Vol. IX.
<No. 49.>


“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.”

John Hay.

A Typographical Reform.

The first impression upon the minds of the readers of Liberty as they open this issue of their paper will be that the editor has either gone crazy or been seized with a mania for writing blank verse, but I hope and believe that further examination and a sober second thought will convince them that, far from being the freak of a lunatic or a poet, this paper is the inauguration of a most useful, prosaic, practical, and enormously significant reform, — an invention indeed (if it can be called such) which, if generally adopted, will add fully one-third to the importance of the discovery of printing itself.

Let us consider its advantages.

But first I must explain to the uninitiated precisely in what the reform consists. In printing it is a necessity that each line, whatever its face may be, — that is, whatever the words or their arrangement, — should have a body or foundation precisely equal in length to the width of the column. Otherwise it would be impossible to exert a uniform pressure upon the lines when in the form, in the absence of which the looser lines would fall out. Now, to achieve this precision of length it is the invariable custom, when the matter to be put in type is prose, to subject each line to a process technically known as “justification.” The compositor, as he sets the line, places a three-em space (a piece of metal of given thickness) after each word. When, as he approaches the end of the line, he finds that there is not sufficient room for an additional word or syllable, he fills the line by increasing the size of the spaces between the words, thus forcing the last letter of the last word to the end of the line, in consequence of which the reading-matter presents as straight an edge at its right side as at its left. But this gain, if it is a gain, is purchased by a greater loss, — greater from the æsthetic standpoint, and enormous from the productive or commercial standpoint. This loss consists, first, in an inequality between the spaces in any given line, and, second, in a still more objectionable inequality in the spacing of two lines in juxtaposition. A line may be spaced narrowly at one end and widely at the other; or narrow and wide spaces may alternate throughout the line; or a widely-spaced line may be preceded and followed by narrowly-spaced lines. The extent of this irregularity depends upon the compositor. If he is a slovenly workman, the result is very offensive to the eye and an obstacle to ease in reading; if he is a careful, faithful, and skilful workman, the result is not as bad, but always far from perfect, and such excellence as he achieves costs him in the aggregate an enormous amount of time and pains and requires no little ingenuity and patience. To counter-balance this æsthetic and commercial loss there is no advantage whatever save the questionable one of a straight edge at the right of the reading-matter. Does the absence of this straight edge ever disturb anybody? Let the reader answer the question for himself by taking down a volume of Shakspere or any other poet, examining the pages, and asking himself whether the ragged edge at the right had ever in the least offended him. Not one reader in a hundred thousand will answer yes.

The reform which I propose and which I now begin consists simply in the abolition of this silly and costly process of “justification.” By the new method, when the compositor finds that there is no room in the line for an additional word or syllable, he quickly fills the line with little blocks of metal known to the printer as “quads.” The original and perfect spacing is not in the least disturbed. The spaces between the words remain precisely equal in all parts of the column. The result is pleasing to the eye and facilitates the task of reading. The uneven edge at the right, not as ragged as that which verse presents, will neither displease nor bother any reader whom the appearance of a poem would not equally disturb.

Æsthetically, then, the new method is a distinct improvement. It should be adopted, even if there were nothing to be considered but appearances.

But it is cheaper, and so much cheaper that the saving, after all, must be looked upon as the chief consideration. Experiment shows that a compositor whose capacity at careful work is five thousand ems a day by the old method can set in the same time, by the new method, seven thousand ems. The immense significance of this fact is not to be comprehended in a moment. It really means a daily addition to the world’s productive power of the labor of two hundred thousand people. Supposing that in the entire world there are six hundred thousand people engaged in type-setting (and I think it a conservative estimate), the amount of work which they now perform can be performed, by the new method, by a little more than four hundred thousand people. From this, one of two things would result: either the remaining two hundred thousand would engage in other pursuits and add to the world’s wealth in that way, or else, the price of printing falling, the demand for it would so increase as to keep the entire six hundred thousand at work, thus increasing the world’s literary product by nearly fifty per cent. The prices of books and periodicals would fall to a very low figure, and the opportunities for education would be vastly increased.

The adoption of this method of composition is scarcely second in importance to the invention of the type-setting machine. And the method is not only important in itself, but it is important because, if the people are willing to accept it, it will enable them to get the benefit of the type-setting machine without paying the inventor a monopoly price for it. If the machine effects a saving of fifty per cent. in comparison with ordinary hand-composition, the inventor, while his patent runs, will allow five per cent, to the people and keep forty-five per cent. for himself. But if the people are in a position to say to the inventor that, instead of accepting his five per cent., they can save thirty per cent. by adopting the new method, he will immediately offer them thirty-five per cent., keeping only fifteen per cent. for himself. Such is the benefit to the consumer.

But, unlike other labor-saving devices, the new method, under the circumstances, is a blessing, not only to the consumer, but to the producer as well. At the present time the introduction of machines into the newspaper offices is throwing hundreds of printers out of employment, and the discharged men are flocking to the book offices in search of work. The high prices charged for the machines by the manufacturers, coupled with the grip of the press associations upon the business of supplying news, make it almost impossible for new papers to be established and re-employ the discharged compositors. But here steps in the new method. Being available for book-work, while the machines are not, and requiring no capital for its adoption, while the machines necessitate a large investment, it can be promptly introduced; and the consequent demand for books which will immediately spring up will provide employment for those whom the machines throw out.

Again, the new method is a saving in that it simplifies the work of composition, and thus enables unskilled labor to take the place of skilled, which in turn, devoting itself to other ends, will thus still further add to the world’s wealth.

Objections there are none, except the danger that the postmaster-general may adjudge the innovation rank heresy and decide that periodicals adopting it shall be excluded from the mails. The State has done stranger things. Benj. R. Tucker.

“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.

What is It to Protect?

In talking with people who admit that the only proper function of government is protection, nothing is more common than to meet with propositions for the most tyrannical measures upon the plea that “we must protect our-selves.”

Thus the laws which compel some people to pay for schools, whose methods of teaching and matter taught they disapprove of so much that they would never pay for them willingly, are enacted upon the plea that we must protect ourselves against the crimes which the unlettered, it is alleged, are apt to indulge in. The various religious laws, Sunday laws, and the like will, it is urged, protect us from the rising flood of infidelity that threatens to engulf our laud; and even the excise laws are supported and prohibition laws are urged upon the same ground: We must protect ourselves and our children from danger.

Now, to all this there must be some limit. Arc we to protect ourselves from anything that is disagreeable to us? Is that the idea? If so, it is no wonder that we spend our time in legislative struggles, — having, happily, almost passed the age of triggers and rapiers for such squabbles, — for, as the tastes of all men differ, what is agreeable to one will be disagreeable to another, and these two will try to extinguish each other, although on totally different grounds, and this state of affairs will extend through society in general.

Precisely because of the inconvenience and loss which this state of warfare, which formerly actually prevailed, entailed, was it abolished, or rather outgrown; and it is to do away with the remaining measure of loss and inconvenience that Anarchism, by its theories, and still more the inevitable march of events, urges that the same limit to legislative clubbing shall be laid down in the minds of the legislators as has already been outlined with tolerable clearness in the minds of the warriors.

Not a fight nowadays, from a gutter “scrap” to a Franco-Prussian war, in which both sides do not half apologize on the ground that they were only defending themselves.

To fight, avowedly to steal, or for the extension of the true faith, or for “glory” pure and simple, is not in repute just now. Men are many of them, as fond of fighting, just for the fun of it, as all of them once were, but they have learned that it doesn’t pay and in an age where things must “pay,” fighting is doomed, — it wastes too much.

When men see that the same limit must be eventually put to law-making, — that it must be confined to defence, — law-making at random, for plunder (pensions, for instance) or for the glory of god (subsidizing churches, for instance), will be discredited.

Undoubtedly plenty of things will exist which plenty of people won’t like, but not nearly so many as exist at present, because, in trying each to rid himself of his pet aversion, we all aid in bolstering up the power which maintains Rent, Interest, and Profit, which are much more than disagreeable merely, — are indeed deadly.

We shall all have to learn to let each other alone, to give to all liberty to do anything, except, — note especially, not except what we don’t like, — but except what interferes with our own liberty, and even that we must relinquish at times when to exercise it would interfere with somebody else’s.

That is to say, anybody can do anything, but where their doings interfere with each other they must come to some compromise.

Just what in each case it is impossible to say in advance, although the progress of knowledge may enable us some day to determine.

But just as in meeting on a narrow path either will step off to let the other pass, if indeed both do not, out of courtesy, because the end to be attained by walking about their business is more easily attained by stepping off and walking on than by stopping to fight about it, so, the principle of as much liberty as possible once recognized, minor difficulties will solve themselves.

In that day the drunkard will get drunk, though his unfortunate wife will be able to leave him if she wants to; the total abstainer will totally abstain; but neither will waste his efforts trying to down the other in a wrestle, and both will gain from the absence of taxes and politicians as well as of that economic stress which makes drunkards and perhaps total abstainers too. John Beverley Robinson.

The Bill for Justice: Who Should Pay It?

My friend Yarros has an article in favor of free justice in the February number of the “American Journal of Politics.” The truth is that there never can be any justice except that which is free. The moment that justice must be paid for by the victim of injustice it becomes itself injustice. But it also becomes injustice the moment that it is paid for by any one else, except the doer of the injustice. The cost of justice can be justly paid only by the invader. In cases where he cannot be made to pay, injustice is a necessity.

How the consequent burden shall be borne is a matter for agreement solely. If B and C agree that, whenever either is wronged by A, they will bear equally the cost of attempting to force A to right the wrong in case the attempt fails, why, well and good l But, unless B and C do so agree, it is unjust for either of them, when wronged by A, to impose any part of the burden upon the other. The question of the free administration of justice can be settled only by the abolition of compulsory taxation. When associations for the administration of justice are voluntary and supported entirely by voluntary contributions (except so far as they are supported by the compulsory contributions of the criminals), free administration of justice will be adopted if it is found to be expedient; but so will free cabs, free schools, and free groceries, if these, under liberty, are found to be expedient. In a condition of Anarchy free schools may be as good as free administration of justice; in a condition of Archy free administration of justice is certainly as indefensible as free education. In the latter case it is compulsory coöperation for defence, to which all Anarchists must object.

Whether each shall pay for what he gets, or whether each shall help himself out of the heap, as the Kropotkinians say, is a question of expediency, provided all is voluntary. Generally speaking, the specific plan is better than the communistic; but there are exceptions to the rule. The administration of justice may or may not be one of them. One thing, however, is sure, — that in all cases the effort should be to impose all the cost of repairing the wrong upon the doer of the wrong. This alone is real justice, and of course such justice is necessarily free. T.

The Taxation Superstition.

There is, it seems, among ordinary governmentalists a large diversity of opinion as to the extent of taxation. There are some, I think I may safely say, who believe in that method of relieving people of their wealth as an absolute principle, — that any extortion by the government, to whatever extent it may be carried, so long as it is labeled “tax” and collected by the people’s rulers, is perfectly just and proper. On the other hand, there is a constantly growing contingent who believe that beyond certain prescribed and tacitly agreed limits all money collected by the government and called taxes is virtually stolen. This latter class form the basis of a hope for the coming of a time when a much larger number of people than at present will believe that all compulsory taxation is robbery.

To this taxation-limited class most probably belongs the San Francisco “Wave,” which has this to say à propos of the almost bankrupt condition of the treasury of the city of San Francisco: “The people who pay taxes do not like to be robbed by such devices [extra levies to meet deficits]. They prefer highway robbery to having their pockets adroitly picked.”

