Liberty Vol. III. No. 9.
Not the Daughter but the Mother of Order
“For always in thine eyes, O Liberty!
Shines that high light whereby the world is saved;
And though thou slay us, we will trust in thee.”
On Picket Duty.
The article in another column translated from “Revista Social” shows that the Anarchists of Spain are not to be lured by any Communistic heresies from the undiluted Anarchism of Proudhon and Bakounine.
The New Haven “Anzeiger,” which not long since became an organ of German Anarchists of the Most type, is dead, with a possibility of resuscitation in New York as a daily under the charge of Most himself.
William H. Vanderbilt is having a tomb built for himself and family at a cost of $250,000. The workers of America could afford to build him a million-dollar tomb for nothing if they could thereby hasten its occupation.
So General Grant had no cancer, after all. Did the doctors make a mistake, or did they lie? And if they lied, why did they lie? These are interesting questions, which would not be asked if the patient in this case, instead of General Grant, were Caesar’s wife.
Mr. A. Warren, in a letter to “Lucifer,” making some rather frivolous objections to the use of the word Anarchy, says: “Man must not be allowed to govern his fellow-man. Each individual must be governed by principle; but, in order that this may be, the principle must be universally recognized and accepted.” The editor of “Lucifer” answers: “This is excellent Anarchistic doctrine. So long as any individual fails to ‘recognize and accept’ the ‘principle’ of common justice in his dealings with his fellow-men, he must be restrained (not governed) by them.” But Mr. Warren does not limit his assertion in the way that “Lucifer” does. For instance, he believes, like his illustrious namesake, Josiah Warren,— and in this I am heartily with them,— in the principle that cost is the equitable limit of price. But does he mean to say that, given an absolutely free market, if any man or set of men choose to deal with each other by some other standard than the cost principle, they should be prevented from doing so? That seems to be what he says, and to me it appears anything but “excellent Anarchistic doctrine.”
I dare not vie in prophecy with Josephine, Liberty’s correspondent from the Boston of 2085, for that fortunate young woman with her time-annihilating hat has an unfair advantage over me. Therefore I do not question her account of the journalism of two hundred years hence. But I will venture the opinion that, if the newspapers of that day abolish the editorial column, those of 2185 will restore it. Not the anonymous editorial, but the signed editorial. And the people who buy and read such journals will be truer Anarchists than any of their predecessors. For men will never be free until they have mastered the power of studying the opinions and arguments of others with the same independence that they show in the study of facts. Another’s opinion is as much a fact as any other fact, and the wise and truly free man will not exclude such facts from the data on which he forms his own opinions. The criticisms of the editor of 2085 whom Josephine has interviewed, upon the editorials of the present day, an perfectly just, but they tell against the editorials of policy rather than against the policy of editorials.
Certain kinds of news are of great importance to the public, but they can be presented advantageously in comparatively small space. Exclusive of the publication of these, editorial criticism is the most important province of a journal. No press in the world is so elevated in tone and so wisely influential as that of Paris, and in none with which I am familiar is the proportion of criticism to news so large. Perhaps Josephine’s editor will heed this fact, if not my opinion.
