Liberty Vol. III. No. 20.
Not the Daughter but the Mother of Order
“For always in thine eyes, O Liberty!
Shines that high light whereby the world is saved;
And though thou slay us, we will trust in thee.”
On Picket Duty.
A writer for the Topeka “Daily Citizen” spoils all otherwise complimentary paragraph personal to myself by stating that I am a graduate of Harvard College. I am happy to say that I successfully combatted all attempts to bury me in that grave of healthy manhood, and that I hold no diploma from any of our so-called educational institutions.
In this issue Miss Josephine D’Aujourdhui heralds her return from the Boston of 2085. The series of letters in which she tells of her sojourn there will soon appear in pamphlet form, and from them many a scoffer will learn that the advent of Anarchy is not as remote as the millennium. But, though this young lady will no longer address her “dear Louise” and the readers of Liberty from the future, she will be heard from regularly in the present, perhaps under a new name; and what she has to say will doubtless show the fruits of her journey, not to “Kingdom Come,” but to Anarchy Come.
A new and rather imposing exchange comes from Little Elm, Texas, calling itself “McNiel’s Polymathical Investigator.” If its name doesn’t kill it, nothing else ever will. The editor, however, probably scenting danger in this direction, has prudently concealed this appalling appellation in a typographical labyrinth to which nobody but a polymathical investigator could ever find the key. Still, it is only fair to add that the paper breathes a free spirit and seems animated by sincere and serious purposes, and therefore ought, with “the plenipotent aid of contributors of education and eminence from all parts of the United States,” to exercise a healthy influence.
The New York “Truth Seeker” makes an effort to answer “X’s” editorial, “Institution-Ridden.” Doubtless “X” will give this effort due and satisfactory attention hereafter. Meantime I may remark the “Truth Seeker’s” statement that, when the Anarchist proposes to imprison a thief without his consent, he proposes to set up an institution as really a government as any we now have. Now, it seems to me that just the opposite is the truth, and that the Anarchist, in proposing to imprison the thief without his consent is fighting precisely on the line of no-government. Why? Because in the case supposed the thief is the government. A government is any power which seeks to impose its will upon others and steal away their rights. The very first act of nearly all governments is precisely that of which the thief is guilty,— the taking of property without the consent of the owner. They who resist the highway-robber are just as truly opposing government as they who resist the tax-collector. And when the compulsory State resists the highway-robber and imprisons him, the spectacle is furnished of one thief struggling with and furnishing another. When a thief attempts to take the property of another, he undertakes to govern, to impose his will; and if the intended victim and those whom he can get to help him offer any resistance, they become rebels against government, and so far Anarchists. So, when the State attempts to collect a tax, or when it imprisons D. M. Bennett in the Albany penitentiary for expressing his opinions, it undertakes to govern, to impose its will; and the victims of this thief and tyrant are likewise rebels, and so far Anarchists, if they resist. The Anarchist is opposed to all thieves and all governments because they are invaders, and against all of them he claims the right of self-defence. To call the exercise of this right government is to betray an entire misapprehension of the nature of government. Those who voluntarily associate to exercise this right are as far removed from the institutions called governments, which assume to control the conduct of everybody within their so-called jurisdictions and to make them pay the cost of this control, as the sun is from the earth. I have pointed this out before to Editor Macdonald in reply to substantially the same objection. And yet he complains that I do not answer him. Really it is he who refuses to answer me,— except, that is, by repeating himself. I cannot undertake to answer the same thing oftener than once in three months, as long as I can find more important matter with which to fill these columns.
Drawing the Lines in New Haven.
To the Editor of Liberty:
These are hard times for the New Haven patent remedy dealers and system inventors. The peddlers of State Socialistic goods gradually disappear with the abolition of protective institutions, and the fittest survive under free competition. The narrow authoritarian tendencies of the Equal Rights Debating Club are a matter of the past, and the logic of Liberty commends itself more and more to the minds of the thoughtful truth-seekers. Our friends are very active and do not miss an opportunity to spread the gospel of Anarchism and individual sovereignty.
But the result is not due to their efforts alone. It is the dead that bury the dead; it is those that are “morally ready to be carried out and buried” that dig their own graves. The policy and action of the anti-liberty elements of the Club all along have been such that no man of principle, common sense, and liberal mind could remain in their clique. Like true and consistent State-probibition advocates, they voted to expel all reporters of the local newspapers. “Organized labor,” it seems, is not fairly treated by the capitalistic press; the movement is ridiculed, misrepresented; and misreported, and expulsion of the reporters was found to be the remedy for it. Being in a minority, the friends of publicity, free press, and equal rights protested in vain.
But this is a mere trifle. They went farther. Alarmed at the progress the protestant elements were making, and seeing danger of Anarchy ahead, they made a last attempt to regain supremacy in the organisation. They served notice that, unless the Club declared itself a labor organization, it would have to “get out” of that hail of the holy unions. The Equal Rights Debating Club indignantly refused to identify itself with the labor reform or trade monopoly movement.
These would-be dictators were distinctly given to understand that the Club knows no “our side,” that it cordially and gladly welcomes capitalists, monopolists, laborers, and even — ye Gods! — scavs. Well, we had to find other quarters for the Club. The Good Samaritans kindly offered us their hall.
Are not these facts the best argument for Liberty versus Authority?
Professor Sumner was right. And his remark was far-reaching when, pointing to the photographs of Marx and Lassalle on the wall, he wondered why the State Socialists failed to honor the third of that interesting group. “Where is Bismarck?” he asked; “he, too, is a State Socialist, and a most consistent one.” It is these facts that give us an idea of the “coining slavery” if these people are ever to have the power of legislating and equalizing the poor followers of Authority.
The first meeting in the new quarters was well attended. Dyer D. Lum addressed the Club. He took for his subject: “Civilization: whence, whither?” He showed that the whole history of Civilization presents a conflict between two forces,— Liberty and Authority. Rome founded the present State. For the tyranny of the personal ruler, for the will of the despotic monarch, it substituted statute law, civil laws and duties. Robbing the individual of his natural rights and liberty, the State granted him certain rights and privileges of citizenship. The man, the individual, disappeared. The citizen, the worshipper of majorities, codes of laws, and national patriotism, thus came into existence. It was the barbarians that invaded and destroyed the Roman Empire, the Teutonic spirit, the natural independence of the sons of the wild forests, that introduced the principle of individualism and personal liberty. Modern history is nothing but an advancing and triumphant march of Liberty, carrying everything before it and destroying the barriers one by one. We are now on the eve of the last battle. Liberty is fighting the last form of tyranny,— majority rule. When government of man by man will be abolished, humanity will be governed by the natural laws of attraction and repulsion. Only under Anarchy is voluntary cooperation and harmony made possible.
A debate followed. Fierce attacks were made on Anarchy by same, who succeeded .... in exposing their own ignorance. From remarks that others made, I see that, although not yet Anarchists, they are in sight of haven, and will be forced by their own logic to join our ranks. The subject for the next meeting is; “Anarchism: is it practicable?”
It’s too bad! Evidently that rebellious and bold fellow, the Anarchist, who dares to oppose the sacred right of the majority and refuses to bow down before Carl Marx and his “Capital,” has come to stay with us!
Birmingham, Conn., December 7, 1885.
A Criticism and Reply.
Libertatis Sacra Fames.
Albeit nurtured in democracy.
And liking best that state republican
Where every man is Kinglike and no man
Is crowned above his fellows, yet I see,
Spite of this modern fret for Liberty,
Better the rule of One whom all obey,
Than to let clamorous demagogues betray
Our freedom with the kiss of anarchy.
Wherefore I love them not whose hands profane
Plant the red flag upon the piled-up street
For no right cause, beneath whose ignorant reign
Arts, Culture, Reverence, Honor, all things fade,
Save Treason and the dagger of her trade,
And Murder with his silent bloody feet.
The Sacred Thirst for Liberty.
[Oscar Wilde re-versed]
Albeit nurtured in democracy,
In this great State men call republican.
Where Presidents are Kinglike, and rich men
Are crowned above their fellows, yet I see.
New hope in this new fret for Liberty;
Better the rule of None,— where all are just.
No politicians to betray their trust,—
Than rule of One, or fickle blind Majority;
Wherefore I love them not whose acts profane
The sacred cause of Liberty complete,
These secret tyrants, ’neath whose gold bought reign
Happiness, Manhood, Morals, all things fade.
Save Statecraft, Priestcraft, heartless lies of trade.
And War with bloody hands and ruthless feet.
Yea, there is hope in thirst for Liberty;
In hunger for the common goods of life,
In these great plots too deep for petty strife;
Wise steady hands have placed a lever in
The jaws of Greed (which are the gates of Sin),
And toil-worn hands, united, bearing down,
Shall set those jaws agape until out-flown
Are those our joys fed in by curs’d Monopoly;
Wealth,— labor-gathered,— Knowledge, Justice, Peace,
Nature, and sweet-foced smiling Liberty;
Wherefore, thou false-tongued poet, prithee cease
These blanders of the noblest cause on earth!
Shame not thy sacred calling! Hail the worth
And hope in Anarchy’s deep prophecy!
J. Wm. Lloyd.
By Georges Sauton.
Translated from the French for Liberty by Sarah E. Holmes.
Continued from No. 71.
In the play, in the clouding of her face, and by an easy intuition, Newington divined both her aversion and her supreme resolution, and, seizing her rudely by the shoulders, drawing her close to him abruptly, he answered, with his hot breath in her face:
“Directly, if I took the fancy.”
She struggled, throwing her hands forward, essaying an instinctive movement of recoil.
But she reassured herself at the same time; no lust was painted on the old man’s lace, filled only with wrath, and from his thick cracked lips, between which yawned numerous toothless cavities, she had to fear only another outburst of passion, and not an abasing kiss.
“These repulsions,” he went on, actually without breathing, “these repulsions should have been manifested four years sooner, before binding yourself, when, in the paternal house, you were free to choose and to reserve yourself. But at that date you cared little about the old age or the youth of your husband, his beauty or his ugliness, or anything else except his rank and his fortune!