These words, taken for what they seem to mean, would indicate that, in the mind of this writer at least, the light is beginning to break, and that authoritarianism is on the decline on the Pacific coast. But that this is all a fallacy is shown distinctly when the “Wave” renders its proposition “in other words”: “They [the people] object to a lot of politicians promising to carry on the city government for a certain sum and then, when they get into office, carry it on for more than that sum.” Now, the “Wave” is a newspaper that is edited with but little brains, though with some degree of vivacity and originality (of which, however, the foregoing quotations are not adduced as evidence), and not much is to be expected from it. It can readily discern that, on the part of the politicians, there has been the non-fulfilment of contract, and this wonderful perspicacity is to be commended, I suppose, because there are some people, utterly brainless, who are unable to perceive even this delinquency of the politicians.

If these “public servants” had kept their expenditures within the limits of the amount raised by the supervisors, there would probably have been no complaint made by the docile victims who yield up a portion of their possessions each year to the brigand disguised with and dignified by the appellation of “government.”

It is the “extras” to which the victims object. If any amount not too far in excess of the last previous assessment is demanded as the original levy, the tariff-for-revenue-only dolts cheerfully hand over their cash; but, if there is any after-consideration, any “deficit,” they protest against the “robbery.” Their logic permits them to acquiesce in the theft of $5, but, when fifty cents more is demanded later, they protest against “having their pockets adroitly picked”! What sort of a covering must a man’s mind have that can see no invasion in an act which takes from $5, but immediately sees that his pockets have been picked if $5.50 have been taken instead? Are not the services of the fool-killer sorely needed? C. L. S.

Awkward Questions for Purists.

Says my orthodox friend: “In this country-people have liberty to do right, and that is all the liberty they need.” Well, let us see.

Stalwart Prohibitionist, is it right to refuse to pay men for acting as drummers for the beer trade in Spanish America? And have you that liberty?

Good Sabbath-keeper, is it right to abstain from helping to hire men to carry the mail on Sunday? And have you that liberty?

Honest resident of a great American city, is it right to withhold your contribution from a collection to pay a whisky-soaked jail-bird five or ten thousand dollars as a reward for stealing an election? And have you that liberty? Stephen T. Byington.

An Anarchist Letter-Writing Corps.

Those who are at all familiar with the Single Tax movement know that it has been much helped by the “Single Tax Letter-Writing Corps.” The organization of this body is very simple. A number of persons have pledged themselves to write at least one letter a week, in advocacy of the single tax, to such addresses as may be given by the secretary. The secretary (who is, I believe, the only officer) publishes every week in the leading Single Tax organ a list of “targets,” — names of papers, or of men of national or local influence, who are to receive letters. With each name is usually a statement of the position taken by the man or paper, or a pertinent quotation from some recent public utterance made by him or it, to which reference may be made in letters. At first the writers were allowed their choice between several targets; now they are divided into sections, and each section is given a special target.

The effect of this is to bring the single tax emphatically before the minds of several important people every week. When a man sees that his words, or something that has been published about his reputation, have moved half a dozen people at a time to write to him applauding, condemning, or correcting his ideas, then he is likely to give the subject some solid thought, with the help that half a dozen independent presentations of the same theme can give him; and he will probably thereafter think of the movement with respect at least, having, so to speak, felt its power a little. Besides, a paper receiving several letters on one subject will usually publish one or more. I have spoken of half a dozen letters; of course, the effect is increased when there are two or three score.

I believe that the Anarchist movement could be greatly helped by such a body. In correcting misapprehensions, which is one part of the field of the corps, no movement has more to do. I do not think that men generally are so unwilling to listen to Anarchistic argument, when addressed to them personally, as is commonly believed. Neither do I think papers are so uniformly unwilling to publish Anarchistic letters. I have written two letters to the New York “Morning Advertiser” lately; the second was published. A few days later appeared an editorial, apparently suggested by my letter, saying that the anarchistic idea was “not without force,” that those who thought it absurd forgot that it was simply the logical carrying-out of the Jeffersonian doctrine, and that, when men are executed for bomb-throwing, pains must be taken to have it understood that they are not executed as Anarchists. If this can be done with a daily paper, there is no telling what might be done in other fields.

I propose that we organize such a corps. I will act as temporary secretary for the first two or three months; then Mr. Tucker shall appoint a permanent one. I will enroll as members all who send me their names, understanding that in so doing they pledge themselves to write, if possible, at least one letter every fortnight, on Anarchism or kindred subjects, to the targets assigned. The lists of targets will be published in Liberty. There are, of course, no dues, and no subscription to a creed will be required. We cannot stop to ask whether you are our kind of Anarchist, or even whether you are an Anarchist at all. I suppose that I, a Christian, a Prohibitionist, and a Single Taxer, am as great a heretic as any one who is likely to join; yet I can write letters which Mr. Tucker says are good. The points on which we dispute among ourselves, though they may be of fundamental importance, need not always come up in writing to the Philistines. Neither will membership bind you to support, in your letters, Liberty’s position on all points or on any. We are glad to be opposed rather than to be disregarded.

I will divide the corps into sections, if there are names enough, as I hope there will be.

If members or friends of the corps protest against any part of the above scheme, it can probably be changed. I put myself forward because that seems to be the shortest way of getting the thing started.

The corps will always be glad of the help of unpledged letter-writers; but I ask as many as possible to enroll themselves, that we may know on what we have to depend. Don’t draw back on account of bashfulness; the cause cannot spare any workers on that ground. If you think you cannot write, steal ideas from back numbers of Liberty; it isn’t copyrighted.

Finally, and important. All, both members and friends, are urged to send the secretary targets as often as possible. Send addresses of papers, or of men who can influence others, if the men are open-minded, if the papers are fair and generous in publishing letters, or if the papers or men — open-minded or not — have been talking about Anarchism or pertinent topics.

Send clippings or copies of papers when possible. Don’t neglect sending any because the matter is so notorious that you think of course I will know it; I don’t know half the things that people expect me to.

The secretary will always be glad to hear of fruit resulting from the work of the corps.

My address is Eddytown, Yates Co., N. Y.

Stephen T. Byington.

A Calumny Extinguished.

If there are to be any honorary members of the Anarchist Letter-Writing Corps, I hasten to put in my claim; for, although I must write and work so much for Liberty that I cannot engage to write regularly elsewhere, I recently sent a stray shot which resulted in a victory so signal that I think it worthy of recognition.

Mr. Jno. Gilmer Speed, a contributor to the “Outlook” (formerly the “Christian Union”), had asserted in that journal that there were no American Anarchists. A later issue contained a reply by Voltairine de Cleyre showing beyond dispute that America had produced its fair share of the Anarchistic crop. Mr. Speed rejoined, in a very flippant manner, that, while it is true that there are in America some “theoretical Anarchists” of native origin, they are a pack of cowards who may be left out of the account, the only Anarchists of consequence being the bomb-throwers, all of whom are foreigners. It seemed to me that this charge of cowardice way one eminently worthy of proof, and so I called for it in the following letter, which appeared in the “Outlook” of February 17:

To the Editors of the Outlook:

I am a believer in the greatest amount of individual liberty compatible with equality of liberty. I am opposed to every form of coercion of the non-invasive individual. That is to say, I am an Anarchist, — what your contributor, Mr. Jno. Gilmer Speed, would call a “theoretical Anarchist” This being my belief, if I were to throw a bomb at those who coerce the non-invasive individual, Mr. Speed would say that I was either a madman or a criminal. But, as I refrain from throwing bombs (my reason for refraining being that, in my judgment, liberty cannot be achieved by bomb-throwing, but can be achieved only by education in political science), Mr. Speed tells your readers that I am a coward. “Harmless from lack of courage” is the descriptive phrase which he applies to those who think and act as I do. I desire to ask Mr. Speed upon what Le founds his charge. Is there anything in the position that it is a political error to throw bombs that necessarily implies cowardice? If not, then Mr. Speed must have personal knowledge concerning the individual characters of myself and my comrades that entitles him to call us cowards. I ask him, in all fairness, to tell me and to tell your readers what that knowledge is. Let us have the facts. Benj. R. Tucker.

I do not know why the editors of the “Outlook,” who bad not theretofore been among the disputants, took occasion to append an answer to this letter, instead of waiting for one from Mr. Speed; but that they did so has aroused in me a suspicion that Mr. Speed is not merely a contributor to the “Outlook,” but one of the editors as well, and that, not caring to “acknowledge the corn” over his personal signature, he sought shelter for his shame, in the irresponsible democratic fashion, behind the collectivity of the editorial corps. However this may be, I had called him down, and down somebody came in the following precipitate manner:

It seems, then, that Anarchists may be divided into two classes: militant Anarchists, like Valliant, and what we may call Quaker Anarchists, — the latter believing in removing all “coercion from the non-invasive individual,” but not believing in forcible revolution to bring this about. This kind of Anarchist may rightly, we admit, claim exemption from the charge of cowardice at least. But how long would his “non-invasive individual” remain non-invasive after the restraint of law was removed? — The Editors.

It will be seen that, as a consequence of my letter, the “theoretical Anarchists” no longer stand branded in the columns of the “Outlook” as insignificant poltroons, but are recognized by the editors as rational beings to whom argument may with propriety be addressed. It is upon the accomplishment of this change of front that I base my claim for one of the earliest of the decorations which Secretary Byington may, in his wisdom, see fit to bestow as awards of merit. Whether I get it or not, I accept the “Outlook’s” challenge to battle on a new field. Although the editors, in renewing their attack, substitute argument for abuse, they begin their warfare of reason by asking me a most unreasonable question. To ask me how long the non-invasive individual would remain non-invasive after the restraint of law was removed is equivalent to asking me how long the non-invasive individual would remain non-invasive after the coercion of invasive individuals was abandoned. To which I reply that the question can pertinently be put only to those who, not being “theoretical Anarchists,” propose to abandon coercion of invasive individuals. Before the “Outlook” can address this question to me, it must lay a foundation for it by getting from me an admission that invasive individuals should not be coerced, — a proposition which I not only refuse to admit, but deny, as my letter clearly implied. And all Anarchists deny it with me, for he who believes that the non-invasive, even when strong enough to successfully resist the invasive, should not do so believes in unnecessary submission to invasion, — that is, to government, — and is therefore not an Anarchist, but an Archist. The “Outlook” has jumped from an error of fact, which it has acknowledged, to an error of logic, of which I await its acknowledgment. T.

The next two issues of Liberty will consist of eight pages each, after which a twelve-page paper will again be issued.

I most heartily endorse the project for an Anarchist Letter-Writing Corps, in which Mr. Byington has taken the initiative. The idea is an excellent one, and, if carried out, will serve the cause admirably in two ways: first, directly, by its influence on the men and journals to whom the letters are to be sent; second, indirectly, by its influence on the letter-writers themselves. As a general thing, one’s interest in a movement is greatly stimulated by an opportunity to take an active part in it, by the feeling that he is contributing something to the progress of the idea. This opportunity is given to nearly all the comrades by Mr. Byington’s plan. I hope they will not be slow to take advantage of it. Let the pledges of coöperation flow in upon Mr. Byington copiously. No movement has each splendid material as the Anarchist movement for just such work as this. I could name, almost without stopping to take breath, fifty men and women in all parts of the country who are admirably fitted to join in it. And the operation of the plan itself will be an excellent Anarchistic object-lesson, for it is a perfect exemplification of the Anarchistic method, a striking forecast of what associative effort will be when compulsion has disappeared from the world. Let no one pay the slightest heed to Mr. Byington’s intention of resigning the secretaryship a few months hence. Despite his trinity of heresies, he will make an ideal secretary and most suggestive leader, and he will stink to his post. I would not put another in his place, even had I the authority to do so; and I have no such authority, any more than he has authority to turn me out of Liberty’s editorial chair. The plan is his. I like it, and will help. So will most of us, I am sure. But he must remain the leader. Liberty’s columns are at the service of Mr. Byington and the Anarchist Letter-Writing Corps.

