Liberty Vol. III. No. 25.
Not the Daughter but the Mother of Order
The Redemption of Credit Money.
The Burden of an M. C.’s Song.
The Wife of Number 4,237.
By Sophie Kropotkine.
What’s To Be Done?
A Romance. By N. G. Tchernychewsky.
In Anarchism Abideth Much Fun.
A Letter to Grover Cleveland:
On His False, Absurd, Self-Contradictory, and Ridiculous Inaugural Address. By Lysander Spooner.
Stemming the Tide With a Pitchfork — A Sign of the Times.
Liberty’s Foresight and Rochefort’s Hindsight.
“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.
Society is not a person or a thing, but a relation, and a relation can have no rights.
The first number of a review of socialism, entitled “La Tribune des Peuples,” recently appeared in Paris, The second number will appear in April, after which the publication will be monthly. The opening number promises well. It contains an article on property by Elisée Reclus, another on “The Revolution in Medicine” by Cassius, and a review of the socialistic movement in all parts of the world. The annual subscription is six francs, including postage. Any one sending a request for a specimen copy to “La Tribune des Peuples, 17 Rue de Loos, Paris, France,” will receive one free of cost.
I have just published a new edition of “What is Freedom, and When am I Free?” by Henry Appleton (“X”). This pamphlet of nearly thirty pages was written in 1878, some years before Anarchism as such had become a definite factor in the progressive movements of this country, but it is an admirable statement and defence, nevertheless, of the principle of Anarchism. It has been out of print for several years, and is now printed again in response to calls from various sections of the country. It should have a large sale. It is mailed, postpaid, at the rate of fifteen cents a copy, or twenty-five cents for two copies. New editions of “An Anarchist on Anarchy” by Reclus and “A Female Nihilist” by Stepniak have also just been issued.
Parker Pillsbury having very foolishly slandered atheism by pronouncing its advocates immoral and cited Robespierre as a bright and shining example of the morality of theism, Horace Seaver, editor of the “Investigator,” repels the charge against atheism and frames a counter-indictment against Robespierre. I can never be moved to pity by any attack on Maximilien Robespierre, whom I hold in thorough detestation. But, when Mr. Seaver asserts that “he was the pious wretch who said, ‘If God did not exist, it would behoove man to invent Him,’” my interest in historical accuracy prompts me to remark that the “pious wretch” who fathered that silly proposition was not Robespierre, but Mr. Seaver’s own patron saint, Voltaire.
In another column Lysander Spooner, in his “Letter to Grover Cleveland,” expresses the opinion that the ten per cent. tax levied by congress on other than national banks, which is really not a tax, but a penalty, was called a tax by congress to hide its real nature, that body not daring to make such a usurpation manifest by calling it by its real name. Are, then, our State legislatures so much more bold and braren than congress? For nearly all of them have done the very thing which Mr. Spooner thinks congress did not dare to do,— that is, made it a criminal offence, punishable by fine, to issue and circulate promissory notes as currency. Mr. Spooner underrates congressional audacity. Our lawmakers have so befogged the popular mind as to the rights of the individual that the time is near at hand when they will dare to do anything. After that, it will only be a question of how much the people will dare.
Anarch and Pantarch.
To the Editor of Liberty:
Permit me a word in reply to the fair and kindly criticisms of the venerable Pantarch. I must needs love such an apostle of liberty, though he and I should war upon a thousand battlefields. I feel modest, indeed, in opposing the views of such a man,— one whose years of wise insight and oversight have made him deservedly famous; yet I gather courage from the thought that the newly opened and impartial eyes of the child often see more clearly the true aspect and relations of environing phenomena than the abstracted, theory-bound vision of the philosopher. That I know very little about Pantarchy or Universology is true. That I should know more of them is doubtless also true. And that I would be extremely glad to fully understand their merits and demerits is still more true. But that “demd state,” poverty, at present prevents my purchasing the necessary works, and would probably prevent my finding time to properly study them were they within reach. I am certainly “fairly open to counter-statement when wrong.” The man who proves me in error does me a favor only second — if indeed it be second — to the pointing out of a new truth.
This much prefaced, I come to the points of controversy. My denial of a collective reason Mr. Andrews permits to stand, and I think wisely, for, until the collective brain can be demonstrated, the collective reason had better remain in its true position as a mere hypothesis, had it not? A function without an organ is to my view an absurdity. My assertion that nature has only created individual reasons to attend to the needs of individuals, he meets with a counter-assertion. Assertions are but assertions, and two of them in opposition balance. That is a pleasant relation; let us not disturb it.
But he finds my chief logical slide and tumble in my identification of the needs of humanity and of individuals. I am not alone. My misery is rendered tolerable by the company of “nearly every other approximately radical thinker,” but our comfort is much endangered by his brandishing before our eyes a certain metaphorical stick which is a magic wand in which he places great confidence. What is this stick? Obviously, humanity. What, then, is its “subject matter”? The individuals of which humanity is composed. Then there is no room to put the needs of humanity at one end of the stick (and thus cant it) and the needs of the individual at the other, for there are individuals at both ends and all through the middle. Like the town that could not be seen because of the houses, humanity is invisible because of individuals. In other words, the needs of the race cannot be separated from the needs of the individual. These two points are not distinct, as he says; are no more distinct than a dog is distinct from its tail. A dog without his tail is not a dog, but a deformity, and humanity, minus the humblest individual naturally belonging to it, is not humanity, but majority. The needs, or at least desires, of the majority may indeed be distinct from the needs or desires of the minority, but the needs of the race are the needs of which all individuals unite. If some, or even one, need one thing, and the rest need another thing, it is not a conflict between the race and one or more individuals, but a conflict between a majority and a minority. Therefore I say there is no real conflict between individuals and the race. How can there be, when every individual is a part of the race, and all individuals are the race?
Remember, it is the question of human right that is under discussion, and concerning which I claimed that the needs of individuals and the race were identical. If the great needs of individuals are Justice, Fraternity, Liberty, are not these also the great needs of the race, and are not, therefore, the needs of the individual and the race here one and the same, therefore identical? So it seems to me. Yet Mr. Andrews avers: “There is a very real conflict between the two things. From a still higher philosophical elevation the needs of the individual and the needs of the race are seen to be never identical, but always in opposition to each other.” Methinks I hear a voice exclaim: “How is that for high?” But I can only sadly respond: It is too high. You are above the clouds, Mr. Andrews, and distance has thrown a strange enchantment between you and the actual facts of human relationship. You had better come down to a merely “philosophical elevation” and let the “still higher” points alone.
Again, Mr. Andrews asserts that “anything to be, at all, must assert itself, as against the whole universe,’ and, in order to remain distinct, must supremely emphasize itself, and endeavor to subordinate others, and is “in essential antagonism with whatsoever it is contrasted.” Can tills be true. I am; I have a friend who also is; we love each other as brothers; we are not antagonists; when together, we do supremely emphasize ourselves and endeavor to subordinate each other. Are we therefore identical? Is our separateness at all endangered? Verily, no! Two freer-souled men never walked the green earth. Would a bitter argument, or a rough-and-tumble fight, help us to be, or increase our freedom? I trow not. My observation has led me to believe that the greater the harmony the greater the freedom (and this because the basis of harmony is right relationship, which necessarily includes liberty and justice, and because the “method of harmony” is defensive non-aggression), and the greater the conflict the greater the peril to separate existence and the more numerous the actual impediments to liberty.
What does Mr. Andrews mean by contrasting the “true or integral philosopher” with “the partizan or mere social sectarian”? Does he mean that Anarchists deserve the latter epithets? If Anarchists have not bravely, and with clear eyes, gone to the bottom facts of human mis-relation, then I know of none who have. If they, who know no race, nor color, nor nationality, nor flaunting flag of country, but only humanity,— the one man and the many men, his rights and their rights,— if they are partizans or sectarians, then my brain is indeed in a whirl, and the firm earth swims around me. If I suspected for one moment that Anarchy was partizan, I would run my sword through its midriff and quit the weltering carcass in disgust. For I am free. I strike hands with no man as against any man, but with any man for the rights of all men.
What does he mean by contrasting the principle of freedom with the principle of order? From the womb of the ideal freedom is born the ideal order, and Order and Freedom are of the same blood and cannot be antagonized. It is true that the only way to adequately understand the needs of the whole is to understand the needs of the parts,— peculiarly true of humanity. For, as I have shown, the needs of the whole are those in which all the parts are concerned: anything less than that will not be the needs of the whole, but of a part, and, unless the needs of all the parts are understood, we know nothing about the needs of the whole. Deductive reasoning on these points is the source of woes.
I might have noticed the “sword and shield” criticism but you, Mr. Tucker, drew my sword so aptly and used it so deftly that I can only stand back and applaud: Well done comrade! Struck home like an Anarchist!
J. Wm. Lloyd.
The Redemption of Credit Money.
To the Editor of Liberty:
Lysander Spooner says: “To make a note solvent, and suitable for circulation as money, it is only necessary that it should be made payable in coin on demand,” etc.
Edward Kellogg puzzled his brain on this point a long time, and finally came to the conclusion that a bond was the best thing to redeem paper money.
Now, it seems clear to me that swapping a note for something else — even gold — is not redemption.
But we do know for certain that when the issuer of a note receives the same at its full face value,— why, it is redeemed.
Gold may very well be taken for a standard of value; but so long as you permit a few rich rascals to get all the available gold into their hands and then demand coin, the result will be a commercial crash, a panic.
It is in the nature of things that, if you allow the holders of credit money to demand coin, the same coin will be hoarded and held for a premium.
The Burden of an M. C.’s Song.
[Donn Piatt in John Swinton’s Paper.]
The ordinary thing is for a member to rise solemnly and say: “Mr. Speaker, in the name of God, amen, let us rob somebody.”
The Wife of Number 4,237.
By Sophie Kropotkine.
Translated from the French for Liberty by Sarah E. Holmes.
