Liberty Vol. I. No. 17.
Not the Daughter but the Mother of Order
Legislation: Its Origin and Purpose.
“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.
On Picket Duty.
We are now prepared to furnish the portrait of Michael Bakounine (published in Liberty several weeks ago) separately and on large, heavy paper. It ought to adorn the library walls of every true radical. Consult our advertising column for further information.
The Philadelphia “Press” refers to the British house of commons as a “band of chuckle-headed dullards.” So exact an appreciation of the tools of the governing classes is worthy of Liberty, who hastens to acknowledge her encouragement at hearing her opinions echoed by her influential contemporaries.
On another page will be found along extract from a newly published pamphlet on “Natural Law,” written by that veteran but ever young reformer and philosopher, Lysander Spooner. The whole pamphlet is a powerful and closely argued statement of the philosophy of Liberty, showing the unrighteousness of the government of man by man. It is, however, but an, introduction to a large volume intended to be exhaustive of the subject. Nevertheless it is an integral, and not a fragmentary portion of the work, and maybe read with satisfaction and profit by all. Liberty trusts that each of her readers and friends will pay immediate heed to the advertisement in another column, and order a copy forthwith.
Elsewhere may be found resolutions adopted by active and earnest coworkers in Jersey City in support of the act of George Hendrix in defacing the monument erected by Cyrus W. Field in honor of Major Andre. Against these resolutions Liberty feels bound to protest. We fully agree that Mr. Cyrus W. Field is a thoroughly contemptible being, whose souls, if he has one, will shrivel in hell, if there is one. But, as long as he shall remain on earth, he will have rights, the same rights that every other man has, and in his exercise thereof Liberty will ever defend him even against her own friends. Among these rights is the right to worship any good or man he pleases and in his own way. Whoever disturbs or interferes with him in such worship strikes an unwarrantable blow at freedom of expression, and in so far is false to Liberty. We heartily join in condemnation of the illegal arrest of Mr. Hendrix, not only as the act of a compulsory government which is not entitled to arrest anybody, but as a denial of one of the prerogatives which said government itself pretends to guarantee to its citizens. Still we remember that, if Mr. Hendrix is guilty, his arrest is simply one outrage of Liberty in return for another. The monument erected at Tappautown should be allowed to stand inviolate until taken down by Mr. Field impelled by a sense of his own shame. This, first, for a principle’s sake, because Mr. Field had a right to erect it, and, second, for policy’s sake, because while it stands, it will commemorate ehieny, not the act of Andre, but the folly and servility of his small-souled admirer. Remember! He is no fit soldier of Liberty who refuses to accord Liberty to his enemy.
Patrick Ford has issued through his journal, the “Irish World,” a strong personal declaration on the Irish land question. As a whole it is manly and has the right ring. To be sure, it contains one rhetorically resonant passage glorifying the “Holy Catholic Church” and her infallibility and pledging the writer to a total change of his opinions the instant the “Mother of the Living” shall announce her antagonism thereto, perhaps the most eloquent piece of self-stultification to utter which any man ever soared to the skies with his voice or grovelled in the mire with his intellect. But such things are to be expected from Patrick Ford, the Catholic and slave of superstition. Patrick Ford, the reformer and light-spreader, in whom alone Liberty takes interest, is quite another person. He declares afresh and in unmistakable terms his adherence to the “No Rent” standard, and rebukes, in words that would shame any but shameless men, those who would nullify the grand work already achieved for Ireland by abandoning the Land League with victory almost within its grasp to engage in a hopeless struggle for “home rule” and Irish independence. Home rule, forsooth! As if that were not as bad as any rule! As if Ireland had not suffered too much from the rule already! What she needs now is no rule, anarchy, with which will come peace. For where there is no rule there will be no monopoly; and where there is no monopoly there will be no rent; and where there is no rent there will be no disturbing land question, and every other question of human welfare will be started on the road to its speedy solution.
Of the absolute correctness of the principle, and advisability of the policy, of free trade there can be no reasonable doubt, but it must be thorough-going free trade,— no such half-way arrangement as that which the so-called “free traders” would have adopted. David A. Wells, Professor Perry, and all the economists of the Manchester school are fond of clamoring for “free trade,” but an examination of their position always shows them the most ardent advocates of monopoly in the manufacture of money; the bitterest opponents of free trade in credit. They agree and insist that it is nothing less than tyranny for the government to clip a large slice out of the foreign product which any one chooses to import, but are unable to detect any violation of freedom in the exclusive license given the government to a conspiracy of note-sharing corporations called national banks, which are enabled by this monopoly to clip anywhere from three to fifteen per cent out of the credit which the people are compelled to buy of them. Such “free trade” as this is the most palpable sham to any one who really looks into it. It makes gold a privileged product, the king of commodities. And as long as this royalty of gold exists, the protectionists who make so much of the theory of the “balance of trade” will occupy an invulnerable position. While gold is king, the nation which absorbs it — that is, the nation whose exports largely exceed its imports — will surely govern the world. But dethrone this worst of despots, and that country will be the most powerful which succeeds to the largest extent in getting rid of its gold in exchange for products more useful. In other word, the republicanization of specio must precede the freedom of trade.