Mr. Byington’s heresies do not greatly trouble me. I suppose I must allow him a decade in which to recover from his Single Tax delusion, but I would risk a considerable sum on the prediction that in less than half that time he will be laughing at the recollection that he was once a Christian and a Prohibitionist. He would not be a Christian today, were he not comparatively unfamiliar with the literature of Rationalism; and as for Prohibition, he has virtually abandoned it already. The old Adam of authoritarianism and moralism that is in him fills him with a desire to interfere with the rum-seller, and he seeks an excuse for doing so in the argument — a most absurd one, as I shall some day show him — that, being compelled to pay taxes for the regulation of the liquor traffic, he is justified in trying to make such regulation take the form of prohibition. But Mr. Byington does not believe in compulsory taxation (barring the Single Tax). Now, when one founds a cause in which he professes to believe on another cause in which he does not believe, it is evident that he is engaged in a painful endeavor to make himself believe that he believes. Mr. Byington has brains, and they will save him.

“La Révolte,” with its issue of March 17, suspends publication for the present. It does this for the reason that to continue publication would be to play into the hands of the police. The new laws passed in France against the freedom of the press are amply adequate for the suppression of the paper whenever the government shall see fit to exercise its power in this particular direction. But at present it seems to be the government’s policy to imprison editor after editor, but to let the paper live. It does this because the existence of the paper causes a constant communication by mail between its conductors and the comrades all over the world. By intercepting and examining this mail the police obtain an immense amount of information that is useful to them in their effort to destroy the revolutionary movement. “La Révolte” has decided to afford them this opportunity no longer. Pending the time when it can be published without detriment to the cause, its conductors will devote themselves to propagandism by pamphlet. The paper will be greatly missed. It was edited with ability, earnestness, and dignity, and was indisputably the Communists’ foremost organ.

Gladstone is quoted as saying that out of eight hundred discourses to which he has listened in parliament but three ever changed his opinion and not one changed his vote. In this admission that three times at least he has voted contrary to his opinion we get a measure of the sincerity of the most successful politician of the age, — most successful in that for the present he has as surely won the world’s applause as he deserves its reprobation.

A fresh illustration of the impetus so often given to radical ideas by attempts to violently suppress them was seen some weeks ago in Paris, when the French government, beginning its enforcement of the new laws against the liberty of the press, visited the office of “Le Père Peinard,” the most violent of all the revolutionary journals, and confiscated nearly everything on the premises, including the entire issue of an almanac jut issued by the journal. This almanac was a particularly ferocious publication, illustrated in a most lurid but yet artistic fashion by some of the beet cartoonists in France. What was the result of its seizure? Why, within a very few days “Le Figaro,” the best medium of publicity in France, published a special supplement of four large pages, reproducing the greater part of the text and the principal illustrations. The reading matter included a history of the Communistic movement, sketches of the leading members of the party, a review of its literature, an exposition of its principles, and a statement of its methods, scarcely any of which was couched in the abusive language generally employed by the reactionary press, there being little else than the main heading, “The Anarchistic Peril,” to indicate the hostility of the paper in which it appeared. A few weeks later the New York “Herald” reproduced from “Le Figaro” a considerable portion of this supplement. Of course the act of “Le Figaro” was as clearly illegal as that of “Le Père Peinard,” but its publisher well knew that the government’s heavy hand would never fall upon him. And so at one stroke, in consequence of the tyranny and partiality of the law and its executors, the ideas of the Communists were placed in a favorable light before a million eyes which otherwise might never have seen them. France, in confiscating this pamphlet, made it its property in a deeper than the usual sense of ownership.

I observe that some one has written a “History of the Philosophy of History.” Who now will write “The Philosophy of History of the Philosophy of History”?

“Nations which have committed a first error,” writes Francis Magnard in “Le Figaro,” “are obliged to aggravate it through respect for the traditions which they have obeyed since the first human agglomerations.” Of the truth of this we have a striking confirmation in the course of the United States toward Hawaii. Cleveland was willing to go counter to tradition and repair the wrong that had been done. A stupidly patriotic press and a revengefully jealous congress have answered him that the nation can do no wrong and therefore has none to undo.

Some one has defined marriage as “a social necessity tempered by adultery.”

There used to be much discussion of the question whether it is lawful to strike. Mais nous avons changé tout cela, especially in France. There they are now discussing the question whether it shall be made unlawful to refrain from striking. M. Guesde, the leader of the French State Socialists, has introduced into the Chamber of Deputies a bill which might he aptly termed an Anti-Scab Bill. It provides that, when in any city a strike is voted in any trade by a majority of the members of the union of that trade, cessation of work shall be compulsory upon all persons working at that trade in that city. Crawl into your holes, all ye Master Workmen and Walking Delegates. In your happiest and most misguided moments, in your wildest visions of absolutism, never did this master stroke occur to you. You are eclipsed; get off the earth!

It is usage that makes vocabularies, urges E. C. Walker, in a letter to Liberty, as a sufficient reason why the name Anarchism, which usage identifies with the ideas of the revolutionary Communists, should be abandoned by the believers in equal liberty and private property. A singular argument, surely, to offer to people who, as Mr. Walker must know, deliberately adopted the name Anarchism for the express purpose of flying in the face of usage! All rules have their exceptions, and there are instances, paradoxical as it may seem to say so, when one is surest of being understood if he courts misunderstanding. This is eminently true of the case in point. The believers in liberty, in calling themselves Anarchists, virtually address mankind as follows: “You are unanimous in using the word Anarchy as a synonym of chaos and disorder; your usage grows directly out of the fact that your ancestors, in their ignorance of political science, supposed that absence of government was productive of disorder; the lesson of progress, on the contrary, is that disorder decreases as government decreases; therefore we who have learned this lesson inscribe upon our banner the word Anarchy, which etymologically signifies absence of government, as the most striking way of contradicting your heretofore unquestioned belief that authority is essential to order. In doing this we expect to be misunderstood; most of you will continue to misunderstand us for a long time to come; but the best and brainiest of you (who, for the present, are all that we aim to reach), knowing that no sober and earnest body of men would ever declare themselves the friends of disorder, will be led by this method more quickly than by any other to inquire into and discover the real meaning of our philosophy.” I believe that the event has justified the expectation, — that the wisdom of the expedient is demonstrated by the result. If Mr. Walker thinks differently, he may pertinently adduce the reasons for his view. But surely he makes an utterly pointless criticism when lie reminds us that usage governs the meaning of words. Why, this is the very fact that makes our expedient possible, It is the power of usage that gives power and point to its antagonism. Nevertheless it is to be said also that Mr. Walker over-estimates this power of usage. It cannot give the majority a monopoly of the dictionary. The minority and innumerable minorities are forcing their way into the dictionary every day. Proudhon was a minority of one when he began to use the word Anarchy as expressive of a condition of equal liberty. Today this use of the word receives frank recognition in the Century and Standard dictionaries. When these dictionaries were made (one of them is only just on the market), the Communists were as noisy and numerous as they are now. But they were unable to keep this definition out. Upon what does Mr. Walker base his expectation that they will be able later to drive it out? I am afraid that the spirit of panic too easily finds lodgment in Mr. Walker’s breast. He is periodically nervous about the name Anarchist. Some years ago he substituted the name Autonomist, and now usage applies that name to that wing of the Communists which is precisely the most violent of all. Sometimes he calls himself an Individualist. But here comes the man who threw the bomb in the Barcelona Opera House and declares to a reporter: “I am an Individualist, and I belong to no Anarchist group.” What is Mr. Walker to do? One thing only, — to learn from Emerson that to be great is to be misunderstood, and to realize that this greatness is bound to be thrust upon ill, by whatever name they may call themselves, who teach truths new and strange. A word in conclusion as to whether Spencer is right in bowing to the mistaken usage which identifies Anarchism with Communism. Let me ask Mr. Walker a question. Suppose the believers in the theory of special creation were to call themselves evolutionists, and were to grow until they outnumbered the real evolutionists in the ratio of one hundred to one; in that case would Mr. Walker think me justified in rushing into print with a book in refutation of the evolution theory, in which the special creationists should be recognized as the only evolutionists and Spencer’s life-work should be calmly ignored? Let us have a square answer to this question.

Is Not Mr. Spencer Right?

To the Editor of Liberty:

Usage, we are told, makes vocabularies. What is its decision as regards the word “Anarchism”?

This at once leads directly to the question: “What most distinguishes philosophic Anarchism, on its economic side, from Communist-Anarchism, and from State Socialism and its variants?” Undoubtedly its uncompromising affirmation of the right of private property.

I have before me a list of sixty so-called Anarchistic papers now published in various parts of the world. I do not vouch for the absolute accuracy of the list, but negatively I can say that I do not know of one among them, saving only Liberty, that defends private property. Quite possibly there are some that do, but I am satisfied that these are so few that it is safe to declare that the overwhelming majority of them are opposed to the most distinctive economic tenet of philosophical Anarchism.

This much is certain: The usage of nearly all who call themselves Anarchists is favorable to the popular definition of the term. The general conception of an Anarchist is that he is one who is opposed to private property, who is in close affiliation with the compulsory Communists, and who believes in the “propaganda by deed,” both as a matter of principle and of expediency. This man is interpreted and represented by nearly all the papers which call themselves organs of Anarchism. On the other hand, we have the philosophical Anarchist, who believes in private property, who is not in affiliation with the Communists, and is, on the ground of present expediency, at least, opposed to the propaganda of violence. What papers interpret and represent him? One, — Liberty; perhaps a very few others.

Then, present usage decrees that “Anarchist” means a denier of the right and utility of private property, the confrère of the Communist, and an advocate of violence at this time. It is my conviction that the lexicons of the future will define the word similarly. I may be wrong, but at this hour it seems impossible to escape the conclusion that the Communist-Anarchist, the revolutionary Anarchist, has the family name and will keep it, spite of all that can be done to wrest it from him. When a hundred prolific writers use a word in one sense, while only one uses it in the opposite, it is reasonable to assume that the one hundred will put their meaning into the dictionaries by first impressing it on the public mind through common usage.

It may be said that Mr. Spencer knows the difference between the principles of the philosophical and the Communist-Anarchist, but is it incumbent on him to stop and explain this difference every time he has occasion to criticise the utterances and actions of that division which, to the almost total exclusion of the other, absorbs the attention of the world? I think not. Mr. Spencer criticised the Anarchism which is championed by ninety-nine of every one hundred who claim the name. Perhaps he deserves censure for this but I am not prepared to admit that be does. Names are very helpful when they are fairly well associated in the minds of the people with the principles they designate, but, when the names are utterly divorced to the ear and apprehension of the hearer from the principles to which they are related in the mind of the speaker, it is time the names were dropped. E. C. Walker.

The Greater Crime Unjudged.

[Paterson Labor Standard.]

The prison de la Roquette was outlined in the mist,

As the dawn both church and fortress with equal fervor kissed.

The gathered crowds, drawn hither in morbid instinct, cheered

When the guillotine’s dread form to straining gaze appeared.

Masks and fancy costumes intermingling here and there

Of carnivale bore witness as rushed they thro’ the square;

And ghastly wit and laughter of slum and dram-shop spoke,

While oaths amidst their humor in savage response broke.

At length the troops gave token of Vaillant’s march to death,

And from the surging multitude escapeth not a breath.

With perfect tact and motion at military assent,

A thousand guns are shifted from “carry” to “present.”

And then a calm more dreadful took possession of each tongue,

Only broken by a “madman” whose clothes in tatters hung.

With arms lean and naked he shouted: “Pity me!

For I swear I’m more unlucky today by far than he!”

A scream of wild derision from the thoughtless rabble rose,

Who to see the law expounded forgot their daily woes.

Vaillant’s death the law upheld; his crime was great, no doubt,

But a greater calms by far provoked that starving wretch’s shout.

Ricard O’Donnell.

“The garden of the laws is full of ironical plants, of unexpected Mowers 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: 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 front recent publications, are welcome.

Hypocritical Purism on the Bench.

[New York Sun.]