The train had just arrived at the station of N———, an out-of-the-way place on the of the branches of the South-Eastern system. The few travellers alighted — three men and woman — and stood on the platform, waiting till the way was clear to cross to the other side and make their way out.
The men belonged in the vicinity and knew each other. They talked together, while the woman — a young brunett, thin and poorly dressed in black — stood apart, leaning on the railing. Her eyes roved over the surrounding country and seemed to seek the object of her journey.
On the right and the left she saw gently-sloping lulls covered with forests; before her, a large plain, covered with meadows, clumps of trees, green fields which ran up the hillsides and outlined themselves in emerald green on the dark background of the forests of fir-trees. A rivulet wound through the plain. One would have said that it had imposed on itself the taks of visiting each of the farm-houses whose roofs glistened in the sunlight, carrying to each the freshness of its limpid waters. Then it entered a shaded defile, between other hills, and disappeared in the bluish mists of the morning.
Meanwhile, the train had lazily moved on; the way was clear, and the travellers could leave. Once outside, they dispersed in various directions.
The new arrival gave them time to get away; then she approached a peasant in a blue blouse, who was lighting his pipe, and asked him the way to the central prison.
“Only keep to this road lined with lindens, you will not miss it,” said the peasant, while he examined with a scrutinizing look the troubled features of the young woman. “As soon as you have passed the copse on the right, you will see a great wall: that is the external wall. Follow that, it will lead you to the entrance.
“You come to see some one in prison,” ventured he.
“A relative, doubtless?”
And she hurried to gain the designated road, quickening her pace.
The peasant followed her with his look. He thought for a moment of overtaking her and talking a little as they walked together; but she was already far away. He shook his head, and went into the café at the station.
The woman walked very fast. Whether it was emotion or the sharpness of the morning air, she shivered under her woollen dress; but she did not think to put on a knit neck-handkerchief which she carried in her hand with a little wicker basket.
The wind brought her the perfumed air of meadows and trees which were hastening to profit by a late spring-time to expand their foliage. The copse on the right sent her by puffs the penetrating odor of young fir-trees.
“Oh! how good it is here!” she exclaimed, taking deep breaths of tire pure air of the beautiful morning. She admired the fields, tire meadows, the rapid waters of the stream which flowed by the side of the road. “What limpid water!” she thought; “all around endless forests; this is real country!”
And, full of admiration, she involuntarily slackened her steps. After the infectious air of the suffocating streets of the great city, after the dust of the work-shop, the country had so much more charm for her; and she breathed with all her lungs. In the face of nature, she forgot for a moment her troubles.
A gold-finch was pouring forth his morning song in the thicket, and the young woman had already taken a few steps to one side to discover tire little singer, when she perceived behind the trees an immense gray wall which rose before her.
Formidable, sombre, this mass of stone extended quite beyond her view, running through the valley and climbing the hill. A whole world, speechless, stupefied, stagnated within its enclosure.
The flash of cheerfulness which had kindled for a moment in the large eyes of the poor woman was extinguished instantly at the sight of this mass of stone.
“He is there, behind this wall,” she said to herself; “he never sees the water or the verdure; nothing of all this exists for him.” And she rushed along the road, accelerating her steps, forcing herself by a rapid walk to stifle the sobs ready to shake her breast.
“He must not see me weep,” sire stammered; “it would trouble him too much: he could never bear my tears.”
But the rebellious tears ran over her cheeks; they fell on her breast, slipping over her dress, dispersing in little drops. She hurried along to stifle them under a powerful effort of the will.
“How long it is, this wall!” She had been following it twenty minutes, and she could not see the end.
At last she saw the buttresses, an embrasure, and the vaulted door — the only egress of this formidable masonry. The young woman wiped her eyes, dried them with her handkerchief, and entered a vast court. However, she had not yet reached the prison, they told her. The prison! she could not see it, for there were two more walls to clear before reaching the prisoners’ quarters. She must ring at a second door-way, and apply at the clerk’s office.
Trembling, she crossed the threshold of the door which had just been indicated to her, and spoke at last to a guard.
“Would you be willing to tell me, sir, to whom I ought to apply to see my husband ... Jean Tissot,” aaded she, blushing and presenting her marriage certificate.
“To the director, madam. He is away today, but there is his substitute.”
“Can I see him at once?”
“In a quarter of an hour he will return from the pretorium; I will give him your papers. Wait here on the bench.”
The quarter hour, tire half hour passed,— the wife of a prisoner is accustomed to waiting,— and seated on a bench in a sombre ante-room, the young woman tried to recall all that she had to say to her husband. So many things, and the interview is so short,— hardly a half hour!
How many times, lying in her attic, had she not repeated all that she would say to him; each word had engraved itself in her memory, and now she had forgotten everything...
“I shall tell him first how I love him,— infinitely, more now than before; if I still live, it is only for him.
‘He must know nothing of all I have suffered during these eighteen months; I work, I am well ... my rent is paid ... what else? I have forgotten everything; why did I not write it all on a scrap of paper?”
The thread of her thought was broken; she asked herself in what condition she should find him.
“Eighteen months since I saw him! They say that they are poorly fed, that they have to work much too hard. He will be pale, he will have that cadaverous look that I have icon in the prisoners at the jail.”
She shudders at this idea, but a moment after she sees already her Jean happy, the smile — that good smile - on his lips, when they have announced to him that, his little Julie is there, that he is going to see her immediately; and she feels happy at tire thought of having brought him a moment of happiness.
How he expected her for the New Year!
And she mentally reread this letter. She knew it by heart, this letter which he had written her on learning that he would not see her.
She had them, nevertheless,— the hundred francs necessary for the voyage. She had been saving for a whole year on her salary of forty-two sous a day. A whole year of privations, during which she refused herself everything, stinting herself in food and in fire which she lighted so rarely in winter. Yes, she had them in December, when that terrible sickness came to spoil all her plans.
“A simple gash, a finger cut with a silk thread, and what horrible suffering! I thought I should die; what is it that they put in this silk to make people suffer so much? More than a month lost, and how the money was eaten up! ... It was all to begin over again!”
Meanwhile the director has returned: a man lean, dry, still young, who has not even condescended to give a look to the visitor, in going to his office. There is a going and coming of guards; they have gone to look for the head guard.
“A minute more,” the poor woman thinks; and she resumes her place on the bench. Every time they open a door, she believes she will see her husband.
At least, the interview will not take place under the same conditions as at the jail. A shudder seizes her at the recollection of those men put in a cage like wild beasts.
“But the beasts have only one grating, and there they have two, more than a yard apart. No way of touching even a finger. Two gratings, a mesh of iron wire, and a guard between us! Perfect darkness: I could not even see his features. Five men in each cage, ten women and children before them! The women weeping, the men screaming as loud as they can to make themselves heard in the uproar of the calls of the guards, of raps on doors, of a hundred men and women talking at once under one vault,— what a hell!”
“Come this way, madam, the director wishes to speak with you,” said a guard. She enters the office.
A tall man, with hard features, glassy eyes, and blonde mustache, receives her standing, speaking to the chief guard:
“You are sure it is Number 4,237? in the hospital quarter? That is the one! Sick? Can he not go down to the parloir?”
“Madam, your husband is sick, in the infirmary. You cannot see him for some days yet.”
“Sick? What is the matter with him?” cries the poor woman. “But then I will go to the infirmary!”
She is almost content to escape this horrible parloir.
“Impossible. Absolutely impossible! It is contrary to the rules. The law is the same for all: a woman never enters the prisons. You will see him when he is well again.”
“But I come from a long distance, sir; I can stay here only a few days.”
“He need not have got into prison! This is the rule; I can do nothing about it. No interview till he can go down to the parloir.
“I beg you, sir .... Is he seriously ill? What is the matter?”
“Inflammation of the chest, vomiting of blood,— or something of that sort.”
“But if he could only see me, oh! you would see how that would give him strength ... He is sick because he has not seen me for so long a time, ... he will recover” ...
“I have already told you, madam, that it is impossible. What do you want me to do about it? It is contrary to the rules.”
“My Jean, my dear one! ... If you only knew how he loves me; I am everything to him ... What must I do, tell me, in order to get permission? But it is my husband, sir, and I, his wife, have not the right to see him? .... What have we done, then, that they should make us suffer so much?”
The sobs broke her voice; a cry of pain escaped from this feeble breast.
The director knew not what to say: he pulled his mustache impatiently. The head guard — a man with gray hair, hardened by a long service, but who rarely had business with women — fixed his eyes on the director’s embroidered cap thrown on the table.
“The rules are opposed to it ... the law ... the law for all,” stammered the director.
Then he took refuge in his office.
The woman remained alone with the head guard; she went toward him.
“Sir, you are a father, you ought to understand me ... You have, perhaps, a daughter married ... Who knows, if one day ... Jean is also an honest man ... I beg you, let me see my husband.”
And she sank down on a chair. Her sobs choked her; she wrung her hands. The old guard was put completely out of countenance. He twirled his whistle in his hands, but what could be done? Call the other guards? What was the use? His whole experience of thirty years did not help him in the least; he felt himself disarmed.
At last, an idea seemed to bring him light.
“Return tomorrow,” said he, in a low voice, throwing a glance at the door of the office. “The director will return this evening; perhaps he will act on his own responsibility ... This is an inspector, he would not dare ... I will speak to the physician. Tomorrow morning, be here at nine o’clock, speak to the director ... This way, this way,” added he, aloud, pushing gently towards the door the tottering woman.
With haggard eyes, Julie let herself be led by tire arm. She sobbed no more, she trembled in every limb, and her colorless lips launched this malediction:
“Be cursed, heartless men, with your rules and your laws, made to break hearts!”
Julie Tissot had roamed all day in the vicinity of the prison. These words: “inflammation of the chest, vomiting of blood,” rang in her ears; thoughts, scraps of incoherent thoughts, pursued each other in her head, without her being able to stop at any of them.
Sometimes she saw her husband dying, his eyes wide open, alone, abandoned in a great room, vainly calling his Julie to give him water, then falling back exhausted on his bed,— and a sombre despair took possession of the poor woman.