A movement is on foot in New York to combat Comstock by certain amendments of the State statutes. Of course, Anarchists cannot place much reliance upon any such method of crippling tyranny. In their eyes these statutes and amendments are alike parts of a stupendous and horrible whole which Anarchy has come to sponge out. They know that it will take a long time to make one job of it, but the final result will be more satisfactory. But descending a moment from the heights of Anarchism and speaking for the nonce after the manner of men, I seriously doubt, even from a governmental standpoint, the advisability of any legislation whereby a publisher or dealer may submit a work to a grand jury through a district attorney, and, in case the grand jury’s vote that the work does not come within the meaning of the law, obtain a certificate from the district attorney securing him against arrest for publishing or selling the work. In the first place, this would result in a one-man power almost as complete as Comstock’s, it being a notorious fact that grand juries are usually the tools of district attorneys and do just as they are bidden. The opportunities for blackmail, favoritism, and persecution would be as great as they are now, and those practising them would be even less responsible than Comstock. Secondly, if a publisher does not apply for a certificate, or applies and is refused, this fact, if he is afterwards arrested and tried, must inevitably prejudice the petit jurors against him, though the work in question be innocence itself. This would simply add one more to the already long list of legalized inequalities. Thirdly, if, as is also proposed, a law be enacted enabling a publisher to demand a trial before a petit jury simply to establish the legality or illegality of his work, without danger of punishment unless a second offence shall loe committed, the result will be highly prejudicial to the interests of literature and art. At present ignorant jurors are often restrained from placing an innocent work in the government’s Index Expurgatorius solely by sympathy for the accused. If this motive were absent and the accused stood in no danger, many valuable books and works of art would be unhesitatingly branded as obscene and illegal by a dozen bigoted fools and their future publication hindered or prohibited. There are doubtless other serious objections to this proposed legislation which closer examination would reveal. The foregoing occur to me only at first blush. As for the other proposals of those forwarding this movement,— namely, that all costs of prosecution by the agent of any society may be recovered by an acquitted party, that expert testimony shall be admissible in all trials for obscenity, and that no conviction shall be had upon the uncorroborated evidence of informers,— these seem to me (still speaking in my temporary capacity of a governmentalist, and not at all as an Anarchist) well calculated to cripple Comstock and to render the objectionable proposals here criticised unnecessary even if they could be made efficacious.
The March of the Workers.
What is this, the sound and rumor? What is this that all men hear,
Like the wind in hollow valleys when the storm is drawing near,
Like the rolling on of ocean in the eventide of fear?
’Tis the people marching on.
Whither go they, and whence come they? What are these of whom ye tell?
In what country are they dwelling ’twixt the gates of heaven and hell?
Are they mine or thine for money? Will they serve a master well?
Still the rumor’s marching on.
Chorus — Hark the rolling of the thunder!
Lo, the sun! and lo, thereunder
Riseth wrath, and hope, and wonder,
And the host comes marching on.
Forth they come from grief and torment: on they trend toward health and mirth;
All the wide world is their dwelling, every corner of the earth.
Buy them, sell them for the service! Try the bargain what ’tis worth.
For the days are marching on.
These are they who build thy houses, weave thy raiment, win thy wheat,
Smooth the rugged, fill the barren, turn the bitter into sweet,
All for thee this day — and ever. What reward for them is meet?
Till the host comes marching on.
Many a hundred years, passed over, have they labored deaf and blind;
Never tidings reached their sorrow, never hope their toil might find.
Now at last they’re heard and hear it, and their cry comes down the wind:
And their feet are marching on.
Oh, ye rich men, hear and tremble! for with words the sound is rife:
“Once for you and death we labored; changed henceforward is the strife.
We are men, and we shall battle for the world of men and life;
And our host is marching on.
“Is it war, then? Will ye perish as the dry wood in the fire?
Is it peace? Then be ye of us; let your hope be our desire.
Come and live; for life awaketh, and the world shall never tire;
And hope is marching on.
On we march, then, we the workers, and the rumor that ye hear
Is the blended sound of battle and deliverance drawing near;
For the hope of every creature is the banner that we bear.”
And the world is marching on.
Chorus — Hark the rolling of the thunder!
Lo, the sun! and lo, thereunder.
Riseth wrath, and hope, and wonder,
And the host comes marching on.
How One Restriction Serves Another.
[Galveston Daily News.]
When the New York “Sun” talks complacently about establishing temperance as the law of the land, it shows its ignorance or unscrupulousness as to moral philosophy. Such attempts are ruinous to any cause that ought to depend upon moral efforts and social conditions. Let it not be said that Democrats are less solicitous about personal temperance in its proper sense than others. They oppose sumptuary and prohibitory laws because such laws are wrong in method and create prejudice against legitimate objects. Also because when one application of restrictive laws appears to work a temporary good, it serves as an entering wedge to overthrow personal freedom; and, after that is gone, there can be no true morality of any sort, but only slavish imitation, fear, and obedience.
Easier Said Than Done.