“Ambitious for a title, greedy for wealth, how you dismissed every suitor who was unable to take you out of your humble position, to offer you the grand, brilliant life of your dreams! The daughter of the poor minister, Thomas Wood, had become a legendary character, more difficult to win than a princess in an Oriental fairy-tale. They said she was waiting for the son of a king or the king himself.”
“And, like the bird in the fable,” interrupted Lady Ellen impertinently, after having too long played the disdainful, “at last, that I might not be an old maid, and die cross and crabbed ... I accepted” ....
“A boor? ..... It is false! it is false! it is false!” exclaimed Newington, his voice breaking with the strain upon it, ceasing to hold Lady Ellen in the clutches of his two hands, but shaking his right forefinger before her face in a continual menace, or else crossing his arms and speaking into her eyes, the blast of his breathless utterance blowing the floating locks off the young woman’s forehead.
“It is false! You welcomed me with enthusiasm, as the Messiah of your unpoetic ideal, as practical as that of a London merchant, and calculated the number of pleasures, of luxuries, which my millions would procure you; the prerogatives, the satisfactions of vanity which the title of Duchess would be worth to you! Well! It was give and take: in other words, I have made a dupe’s bargain! I am robbed!” A hoarse cry rattled in Ellen’s throat. She felt suffocated, and her face suddenly became fiery red, only to change its color immediately afterwards to a livid, greenish, death-like hue.
He went on nevertheless:
“You always wear your crown; pay for it! You continue to draw from my coffers without stint. What do I get for my money, madam?”
Probably through fear of going so far as to use harsh measures, the Duke, lost in a stag’s passion, wandered to and from the room, overturning chairs in his way, crushing, in the vice-like grip of his fingers, the delicate objects scattered about on the furniture, pounding the walls, kicking the stools which fell to pieces, or staving in the panels of chests. He reeled as if intoxicated by alcohol; and Myrrha, her nose in the air, anxious, followed him closely, barking plaintively at each of his steps.
She abandoned him for an instant to lick the hand of the Duchess; but Lady Ellen, overexcited and having an aversion to this caress, sent her away lather; sharply, and Newington, quite beside himself, his brain congested, suddenly stopped tramping up and down like a caged tiger, and took his post opposite his wife.
There, stupid, grasping her skull behind the ears with his two hands, he shook it like a little bell, stammering through the splashing foam of his saliva an order not to touch his dog .... or if you do! .....
“If you do, I will return the blow!”
He pushed her back rudely then; but the Duchess, erect, haughty, surveying him with an expression of unspeakable disgust, the epileptic bounded on her, with raised fist:
“Do not look at me like that,” he stammered, turning red; “you understand: do not look at me like that, I beg you .... or else!”
He hesitated, then finished.
“Or else .... I will crush you!”
She held her own for some seconds, but her appearance of coolness concealed simply a confused countenance. She felt in her shoulders, near the collar-bones, in the muscles of her arms, about her wrists which grew blue, the increasing pain of the bruises he had given her, and, observing his convulsed features, growing black with extravasated bile, she was positively afraid. Afraid of his blows, of new contusions, and even afraid that he would knock her down.
“God damn me! do not look at me so!” repeated he, in the midst of his madness, dropping his fist.
Then, in the consciousness of her weakness, of her evident powerlessness, in her shame at being subdued, Lady Ellen hid in the hollow of her hands her face bathed in tears, tears of rage, and inwardly pitied herself, and violently reproached Bradwell Newington in the tumult of visions which assailed her with the rapidity of a dream.
Ah! why had she wished to penetrate into this den? The hope of meeting Richard whom his father wished to consult concerning passing events! Simpleton! Ought she not rather to imagine him in sorrow over his unfortunate Marian, and roaming about the approaches to the village, to spy her among the groups gliding about in the darkness.
Intoxicated by the sound of her steps, which he distinguishes among all the others, following in her wake, he draws in the air through which, a minute before, this creature had passed, and which preserves for him a sweetness, that of her cheek and the fragrance of her young body. She reenters with Treor, and before the closed door he sets himself, his ear fixed against the planks, drawing breath after her voice as after celestial music, and, the light extinguished and windows darkened, he does not move, piercing the walls of stone by the magic of his love and admiring her still in her repose, trending over her bed and murmuring passionate words in her ear!
The tempest lulled at intervals; in a calm, the creaking of a gate which opened and closed reached the Duchess’s ears; she said to herself:
“There he is! He is tired; he has learned the oath which she has taken, and, in vexation, is returning.
“In vexation! ah! no matter, as long as he comes back .... Now is my opportunity to prevent his returning tomorrow, his ever returning, to make him stay with me. I call him: I denounce to him the shameful brutalities of Newington, his outrages which are worse, and I place myself under his protection. The Duke drives us both away; no more Newington, no more husband to claim his rights, and impose upon my flesh unjust duties; no more Marian, soiled by the kisses of the flayed man” .... .
But it was not Sir Bradwell, it was Gowan, inspecting the enclosures and scolding some one. Moreover, Richard would not have helped her, would have denied their relations. He trembled before Newington with remorse at his crime; perhaps he would have thrown himself on his knees in repentance, submissive to the punishment that the other would have imposed.
My God! In the presence of this cowardice of men, must Lady Ellen then drain, without complaining, her cup of wormwood to the dregs?
A sob escaped from her throat, but presently she lifted her face, calmed, placid, and almost smiling.
In the extended darkness produced by the bandage which her little hands formed, she had just seen, confused at first, then distinctly, the picture of her revenge:
Lord Newington, prostrate, with the death rattle in his throat, breathing his last in cruel agony; and this death, which she relished, her own work!
Astonished, nonplussed, the Duke looked at her.
“We are both very guilty,” said she, without any rancor; “let us have the frankness to admit it; you, of an unworthy passion, I, of having, if not given birth to, at least preserved and exasperated it.”
“No! no! It is I alone with my furies, my delirium of sickly wrath, who have caused all.”
And, disarmed, humbled like a schoolboy at fault, he implored her to forgive and forget this unlucky evening.
“There will never be any more question of this between us?” asked the Duchess; but in vain he begged her to remain a little time with him that he might be quite sure that she did not carry away the least remembrance of this miserable scene.
“It is a necessity,” objected she, gently, “that sleep may efface the memory as promptly as possible.”
Agreeing to this, the Duke kissed her fingers gallantly, radiant, flattering himself perhaps — who knows? — in his own mind, on this victory due to his firmness.
On her side Lady Ellen went away triumphant, and, without a fibre trembling in all her being, without a shiver, she descended the dark steps of the long staircase which led to the park of the castle, and wandered for a long time in the darkness, notwithstanding the north wind, the screeching of the owls, the sinister roaring in the distance.
She was waiting for Casper, delayed in the kitchen, where he was drinking.
“Rascal! robber! thief!”
These three dishonoring epithets, hurled one after another in a stentorian voice at a rider keeping pace with a puny pedestrian with whom he was talking, struck him in the back, but without moving him more than if they had been flies buzzing about his neck.
“Robber! thief!” cried the voice, twice as loud as before, coming from a man who, panting, blowing, emerged from a path through the fields, with shoes plastered over with mud. “Give me my horse, thief, or I will unsaddle you!”
The rider was robust; but the new-comer being a man of solid muscles and powerful limbs, a struggle between them was possible; and the countryman rushed forward to execute his threat, which had had the effect of hurrying the halting pace of the person on foot.
But a kick of the horse, furiously spurred between the thighs, struck him, and the hoofs, bruising and cutting him, broke his left leg above the knee and his right in the middle of the tibia.
He rolled on the ground; without ceasing, however, to demand his rights.
“Thief! thief! my horse!”
“Run after him!” noisily sneered the wretch to whom he appealed, and who barely favored him with a look over his shoulder.
“What a savage!” ejaculated the rider’s pedestrian companion, and the former, looking at him with no amenity, growled, as amiable as a watch-dog:
“Who is the savage?”
“This individual, faith!” snuffled the cripple, who lifted his unequal and crooked arms to heaven to attest it.
Then, he added, in a reproachful way, and with a grimace of his hang-dog face: “One does not put such questions between us, my dear Mr. Gowan. If I blamed you, it would be for magnanimity.”
“Thief! thief! thief!” cried the other unceasingly, and still more vehemently, loud enough to be heard two miles away.
“He insults you!” continued the personage with the air of a fox; “my authority as a magistrate does not permit me to be gentle; his name! that I may indict him!”
“Sir Archibald Owens,” yelled the wounded man, “I require and summon you to arrest Hunter Gowan, whom you are humbly escorting; it is to the gallows that you ought to take him and, more than that, refuse him the consolations of your ministry; but I cry in the wilderness, alas! you two are a pair of rascals and murderers.”
“He insults my double function of judge and ecclesiastic,” said the little man between his teeth, growing pale and red by turns, notwithstanding his sun-burnt skin, which gave him the look of a Southerner.
“I am called Emeric or Barl Barleitt,” resumed painfully the poor wretch, whose suffering was now taxing his strength.
“Retrace your steps, Gowan,” insisted the magistrate, “and take him on with you; when we reach the village, we will hang him with the reins.”
“It is not worth the trouble or the pains.”
“I authorize you, in that case, to finish him.”
A feeble groaning from Barleitt, who was fainting, reaching them, Archibald Owens, grown suddenly quite bold, started backward, pulling the horse’s bridle; but a suggestion from Gowan made the priest decide to abandon his design.
Was it not preferable that, first, the rascal should suffer hell torments with his broken bones, piercing the flesh like incandescent needles? Once cured, he could not scamper away immediately; they could catch him again and then see easily what torment to inflict on him.
“Perhaps by that time some punishment will have been invented as yet unknown.”
“So be it,” said the judge, who was pleased with this prospect, and, turning about, they resumed their way, talking constantly.