She walked, walked straight on, without knowing where she was going ... A moment later she threw off her torpor, her brain refused to admit that Jean, so strong, so robust, so full of energy, was struck with this terrible sickness. He would get up again as soon as he should see her; she would give him courage, recall him to life. And dreams of happiness unfolded before her eyes, carrying her on their wings.
The mist was already settling on the valley, when the humidity of the evening and the frights of an empty stomach reminded her that she must seek a shelter for the night. She directed ner steps towards the village, crossed it once, then again, before deciding to enter a little inn which she had perceived on entering the hamlet.
Timidly, noiselessly, she went into the low and dark café of the inn, and waited till the proprietress, occupied at the other end of the hall, should notice her.
Contrary to her expectations, she was well received by the bourgeoise,— a woman already old, who carried cheerfully the weight of her completed fifty years and her obesity. They see so much misery in the hamlet of the central prison, they witness so much suffering, that the friends of the prisoners are generally pretty well received.
[To be continued.]
By Georges Sauton.
Translated from the French for Liberty by Sarah E. Holmes.
Continued from No. 76.
That evening, after the sounds of the clarion and of military orders borne on the wind, cordons of fire were lighted on the hillsides of Chamrand, and, the next morning, from Bunclody, a festoon formed of the canvas tents of an encampment could be seen pointing to the sky.
On one of them, the highest and largest, floated the English flag, and officers and soldiers passed in and out incessantly, as if full of business.
The drums beat the call to fall in; squads came together, formed in line, received orders, buckled their knapsacks, unstacked their arms, which were flashing in the rays of the rising sun, and the mountain slopes were soon furrowed with red serpents winding in different directions.
“They are garrisoning the villages, the smallest hamlets,” said Pat Burn; “they will give us a garrison, too; of course we must shut up our wives, our sisters, our daughters.”
“Yes,” said a young man, Brucelann, “the Ancient Britons are in no way less cruel than Gowan’s ‘Mob’; but, more than that, they have gallantries” ...
“Of lustful beasts,” added Arklow.
“The whole soldiery let loose by the government, on Ireland is made up of the worst elements of the army,” said a third.
“That is so true,” confirmed a fourth, “that Sir Ralph Abercrombie, not desirous of sullying his military glory by sanctioning with his presence all the crimes which are committed in addition to the rigorous measures ordered from high places, has resigned the general command.”
A noise came from the castle of Newington; creaking of iron gates, caracoles, snorting of horses, oaths, farewells; the Duke came out, escorted by regular soldiers, with their officers, and the squadron started at a gallop towards the stirring camp, ascending the hill at a trot, receiving military salutes from the bands of troops which they met, and arriving in front of the flag where the superior officer lodged in the high tent awaited them, his lieutenants ranged about him.
Numbers of birds suddenly fluttered over the camp, in confusion, a sort of incomprehensible fascination; but the drums which beat and the clarious which sounded, rending the air, furnished the explanation of the phenomenon, which in fact all the Bunclodyans did not remark. Newington alone occupied them, absorbed them. The report which had been circulating some days was confirmed; he was to take the command of military operations in that region, and up there, at this very moment, was being invested with his rank.
Ranged in narrow and dazzling files, the motionless battalions presented arms, and the Duke, followed by a gaudily decorated staff, rode the length of the ranks, which were as compact as if made by the soldering of wooden soldiers; then, on the orders of the superior officers which their subordinates sang out by turns, like roosters and in the same guttural voice, the troops wheeled, and, by rapid manoeuvres, prepared for the final march of the review, which began to the sound of music of brass instruments, strident, martial, victorious.
And while the greater portion of the troops regained their tents, laying down their arms, taking off their uniforms, putting on their vests, and, at their ease, prepared carefully, on hearths skilfully improvised, the plentiful repast which they must have,— even on the eve of battle,— the Duke and his gold-laced staff re-descended the hill, talking together, pointing to the village, and raising their sneering and sinister voices.
Though far away, all this uproar and parade had, little by little, roused the curiosity of the Bunclodyans. Grouped on the door-steps, they talked together, interpreting the gestures and words of Newingtos and his companions, and replying sharply by invectives which were lost in space like the remarks of the others.
“The scoundrel!” said Pat Burn, commenting upon their odious enemy’s animated pantomime, “see how he acts: that bar which he traces horizontally — with what energy! — that signifies that he will level our huts without leaving a stone standing, smoothing the soil like the surface of one of our lakes; and the trees which he points out with his whip,— it is as clear as the waters of the Shannon,— they will hang us to the highest branch in order to show us the shores of England!”
“Let him first take care not to leave his skin for us to make drams out of, the old coquin!”
“You mean: the old cocu. Just because of that, he will have a chance to escape us.”
The horsemen entered Cumslen Park, where the flourish of trumpets received them, giving them welcome, and, on the steps of the castle, appeared in a magnificent scarlet costume, enriched with gold like a bishop’s cope, the Duchess, accompanied by Sir Richard Bradwell.
Pat Burn and Brucelann smiled and exchanged jokes; but they remarked the bearing and attitude of the young lord.
While Lady Ellen wore a costume of her guests’ colors, and testified to them with an eager grace her joy at their presence, Sir Richard appeared very stiff and reserved, very chary of demonstration, hardly bowing, keeping his hand free from all contact with theirs, and his dark clothes contrasted with the brilliant dress coats of the guests, making a cutting protest.
“The Lord forgive me!” said Paddy Neill, who joined with the jokers, “one could swear that he is in green!”
What a wonderful lynx! At a distance of several miles to discern the shade of a garment! They laughed at him, and he himself was amused at his pretension, declaring nevertheless that he had no pitch in his eyes. And, in any case, he had the right to presume that the son of Newington wore the colors of Ireland. He had often seen them on him.
“This is a joke, or a blunder of his tailor!” observed some one.
“Perhaps a way of showing that he is at heart, with us.”
At the sound of a trumpet call, breaking out suddenly on the spot, every one started; fifty soldiers suddenly appeared, before any one had seen them approach.
Almost all of great height, with crabbed, cruel faces, projecting jaws indicating ferocious passions, they differed for the moment from Gowan’s Mob only in discipline in the habit of order which one might read in their attitude; but, when commanded, they would commit the same atrocities, as phlegmatically and methodically as they drilled, and, once unchained, let loose by their officers on the people, they would no longer hold themselves in check, but would henceforth know no bounds, and, drunk, lascivious, savage, would merit, in all its fulness their abominable reputation, which equalled that of the men of the “Infernal Mob.”
One only, a sergeant, did not appear in harmony with the sentiments and instincts of the band, and his reflective and charmingly gentle face was out of place in their company. For this reason all eyes were fastened an him, surprised at his attractiveness, and pitying him for the fate which hod mixed him up with such people.
His sympathetic eyes wandered over those present, who with one movement approached to find out what he intended to do. A puppy of an officer, polished, faced like a woman, with hair carefully powdered, and cheeks painted carmine, summoned him sharply, perching on his young spurs, and invited him to perform his duty.
Then, with a sigh, he drew from a tin tube suspended at his side a parchment which he unrolled, prepared to read, while the officer, with the end of his cane, ordered the two trumpets to be blown.
And when the clear, superb, imperial blast was finished, with a trembling voice he read, at first in the midst of a death-like silence, then of barely restrained mutterings, the following decree:
“We, George the Fourth, by the grace of God king of Great Britain, profoundly disturbed at the spirit of revolt which animates anew our island of Ireland”...
The murmuring commenced.
“His island!” cried some one.
“As he would say his horse!” added Paddy, by way of emphasis.
[To be continued.]
What’s To Be Done?
A Romance. By N. G. Tchernychewsky.
Translated by Benj. R. Tucker.
Continued from No. 76.
A week after the visit for which Beaumont had “very much thanked” Katérina Vassilievna, and two months after the beginning of their acquaintance, the sale of the factory was consummated; Mr. Loter was getting ready to start the next day (and he started; expect no catastrophe from his departure; after having completed the commercial transaction as a merchant should, he notified Beaumont that the house appointed him manager of the factory at a salary of a thousand pounds sterling; that is what need be expected, and that is all; what need he has of mingling in anything but commerce judge for yourself); the stockholders, including Polosoff, were to receive the very next day (and they did receive it; expect no catastrophe here either: the house of Hodgson, Loter & Co. is very solid) half of the sum in cash and half in bills of exchange payable in three months. Polosoff, perfectly satisfied, was seated at a table in the drawing-room, turning over his business papers, and half listening to his daughter’s conversation with Beaumont as they passed through the drawing-room: they were promenading in the four apartments facing the street.
“If a woman, a young girl, is hampered by prejudices,” said Beaumont, without further Anglicisms or Americanisms, “man too — I speak of honest men — suffers great annoyance thereby. How can one marry a young girl who has had no experience in the daily relations which will result from her consent to the proposition? She cannot judge whether daily life with a man of such a character as her sweetheart will please her or not.”
“But, M. Beaumont, if her relations with this man have been daily, that surely gives her a certain guarantee of mutual happiness.”
“A certain,— yes; nevertheless it would be much surer if the test were more thorough. The young girl, from the nature of the relations permitted her, does not know enough about marriage; consequently for her it is an enormous risk. It is the same with an honest man who marries. Only he can judge in a general way; he is well acquainted with women of various characters, and knows what character suits him best. She has no such experience.”
“But she has had a chance to observe life and characters in her family and among her acquaintances; she has had excellent opportunities for reflection.”
“All that is very fine, but it is not sufficient. There is no substitute for personal experience.”
“You would have only widows marry,” said Katérina Vassilievna, laughing.
“Your expression is a very happy one. Only widows. Young girls should be forbidden to marry.”
“You are right,” said Katérina Vassilievna, seriously.
At first it seemed very queer to Polosoff to hear such conversations or parts of conversations. But now he was somewhat accustomed to it, and said to himself: “I too am a man devoid of prejudices. I went into commerce and married a merchant’s daughter.”