To The American People.
The public prints have told you of political trials in Russia and of the monstrous judgments daily pronounced in her courts. But they have told you nothing of the cruel sufferings of the condemned; and the victims whose names are recorded by them are but a fraction of the crowds that go to their doom in darkness and silence. Before the vast and ever widening discontent of the Russian people, authority in Russia is terror-stricken and amazed; and it lays hands, by tens of thousands, on our youth, and sends them, men and women alike, into hopeless banishment. The deserts in the north of the Empire, from the dreary wastes round the White — Sea to the frozen shores of Eastern Asia, are scattered over with bands of exiles, the flower of the Russian race. They are prisoned everywhere: in wretched hamlets, in the depths of trackless and inhospitable forests, in remote tribal camps in Eastern Siberia, where hardly a word of their native tongue is spoken or understood. And they have to endure not only the moral tortures of isolation and inactivity, but the physical pangs of hunger and cold. There is scarce a means of livelihood that is not denied them; and though to each the State allots a pittance for his support,— twelve shillings a month if he is nobly born; seven shillings a month if he is not,— there are of late so many of them that it is never paid until long overdue. Month after month goes by, and many an exile dies for lack of bread before he has received a single farthing.
They are mostly young and energetic; they have faith in the coming of better times; they are brave and strong enough to make little of the trials that are imposed upon them by the desperate necessities of their time and of the duties to which they are called, if they had but is hope that they might one day to life and work among their friends. But their strength is wasted by misery and hardship, and they die easily and soon.
Money alone is needed: that much suffering may be spared and many sufferers may be saved. To raise it, and afterwards distribute it among our prisoners, we have formed a Red Cross Society of the People’s Will. It bears no part whatever in our war against authority. Its relation to the Revolutionary Party is that of the Red Cross Society of Geneva to an army in the field. There is only one difference,— that the Red Cross Society: of the People’s Will shares in each and every one of the dangers of the force it would succor and relieve.
Such funds as it may raise will be devoted to but one use. Not a penny but will be spent upon political exiles and political prisoners. It will make no distinction in favor of persons or opinions. All who suffer and are in need will receive of it alike.
The Society esteems it a duty to appeal not only to the men and women of Russia, where to be charitable to political convicts is to run the risk of suffering beside them, but to the men and women of the freer and happier countries of Western Europe and America.
To this end it has appointed two or its members to work of organizing sections abroad, and of gathering in such sums as may be bestowed in favor of the ends it has in view. These delegates are Vera Zassoulitch and Peter Lavroff. Their instructions are as follows: —
(1) To appeal directly to subscribers, by means of numbered and stamped subscription lists, signed by the delegates themselves and containing an account of all sums received.
(2) To beg all journals and organs of public opinion to assist the Society by opening subscription lists and receiving and paying in subscriptions.
(3) To publish accounts of all subscriptions received and of manner of their employ.
(4) To appoint receivers in countries to which no delegate has been named, whose signature shall have equal authority with that of the delegates themselves.
Benj. R. Tucker, Editor of Liberty, P. O. Box 3366, Boston, Mass., is the delegate for America.
It is earnestly requested that subscriptions be only paid (1) to one or other of the delegates; (2) to persons accredited by the possession of subscription lists, as described above; or (3) to the editors of such journals as shall consent to receive subscriptions for the Society.
“A free man is one who enjoys the use of his reason and his faculties; who is neither blinded by passion, not hindered or driven by oppression, not deceived by erroneous opinions.” — Proudhon.
In our issue of January 21, No. 13, appeared an appeal of the Nihilists for pecuniary aid, not in behalf of the movement itself, but for the material relief of those who are now suffering in consequence of their participation in the struggle for Liberty in Russia. The special appeal then printed was a translation of that which had been issued to the people of France. To-day, in another column, we printed the appeal that has been issued directly to the English-speaking race and especially to Americans. In it is stated the fact, which we now take pleasure and pride in announcing, that the Editor of Liberty has been duly appointed the American delegate of the Red Cross Society of the Will of People to organize the subscription in this country, and receive, acknowledge, and transmit such responses to the appeal as American sympathy and American love of Liberty shall show its willingness to make. He assumes the trust thus placed in his keeping with clear sense of the honor conferred and full realization of its importance. He adds his voice to those of Vera Zassoulitch and Pierre Lavroff, who in turn speak authoritatively for the best elements of Russian life, and, with all the earnestness at his command, asks every one whom it may reach to give the utmost that he or she can spare to succor the Siberian exiles and their suffering families. The appeal is to the human heart, regardless of individual opinions. Let it not be said that the citizens of the freest country in the world failed to do their best to heal the wounds inflicted upon such of their brethren as have heroically struggled to cast off the chains placed upon them by the most absolute and cruel of autocracies.
