallacies.
In the two instances cited the evidence of falsehood is unquestionable. At first I thought that there was more room for dispute as to the sincerity of the further statement that “he who says that I am or ever was a Socialist or Anarchist says what is not true.” I remembered that, although Mr. Pentecost had edited for years a mainly Anarchistic paper, some of us had criticised one or two of his positions as inconsistent with Anarchism, and that he himself had often, perhaps always, disclaimed the name (for the same reason that he disclaimed all names); and I thought that in the present denial he might be taking technical advantage of these loop-holes. But here too, if William Holmes quotes him correctly, he lies. In August, 1889, he wrote to Mr. Holmes: “When one begins to think thoroughly and keeps it up fearlessly, he must land in Anarchy, and that’s where I’ve landed.”
Enough. Why seek to multiply proofs? It is clear that Mr. Pentecost’s confession is a sham, made for the sole purpose of enabling himself and his family to live as the rich live.
To accomplish this he was ready and eager to accept an office the occupancy of which would have made it his duty, could the circumstances have rearisen, to place in the death-chair, whose horrors he once exhausted his rhetoric in denouncing, Carlyle Harris, the nephew of his old friend and associate Macready.
To accomplish this he was ready and eager to accept an office the occupancy of which would have made it his duty, on occasion, to imprison on Blackwell’s Island Emma Goldman and John Most for the exercise of that freedom of speech which he used to champion so eloquently against its foes.
To accomplish this he was ready and eager to accept an office the occupancy of which under Tammany rule would have made it his duty to punish all law-breakers refusing to pay tribute to Tammany, and to let all others go free.
To accomplish this he was ready and eager to accept an office the occupancy of which would have made it his duty to officially murder any of his.old comrades who might, in a time of excitement, find themselves in the undeserved predicament of Spies, Parsons, Fischer, Engel, Lingg, Fielden, Schwab, and Neebe.
One thing, however, he overlooked, — the fact that an enemy has a long memory. He supposed that in two years of law practice he had wiped out his old record. But the enemies of Tammany had not forgotten it. At the first opportunity they raked it up to his confusion. Tammany, frightened, forced him to relinquish the coveted prize when it was almost in his grasp.
Mr. Pentecost has sold himself, and now he cannot get his pay. This man, who attempted to become — what every Tammany official is, directly or indirectly — a blackmailer of harlots, has become, instead, a blackmailed harlot. The punishment fits the crime. T.
Vaillant No Miscreant.
It is both useless and unjust, despite the example set by the editor of “Personal Rights,” to apply the term “miscreant” to a man like Vaillant. Men of his type deserve no adjectives which asperse their character. Vaillant’s life and conduct were characterized by nearly all the qualities that would make a man a good citizen in any community not itself characterized by in-justice and suffering due to legal violation of liberty. All the evidence shows that he had a kindly nature; his employers testify that he was industrious and a good workman; his death exhibited him as a man of unflinching courage; he was honest in his dealings with his fellows; in his personal habits he was regular and moderate; and, supreme virtue! he regularly paid his rent!
I say deliberately that even the throwing of the bomb was an act that did credit to his heart. It was prompted by precisely the same motives that would impel a brave and sympathetic mall to attack a tiger about to spring at a defenceless human being. It makes no difference that the deputies at whom he threw his bomb are not wholly responsible for existing conditions, and therefore not exclusively the tiger in the case; it makes no difference that part of the responsibility falls upon the laborers whom Vaillant wished to aid, and that many of them would be tigers if they could; it makes no difference that economic freedom cannot be achieved by an act of physical force, — none of these things make any difference so far as Vaillant’s heart is concerned. Don Quixote was no less chivalrous because he fought with windmills. Vaillant sincerely believed the deputies to be comparable to the tiger, and that a few bombs would save their victims; and any brave and sympathetic man who believed as he did would act as he did. Those who believe as he did and do not so act are vastly his inferiors in point of humanity, and a large majority of the existing human race would prove too cowardly and too callous to act as he did even if they shared his belief. In his nature he was a man far above the average. He was not a bad man, not a miscreant; he was simply mistaken.
His error was purely mental. And yet mentally, too, he was above the average. He had intellectual tastes; he was fond of study; he desired to know. His address in court and his letters to his friends show that he was disposed to reason upon what he saw about him. That his thought was childish is deplorable, but even childish thought is better than no thought, in that at least it is on the road to deeper, truer thought. Most people never think at all; they are inferior to Vaillant even mentally. The hope of humanity lies in the fact that the number of people passing through Vaillant’s childish stage is steadily growing.
And yet Vaillant’s act was a positive blunder, a hindrance to the very cause he had at heart. That cause can only prosper by freedom of discussion, and, as a consequence of Vaillant’s act, freedom of discussion has been struck down in France. There is now no length to which the panic-stricken authorities are not ready to go in their warfare upon liberty. In this warfare the wise suffer with the foolish. The thought behind it, wherever honest, is far blinder, sillier, more unreasoning than was Vaillant’s. And, so far as it is not honest, the men prosecuting this warfare, and not Vaillant and his comrades, are the miscreants. Take back the word, Mr. Levy; take it back and apply it where it belongs. T.
Spencer’s Injustice to Anarchism.
In his interesting reminiscences of Tyndall, Herbert Spencer refers to the “penalties entailed by ill health,” but he is doubtless unconscious of the fact that he furnishes an exemplification of the penalties of ill-health (and old age) in his remarks with reference to the political opinions of Tyndall, as well as in his recent letter to the Paris “Figaro” on the affinity between his own philosophy and Anarchism.
It appears that the “Figaro,” in commenting upon Vaillant’s declaration that Herbert Spencer was one of his guides and teachers, had denied Spencer’s responsibility for what Vaillant denominated Anarchism, and contended that Spencer’s principles were absolutely opposed to Vaillant’s alleged Anarchism. Spencer thanked the “Figaro” for its intelligent defence of his philosophy, and drew attention to the following paragraph from his “Negative and Positive Beneficence”:
An equally disastrous, or still more disastrous, effect remains to be named. The policy, if persistently pursued, leads on to communism and anarchism. If society in its corporate capacity undertakes beneficence as a function — if, now in this direction and now in that, the inferior learn by precept, enforced by example, that it is a state duty not simply to secure them the unhindered pursuit of happiness but to furnish them with the means to happiness; there is eventually formed among the poorer, and especially among the least deserving, a fixed belief that if they are not comfortable the government is to blame. Not to their own idleness and misdeeds is their misery ascribed, but to the badness of society in not doing its duty to them. What follows? First there grows up among numbers the theory that social arrangements must be fundamentally changed in such ways that all shall have equal shares of the products of labor — that differences of reward, due to differences of merit, shall be abolished; there comes communism. And then among the very worst, angered that their vile lives have not brought them all the good things they want, there grows up the doctrine that society should be destroyed, and that each man should seize what he likes and “suppress,” as Ravachol said, every one who stands in his way; there comes anarchism and a return to the unrestrained struggle for life, as among brutes.
Now it is true that Vaillant was a compulsory Communist and a believer in physical force, though Spencer’s definition of the “Anarchism” of Ravachol (and of Vaillant, by implication) is neither philosophical nor fair. Regard for justice, and still more for beneficence, would prompt the putting of as favorable a construction upon the creed of the revolutionary Anarchist-Communist as it is possible to conceive, while actual familiarity with the movement represented by such men as Vaillant leaves no doubt in the mind that the bomb-thrower whom the bourgeois journalist and the austere philosopher hold up to execration has generally a finer nature and better mind than the average law-and-order citizen, upon whom civilization is said to rest. But passing this important point over, it would be really unpardonable for Spencer (but for ill health and old age) to speak of Anarchism as synonymous with a desire for indiscriminate warfare upon society and to betray no suspicion of the fact that true Anarchism is essentially opposed to compulsory Communism and no more wedded to revolutionary methods than any other system of social reformation. Method of realization is not, a question of principle, but of expediency, wisdom, to be solved in the light of historical experience and the science of human nature. Even Huxley has learned enough of the state of opinion and fact in the reform world to be able to distinguish between genuine Anarchism and so-called Anarchist-Communism. Surely we have a right to expect and demand that Spencer shall penetrate to the heart and substance of things, and separate empty phrases from strict principles, scientific sociology from popular perversion and confusion of terms. As a scientist and philosopher, Spencer ought not to pronounce upon matters without such a thorough grasp of them as can be secured only by constant reference to and comparison with authoritative exposition from those entitled to supply it. If Spencer wishes to assail Anarchist-Communism, Kropotkine or Reclus is the proper authority to refer to for a definition and elucidation of it. Upon such a basis, just and philosophic criticism can be founded. If Spencer wishes to give his views upon true Anarchism, he has in his library “Instead of a Book.” If a general criticism is intended, a careful distinction between the two schools is requisite to start with. But such talk about “Communism” and “Anarchism” as is found in the above-quoted paragraph is helpful to nobody and damaging to Spencer’s reputation only. This, however, is perhaps one of the inevitable penalties of ill-health and age. Spencer is behind the age, and has not only failed to keep himself fully informed of the progress of reform, but has actually forgotten some of his own deliberate statements, made when he was younger, broader, more anxious to be fair, and more capable of fairness. If the reader will refer to the chapter on “Religion and Science” in Spencer’s “First Principles,” he will find a totally different (and a true) conception of Anarchism. There Mr. Spencer tells us that “the Anarchist who denies the right of any government, autocratic or democratic, to trench upon his individual freedom,” recognizes that “there are limits which individual actions may not transgress,” limits which he “regards as deducible from the equal claims of his fellow citizens.”
Contrast the definition of Anarchism implied here with the statement that Anarchism is a return to the unrestrained struggle for life, as among brutes, and that it favors destruction of society. Observe that, though Spencer refers to Ravachol’s views in the latter characterization, he does not say that Ravachol’s so-called Anarchism prompts such conduct, but says, “there comes Anarchism,” without qualification, distinction, or restriction. Truly, great and sad are the penalties of ill-health and old age!
I had intended to animadvert upon certain parts of the “Reminiscences,” in which further exemplification of the “penalties” confront us, but that had better be deferred. V. Y.
A Dishonest Historian.
A great deal has been written in the past year on the subject of Anarchism. Periodical literature may almost be said to have fairly teemed with articles pertaining thereto. Many of these articles I have read, but of none can I say that it gave a fair and intelligent account of the matter with which it proposed to deal. No discrimination was made by the writers between policies and theories, and the most divergent theories were treated as one. All of these effusions bore the mark of ignorance and dishonesty.