The next day this part of the conversation,— the general conversation was usually devoted to other subjects,— this part of the conversation of the night before continued as follows:
“You have told me the story of your love for Solovtzoff. But what was this? It was” .....
“We will sit down, if it is all the same to you. I am tired of walking.”
“Very well. It was, I say, a childish sentiment, about which there was no security. It is a good subject for jest, when you look back to it, and also for grief, if you will, for it had a very sad side. You were saved only by a very unusual circumstance, because the matter fell into the hands of a man, like Alexander.”
“Matvéitch Kirsanoff,” he finished, as if he had not paused after the first name, Alexander; “but for Kirsanoff you would have died of consumption. You had an opportunity to deduce from this experience well-founded ideas as to the harmful character of the situation which you had occupied in society. And you deduced them. All that is very reasonable, but it by no means gave you the experience necessary to enable you to appreciate the character which it would be good for you to find in a husband. You do not want a rascal, but an honest man,— that is all that you have learned. Good. But should every honest woman be content, whatever the character of the man she may have chosen, provided he is honest? In such matters a better knowledge of characters and relationships is needed,— a wholly different experience. We decided yesterday that only widows should marry, to use your expression. What sort of a widow are you, then?”
Beaumont said all this with a sort of discontent, and in the last words there was almost a trace of spite.
“It is true,” said Katérina Vassilivna, somewhat sadly, “but at any rate I have not deceived any one.”
“And you would not have succeeded in doing so, for one cannot feign experience when one has it not.”
“You are always talking of the insufficiency of the means afforded us, young girls, for making a well-grounded choice. As a general thing, that a choice may be well-grounded, no experience of this sort is necessary. If a young girl is not too young, she may know her own character very well. I, for instance, know mine, and it is evident that I shall not change. I am twenty-two years old. I know what I need in order to be happy: a tranquil life, with no one to disturb my peace, and that is all.”
“Evidently you are right.
“Is it so difficult to tell whether these indispensable traits exist or not in the character of any given man? One can find it out from a few conversations.”
“You are right. But you have said yourself that this is the exception and not the rule.”
“Certainly it is not the rule, M. Beaumont; given our conditions of life, our ideas, and our customs, one cannot desire for a young girl this knowledge of everyday relations, this knowledge of which we say that, if it is lacking, the young girl runs a great risk of making a bad choice. Under her present conditions there is no way out of her situation. These conditions once given, whatever relations she may enter into, she cannot derive the necessary experience from them except in very rare cases; it would be useless to wait for it, and the danger is great. The young girl might, indeed, easily stoop and learn dissimulation. She would have to deceive her parents and the world, or hide herself from them, which is the next thing to deceit; and this would decidedly lower her character. It is very probable also that she would view life far too lightly. And if that did not happen, if she did not become bad, her heart would be broken. And yet she would gain almost no experience of actual life, because these relations, either so dangerous to her character or so painful to her heart, are never more than relations of appearance, not at all the relations of every-day life. You see that that would not be at all advisable, considering our present way of living.”
“Certainly, Katérina Vassilievna; but that is just why our present way of living is bad.”
“Surely; we are in accord on that point. What does it mean, in fact? Saying nothing of the confusion of general ideas, what is its significance in personal relations? The man says: ‘I doubt whether you would make me a good wife.’ And the young girl answers: ‘No, I beg of you, make me a proposal.’ Unheard-of insolence! Or perhaps that is not the way? Perhaps the man says: ‘I have not so much as to consider whether I should be happy with you; but be prudent, even in choosing me. You have chosen me, but, I pray you, reflect, reflect again. It is much too serious a matter even in relation to me who love you much; do not give yourself up without a very rigid and systematic examination.’ And perhaps the young girl answers: ‘My friend, I see that you think, not of yourself, but of me. You are right in saying that we are pitiful beings; that men deceive us and lead us into error with bandaged eyes. But have no fear on my account: I am sure that you are not deceiving me. My happiness is sure. As tranquil as you are on your account, so tranquil am I on mine.’”
“I am astonished only at this,” continued Beaumont the next day (they were again walking through the rooms, in one of which was Polosoff): “I am astonished only at this,— that under such conditions there are still some happy unions.”
[To be continued.]
“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.
In Anarchism Abideth Much Fun.
The lot of the radical reformer is, in a worldly view, hard. He is misunderstood. He is ostracised. He is despised and rejected of “good society.” The love and sunshine of many beautiful spirits among men and women who despise him because they know not what they do is cut off from him. He wears shoddy and sees the poorhouse ahead. Especially, if he be an Anarchist, is he out in the cold, for he has taken the veil and renounced all the honors, offices, tame, and emoluments of the State, so zealously coveted by the mass of men.
Strange, however, is this saving law of compensation in human affairs. The happiest and most jovial men I have ever met have been these radical reformers, and just in proportion to the intensity of their radicalism have they seemed to gather fun and infinite good humor out of life. For my own part, I never have had so much fun and been so happy as since I burned my ships behind me and became an Anarchist. As I say, there seems to be a sort of mysterious compensation in all these things, which probably constitutes the spiritual groundwork which has made religion so persistent a factor in all ages and among all tribes and conditions of men. Even Anarchism may in a certain sense become a sort of religion with a man.
The first batch of good solid horse-fun that I enjoyed after embracing Liberty was some two years ago, when Mr. W. S. Bell was seized with the novel whim of inviting me as a professed Anarchist to speak on the platform of the New England Freethinkers’ convention, in such royal company as James Parton, T. B. Wakeman, and other great lights. A match thrown into a vat of camphene could not have produced greater spectacular results than did my humble and unassuming act of quietly and informally explaining the philosophical basis of Anarchism in a gentle, conversational manner. At the close of my remarks the learned Parton stepped excitedly into the aisle and declared my reasoning to be utterly false, though he was utterly unable to tell me why. A clatter of excited voices resounded all over the hall. Miss Susan H. Wixon of Fall River fluttered about like a startled partridge, scolding like a vixen. Wakeman left for New York, shouting, as he retreated: “I will meet thee at Philippi!” Seaver and Mendum, the Damon and Pythias of Freethought, were quickly on their feet in arms. Seaver bellowed like a bull, while Mendum held the gag over free discussion. In the afternoon one Mr. Schell, a Free Religious goody-goody from Albany, kindly prefaced his lecture with the remark that the one disgrace of the convention was the fact that an Anarchist had been permitted to speak on a New England Freethought platform. At this Dr. Stillman arose and shouted: “You are a bigot!” and with no little effort was the convention prevented from becoming a mob, simply because an Anarchist had quietly and peaceably stated the philosophical basis of a method in sociology. O Free-thought! what antics are perpetrated in thy holy name!
Some two weeks ago it was my pleasure to lug this terrible demon of Anarchism upon the Freethought platform of New York, before the Manhattan Liberal Club, of which Mr. Wakeman, the man who was to meet me at Philippi, is president. I was told before the lecture that the heaviest broadswords in the Club had been whetted especially for my benefit, and expected to be annihilated without mercy. Mr. Wakeman came late, and, without waiting to even shake hands with me, dispensed with the minutes of the last meeting and thrust me before the audience almost before I had time to gather my wind, saying: “We will now listen to the strange notions of the speaker of the evening.”
As upon the Boston occasion, it was at the close of my lecture that the fun opened. The giant who was to meet me at Philippi was dumb, and could neither be coaxed nor provoked into unsheathing his mighty sword. Mr. Langerfeld, a round-headed German, whose pate will roll in any direction that is given it, exclaimed that the individual had absolutely no rights, and that such as were accorded him were the kindly gifts of society. With this tremendous shot he collapsed.
Then came Mr. Putnam, whom I love and esteem as a man, but whom I pity as a professed thinker. After stating that he agreed with me perfectly in theory, he then went on to tear to pieces the very positions which he himself had emphatically endorsed. Such a ludicrous chasing of one’s own tail is seldom witnessed, and, when the witty Mr. King depicted the laughable pantomime just witnessed of “Putnam versus Putnam,” it brought down the house.
Mrs. Leonard conducted herself very handsomely, and put a quietus upon one or two frivolous objections to Anarchism, which showed her to be as finished a thinker as she is a lady. Quite in contrast with her bearing was that of Madame Delescluze, a fastidious Jesuit who goes picking about at liberal meetings, and who, after criticising my gestures as a professional elocutionist, left the hall in probable disgust.
Notable figures also were young Dr. Foote with his irrepressible small-pox man, the Macdonalds, and others, but none of them seemed to summon the courage to demolish me, and greatly to my astonishment I escaped without a scratch, and was made happy in the generous contribution by the audience of $10.39.
Thus endeth the last chapter of fun. That there is more ahead I am confident. And all this ridiculous circus-work comes of one’s professing a method of sociology whose very groundwork is peace as against violence, whose very essence is love and attraction as against force, and whose body and soul is Liberty equipoised by cost.
Cast away your ridiculous fears, friends. We have not come to bring the sword, but peace. Act not so sillily before the truth, lest finally your vaunted Freethought dissolve in thin hypocrisy and leave you in pitiable disgust with yourselves.
Beware of Batterson!
Gertrude B. Kelly, who, by her articles in Liberty, has placed herself at a single bound among the foremost radical writers of this or any other country, exposes elsewhere in a masterful manner the unique scheme of one Batterson, an employer of labor in Westerly, R. I., which he calls cooperation. But there is one feature of this scheme, the most iniquitous of all, which needs still further emphasis. It is to be found in the provision which stipulates that no workman discharged for good cause or leaving the employ of the company without the written consent of the superintendent shall be allowed even that part of the annual dividend to labor to which he is entitled by such labor as he has already performed that year. In this lies cunningly hidden the whole motive of the plot. By promising to give labor at the end of the year the paltry sum of one-third of such profits as are left after the stockholders have gobbled six per cent, on their investment, and adding that not even a proportional part of this dividend shall be given to labor if it quits work before the end of the year, this Batterson deprives the laborers of the only weapon of self-defence now within their reach,— the strike,— and leaves them utterly defenceless until they shall become intelligent enough to know the value and learn the use of Anarchistic methods and weapons.