We are in possession of stamped and numbered subscription lists issued by the Central Committee of the Red Cross. To any responsible person in any part of America who shall signify his willingness to devote a portion of his time to working up the subscription, one of these lists, together with copies of the printed appeal, will be forwarded. Especially do we urge our readers to take a hand, and an active one. in the glorious work. Individual subscriptions may be sent directly to Benj. R. Tucker, Box 3366, Boston, Mass.; also any requests for further information. All amounts received, with the names of the donors, will be acknowledged in these columns, and promptly transmitted, at least possible cost, to the Central Committee.
Let us add that the appeal which we formerly published occasioned, by its issuance in France, the expulsion of Pierre Lavroff, one of its signers, from French territory by the new ministry, which professes to be governed in its policy by the principle of Liberty. Lavroff has long lived the life of quiet student in Paris, spending most of his time in the libraries, and his expulsion is another evidence of the hypocrisy of the pretence that any other principle that authority can lie at the foundation of any form of government whatsoever. Before leaving France, he addressed a letter to Clémeceau, from which we quote the following passages, leaving till another time the burning comments of the radical press of Paris upon this latest outrage:
I have just been notified of the decree expelling me from French territory.
Having scarcely busied myself at several years with the affairs of France, I did not consider myself so dangerous to “public safety” of the republican country in which I took up my residence some five years ago. But I do not complain. A revolutionary socialist, it is with me axiom that existing society cannot be society of justice and liberty; if it pleases the government of French republic to furnish new proofs in support of my theory, it would ill become me to exhibit astonishment. It acts according to the logic of its situation as a government.....
It intends, in expelling me to-day, to show a mark of friendship for the government of the Russian empire; but, in view of the weakness and inferior intelligence of the latter, this act of compliance is not unlikely to be found more disinterested than we could have desired. Who knows how many other concessions to political combinations will follow to-morrow? It is inevitable.....
Driven rudely from a country which I loved and where I have made friends, I have only to submit to the decree, still deeming it thoughtful on the part of a minister not to have relegated me to some interior stronghold, or not to have conducted me to the frontier, manacles on wrists and in prison wagon, as happened a year and half ago to several of my friends, who had mingled as little as I in the struggles of French political parties.
I submit, then, to the decree of the ministry, and shall probably have left France when you read this letter. But it is for you and your friends, representatives of the French people and managers of their journals; for you, who, by talent and political influence, are the natural guardians of the interests and honor of your country,— it is you ti take heed whether the government of the French republic is not allowing itself to glide too quickly into a path fatal to the principles of liberty and democracy, whether the danger, from the moral and political point of view, does not become more imminent with every hour.
In quitting France, probably forever, I shall always preserve the memory of those who struggle within her boundaries for the triumph of the principles of republican radicalism.
Liberty hears with regret of the death of Samuel Johnson. Of the religious radical who, since the death of Parker, have come into notice as apostles of Reason in Religion, Mr. Johnson, less widely known than many others, easily stood foremost. In breadth of view, clearness of thought, he had among the radical writers no superior. His many and carefully prepared contributions to the “Radical” show the vigor and temper of his mind. A transcendentalist of most consistent parts, he knew always where he stood, and was never found lapsing into uncertainty and compromise. The materialist found in him a man with both the courage of his convictions and the “preparedness” to state them. He knew his own ground thoroughly. Probably no writer has presented the transcendental philosophy with more satisfaction to transcendental believers than did Mr. Johnson in an elaborate paper published in the “Radical Review,” nearly five years ago. For nineteen years he was the preacher to a Free Society in Lynn. He was a firm believer in individual, personal influence and power, and instinctively avoided the organizing, sectarian purposes and plans so beguiling to others. The bond of organized religious propagandism, however liberal in protestations, was to his mind still a fetter. To swap the “Lordship of Christ” for the mastership of even a tacit understanding among radicals as to matters of belief was to make no signal advance. The mind, to be free, must follow its own laws with not even the implied duty of social argument. Each man must do his own work in his own way on his own ground, and without fear or favor. For this duty of freedom, this absolute necessity for independent activity, he ever did valiant and successful battle. And herein, more than in any other fact of his life, does Liberty rejoice. In spirit Mr. Johnson was ever a Liberty’s side. But not always could he see o’er what seemingly dangerous passes the aspiring dame led. If he did not follow her to the length of her leading, it was not that he lacked the courage, but that, to his ardent vision, the goal had been touched. Nevertheless, in his philosophy the foundations of Liberty were laid deep and strong. Sincerity, honesty of thought and expression ennobled and strengthened his whole life. Not shrinking from the world, as some mistakenly have said, but retiring to his appointed tasks that he might well and faithfully do them, he toiled happily and unremittingly. Twenty years and more he had worked upon the three large volumes devoted to the “Oriental Religions,” two of which, published by J. R. Osgood & Co., are before the public,— “India” and “China.” This last-named volume is well worthy the widest circulation. It treats of the Chinese people, their religion, philosophy, government, their whole social life and history, in the most learned and intelligent manner, and has the most practical of bearing upon this now exciting question in American politics. From its pages one learns that the much hated “heathen Chinee” is, in nearly all the essentials of real manliness, quite beyond the imitation even of his Christian detractors.