But the most contemptible production of the kind that has come under my notice is Karl Blind’s contribution to the January number of the “Contemporary Review” on “The Rise and Development of Anarchism.” This contribution must prove thoroughly disappointing to every serious student of social problems, for, instead of offering a fair and intelligent presentation of the aims and methods and the history of Anarchism, with such critical comment as might have seemed proper to the author, it is little more than a fabric of abuse and insinuation directed against some of the principal protagonists of the theory. Whether Blind’s treatment of these men is dictated by malice or proceeds from incapacity to fully understand their central thought is difficult to decide. While I suspect that some allowance may be made for him on the latter ground, he is nevertheless not to be exempted from malicious and dishonest intent.
It is of course impossible, in dealing with any subject whatsoever, to give an absolutely truthful picture and history of it; but, as Macaulay says, those are the best pictures and the best histories which exhibit such parts of the truth as most nearly produce the effect of the whole. Judged by this rule, Blind fails completely in the rôle of critic and historian of Anarchism, for what he exhibits of the subject in his article is calculated to produce an entirely false and distorted view of it among the uninformed. Nor would any one, reading the article, get a fair notion of wherein Bakounine and Proudhon agreed and wherein they disagreed, or even that there was any fundamental disagreement between them at all, — that the one was a Communist and a champion of forcible revolution, the other a true Anarchist and a believer in the agencies of peace in the solution of social problems, — so little are these differences emphasized.
Again, as the English essayist already quoted also observes, if he who is deficient in the art of selection may, by showing nothing but the truth in the presentation of a picture or a history, produce all the effect of the grossest falsehood, Karl Blind sins doubly by showing not even the truth in his treatment of Bakounine and Proudhon, but offering instead innuendo and suspicion on which to base an estimate of their respective characters. No one can read the great Frenchman’s luminous and voluminous works and correspondence without being impressed with ‘his absolute integrity, and as a matter of fact there is today but one opinion as to his honesty among those qualified to speak for him. And the same is true with almost equal force of Bakounine.
There were of course many reformers among Proudhon’s contemporaries whose motives were as pure as his own. This is especially true of the democratic and partly also of the communistic revolutionists of the time. But, while their intentions were as good as Proudhon’s, they fell far short of him in the matter of intelligence and insight. In the language of Dick Deadeye, they meant well, but they didn’t know. But Proudhon, besides meaning well, also “knew,” and he knew especially one thing which his friends the liberal reformers seemed constitutionally incapable of learning: that there is but one way to the land of justice and true social order, — Liberty. So when the liberal reformers, with all their good intentions, persisted in taking the way of authority, Proudhon parted company with them and became theist most formidable critic. These blind leaders of the blind were indeed his pet abomination. He had no tolerance for their efforts to reform things along authoritarian lines, and often appeared as a disturber of their best-laid schemes. This course, at the hands of stupidity and malice, brought about charges against him of deliberately playing into the hands of the common foe, — charges utterly groundless. Nevertheless Blind does not scruple to revive and to set afloat anew, through the pages of the “Contemporary,” all the innuendoes and aspersions ever cast upon Proudhon in the past. He sets them forth, not to deny them, but merely to say that he cannot vouch for them, plainly meaning to intimate that they are probably true. It is impossible to adequately characterize an offence of this sort, but the offender deserves at least to be peremptorily “called down” for it by Liberty. G. S.
“There is only one way in which a government can meet its obligations,” said Senator Teller in the recent debate on the new issue of bonds, “and that is by taxation; it is cowardly to borrow money.” Cowardly to borrow, but courageous to steal if you are strong, — such is congressional morality.
An unusual stillness prevailed at Vaillant’s execution. “There was none of the shrieking,” say the newspapers, “that ordinarily marks an execution in Paris. The silence that prevailed during Vaillant’s walk from the prison door to the guillotine was very remarkable, but this was probably due to the fact that the spectators were respectable working people, and not the riff-raff that usually assembles to witness the putting of a fellow-being to death.” Such silence is ominous. The shallows murmur, but the deeps are dumb.
I have frequently recorded my opinion that Henry George is a conscious, wilful, deliberate humbug. Consequently I note with pleasure that the ablest Single-Tax journal in the world — I hardly need explain, that I mean “Justice” of Philadelphia — is well on the road to agreeing with me in this. At least it has gone so far as to pronounce Mr. George an unconscious humbug, and even qualifies its palliative adjective with the significant adverb “maybe.” Am I not right in putting this interpretation upon the following paragraph from its column of “Current Comment”? “To affect belief in a single tax while favoring other taxes is a sort of humbug, unconscious maybe, but of the same sort as that which would not object to a prohibitive tariff in case no revenue came therefrom. A limping individual always leans on a socialistic staff.” Henry George, you know, believes in the ten per cent. tax on private banking.
“A Plea for Liberty” is to be followed by another series of essays under the general title of “A Policy of Free Exchange.” Among the contributions to this volume are “The State in Relation to Railways,” by Mr. Acworth; “State Socialism and the Collapse in Australia,” by J. W. Fortescne; “The Influence of State Borrowing on Commercial Crises,” by Wynward Hooper; “The Law of Trade Combinations,” by A. Lyttelton; and “The Intetest of the Working Classes in Free Exchange,” by the editor, T. Mackay. Dunning Macleod and others will also contribute.
Prof. William James of Harvard University writes to the “Nation” in advocacy of legislative interference with the advertising of medicines. He admits that “it may be a somewhat delicate matter to frame just the right bill,” but it seems to him as if “it must in any case be based on a restriction of the amount of space which a medical advertisement shall be permitted to take.” Talk about Populist cranks after this! The most authoritarian of them all never ventured a more dictatorial proposition. Yet the “Nation,” which professes the doctrine of individualism, gives two columns, with seeming favor, to Prof. James’s lunacy.
“Egoism,” like Liberty, has just awakened from a long slumber. In its current number it effectually disposes of the “Twentieth Century’s” shallow criticism and insulting treatment of Anarchism. Now that this last-named sheet has become a mouthpiece of Social Democracy and its former editor a hireling of Tammany Democracy, its readers, who have so long been taught to hate every “cracy” whatsoever, are probably beginning to realize that they have been doubly betrayed.
Speaking of Charles A. Dana, the “Twentieth Century” says: “Behind the mask of printer’s ink gleams the eye of a cynic, the diplomacy of a Talleyrand, and the lurking smile of a Mephistocles.” Now, I am ready to believe about Mr. Dana almost anything that is bad, but, before I can compare him with Mephistocles, I desire to know more about that apparently disingenuous personage. I have heard of Themistocles, who is said to have been a bold, bad man in his way, with many evil designs lurking beneath a fair exterior, quite unlike his incorruptible rival, Aristides; but I do not remember ever seeing any reference to his smile. Who, then, and what manner of man otherwise, was this Phemistocles, who smiled so covertly? I fear we must wait for the Twentieth Century to tell us, and that is nearly seven long years ahead. Dana will be dead by that time; at least, I hope so.
Frank Foster, in his “Labor Leader!” calls attention to the statement of Rev. W. D. P. Bliss in the Boston “Transcript” that true Socialism is nearer what is known as Philosophic Anarchism than it is to the State Socialistic brand. Liberty insists, however, that, if Mr. Bliss is right when in the same article he identifies true Socialism with the views of Mr. Sidney Webb and his associates, true Socialism is the farthest possible from Philosophic Anarchism and in no way different from State Socialism. But, in Liberty’s view, Mr. Bliss is wrong. True Socialism is no nearer to one than to the other, being equally inclusive of both. The dominant characteristic of Mr. Bliss’s mind was never the faculty of keen discrimination.
William Morris, who is looked up to by some of the more sentimental Anarchists as a great apostle of voluntary Socialism, is being slowly drawn into the authoritarian maelstrom. I find this man, who used to be so healthily contemptuous of political methods, saying in the “Labor Prophet” that “the workers have started to claim new conditions of life which they can only obtain at the expense of the possessing classes; and they must therefore force their claims on the latter. The means by which they will attempt this are not doubtful. To speak plainly, there are only two methods of bringing the necessary force to bear; open armed insurrection on the one hand; the use of the vote, to get hold of the executive, on the other. Of the first method they are not even thinking; but the second they are growing more determined to use day by day; and it is practically the only direct means. . . . . To withdraw from the furtherance of the ‘labor’ struggle, with all that it involves of capturing parliament and the municipal and other local bodies, would be rejecting the necessary means towards the end.” Of course this means union with the Fabians and support of their tyrannical measures. You can’t trust the defence of liberty to a Communist. Sooner or later he will betray it. With him Communism is always the chief thing; and, when he fails to achieve it by persuasion, he will attempt to achieve it by force.
“To set up elaborate People’s Banks as was done by Proudhon and his associates at the Revolution of 1848, without first laying the foundations of mutual confidence and trustworthiness, was, as the result proved, to invite disaster.” So writes Mr. T. Mackay in an article in the “National Review” for January on “People’s Banks.” I should dislike to think that this is impudence on the part of so earnest a man as I take Mr. Mackay to be, but, if it is not that, it is ignorance but little better. Shameless as is Karl Blind in the slanders upon Proudhon to which he gives currency in the January “Contemporary,” he is not rash enough to repeat the oft-repeated lie that the Banque du People failed from intrinsic weakness or from bad judgment on the part of its founder. Blind tells the actual truth about this matter when he simply says that “the project of establishing a Bank of the People came to nothing, owing to Proudhon’s imprisonment for press offences against Louis Bonaparte’s government.” The bank had hardly been organized, but everything pointed to its success, when this imprisonment occurred, the object of which was nominally to stop Proudhon’s pen, but really to embarrass him in his enterprise. His pen was active during his imprisonment, but his bank had to close its doors at once.
If there was ever anything calculated to excite the risibility of the knowing, it is the appearance of the series of papers on the “Habits and Customs of Ancient Times” now running through the “Westminster Review” over the signature of “Lady Cook, née Tennessee Claflin.” In these papers one may find references to the old Egyptian Chronicle and the reigns of Cronus; to Menes, Cambyses, and the Persian invasion; to Userseten I., Rameses II., and Thothmes III., to say nothing of Pthamenoph; to Pythagoras, Tarquin the Proud, Hecatiens, and Herodotus; to the walls of Karnak and the grottoes on the Nile; to Isis and Osiris; to Amen, Mut, and Khonsu; to Anubis, the Director of the Weights; and to the great god Ra. Now, the editor of Liberty knows Tennie Claflin exceedingly well, and he speaks by the card when ho declares that about none of these persons, deities, or things does she know anything whatsoever. She is an illiterate person, no more capable of writing the articles in question than is a street newsboy of writing “Hamlet.” In signing them she is a humbug, and in printing them over her signature the editor of the “Westminster Review” is her dupe. She never wrote a line of them; I doubt very much if she ever read them in manuscript; and it would not surprise me to learn that she never read them in print. If she did, they bored her terribly; of that I am sure. These remarks are rude, I know; but they are needed.