Naturally, the incident of the moment sufficed at first for their conversation as good travellers, going at an easy pace, digesting and getting an appetite, and killing time by exchanging impressions and news. And without any reluctance or the shadow of a scruple this keeper of the hounds admitted that the horse belonged, in reality, to Barleitt: Emeric Barleitt, of the farm of Niklosein, near the borough of Chamrand; only he, Gowan, had made requisition for it some nights before, about two o’clock, for the service of the king and of England.
About two weeks since, the keeper of Newington’s dogs, resigning his low office, had set himself up as the leader of a body of men, in view of approaching hostilities. Of forty scoundrels of his kind, recruited from the mire of the city, in low places and on the threshold of jails, he had formed a company of police, and equipped and mounted it by means of pillage within a radius of twenty leagues.
Whoever did not comply with the requisition with docility received immediate punishment for his detestable insubordination, and the band was ravaging in this manner the country, although the latent insurrection had not yet discharged a pistol, or even, for that matter, uttered a seditious cry, or hummed a war-song.
“They have already christened us the ‘Infernal Mob,’” said Hunter Gowan, conceitedly.
And, to justify the right of his gang to this ignominious appellation, he cited facts supporting it:
“Recently, in the suburbs of Dalton, meeting a young man who, having gotten out of a public carriage some distance off, was hurrying towards the centre of the city, my blood-hounds, full of zeal, scented some important emissary of the directing committee. “Stop there!” they called out. “Why?” “Because” .... A horseman leaps to the ground, seizes him; he struggles; they bind his wrists and fasten him to a tree; then, the platoon taking the field, each man, one after another, discharges his rifle at the prisoner. He was named Garett Fennell and carried no orders,— was not, it seemed, affiliated with the association: he was simply coming to embrace his father and his family on returning from a business journey.”
“But, quite surely, he would have affiliated shortly,” said the pastor with a conceited air; “you have done good work I ... Only” ...
“This was not the opinion of a neighbor. The volley had drawn him to his window; he closed it immediately with an exclamation of horror. Quickly, ten of my boys invaded the lodging. A woman, with five brawling, crying children who clung to their breeches, did not move them to pity; on the contrary. Rrran! My man flattened his nose on the floor, spurting blood through ten openings, made wiser by this blood-letting which took the exaltation out of him, and having now in his head the lead that he needed to make him circumspect.”
“O no, I was joking! Do you find fault with their killing him?”
“Far from it: to terrify is quite in accordance with my system; so I” ....
[To be continued.]
A Letter to Grover Cleveland:
On His False, Absurd, Self-Contradictory, and Ridiculous Inaugural Address. By Lysander Spooner.
[The author reserves his copyright in this letter.]
But will the monopolists of money give up their monopoly? Certainly not voluntarily. They will do it only upon compulsion. They will hold on to it, as long as they own and control governments as they do now. And why will they do so? Because to give up their monopoly would be to give up their control of those great armies of servants — the wage laborers — from whom all their wealth is derived, and whom they can now coerce by the alternative of starvation, to labor for them at just such prices as they (the monopolists of money) shall choose to pay.
Now these monopolists of money have no plans whatever for making their “capital,” as they call it — that is, their money capital — their privileged money capital — profitable to themselves, otherwise than by using it to employ other men’s labor. And they can keep control of other men’s labor only by depriving the laborers themselves of all other means of subsistence. And they can deprive them of all other means of subsistence only by putting it out of their power to hire the money that is necessary to enable them to do business for themselves. And they can put it out of their power to hire money, only by forbidding all other men to lend them their credit, in the shape of promissory notes, to be circulated as money.
If the twenty-five or fifty thousand millions of loanable capital — promissory notes — which, in this country, are now lying idle, were permitted to be loaned, these wage laborers would hire it, and do business for themselves, instead of laboring as servants for others; and would of course retain in their own hands all the wealth they should create, except what they should pay as interest for their capital.
And what is true of this country, is true of every other where civilization exists; for wherever civilization exists, land has value, and can be used as banking capital, and be made to furnish all the money that is necessary to enable the producers of wealth to hire the capital necessary for their industries, and thus relieve them from their present servitude to the few holders of privileged money.
Thus it is that the monopoly of money is the one great obstacle to the liberation of the laboring classes all over the world, and to their indefinite progress in wealth.
But we are now to show, more definitely, what relation this monopoly of money is made to bear to the freedom of international trade: and why it is that the holders of this monopoly, in this country, demand heavy tariffs on imports, on the lying pretence of protecting our home labor against the competition of the so-called pauper labor of other countries.
The explanation of the whole matter is as follows.
1. The holders of the monopoly of money, in each country,— more especially in the manufacturing countries like England, the United Stales, and some others,— assume that the present condition of poverty, for the great mass of mankind, all over the world, is to be perpetuated forever; or at least for an indefinite period. From this assumption they infer that, if free trade between all countries is to be allowed, the so-called pauper labor of each country is to be forever pitted against the so-called pauper labor of every other country. Hence they infer that it is the duty of each government — or certainly of our government — to protect the so-called pauper labor of our own country — that is, the class of laborers who are constantly on the verge of pauperism — against the competition of the so-called pauper labor of all other countries, by such duties on imports as will secure to our own laborers a monopoly of our own home market.
This is, on the face of it, the most plausible argument — and almost, if not really, the only argument — by which they now attempt to sustain their restrictions upon international trade.
If this argument is a false one, their whole case falls to the ground. That it is a false one, will be shown hereafter.
2. These monopolists of money assume that pauper labor, so-called, is the cheapest labor in the world; and that therefore each nation, in order to compete with the pauper labor of all other nations, must itself have “cheap labor.” In fact, “cheap labor” is, with them, the great sine qua non of all national industry. To compete with “cheap labor,” say they, we must have, “cheap labor.” This is, with them, a self-evident proposition. And this demand for “cheap labor” means, of course, that the laboring classes, in this country, must be kept, as nearly as possible, on a level with the so-called pauper labor of all other countries.
Thus their whole scheme of national industry is made to depend upon “cheap labor.” And to secure “cheap labor,” they hold it to be indispensable that the laborers shall be kept constantly either in actual pauperism, or on the verge of pauperism. And, in this country, they know of no way of keeping the laborers on the verge of pauperism, but by retaining in their (the monopolists’) own hands such a monopoly of money as will put it out of the power of the laborers to hire money, and do business for themselves; and thus compel them, by the alternative of starvation, to sell their labor to the monopolists of money at such prices as will enable them (the monopolists) to manufacture goods in competition with the so-called pauper laborers of all other countries.
Let it be repeated — as a vital proposition — that the whole industrial programme of these monopolists rests upon, and implies, such a degree of poverty, on the part of the laboring classes, as will put their labor in direct competition with the so-called pauper labor of all other countries. So long as they (the monopolists) can perpetuate this extreme poverty of the laboring classes, in this country, they feel safe against all foreign competition; for, in all other things than “cheap labor,” we have advantages equal to those of any other nation.
Furthermore, this extreme poverty, in which the laborers are to be kept, necessarily implies that they are to receive no larger share of the proceeds of their own labor, than is necessary to keep them in a condition to labor. It implies that their industry — which is really the national industry — is not to be carried on at all for their own benefit, but only for the benefit of their employers, the monopolists of money. It implies that the laborers are to be mere tools and machines in the hands of their employers; that they are to be kept simply in running order, like other machinery; but that, beyond this, they are to have no more rights, and no more interests, in the products of their labor, than have the wheels, spindles, and other machinery, with which the work is done.
In short, this whole programme implies that the laborers — the real producers of wealth — are not to be considered at all as human beings, having rights and interests of their own; but only as tools and machines, to be owned, used, and consumed in producing such wealth as their employers — the monopolists of money — may desire for their own subsistence and pleasure.
What, then, is the remedy? Plainly it is to abolish the monopoly of money. Liberate all this loanable capital — promissory notes — that is now lying idle, and we liberate all labor, and furnish to all laborers all the capital they need for their industries. We shall then have no longer, all over the earth, the competition of pauper labor with pauper labor, but only the competition of free labor with free labor. And from this competition of free labor with free labor, no people on earth have anything to fear, but all peoples have everything to hope.
And why have all peoples everything to hope from the competition of free labor with free labor? Because when every human being, who labors at all, has, as nearly as possible, all the fruits of his labor, and all the capital that is necessary to make his labor most effective, he has all needed inducements to the best use of both his brains and his muscles, his head and his hands. He applies both his head and his hands, to his work. He not only acquires, as far as possible, for his own use, all the scientific discoveries and mechanical inventions, that are made by others, but he himself makes scientific discoveries and mechanical inventions. He thus multiplies indefinitely his powers of production. And the more each one produces of his own particular commodity, the more he can buy of every other man’s products, and the more he can pay for them.
With freedom in money, the scientific discoveries and mechanical inventions, made in each country, will not only be used to the utmost in that country, but will be carried into all other countries. And these discoveries and inventions, given by each country to every other, and received by each country from every other, will be of infinitely more value than all the material commodities that will be exchanged between these countries.
In this way each country contributes to the wealth of every other, and the whole human race are enriched by the increased power and stimulus given to each man’s labor of body and mind.
But it is to be kept constantly in mind, that there can be no such thing as free labor, unless there be freedom in money; that is, unless everybody, who can furnish money, shall be at liberty to do so. Plainly labor cannot be free, unless the laborers are free to hire all the money capital that is necessary for their industries. And they cannot be free to hire all this money capital, unless all who can lend it to them, shall be at liberty to do so.
In short, labor cannot be free, unless each laborer is free to hire all the capital — money capital, as well as all other capital — that he honestly can hire; free to buy, wherever he can buy, all the raw material he needs for his labor; and free to sell, wherever he can sell, all the products of his labor. Therefore labor cannot be free, unless we have freedom in money, and free trade with all mankind.