Mr. Johnson’s death occurred suddenly, and gave a sad surprise to his many personal friends. A brave, true man, whose memory Liberty will ever cherish! Had he begun life to-day with the same fervent zeal and clear-sightedness that characterized his anti-slavery career thirty years ago, there is no doubt where he would have taken his stand and what new battles he would have helped Liberty fight. But age and death, foes and destroyers of us all, chained and claimed him. Much he did, yet much remains behind. In his day and generation he did Liberty noble service. But nobler, higher, profounder meanings the ages unveil, and we who still live must needs press forward into their newer and stronger light.
“Freedom all-winged expands,
Nor perches in narrow place,
Her broad van seeks unplanted lands.”
These lines of Emerson he loved to quote, and now that his lips are still, his voice silent, Liberty to his memory repeats them, and adopts them as her own.
Construction and Destruction.
Almost without exception every new subscriber to Liberty to whom its purposes are disclosed and who has grown up under prevailing systems exclaims: “Ah! I see you are wonderfully expert as tearing down, but you don’t say what you propose to substitute. I am fully aware that our present governments are terribly rotten, but you don’t propose anything better.”
Dear friends: suppose the natural road-bed from Boston to Lowell were of the very best quality. Nature had made it most admirably adapted for travel and transportation. But, seeing a chance to put up a job and rob the public, certain designing rogues, hired by a few thieving contractors, have succeeded, through the vile arts of politics, in covering this natural pavement with a certain patent invention, gotten up by the political road-builders. You and we are located on this patent road. Every time that we put a spade into our ground we find that the natural bed is almost perfect. It is hard, yet elastic and absorptive, and in every way adapted for commerce and transportation, if it had only been left to the care of those who use it, and who have most at stake in its serviceability.
But the patent road we find to be a perfect nuisance. We are constantly being levied upon by force to support it and repair it. Every day we, or some of our neighbors, “get stuck” upon it and our property is ruined and disabled. It is hard to walk and ride upon. It is uneven. It is full of gullies and holes, and is in every way a constant source of damage to our lives and possessions.
But, whenever we complain and appeal to the political road-builders, they are very polite and sympathetic. They hear our grievances, and straightway the jobbing contractors behind them set about to repair the road at our expense in their own way. The taxes increase, but the road grows worse. Some of us begin to suspect that the whole scheme is a put-up job to rob us, but then the thought that it is the work of our legislative governors restrains us from wicked, anarchistic designs. And yet the thought that underneath their artificial patent road there is a perfect natural bod constantly haunts us. “if they had only let us alone,” some of us cry, “and not built up their artificial swindle over the natural bed in the first place, all would have been well.”
But by and by two or three resolute dwellers along the road begin to ask themselves: “By what right do these swindling political patent-road-builders meddle with the natural bed? By what sacred right are these robbers privileged to eternally impose upon us? Why should they have any authority above us in these matters?” etc.; and, upon looking into the matter deeply, they find that the robbers have no solid claim to authority in natural justice.
Now, then, for radical, heroic treatment! On some fine morning they start out with plow and pick and dynamite to “tear down” the useless and costly superstructure. But scarcely have their plows penetrated the patent road and touched hard-pan when the other plundered neighbors arrive upon the scene. “Hold on!” they cry with one accord; “you are wonderfully expert at tearing down, but you don’t say what you propose to substitute. We are aware that the patent-road-builders and their road are terribly rotten, but you don’t propose anything better.” The fact is that they have become so imbued with the idea that nothing can be properly done without resolutions, bills, committees, votes, and all the red-tape hocus-pocus of the State that these superstitious falsely educated, state-craft-ridden neighbors are ready to pounce upon their only true friends, who desire to go straight down to hard-pan and abolish the robbing swindlers.
The reply of the hard-pan men to their deluded neighbors is very simple. They are constructing something better in the very fact and act of tearing down. Removing the rotten superstructure is in and of itself building something better. While they are putting the plow down to hard-pan, they do not forbid these who choose from using the old superstructure till their work is done. They simply ask their neighbors to take hold and hasten its removal, instead of standing idle and finding fault, if not denouncing them in their righteous work. When the old rotten swindle is out of the way, then whatever new arrangements are necessary to complete the usefulness of the natural road can be easily fixed upon and executed by mutual consent.