In a recent English work on “Industry and Property” the author, George Brooks, lays down twelve propositions or fundamental principles, the fourth of which is that “the first right of labor is that it should be free, while the first right of capital is that it should be secure.” This is more pretentious than profound, more airy than accurate. Suppose I were to say that the first right of labor is that it should be secure, while the first right of capital is that it should be free? Would not my proposition be as undeniable as that of Mr. Brooks? The rights of labor and capital, or, better, the rights of laborers and capitalists, are those which laborers and capitalists can enforce. The only security that can be enforced is political security, — that is, security against invasion. Now, security against invasion is the precise equivalent of freedom. Why, then, this impossible distinction? How fanciful the supposed priority of either over the other! Moreover, when this right is enforced, laborers will gradually become as identical with capitalists in fact, as freedom is with security in logic; so that Mr. Brooks’s distinction is doubly disqualified. The eighth of this author’s propositions is that “labor is the instrument which capital uses in the work of production.” Funnily enough, I had always supposed the truth to be exactly the reverse, — that capital is the instrument which the laborer uses in the work of production. Mr. Brooks evidently thinks that the axe wields the woodsman. Well, I must admit that there is at least one fact on Mr. Brooks’s side. It is clear that, when he writes a book, the lien uses the writer, for there is no evidence of brains in the product. O the vanity of phrase-making! And it is such stuff as this that the “Liberty Review” of England praises!
“The garden of the laws it full or ironical plants, of unexpected flowers; and by no means its slightest charm is this subversion of the natural order, whereby appear at the end of stems and branches fruit just the opposite of that which is promised by the essence of the tree or bush. The apple-tree bears figs, and the cherry-tree medlars; violet-plants yield sweet potatoes, and hollyhocks salsify. It is delicious.” — Séverine.
The Beauties of Government.
The readers of Liberty are urgently invited to contribute to this department. It is open to any statement of facts which exhibit the State in any phase of its fourfold capacity of fool, meddler, knave, and tyrant. Either original accounts based upon the writer’s own knowledge, or apparently reliable accounts clipped from recent publications, are welcome.
An Insult Properly Resented.
To the Editor of Liberty:
A few days ago I received a letter through the post-office upon which was stamped the following:
Official Notice. — The person receiving this letter is warned against swindlers, who falsely pretend to deal in counterfeit money. If this letter relates to that subject, hand it to Postmaster, who will forward to P. O. Dep’t, Div. of Correspondence, Washington, D. C.
Thereupon I wrote to the Post Office Department the following letter:
P. O. Dep’t, Washington, D. C.
A day or two ago I received a letter bearing a rubber stamp warning against swindlers and surmising that the enclosed letter might be from such persons.
Permit me to say that I regard such interference with my correspondents as impertinent to me and insulting to my friends, and to beg that you will direct your employees to refrain from indulging in any guesses or expressing any suspicions about what comes to me.
It is your part merely to deliver without comment: the next thing you will be opening my letters, if indeed you do not sometimes now. I am quite able to take care of myself, and shall be obliged if you will abstain from officious proffers of protection in the future.
John Beverley Robinson.
New York, Jan. 31, 1894.
Bench Intimidation of Jurymen.
[New York Sun.]
Recorder Frederick Smyth, talking with a reporter yesterday, said incidentally:
“The newspapers have treated me very kindly. But once in a while you will see a criticism to the effect that I have imposed a sentence of undue severity, or that I have used unnecessarily strong language in passing sentence on a prisoner. As to the charge that my language is severe, you must remember that there are always from thirty to fifty jurymen in the room waiting to he drawn to try the next case. Here is the innocent-looking prisoner before the bar. He has had a clever lawyer who has managed to conceal his bad record, but he is found guilty of the crime as charged. If I made no remarks about the prisoner’s record, if I failed to score his crimes as they deserve, those jurymen would be surprised at my apparent lack of mercy, and human nature is such that, when they got into the box, they would refuse to convict for fear my sentence would be too severe. It is for the benefit of these jurymen as well as for all others in the court room that I make the remarks that are described by some as abusive.”
[Under Anarchism the jury would impose the penalty, and any judge who should assume to publicly and officially lecture the prisoner would himself be tried by a jury on a charge of invasively imposing a punishment, in the name of the defensive association, which said association had not authorized. It is surprising that even now there is not to be found in the legislatures some man with sufficient human sympathy still lingering within him to inspire him to propose a law making it an impeachable offence for a judge to lecture a condemned prisoner, except in the case of crimes the statutes against which might specifically provide subjection to a lecture from the bench as the only adequate penalty.]
Telephoning a la Bellamy.
[Vienna Neue Freie Presse.]
The profound sagacity of the powers that be in Roumania is manifested in the following official regulation: “Persons desirous of communicating by telephone are required to acquaint each other previously of their intention by letter, by telegram, or In some other way.”
As a result, people fight shy of the new “institution.” The other day Mr. Kir Zaridi, of Braila, attempted to break down this absurd rule. Being on the point of effecting a large purchase of barley, he was anxious to know the prices quoted on the Exchange at Galatz. He fearlessly stepped into the telephone office and, planking down the usual fee of 2 lei (1s. 2½d.), asked to be placed in communication with his friend Pastramakis, in Galata.
“Very good,” said the telephone clerk. “Have you informed Mr. P. of your intention?”
“Why, the man is at Galatz.”
“But did you not write to him yesterday!”
“Nor send him a telegram?”
“Hang it! I want to telephone and not to telegraph!”
“Now, you ought to know very well that this won’t do. First wire to your friend, or write him to say that you wish to speak with him.”
“Well, of all the crazy notional” exclaimed Kir Zaridi in great wrath. “Perhaps you expect me next thing to take the train to Galatz and ask him to go to the telephone at a certain hour on such and such a day, as I wish to speak to him from Braila.”
“Oh, yes, that would do as well,” stolidly replied the official. There was nothing more to be said. Kir Zaridi simply lost his chance of buying the barley.
[This reminds one of the side-splitting episode in the comic opera of “Boccaccio,” where a drunken coöper, after vainly trying to open his gate from the outside, deliberately climbs over a high fence to open it from the inside and then as deliberately climbs back again in order to stagger through the open gateway. The State often acts like a drunken man.]
Taxation in Italy.
[Vilfredo Pareto in the Gazette de Lausanne.]
The Italian people are overwhelmed with taxes, and the unfortunates who, reduced to the most frightful poverty, are now rebelling, are not entirely without excuse. The Countess Pasolini has published in the “Giornale degli Economisti,” of Rome, the receipts and expenses of a workman’s family living in Romagna. We have calculated the taxes upon their expenditures.
The workman in question earns in a year 588 hams and 72 centimes. He buys 7 hectolitres of wheat, and, as the wheat-tax is 6 francs on 100 kilogrammes, he pays on this item almost 28 francs, a part of which goes to the government and a part to those people who are protected by the tariff. He buys also 7 hectolitres of maize, and on this quantity pays a sum of 6 francs. He pays nothing on his wine because he drinks none. Otherwise he would have paid a tax which, in the so-called open communes, falls only on the poor who buy wine at retail. This workman consumes each week one kilogramme of salt. He buys it of the government and pays 86 centimes for it deducting the cost of the salt, the government realizes, on his year’s consumption, a profit of 15 francs and 80 centimes. For his light our workman buys 20 centimes’ worth of petroleum per week, amounting to 10 francs and 40 centimes per year, of which sum the government gets 7 francs and 10 centimes. Finally, for clothing, this family spends in a year 16 francs and 25 centimes, almost 8 francs of which is taken from him by the customs. Summing up the whole, we find that these poor people have paid to the government and to the persons who enjoy protection 57 francs and 90 centimes, or almost 10 per cent. of their yearly earnings. It should be noted that in the so-called closed communes, where there is an octrol, the taxes are much heavier than in the example cited.
In the smaller Sicilian communes the people are reduced to eating bread made from a mixture consisting of two parts of flour to one of earth. In the rich plains of Lombardy the people must content themselves, for their nourishment, with polenta, made of corn meal. And the poorest cannot even add salt, though this is an element of food with which no human being can dispense. It is not an uncommon thing to see children who have succeeded in getting into a bourgeois kitchen steal salt and eat it by the handful.
It is a great injustice that an entire people must endure such sufferings because of the megalomania of a few individuals.
Too Robust for the State.
[New York Nation.]
The dispute over the World’s Fair medal is another instance of the mess our government makes of it every time it attempts to deal with matters of art. It blundered outrageously about the new coinage a few years ago, and the result is our present wonderful quarter. It always produces the worst building and the worst decoration, the worst postage stamp and the worst Treasury note, to be had for money. Now it has insulted one of the most eminent artists in the country by rejecting as “vulgar” an eminently proper and eminently beautiful design, because it represented Young America as a vigorous, nude youth. We are used to the occasional outbreaks of prudery which lead young men in the West to deface paintings, by Bouguereau, and matrons of Philadelphia to protest against the exhibition of pictures by Low and Harrison, but, when the government proceeds, publicly and before the nations, to follow in the same train, it is trying to the nerves. If the effect of free importation of works of art shall be to insert some knowledge of the subject into the skulls of our rulers, that alone is a reason for the speedy pas-sage of the Wilson bill; but, if the gentlemen who have been busy in this matter are fair representatives of the Senate to which they belong, we fear there is little hope for the artists when the bill comes before that body. They evidently want no art at all, domestic or foreign, in anything with which they have to do.
[New York Sun.]
Washington, Feb. 13. — Acting Secretary Curds today forwarded to the artist St. Gaudena this resolution, adopted by the “Senate Committee on the Quadro-Centennial,” expressing its “decided opinion that the design of the reverse of the medal of awards to be distributed by the Committee of Awards of the World’s Columbian Exposition ought to be changed.”
The department, in forwarding the Senate resolution, indorses it and requests the artist to make the change to conform with the spirit of the resolution. Mr. St. Gaudens has now to be heard from.
The Tie Between Law-makers and Law-breakers.
Mr. Vitas was delivering a eulogy in sonorous and solemly impressive periods on the late Representative Chipman. Up stairs, in the lobby of the press gallery, the instruments were clicking away and a rapid scribe was dashing off the words as they came from the ring-side at Jacksonville. The sporting element of the press gallery was reproducing in miniature the scene in the corridor on the House side, snatching at copies of the bulletins as they came from the operator, and expressing their sentiments with more or less force and freedom. Only a few sheets of the preliminary details had been handed around, when a page pressed through the crowd of newspaper men and coolly reached for the first flimsy that came in range of his hand.