We can now understand the situation. In the most civilized nations — such as Western Europe and the United States — labor is utterly crippled, robbed, and enslaved by the monopoly of money; and also, in some of these countries, by the monopoly of land. In nearly or quite all the other countries of the world, labor is not only robbed and enslaved, but to a great extent paralyzed, by the monopoly of land, and by what may properly be called the utter absence of money. There is, consequently, in these latter countries, almost literally, no diversity of industry, no science, no skill, no invention, no machinery, no manufactures, no production, and no wealth; but everywhere miserable poverty, ignorance, servitude, and wretchedness.
In this country, and in Western Europe, where the uses of money are known, there is no excuse to be offered for the monopoly of money. It is maintained, in each of these countries, by a small knot of tyrants and robbers, who have got control of the governments, and use their power principally to maintain this monopoly; understanding, as they do, that this one monopoly of money gives them a substantially absolute control of all other men’s property and labor.
But not satisfied with this substantially absolute control of all other men’s property and labor, the monopolists of money, in this country,— feigning great pity for their laborers, but really seeking only to make their monopoly more profitable to themselves,— cry out for protection against the competition of the pauper labor of all other countries; when they alone, and such as they, are the direct cause of all the pauper labor in the world. But for them, and others like them, there would be neither poverty, ignorance, nor servitude on the face of the earth.
But to all that has now been said, the advocates of the monopoly of money will say that, if all the material property of the country were permitted to be represented by promissory notes, and those promissory notes were permitted to be lent, bought, and sold as money, the laborers would not be able to hire them, for the reason that they could not give the necessary security for repayment.
But let those who would say this, tell us why it is that, in order to prevent men from loaning their promissory notes, for circulation as money, it has always been necessary for governments to prohibit it, either by penal enactments, or prohibitory taxation. These penal enactments and prohibitory taxation are acknowledgments that, but for them, the notes would be loaned to any extent that would be profitable to the lenders. What this extent would be, nothing but experience of freedom can determine. But freedom would doubtless give us ten, twenty, most likely fifty, times as much money as we have now, if so much could be kept in circulation. And laborers would at least have ten, twenty, or fifty times better chances for hiring capital, than they have now. And, furthermore, all labor and property would have ten, twenty, or fifty times better chances of bringing their full value in the market, than they have now.
But in the space that is allowable in this letter, it is impossible to say all, or nearly all, of what might be said, to show the justice, the utility, or the necessity, for perfect freedom in the matters of money and international trade. To pursue these topics further would exclude other matters of great importance, as showing how the government acts the part of robber and tyrant in all its legislation on contracts; and that the whole purpose of all its acts is that the earnings of the many may be put into the pockets of the few.
“A free man is one who enjoys the use of his reason and his faculties; who is neither blinded by passion, nor hindered or driven by oppression, nor deceived by erroneous opinions.” — Proudhon.
God and the State Hunting Mormons.
Verily we are a great people. We live under a covenant called the Constitution, by which sacred instrument we are told Church and State are forever divorced. To make this doxibly sure the first article of amendment distinctly decrees that “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.” On the fourth of March last one Grover Cleveland, covered by the judicial mantle of the chief exponent of law in the land, took a solemn oath before the nation’s God to be loyal to that constitution.
But in that last harlot’s dirty linen called his annual message, this same Grover Cleveland informs us that we have living among us under the Constitution a people who believe that they are divinely ordained to live under plural marriages. After emphatically stating this in words, our national political loafer-in-chief then goes on to say that, as a Christian people, we are bound to stamp out the practice of a religion which he has just admitted is divinely enjoined upon the Mormons, and that he, the appointed defender of the Constitution, will leave no stone unturned to accomplish it.
The “law” has already filled the Utah penitentiary, and fresh prisons are being rapidly pushed forward to satisfy this hot crusade, while troops are being massed before the homes of the persecuted Mormons. Purity, headed by the national fornicator, who, admittedly such, was elected to execute the Constitution, is on the war-path. A Christian nation is asserting itself, and the Mormon must go.
But the poor saints, thinking that possibly there were some shame and virtue left in the Supreme Court of the land, and knowing that the indictment drawn against them was so lame and faulty that it would not stand before the vilest judicial den of New York city, took an appeal to this sublime constitutional tribunal. The big court of course insolently affirmed the judgment of the trial court and sent the victims below into prison cells. But, before they went down, their counsel humbly and imploringly asked the court to say what the conduct of a husband towards his excess of wives must be, in order that other possible victims, who had concluded to keep out of prison, might be able to comply with the law. This information the court refused to give. The trial courts wanted a chance to persecute the Mormons, and the Supreme Court was bound not to lay any constitutional bar in their way.
While this judicial brigandage had been going on, the courts, in sentencing the Mormon victims, had so concisely defined what would constitute criminal relations under the law that the latter hit upon the device of procuring indictments against several lecherous Gentiles who could be proved to be cohabiting with women under exactly the same definitions which sent them to prison. They were successful in procuring some indictments, but, when they were presented to the courts, they were insolently thrown out, the judges insulting this plaintiffs after the manner of Newgate Calender verbiage in some cases. Oh, no; these judicial blacklegs were after Mormon game and would have no other.
On top of all this inquisitorial infamy is the fact that by act of Congress the offspring of polygamous marriages born prior to January 1, 1883, are legitimatized. Thus marriages constitutionally legal are at the same time constitutionally criminal. Congress now requires the wives of these legitimatized children which it has created under the law to be abandoned, and makes no provision for the protection and support of its own creutures. It asks the legitimatized Mormon child to look up into the eyes of its mother and regard her as a criminal and a prostitute, and upon its father as an adulterer and rake. The Congress which made this child legitimate now makes it a bastard. And yet, what a great Christian nation we are!
Where are the so-called Liberal papers while this infamy is going on? From the newspapers, those professional public harlots, I expect nothing. But where are Wakeman, Palmer, Ingersoll, Underwood, and the rest? One man, Horace Seaver of the “Investigator,” has indeed spoken, and says substantially: “Go for them, Grover!” Shame on you, Seaver, and all your hypocritical tribe! Your “free-thought” is a lie from top to bottom.
Reader, will you ask an honest man why he is an Anarchist, in the face of such things, practised in the freest republic on earth? Far better would it become you to ask every honest man why he is not an Anarchist. Our whole governmental machine is nothing less than a conspiracy for robbery, black-mail, and irresponsible power. Cast away forms, shows, names, and pretensions, and be a man. Turn your back away from the rotten spectre musquerading as “law and order.” Either dynamite or regenerated moral sense will yet come to clear the judicial benches. Which shall it be?
There has always been a good deal of talk among liberals about one’s having the courage of his convictions. Of course it has been held that no one could be a true liberal at heart without having such courage, at least to a fair degree. He must cast fear aside, take not counsel of prudence, nor esteem his reputation in the eyes of the world of any worth; in short, he must be willing to lose his life here in the social world about him in order to find it in the realities of his own intelligence and character. He must gird on his armor and fear no foe. He must already have learned the lesson, “In self trust all the virtues are comprehended,” ere an Emerson came to proclaim it. Free should he be,— “free and brave. Free even to the definition of freedom,— ‘without any hindrance that does not arise out of his own constitution.’” He must understand that “the world is his who can see through its pretension. What deafness, what stone-blind custom, what overgrown error you behold, is there only by sufferance,— by your sufferance. See it to be a lie, and you have already dealt it its mortal blow.” Deal this blow, and “fear nothing but fear.”
Such in spirit was the old-time admonition. The ingenuous youth, fired with a new ambition, dowered with a new faith in the world, believing the possibilities of its progress, even “vast and grand,” caught the enthusiasm of a new era, and, hurrying to the feet of the teachers of the new dispensation, cried: “Are you in earnest? Then withhold not your sanction, and we will follow the shining line of your thought until it shall come full-circle for ourselves and for the world.” And the answer came, clear and melodious:
I call upon you, young men, to obey your heart. In every age of the world, there has been a leading nation, one of a more generous sentiment, whose eminent citizens were willing to stand for the interests of general justice and humanity, at the risk of being called by the men of the moment chimerical and fantastic. Which should be that nation but these States? Which should lead that movement if not New England? Who should lead the leaders but the Young American? The people, and the world, are now suffering from the want of religion and honor in the public mind. In America, out of doors all seems a market; in doors, an air-tight stove of conventionalism. Everybody who comes into our houses savors of these habits; the men, of the market; the women, of the custom. I find no expression in our State papers or legislative debate, in our lyceums or churches, especially in our newspapers, of a high national feeling, no lofty counsels that rightfully stir the blood. I speak of those organs which can be presumed to speak a popular sense. They recommend conventional virtues, whatever will earn and preserve property; always the capitalist; the college, the church, the hospital, the theatre, the hotel, the road, the ship, of the capitalist,— whatever goes to secure, adorn, enlarge these is good; what jeopardizes any of these is damnable. The “opposition” papers, so-called, are on the same side. They attack the great capitalist, but with the aim to make a capitalist of the poor man. The opposition is against those who have money from those who wish to have money. But who announces to us in journal or in pulpit, or in the street, the secret of heroism,—
Can perform the impossible’?
There is need of a withdrawal from the crowd, and a resort to the fountain of right, by the brave. The timidity of our public opinion is our disease, or, shall I say, the publicness of opinion, the absence of private opinion. Good nature is plentiful, but we want justice with heart of steel to fight down the proud. The private mind has access to the totality of goodness and truth, that it may be a balance to a corrupt society; and to stand to the private verdict against popular clamor, is the office of the noble. If a humane measure is propounded in behalf of the slave, or of the Irishman, or the Catholic, or for the succor of the poor, that sentiment, that project will have the homage of the hero. That is his nobility, his oath of knighthood, to succor the helpless and oppressed; always to throw himself on the side of weakness, of youth, of hope; on the liberal, on the expansive side, never on the defensive, the conserving, the timorous, the lock and holt system. It is for us to confide in the beneficent supreme power, and not to rely on our money, and on the State because it is the guardian of money. The wise and just man knows that he must stand on his own feet; that he imparts strength to the State, not receives security from it. Everything that tends to isolate the individual — to surround him with harriers of natural respect, so that each man shall feel the world as his, and man shall treat with man as a sovereign state with a sovereign state — tends to true union as well as greatness. Every great and memorable community has consisted of formidable individuals, each of whom, like the Roman or the Spartan, lent his own spirit to the State and made it great. Nothing is mightier than we when we are vehicles of a truth before which the State and the individual are alike ephemeral. Let us put away doubt. Let us live in America thankful for our want of feudal institutions. This land is as old as the Flood, and wants no ornament or privilege which nature could bestow. Here stars, here woods, here hills, here animals, here men abound, and the vast tendencies concur of a new order. If only the men are employed in conspiring with the designs of the Spirit who led us hither, and is leading us still, we shall quickly enough advance out of all hearing of others’ censures, cut of all regrets of our own, into a new and more excellent social state than history has recorded.