But the old superstructure must come down before any construction is possible. The road of equitable commerce is already there, if the patent innovation can only be gotten out of the way. These political patent-road-builders are simply usurpers, who persistently block the way and tax their fellow men to sustain their nuisances. In waging war against natural equity and true government it is they who are the real destructionists. If our friends will only wean themselves from the old delusion of confounding the cart with the horse, they will then easily see that the friends of Liberty are the only real constructionists. We hope we have made our point plain.
In consequence of a demand that has arisen for pictures of Laura Kendrick, her friends contemplate the production of a fine photo-lithograph of her features. The project will be carried out, if it receives sufficient encouragement. Such persons as would, in that case order one or more copies at twenty-five cents each will confer a favor by sending their names and addresses without delay to Liberty for transmission to those having the matter in charge, in order that the latter may know whether or not to proceed with the work proposed.
A Heroine of the Commune.
Today is the Eighteenth of March, the anniversary of the Paris Commune, a glorious date in the calendar of Liberty. It is the day we celebrate. But this year it is Fortune’s will that we should celebrate it at the grave whither one of the Commune’s many heroines has lately gone. Marie Ferré, sister of the brave Théophile Ferré who was shot at Satory by the infamous Thiers, was buried at Paris in the cemetery of Levallois-Perret on February 27. From various Paris papers we glean the following facts concerning the sad event:
Marie Ferré succumbed to a disease of the heart complicated with rheumatism. She died at the house of a friend, Mme. Camille Bias, No. 27 Rue Cendorcet. From this house at nine o’clock in the morning the procession started. A civil burial, it is needless to say. Very simple obsequies. The hearse, one of the most modest, bore three large crowns of red and white roses, to say nothing of immortelles. Following the hearse, to the number of about fifteen hundred, were the principal survivors of the Commune: Henri Rochefort, Clovis Hugues, General Eudes, Alphonse Humbert, Louise Michel, Emile Gautier, and many others. It was a long way to the cemetery, where the deceased was to be buried beside her brother, and it took an hour and a quarter to make the journey, which was effected in the most tranquil manner. At the head of the procession walked three citizens carrying large crowns of red immortelles. At the grave there were several addresses, among which was one by Louise Michel, who said:
“Citizens, soon this open tomb will close forever on the dearest possession of the democratic and social revolution. Marie Ferré, whom we all admired, manifested all the virtues of woman, all the energy of man, whenever there was occasion to struggle for the end which we all pursue. Her memory will live always in the hearts of those who knew her. In her whose body is now to join the body of her assassinated brother we behold another conquered victim, and we shall not forget it. But, though dead, she will ever live, for she will serve as model and exemplar for the women of the revolution. She will recall to all the task which it remains for us to finish, the levelling of all social iniquities by justice and equality. Marie Ferré, adieu, and success to the revolution!”
Henri Rochefort penned the following touching tribute to this noble woman’s memory in the columns of “L’Intransigeant,” under the head, La Sœur du Fusillé (The Sister of the Shot):
She is called, or rather, since they bury her this morning she was called Marie Ferré. Search the volumes of Shakspere, re-read Victor Hugo, traverse the range of bloody tragedies from Corneille to Æschylus, we defy you to find anything as dark as the story of this poor flower-girl, who died yesterday almost unexpectedly, we might say in the odor of sanctity: had that phrase not been damaged in the juggleries of the Catholic Church.
In May, 1871, Marie Ferré lay sick of typhoid fever in a small room on the Rue Frasilleau, where she lived with her mother and brother. A police commissioner, followed by police agents and soldiers, burst into her room:
“Where is Théophile Ferré, member of the Commune?”
“I do not know.”
“Perhaps your mother will know.”
They spring upon Mme. Ferre, the mother, and warn her, with that delicacy which characterized the Versaillists in all their exploits, that she must make known the retreat of her son or be immediately shot.
Marie Ferré sprang from her bed, and begged to be executed instead of her mother.
“It is veil; dress yourself, for we are going to take you away,” said the chief of the squad.
At seeing her daughter shivering with fever while donning her garb of death, Mme. Ferré could hold out no longer; her brain gave way. Of her two sons one, the younger, was already a prisoner in the hands of the versaillists; the other probably could not long elude them. To top all, they were about to slay the sister under her very eyes. The unhappy woman fell senseless, and of the incoherent words that passed her lips the police carefully retained this address: Rue Saint-Sauveur.
Thither they ran, ransacked the street until they found Théophile Ferré, and, being unable to take the mother, who was struck with a sort of congestion, dragged off her daughter Marie, who spent a week in a fetid prison amid the prisoners huddled there by hundreds.