Noah Davis, formerly presiding justice of the general term of the Supreme Court in this department, presided yesterday afternoon over a raffle in aid of St. Mark’s Hospital, without much danger, in view of the goodness of the cause, of undergoing the statutory penalty. The occasion was the formal opening of the new building at 177 Second avenue. About 400 nice people were present, and at 4 p. m. they thronged the parlor and reception room, which were beautifully decorated with American flags and potted palms. After speeches by Dr. Weber, president of the Board of Managers, and M. M. Ruttenau, chairman of the Building Committee, Judge Davis was called on.

The guest of the evening rose from his scat at the right of President Weber, behind the flag-draped desk, and made a few happy extemporaneous remarks. Turning to Dr. Weber, he praised the new hospital which owed so much to him and his noble wife. Hospitals were needed, and we could not have too many of them.

“You spoke of a deficiency of $15,000,” said the judge to Mr. Weber. “You need not worry about that money. An institution so complete and beautiful as this is bound to succeed.”

There was great applause at this speech, which ended the exercises proper. But to many of those present the real business of the afternoon was the raffle. It had been gotten up by the St. Mark’s Hospital Ladies’ Auxiliary Society before last Christmas. There are nineteen active members of the society, and each member took twenty-five tickets to sell at $3 each. Nearly all the tickets were sold, the exact amount turned in being $1,272. The first prize was a satin-embroidered piano cover. The second prize was an oil painting representing the face of a beautiful young girl. The third prize was a set of photographs of paintings and engravings.

An American flag was sewed into the shape of a bag, and the 424 tickets were placed in it and shaken up amid hilarity. Mrs. Borg held the bag up higher than Judge Davis’s line of vision, and amid breathless silence Judge Davis thrust his hand in and drew out a card.

“Number 180,” he announced.

Number 180 proved to be Miss Nina Loeb, and she got the piano cover. In the same manner the Judge drew out for second prize number 414, and for third prize number 24. The oil painting, therefore, went to Mrs. Weber’s mother, Mrs. Treusch, and the photograph album to M. Tudor.

Lotteries are prohibited by the constitution of the State, and drawing them or contriving them is punishable by a maximum of two years’ imprisonment and $1,000 fine. Judicial decisions have been obtained that church-fair raffles are lotteries. Before Noah Davis ever dreamed of the raffle at St. Mark’s Hospital, he signed an appeal to the public against the gambling evil. The appeal was gotten up not long ago and reads in part:

“It is evident that the time has come when the friends of law, order, and public morality throughout the Union should band themselves together for an organized resistance to the spread of the gambling evil. An abundance of facts and figures are at hand to prove that this evil has been rapidly increasing in this country in recent years, and that it has already reached a magnitude hardly conceivable to those who have not investigated the subject. . . . . There are many forms of the gambling evil on which we might dwell, such as policy gambling, widely extended and a special curse to the poor in many of our large cities; bucket-shop gambling, a specially dangerous and formidable phase of the evil, because carried on in apparent conformity to certain commercial usages and under color of law; gambling with cards, roulette, faro, and fortune wheels, gambling raffles, and other games of chance, and in a score of other forms, some concededly criminal and others in the guise of innocent amusement. In, view of the facts thus recited, we appeal to all lovers of law, order, and morality throughout the Union to combine in a strenuous and uncompromising opposition to the gambling evil in its many forms. We recommend that organizations be formed wherever practicable, having for their especial object the repeal of gambling laws, the education of public sentiment with reference to the gambling evil, and the strict enforcement of such laws as may exist for the suppression of this vice. We appeal to the churches and all religious and reformatory agencies and organizations throughout the country to make the gambling evil an Object of special consideration to the end of arousing men everywhere to a realization of its magnitude and enormity. We appeal to the press of the country, secular and religious, to throw its powerful and far reaching influence against gambling practices in whatever form they may appear. We earnestly believe that if the moral forces of the country can be thus massed against this evil, it may at least be driven from the lodgment it has found in our legislatures, in our courts, in our municipal governments, and in our statute books.”

[Under government sin is a privilege enjoyed by the saints, saintliness a burden imposed upon the sinners. Under Anarchism there will be neither saints nor sinners, — only freemen.]

Millions for Tribute, but Nothing for Defence.

[New York Herald.]

Snow and slush were powerless to check the door-to-door canvass which agents of the City Club carried on yesterday among downtown merchants.

These agents, armed with copies of the constitutional amendment of 1874 giving immunity to witnesses against corrupt officials whom they have bribed, invaded dozens of business houses south of Canal Street and confronted the proprietors.

“We know,” said the agents, “that Tammany, through its police, is systematically blackmailing the business men of this city. You are being forced to pay Tammany’s representatives, in order to evade the enforcement of the sidewalk ordinance. Now we ask you to cease compounding this felony, and to join us in exposing the scheme by which you have been fleeced for years. We want your affidavit, giving full particulars of the blackmail, and here is the law to show that you will be amply protected.”

It is hard for a man, even in the interests of good government and self-preservation, to confess to a felony, and yesterday’s work did not succeed in swelling the stock of accusative affidavits to any very great extent. Nevertheless, among the many merchants solicited to take a personal share in the fight against Tammany a few were found willing to corroborate under oath all the charges brought by the club.

Davies, Turner & Co., foreign express and freight carriers, at Nos. 40 and 42 Broadway, are conspicuous among the downtown business men who have made up their minds not to be blackmailed and who have the pluck to take a public stand. Regularly, year after year, the policeman intrusted with watching sidewalks in lower Broadway called upon the firm at Christmas time and, with a significant air of authority, implying an ability to give trouble, asked for his “present.” He got it as regularly as he called, and was not even repulsed when he made his appearance each midsummer with a subscription paper for some unheard-of church picnic.

The firm handles little merchandise at the Broadway offices, and rarely has occasion to place a package on the sidewalk. They finally grew tired of the extortion, and last Christmas turned the police collector away empty-handed. One of the members of the firm gave me the following account of what followed:

“We had barely frozen out the blackmailing policeman when we were served with a summons from the corporation attorney to appear before Justice Clancy, in the Second District Court, to answer for a violation of the sidewalk ordinance. We were astonished, knowing that our merchandise had not been placed upon the sidewalk except while in transit from truck to store. However, I appeared in court as directed, but only to see the case adjourned. Corporation Attorney Hanneman at that time deliberately offered to discontinue the proceedings if I would consent to pay $2.50 by way of coats. It is unnecessary for me to state that I indignantly refused to consider this proposition.

“The case was called a week later, and for no apparent reason, other than to annoy me, it was again adjourned. We were again in court today, when Justice Clancy finally heard the case and decided it on the most approved Tammany plan.

“The proceedings were singular in the extreme. A policeman was placed on the stand, who swore that on a certain day he had noticed four small packages on the sidewalk in front of our offices. Passing two hours later, he again saw a few packages near the curb. Upon cross-examination he admitted his inability to swear that the packages first seen were those last noticed. Neither could he say that the goods belonged to us among the forty occupants of the premises. To my surprise Justice Clancy promptly fined me $5. I protested and insisted upon testifying. The privilege was granted with bad grace, and, to my utter astonishment, the result was that Justice Clancy increased the fine to $10.

“The corporation attorney and the police witness enjoyed the situation hugely, and I make the incident public so that the enemies of blackmail may also get a little satisfaction out of it.”

Corporation Attorney Hanneman, when I asked yesterday for a record of his work, gave the following figures for the last year: — Complaints, 17,000; summonses issued, 7,000; cases called in court, 4,700; judgments, 7,000; money collected on judgments, $4,500.

“How many of the 4,700 cases called in court were actually tried?” I asked.

“Well,” replied the corporation attorney, hesitatingly, “only a small part, you know, but the prosecution was always ready for trial; remember that.”

“Of the 7,500 judgments secured, how many were on default?” I queried.

“All of them. No, no — I take that back!” hastily corrected the official. “I should say a half — no — a third.”

According to the corporation attorney’s own figures, drawn from a friendly memory, his actual trials for a year will not exceed 450 in number, while a multitude of notations, recorded as “reported,” have been “settled out of court” in various ways not explained.

[New York Sun.]

Superintendent Byrnes appeared yesterday morning In the Tombs Police Court against three policemen, who are charged with extortion. The prisoners were Roundsman Michael Downs, of the Delancey street station, Policeman K. J. Larkin, of the Union Market station, and Policeman John Kenny, of the Eldridge street station.

These officers were charged with extorting money from Hebrew peddlers in Hester and Ludlow streets.

Superintendent Byrnes will not say who came to him with the complaints. It is not likely that the peddlers whose names appear in the complaints were the original movers in the matter. They were committed to the House of Detention on the advice of Superintendent Byrnes.

Kenny was the first man arraigned yesterday. Two affidavits were presented against him, one made by Moritz Schickman, of 16 Ludlow street, and one by Joseph Goldstein, of 85 Ludlow street. Schickman said he was a fish peddler and did business from a push cart at Hester and Orchard streets. From October 6 to November 24, except on Jewish holidays, he said he paid $1 every Friday to Joseph Goldstein, to be paid over by him to Policeman Kenny. Goldstein had come to him and represented that he was a collector for Kenny, and said that Schickman would have to pay a dollar a week for the privilege of doing business.

Goldstein, who is 21 years old, used to have a cart at Norfolk and Heater streets. Kenny came to him, he said, and asked him to collect money from the other peddlers, the alternative being a payment of $2 a week for being allowed to run his own stand. It was arranged, Goldstein says, that he should collect from 50 cents to $1 from each curbstone peddler according to the location of the different stands. He made the rounds each Friday, closely followed by the officer. If the peddler paid up, it was all right; if not, Goldstein told Kenny, and the officer ordered the peddler to move on. If, however, the peddler came to taw later on, he was allowed to stay at the old stand as usual.

After he had made the weekly collections, Goldstein says, he usually met Kenny in a doorway and paid over the lump sum. He would get $2 or $3 as commission. Kenny named him collector, he said, because Kenny knew that Policeman Larkin had used him for that purpose, as had other policemen on that beat. Israel Roginaky, Wolf Levy, Mark Kalinaky, and Ike Most, Goldstein said, had also acted as collectors for east side policemen.

Kenny, when arraigned, said he was 42 years old and had been ten years on the force.

“What is your occupation?” said justice Taintor.

“Laborer,” replied Kenny.

Justice Taintor looked at him quizzically.

“Police officer,” Kenny then said.

Kenny’s lawyer moved that the case be dismissed for lack of evidence. Justice Taintor held Kenny in $1,500 bail, which was given.

The affidavits in the cases of Policeman Larkin and Roundsman Downs were made by Hyman Goldberg, of 188 Clinton street, who said he paid $1 a week to each, and by Israel Roginsky, who says he was collector for both. Goldberg had a push cart in Hester street, and from October 6 to November 24, he says, paid $1 a week to Roginsky for Larkin, and from December 15 to January 5 paid a like sum weekly to Roginsky for Downs. Roginsky declares that Larkin told him he would have to act as collector or pay $2 a week himself. He was stationed on the northeast corner of Norfolk and Hester streets. He seems to have done a little business on his own hook, for, instead of collecting twenty-five or fifty cents a week, as he says he was instructed to do, he in at least one case collected $1 a week. His weekly collections, he says, amounted to $25 or $30, and his commissions to $2 or $3.

About the middle of December Larkin was transferred from Delancey street to the Union Market station, and then Roginaky, according to that worthy’s affidavit, became collector for Roundsman Downs, for whom he made collections on the same basis.

Counsel moved that this complaint also be dismissed as unsubstantiated, but the motion was denied, and both gave $1,500 bail.

Superintendent Byrnes says that the complainants are Russian Jews of the most ignorant type, and that it was with great difficulty that he could sift matters. When he had learned who the alleged collectors were, be bad them brought before him, and after a while they told him the stories presented in their affidavits. The hucksters themselves, when summoned before the superintendent, were scared. They had an idea that they were going to be imprisoned for life. They finally said that they had paid over the money to their brethren, as they understood, for the police. “We couldn’t do business unless we did,” they said.

[Chicago Record.]