Having got his laborers thus thoroughly in his power, and after waiting long enough to establish their confidence in him and his scheme, Batterson’s next step will probably be to gradually screw down the wages. The laborers will have to submit to each reduction as it comes, or lose their dividend; and for the average laborer there is such a charm in the word “dividend” that he will go to the verge of starvation before giving it up. Now, of every dollar which Batterson thus manages to squeeze out of labor, only forty cents or less will come back to labor in the shape of dividend, the balance going into capital’s pockets. Hence it is obvious that the reducing process will have to be kept up but a short time before capital’s income will be larger and labor’s income less than before the adoption of this philanthropic scheme of “cooperation.” And, moreover, capital will thereby secure the additional advantage of feeling entirely independent of labor and will not have to lie awake nights in anticipation of a strike, knowing that, however rigorously it may apply the lash, its slaves will still be dumb.
Additional evidence that this is Batterson’s plan is to be found in the further stipulation that no dividend will be allowed to superintendents, overseers, bookkeepers, clerks, or any employees except the manual laborers. Why? Because these never strike. As it is not within their power to temporarily cripple his business, Batterson has no motive to offer them even a phantom dividend.
Altogether, this is one of the wiliest and foulest plots against industry ever hatched in the brain of a member of the robber class. But, though capital, by some such method as this, may succeed in suppressing strikes for a time, it will thereby only close the safety-valve; the great and final strike will be the more violent when it breaks out. If the laborers do not beware of Batterson now, the day will come when it will behoove Batterson to beware of them.
Editor Macdonald of the “Truthseeker,” in his rejoinder to my last article upon his attitude toward Anarchy, says:
Mr. Tucker now regards the man who votes as particeps criminis with the “government.” Yet in a recent issue of Liberty he says that Anarchy justifies carrying a sword as long as there is any liability of needing it, and on more than one occasion has he spoken encouragingly to the dynamiters. But what kind of logic is this? If war and dynamite are to be justified, notwithstanding they are the extremest limitation upon personal freedom, and notwithstanding the tremendous and inevitable danger of inflicting destruction upon the innocent along with the guilty, why not accept the middle and less extreme danger of sacrificing some individual rights, while removing governmental abuses by legislation, instead of war? But no; Mr. Tucker would exalt to the pinnacle of fame the man who dynamites an emperor, while he scolds like a fish-wife anybody who uses his individuality by voting to restrain monopoly by the more quiet and more effective exercise of the power of voluntary cooperation, as we find it in a democratic form of government.
I never could have scolded any one who voted thus, because I never knew any one to vote for such a purpose. I never knew any one to vote except to either sustain old monopolies or create new ones. A voter’s platform sometimes includes the abolition of one or two special tyrannies, but never the abolition of the government itself. And even to make his vote felt against any special tyranny, he must vote with a party upholding all the other tyrannies. If any one should arrive at the extraordinary conclusion that he could abolish the government, or help to abolish it, by the use of the ballot, I should be more likely to question his sanity than to condemn his intent. Any weapon is good for self-defence, provided it is effective,— the ballot equally with dynamite and the sword. It is precisely and only because the ballot is not at all effective for self-defence that no intelligent Anarchist will use it. But I condemn as particeps criminis with the government only those who use the ballot for purposes of offence. And, so far as I know, those are the only people who use it at all.
In a two-column article this is the only point made by Editor Macdonald worthy of a thinking man’s attention. The rest is a compound of stupidities and quibbles. When a man gets so far as to deny that to steal another’s property is to restrain and govern the latter’s conduct and life, he is past the reach of reason. In confessing that he cannot see any restraint in it, Mr. Macdonald asks to be “excused for our [his] mental blindness.” I excuse him. But I do not excuse him, being blind, for attempting to lead the blind, or, as a friend suggests, for blindfolding others and then misleading them.
Just a Ray of Light.
Rev. M. J. Savage, in order to be in line with his brother ministers, including Rev. Joseph Cook, recently had something to say on the labor question. He said a great many things, but, if he had said but one of them, it would have been better. That thing was: “What we are after in this world is perfect freedom of contract, perfect liberty of the individual.”
Does Mr. Savage know the meaning of “perfect liberty of the individual”? It seems not a very hard thing to understand, but that he does not understand it — to be charitable — is proved by an expression he used further on in the same sermon. “If I am a laborer,” said he, “I cannot see what difference it makes to me, provided money be used properly, whether the ownership is in one hand or in forty. So long as it is used in the public service, it makes no difference who owns the title deeds.”
And still Mr. Savage says he believes in the perfect liberty of the individual. If he does, he must certainly believe in individual ownership and no other kind.
Mr. Savage also said that he believes the people can better the general condition of affairs by means of the ballot. Does not Mr. Savage understand that it is the ballot beyond all things that swallows up the individual? The thing back of the ballot is majority rule, and a majority knows no individual.
I presume Mr. Savage would answer this, as I find many professed Anarchists do, by saying that the ballot, while it may be wrong in principle, can be made to give us temporary advantages while we are waiting for the grander things to come. Mr. Savage believes in, if not a personal god and a personal devil, at least a good influence and a bad influence. Being a reverend, he must. Would he admit that it is well to use the evil influence for temporary advantage? If he be an honest preacher, he would say: “Shun the devil.” We Anarchists say: “Shun the ballot.” It is the devil of individual liberty luring to damnation with sweet promises of power and gain.
C. M. H.
The Senator and the Editor.
V. The Editor.
Editorial — Continued.
We hope the reader will agree with us when we remark that our newly emancipated editor, whose views we are to continue through this chapter, shows marked ability in the way he seizes the right points to be developed in the discussion of the labor question. He could not have done better than to clinch as he has done the point of arbitration. So much stress has been laid upon this supposed solution of the case between employers and the employed that it is quite time the subject was treated to an editorial airing after the fashion of this we reproduce from the “Herald.” That arbitration is but a “lubricating” makeshift, and no real intervention of a conciliatory or peace-making principle, a brief act of reflection suffices to show. Some self-adjusting idea of equity is the desideratum.
But — we will not anticipate.
The editor continues:
“We are told that when ‘money is employed by its rightful owners to earn more money,’ etc.
“‘That is,’ says Deacon Rich to Jacob Poor, ‘I have money; you have none. You have labor; I have none — or don’t care to have. Now, you can’t labor unless I bid my money to give you an opportunity. It must do this for you in order to earn more money for me. Well, Jacob, you shall work your ten or fourteen hours six days of the week. I will sit by and watch you and my money do the work. In due season I shall expect my money to return to me seven-eighths of the labor done.’
“Jacob responds with temper: ‘No you don’t! That is a hoggish game.’
“But the deacon is fat, or he can live on the fat of the land; he is defiant, and will wait till Jacob’s stomach calls him to terms.
“But how does Jacob differ from the deacon? In no essential particular. Let the two swap places, and Jacob would be as obdurate and hoggish as Deacon Rich has been. He would then want his money to be making all the money. Of what, then, is he able to complain? Of bad luck, shall we call it? Of bad luck and that the deacon is too hoggish. But in the brain of neither himself nor the good Christian deacon has been lodged a single idea as to what ought to be the state of a true reciprocity between them. It may be argued that the deacon has gained his advantage over Jacob by his former thrift, by his diligent labor and economy; or by inheritance from some thrifty ancestor. Let Jacob but be thrifty and economical, and one day he may put himself in an advantageous situation also. But it seems to strike no one that there is an absolute denial of equity in this claim that money can in any sense have an advantage over labor. The old saying that ‘the laborer is worthy of his hire’ should mean precisely this,— that labor can in no way be defrauded of its full equivalent in whatever exchange it may make. We can not now devote the space to this thought we could wish. But in one brief sentence we say that the true economist of the future will devise for Deacon Rich but one method for the increase of his money,— he must add thereto by his own labor and not by that of Jacob Poor. If he puts his money into business and manages the business, for that labor he is ‘worthy of his hire.’ But for his money — what hire is it worthy of? Let Jacob Poor and himself continue to lie idle, and he will continue to discover. But, it is asked,— and with such assurance one understands that the question is believed to be unanswerable,— what shall compensate him for the risk he takes in putting his money into whatever sort of working establishment? Suppose he ventures and loses all? Small inducement one would have if there was not the incentive of some additional profit,— if he, in other words, must use his own capital and then work for bare wages like any other common workman!
“So ingrained is the prejudice in favor of this argument, so universally is it accepted as wholly sound and rational, a simple utterance of truth in regard to it, we are well aware, will pass for something very like nonsense. It is always so. The old error, mountain high and madly worshipped, dwarfs for a long time the modest, unpretending, but omnipotent little truth. And then, the truth, seen through the medium of long-cherished error, becomes itself distorted, if not hideous. As Swedenborg said with emphasis, “the truth let down into hell becomes a lie.” But we will beseech our readers to put aside, if possible, for a little time at least, their,— we cannot say convictions, for conviction implies a result arrived at by a sustained course of reasoning,— so we must again say their prejudices, or prejudgments. “Whosoever will stand outside of prejudice and supposed seif-interest and seek the truth for the truth’s own sake, the same shall see it and be saved.
“It is for your benefit, Deacon Rich, that the above paragraph has been written. We fear that it has as yet made but little impression on your mind, for all the while,— we venture our surmise,— you have been thinking: ‘If Jacob Poor is to share my prosperity, why should he not also share in my adversity? Suppose I fail in business, does he fail with me?’ And you have answered your queries as follows yourself: ‘No, he doesn’t, but he ought.’ Now, Deacon, this train of thought has been exciting your mind simply because you have been unwilling first to face the truth of the matter for the truth’s own sake. As a Christian deacon, you should long ago have learned the true significance of the text: ‘Seek first the Kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all things you deserve shall be added unto you.’ You know that ‘God is love.’ God is also truth. Then be content to lie in the hands of this God — truth — as clay in the hands of the potter.