On restoring her her liberty the turnkeys told her that her father and her two brothers had been arrested, and that her mother, whom the last shock had driven mad, had been removed to the Saint-Anne asylum, where, for the rest, she died shortly after. Merle alone remained, with her courage and her industry, to supply her relatives with the food that the jailers refused them, for in the prisons of Versailles without money there was no eating, and I have personally had the pleasure of saving from death by starvation two or three fellow-prisoners, with whom I shared the meals, much too abundant for myself, which were brought to me from without.
But after the week of May and the stories which the venomous newspapers had fabricated concerning the men of the Commune, at what door could one knock to obtain work who bore the name of Ferré? Moreover, at what hour of the day could we orphan labor, when she continually had to be on the road from Levallois to Versailles in order to try to see her brothers, to whom she brought the meagre extras that constituted the major portion of their daily fare?
The night following Ferré’s death sentence I was awakened by piercing cries and a noise of broken furniture. At first I thought some prisoner had committed suicide. It was the brother of the condemned, who, occupying the cell above mine, had been plunged by the news of the fate in store for his elder brother into a sort of nervous attack complicated with wild delirium.
They called Ferré, who slept stoically, and for some hours the kindness of the director allowed to remain together in one cell these two members of the same family, of whom one had lost his head and the other was about to lose his life. It was the latter who consoled and succeeded in calming the former. Only my guard, a man who, though very thoroughly hardened to human suffering, had, the profoundest respect for the admirable bravery of the condemned man of the Commune, told me that on re-entering his cell Ferré, who had contained himself from fear of adding fuel to his brother’s excitement, seated himself on his bench and, placing his two elbows on the oaken table fastened to the wall, burst into tears.
Marie, who refrained from sleep in order to procure for her relatives a few of the extras so necessary to them, learned, on arriving at the prison, that the elder of her two brothers had been condemned to death and that the younger had just been seized with a fit of burning fever. As for her father, there was nothing against him. Consequently they did not release him. They kept on waiting for something to turn up.
Marie Ferré’s torture lasted five months. When I lately saw her again on my return from exile, I still retained all indelible remembrance of the young girl which her unexpected death has just revived. I still see her gliding like a shadow, in her black garments, along the corridor which led to the parlor. Three of us, Rossel, Ferré, and myself, generally met in these box-like enclosures which constitute an entire room, a sort of cellular omnibus. Being all three marked for death, we had been placed side by side on the ground floor of the prison, with two overseers, who, through our open grates, kept their restless eyes steadily upon us.
In the parlor Mlle. Rossel, Mlle. Ferré, and my children gathered with a common feeling of anxiety. I shall never forget, when they learned that I was sentenced only to perpetual exile in a fortified district, the look of sympathetic envy which the two young girls out upon my daughters, seeming to say:
“Your father is simply destined to end his days six thousand five hundred leagues away among cannibals; are you not happy enough?”
The sister of Ferré, like the sister of Delescluze, struggled bravely against the bitterness of her sorrows, and then fell conquered. The day when the clerical calendar, which the postman brings us every year, shall be replaced by the republican calendar, the name of this martyr will shine among the most memorable; and if ever civil baptism succeeds religious baptism, honest women will place their infants under the shield of her memory and her virtue.
The Andre Monument.
The following resolutions were passed at a recent meeting of the Jersey City group of the International Working People’s Association:
We resolve that we protect against the illegal arrest and imprisonment of citizen Hendrix on a charge of defining a monument erected by traitor Field in memory of spy Andre.
We further resolve that it is a blow aimed at the rights of freemen more deadly than the cannon balls of George the Third.
We further resolve that this dastardly outrage in arresting citizen Hendrix on such charge is an insult to the Rebels of 1776 and to the freemen of to-day.
We further resolve, in the name of Justice and Solidarity, to give our moral and material support to citizen Hendrix or any other person whomsoever who may be imbued with such a spirit of patriotism.
Church and State.
Liberals complain of the oppressions of the church; they say, and truly, that the church is the favorite or the State. But they forget that, were it not for the State, the church would be powerless for evil in this direction. Behind the exemption of church property, the Sunday laws, Bible in the schools, etc. stands the State, enforcing by the power of every bayonet these unjust discrimination. The State has ever been the executive arm of the church. Herjudges, her sheriffs, her jailers have sentenced, have hung, racked, burned, exiled, and imprisoned the sentenced heretics in all ages. To-day she forces upon us the morality of the church, and our refusal to conform to the standard ecclesiastic is tantamount to rebellion against the State. The latter power stands pledged to compel us to speak and act in church channels. Let us open our eyes and take a square look at the work before us.
E. C. Walker.
Legislation: Its Origin and Purpose.
[From Lysander Spooner’s “Natural Law.”]