A little man with a sad face, a thin suit of clothes, a skull-cap, and a weak voice stood near the east end of the Madison Street bridge holding out a bundle of shoestrings toward the passers by. A policeman came along, — one of the large, two-breasted kind.

“Got a license?” he asked.

The man with the shoestrings unbuttoned his coat with the left hand and showed the badge which was attached to his vest. In the meantime he looked up at the policeman. His expression was one of awe.

“Give me a pair,” said the policeman, pulling out two strings from the bundle.

“Yes, sir,” said the peddler.

“Better make it two,” said the man who represented the dignity and majesty of the law.

“All right, sir.” said the shoestring man, his voice weaker than ever.

The policeman rolled up the four strings, buried them in his pocket, and went on.

“Did he pay you?” asked a man standing near.

“Him pay?” said the man with the shoestrings. “Did copper pay for his shoestrings? I guess not. What makes me sore is that he don’t belong on this beat at sit I never saw him before.”

“Why didn’t you make him pay you?”

“What’s the use He would have tipped me off to some other cop, and I’d got the run. If they want anything, you’ve got to give it to them.”

[On another page John Beverley Robinson asks the question: “What is it to protect?” His question is well answered in the foregoing paragraphs. According to usage (which decides the matter, E. C. Walker tells us), to protect is to levy tribute, whether at the custom-house or at the station-house. And yet there are people who wonder what we should do without a government, and who believe that the disappearance of the policeman would mean chaos come again.]

A Biological Problem Settled.

[New York Sun.]

Montpelier, Vt., March 1. — The Caswell divorce case has been dismissed. Caswell married his wife in jail, where he was under sentence of life imprisonment for murder. The case was taken to the Supreme Court on the ground that a marriage could not be valid when the defendant was legally dead. The Court says he was legally dead when the ceremony was performed. There has been a change in the conditions since his sentence was reduced, and the couple must take the consequences.

[The scientists need no longer hunt for the origin of life. It has been found in the pardoning power of the governor of Vermont.]

An Extra-legal Penalty.

[New York Sun.]

William Eamsby, aged 15 years, of 890 South Fourth street, Williamsburgh, was sentenced in the Ewen street police court yesterday by Justice Watson to three days in jail for disorderly conduct. An elder brother asked the Justice to remit the sentence. He said that he was the head of the house, and had the care of the prisoner, too.

“What he needs is a good thrashing,” said the Justice.

“I know that, Judge,” replied Eamsby.

“Well, I’ll let him go if you will see that he gets it.”

“I will, your Honor.”

“I don’t mean any little whipping, but just lick him so that he will remember it. You’ll give it to him now, will you?”

“Will I? Just watch me,” Eamsby said. Then he turned and without any ado swung his right hand and struck his brother a terrific blow on the right aide of the face.

The boy staggered back and fell on his face in front of the bench. He was on his feet in a twinkling and ran out of the court room. Justice Watson mildly reproved the elder Eamsby for his act, and told him that he should have waited until he got his brother outside.

“But,” added the Justice, “that isn’t a bad beginning. You’d better wait, though, till you get home before finishing it.”

[What business has a judge to virtually reinstate the whipping-post by remitting the legal penalty in order to induce another to lay on the lash which he, the judge, is not allowed to wield?]

The State Always Sticks to the Good Old Way.

[New York Sun.]

Washington, March 17. — While the experimental trial of the pneumatic tube as the most modern method for the transmission of the mails has proved a success, there is no likelihood that it will be adopted by the Post Office Department and put into general use for a long time.

Such an innovation would not only be most expensive to the government, but, in order to perfect the system, much time and labor must necessarily be consumed in the surveying of the routes and laying of the tubes in the few large cities where the postal service would warrant its use, although the experiment in Philadelphia has proved a success.

[The government postal service is a monopoly, and monopolies are always slow to adopt improvements. Under Anarchy competition would force the prompt utilization of the pneumatic tube.]

Next the Star Chamber.

[New York Sun.]

Paris, March 19. — The Chamber of Deputies voted urgency today on a bill forbidding the publication of reports of Anarchist trials. The framers of the bill argued that the notoriety given to men like Ravachol and Vaillant by public trials was the most powerful incentive to other Anarchists to commit horrible crimes. The proposal for urgency was opposed most strenuously by the Socialist Deputies. It was approved by a vote of 258 to 203.

The Municipal Council passed a protest today against the arbitrary powers exercised by the police in the Anarchist hunt of the last month. The protest said that all principles of civil liberty were violated by the indiscriminate house searches and arrests now in progress. The protest was passed by a vote of 34 to 26.

The Penalty of Affection.

[New York Sun.]

An old law of Paris forbids kissing in public places. A. cabman who saw his wife only once a week gave her his weekly kiss in front of a restaurant the other day. Both were arrested. The cabman was fined $5. He gallantly paid the fine, remarking that the kiss was worth it.

[Has it come to this, then, — that a man may not do what he likes with his own? Now, if this cabman had bitten his wife instead of kissing her, he probably would not have been punished. Under Anarchy kissing will be legitimate, provided there is no objection on the part of the kissee.]

How Policemen Act When Moved by Sympathy.

[New York Sun.]

From there the crowd [of strikers at Paterson, N. J.] went to Bamford Brothers’ mill and, ranging themselves in double column along Rip Van Winkle avenue, waited for the weavers and warpers to come from their work. The police, however, had decided this time to act vigorously. The twelve policemen who stood guard in front of this mill, and who had been placed there before it was known the crowd would “serenade” the non-union workmen employed there, were reenforced by a squad of thirty-five men under command of Capt. Bimson. The Captain divided his men into two columns, ordered them to draw their clubs, and then cried “Charge!” The bluecoats started forward on a run. Nearly every one of them was in sympathy with the strikers and had not much relish for his task. But with a club in his hand and the crowd before him every man became enthusiastic and filled with a desire to club. The strikers fell back, thinking that the police were only trying to frighten them. When, however, they saw that double line get, ting dangerously near, they, too, broke into a run and fled up the street. A big crowd, however, cannot move very fast, and before those who were in the rear could get out of the way the police were upon them. Then followed some tall clubbing. The policemen struck right and left with all their force, knocking down nearly thirty men. The wonder is that no skulls were broken.

One of the bluecoat squads backed a portion of the mob, numbering about one thousand, against a long picket fence that borders a field west of the mill. The fence gave way under the pressure, and hundreds of people fell to the ground. The police now had the occasion of their lifetime. With the greatest zest and delight they clubbed into the struggling heap, whacking an arm here, a leg there, now a head, and now a back. The crowd was thoroughly frightened. Those who had fallen scrambled to their feet as quickly as they could, and cut across the field for dear life. In a few minutes the policemen were alone upon the street, victorious. They did not take the trouble, however, to arrest any one.

[It is undoubtedly proper to prevent strikers from intimidating “scabs.” Nevertheless no lover of humanity can do else than praise the Paterson authorities for entrusting such a ditty to policemen who were in sympathy with the strikers. One wonders what would have happened if policemen without bowels had been selected for the task.]

French Opinion of Vaillant and His Act.

Liberty continues its extracts from the Paris press relating to the act of Vaillant. In “Le Journal” of January 12 Maurice Barnes, one of the foremost of the younger literary men and but recently a member of the Chamber of Deputies, wrote as follows:

I do not share Vaillant’s conviction that for an idea one has the right to strike. I have a theory, he says, and it is that which gives importance to my act.

He seems to me to fall into an error very frequent in our day. It is an error peculiar to the half-educated man. He believes in the importance of theories. He talks of truth, and the magistrate, he too, condemns him in the name of truth. Singular personages, these! I prefer Pontius-Pilate saying: “What is truth?”

Nevertheless Jesus, who died for truth, compels our admiration. It is unreasonable, it is as unphilosophical as possible, but it is very beautiful. I can understand that Vaillant should have been tempted to give his life for his ideas. Yes, with great difficulty I can arrive at a conception of martyrdom. To give one’s life for one’s ideas is absurd, but at least it is not without character.

But, when it comes to imposing martyrdom:upon others, to blowing up living creatures, oh! that is always unreasonable, and, moreover, it is to dispose of that which does not belong to you.

Is it, then, the intention of the Anarchists to blow up everything? Not at all.

Two years ago I had a conversation with some of them, and they were very reasonable.

“Yes,” I said to them, “certain of your deductions are singularly strong. But they are not truths sufficiently evident to be worth the horrors that would result from their sudden appearance. One may well praise your logic, but all the same how can one help blaming this same logic when it leads you to robbery and incendiarism?”

“Incendiarism? No.”

“Why, you want to blow up Paris.”

“Dynamite Paris! What an ideal We might, to be sure, destroy some of the working-people’s quarters, because they are so filthy; but the Champs-Elysees, the Plaine Monceau! Why, it would be sheer waste! Oh, of course, when one is beaten, he may say, as in 1871: ‘I cannot have them, you shall not have them either.’ But that is not a system; it is an expedient of ill humor, on the eve of being shot. Apart from a few monuments that symbolize ideas to be denied, such as Notre-Dame, which represents religions, or the Vendome column, which exalts the military spirit, or the Chamber, the head of the State, our programme contemplates no acts of incendiarism.”

It must be confessed that Parliament inspires very little sympathy among the people. When it was learned that a bomb had been exploded within its walls, there was a disposition to chuckle, as soon as the first shock was over. This is due to the fact that, on the whole, the deputies are despised, and rightly. Two-thirds of them are despicable; I speak of what I know.

We have spoken above, with severity, of Vaillant’s philosophy. It is characteristic of a half-cultivated man, I said, to lend enough importance to theories to wish to realize them by acts that are certain to bring misfortunes in their train. But then, at all periods these grave errors are to be seen. Doctrines were tinged with the blood of Henri IV and Henri III which differed extremely from other doctrines in the name of which Charles I and Louis XVI were killed, and the doctrines of Vaillant and Ravachol are of still a third variety.

There have been terrorists at all epochs and in the service of the most diverse theories. An Anarchist is not necessarily a terrorist. There are terrorists in all parties, and — shall I dare to say it? — there is something of the terrorist even in the mildest man. We see the terrorist in those somewhat impressionable citizens who repeat on every hand: “We must entrust to military commissions the duty of judging those who profess Anarchistic doctrines.” And I myself, who regret terrorism in the service of whatever cause it may appear; I, who have no more sympathy with General Garcin who assassinates Milliere* than with Vaillant who dynamites, — should I be sure, opportunity offering, of resisting the temptation which all men feel to do justice themselves? If, by an impossibility, some one should say to me: “Draw up a list of fifty deputies of your choice, and they shall be shot within twenty-four hours,” should I have the energy to put away the pen? (Observe that I say a list of fifty, not to appear too ambitious; but, my list drawn up, I should perceive as usual that my memory had failed me.)

Perhaps they will guillotine Vaillant. It will be one brutality more to add to the list of human infamies. And, as we all take part in these infamies, which seem necessary conditions of the existing social order, I do not elaborate thereupon. But, though the human sense is still at a low stage of development in men, the historic sense is really not bad at this end of the nineteenth century; consequently it is to the historic sense that I address myself, and I beg the reader to fully realize the fact that Vaillant is neither better nor worse than a heap of people who have their statues in our public squares.

But, I am asked, what, then, is the course of wisdom? A great philosopher answers: “To wait.” Confronted with these great problems, the philosophers think and wait; among those who are not philosophers, some deny the problem and pretend that it is necessary to maintain the existing state of things at any cost, while others think to meet it by solutions too simple and too apparent. It is useless to say that each is easily right as against the other; for the innovators (listen to Vaillant) oppose to the conservatives evident miseries, a remedy for which is absolutely necessary, and the conservatives (listen to the magistrate) have no difficulty in demonstrating to the innovators that with their system there would be no more society.

But then, where is the merit in those who inquire? I would avoid scandalous remarks, but from the philosophical standpoint Vaillant is more interesting than the policeman who arrested him (although, with a very accurate sense of the realities, we have given the latter a hundred francs).