“What are you doing there?” shouted some one behind the railing.
“Taking the news of the prize fight to the Senate,” shouted the boy. “There’s a circle of senators in the cloak rooms waiting for bulletins.”
He Swung open the door and disappeared in the upper lobby. A glance at the chamber an instant after showed that it was almost deserted.
[New York Sun]
There were about two dozen persons in the Court of Common Pleas, Chambers, chiefly lawyers waiting on motions, just at the time yesterday afternoon when matters were at the critical stage in Florida. Inquiry was set afoot to ascertain what had become of the Judge. At length Judge Pryor appeared with elastic step and a beam of happiness in his eye.
Then a lawyer presented papers to him to swear a third party to an examination in the ex-Governor Rodman M. Drake supplementary proceedings. Before taking up the papers Judge Pryor said assuringly: “Corbett won, gentlemen.”
New Way of Making Work for the Unemployed.
[New York Sun.]
Washington, Feb. 12. — The bill of Mr. Hanabrough for the extermination of the saltwort, or Russian thistle, which may before long come up for discussion in the Senate, affords rather a striking instance of the improper tasks which some people would impose on the federal government. It provides for engaging a number of agents who, under the Secretary of Agriculture, are to “employ and direct all necessary help” for destroying this noxious weed, wherever it is found. The compensation of the agents is to be $8 a day, and that of the helpers $2 for adult males and $1 for females and boys under 18 years old. The sum of $1,000,000 is to be appropriated forthwith for this purpose, and to be made immediately available, and annual reports of progress are to be made.
[Under Anarchism any man who has a garden will either weed it himself or hire somebody to do it for him. The people will neither do his work for nothing nor pay his bills.]
Lawyers Got the Oyster, George Got the Shell.
[New York Sun.]
Camden, Feb. 13. — The case of Henry George against John T. Woodhull in the Camden Civil Court was settled today, when Lawyer Woodhull paid over about $200 in his possession. Some years ago George Bowers, of Ancora, died, leaving about $18,000 or $20,000. The greater part of his estate he willed to Mr. George for the dissemination of the latter’s book. Western relatives objected to the money being used for such a purpose, and went into the Court of Chancery to prevent the bequest. They claimed that, as the book to be disseminated struck at existing law, the money could not be devoted to that purpose. Vice-Chancellor Bird decided in favor of the opponents of Henry George, but the latter carried the case to the court of last resort, where the decision was reversed. In the mean time the original fortune of $20,000 was reduced by court and counsel fees to less than half that amount. Then other tedious litigation arose, which further reduced the sum, until finally the case reached the Camden Circuit Court with only $200 left. The widow was not able to obtain even her dower, and was obliged to go to the county almshouse, where she died of a broken heart some months ago.
[Annoying as it might be to see good money go into a mean man’s pocket for the spread of false ideas, Anarchism would give even the devil his due.]
A Starved House and a Constipated Senate.
When Dr. Everett was in town the other day, he called on Col. Wheelwright and Mr. Winslow Warren.
“How do you like Congress?” he was asked by Col. Wheelwright.
“Oh!” said the seventh district congressman, “it’s the funniest place I ever saw. In the House they have got the rules so fixed that you can’t get any business in, and in the Senate they have them so arranged that you can’t get any business out.”
[The power to stop legislative action when the laws are once fixed to their own liking constitutes the cinch of the privileges.]
An Upper Case Creator a Necessity of the State.
[New York Sun.]
Washington, Jan. 21. — The entire edition of the annual report of the Smithsonian Institution, numbering 2,000 copies, will have to be expurgated before the report sees the light of day. It was discovered, just before the report was to be placed into the hands of the binders, that it contained matter that would shock the national idea of orthodoxy. The objectionable matter was found in two lectures by well-known Washington scientific men, — one by Professor W. G. McGee, of the Geological Survey, and the other by Professor Lester Ward, of the Smithsonian Institution. They were taken from the winter course of Saturday lectures at the National Museum, and the offence in each was trenching on the teachings of the orthodox church. They were accordingly expurgated. The lecture by Professor Ward was on the “Physiological Man.” Professor Ward, in common with a number of modern scientific men, is of the opinion that all mental exhibitions are the result of physiological action, a materialistic view of brain phenomena not exactly in accord with the theory of a distinct indwelling soul principle. Professor McGee’s lecture cast some doubt on the idea of a special creation, and showed a decided leaning toward the theory of evolution. Some of the particularly offensive paragraphs of the lecture suggested the possibility that the theory of evolution would be one day universally accepted, but one of the crowning offences, which seemed to have caught even the eye of the copy-reader, was the spelling of Creatorwith a small “c.”
[Evolution meaning the death of the State, the State would be a fool not to fight it. Evolution is the State’s enemy and Anarchism’s friend.]
His Taxes Made His Fortune.
[New York Sun.]
Washington, Jan. 27. — One feature of experience under the income tax of the sixties is mentioned hardly at all. “I had just started into some speculations, and would do fairly well if everything went well,” said a man who loves to relate the beauties of an income tax. “With me pretty nearly everything was plentier than credit. I got it by putting on the cloak the income tax law furnished me. I voluntarily made return of a handsome yearly income. The list was printed, and my credit rose at once. I became a man of fair means in popular estimation. It was the best speculation I ever undertook. It gave me credit, and I went ahead after that. To me the tax was a private blessing.”
One of the strongest arguments for the repeal of the old law was that it was a school for perjury.
[It isn’t freedom, it is interference, that gives rise to wild-cat credit and furnishes it with a seeming basis, whether it has any or not.]
A Crime to Collect Money for the Unemployed.
[New York Sun.]
John Dettviller, the wealthy retired shoe dealer of Brooklyn, who was arrested OD Wednesday while engaged in begging money on the street for the poor, was arraigned yesterday morning before Justice Walsh in the Adams street police court. At the time of his arrest be had placards on his breast and back with these inscriptions respectively: “I am begging for the poor of Brooklyn. Please help me all you can. Some are starving,” and “American boys and girls are starving from hunger. Help all you can.” Men, women, and children crowded around the well-dressed beggar and dropped pennies, dimes, and nickels in his high silk hat. They were counted at the station and amounted to $12.60.
He told Captain Campbell that he started out on his benevolent mission for the purpose of setting an example to others. He intended to turn over the money to the Rev. Dr. Talmage. His wife was sent for, and he was allowed to go home with her.
Mr. Dettviller told Justice Walsh that he didn’t consider that he was begging. He was simply collecting money for the poor of Brooklyn. Justice Walsh discharged him after warning him against such a proceeding in future. “It is too bad I can’t help the poor,” Mr. Dettvlller said. “I suppose I will have to let them starve.” On leaving the court he went to the City Hall to see Mayor Schieren, but the latter was too busy with other visitors.
[The State is unwilling to allow people to freely aid the unemployed, preferring to steal from the people, by taxation, money for the performance of unnecessary public work which will furnish not only jobs in the industrial sense to the laborers, but “jobs” in the political sense to the ringsters.]
A Baby Poisoned by the State.
[New York Sun.]
Stephen, the two-year old child of John and Mary Troy, lies in the Presbyterian Hospital dangerously ill from blood poisoning consequent upon vaccination. He was sent to the hospital this morning from the tenement 218 East Eighty-first street, where his parents live. There has been a good deal of small-pox in the neighborhood and Dr. Doty’s men have been vaccinating through the tenements. They struck the Troy family on Jan. 24 and vaccinated their two children. It seems to be now two weeks since the eldest child showed symptoms suggestive of blood poisoning. When the arm grew very sore, the mother bound it up with dirty rags, and it festered more. When word was sent to the health officers, they found the child very ill. The parents say that no attention was paid to their call. The health officers insist that a physician went there at once and did what could be done, leaving word that he was to be called again if the child got worse. When its illness took a dangerous turn last night, the father went to a doctor in Eighty-fifth street, but he said it was too bad a night for him to go out. Then the boy was sent to the hospital. He is a very sick child today. The health officers are concerned about the matter, because of its possible effect on the people of the neighborhood.
Tampered With the Forelady.
[New York Sun.]
“In Wyoming women enjoy equal citizen rights and privileges with men,” said a well-known lawyer this morning. “They are eligible to serve on juries, and many of them have taken advantage of the privilege. Some curious questions of law have arisen out of this novel condition of legal procedure, and an apt illustration has been recently furnished in an action in the Circuit Court. An action for damages, which from its nature caused a widespread interest, was moved for trial. A number of women were summoned on the panel, and one of them was selected as foreman of the jury. The trial was long and exciting. The jury retired to consider their verdict. A long discussion followed. The excitement accelerated the confinement of the foreman, and a baby was born in the jury room. Then the verdict was agreed upon and announced. Now, the counsel against whose client the verdict was rendered moved for a new trial and to set the verdict aside, on the ground that there were thirteen persons in the jury room when the verdict was agreed upon. Of course, it is familiar law that the presence of any person not a juror in the jury room vitiates the verdict. Now, the baby is a person, and it certainly was not empanelled on the jury, and the question raised adds to the perplexities of the law.”
[If, as the law declares, it is manslaughter to perform an abortion, there would still have been thirteen persons in the jury room at the time of the verdict, even though the baby had not been born until after the discharge of the jury. This view of the matter renders it probable that a large portion of the verdicts rendered in Wyoming since women began to serve on juries could be successfully contested. Under Anarchism babies, whether born or unborn, wouldn’t count in the jury room.]
Contempt With Inpunity.
We guarantee the following as authentic, and can give, if necessary, the name of the commune where the case occurred. A had cited B before the commune judge in order to obtain satisfaction for an insult which B had offered him in calling him a “Schweinhund” (pig-dog). The judge heard both sides and delivered his opinion that the epithet was not insulting, since no such animal existed. A, very much surprised at the judge’s reasoning, paid the costs and, as he retired, hat in hand, saluted the judge with the words: “Good day, Mr. Schweinhund.”
[An excellent case of the argumenium ad hominem. This plaintiff was as safe in his abuse of the judge as was Dr. Johilson (I believe it was he) when he called the fish-wife a parallelopipedon.]
Lost His Liberty Instead of His Live.
[New York Sun.]
William J. Holland, an undersized, sickly young man, about 28 years of age, with his head swathed in bandages, was tried yesterday in the General Sessions before Recorder Smyth upon an indictment charging him with attempting to commit suicide by shooting himself in the head on the afternoon of Dec. 28, outside of his wife’s apartment, at 372 Hudson street. No defence was offered and the jury convicted Holland without quitting their seats. Recorder Smyth sentenced him to the State prison for one year and ten months.