“The TRUTH is, good deacon, that, when you enter into business life, you do so primarily for your own benefit. Indirectly you may benefit others and be very glad to do so. It would be a sorry world in which it were impossible that our individual efforts to support and increase the worth of our individual selves should render also a helpful service to our fellow-men. And our losses! That our friends and neighbors must not in any sense bear them,— that would be, also, a most unsocial and grievous doctrine. For it would argue that we have no common weal in this earth-existence, but were cut off, isolated one from the other, the fleetest in no way concerned if the devil got the hindmost. But for all this it remains true that you should engage in no business, should invest your money in no enterprise, which you do not feel will be, after its kind, a gain and a blessing to yourself. Now, investing your money in a business you approve, and devoting your energies to carrying it on properly, you take your own risks. You can make no demand upon your neighbor Smith, in case you come to grief, but that of good will. You and he have dealt justly one by the other; the account is square between you. Why is not the same true as between yourself and Jacob Poor? What just claim have you on him for assistance? Why should you ask him to take a part of the risk you think you run in investing your capital? The wage you pay him has no more to do with your risk than has the price of the cow you bought of Farmer Smith. To each you have given precisely and only his due,— the equivalent, let us suppose, of what you have received. Ah! you exclaim, that sounds all well enough, but it is because we evade the real point at issue. You insist that you make on Mr. Jacob Poor no claim for which you or your money does not render an equivalent. You tell us that we forget that you have a legitimate right to a portion of Jacob Poor’s labor as a return for the use of your capital. We reply that you have not. You have no more right to his labor than to Smith’s. For,— please make a note of it,— it is not Jacob who is using your capital. You are using it yourself. Jacob is as innocent of any use of it as Smith is.”
Reader, this editorial well is like that well of water spoken of in the New Testament as “springing up into everlasting life.” Inevitably the conclusion of the draught must be deferred till another time.
Justus Schwab has broken away from Most and his methods, and the “Freiheit” accordingly warns Socialists against him. One by one the men of real character who have been deluded by it for a time are finding themselves unable to stomach that so-called Anarchism which simply aims to substitute one form of tyranny for another.
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.]
As if to place beyond controversy the fact, that the court may forever hereafter be relied on to sanction every usurpation and crime that congress will ever dare to put into the form of a statute, without the slightest color of authority from the constitution, necessity, utility, justice, or reason, it has, on three separate occasions, announced its sanction of the monopoly of money, as finally established by congress in 1866, and continued in force ever since.
This monopoly is established by a prohibitory tax — a tax of ten per cent. — on all notes issued for circulation as money, other than the notes of the United States and the national banks.
This ten per cent. is called a “tax,” but is really a penalty, and is intended as such, and as nothing else. Its whole purpose is — not to raise revenue — but solely to establish a monopoly of money, by prohibiting the issue of all notes intended for circulation as money, except those issued, or specially licensed, by the government itself.
This prohibition upon the issue of all notes, except those issued, or specially licensed, by the government, is a prohibition upon all freedom of industry and traffic. It is a prohibition upon the exercise of men’s natural right to lend and hire such money capital as all men need to enable them to create and distribute wealth, and supply their own wants, and provide for their own happiness. Its whole purpose is to reduce, as far as possible, the great body of the people to the condition of servants to a few — a condition but a single grade above that of chattel slavery — in which their labor, and the products of their labor, may be extorted from them at such prices only as the holders of the monopoly may choose to give.
This prohibitory tax — so-called — is therefore really a penalty imposed upon the exercise of men’s natural right to create and distribute wealth, and provide for their own and each other’s wants. And it is imposed solely for the purpose of establishing a practically omnipotent monopoly in the hands of a few.
Calling this penalty a “tax” is one of the dirty tricks, or rather downright lies — that of calling things by false names — to which congress and the courts resort, to hide their usurpations and crimes from the common eye.
Everybody — who believes in the government — says, of course, that congress has power to levy taxes; that it must do so to raise revenue for the support of the government. Therefore this lying congress call this penalty a “tax,” instead of calling it by its true name, a penalty.
It certainly is no tax, because no revenue is raised, or intended to be raised, by it. It is not levied upon property, or persons, as such, but only upon a certain act, or upon persons for doing a certain act; an act that is not only perfectly innocent and lawful in itself, but that is naturally and intrinsically useful, and even indispensable for the prosperity and welfare of the whole people. Its whole object is simply to deter everybody - except those specially licensed — from performing this innocent, useful, and necessary act. And this it has succeeded in doing for the last twenty years; to the destruction of the rights, and the impoverishment and immeasurable injury of all the people, except the few holders of the monopoly.
If congress had passed an act, in this form, to wit:
No person, nor any association of persons, incorporated or unincorporated — unless specially licensed by congress — shall issue their promissory notes for circulation as money; and a penalty of ten per cent. upon the amount of all such notes shall be imposed upon the persons issuing them,
the act would have been the same, in effect and intention, as is this act, that imposes what it calls a “tax.” The penalty would have been understood by everybody as a punishment for issuing the notes; and would have been applied to, and enforced against, those only who should have issued them. And it is the same with this so-called tax. It will never be collected, except for the same cause, and under the same circumstances, as the penalty would have been. It has no more to do with raising a revenue, than the penalty would have had. And all these lying1 lawmakers and courts know it.
But if congress had put this prohibition distinctly in the form of a penalty, the usurpation would have been so barefaced — so destitute of all color of constitutional authority — that congress dared not risk the consequences. And possibly the court might not have dared to sanction it; if indeed, there be any crime or usurpation which the court dare not sanction. So these knavish lawmakers called this penalty a “tax”; and the court says that, such a “tax” is clearly constitutional. And the monopoly has now been established for twenty years. And substantially all the industrial and financial troubles of that period have been the natural consequences of the monopoly.
If congress had laid a prohibitory tax upon all food — that is, had imposed a penalty upon the production and sale of all food — except such as it should have itself produced, or specially licensed; and should have reduced the amount of food, thus produced or licensed, to one tenth, twentieth, or fiftieth of what was really needed; the motive and the crime would have been the same, in character, if not in degree, as they are in this case, viz., to enable the few holders of the licensed food to extort, from everybody else, by the fear of starvation, all their (the latter’s) earnings and property, in exchange for this small quantity of privileged food.
Such a monopoly of food would have been no clearer violation of men’s natural rights, than is the present monopoly of money. And yet this colossal crime — like every other crime that congress chooses to commit — is sanctioned by its servile, rotten, and stinking court.
On what constitutional grounds — that is, on what provisions found in the constitution itself — does the court profess to give its sanction to such a crime?
On these three only:
1. On the power of congress to lay and collect taxes, etc.
2. On the power of congress to coin money.
3. On the power of congress to borrow money.
Out of these simple, and apparently harmless provisions, the court manufactures an authority to grant, to a few persons, a monopoly that is practically omnipotent over all the industry and traffic of the country; that is fatal to all other men’s natural right to lend and hire capital for any or all their legitimate industries; and fatal absolutely to all their, natural right to buy, sell, and exchange any, or all, the products of their labor at their true, just, and natural prices.
Let us look at these constitutional provisions, and see how much authority congress can really draw from them.
1. The constitution says:
The congress shall have power to lay and collect taxes, duties, imposts, and excises, to pay the debts, and provide for the common defence and general welfare of the United States.
This provision plainly authorizes no taxation whatever, except for the raising of revenue to pay the debts and legitimate expenses of the government. It no more authorizes taxation for the purpose of establishing monopolies of any kind whatever, than it does for taking openly and boldly all the property of the many, and giving it outright to a few. And none but a congress of usurpers, robbers, and swindlers would ever think of using it for that purpose.
The court says, in effect, that this provision gives congress power to establish the present monopoly of money; that the power to tax all other money, is a power to prohibit all other money; and a power to prohibit all other money is a power to give the present money a monopoly.
How much is such an argument worth? Let us show by a parallel case, as follows.
Congress has the same power to tax all other property, that it has to tax money. And if the power to tax money is a power to prohibit money, then it follows that the power of congress to tax all other property than money, is a power to prohibit all other property than money; and a power to prohibit all other property than money, is a power to give monopolies to all such other property as congress may not choose to prohibit; or may choose to specially license.
On such reasoning as this, it would follow that the power of congress to tax money, and all other property, is a power to prohibit all money, and all other property; and thus to establish monopolies in favor of all such money, and all such other property, as it chooses not to prohibit; or chooses to specially license.
Thus, this reasoning would give congress power to establish all the monopolies, it may choose to establish, not only in money, but in agriculture, manufactures, and commerce; and protect these monopolies against infringement, by imposing prohibitory taxes upon all money and other property, except such as it should choose not to prohibit; or should choose to specially license.
Because the constitution says that “congress shall have power to lay and collect taxes,” etc., to raise the revenue necessary for paying the current expenses of the government, the court say that congress have power to levy prohibitory taxes — taxes that shall yield no revenue at all — but shall operate only as a penalty upon all industries and traffic, and upon the use of all the means of industry and traffic, that shall compete with such monopolies as congress shall choose to grant.
This is no more than an unvarnished statement, of the argument, by which the court attempts to justify a prohibitory “tax” upon money; for the same reasoning would justify the levying of a prohibitory tax — that is, penalty — upon the use of any and all other means of industry and traffic, by which, any other monopolies, granted by congress, might be infringed.
There is plainly no more connection between the “power to lay and collect taxes,” etc., for the necessary expenses of the government, and the power to establish this monopoly of money, than there is between such a power of taxation, and a power to punish, as a crime, any or all industry and traffic whatsoever, except such as the government, may specially license.
This whole cheat, lies in the use of the word “tax,” to describe what is really a penalty, upon the exercise of any or all men’s natural rights of providing for their subsistence and well-being. And none but corrupt and rotten congresses and courts would ever think of practising such a cheat.
2. The second provision of the constitution, relied on by the court to justify the mopoly of money, is this:
The congress shall have power to coin money, regulate the value thereof, and of foreign coins.
The only important part of this provision is that which says that “the congress shall have power to coin money, [and] regulate the value thereof.”