In “L’Écho de Paris” of February 3 Caliban (Émile Bergerat) writes under the heading, “Too Late, Perhaps.”

In the philosophical family of perplexities do you know an uncertainty more distressing than that in which I find myself this Friday morning, February 2, 1894, at ten o’clock, with pen in hand before my copy-paper, after examining my morning mail? For I must tell you that to me, as to all my fellow-journalists, this mail brings but one cry: “Use all your pity to save the head of Vaillant, who after all did not kill anybody.” This appeal sums up all the letters received and lying open here upon my table. Upon this twice fortunate circumstance of the failure to kill rely all the pitying persons who believe in the influence of the press, alas! over the potentates of established powers. And really, with a good heart, for my humble part, would I harness my Caliban to the task, for it remains undeniable that Valliant, whether by chance or otherwise, has not killed. The popular conscience, whence often emanates more legality than from the law itself, with an infallible sense of equity besides, is not wrong in arguing from this extenuating circumstance and in producing therefrom “the excuse of good people.”

Since there are still noisy moralists to be found who maintain that a crime which has succeeded (in politics, understand) is not a crime, and who cite as proofs the Eighteenth of Brumaire or the Second of December, perhaps it would be worthy of a Republic, honestly human, to recognize that all the more then does the crime disappear when the attempt fails. At least it so far disappears as to take away society’s warrant for applying that law of vengeance which the guillotine sanctions. Good people have a very strong feeling, even though they cannot express it, that to kill a man who has killed nobody, whether for one reason or for another, even by accident, is to be more loyal than the law. They have learned, in fact, from history, and notably from the “fortunate” events whose Napoleonic dates I have just cited, that chance counts for more than skill in the game of institutions.

It would seem that at the presidential palace, in the presidential family, there might be an inclination toward this view. One would think that M. Carrot, holding in his hand a balance, his ordinary attribute, might say to his ministers: “Look. Scientifically, if we throw a head into one scale, there must be another in the other scale to obtain that equilibrium which some poets call justice. Now, where is the other head? I do not see it. I see little nails, which are the, tare, but no head whatever, not even that of my young and amiable historiographer, Bertol-Graivil,* which he still bears, like a charm, upon his shoulders. Then, what do you ask of me?”

So might speak the grandson of the great Lazare, nobly resuscitated for the occasion. And, even more inspired by the Biblical memories of our national religion of pity, Madame Carnot might remark to the council that nothing would be more similar to France before the single head of Vaillant than the shameless Salome dancing around that of John the Baptist, who, he too, had had the luck to kill nobody, even by the contraction of pneumonia in the icy waters of the Jordan.

But why tell you these things, since, at the hour when you read them in print, it will be perhaps too late to discourse upon them? I do not know, and at this moment, while the hand turns upon the dial, nobody knows, whether tomorrow’s dawn will reveal in the Place de la Roquette a pool of human blood. Is Vaillant’s sentence commuted, or is he approaching the guillotine? Neither the writer nor his readers can say, for this is what is known as a popular execution.

It appears, indeed, that this authorized lynching is grandiose, exemplary, and democratic because it is popular. In the eyes of its advocates the publicity of the death penalty is its justification, some say its raison d’etre. It is society itself, they explain, bravely giving itself the edifying spectacle of cutting off a gangrened member, in broad daylight, in order doubtless to amuse the other diseased organs and divert them from their pains. Such is the theory, so beautifully juridical. I willingly grant it; but tell us then the time and place of this sermon in action at least forty-eight good hours in advance, in order that we may summon our friends and acquaintances and profit by the red lesson. It is not at all logical that I, a Parisian writer upon the events of the day, should not yet know on the second of February at eleven o’clock in the forenoon whether there will be preaching at la Roquette on the third at sunrise; the sheep of the reformed social church receive very poor service from the beadles.

Do you not find it abnormal that, having arguments to furnish in the name of the general conscience in favor of a man condemned to death, it is impossible for me to find out, even at the office of the prefect of police, whether my plea will be wasted, and is not this stupidity alone sufficient to show how the principle of publicity in the matter of capital executions is falsified by usage?

They now enact the shameful and abominable comedy of warning the faithful only a few hours before the sinister high mass, in order to render as small as possible the attendance upon a ceremony universal in its idea and which ought to be announced by the tolling of bells for a week throughout France. If you juggle with the guillotining operation, why do you perform it in the street? What is this headsman in s false collar and a gray frock-coat who, in the dusk, in the confusion of the morning shades, mysteriously suppresses a man after the Venetian fashion, instead of appearing clad in symbolic scarlet, the flaming sword of Themis in his hand, at full noonday? What does one see, if one sees nothing, or scarcely anything? And, if one sees scarcely anything, where is the lesson? Social vindictiveness invites forty millions of freemen to a first performance of what it calls the most virtuous tragedy ever enacted, and it puts out the lights and leaves as many spectators as possible outside the door. To whom shall we apply for an explanation of such incoherencies?

At the executions which they serve us for the improvement of our mortals, they act rather as if they were trying in the presence of experts a new guillotine perfected in anima vili, than borrowing from God that ultima ratio which belongs to him and which is called death.

Whatever may happen, alas! and though this article should come too late to be of any use in the cause of pity, it shall not be said that the good people who have done me the honor and the pleasure of counting on any humanity found me wanting in the spirit that prompted Terence to say: “I am a man, and nothing human is foreign to me.” Now, without even attempting to show the purely political character of Vaillant’s crime, and without reminding the triumphant personages who condemn him to disappear that every day they pass the charred ruins of the Court of Accounts on their way to their curule chairs in the Chamber, I join absolutely in the impartial judgment which gives the Anarchist the benefit of the poor quality of his bomb. The people send him to Noumea, and not to the Place de Greve. And the best proof that the people are right is the probability that, either through some fine day of amnesty or through the effecting of a lucky escape, the condemned man would come back from Noumea to be in his turn a deputy, like the others.

Even Francois Coppée. Bonapartist, poet, and member of the Academy, could not avoid gloomy forebodings as to the result of Vaillant’s execution. In “Le Journal” of February 8 he wrote as follows:

I have just been, not dangerously, but very painfully sick for some days, and am still, to use the popular phrase, a little under the weather. However, my illnesses are now past counting, and I might say with Voltaire: “I was born killed.”

I do not thus take my readers into my confidence in order to gain their pity. Destiny has been so kind to me in so many respects that I think it only fair to pay my tribute to the law of nature, to suffering. Besides, one gets accustomed to it, and for my part I am resigned. In childhood and in youth I was sickly. Maturity finds me still a valetudinarian. Without attaching greater value to life than belongs to it, I accept in advance, If God will grant it, an ailing old age.

Is it my convalescent state that renders me today more impressionable than usual? Be that as it may, sitting in my armchair in front of the fire, with my cup of gruel before me, I have not been able to read the account of Vaillant’s execution without deep emotion, and the dull sound of the falling knife has terribly shaken my heart.

I do not need to explain myself afresh regarding the Anarchists. Their theories seem to me imbecile, their misdeeds abominable, and these thugs of the civilized world fill me with horror. However sincere my compassion for the wretched, prone as I am to indulgence for their acts of despair, I tremble with indignation before these madmen who kill for the sake of killing and who strike at random.

I can understand that society, in these extreme circumstances, feels that It is not only right, but absolutely necessary, to defend itself and to act with rigor. After all, it only answers terror with terror. Let no one deceive himself. The Anarchists — unconsciously if you will, and blinded by absurd doctrines — are the worst reactionaries ever known. The first victims of their explosions are mercy and liberty. The famous “gesture” of the companion who throws a bomb is that of a sower of hatred and Servitude.

I know all that. Nevertheless the thought of this man’s head cut off, Monday morning, at daylight, in the Place de la Roquette, is intolerable to me. You may say that my attitude is not a reasoning one, that it is nervous, instinctive, the mechanical shrinking from a pool of blood. Be it so. But I cannot think of this beheaded man without fearful anguish.

I did not believe that the execution would take place. In the first place, no victim had been struck with death, and it had long been the custom not to punish an abortive crime with the last degree of severity. Then, this crime, however terrible in its intention, was disinterested, born of an abstract idea. The man’s past, his abandoned childhood, his life of hardship, pleaded also in his favor. In the independent press generous voices had been raised in his behalf, very loud and eloquent. “A purely literary current of opinion,” some have said, with no little scorn. It is, on the contrary, an honor to the men of art and thought to have expressed once more their disgust at the scaffold. Finally, in my interviews with all sorts of people, I thought I detected a relaxation, an inclination toward pity. In short, I was persuaded that the sentence would be commuted.

He upon whom the result depended has believed it his duty to be implacable. I am persuaded that it was only after hours of sombre reflection, after a cruel struggle between his reason and his feelings, that he renounced the precious right to save a human life in order to stoically obey the terrible duty to punish. No one is qualified to judge the chief of State in this matter. He answers only to his conscience.

But before this pale and lamentable head in its bloody basket one may reflect upon the consequences of the deed that has been done. I am afraid that they may be disastrous.

“An example was necessary,” I hear some one cry in a loud voice.


Yes, to the ordinary bandit, to the prowler in lonely suburbs, to the assassin who strikes in the darkness, — to these, possibly, the guillotine is a terror; and, in spite of the horror with which it fills me, I am willing to admit its frightful utility.

And yet is even this so sure? We see but dimly what goes on in these souls of darkness. Over certain of these monsters, — alas! to be pitied, these also, for they were conceived in the coupling of vice and poverty, — over some the terrible Widow exercises, on the contrary, an indescribably mysterious fascination. Does she not promise them a hideous glory, an ignoble triumph, on the day when she shall stretch out to them her red arms, the day of expiation?

But, however this may be, I am firmly convinced that the fear of the death penalty has no effect upon fanatics.

The reading of the details of Vaillant’s execution left me in a thoughtful mood. I imagined him, expanding his chest under the ropes, marching with firm step, stiffening his will, concentrating all his energy, and, with eyes flied upon the knife, hurling finally at society his cry of malediction; and, in spite of me, another spectacle rose suddenly before my mind. I saw a group of men and women pressing against each other in the middle of the oblong arena of the circus, under the gaze of thousands of eyes, while from all the steps of the immense amphitheatre went up that terrible cry: Ad leones! and, below, the opening cages of the wild beasts.

Oh! forgive me, sublime Christians of the ages of persecution, you who died to affirm your faith in gentleness, sacrifice, and goodness, forgive me for thinking of you in presence of these sombre men who pursue their impossible and sad chimera through murder and massacre! But in the eyes of the Anarchist marching to the guillotine there was — O grief! — the same flame of intrepid madness as in yours, holy virgins, as in yours, martyrs and confessors!

To be sure, there is nothing in common between you and this man. You awaited the lions, singing a hymn of peace, a prayer of love. Valliant threw himself under the knife with a shout of hatred, a cry of vengeance.

Nevertheless, who is bold enough to affirm that the courage of this fanatic will not inspire other fanatics and that his death will not be soon avenged?

“What matters it?” respond mouths muttering in fear and anger. “An eye for an eye! To whomsoever dreams of a return to barbarism, let us apply the law of barbarism, — inflexible retaliation.”

Alas! to this we have come. After each infernal instrument cast into an innocent crowd, society hence-forth will lift by the ear a head cut off by the guillotine and hurl it at the Anarchists as a bloody defiance; and in the tumult of cries of rage and fury uttered on every side it will be no longer possible to bear the rare voices which would still like to speak of reconciliation and pity. To this point have we been led by the political impostors, the sycophants of the people, the beggars for votes, those who promise Paradise on earth, after half a century of universal suffrage and more than twenty years of the Republic!

Rest content, Joseph de Maistre! The headsman is still the first man in the State, and the social edifice rests solely on the four flag-stones of the scaffold.