[Holland will probably spend his term of imprisonment in trying to solve the question whether he is punished for trying to kill himself or for failing to do so.]
The Vaillant Trial.
Whatever opinion we may hold as to the wisdom or folly shown by Auguste Vaillant in hurling a bomb into the French Chamber of Deputies, we should guard against passing judgment upon an event of such importance that it has drawn the attention of the entire world, without due knowledge of the facts and documents that throw light upon the deed itself and upon the character and motives of the doer. The meagre and biased accounts given in the cable despatches, made worse by malicious headlines and reckless comments, have left an erroneous impression on the public mind. To correct this and preserve a record of the truth Liberty will devote much space in this and one or two subsequent numbers to the various phases of the affair, beginning with Vaillant’s trial.
The trial took place on January 10, in the Palais de Justice. Vaillant entered at half past eleven, escorted by five municipal guards. The spectators saw in him a man of medium height, with a very high forehead narrowing at the top, a thin chestnut-colored beard trimmed to a point, an aquiline nose, a prominent jaw, and chestnut-colored hair parted on the aide.
M. Caze was the presiding judge, and was assisted by MM. Persac and Gréhen. Attorney General Bertrand appeared for the government and M. Labori for the accused. In the selection of the jury Baron Gustave de Rothschild was challenged by the defence.
Throughout the trial Vaillant spoke slowly, in a soft voice. To the judge he was invariably courteous, admitting all the facts alleged with the exception of some unimportant details and denying only the charge of intent to kill. With the witnesses he was equally gentle, taking but little pains even to correct the testimony of the government chemist regarding the construction of the bomb, seemingly not anxious to display his chemical knowledge.
In accordance with French procedure, the trial began with the examination of the prisoner by the court.
“What is your name?”
“Auguste Vaillant, aged thirty-two, formerly employed in a commercial house at Choisy-le-Roi.”
“You are a natural child, but your father recognized you as his son. You have been sentenced four times for swindling, theft, etc. At your preliminary examination you said that the prevailing social exploitation gave you the right to steal.”
“In 1890 you left Paris, — where you had followed various trades, — because you feared certain searches to which the Russian Nihilists were being subjected. So you said, at least. Since then you have admitted that you had no reason to fear these searches, but that you wished to make yourself important in the eyes of the comrades.”
Vaillant shrugged his shoulders as he answered: “I had no need to make myself important in the eyes of the comrades. They knew me perfectly well.”
“Where did you go?”
“I spent two years and a half in America, in the solitudes of the Argentine Republic, in those solitudes which had always been attractive to me. There I breathed the air of liberty. There I had leisure to deepen my philosophy.”
“There you even obtained a grant of one hundred acres of land, with cattle, horses, etc. You dreamed of making a fortune and coming back then to settle in Algeria, where you hoped to build a cottage by the sea.”
“Unfortunately the climate of the Argentine Republic did not agree with me. An associate, whose arrival I was awaiting, decided to remain in Europe. I abandoned my grant, and at the beginning of last summer returned to Paris.”
“You returned with evil ideas. ‘Who knows,’ you wrote to a friend, ‘but that some day, tired of the struggle, and with heart filled with hatred, I may go to do final battle with society?’ It was this final battle that you attempted on December 9 in the Chamber of Deputies. At Paris you lived at that at the house of a certain Marchal, whose wife you took from him.”
“Marchal had left his family; his wife was perfectly free to do with me what she liked.”
“You even took his furniture.”
“That is to say, I sold his library at the Saint-Ouen city hall in order to be able to pay the rent.”
“And you went, with Madame Marchal, to live at Choisy-le-Roi. There, working in a morocco factory, you gave two months to solitary meditation upon the act upon which you had resolved.”
“Solitary, yes; without aid or accomplice. I studied chemistry, the fulminates, explosives.”
“You lacked but one thing in order to make your bomb, — money. Who gave it to you?”
“I received from Madame Paul Reclus twenty francs, which she supposed to be for my family, and one hundred francs from a burglar, who knew that the money was to be used for revolutionary work, but did not know what the work was to be.”
“Once in possession of this money, you rented a room in Paris, Rue Daguerre, in order to proceed with your chemical manipulations. You took extraordinary precautions, placing seals on the furniture when you went out, and addressing letters and verses to yourself, under the assumed name of Marcal’, in order to be sure that your correspondence was not meddled with by the janitress. Before making your bomb, you desired to know the arrangement of the Chamber of Deputies; so you went to M. Argelies, deputy from Seine-et-Oise, to ask him for a ticket of admission. You gave your name as Dumont. It seems that there are people of that name among the constituents of M. Argelies at Villeneuve-Saint-Georges.”
“Oh! I took that name at random. There are Dumonts everywhere.”
“Two days in succession — the seventh and eighth of December — you tried in vain to get the ticket. Then you gave up the intended preliminary visit. Your bomb was ready. It was necessary to act! You were in a hurry. On Saturday, the ninth, when you at last obtained entrance to the Chamber, you came with the bomb in your pocket.”
“It would have been unsafe to leave it at my room.”
“Of what was this bomb made?”
“It was a tin box, enclosed in another and larger box.”
“And what did it contain?”
“Sulphuric acid and chlorated powder separated by a layer of cotton. When the bomb turned over, the two substances combined, and the mixture caused an explosion. The space between the two boxes was filled with nearly a pound and a half of nails.”
“How many nails could it hold?”
“About sixty. I wrapped the box in newspaper, and arranged a rounded cushion underneath it to insure its instantaneous overturn. The whole was strongly wound with wire.”
“On reaching the Palais Bourbon you sent in to M. Argelies a card bearing the name of Dumont and these words: ‘I remind you of the promise that you made me.’ The attendant brought you a ticket, and you entered the public gallery. From here you threw the bomb into the hemicycle of the Chamber, just as M. Mirman was descending from the tribune. You aimed especially at the seats occupied by the cabinet ministers.”
“Yes. I had nothing against them personally, but all the members of a government resemble each other. They are alike the representatives of society.”
“You miscalculated the distance.”
“I did not know that the galleries were so crowded. I could not move freely, and I was at the rear.”
“Your arm struck the shoulder of a lady in front of you; this deprived the bomb of the necessary force and the intended direction. It burst in the air.”
“It was to avoid this that I desired to enter the Chamber a few days before, that I might understand the situation. If I had known that the galleries were packed so closely, I would have so stationed myself that the bomb would have fallen into the middle of the Chamber.”
“Whereas it burst too soon, so that those whom you wished to hit were saved.”
“This was not my fault.”
“On the other hand, you wounded spectators in the galleries, which were literally riddled.”
“It was at the deputies that I aimed. They are primarily responsible for the prevailing social misery; they are parasites.”
“What do you mean by that word?”
“A parasite is one who does not produce and who lives at the expense of society. It was my intention to exclaim to the deputies before throwing the bomb: ‘You do not think of the unfortunate. Look out! The unfortunate think of you.’ But time and presence of mind failed me.”
“Your bomb thrown, you tried to escape.”
“It is false!”
“You were astounded at finding the door closed. You shouted indignantly: ‘The doors; let them open the doors!’”
“It is a lie! Besides, I was not in a condition to shout. I was wounded, and my throat was full of blood.”
“You even went up to the grating, and the sentinel had to bar the way, threatening to thrust his bayonent into your belly.”
“This soldier is mistaken. It was not I that he saw.”
“An officer heard you shout: ‘I know the assassin. He is a tall man with a light complexion. If only they do not let him escape!’”
“This officer believes that he is telling the truth. He is mistaken.”
“As you were wounded, they carried you to the refreshment-room, and there again you denied all participation in the affair. You even pretended that you saw the bomb pass you at your right.”
“It is false!”
“Not until the next day at the hospital did you decide to confess. You pretended that you had indulged the fancy of watching the police waste their time in useless investigation, that it gave you amusement, pleasure.”
“Well, you see, I heard such queer testimony given!”
“That is, you hoped that justice would have its labor for its pains.”
“Not at all. This is proved by the fact that I announced my guilt to save those who had been wrongfully arrested.”
“Yes, innocent people whom you had wounded. These were not victims of the police; they were your victims.”
“I did not wish to see innocent people pay for me with their head.”
“With their head, did you say? You have just fixed your responsibility.
“A few days before going to the Chamber, you had your photograph taken, and on the morning of the assault you sent one of these photographs to M. Paul Reclus, with this letter: ‘I shall die tranquil, satisfied to have given the last drop of my blood for libertarian ideas. My act is the logical consequence of my ideas derived from the philosophy of Darwin, Büchner, and Herbert Spencer.’ You have also declared that your act would not remain sterile, that henceforth the deputies would always have a Damocles bomb suspended over their heads, and that another would come after you with better success.”
“It is to be hoped.”
“Yet you pretend, Vaillant, that you did not wish to kill.”
“It is true.”
“You have said that you wished to perform an act of propagandism by deed; these are merely verbal distinctions. Of this I have the proof in a letter in which you declare that propagandism by deed consists in the destruction of a few bourgeois.”
“I have never said that. I have said that every act directed against society was good. I might have made a larger bomb and filled it with bullets instead of nails, but in the interest of propagandism it was better to wound many than to kill one. My act had thus a wider influence.”
“Then, if it was not your wish to kill, why do you complain of your ill success?”
“Because I wounded simple spectators.”
“More than fifty:”
“I would have preferred to wound fifty deputies.”
“The statement has been printed that these wounds were mere scratches. This is absolutely false; in some cases limbs were traversed. One of the wounded had to undergo a trepanning operation.”
“I received a nail in my own thigh.”
“Do not compare the assassin with his victims.”
“And how about my brothers whom you send to Tonquin to die? Think of them’ I say again that I did not wish to kill. I might have brought two bombs instead of one. I did not do so. I might have put in a heavier change of powder. I did not do so. I might have used a more terrible explosive, — nitro-glycerine, for example. I did not do so.”
“But the sort of powder which you used approaches dynamite in force.”
“True. The inventor himself told me so. But I filled my box with nails and not with bullets. My purpose was to wound as many as possible. I knew that my bomb could not kill anyone, and deputies have as strong a hold on life as others, I fancy.”
“The truth is that you misjudged the distance.”
“Well, at any rate, the fact is before you; nobody is dead!”
“Oh, ho! then that is your excuse!”
“Do you suppose that I say so to save my head You are mistaken. If I thought that you had such an idea, I should prefer not to answer you at all and would simply fold my arms. But certainly, if I did not wish to kill, I cannot say that I did.”
“The nails that you selected were none the less choice projectiles; the points were capable of penetrating far into the flesh, and the large heads were well calculated to enlarge the wounds.”