From counsel such as this the young man returned reenforced in his own thought and desire. He was ready to battle with contending flesh and blood, with the powers of the air. He was born to give the country he dwelt in, if not the world, the benefit of his new, living, beneficent convictions. Yes, he would obey his heart. He would be loyal to his own mind. Laws, customs, institutions, might all pass before him, pleading their right to be, but he would judge them, approve or condemn. Religions, morals, rites, and ceremonies, all that went to make up the daily routine of the society into which he had been summoned, should answer him and give the true reason for their continuance. Where he felt not respect, no respect would he show. He would see the truth, speak the truth, live the truth. Yes, he would be free. But not alone. He would be an apostle of freedom to all others. He would proclaim the high self-respect he honored in his own individuality as the right, if not the bounden duty, of all others.
To a youth thus minded in what state did the modern world lie before him?
In his ears rang the plaudits of liberty. His first lesson had been the Fourth of July. With bonfire and fire cracker he had celebrated with others. Now with wiser eyes he too sees “the men of the market, the women of custom.” Society is revealed to him as a “mush of concession,” hospital of fashion and conformity where opinions and convictions are cut and trimmed with the same dexterity that characterises the manufacture of the clothes the men and women wear upon their backs. In opinion as in raiment he hears it declared, “one might as well be out of the world as out of fashion.”
Now, it is not pride of opinion he wills to stand for. He resents the charge that he is beguiled by conceit or egotism. He does not applaud everybody who proclaims opinions and shouts for self-reliance until he is hoarse. But for all sincere effort on the part of individuals to reach individual convictions irrespective of the world’s opinion, he has encouragement and nothing but encouragement, warm and glowing. He has that faith which is born of true insight in the constitution of the human mind, by which he knows that the free human intellect must in all men work along the same line of truth and tact. To each the truth is revealed, and in concert they exclaim, “I have seen it.” “And I.” “And I.” And thus out of equality of right to seek and find, out of a common nature which cannot but, in each and all, seek and find the truth, the common ground of a harmonious, self-respecting, neighhor-respeeting brotherhood is discovered where freedom and peace reign in happiest accord. There is no error more prevalent than that which affirms that individual or private thought and judgment tend to set the world by the ears, and establish, instead of peace and harmony, a Babel of confusion and strife. The cry is for some authority, some common standard by which individuals may measure and determine if they have the truth or no. But there is no trouble about their seeing the sun in the heavens. Nobody disputes its presence. And in these times few, if any, doubt the relation science proclaims that the earth sustains to the sun. They who have seen that truth, can they not see other truths — all other truths possible to the human mind? But I can not see for you, nor you for me. We must each see for ourselves. And just to the extent than we and others do see for ourselves, the very possibility of dispute ceases; there is no longer strife or contention.
The young man who has mastered this all-important consideration finds himself out of sympathy with that outer “law and order” which society has proclaimed and forcibly established. The lesson of the teacher — “Let those fear and those fawn who will; stand thou by the unity of the universe, the inner heart of peace and order which freedom and self-respect alone can bring” — is his reassurance against all timid, timeserving counsel.
“Zeno,” who is making himself numerous in Western labor and liberal papers as a champion of State Socialism, says in behalf of the government postal service: “It is a boon to society. It is equal to a million messengers of intelligence and enlightenment. It penetrates obscure cross roads where Wells, Fargo & Co. would not think of going.” Indeed! I recommend “Zeno” to read the report upon the postal service of Wells, Fargo & Co. prepared by the special agent sent out by the postal department to investigate it. He will find that the said agent gave, as one of the reasons why Wells, Fargo & Co. were doing so well at carrying letters in competition with the government, the fact that that firm reached many out-of-the-way places to which the government did not penetrate. But “Zeno,” having adopted a philosophy which belittles private enterprise, knew of course that Wells, Fargo & Co. could not go to these obscure places and would not think of trying to, and so he stated it as a fact. It appeared to the special agent of investigation and to the patrons of Wells, Fargo & Co. that that firm, after paying the government a tax on each letter equal to the government’s charge for carrying such a letter, carried these letters with so much more promptness and security than the government, and covered its territory so much more thoroughly than the government, that it was thought worth while to patronize it liberally even at the extra expense which the tax necessitated. But these were only appearences, not facts. “Zeno’s” philosophy tells him that private enterprise can’t do business as promptly or safely or thoroughly as the State; and if it can’t, it can’t, and that settles it. “Zeno” is not the first State Socialist to come to grief through reliance on a priori reasoning.
The reason why the plutocrats hate the memory of Andrew Johnson and are now trying to disgrace his name and magnify that of his enemy and their tool, Ulysses S. Grant, is manifest in the following brave words uttered in 1871 by the only president of the United Slates who ever had the honor to be impeached by our rascally national legislature: “Slavery has disappeared south of Mason and Dixon’s line only to reappear north of the line in the shape of a funded debt of two billions, the holders of which will hereafter prize the whole producing class, North and South, just in proportion to the docility they manifest under the crucial application of the thumb-screws, to make them bleed golden drops of blood from the finger-ends of labor in the shape of interest.”
Cleveland’s “Official” View of Polygamy.
The recent official profession of faith on the sanctity of legal marriage by the president, in his message, is a suggestive one. The solicitude of our bachelor president for the sanctity of our homes, the regard for the mothers of our land, each “secure and happy in the exclusive love of the father of her children” (or compensated in a legal equivalent therefor), and the pride with which he argues that our host citizens are “the fathers of our families” are really touching. Inferentially we are informed that the man who is not surrounded, in his single home, with his wife and children, has no “stake in the country, respect for its laws, (or) courage for its defence.”
A new convert is always superzealous. Though we can hardly assume that this profession of faith is to be considered in a Pickwickian sense, we must certainly regard it as official only; and as he stated, when last visiting Buffalo to vote, that he had left the president at Washington, we are warranted by both present logic and ancient history in considering it as the official belief of the president, rather than that of the Buffalo bachelor.
On reading it, I recalled my last visit to Utah, somewhat over one year ago. I spoilt several weeks in Southern Utah, but will recall here only one town, Provo, the largest south of Salt Lake City. Making myself comfortable under the hospitable care of my Mormon host of the Excelsior House, I there, as in our Eastern villages, found the most enterprising of the citizens looked upon as the leading man, politically, morally, socially; leading and giving tone to “society.” But there they called him Bishop instead of Squire. In Provo this individual was a Mr. S., who had lived there for years; been identified with its prosperity; had occupied high positions in the territorial legislature; had been one of a committee of three to codify the territorial statutes approved by congress; had contributed freely to its institutions; had erected a fine opera house for the Provo Dramatic Club and visiting theatrical companies; had been particularly active in securing a really fine race track, where racing was not masked as an “Agricultural and Cattle Show”; besides assistance in building up home industries, etc. Provo contained from five to six thousand inhabitants, and Mr. S. was the peer of the Squire of our towns in every respect.
But I found that on his lot were three fine residences, and in each of them was a family calling him father. I was in a community where Mrs. Grundy threw no stones at this state of things; where plural marriage brought added social importance, to say nothing of the increased social standing, so to speak, as a wife of a patriarch in the Heavenly Zion; where every additional marriage can only be performed with the consent and presence of the other wife, or wives; where children had grown to maturity, been tenderly and lovingly reared, their fathers and mothers respected, under a system where full as much loving care was bestowed on the guidance of youth as that displayed (officially) by Grover Cleveland.
One good old lady remarked to me: “Ah! it takes a sight of grace in a man to get on as harmoniously as they do with so many added cares.” As I was a married man myself, I did not feel disposed to contest the point, for I knew I would be deficient in grace. “Parental care, authority, and love,” to all appearance, seemed to be regnant there.
I found in Mormondom no huge tenement houses, filled with families of overworked fathers, mothers, and children; no locality exhibiting the Avenue B side of civilization; no growing sons and daughters living and sleeping in a common family room, where the instincts of modesty are trampled upon under economic necessities and vice proffers the bread which virtue denies. No, “these are not the homes of polygamy.”
I found there no polygamous mothers willing to barter their daughters’ happiness, or wink at moral delinquencies, for the sake of ease; no mothers toiling for bare subsistence at starvation rates; no mothers forsaking their children to seek bread in prostitution. No, “these cheerless, crushed, and unwomanly mothers” were not the mothers of Utah.
I found there no polygamous fathers who never see their children awake on week days; no fathers doomed to a treadmill round of unremunerative toil, to whom every added birth added wrinkles to his brow; no fathers to whom children bring the expense of “hush money”; no fathers who look on their children’s coffins with that horrible complacency Christian civilization has instilled into the parental heart. No, “these are not the fathers of polygamous families.”
Yet I presume Mr. S. is today an exile. Holding, as Mormons do, that cohabitation involves perpetual obligation, that the woman who gives her honor into a man’s keeping has an endless claim upon him for support, and that plurality of wives, no more than plurality of children, requires a division of affection, they obstinately refuse to adopt the Eastern, and more civilized, plan in such cases made and provided by custom. Under the recent decision of Judge Zane a man may respect the law so far as to forego cohabitation, yet if he recognizes the obligation of support, if he refuses to disavow the relation, turn her adrift, and brand their children as bastards, he is criminal.