Writing in “L’Intransigeant” on December 91, Henri Rochefort said:

The Anarchist Vaillant has treated the deputies like dogs, and now the chemist Girard [chief of the municipal laboratory of Paris] treats dogs like deputies. After having manufactured, upon the model of that which has so upset the Chamber, a bomb which he filled with the same nails and the same explosive, this operator took ten of these poor beasts (I refer to the dogs, the deputies, although beasts, not being poor), and, leading them into a grove, tied them to a tree; after which he threw his bomb into the middle of the pack.

The object of this experiment was to ascertain what ravages the engine would have caused had it fallen on the Chamber floor instead of bursting in the air. The ten dogs having been almost all killed instantly, M. Girard infers that at least twenty deputies would have lost their lives.

This calculation seems to indicate that one dog is worth two deputies. Nevertheless the experiment does not seem to me at all decisive. There could not, in fact, be any similarity, physical or moral, between a poodle and an elect of universal suffrage adulterated as it is today. In the first place, the former is faithful, fond, and devoted to his master, without thought or hope of what he may make thereby.

Further, our deputies, by their expeditions to far-off lands and their ever-increasing expenditures, are pushing France toward the abyss, whereas the St. Bernard dogs daily rescue travellers who have fallen into a crevass.

Possibly. M. Girard will point out that there are in parliament a certain number of representatives of the people who practise no other profession than that of “Newfoundland!” fishing out drowning ministries. We know that this nickname has been bestowed upon several of those who accommodate the government by timely interpellations. But it is insulting only to the dogs, to whom it seems to attribute the base and abject sentiments frequently found in the hearts of men, but never in those of these noble and generous animals.

The barbarous and stupid test made by the dynamiter Girard is the more senseless because, the dog being usually tender and good while the deputy is tough and hard beyond conception, a bomb could not fail to penetrate one much more easily than the other.

And since they are resolved to prosecute the Anarchist Valliant not only for the harm which his explosive did, but also for that which it might have done, dogs should not have been selected as the subjects of this strange experiment in vivisection by thunderbolt. From the moment that the government does not hesitate to sacrifice living beings in order to fix the extent of the danger through which it has passed, why should it scruple to try dynamite on men, as Locusts tried his poisons?

Rather than contract “writer’s cramp” in signing hundreds of decrees expelling foreign Socialists, it might effect a considerable saving in time and money by studying the effects upon these fomenters of revolution of bombs reconstructed in the municipal laboratory.

They could be taken into the grove so dear to M. Girard, the old policeman Clement could tie them all to one tree, and then — let fly! By counting the corpses it could be ascertained exactly how many deputies France would suddenly have lost if, by one of those chances which all true Christians will call providential (not for the spectators in the galleries, of course), the murderous implement had not burst in the air.

This lesson in experimental chemistry would also save the police the trouble of escorting to the frontier a multitude of adepts of Socialism, who, for once at least in their lives, and especially in their death, would be of some use, since they would serve to enlighten M. Casimir-Perier on a point still obscure.

Now, I ask myself by virtue of what law M. Girard is permitted to throw bombs where he pleases, when to all others this singular amusement is forbidden under penalty of death.

And after the execution Rochefort wrote again:

The clearest result of the slaughter of day before yesterday is that the Anarchist party, which in reality had no existence, is today an established fact. The executioners have consecrated Valliant its apostle and supreme chief. Whatever they may do, indeed, they cannot alter the fact that Vaillant’s act was political by the same title as those of Louvel, Alibaud, Charlotte Corday, and Jacques Clement. Hard labor for Valliant, coupled with the humiliations which the convict suffers, might have taken away from his desperate deed the character of social vengeance. Death gives it this character definitively.

As in 1871, when for more than three years the councils of war sent the conquered of the Commune to be shot at Satory, although capital punishment for political offences bad been abolished in 1848, the jurors, in visiting it upon Vaillant, have violated the provisions of the penal code. It was for the government, in applying the sentence, to moderate the severity of a verdict rendered under the influence of panic. It has preferred to give free rein to its naturally cruel instincts. Certainly it is not the Anarchists who have reason to complain.

In view of Vaillant’s extravagant expiation, no one will dare hereafter to assail his memory and many will be inclined to defend it. They will not fail to recall that his ignoble father, the ex-policeman who hob-nobs today with boon companions in his wine-shop after turning his child into the street at the age of ten, is the real author of the explosion in the Chamber.

They will compare the destiny of Casimir-Perier, born in the purple of the forty millions left him by his father, with that of the poor disinherited being who, at an age when one dares not set foot in the street without his nurse, was begging by the roadside, all alone, at night.

For, indeed, men like M. Perier, who have never done anything, have no right to say to others: “Work!” In a certain measure, although money goes so often to the imbeciles, a rich man may feel proud of the fortune which he has acquired. But M. Perier is one of those who find their fortunes accumulated for them.

He is nothing, in fact, but a dealer in the labor of his slaves, the miners. It is to their terrible efforts, not to his own, that he is indebted for the tremendous surplus-value of his Anzin properties. Never in his life did his ten fingers do any work. He has never gone down into a mine except to examine his domain fifteen hundred feet below the surface, and even then he has walked on carpets which his slaves spread under his feet.

He has nothing of his own, not even his position as prime minister, which he owes to his grandfather, as M. Carrot is indebted to his for the presidency of the Republic. In the Chamber this son and grandson of Casimir was mediocrity itself, and, whenever the cloak-rooms began suddenly to fill up, it was a fair presumption that M. Perier had taken the floor.

And it is this idle, useless, lazy being who, from the height of his five feet two and his bourgeois arrogance, remorselessly cleaves with a chopping-knife the frightful question of hunger in vain search of satisfaction, and of misery in rebellion. These fearful problems he solves by a sign to his friend Deibler.

Frankly, in the period of sharp weather through which we are passing, M. Carnot would have done well to choose a prime minister at once a little less rich and a little less below zero.

Severine discourses of the same subject in “L’Écho de Paris” of February 9 under the heading, “The Spot of Oil”:

This oil is henceforth terribly mixed with blood, and with a blood which the most pitiless, among the intelligent, did not wish to see flow. None but the brutes, the narrow, short-sighted people whose horizon is limited to anxiety for their person, or else the politicians, blinded by pride, who imagine their power immutable and the present system invincible, — none but these talked lightly of the scaffold.

That part of the country where I live is certainly frequented by the pick of the implacable persons who spend their lives in the pursuit of pleasure. They are no worse than others; only they love themselves, and nobody but themselves, and would sacrifice half of humanity to their petty satisfactions.

Which, however, does not prevent charity festivals, — for one is a snob or one is not!

A matter of atavism, education, habit! Fallow brains, uncultivated souls, poor soil, sterilized by the flinty hearts of the fathers and prevented from welcoming the good seed sometimes brought by the wind on the wings of chance. We must say of them to the poor what Christ said to God of his executioners: “Forgive them, for they know not what they do!” And we must not be too greatly astonished if the poor turn a deaf ear toward these favored persons who show so little compassion for those who share their ignorance without sharing their good fortune.

But philosophy is a luxury, hardly within the reach of the miserable. And when we see those who have everything failing to understand the exasperation of those who have nothing, of those who have bad neither breeding nor education, whose infancy has been neglected, whose childhood has been roving, whose youth has been horrible; when we see the fortunate holding responsible for their abandonment the very ones who have been the victims thereof, and punishing them for it, — it would really be asking of the latter super-human virtues to require of them an indulgence so far from reciprocal.

So the hatred goes on fermenting, as well as the impossibility of forgiving it.

It was interesting to note the impression made upon this blasé and hostile public by the news of the execution. All the afternoon I discreetly hovered about the bulletin-boards, expecting to hear cries of “Bravo!” or “So much the better!” or “It is no pity!” — the usual vocabulary of forced approval.

But nothing of the kind. To my great surprise most lips remained sealed; most brows were lined with a meditative wrinkle. Some women even — and by no means “comrades,” I assure you — gave a shudder of repugnance, uttered a word of pity. A few distinguished-looking men spoke decidedly of the useless cruelty of the delay between the verdict and the punishment, of the cynicism of this decapitation in the midst of the carnival.

Only a Mayence Jew, a fat banker with a gostish head, was found to scream his joy, and the people about him shrank away, so shocking was this joy even to the least sensitive.

There hung over the great cosmopolitan bazaar, over the market of all greeds, a bewildered apprehension, — the idea that this end was a beginning.

They are not mistaken. I fear it more than I desire it, so far, at least, as reprisals are concerned, for, as for the social edifice, it may go to pieces and I wear no mourning; too often have I scrutinized the cracks, seen the swarming of the vermin, heard the scampering of the rats! He who can lodge comfortably in such a building cannot be fastidious.

But what astounds me is the way in which those who boast of its charms and sanitary qualities, who declare that there will never be a better or more beautiful structure, and that it only needs repapering, — what astounds me, I say, is the way in which those entrusted with the maintenance of the edifice go to work to preserve it.

It is unaccountable. With their own hands they sap and sap the already trembling foundations, disjoint the corners, shake the partitions, and then declare in a threatening, Olympian fashion that whoever shall make an assault upon the solidity of the temple will be punished with imprisonment or death.

It is pretty, this temple! And fine people, its occupants!

But what shades, then, are falling from heaven upon these people, what veil, what bandage, obstructs their vision, hides from them the evidence, that they are so obstinate in not seeing it, in denying it, in marching superbly — at least they think so — toward the abyss which must swallow them up, and so many others with them?

This is no partial judgment; I do not aim at paradox; I no more take bladders for lanterns than my desires for realities. The fate of the world, thank heaven! is not in my hands; and what I may say or not say has no influence of any sort (on this point no mirage disturbs my brain) on the destinies of humanity.

Then why do I persist in repeating these things? What advantage do I gain thereby? What can it bring, except the disgrace, disfavor, malice of a power which, though far from being the incarnation of love, does not intend to be trifled with?

To achieve popularity! But what is the use? I am not even a voter, and, though I were, how many names I would scratch from my ballot rather than cast it! Besides I have too much mingled with the crowds to solicit their favor, and picked up too many of the conquered who lay with broken bones at the foot of the Tarpeian rock, after ascending the steps of the Capitol the day before amid the delirium of the multitude.

Then, if it be not interest or ambition or desire for apotheosis, what is it that impels me unless a sincere, tenacious, absolute conviction? To play the rôle of Cassandra, as I have said before, is not a particularly pleasing sport; it is even a burden which one would willingly decline if it were a matter of free will; if, monstrance, chalice living shrine, one were not the insignificant receptacle of a truth.

These are tall words for our frivolous epoch, and I would willingly be the first to cry out to the pug-nosed pythoness that I am: “Descend from your tripod, pretender!”

But, should I descend from my tripod today, I should have to stain my sandals in a pool of blood, — the broad pool made by Deibler on the pavements of la Roquette. Splash about in it who will, — masks and dominoes deepening in it the red of their costumes, magistrates dipping in it their purple, soldiers, poor soldiers, dyeing in it their uniforms!

For myself, I remain on my height, perhaps a little ridiculous, but not bespattered by this bloody dew.

And I see plainly, not by the soul’s divination, but with my very eyes, the spreading, growing spot, invading the old world. Only kindness and fraternity could have stopped it, and these are scornfully rejected.

It is the duel, the death-struggle of a régime against the Idea, of Jacob with the angel. And those who hold our destinies in their hands go blundering on, bent upon letting loose the hurricane.

Count their stupidities, note their errors: the liberty to think disputed, opinion becoming an offence; the liberty to write restricted, even mutilated; the “guilty” arrested and held under lock and key for thirty or forty days at the good pleasure of the courts, and then released because innocent, with no further reparation than the advice “not to be seen here again”; the “suspects” under the eye of the police like malefactors, their correspondence examined and their slightest acts observed; Merigeau, who loudly proclaimed his opposition to propaganda by deed and who has a perfectly clean record, sentenced to three years in prison; Vaillant, who killed nobody, guillotined!

Look, look at the spreading spot, which all the waters of the sea and all the perfumes of Arabia will not succeed in wiping out.