“Oh! no, indeed. I have used them in hunting in America, and I know that they have infinitely less penetrating power than bullets.”
“The very precautions which you took in carrying the bomb to the Chamber show that you knew how dangerous it was.”
“Why! intending it for the Chamber, I did not wish it to burst in my own.”
“You spent several days in preparing the powder.”
“Certainly, that it might be dry.”
“You made a long study of the time necessary for the sulphuric acid to combine with the chlorate.”
“And you bad decided to throw the bomb into the hemicycle.”
“Surely. That was my intention.”
“Fortunately your hands struck against one of your neighbors, the bomb burst in the air, and the wounded were hit only by the rebounding missiles. Otherwise the wounds would have been much more serious. This is shown by the fact that the wainscoting of the Chamber was deeply cut and torn by the projectiles. ‘If I had known,’ you have said, ’that the galleries were so crowded, I would have puts little more cotton between the sulphuric acid and the chlorate: in this way the bomb would not have exploded before reaching the floor.’”
“I repeat that I did not intend to kill. You pretend the contrary, but you know nothing about it.”
“You are not the first assassin to take such an attitude. You quibble wretchedly.”
“I do not quibble; I state things as they are.”
At this point a recess was taken, after which Vaillant said to the judge:
“You have not questioned me concerning the motives which impelled me to the act which I have committed.”
“Very well, explain yourself.”
“I am a believer in propagandism by deed. I have tried in vain to earn my living and that of my wife and children. My employer paid me twenty francs a week. I threw myself at his feet and implored him in behalf of my family dying of hunger. Do you know what his answer was? ‘It was you that I hired, not your child or your wife!’ I had no shoes to my feet. I walked about in an old pair of galoches which I had picked up in the street. It was then that I made up my mind. I wanted to show to those who govern us to what an extremity starving laborers are reduced. I have explained all this in a paper which I have here, and which I ask your permission to read to you, as I am no orator.”
And he began reading.
“Gentlemen, in a few minutes you are to deal your blow, but in receiving your verdict I shall have at least the satisfaction of having wounded the existing society, that cursed society in which one may see a single man spending uselessly enough to feed thousands of families, an infamous society which permits a few individuals to monopolize all the social wealth while there are hundreds of thousands of unfortunates who have not even the bread that is not refused to the dogs, and entire families are committing suicide for want of the necessities of life.
“Ah! gentlemen, if the governing classes could go down among the unfortunates! But no, they prefer to remain deaf to their appeals. It seems that a fatality impels them, like the royalty of the eighteenth century, toward the precipice which will engulf them, for woe be to those who remain deaf to the cries of the starving, woe to those who, believing themselves of superior essence, assume the right to exploit those beneath them! There comes a time when the people no longer reason; they rise like a hurricane and pass away like a torrent. Then we see bleeding heads impaled on pikes.
“Among the exploited, gentlemen, there are two classes of individuals: those of one class, not realizing what they are and what they might be, take life as it comes, believe that they are born to be slaves, and content themselves with the little that is given them in exchange for their labor; but there are others, on the contrary, who think, who study, and who, looking about them, discover social iniquities. Is it their fault if they see clearly and suffer at seeing others suffer? Then they throw themselves into the struggle and make themselves the bearers of the popular claims.
“Gentlemen, I am one of these last. Wherever I have gone, I have seen unfortunates bent beneath the yoke of capital! Everywhere I have seen the same wounds causing tears of blood to flow, even in the remoter parts of the inhabited districts of South America, where I had the right to believe that he who was weary of the pains of civilization might rest in the shade of the palm-trees and there study nature. Well, there even more than elsewhere I have seen capital come, like the vampire, to suck the last drop of blood of the unfortunate pariahs.
“Then I came back to France, where it was reserved for me to see my family suffer atrociously. This was the last drop in the cup of my sorrow. Tired of leading this life of suffering and cowardice, I carried this bomb to those who are primarily responsible for social sufferings.
“I am reproached with the wounds of those who were hit by my projectiles, Permit me to point out in passing that, if the bourgeois had not massacred or caused massacre during the Revolution, it is probable that they would still be under the yoke of the nobility. On the other hand, figure up the dead and wounded of Tonquin, Madagascar, Dahomey, adding thereto the thousands, yes, millions of unfortunates who die in the factories, the mines, and wherever the grinding power of capital is felt.
“Add also those who die of hunger, and all this with the assent of our deputies. Beside all this, of how little weight are the reproaches now brought against me!
“It is true that one does not efface the other; but, after all, are we not acting on the defensive when we respond to the blows which we receive from above? Oh! I know very well that I shall be told that I ought to have confined myself to speech for the vindication of the people’s claims; but what caw you expect! It takes a loud voice to make the deaf bear.
“Too long have they answered our voices by imprisonment, the rope, and rifle-volleys. Make no mistake; the explosion of my bomb is not only the cry of the rebel Vaillant, but the cry of an entire class which vindicates its rights and which will soon add acts to words.
“For, be sure of it, in vain will they pass laws, the ideas of the thinkers will not halt; just as, in the last century, all the governmental forces could not prevent the Diderots and the Voltaires from spreading emancipating ideas among the people, so all the existing governmental forces will not prevent the Reclus, the Darwins, the Spencers, the Ibsen, the Mirbeaus, etc., from spreading the ideas of justice and liberty which will annihilate the prejudices that hold the mass in ignorance; and these Ideas, welcomed by the unfortunate, will flower in acts of revolt as they have done in me, until the day when the disappearance of authority shall permit all men to organize freely according to their choice, when each shall be able to enjoy the product of his labor, and when those moral maladies called prejudices shall vanish, permitting human beings to live in harmony, having no other desire than to study the sciences and love their fellows.
“I conclude, gentlemen, by saying that a society in which one sees such social inequalities as we see all around us, in which we see every day suicides caused by poverty, prostitution flaring at every street-corner, a society whose principal monuments are barracks and prisons, — such a society must be transformed as soon as possible, on pain of being eliminated, and that speedily, from the human race. Hail to him who labors by no matter what means for this transformation! It is this idea that has guided me in my duel with authority, but as in this duel I have only wounded my adversary, it is now its turn to strike me.
“Now, gentlemen, to me it matters little what penalty you may inflict, for, looking at this assembly with the eyes of reason, I cannot help smiling to see you, atoms lost in matter and reasoning only because you possess a prolongation of the spinal marrow, assume the right to judge one of your fellows.
“Ah! gentlemen, how little a thing is your assembly and your verdict in the history of humanity; and human history in its turn is likewise a very little thing in the whirlwind which bears it through immensity and which is destined to disappear, or at least to be transformed, in order to begin again the same history and the same facts, a veritably perpetual play of cosmic forces renewine, and transforming themselves forever.”
Following Vaillant’s speech came the testimony of the State’s witnesses, — mainly a relation of facts commonly known and not disputed by the prisoner. M. Girard, the director of the municipal laboratory, testified that the bomb contained a small glass tube which a alight shock would break, thus allowing the mixture of the sulphuric acid and the chlorate, which were temporarily separated by a layer of cotton.
“You are mistaken,” interrupted Valiant; “it was not necessary for the glass to break; it was sufficient for the sulphuric acid to saturate the cotton and pass through it.”
“It was a terrible instrument,” declared M. Girard. “Fortunately the bomb burst in the air; the projectiles struck the ceiling and only rebounded upon the spectators. If the wounded had been hit directly, every one struck in the intestines or in any vital part would have been killed. The mixture in the bomb was equivalent to four dynamite cartridges, and a single one is enough to blow up several cubic yards of stone.”
“All this,” said Vaillant, “is simply an expert’s estimate formed to lead up to the conclusion that ‘Vaillant’s head must be cut off.’”
The testimony for the defence bore solely upon the character of the accused.
M. Benon, a former member of the Paris municipal council, to whom Vaillant on returning from America had been recommended by M. Daumas, now living in the Argentine Republic, said that he had endeavored in vain to secure employment for him.
M. Lefèvre, a shoemaker, formerly deputy-mayor of Saint Ouen, and an old friend of Vaillant, testified that he had worked with him and considered his character one of the best that he had ever known.
M. Jules, a Lyons shoemaker, knew Valiant in Algeria at the time when he was condemned for having stolen a pair of boots He affirmed that his old comrade was the victim of the jealousy of a foreman, who had advised him to take the boots and then had exposed him.
M. Mortan, a morocco-dresser, was Vaillant’s foreman at Cholsy-le-Rol, where the accused last worked. He declared that Vaillant was an excellent workman, and that he had tried to get him an increase of pay.
M. Mougin, a commercial agent at Paris, is an old friend of Vaillant and corresponded with him regularly during his stay in the Argentine Republic. He testified that Valiant left Paris because of his wife’s misconduct and returned on account of his child. Since his return it had been impossible for him to get work. He was sobriety itself, never drinking a glass of wine. M. Mougin had never known a more honest workman.
Finally, M. Lejentel, a landlord at Villeneuve-Saint-Georges, said that Vaillant had been his tenant and a very satisfactory one.
“I might,” said Vaillant, after the conclusion of the testimony, “have summoned other witnesses, comrades who have known me; but they are Anarchists, and to be an Anarchist is a crime. That is why I have not called them to the stand.”
The attorney-general, in the course of his speech to the jury, read the following letter written from America by Vaillant to a friend:
Colonie de Vecchi, Dec. 27, 1891.
My dear friend:
It is with unequaled happiness that I have read your affectionate missive so full of friendship; it always gives us pleasure to hear from sincere friends (they are so rare), and it is under this continuous charm that I have devoured your letter.
Whatever you may say, be sure that with me excessive modesty is useless; you know well that I am far from being a flatterer, but permit me to say that your desultory style pleases me enormously. I prefer true simplicity written frankly and sincerely to all the literary graces, which often serve only to hide or pervert the thought. And I go further: if ever the fancy takes you to write a book, follow my advice and write it as you have written this letter; the style will be charming, and sincerity will shine in every line.
Now, to answer each of your questions, I am going to consult your letter and take them one by one, in order to omit none.
Nevertheless, before entering directly upon this subject, permit me a little philosophical chat suggested by a passage in your letter which tells me that you are distressed, so to speak, to see a philosophical comrade go to drive the Indians from their country, etc. In the first place, I am far from driving away these poor Indians, it being now ten years since they left the country, driven out by the governmental troops who made the Chaco expedition after the massacre of the scientific expedition of Doctor Crevaux, who went up the Pilcomayo river (a mission, by the way, of which I was to form a part, only my fever preventing me from starting).