That part about regulating the value of foreign coins — if any one can tell how congress can regulate it — is of no appreciable importance to anybody; for the coins will circulate, or not, as men may, or may not, choose to buy and sell them as money, and at such value as they will bear in free and open market,— that is, in competition with all other coins, and all other money. This is their only true and natural market value; and there is no occasion for congress to do anything in regard to them.
The only thing, therefore, that we need to look at, is simply the power of congress “to coin money.”
So far as congress itself is authorized to coin money, this is simply a power to weigh and assay metals,— gold, silver, or any other,— stamp upon them marks indicating their weight and fineness, and then sell them to whomsoever may choose to buy them; and let them go in the market for whatever they may chance to bring, in competition with all other money that may chance to be offered there.
It is no power to impose any restrictions whatever upon any or all other honest money, that may be offered in the market, and bought and sold in competition with the coins weighed and assayed by the government.
The power itself is a frivolous one, of little or no utility; for the weighing and assaying of metals is a thing so easily done, and can be done by so many different persons, that there is certainly no necessity for its being done at all by a government. And it would undoubtedly have been far better if all coins — whether coined by governments or individuals — had all been made into pieces bearing simply the names of pounds, ounces, pennyweights, etc., and containing just the amounts of pure metal described by those weights. The coins would then have been regarded as only so much metal; and as having only the same value as the same amount of metal in any other form. Men would then have known exactly how much of certain metals they were buying, selling, and promising to pay. And all the jugglery, cheating, and robbery that governments have practised, and licensed individuals to practise — by coining pieces bearing the same names, but having different amounts of metal — would have been avoided.
And all excuses for establishing monopolies of money, by prohibiting all other money than the coins, would also have been avoided.
As it is, the constitution imposes no prohibition upon the coining of money by individuals, but only by State governments. Individuals are left perfectly free to coin it, except that they must not “counterfeit the securities and current coin of the United States.”
For quite a number of years after the discovery of gold in California - that is, until the establishment of a government mint there — a large pert of the gold that was taken out of the earth, was coined by private persons and companies; and this coinage was perfectly legal. And I do not remember to have ever heard any complaint, or accusation, that it was not honest and reliable.
The true and only value, which the coins have as money, is that value which, they have as metals, for uses in the arts,— that is, for plate, watches, jewelry, and the like. This value they will retain, whether they circulate as money, or not. At this value, they are so utterly inadequate to serve as bona fide equivalents for such other property as is to be bought and sold for money; and, after being minted, are so quickly taken out of circulation, and worked up into articles of use — plate, watches, jewelry, etc. — that they are practically of almost no importance at, all as money.
But they can be so easily and cheaply carried from one part of the world to another, that they have substantially the same market value all over the world. They are also, in but a small degree, liable to great or sudden changes in value. For these reasons, they serve well as standards — are perhaps the best standards we can have — by which to measure the value of all other money, as well as other property. But to give them any monopoly as money, is to deny the natural right of all men to make their own contracts, and buy and sell, borrow and lend, give and receive, all such money as the parties to bargains may mutually agree upon; and also to license the few holders of the coins to rob all other men in the prices of the latter’s labor and property.
3. The third provision of the constitution, on which the court relies to justify the monopoly of money, is this:
The congress shall have power to borrow money.
Can any one see any connection between the power of congress “to borrow money.” and its power to establish a monopoly of money?
Certainly no such connection is visible to the legal eye. But it is distinctly visible to the political and financial eye; that is, to that class of men, for whom governments exist, and who own congresses and courts, and set in motion armies and navies, whenever they can promote their own interests by doing so.
To a government, whose usurpations and crimes have brought it to the verge of destruction, these men say:
Make bonds bearing six per cent. interest; sell them to us at half their face value; then give us a monopoly of money based upon these bonds — such a monopoly as will subject the great body of the people to a dependence upon us for the necessaries of life, and compel them to sell their labor and property to us at our own prices; then, under pretence of raising revenue to pay the interest and principal of the bonds, impose such a tariff upon imported commodities at will enable us to get fifty per cent. more for our own goods than they are worth; in short, pledge to us all the power of the government to extort for us, in the future, everything that can be extorted from the producers of wealth, and we will lend you all the money you need to maintain your power.
And the government has no alternative but to comply with this infamous proposal, or give up its infamous life.
This is the only real connection there is between the power of congress “to borrow money,” and its power to establish a monopoly of money. It was only by an outright sale of the rights of the whole people, for a long series of years, that the government could raise the money necessary to continue its villainous existence.
Congress had just as much constitutional power “to borrow money,” by the sale of any and all the other natural rights of the people at large, as it had “to borrow money” by the sale of the people’s natural rights to lend and hire money.
When the Supreme Court of the United States — assuming to be an oracle, empowered to define authoritatively the legal rights of every human being in the country — declares that congress has a constitutional power to prohibit the use of all that immense mass of money capital, in the shape of promissory notes, which the real property of the country is capable of supplying and sustaining, and which is sufficient to give to every laboring person, man or woman, the means of independence and wealth — when that court says that congress has power to prohibit the use of all this money capital, and grant to a few men a monopoly of money that shall condemn the great body of wealth-producers to hopeless poverty, dependence, and servitude — and when the court has the audacity to make these declarations on such nakedly false and senseless grounds as those that have now been stated, it is clearly time for the people of this country to inquire what constitutions and governments are good for, and whether they (the people) have any natural right, as human beings, to live for themselves, or only a few conspirators, swindlers, usurpers, robbers, and tyrants, who employ lawmakers, judges, etc., to do their villainous work upon their fellow-men.
The court gave their sanction to the monopoly of money in these three separate cases, viz.: Veazie Bank vs. Fenno, 8 Wallace, 549 (1869). National Bank vs. United States, 101 U. S. Reports, 5 and 6 (1879). JuiUiard vs. Greenman, 110 U. S. Reports 445-6 (1884).
Stemming the Tide With a Pitchfork — A Sign of the Times.
Another grand scheme proposed! Another solution of the labor problem offered! Another proposition as to the feasibility of the lion and the lamb lying down together! Another proof that the interests of the capitalist and the laborer are one, that those of the robber and the robbed are identical! And yet, workingmen, my brothers, you are not satisfied. Will nothing satisfy you? When Mr. J. G. Batterson, president of the New England Granite Works, of Westerly, R. I., in his character of lion, animated with the most tender feelings of pity towards the lambs, comes forward and tells you that henceforth he will not take so big a bite as before, that he is willing to lessen its size by an infinitesimal fraction, are you still dissatisfied, do you still think that you ought not to be bitten at all? O lambs, lambs, how silly you are! I am afraid that there is no hope for you. With such limited intelligence, it is impossible that the capitalist in his philanthropy can ever enable you to see how good he is to you, how, in fact, it is indispensable to your welfare that you should he eaten.
For fear this grand scheme of Mr. Batterson’s may not impress you as a scheme of such magnitude should, I will endeavor to explain it to you a little, that you may recognize the justice and wisdom which preside in the council-chambers of the capitalists, and what a tender interest in your welfare at all times animates their breasts.
In the first place Mr. Battcrson tells us that the reason he has undertaken to be kind to you is that, if he goes on in the old way, he is afraid you will strike, and that capital can have no earnings at all. Ponder well on this, for it shows you two things,— first, that capital is entirely dependent upon you for any increase, and, second, that it is in your power, when you wish it and thoroughly understand your position, to cause capital to come on its knees to you, begging you to employ it, instead of, as heretofore, you begging of capital to employ you.
Now for the scheme. The net profits of the New England Granite Works — that is, what remains after deducting from the gross receipts the wages of the men employed as journeymen, the wages of superintendence, travelling expenses, clerk-hire, taxes, insurance, and the legal interest on capital — are to he divided into three parts, one, as a dividend to labor, one, as a dividend to capital, and one to be reserved as a guarantee fund to which shall he charged all losses on had debts, etc. This system of sharing is somewhat after the manner of the small boy who divided an apple into two parts, ate one, and kept the other for himself. The amount of profit that goes to each laborer is to be graded by the wages that he receives, the laborer receiving the lowest wages receiving also the smallest dividend, as is perfectly fair and just; “to him who hath shall he given.” Mr. Batterson has made the calculation that the laborer who gets $600 a year will receive a dividend of $39.96. Now, as the average wages in Massachusetts (and inferentially in Rhode Island), according to the statistics of 1883, are just a little more than half this sum, you can calculate for yourselves what your share of the profits is going to be. But, granting that the dividend would be much larger than is calculated, by a little thought you will see itow much your position will he improved as soon as this method spreads to the other factories of Westerly. With land-monopoly existing as it does today,— and Mr. Batterson does not say anything about its destruction,— what you gain in wages will soon be swallowed up in rent, for rent is always proportional to what the “market will bear.” There is also nothing to prevent your wages from going down through competition, and with the wages down go the dividends. Great is thy scheme, O Batterson, and great the head that conceived it!
This and similar schemes are significant only in so far as they betray the fear in the minds of the capitalists that the sea of revolt is surging in upon them; they are the pitchforks with which they hope to stem the on-coming flood.
Gertrude B. Kelly.
Liberty’s Foresight and Rochefort’s Hindsight.
In Liberty of November 14, 1885, appeared the following paragraph:
At the recent French elections Henri Rochefort was elected a member of the chamber of deputies. It is a pity. Why should a man who has proved himself so powerful in guiding men by reason and wit descend to the business of governing them by arbitrary power? Rochefort, the parliamentarian, can only neutralize the efforts of Rochefort, the pamphleteer.
A few weeks after taking his seat, Rochefort introduced a bill granting amnesty to all political offenders now undergoing sentence. It was defeated by a trade between the Opportunists and the Right. Then Rochefort saw what Liberty saw for him in advance, and he sent the following letter to the president of the chamber:
After the sort of absolution granted by Parliament to the speculators who organized the Tonquin expedition, I hoped that the amnesty would be extended to the unfortunates who are now suffering for the faults of others in the prisons and galleys of the Republic.