Let me cite an instance. George Q. Cannon had four wives, three of whom are still living. Since polygamy was made a crime (1862), he has not been “guilty” of marrying again with their consent. He believes that he cannot in honor disavow connections nor restrict parental love for the children they have borne him to those Congress in its wisdom may select as alone legitimate. Yet he is a fugitive for this “crime” under the recent interpretation of the law. Ex-Mayor Jennings of Salt Lake City once had two wives. The first died years ago: he remained contented with the ei-devant No. 2. Though living in the single family relation for which our bachelor president has such (officially) unbounded admiration, both of these men are disfranchised.
Judge Zane’s opinion has just been officially promulgated by the United States Supreme Court, as henceforth the legally revised definition of “cohabitation.” Thus, by a singulur coincidence, Grover Cleveland becomes the official representative of the doctrine that “cohabitation” becomes “illicit” when you continue to support the mother of an “illegitimate” child under the alleged sanction of moral obligation. Consequently to repudiate the mother and rear the child as a bastard is now officially declared to be the straight and narrow way by which even a Mormon Elder may entertain reasonable hopes of entering into the gates of the White House.
In Utah, out of a population about three times greater than that of the State of Nevada enjoying home rule, there are twelve thousand disfranchised. But, as women are voters in Mormondom, the population of “polygamous fathers” cannot exceed four thousand. Yet their children, their neighbors and friends, have made their cause their own and returned a unanimous Mormon territorial legislature. The anti-Mormons are not shrieking for individual or “minority rights,” but to force their views on nine-tenths of the people. To the Mormon, government is a central authority two thousand miles away, and known only in the character of the men sent there, who are now fighting to keep their places. In Provo, a prominent court official loudly bewailed to me the benumbing influence of Mormonism in depreciating the sanctity of law, yet evinces his own disregard for law by swelling his legitimate income from the sale of drugs by the illegitimate sale of spirituous liquors to Mormon youth.
But to conclude. The president winds up his (official) declaration of faith that the safety of the country lies with its legal fathers by adding these words:
Since the people upholding polygamy in our territories are reinforced by immigration from other lands, I recommend that a law be passed to prevent the importation of Mormons into the country.
Shade of Jefferson! In view of these facts: 1, That every Mormon missionary goes out on his own expense, receiving no salary; 2, That plural marriage cannot be contracted till arrival in Utah; 3, That the converts are made in Christian lands, among peoples taught to believe in the old-time sanctity of polygamous marriages, and that, through their adherence to this creed, they rise from hopeless toil to independent farmers; 4, That polygamy is not obligatory, but a matter of mutual consent, the great majority not being polygamists, and the male population being always in excess in Utah,— in view of these facts, can a law be passed which does not aim at beliefs?
If we were going to embark into the preventing business and compel obedience to our views, we would modestly suggest that a law compelling fathers to marry the mothers of their children, rather than one offering a premium on disowning them, would be more creditable to the executive imagination.
But, some one asks, then you indorse polygamy? Not at all. I simply deny the moral right of law to enforce opinion, and, in this case, against the protest of a whole people. I deny the right of the sixty thousand surplus females in Massachusetts, animated with the virtuous indignation that ever inflames the elderly maiden heart on hearing that others enjoy “illicit cohabitation,” to raise their shrill voices and demand the extinction of those who are more fortunate or unfortunate than they.
There is but one ray of hope which will meet the demands of Law and Gospel. Let them cast off the sense of obligation, or buy the mothers off; let them adopt the customs in vogue in New York, where fornication is not a “crime”; let them proclaim their children bastards in the sight of the Lord and the Law; let them abandon the women who trusted them to the operation of the almighty law of demand and supply,— and we warrant that the nation will hear no more recommendations from the president “for such further discreet legislation as will rid the country of this blot upon its fair fame.” The same sentiment moved Louis XIV. when he repealed the Edict of Nantes to drive Protestants out from France, where they offended the Catholic majority. And yet a so-called representative of Jeffersonian Democracy, two centuries later, has not risen above the cry of the crowd-made conscience, and would pose as the (official) defender of the marriage relation. He would have a legal crusade in behalf of monogamy, because the crowd-made conscience holds it alone to be right. I also believe in monogamy, but I am not willing to enforce that belief on others, or indorse a new tyrannous edict to not only drive out, but keep out, Mormons from a country that has been poetically, not officially, called “the land of the free and the home of the brave!”
D. D. L.
Port Jervis, New York.
What’s To Be Done?
A Romance. By N. G. Tchernychewsky.
Translated by Benj. R. Tucker.
Continued from No. 71.
He had an enormous contract for a supply of cloth, or provisions, or shoe leather, or something or other,— I don’t know exactly what; age, his steady success, and the growing esteem in which he was held rendering him every year more and more haughty and obstinate, he quarreled with a man who was necessary to him, flew into a passion, insulted him, and his luck turned. A week afterwards he was told to submit.
“I will not.”
“You will be ruined.”
“What do I care? I will not.”
A month later the same thing was repeated to him, he gave the same reply, and in fact he did not submit; but he was utterly ruined. His merchandise lay upon his hands; further, some evidences of neglect or sharp practice were found; and his three or four millions vanished. Polosoff, at the age of seventy, became a beggar,— that is, a beggar in comparison with what he had been; but, comparisons aside, he was comfortably well off. He still had an interest in a stearine factory, and, not in the least humiliated, he became manager of this factory at a very fair salary. Besides this, some tens of thousands of roubles had been saved by I know not what chance. With this money, had he been ten or fifteen years younger, he could have begun again to make his fortune, but at his age this was not to be thought of. And Polosoff’s only plan, after due reflection, was to sell the factory, which did not pay. This was a good idea, and he succeeded in making the other stockholders see that a prompt sale was the only way to save the money invested in the enterprise. He thought also of finding a husband for his daughter. But his first care was to sell the factory, invest all his capital in five per cent. bonds,— which were then beginning to be fashionable,— and live quietly out the remainder of his days, dwelling sometimes on his past grandeur, the loss of which he had borne bravely, losing with it neither his gayety nor his firmness.
Polosoff loved Katia and did not let ultra-aristocratic governesses hold his daughter too severely in check. “These are stupidities,” said he of all efforts to correct her attitudes, manners, and other similar things. When Katia was fifteen, he agreed with her that she could dispense with the English governess as well as with the French one. Then Katia, having fully secured her leisure, was at perfect liberty in the house. To her liberty then meant liberty to read and dream. Friends she had but few, being intimate with only two or three; but her suitors were innumerable: she was the only daughter of Polosoff, possessor — immense! — of four millions! But Katia read and dreamed, and the suitors despaired. She was already seventeen, and she read and dreamed and did not fall in love. But suddenly she began to grow thin and pale, and at last fell seriously ill.
Kirsanoff was not in active practice, but he did not consider that he had a right to refuse to attend consultations of physicians. And at about that time — a year after he had become a professor and a year before his marriage with Vera Pavlovna — the bigwigs of St. Petersburg practice began to invite him to their consultations often,— even oftener than he liked. These invitations had their motives. The first was that the existence of a certain Claude Bernard of Paris had been established; one of the aforesaid bigwigs, having — no one knows why — gone to Paris for a scientific purpose, had seen with his own eyes a real flesh-and-blood Claude Bernard; he had recommended himself to him by his rank, his profession, his decorations, and the high standing of his patients. After listening to him about half an hour, Claude Bernard had said to him: “It was quite useless for you to come to Paris to study medical progress; you did not need to leave St. Petersburg for that.” The bigwig took that for an endorsement of his own labors, and, returning to St. Petersburg, pronounced the name of Claude Bernard at least ten times a day, adding at least five times, “my learned friend,” or, “my illustrious companion in science.” After that, then, how could they avoid inviting Kirsanoff to the consultations? It could not be otherwise. The other reason was still more important: all the bigwigs saw that Kirsanoff would not try to get away their practice, for he did not accept patients, even when begged to take them. It was well known that a great many of the bigwig practitioners followed this line of conduct: when the patient (in the bigwig’s opinion) was approaching an inevitable death and ill-intentioned destiny had so arranged things that it was impossible to defeat it, either by sending the patient to the springs or by any other sort of exportation to foreign parts, it then became necessary to place him in the hands of another doctor, and in such cases the bigwig was even almost ready to pay money to have the patient taken off his hands. Kirsanoff rarely accepted offers of this sort, and to get rid of them generally recommended his friends in active practice, keeping for himself only much cases as were interesting from a scientific standpoint. Why should they not invite to consultations, then, a colleague known to Claude Bernard and not engaged in a race after patronage?
Polosoff, the millionaire, had one of these bigwigs for a doctor, and, when Katerina Vassilievna fell seriously ill, the medical consultations were always made up-of bigwigs. Finally she became so weak that the bigwigs resolved to call in Kirsanoff. In fact, the problem was a very difficult one for them; the patient had no disease, and yet she was growing perceptibly weaker. But some disease must be found, and the doctor having her in charge invented atrophia nervorum, “suspension of nervous nutrition.” Whether there is such a disease I do not know, but, if it exists, even I can see that it is incurable. But as nothing must be left undone to save the patient, however hopeless the case, the problem was one for Kirsanoff or some other bold young man.
So a new council was held, which Kirsanoff attended. They examined the patient and pressed her with questions; she answered willingly and very calmly; but Kirsanoff, after her first words, stood one side, doing nothing but watch the bigwigs examine and question; and when, after having worn themselves out and harassed her as much as the proprieties in such cases demand, they appealed to Kirsanoff with the question: “What do you think, Alexander Matveitch?” he answered: “I have not examined the patient sufficiently. I will remain here. It is an interesting case. If there is need of another consultation, I will tell Carl Faedorytch,”— that is, the patient’s doctor, whom these words made radiant with happiness at thus escaping his atrophia nervorum. When they had gone, Kirsanoff sat down by the patient’s bed. A mocking smile lighted up her face.