* A radical deputy who was wantonly slain by the Versaillist general referred to, after the fall of the Paris Commune.

** A newspaper reporter who was wounded by Vaillant’s bomb.

Decency Sometimes a Doubtful Quality.

[Henry Maret in Le Radical.]

Did you ever notice that, whenever it is said of a book that it can be placed with safety in all hands, it never goes into any? This is not because the reader is vicious: but I think that it is with the authors called decent as it is with the women called virtuous, — there is nothing better to say of them.

The Secret of Large Fortunes.


But these rich people, who consume the products of others’ labor, can obtain them only by exchange. Nevertheless, if they give their acquired and accumulated wealth in return for these new products which are the object of their desire, they seem exposed to the danger of exhausting their store at an early day; they do not labor, we have said; in fact, they cannot labor; one would think, then, that each day would witness a diminution of their wealth, and that, when it should all have vanished, nothing would be offered in exchange to the workers who toil exclusively for them. But in the social order wealth has acquired the property of reproduction by another’s labor and without the coöperation of its owner. Wealth, like labor, yields an annual fruit which can be destroyed each year without rendering the rich man any poorer. This fruit is the income born of capital.

An Economist Says It.

[J. B. Say.]

The savings of the rich are made at the expense of the poor.

The Individuality of Taste.

[H. Taine.]

When a thing pleases me, I do not pretend that it pleases you, still less that it pleases others. Heaven save us from the law-givers in matters of beauty, pleasure, and emotion! What each feels is peculiar to himself, like his nature; what I experience depends upon what I am.

Vice Rooted in the Law.


The vices of a people are always hidden at the depths of legislation; there must we search, if we would uproot them.

Equality a Human Right.

To the Editor of Liberty:

In Liberty of June 19, 1893, under the heading “Cranky Notions,” Joseph A. Labadie criticises the statement of W. E. Brokaw that “no man has any right to exclude another from any portion of the earth unless he compensates that other for exclusion.” He says:

Suppose two men were in a boat and that was all the boat would hold; would a third man be entitled to an equal share of the boat, assuming the boat had been found and was not the result of the work of any of the three? What right at all would the third man have to the boat? Suppose there is an island in the middle of the ocean capable of supporting one hundred persons, and one hundred persons are cultivating the soil and making their home there, and ten or fifteen others come from some other place and want to live on the island, what right have these latter to the land which the one hundred are bound in equity and justice to respect? Suppose, again, one hundred, or more or less, settle on no more land than they need to support their own life and comfort; where do any other persons get any right whatever to the land occupied or any of its products? If a person use no more of nature’s materials and forces than are sufficient to maintain the existence and comfort of himself and those dependent upon him, where do others get the right, in justice and equity, to dispossess him unless he gives up a portion of the proceeds which are the result of his own labor?

If the heading “Cranky Notions” were intended to apply to Mr. Labadie’s remarks, no exception could be taken to its appropriateness, but I cannot see its application to the quotation from Mr. Brokaw.

Mr. Labadie’s first illustration Is not to the point. A boat is not a piece of land; it is a labor product, and must have once belonged to someone. If that person bad thrown it away or died without an heir and without giving it to any one, so that it was without an owner, and these two men found and secured it, it would belong to them; it would be, in fact, a product of their labor so applied. In that case it is perfectly clear that no one else would have any claim to it. If the original owner had not given up his title, and these men had hired or borrowed it of him, the third man would again have no claim upon it. But, if these two men had simply taken the boat without the consent of the owner, they would have no right to it except the right which all have, in extreme cases, of taking and using what is necessary to save their lives, and this right the third man would possess in common with them and to the same extent.

As to the island, or any other land, Mr. Labadie apparently overlooks the fact that all human beings have an equal right to all land, based on their equal right to life and the necessity of land to life. As long as any piece of land has no value, anyone may, of course, use it, and all he can get from it is justly his; but, when the demand for that land gives it value, he clearly has no more right to that value than anyone else, and its retention by him would be the robbery of the rest. For “one hundred or more or less” to “settle” on valuable land, whether more or less than enough to “support their own life and comfort,” and to refuse to pay the value to the community that produced it would be simply an unjustifiable seizure of the property of others.

If one man uses a piece of land where a given amount of labor will produce 10, and another man uses a piece on which, by reason of natural fertility, mineral deposits, water power, or nearness to population, the same labor will produce 15, can the latter truly say that the extra product is the result of his labor? It would be absurd to claim it. In the two cases the labor is the same, but the product is greater in the second case. The labor of the second man is more effective, not on account of anything that he has done, but because of greater natural advantages or the assistance he receives from society. In either case he has no right to it, for he did not produce it; and, as all have an equal light to the use of all land, they have a just claim on the one they guarantee in possession for the advantage the location gives him.

Again, Mr. Labadie seems to suppose that priority of occupation gives title to land, but in this he is manifestly in error if it is true that all men have an equal right to the use of the earth, and this must be true as long as men have an equal right to life, no matter when born, and land is essential to life. Has an earlier generation a better right to life than a later?

We all come upon the earth by the same warrant, with the same desires to be satisfied, and find here a world fitted to satisfy those desires in response to our labor applied to natural opportunities. How then, can any one of his have a superior claim to any other? If, therefore, any part of the world offers superior advantages, and everyone is equally entitled to that part, but all cannot occupy it, it follows, as a matter of course, that the one who does occupy it should pay to the rest, who are excluded, whatever the exclusive right to that spot is worth. E. D. Burleigh.

The Right to Life and Land.

To the Editor of Liberty:

If Mr. Burleigh cannot see the point of the first illustration, then, of course, to him there is no point to it; but I am of the opinion that the readers of Liberty generally see the point. I will, however, try to make it clearer for Mr. Burleigh’s benefit, because I believe it worth while to take even a lot of trouble to convert a man who is so far advanced as he is towards the free land doctrine. He will get there some day.

Of course, a boat is not a piece of land, but it is not necessary for it to be a piece of land to be used as an illustration. The idea I intended to convey is that, when the boat was loaded to its full capacity, no one else had any right to overload it and thereby endanger the whole.

All of the illustrations I made, and which Mr. Burleigh quotes, are intended to prove the truth that, when any person occupies land and makes full use of it, no other person or persons have any right to dispossess him. Where Mr. Burleigh and I differ is in the right of all persons to an equal share of all land. I hold that he who occupies and uses the land has the sole right to it. Mr. Burleigh’s bare statement that “all human beings have an equal right to all land” of course does not make it so. But this is on a par with the statement that all human beings have an equal right to life. When does this human being get the right to life? Immediately after its birth? Or while it is still in the womb of its mother? Or is it while it is yet in the loins of its father? If this human being has a right to life, and that right is based on the right to an equal share of all the land, does it carry with it that all human beings have an equal right to all life? But some human beings have more life than others. Must the single tax be applied to equalize the right to life? Some human beings use more air than others. Air is just as necessary to lite as is land. Must we adopt the single tax to give each one his equal portion of it? All persons, too, have an equal right to health, just as much as they have an equal right to life or land or anything else. Must we adopt an arbitrary tax upon the healthy for the benefit of the unhealthy?

Abstractly, there is no such thing in nature as equality, and I believe it is futile for us to try to establish it artificially. Even equal freedom, which some of my Anarchistic friends aim to establish, to me is a dream not capable of realization. What is freedom to one person is restraint to another. We can no more establish equality in freedom than we can establish equality in life or land or air or anything else. What we can do is to confine our efforts more strictly to the gratification of our own personal wants and desires. Our happiness and social and material wellbeing are crippled and lessened by our false notions of duty to others, by the attempt to establish altruism as a principle of social life. When we see clearly the utility of each one minding his own business; when we fully comprehend the economics of selfishness; when we know well that social harmony does not depend upon equality, — then do I believe will human relations be more in accord with the true principles of social science.

You see, I am not answering Mr. Burleigh in consecutive order. I may strike the understanding side of his mind better by this seeming digression. But to be more explicit: the boat illustration I see Mr. Burleigh did not enter into the spirit of, as it were. If he will imagine the boat in mid-ocean immediately after a shipwreck, his mind’s eye may see more clearly the picture I failed to label, and will show his argument on that point unprofitable.

As to the island illustration: Suppose I admit, for the sake of argument, that 10, 15, or more other persons have a right to a proportionate share of the island with the one hundred already there; what follows? The island has as large a population now as it will bear. The addition of 10 or 15 more would be to decrease the comforts, possibly to destroy the life, of ail. How much better it would be for these 10 or more to move on to some other lands, even though they be not so fertile, than to attempt to exercise their assumed equal right to the island I But let us say there is no other land to which they can go; would not those on land be very foolish to let the others come ashore if they could prevent them, when it would bring such dire consequences to themselves? This brings us to the point where it is questionable that we have any right to anything we do not possess. Now comes the test as to who has the right to the island. In the conflict that must follow, let us assume that the islanders are victorious and the others find a watery grave. What becomes of their right to life and to land?

The human being that lies in the loins of the male has just as much right to life as he who is older and been brought from the womb of his mother, or who is even older still. But suppose the male and the female prevent him from “landing” in the womb and consequently from being “born” and sharing in the material things of this life. What becomes of his right to life and to land?

It is commonly said that a human being is brought into existence when it is taken from its mother. But is this strictly true? When does a human being commence to exist? May it not always have existed since life first came on this earth and only its form change with the change of environment? On those who hold to the “right to life” theory, however, rests the task of demonstrating when that life begins. When they have done that, they will have established an important and, it seems to me, a necessary fact in their “right to life based on the right to land” theory. The right to life carries with it the right of the opportunities to grow, does it not? And does not this also imply the right to be “born”? If this be true, then the father and the mother have nothing to say about it. They would be violating the right of this “being” if they did not copulate and give it the opportunity to grow. Many other interesting questions necessarily arise from this point. For the “being” to be born it must have the consent and coöperation of both the male and the female, — the father and the mother. The right of contract begins, I should say, when the “being” is transferred from the loins of the father to the womb of the mother. I do not think, however, the male and female would be violating any rights by preventing this “being” from getting into the womb.

The men who tried to get on the island had no right to any share in the island because they had not the power to establish that right. The islanders proved their right by their might, and violated no contract. The child “born” has the right to live and to enjoy the good things of this world because the parents agreed to its being born, — that is to say, the parents have no right to take away its opportunity to live. The fact that they permitted it to reach the womb — an act wholly of their consent — was in the nature of a contract that the opportunity to live would not be taken from it. If they did not intend to allow it this opportunity, they had no right to start it on the road here. But the fact that this child was born does not impose upon others beside its parents any obligations. The sentimental theory that the whole human race are brothers and sisters carried to its logical conclusion makes every living thing brother or sister to every other living thing, because life upon this earth must have had a common origin, if it be true that at one time this earth was a ball of fire upon which no life could have existed. Even were they brothers and sisters, no obligations exist between them, because brothers and sisters are in no way responsible for each other’s appearance upon this earth.

It takes parents and brothers and sisters to form “society.” As society is not responsible for the birth of the individual, so society is under no obligations to the individual. But neither does the individual owe society anything, because society could have done nothing for it before it was born. Neither owes the other anything. No debts exist. This, then, it seems to me, is the origin of individualism.

What brothers and sisters and friends agree to do they should do, because not to keep agreements breeds a want of confidence, and a want of confidence is fatal to their social and material welfare. This is a social compact, but it is not binding upon those who have not assented to it. Surely, no contract is binding on those who are not parties to it. Hence governments have no right to control those who object to being controlled and who have not signed the contract, as it were.

But here I have written much more than I intended, and have not done with Mr. Burleigh yet. However, maybe he can get an idea from what I have written that will at least partially answer him. It was not my intention to get into a controversy. I simply wanted my objections to Mr. Brokaw’s statement answered, which Mr. Burleigh has not done. Joseph A. Labadie.

Don’t keep Liberty to yourself, share it with others!

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Liberty’s Library

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.