Through all historic times, wherever any people have advanced beyond the savage state and have learned to increase their means of subsistence by the cultivation of the soil, a greater or less number of them have associated and organized themselves as robbers to plunder and enslave all others who had either accumulated any property that could be seized, or had shown by their labor that they could be made to contribute to the support or pleasure of those who should enslave them.
These bands of robbers, small in number at first, have increased their power by uniting with each other, inventing warlike weapons, disciplining themselves, and perfecting their organizations as military forces, and dividing their plunder (including their captives) among themselves, either in such proportions as have been previously agreed on, or in such it their leaders (always desirous to increase the number of their followers) should prescribe.
The success of these bands of robbers was an easy thing, for the reason that those whom they plundered and enslaved were comparatively defenceless; being scattered thinly over the country; engaged wholly in trying, by rude implements and heavy labor, to extort a subsistence from the soil; having no weapons of war, other than sticks and stones; having no military discipline or organization, and no means of concentrating their forces, or acting in concert, when suddenly attacked. Under these circumstances the only alternative left them for saving even their lives, or the lives of their families, was to yield up not only the crops they had gathered and the lands they had cultivated, but themselves and their families also as slaves.
Thenceforth their fate was, as slaves, to cultivate for others the lands they had before cultivated for themselves. Being driven constantly to their labor, wealth slowly increased; but all went into the hands of their tyrants.
These tyrants, living solely on plunder and on the labor of their slaves, and applying all their energies to the seizure of still more plunder and the enslavement of still other defenceless persons; increasing, too, their numbers, perfecting their organizations, and multiplying their weapons of war, they extend their conquests until, in order to hold what they have already got, it becomes necessary for them to act systematically, and co-operate with each other in holding their slaves in subjection.
But all this they can do only by establishing what they call a government, and making what they call laws.
All the great governments of the world — those now existing as well as those that have passed away — have been of this character. They have been mere bands of robbers, who have associated for purposes of plunder, conquest, and the enslavement of their fellow men. And their laws, as they have called them, have been only such agreements as they have found it necessary to enter into in order to maintain their organizations and act together in plundering and enslaving others and in securing to each his agreed share of the spoils.
All these laws have had no more real obligation than have the agreements which brigands, bandits, and pirates find it necessary to enter into with each other for the more successful accomplishment of their crimes and the more peaceable division of their spoils.
Thus substantially all the legislation of the world has had its origin in the desires of one class of persons to plunder and enslave others, and hold them as property.
In process of time, the robber, or slave-holding, class — who had seized all the lands and held all the means of creating wealth — began to discover that the easiest mode of managing their slaves and making them profitable was not for each slaveholder to hold his specified number of slaves, as he had done before, and as he would hold so many cattle, but to give them so much liberty as would throw upon themselves (the slaves) the responsibility of their own subsistence, and yet compel them to sell their labor to the landholding close — their former owners — for just what the latter-might choose to give them.
Of course, these liberated slaves, as some have erroneously called them, having no lands or other property and no means of obtaining an independent subsistence, had no alternative — to save themselves from starvation — but to sell their labor to the landholders in exchange only for the coarsest necessaries of life; not always for so much even as that.
These liberated slaves, as they were called, were now scarcely less slaves than they were before. Their means of subsistence were perhaps even more precarious than when each had his own owner, who had an interest to preserve his life. They were liable, at the caprice or interest of the land-holders, to be thrown out of home, employment, and the opportunity of even earning a subsistence by their labor. They were, therefore, in large numbers, driven to the necessity of begging, stealing, or starving, and became, of course, dangerous to the property and quite of their masters.
The consequence was that these late owners found it necessary, for their own safety and the safety of their property, to organise themselves more perfectly, as a government and make laws keeping these dangerous people in subjection; that is, laws fixing the prices at-which they should be, compelled to labor, and also prescribing fearful punishments, even death itself, for such thefts and trespasses as they were driven to commit as their only means of saving themselves from starvation.
These laws have continued in force for hundreds, and, in some countries, for thousands of years; and are in force to-day, in greater or was severity, in nearly all the countries on the globe.
The purpose and effect of these laws have been to maintain, in the hands of the robber, or slave-holding class, a monopoly of all lands and, as far as possible, of all other means of creating wealth; and thus to keep the great body of laborers in such a state of poverty and dependence as would compel them to sell their labor to their tyrants for the lowest prices at which life could be sustained.
The result of all this is that the little wealth there is in the world is all in the hands of a few,— that is, in the hands of the law-making, slave-holding class, who are now as much slave-holders in spirit as they ever were, but who accomplish their purposes by means of the laws they make for keeping the laborers in subjection and dependence, instead of each one’s owning his individual slaves as so many chattels.