“It is a pity that we are not acquainted,” he began; “a doctor needs confidence; perhaps I shall succeed in gaining yours. They do not understand your sickness; it requires a certain sagacity. To sound your chest and dose you with drugs would be quite useless. It is necessary to know but one thing,— your situation,— and then find some way to get you out of it. You will aid me.”
The pationt did not say a word.
“You do not wish to speak to me?”
The patient did not say a word.
“Probably you even want me to go away. I ask you only for ten minutes. If at the end of that time you consider my presence useless, as you do now, I will go away. You know that sorrow is the only thing that troubles you. You know that, if this mental state continues, in two or three weeks, perhaps even sooner, you will be past saving. Perhaps you have not even two weeks to live. Consumption has not yet set in, but it is near at hand, and in a person of your age and condition it would develop with extraordinary rapidity and might carry you off in a few days.”
The patient did not say a word.
“You do not answer. You remain indifferent. That means that nothing that I have said is new to you. By your very silence you answer: ‘Yes.’ Do you know what any other doctor would do in my place? He would speak to your father. Perhaps, were I to have a talk with him, it would save you, but, if it would displease you to have me do so, I will not. And why? Because I make it a rule to undertake nothing in any one’s behalf against his or her will; liberty is above everything, above life itself. Therefore, if you do not wish me to learn the cause of your very dangerous condition, I will not try to find it out. If you say that you wish to die, I will only ask you to give me your reasons for this desire; even if they should seem to me without foundation, I should still have no right to prevent you; if, on the contrary, they should seem to me well founded, it would be my duty to aid you in your purpose, and I am ready to do so. I am ready to give you poison. Under these circumstances I beg you to tell me the cause of your sickness.”
The patient did not say a word.
“You do not deign to answer me? I have no right to question you further, but I may ask your permission to tell you something of myself, which may establish greater confidence between us. Yes? I thank you. You suffer. Well, I suffer too. I love a woman passionately, who does not even know that I love her and who must never find it out. Do you pity me?”
The patient did not say a word, but a sad smile appeared upon her face.
“You are silent, but yet you could not hide from me the fact that my last words impressed you more then any that preceded them. That is enough for me; I see that you suffer from the same cause as myself. You wish to die. That I clearly understand. But to die of consumption is too long, too painful a process. I can aid you to die, if you will not be aided to live; I say that I am ready to give you poison, poison that will kill instantly and painlessly. On this condition, will you furnish me with the means of finding out whether your situation is really as desperate as you believe it to be?”
“You will not deceive me?” said the patient.
“Look me steadily in the eyes, and you will see that I will not deceive you.”
The patient hesitated a few moments: “No, I do not know you well enough.”
“Anybody else in my place would have already told you that the feeling from which you suffer is a good one. I will not say so yet. Does your father know of it? I beg you not to forget that I shall say nothing to him without your permission.”
“He knows nothing about it.”
“Does he love you?”
“What shall I say to you now? What do you think yourself? You say that he loves you; I have heard that he is a man of good sense. Why, then, do you think that it would be useless to inform him of your feeling, and that he would refuse his consent? If the obstacle consisted only in the poverty of the man whom you love, that would not have prevented you from trying to induce your father to give his consent; at least, that is my opinion. So you believe that your father thinks ill of him; your silence towards your father cannot be otherwise explained. Am I not right?”
The patient did not say a word.
“I see that I am not mistaken. Do you know what I think now? Your father is an experienced man, who knows men well; you, on the contrary, are inexperienced; if any man should seem bad to him and good to you, in all probability you would be wrong, not he. You see that I am forced to think so. Do you want to know why I say so disagreeable a thing to you? I will tell you. Perhaps you will resent it, but nevertheless you will say to yourself: ‘He says what he thinks; he does not dissimulate and does not wish to deceive me.’ I shall gain your confidence. Do I not talk to you like an honest man?”
The patient answered, hesitating:
“You are a very strange man, doctor.”
“Not at all; I am simply not like a hypocrite. I have spoken my thought frankly. But still it is only a supposition. I may be mistaken. Give me the means of finding out. Tell me the name of the man whom you love. Then — always with your permission — I will go and talk with your father.”
“What will you say to him?”
“Does he know him well?”
“Then I will ask him to consent to your marriage on condition that the wedding shall take place, not tomorrow, but two or three months hence, in order that you may have time to retlect coolly and consider whether your father is not right.”
“He will not consent.”
“In all probability he will. If not, I will aid you, as I have already promised.”
[To be continued.]
Then and Now.
XXVI. In Which Josephine Says Adieu.
Boston, December 28, 2085.
My Dear Louise:
This is my last letter to you from the twenty-first century. In a few days I shall journey backward through the many years that intervene between you and me, and — Mr De Demain will come with me. You are to see him and talk with him. He will tell you in his own language and his own way of this wonderful age and of what Anarchy is. We — you and I and our friends — must try to convince him that Boston of 1886 is not so bad as he thinks it, even if we cannot prove to him that it is equal to Boston of 2086.
Mr. De Demain tells me that in 1885 a Dr. Brooks lectured on Socialism at Harvard, and he desired, while he is with me in Boston, to meet him in joint debate. I should much like to hear them. Mr. De Demain is, of course, an enthusiast in regard to Harvard College, being one of its professors. He says that Harvard showed herself to be at the head of educational institutions by giving lectures on the subject of Socialism at a time when its true aims were so little understood and when the men who held Socialistic views were classed as cranks or would-be robbers and murderers.
“I think,” says Mr. De Demain, “I can convert Dr. Brooks to Anarchy in a very short time. At any rate, I can prove to him, with you for a witness, that Anarchy is a good thing for this century. You will certainly admit that, although you would say it is because the people are educated to it.”
I do not deny this statement, and I often think that, when I am with you again, I may be considered an out-and-out Anarchist, so advanced have my views become since I have been here with Mr. De Demain for a tutor. I presume that during the rest of my life I shall constantly be defending Anarchy whenever anybody says anything against it. But I am not completely converted. I doubt if any one ever could be who had from childhood until near middle life been taught the advantages of power and wealth which come because of the State. There is such a pleasure in governing by authority and in possessing greater wealth than most any ore else that we dislike to give it up even for such a beautiful conception as individual liberty. There are so many of us — in 1885 — who feel that it is simply the power of the State that makes us better and greater and richer than our fellows that the justice and freedom of Anarchy cannot get a strong hold. It might — I think it would — be a good thing for the great mass of humanity, but we are not of that mass. Our word is taken as law, and we would be truer than human nature were we to tell the people that we were robbers and liars, that we were no better than they, with no more right to govern or enjoy the fruits of the earth.
While we can deceive the people and reap the harvest of their labor, living lives of pleasure and leisure, why should we not?
No man of wealth and a disposition to live on the labor of others, no man in authority over others, no man who believes in the right of majorities to rule, no man who believes that he has a right to preempt more land than he can use, has any sympathy with Anarchy.
But you have been told all this, in different ways, in many of my previous letters. I must now say farewell until I meet you. I will then try to answer all of the many questions that I know you must have ready for me.
The Chinese Question.
The force and truth of the following passage in George Eliot’s “Romola” has been very clearly brought forth lately by the conduct of our “leaders”: “No man ever sought to retain power over a mixed multitude without suffering vitiation: his standard must be their lower needs, and not his own best insight.”
That the mass of the workingmen in their ignorance and in their despair should strike at the first object that presents itself in their way as being the cause of their misery, as a child strikes a chair against which it has fallen, though very sad, is explicable enough. They have not even time in their desperate struggle for bread to attempt to dive down beneath the surface of things, and find out for themselves what are the causes of their degradation, and consequently vent all their anger on the inoffensive results of an evil system, the Chinese, while the real causes, the capitalists, go unscathed. Our very feeling towards the workingmen in general is one of pity, because, if they understood their own best interests, they would act very differently.
But what excuse can we offer for a man who tells us in burning words that it was a glorious thing to free the black slave, that John Brown was one of the greatest of the world’s heroes for having set this work in motion, that men are all brothers, no matter what the color of their skin, but who now, because the pigment chances to be yellow instead of black, flings away all ideas of brotherhood, and uses the largest type at his command in flaring headings in his paper every week to the effect that the “Chinese Must Go.”
Another man, for whose head at least, up to the present time, we have had more respect than for that of Mr. Swinton,— a man who proclaims the universal brotherhood of man, that the sphere of operations of the labor-reformer is the globe,— Victor Drury, who has suffered much in labor’s struggle for the right, now that he has a paper (the Eastern “Labor Journal”) at his command, has joined the herd in calling out that the “Chinese Must Go.”
Has the fear of losing power over the majority of the workingmen by opposing their prejudices anything to do with the sacrifice of principle manifested by these men? We are obliged to think that it has, for it does not seem possible that, after so many years of study as they have devoted to the labor problem, they could really think that the expulsion of the Chinese would aid in its solution. In our opinion it is nothing but a vile, low pandering to the prejudices of the masses, a desire to lead at all costs, even if, to do so, it were necessary to follow, that has determined the action of these men. But, remember, gentlemen, that the masses are fickle, and that some day they may wake up to the fact, or the supposed fact, that you have been leading them astray, and when you come to quit this life, you will neither have their applause, for which you have sacrificed so much, nor the approval of your own consciences, which is of infinitely greater importance. There is no true leadership, without the leader’s living up to his own best insight; an attempt to lead in any other manner will land you in some such bog as that in which flounders the New York “Herald,” and eventually expose you to the contempt or execration of all just men. The very popularity you seek can in the end only be attained by adhesion to principle.
Dropping our leaders in disgust, I have a few words to say to the workingmen themselves. Leaving out of the question all idea of justice to the Chinese as “men and brothers,” you are making a great mistake for yourselves in supposing for a single instant that the driving out of the Chinese is going to help you in the least. With the present system of exploitation unchanged, with the power invested by the government in the capitalists to rob you at will, it is only a question of a very little time, whether the Chinese are here or not, till you are reduced to their condition. There is no more to be feared from Chinese pauper or slave labor now than there was from Irish pauper or slave labor a very few years ago. How bitter you felt, my Irish brothers, when the American workingmen combined to keep you out! Yet that was every bit as just and as politic a movement as that you are now engaged in. You were just as much slave labor to the American workingmen then as the Chinese are to you now. A little remembrance of our late condition may help us to be somewhat charitable.