Besides, even were the Indians still here, I should scarcely think of driving them away, but should try, on the contrary, to show them that the earth belongs to all its children. Do not think that I write this to defend myself, for it would be very easy to answer you with the theory of irresponsibility which demonstrates that the acts of a living being are born only of circumstances which combine to produce these acts and which in turn were born of others; that everything has an influence on the acts of men; that often a very small matter, which perigee unnoticed in life, becomes the starting-point of great events which else would not have happened. And often observation shows us that man, being a son of the planet, on which he is forced to crawl, is influenced by changes of diet, by lack of sleep, and even by changes of atmospheric pressure; how often we see people who, weakened by gastric disarrangements or by lack of rest, commit acts which they never would have committed but for a mental disposition directly resulting from bodily disturbances!
Have we not seen others commit similar acts when the weather was stormy? Consider further the differences of temperament, early education, the medium in which one moves, and you can see the different ways of acting which a man may adopt. I know well that you may object that with this theory one could absolve the bourgeois, but I shall answer that it is not men in the first place who are to be held responsible, but the surroundings and circumstances which combine and force them to say and to act as they do. Just as we could abolish beggars, not by torturing them, but simply by abolishing poverty, so, if we were to abolish exploitation, the exploiters would necessarily disappear.
And, in fact, this question of attacking the bourgeois instead of attacking wild beasts, which is, between us, only what we call in Anarchy propagandism by deed, is nothing but an affair of temperament, neither more nor less. The Anarchists have two ways of reasoning, — one purely revolutionary, the other philosophical; it is to this last that I adhere, because Anarchy must be philosophical, just as philosophy is necessarily Anarchistic. While admiring the martyrs to the cause, I do not feel that I have sufficient self-denial to become one. And besides, why do we not begin this attack? It is because — though we may not be thoroughly conscious of the motive — we feel that the masses are not yet ready to follow us; we realize that, even though we should be victorious, the people could not take advantage of the situation.
We feel — or at least I personally feel — that beside the belly to fill there is the brain to open and instruct, and that Anarchy would be to the mass what the most beautiful colors are to the blind and the most beautiful harmonies to the deaf.
When I think of the precious time that we have lost during the last two years! How much fatigue, how many follies during this revolutionary union which has given us as a result only disappointments and defections! And yet our propagandism was revolutionary in the extreme, at least in substance, if not in form.
When I compare with this the work which I have done in silence for the propaganda, simply by individual effort; when I see the men whom I have brought to our cause, — and without conceit I may say that they are not only numerous, but serious, — I am obliged to recognize that the propagandism of the meetings is very insignificant, and I conclude that the philosopher must take this as his line of conduct, remembering that the cataclysm which is to overturn the bourgeoisie is approaching with mathematical precision. Just as the Revolution of 1789 resulted from the impulse given by the philosophers of the eighteenth century, the coming revolution must result from the thought of the philosophers of the nineteenth century.
And legality will lead to the wonders that liberty led to in the bourgeoise revolution. The object of the philosopher therefore should be to warn the masses of the inevitable tempest; to instruct them in Anarchistic and philosophic thought; to show them by the sciences what they are, whence they come, whither they go; to rid them, by astronomical demonstrations, of all super-natural ideas born in a brain in consequence of its inability to explain the regular movements of the stars and the formation of worlds; to prove by chemistry, physiology, and astronomy that the soul is but a purely abstract invention, and, by the further aid of comparative zoölogy, that man is neither more nor less than a perfected monkey, but occupies the highest point in the scale of the organic world, and that, whensoever he will, he can make for himself on earth that paradise which his former teachers held up to him and in which Le has lost confidence.
And then, as the revolution must be universal, his field of propagandism lies in whatever part of the world he may find himself; at any point he may contribute his stone to the social edifice. See what one may do in the way of propagandism in this remote country where I am, where no echo of civilized life falls upon our ears (unless it be some friendly letter). I have succeeded in getting together a score of young people, and some older ones, and we have founded a philosophical club. I am its president, upon which I congratulate them, not that I love honors, but because they have understood that scientific ground is the best for study; so you should see them, — one, fond of astronomy, observing an eclipse; another occupying himself with atmospheric phenomena; another with the habits of this or that insect; another observing that a flower, a simple yellow field-daisy, is a veritable sun-dial, its corolla following the sun from its rising to its setting; and another, finally, devoting his attention to the psychological phenomena of life. And all this among young people who came here a year ago with their heads full of all the bourgeois prejudices, — religion, country, property, etc., etc.
Now for your questions.
1. I am associated with two young people, twenty years of age, whom I have inspired with my philosophical ideas and of whom I have made two warm partisans of Anarchy. Hurlé is just now at Rosario; he is on his way to join me.
2. [Here Vaillant describes his establishment at Chaco; he has constructed on his land several wooden buildings.]
3. [Here Vaillant tells of what his food consists.]
4. The people about me are composed of colonists, — a hundred families, half French, half Spanish, — and more than a hundred sons of the country, who are the supporters of the gambling houses and who really live only the last day of each month, — that is, the last night, when they stake even their last shirt.
5. No newspaper comes to us. If you send me the “Révolte,” send the copies in a monthly package; they are less likely to be lost; and at the same time put them between two bourgeois journals, for I have already been subjected to petty annoyances, governments being everywhere the same, and here more than elsewhere.
When you go to Choisy, pay my compliments to Rabuin and Viard; try to find out what has become of Paulet, with whom my little girl once stayed; if you wish to see my little girl, she is with my mother at Saint Ouen, — Madame Barbies, 3, Rue des Rosiers. Embrace her heartily for me. I am even desirous that you should go there, for I think they will send her to me about March or April, and you will be able to put in her trunk some little books of the National Library series which sell for two sous on the quays and which I will ask you to send me for our club library; send me principally Diderot, for I believe that he has no equal except Büchner. Try to send me Condorcet’s “Progress of the Human Mind,” which is a learned study of humanity; I lost my copy on the voyage. See if Rabelais has anything good. Of Diderot I already possess “Rameau’s Nephew,” his “Tales and Novels” (Book. III), and his “Philosophical Extracts,” which contain the Bougainville journey.
As to my plans for the future, here they are, in brief: to earn here as much as possible in as short a time as possible. Next year I shall begin making vinegar, which, I think, will bring me in a good deal, and now I am buying cattle. We are four comrades here for labor, and we shall remain comrades to consume the fruits thereof as soon as we have enough to enable us to live quietly for the rest of our days; we shall quit Chaco and America and go to build a little cottage on the Algerian shore, where the climate is very mild and living excessively cheap; and there, devoted to the study of the sciences and the spreading of our ideas, we shall end our days as best we can, and my only wish, my very dear friend, is that you may then be with us.
Au revoir, and again I shake your hand.
M. Labori, in summing up for the defence, described his client’s unfortunate boyhood:
“He was an illegitimate child, — recognized, it is true, but abandoned. His mother, to save a few francs. a month, got rid of him. At the age of twelve he was placed as an apprentice with a confectioner. Impatient for his liberty, the child ran away. One of his aunts, a poor woman, gave him a little aid and said to him:
“‘Go, my child, go straight ahead. When you haven’t a penny left, you will be arrested. Then you will speak of your father, who is a policeman in Corsica, and you will ask to be sent to him.’
“Well, gentlemen of the jury, do you know what happened to this poor child? The police did indeed arrest him on the highway. They telegraphed to his father, who answered:
“‘The mother of this Auguste Vaillant was my mistress. But she misbehaved, and I left her. Since then she has married, I believe. I ask you to send him to her. However, as he makes a claim upon me, I send him twenty francs that he may be returned to his mother. I do this as a charity, and not as a recognition.’
“As for the mother, she answered:
“‘It is impossible for me to receive the child. My husband would turn me out of doors. Mereover, I am sick and in the last extreme of poverty. His father can take him. I hope that he will not be unfortunate.’
“And thus this poor boy of fourteen was abandoned, and wandered from city to city, here arrested for stealing a bit of bread, there condemned for having taken, one day when he was starving, an eighteen-cent meal at a restaurant without paying for it, and again at Algeria on a charge of stealing a pair of boots, of which he was not guilty, and finally at Marseilles for drinking a swallow of wine out of a cask on the wharf. Since the age of twenty he has lived an honest life, and it is a miracle! It was not his intent to kill, and he who has not intended to give death does not deserve to receive it. For his crime we are all a little to blame. If you condemn Vaillant to death, what will you d with his father, the Corsican policeman who abandoned him! Gentlemen, let your verdict be a lesson of moderation and of pity!”
The jury returned a verdict of guilty. Vaillant shouted: “Vive l’Anarchie!”
To Max Stirner.
“The Ego and His Own: 1845.”
[Translated from the German by Harry Lyman Koopman.]
Nothing fell from thy hands
But this one book — no more.
O vine in sunniest lands
That such a fruitage bore!
I look from the leaves, and eye
Around me the present’s woe;
Wildly for saviours men cry;
Thee — they no longer know.
They knew thee ne’er, the benighted!
They could but rail and contemn.
Well halt thou them requited,
For thou bast fathomed them!
Not scorn, but appreciation!
To him the world was a play;
At his smiling contemplation
Its last veil fell away.
Mankind ever love the deceiver,
For the liar their laurels they twine;
But thou hast deceived them never, —
Thou ever wert simply thine!
O Genius! to whom his age
Never in homage bowed,
Known not, nor counted sage
Was he by the empty crowd;
Who never “self-conquest” chasing, —
No! conquest o’er others he gained;
Who never, “his brother embracing,”
The cup of deception drained!
Who, heaven-high excelling
The world of spite and pelf,
Alone his foemen quelling,
Planted himself on — himself.
O Genius, wert thou sunken
Into the silence of night?
No! my lips have drunken;
I am awakened to light.
Immortal! with awe I greet
Thy name from the night around.
I seek the trace of thy feet;
No longer can it be found.
What goal did Presumption set thee?
Thine own God thou wouldst be.
I love thee. Let men forget thee;
What are their ravings to me?
I see thee thrusting aside
And below thee the screaming throng;
Then soaring afar and wide
On eagle-pinions strong.
Whither? That knows no ponderer.
None has followed thy way.
Silent sweeps the world-wanderer,
Night behind him, before him day.
Past the gods, whom distance blots;
On, on, to the utmost sublime! —
Yea, thou art gone; but thy thoughts
Watch over the slumbering time.
John Henry Mackay.
Heretofore it has been impossible to obtain John Henry Mackay’s novel, “The Anarchists,” in German except at a high price. The work, however, has just been placed within the reach of the German working-people by the publication at Berlin of a “People’s Edition,” which sells at two marks. For this edition Comrade Mackay has written a new preface, a transition of which is given below.