I promised amnesty to my electors. I am not allowed to give it to them. Unfortunately I am no longer at an age where I can afford to waste four years of my life in struggles in which I see myself destined to continual defeat.
I tender my resignation as deputy of the Seine.
Accept, Mr. President, the homage of my high consideration.
Henri Rochefort, Deputy of the Seine.
What is Justice?
It is an idea presupposing a power that lays down a rule or law to which the individual owes respect and obedience. God is presented as the supreme egoist. My wishes must yield to his. This is God’s justice or law. Those who believe in God fear and obey,— not I. Then comes society’s justice. “Society,” the egoist, orders what it wills. I must sacrifice my wishes to the family, to the State, to humanity. If the power exists and knows how to subject me, I must,— not otherwise. Shall I waste my life in setting up and obeying an idea that I must treat all men alike? They are not alike — not equally able or willing to sustain me in return. Society is the natural state of men, and holds each individual to “duties” so long as it can, or till he refuses to obey. When he comes to full consciousness, he sets up as his own master, and thereafter, if there is to be any use for the word justice, it must mean the rules of a union of egoists with benefits to at least balance duties; and these duties are simply matter of contract. The egoists will act as they see fit or prudent toward natural society. Can any infidel say why he directly enslaves horses and not men? Men are indirectly enslaved, and their deference to ideas keeps them enslaved. It is useless to urge that slavery is unjust. The chameleon changes color, but remains a chameleon. One form of slavery is abolished to give place to another so long as men consent to be held subject. The idea that slavery is “unjust” is the idea that there is a rule or law against it. The facts of nature are there. The mere idea that, if rulers would cease to oppress, all would be better, is not effective of improvement to the subject man. When, however, it comes to his consciousness that he is naturally a subject till he refuses, and realizes that power and will are the essential matters, he makes himself free so far as he can. It is “just” to enslave those willing to be enslaved,— that is, it is according to the rule, or law, or shortest line of nature. Those who believe that man has an immortal soul, and that a horse has not, may act from superstitious fear or reverence. The intelligent egoist will “respect” the “vicious” horse sooner than the tame, subservient man. Viciousness is the resistance to enslavement. There is more virtue in the criminal classes than in the tame slaves. Crime and virtue are the same under State tyranny, as sin and virtue are the same under theological tyranny. “Justice,” as a generality, with reference to natural society, is a snare, or a transposition of the horse and cart. I recognize no duty toward the powers that control me instead of bargaining with me. I am indifferent to the annihilation of the serfs whose consent enslaves me along with themselves. I am at war with natural society, and “all’s fair” in war, although all is not expedient. All was lawful, but not expedient, with the apostle. So it is with the individual come to self-consciousness, not for the lord’s sake or humanity’s sake, but for himself. The assertion of himself will be as general and various as his faculties. To utterly dismiss the idea that there is any other justice in nature than force seeking the least line of resistance is to dismiss at the same time the idea that there is any injustice. This may save generations of complaining and begging. In short, we want to perceive the facts and processes of nature without colored glass before our eyes. No justice, no injustice, as between an individual and any other in nature? Why then no wrong in any method of becoming free! Startling thought to the halting slave! Nothing in crime but a fact? Nothing. See the complaining wife, not loving, but submitting and suffering. Nothing wrong in putting six inches of steel into the bosom of her liege lord? The egoist says, call it what you like, there is no hell. What the woman will do depends upon what are her thoughts. Therefore, my reader, as the laws of society, and the State, one of its forms, are tyrannies or disagreeable impediments to me (but I need not give any reason except to influence you), and I see no difficulty in discarding them but your respect for ideas such as “right,” “wrong,” “justice,” etc., I would have you consider that these are merely words with vague, chimerical meanings, as there is no moral government of the world, but merely an evolutionary process, and it depends upon perception of this fact and self-direction of our individual powers united as we shall agree, how we can succeed in obtaining and enjoying more or less of the things of this world. Do you feel fully conscious of this? Then you and I can perhaps join our forces, and I begin to have an appreciable interest in you. Nothing that I could do for you (without setting you in power over myself) could fail to be agreeable to me. I think we will not act very benevolently toward outsiders. They might take all we offered, as the ox takes the grass in his pasture. Disinterestedness is said to feed on unreciprocating self-indulgence in those upon whom it is spent. Do you not begin to think that by suiting only myself I am really doing far better toward others than by throwing myself away to serve them? If so, it is a lucky coincidence, for I only serve and amuse myself. And I really do not care if you call that unjust. I shall begin to work for you when I see you are able to work for me. But if you are afraid to be free,— stay in slavery. I must have the satisfaction of seeing that you do not wholly escape suffering, if you are so unfit to aid me when I would aid you. And if you are thus lacking in stamina or sense, it will be no harm if you do get overworked and your existence is shortened. But I hope better things from you.
I do not question that the willing white slaves of America aro capable of multiplying till they can supply the labor market as cheaply as Chinese now do. But the slaves who know that they are slaves, and who aro not superstitious about killing a man, may prefer that whites shall be here rather than Chinamen. The Chinaman is a sort of man more fitted by nature and heredity to remain a slave than the Caucasian. The Caucasian as yet acts in slavish submission to his master, but discovers the other side of his character when he meets the Chinese slave or Chinese master. This shocks Gertrude B. Kelly, who is a victim of the fixed idea that all men are brothers,— a poetical fragment dissociated from and surviving the idea of the fatherhood of God. For my part I do not think that any white working people in America will be worse off because there are some dead Chinamen where there were some living ones. When the whites come to understand things better, it is very probable that there will be some dead white men under similar circumstances. I shall not pretend to tell anybody what he ought to do, at least not until I am in some sort of association with him under a mutual agreement.
[It will be seen that “Tak Kak,” in his two articles, defends or apologizes for the killing of Chinamen upon the ground that there are no obligations upon human beings in their relations with each other, except those that are made such by mutual agreement. Very well. But do all agreements, to be binding, have to be signed and sealed, or even written? Not at all. There is a tacit agreement or understanding between human beings, not as brothers,— and I do not think that Miss Kelly intended to use the word “brothers” in any sentimental sense,— but as individuals living in daily contact and dependent upon some sort of cooperation with each other for the satisfaction of their daily wants, not to trespass upon each other’s individuality, the motive of this agreement being the purely egoistic desire of each for the peaceful preservation of his own individuality. Now it is true that, while almost all men recognize in the abstract the binding force of this agreement, the great majority of them either wilfully violate it, believing themselves strong enough to do so with impunity and with benefit to themselves, or ignorantly violate it through mistaken and superstitious ideas about religion, morality, and duty, and so commit trespass upon the individualities of others. All such men, I agree with “Tak Kak,” whether their skins be yellow or white or black, may properly be forced, by those who are disposed to abide by this agreement, to pay whatever penalty the latter may deem it necessary or wise to inflict. Such men, be their names Jay Gould, Grover Cleveland, Alexander III., Bill Sykes, or Ah Sing, are outlaws, rebels not necessarily against statute law but against the true law of human relationships, and, being outlaws, may be treated as such. But to make these men pay the penalties of their trespasses is a very different thing from killing Chinamen who have done nothing more heinous than to make their own contracts. If it is a trespass on A’s individuality for B to offer his labor in the market at a lower price than A sets on his, then indeed we are all trespassers, for every act of every one of us is liable to affect in some minute way the welfare of every other; and in that case there is no possibility of peaceful preservation of individualities, the alternative being a permanent state of internecine war or the absolutism of the Czar of Russia. So as many “dead white men,” or dead yellow men, as you please, “Tak Kak,” provided they have been trespassers; and neither Miss Kelly nor myself will shed any tears over their graves. But both of us, I think, will continue to do all we can to prevent the killing of any men, white or yellow, who propose to mind their own business. — Editor Liberty.]
Newark Liberals Alive.
To the Editor of Liberty:
The subject of Anarchy is receiving considerable attention in the Newark Liberal League.
Mr. Caleb Pink of Brooklyn lectured some time since on “True Wisdom — Justice.” He showed that all compromises with truth were foolish, because they always failed in accomplishing the end sought.
Then Mr. Putnam lectured on what he called “The Ideal Republic,” which is nothing but Anarchy pure and simple. The only fault to be found with Mr. Putnam’s republic is that he puts it away off in the future, as something to be dreamt and sung of, but advises us in the meantime to engage in such “practical” work as spreading “The Nine Demands of Liberalism.”
Mr. William Hanson of Brooklyn gave three lectures in succession, two on the “Industrial Problem,” and one on “Taxation.” The first two were mainly devoted to Henry Dunning Macleod’s “Economics,” showing the fallacies in his definition of wealth, value, etc. Mr. Hanson said the only measure of value was work, and that it was unjust, immoral, and uneconomic to demand pay for anything but for work done. He denounced in strong terms the injustice of the monopoly of raw materials. The last lecture, devoted to taxation, showed the injustice of compulsory taxation, because it invaded the rights of the individual to seek his own happiness in his own way at his own cost, and also that any service performed by the State was done at a much greater cost to the individual than that undertaken by private enterprise.
Mr. Appleton lectured last Sunday on “Anarchism: Its Ways and Means.” He said that the Anarchists were continually being told that their theories were all right, their logic perfect, their conceptions just, but that they were impracticable. It betrays the utmost pessimism on the part of the objectors who thus maintain that it is only what is unjust that is practicable. He showed how Anarchy could be begun to be put into practice at once in all the different departments of life. He recommended in the education of children the substitution of the cultivation of individuality for the machine teaching of the public schools. He showed how individualism could be carried out in the home by securing to each member of the family some place which was sacred to him or her, by guaranteeing to the mother the sole possession of her children, etc. In all the questions now up before the public for solution, the land question, the currency question, etc., be said that self-help would be found on trial to be infinitely superior to appeals to legislatures, or the invocation of authority of any sort.
Mr. Pink and Mr. Hanson do not call themselves Anarchists, but I think we may justly claim them as such.
G. B. Kelly, Secretary.
Newark, February 23, 1886.