Thus the whole business of legislation, which has now grown to such gigantic proportions, had its origin in the conspiracies which have always existed among the few for the purpose of holding the many in subjection and extorting from them their labor and all the profits of their labor.
And the real motives and spirit which lie at the foundation of all legislation — notwithstanding all the pretences and disguises by which they attempt to hide themselves — are the same to-day as they always have been. The whole purpose of this legislation is simply to keep one class of men in subordination and servitude to another.
What, then, is legislation? It is an assumption by one man, or body of men, of absolute, irresponsible dominion over all other men whom they can subject to their power. It is the assumption by one man, or body of men, of a right to subject all other men to their will and their service. It is the assumption by one man, or body of men, of a right to abolish outright all the natural rights, all the natural liberty of all other men; to make all other men their slaves; to arbitrarily dictate to all other men what they may and may not do, what they may and may not have, what they may and may not be. It is, in short, the assumption of a right to banish the principle of human rights, the principle of justice itself, from off the earth, and set up their own personal will, pleasure, and interest in its place. All this, and nothing less, is involved in the very idea that there can be any such thing as human legislation that is obligatory upon those upon whom it is imposed.
Another Ingersoll in the Field.
The Talmage-Ingersoll controversy has called out the following letter from the colonel’s brother in defense of his father and the colonel himself:
Rev. T. D. Talmage, D.D.
Sir: — I have before me a copy of the Cincinnati “Enquirer” containing the report of a sermon delivered by you on the 5th instant, upon the “Meanness of Infidelity.” In the course of your remarks you say that you had just received a letter from some one informing you that the Rev. John Ingersoll, father of R. G. Ingersoll and myself, “was abstemious to a fault, and the family suffered accordingly. The children were commanded to eat, drink, and dress sparingly. He never spoken kind word of his wife, who was a noble Christian woman, nor of his children, within the knowledge of persons now living here, who were familiar with the family. At last the mother died. She was cared for by friends in her sickness, and on the day of her interment gentle hands carried her form, and rested it for a time on the catafalque. Mr. Ingersoll, to the astonishment of all present, deliberately removed his cravat and gloves, stepped on the rostrum, and delivered a eulogy over the body. He attempted to extol her virtues and panegyrize her conduct. It was the first time he had ever been known to speak well of her in public.”
Now, reverend sir, “will you be kind enough to tell your informant, for me, that he or she is a malignantly cruel, heartless, and infamous liar? Our father was poor; I will not deny it. In the, days of my childhood a minister was forced to practise strict economy to support a family and educate his children upon a salary of $500 a year. We had abundance to eat and were well clothed, and certainly no man ever better enjoyed ministering to the wants of his family than did our loved and honored father. I believe him to have been an eminently good and conscientious man — I do not say faultless. As for Robert, I will say he was as good and obedient a boy as I ever knew, but all this is neither here nor there. He denies that the Bible is the inspired word of God, and gives his reasons. Here you take issue with him. Now, is it not possible to successfully combat his errors without opening the tomb and spattering with calumny our loved and honored dead? Speaking of your father and mother you say: “Would it not have been debasing in me to hook the horses to the ploughshare of contempt to turn up the mould of their graves?” True. Now let me ask you if you don’t think that the Golden Rule requires you to unhook your horses before you ruthlessly turn up the sacred dust that hides from the light of day our father’s snow-white hair. But “Ingersoll assails the belief of the father.” Well, sir, had your father been an infidel, would you know, entertaining the views you do, combat his opinions? That would probably be a very different thing. Ingersoll says he can not believe that God, the father of us all, ever commanded the Jews to wage wars of extermination against their neighbors, and was delighted at the sight of a babe’s blood trickling down the handle of a Jewish spear. Moses said when a woman gave birth to a son thirty-three days were necessary to purify her, but, if she gave birth to a daughter, sixty-six days were necessary. Ingersoll says that looks to him like nonsense, and he really can not believe that God ever ordered any such thing. He says he cannot believe that God, who winked at polygamy and established slavery, ever ordered a man to be pounded to death with stones simply for picking up sticks on the Sabbath day. He says he can not believe that God ever gave express permission to one part of his family to sell diseased meat to the other.
When David says of somebody, “Let there be none to extend mercy unto him, neither let there be any to favor his fatherless children,” he says it is impossible for him to believe that either the words or thought were inspired by the good God. Now, if you will draw your theologic belt one hole tighter and answer these things, you will do everybody a favor. You ask Ingersoll to retire to his chamber, lock his door, and read the fourteenth chapter of John. It is good reading. Let me ask you to read the fifteenth Psalm: “Lord, who shall abide be Thy tabernacle? who shall dwell in Thy holy hill?” “He that backbiteth not with his tongue, nor death evil to his neighbor, nor taketh ups reproach against his neighbor.” With all due respect, I am yours,
John L. Ingersol.
Prospect Hill, Waukesha Co., Wis.