The appearance of a cheap people’s edition of my “Anarchists” realizes a wish which I have always fondly cherished, but which the circumstances attending the original publication of the work did not allow, and whose fulfilment since then has been prevented by all those difficulties which, profiting by the untowardness of existing conditions, seem to have conspired to make any act for freedom whatsoever an impossibility.
The difficulties are overcome, and again, after a lapse of two years, my work comes before the public, appealing now especially to those to whom it has hitherto been inaccessible, — the German laborers.
I cannot neglect the opportunity to say to these a first and for a long time yet, so far as I can see, a last brief word. So firmly, in the course of the last decades, — with the growth of the Social Democratic party, — has the conviction taken root in the minds of the German laborers that the emancipation of labor, which is synonymous with the decline and death of the privileges of capital, is only possible when capital has been taken out of the hands of individuals and through expropriation by violence has become “the property of society,” and so unshakable does this belief seem to me to have become, that I do not see how anything but experience can turn them from this error. How bitter this experience and how great the disappointment will be he alone foresees who, like myself, knows that every restriction of economic freedom signifies at the same time an intensifying of the mournful condition of mutual dependence.
But let it come, since it is impossible to prevent it.
Of course death will then have relieved the great demagogues of our day, who otherwise are so small, of the monstrous responsibility which they have assumed, and in vain will their self-sacrificing followers seek to call them to account for what they have promised over and over again.
For the children of these followers confronted with sad necessity, nothing will be left but to seek their happiness at last in liberty, and in liberty alone.
The laborer has three great foes to recognize as such and to overcome, — the politicians, the philanthropists, and himself. Only when he shall have seen that slaves, if they would abolish masters, must not themselves become masters of slaves, and that the attainment of such a purpose — the purpose of all politics — does not bring him a step nearer to his economic emancipation, since this can result only from harmonious development in the social organism; only when he has gotten rid of those new and latest preachers of an old religion once more rising in its death-agony — the world-reformers and utopists with hot heads and lukewarm words, the ethicists and moralists of every sort, who cannot and will not understand that the thing to be done is not to change men, but the conditions through which men become “good” and “bad”; only when he shall have thoroughly understood that nothing in the world can help him except himself, and this knowledge shall have driven him to new and better-founded views, no longer disturbed by “class-consciousness,” of the conditions under which he lives and suffers, and at the same time to a quite different and more promising policy, — only then, I say, can he hope to break the chains of his dependence and act for himself.
The opinions which have been passed so freely upon my work and its translations have added nothing to it and can give me nothing. It had been my intention to answer some of them; I am convinced, however, that this labor of love would be useless. By the Communists only the old arguments have been advanced, — that I would refute them anew they themselves could not expect; the questions treated in the book are entirely outside the sphere of the professional literary critics, who therefore could not be expected to understand it; the great daily press, the “prostitute of public opinion,” of course was silent, — it knew why; and most of the organs of the Social Democratic press, which suffered the book to be sent to them from Zürich on express condition of a review, made a timely recovery, in their cowardly servility and pitiable dependence, from a resolution the fulfilment of which would have been received not without reason, with disfavor in high places.
The few who read earnestly that of which they wrote I thanked secretly.
So I was silent to all. Only once did I clap my hand over a shameless mouth which had brought against me the monstrous lie that the revolutionary Communists were pictured by me as robbers and murderers, whereas this whole book is nothing but a simple protest against legalized theft, privileged robbery, and State-sanctioned murder. That I today — in sight of so many fixed bayonets and clattering swords — am more than ever convinced of the utter futility of a violently-waged struggle for the cause of labor, I confess just as freely as I confess the ever new joy which I feel when I hear that my words, approved by one and another of the rash pioneers, have succeeded in snatching them from the claws of power, — persecution and imprisonment, — and in winning them over to the policy of passive resistance, — the victorious struggle of a future now, I hope, not so very far distant. How well founded is this joy becomes clearest to me when I see bow, from secure foreign countries, the safety and life of “comrades” are incessantly staked upon acts as insane and foolish as they are aimless and cowardly.
“The Anarchists,” In the people’s edition, remains unchanged. In one place, however, I thought it my duty, not to change it, but to so explain it by a few supplementary lines that it is no longer open to misunderstanding, as some have felt warranted in charging.
I have to answer the questions addressed to me from many sides; why I, in order to give my ideas a wider circulation, do not agitate, do not carry on propaganda, do not speak and debate in public meetings, and, above all, why I do not utilize the only medium which alone can still reach the majority of men, — the press.
I reply: because I cannot; because I could not, even if I would. The gifts of men are various. I am an artist, perhaps not “through and through,” for I am interested in many things in life, but there are some which so weigh upon me that I feel that I can free myself only by poetic creation. The editing and managing of a newspaper would kill me, and a pushing forward of my person in the noisy and rough struggle of the day and its opinions would be altogether impossible for me.
Therefore nothing is to be expected from me except “from time to time a book.” Possibly I shall resume directly the work here begun; but as long as the broad, clear baselines of the philosophy of Anarchism are so little understood, as long as the ground upon which it rises is still so untrodden, as long as the struggle still continues against the complete and in its universality unparalleled misunderstanding of the word itself, so long nothing imposes upon me a more comprehensive and fundamental demonstration.
First therefore let this work put once more to the test its unimpaired power and assault again the bulwark of prejudice, always at the same point, till a way opens.
I have not yet broken my last lance for liberty. But the choice of my lance I must always reserve for myself.
A last word to the friends of liberty: my known, my unknown friends. . . . . .
Let them rest assured that everything will be done here too when the time comes: with the right men will be found also the right way, and then too the means whereby to walk therein. After the brilliant example set by my great American friend, whose existence and work ought alone to be sufficient to prevent any one from losing heart even for a moment, there will develop here also a propaganda, from small beginnings doubtless, but undertaken and executed with that superiority born of knowledge, understanding, consideration, determination, tenacity, and courage, which may indeed be subject to delay and to fatigue, but cannot become disheartened and confused, since its aim is not to persuade, but simply and solely to convince.
Then will this book have been a beginning. No one wishes it more heartily than I.
He only understands liberty who loves it. But who so — and this is the whole future — loves it as the necessity of his life must learn also to understand it through all mistakes.
Amid the confusion and contradictions of opinion there stands out clearly, intelligibly, triumphantly, at the end of our century, only the doctrine of the sovereignty of the individual.
Who ventures to dispute that it is the aim of all human development?
The barbarism and slavery of the past have brought us at last to the knowledge that culture and civilization can celebrate their highest triumph only in that condition of society in which with the last privilege has disappeared the power which protected it, — the State: the condition of equal liberty, where a finer and more elevated egoism has taught the lowest that his liberty increases and decreases with the liberty of others, and that he will be independent in the degree that he permits his neighbor to be independent of him.
In vain shall we try to escape the last consequences to which the logic of thought is driving us with infallible certainty and irresistible power.
For we thirst after happiness, — happiness on earth. And, defying alike the disturbing fanatics of Communism and the wavering possessors of power, we will not rest until we have won for ourselves this happiness, which is liberty.
John Henry Mackay.
Berlin, in the Spring of 1893.
— The Society for the Prevention of Others held its seventh weekly meeting Sunday evening. Mrs. Muddle de Up, the beautiful widow of Colonel McTavish Muddle de Up, late of the Salvation Army’s Submerged Eleventh Corps, occupied the chair and held the hammer. Miss Dixie Johnson was the speaker, and her subject was: “Why are People Allowed to Do as They Dot” After the lecture there was a discussion, and it was voted that a committee of nine be appointed to investigate the matter, and, if possible, to obtain an answer to the speaker’s question. An hour and a half was then taken up in the discussion of a motion to adjourn, which was finally carried. After the meeting a petition to the legislature was circulated. The object of the petition is to secure a law preventing, or at least regulating, others.
— Colonel Cow, late in the service of Her Rotundity the Squeen of Piccadilly and Empress of Whitechapel, will lecture before the Wave the Flag over the Schoolhouse branch of the A. P. A. sometime in the near future. The subject of the Colonel’s address will be “Johnny, Get your Firearm.” The Colonel is said to be a very inspiring speaker, and he has quite a record for bravery, having led the retreat from the battle of Dickery-Dock. In that battle the tail of the Colonel’s horse was shot off. Had he been on the horse at the time, he might not now be alive to tell the tail. Yesterday the Colonel went over to see Bunker Hill. He doesn’t think much of it, and says that they have much larger hills in England. Colonel Cow’s mission here is to save the country from the Catholics.
— The Slums Association met last evening at Rev. Dr. Puddles on Commonwealth avenue. The menu for their third monthly dinner, which takes place to-morrow evening, was discussed. It was then voted that they meet this evening to further discuss the matter. It was afterwards moved that a dozen denizens of the slums be invited to participate at the dinner in the capacity of spectators. The charitable object of the association is to give the poor object-lessons in table manners. Donations for the dinner may be sent to Dr. Puddles.
— Miss Sally Aus-Dem-Alley, of the Charity Begins at Home Association, is confined to her home in expectation of an attack of La Grippe. Miss Aus-Dem-Alley made a charitable visit to the slums one day last Summer, and, as the “Grip” is raging in that district now, she fears she may contract it owing to that visit. Her father, General Long Aus-Dem-Alley, who is now yachting in the Lobby at Washington has been sent for.
— The Woman is the Chosen Sex Society met last evening and reorganized as usual. When the members had become calm, a paper was read by Pussy Catkins on “The Gentle and Refining Influence of Woman.” There was a slight disagreement between the members before the close of the meeting, which will probably cause them to reorganize next week.
— The Society of the Friends of Veterans will apply for pensions for their sick and aged members. The unemployed are invited to join.
— Dr. Oleander, the straight-goods physician, was degreed yesterday by the Jarvis Field University. The genial doctor will now wear X X X after his name. The Academy (which is not the University) had already conferred on him the degree of O. K.
— The Czar is sick lately, the Queen of Sheba is dead long since, and the latest brat of the Queer of Mashonaland is beginning to mewl.
— President Cleveland spent the day before yesterday as usual. He also spent yesterday in the same manner. Mrs. Cleveland followed suit. Watch the bulletin boards for later news.
— The Duke of Castlegarden will be married to Sissie Kindergarten sometime after the snow stops falling The Agricultural Society will parade.
— Queen Victoria is still able to be about. God save the Queen.
— Owing to rheumatism in his left knee, the Prince of Wales has had to say his prayers by proxy lately. The Archbishop of Eastminster got the job.
— Madam Waddles-Sand, the African exploreress, is about to make a lecture tour through this country. She has with her portions of the body, including the hymn-book, of a dead missionary. The remains were found in the interior of a cannibal chief of Eastern Africa.
Wm. D. Forrest.
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.