The capitalists are very glad to see all your energy directed against the Chinese; they are glad to see one slave fighting another slave on a question of a few cents, because it keeps your attention away from the main issue, as to who are your real enemies.
Your enemies are not the Chinese, who are your brothers, your brother-slaves, who are being robbed as you are being robbed, kept ignorant as you are kept ignorant, made vicious as you are made vicious; but your enemies are the capitalists who exploit both the Chinese and you, who “divide and govern” you, and your enemy is the government that gives to the capitalist the power of robbing the Chinese and you; and, if you must fight, if you must burn, if you must drive out somebody, do, for the sake of all that is good, fight the real oppressors, slay and burn the real enemy, and drive out the murderers of the Chinese and you, but leave the poor, harmless, defenceless Chinese alone.
Gertrude B. Kelly.
Right and Might.
That right is might few question; the axiom is admitted, though not very enthusiastically believed. With equal truth it might be said that few question the right of might. The majority submit to it like brutes to the lash; their feeble efforts to escape only furthering the purposes of their torturers. Among the few who do question, however, there is great controversy. This difference results mainly from the differing standpoints of view. Viewed from the standpoint of the entire universe, might is undoubtedly right. It is the only standard, the only law. Viewed from the standpoint of the lower evolution, it is the same; the stronger chemical force, the stronger vital force, gives law to the weaker. But, as intelligence develops, there comes in a doubt and a struggle; a feeling on the part of the weaker that it is wronged, on the part of the stronger that it is wronging. The germs of Conscience and Altruism appear. The struggle grows less between the sexes and between the procreators and the procreated. It is found that self-interest can be promoted by cooperation, and wolves hunt in packs and lions in bands and herbivores range in herds. The struggle grows less between the individuals of the species. Might is growing less right, and right more mighty. But this process seems to have its limits. There is now but little conflict among the carnivores; where found, it is mostly confined to the lower orders,— fishes, reptiles, etc.; and there is still less between the vegetarian animals; but between these two great divisions of the army of life there is ceaseless war. And, unavoidably it would seem, the Human wars with both.
And now comes in the question of right as related to us. For there are different standards of right, individual and collective. Right is relative; and the construction and plan of the universe is so faulty that absolute right — that is, absolute harmony — is impossible. To slay and eat the cow is a very right thing in tigerish ethics, but a very wrong thing in bovine ethics. The right thing for us is that which is beneficial to us. If murder is beneficial, murder is right; if theft is beneficial, theft is right; if tyranny is beneficial, tyranny is right. Humanity has abundantly tried these experiments in aggression and found them all non-beneficial and therefore wrong. But sometimes, temporarily, in a narrow circle and to the limited view, wrong is, or appears to be, right, and here all moral confusion begins and perpetuates itself. Greater intelligence, broader knowledge, is the only remedy.
In viewing questions of human right, we need to take the human standpoint; we have no justification for viewing them from the standpoint of the mineral, the vegetable, or the non-human animal. Nature has forbidden it. Nature, in making Man Viceroy of her Three Kingdoms, gave him full power to work his pleasure with them, provided only that he did nothing contrary to his own interest. The ultimate outcome of all this can only be the complete destruction of all the principal animals, of all injurious vegetables, and the enslavement of the chemical forces of the earth. But any violation of the proviso brings a sure penalty.
To conquer by force, industry, and ingenuity, avoiding only self-harm,— this is man’s relationship of right to the universe.
But between man and man Nature has sternly forbidden all aggression and compulsion, unless protective, and this because such aggression or compulsion is a backward flame that burns chiefly the hand that carries it. And this question of human right must be studied from the standpoint of the individual, Nature having made no collective reason to attend to the needs of all humanity, but only individual reasons to attend to the needs of individuals. And this is the true standpoint from which to study the needs of humanity. Those reformers who have endeavored to legislate for the individual from the standpoint of humanity have usually only succeeded by their Jack O’ Lanterns in leading him into deeper swamps, from which he must extricate himself as best he may. But no reformer ever secured justice for any single man without benefiting all men for all time. The simple truth is grander than the most glorious error. But there is no real conflict here. From a philosophical elevation the needs of the individual and of the race are seen to be identical. Why, then, is it not as well to take humanity for a starting point as to take the individual? Because the only way to adequately understand the needs of the whole is to understand the needs of the parts.
Nature says: Let each man work out his own salvation, and prevent him not, for this is social Justice and Liberty. Anarchy has heard this voice and obeys it, and rings it forth like a bugle note to all the world, inviting every man to shake off his fetters and be free. Understanding his position, then, no consistent Anarchist will use compulsion, not even the compulsion of over-persuasion, except defensively; and even then with the clear perception that compulsion is always an evil, only justifiable as a counter-check to other evils, and that to carry it one jot beyond the stern requirements of necessity is to render it an aggression without excuse. The grand distinction between Christianity and Anarchy on this point is this: Christianity says, “carry neither sword nor shield”; Anarchy says, “carry your sword only for protection, and use it only when your shield will not avail.” In brief, the position of Anarchy is that in the relations of man with man there is no right in might except where might is right, and that might is only right when used in defence of Liberty.
J. Wm. Lloyd.
Mr. J. K. Ingalls, in the introduction to his “Social Wealth,” deals a few sociologers to economic sophisms. He does the economists, whose proper title would be, the apologists of capitalism, the justice to consider that, in explaining how the producer is crushed under production, justice is nowise in question, they not being responsible for its absence from maters of fact. The title, “Social Ethics,” would better characterise the aim of Mr. Ingalls’s work, he exposes the hypocrisy of defending the actual business world by laws of tendency, as it were, in a vacuum; while ignoring the continual intervention of circumstances, and especially of government,— i. e., of arbitrary wills,— to frustrate them. Warmly espousing the cause of oppressed labor, he shows how “opportunity is wanting for play of that free competition,” which is with economists the excuse for every iniquity. What pretension, indeed, to the name of science can a system have which:
Treats “values” indiscriminately, whether increased or diminished by supply and demand, or by the interference of executive or legislative will; by scarcity of a season, or the cornering of a market, or by any speculative conspiracy; by the natural laws of trade, or by the subjecting to the rule of the market “by act of parliament” and “force of arms,” things foreign to its sway; and whether relating to the commodities which may be increased indefinitely, or to the buyer and seller, the men themselves, or to the land, of which no increased supply is possible.
The proper illustration of this single paragraph would make a useful book, although the potential suicide of liberty in free competition or in any other mode is complete, when government controls at once taxation and the currency; for a simple contraction of the one is equivalent to increase of the other, while enrolling as partisans, by the cohesive force of plunder, the whole creditor class, against labor. Later the author says:
Not only does this assumed law of supply and demand utterly fail in its salutary effect upon labor denied the use of the land while exerting to the full the baneful effects of a forced competition in its operation, but upon land treated as property or capital it has an opposite effect. Increased demand not only, as with commodities, begets a temporary rise of price, but a continuous rise. Demand does not, as with commodities, beget an increased, or any supply whatever, .... no protection [of land] being possible or conceivable, except in regard to lands transferred from a general to a specific use.
Let us analyze this paragraph, which in its spirit is a protest against injustice, but is faulty in its several propositions. There is no occasion here to pick a parrel with the “law of supply and demand,” which is the economic translation of “Ask and ye shall receive.” Who shall ask, what shall they ask for? How shall they ask it, and of whom? Answer: The laborers unemployed shall ask for the soil; they shall ask corporately, through their organized unions (Knights of Labor, etc.); they shall ask it of the States or General Government, or of the railroad companies, to whom it has transferred the natural inheritance and sustenance of fifty millions.
But the labor corps must first prove, not only their need, but their ability to cultivate, and earnest intention, by devoting to farm settlements their union funds, hitherto wasted in strikes, which only provoke the hostility of their employers, and cause the importation of cheaper labor. No use talking about abstract rights and justice. We are dealing with selfish, greedy powers, and Labor is not prepared to right itself by force.
Mr. Ingalls sympathetically appreciates the fatality of forced competition upon laborers cut off from the use of the soil. But in the spheres of manufacturing labor, which have distracted them from agricultural ideas, aims, and habits, an ever-increasing competition for employment inevitably results from industrial progress with machinery. This machinery and the science which invents it and controls it is the property of capitalists. Laborers, unintelligent and demoralized, are bribed to guard it for capital, against their brothers in labor.
But suppose it were otherwise; suppose cooperation in joint stock partnership, supplanting hireling labor; still, with the aid of machinery, a small part of the number of artisans formerly employed, and even of the operatives now employed, fully suffice for all needed production. If the rest are to live by their own labor, it can only be by a return to agricultural habits. Otherwise, the giant Antaeus, held aloof from the soil by the Hercules of capital, must be strangled. To induce the laborer to demand the use of the soil ought to be the aim of his friends. The real limitation in question is not, as Mr. Ingalls contends, that of the soil, but of the laborer’s demand on the one side, and, on the other, of the manufacturer’s demand for labor. Irrespective of the great tracts of alluvion redeemed by labor from the waters of irrigated deserts, or of that oceanica which the coral polyp builds on its pedestal atolls, land is being constantly reproduced, by manure, which is more than equivalent to extension of area, because a large crop on an acre does not cost, after manuring, much more than a small one. The difference is only in manipulating the harvest, and a big ear is gathered as easy as a small ear. All improvement of the soil, all increase of productivity, increases the possibilities of life. This can be averred of no other industry, comparatively.
Under the hireling system liberty is lost; but production may be increased and cheapened to meet the needs of any population known, even in China, and without the aid of machinery.
The fall of political governments would, in annulling monopolist tenures, restore the soil to labor; but Government, under the sense of danger, may render speculation in the immediate products of the soil a penitentiary crime, and tax unimproved tracts into use.