Infernal machines and infernal machinists should be stamped out at once, without ceremony or the least compunction. — Current Fact.
Yes, sir. Now go and stamp out an infernal machine, will you? it is easy to say bell the cat, but not easy to do it. The infernal machine is a product of infernal injustice, and it has come to stay, the one as long as the other.
What’s To Be Done?
A Romance. By N. G. Tchernychewsky.
Translated by Benj. R. Tucker.
Continued from No. 60.
Each of these words was said after a long interval,— intervals which he spent in lavishing upon her the caresses of a brother for a grieved sister.
“Remember, my friend, what you said to me on the day of our betrothal: ‘You give me liberty.’”
Silence and new caresses.
“How did we define love the first time that we spoke of it? To rejoice in whatever is good for the loved one; to take pleasure in doing everything necessary to make the loved one happier,— was that not what we said?”
Silence and new caresses.
“Whatever is best for you rejoices me. Seek this best. Why be sorrowful? If no misfortune has come to you, what misfortune can have come to me?”
These words, often repeated after interruptions and each time with slight variations, took up considerable time, which was alike painful to Lopoukhoff and to Véra Pavlovna. But on becoming calmer Véra Pavlovna began at last to breathe more easily. She embraced her husband with warmth, and with warmth kept on repeating to him: “It is you I wish to love, you alone; I wish to love only you.” he did not tell her that she was no longer mistress of herself in that matter: it was necessary to let the time slip by in order that her strength might be reestablished by the quieting influence of some thought or other, no matter what. But Lopoukhoff seized a favorable moment to write and place in Macha’s hands a note for Kirsanoff, which read as follows. “Alexander, do not come in now, and do not visit us for some time; there is nothing the matter and there will be nothing in particular the matter; only rest is necessary.” Rest necessary, and nothing in particular the matter,— a fine conjunction of words! Kirsanoff came, read the note, and told Macha that he had come on purpose to get the note, but had not time to come in now, as he had some distance yet to go, and would stop to reply on his way back.
The evening passed quietly, at least quietly to all appearance. Half the time Véra Pavlovna remained alone in her chamber after having sent her husband away, and half the time he was seated near her, quieting her continually by a few kind words, and not so much by words either, but by his gentle and soothing voice; not gay, of course, but not sad on the other hand — simply a little melancholy like his face. Véra Pavlovna, hearing this voice and looking at this face, began gradually to think that the matter was of no significance, and that she had mistaken for a strong passion a dream which would not be slow in vanishing.
Her feeling told her that this was not the case.
Yes, it is the case, thought she with greater firmness, and the thought prevailed. How could it have been otherwise within the hearing of this gentle voice which said that the matter was of no significance?
Véra Pavlovna went to sleep to the soft whisperings of this voice, did not see the apparition, slept quietly, and woke late and thoroughly rested.
“The best relief from sad thoughts is to be found in labor,” thought Véra Pavlovna (and she was quite right); “I will stay in the shop from morning till night until I am cured. That will cure me.”
And so she did. The first day she really found considerable to divert her thoughts; the second resulted in fatigue without much diversion; on the third she found no diversion at all. Thus passed a week.
The struggle was a painful one. Véra Pavlovna grew pale. But outwardly she was quite calm; she even tried to seem gay, and in this she almost always succeeded; but, though no one noticed anything and though the paleness was attributed to a slight indisposition, Lopoukhoff was not at all deceived; he did not even need to look at her; he knew the whole without.
“Vérotchka,” said he a week afterwards, “in our life we are realizing the old and popular belief that the shoemaker always goes barefooted and that the tailor’s clothes never fit him. We are teaching others to live according to our economic principles, and we scarcely dream of governing our own life in accordance with these same principles. One large household is much more advantageous than several small ones. I should like very much to apply this rule to our home. If we associate some one with us, we can save a great deal; I could abandon these cursed lessons, which are repugnant to me; my salary at the commercial house would be enough, and, having less work to do, I could resume my studies and make a career for myself. It is only necessary to select persons with whom we can agree. What do you think about it?”
All this time Véra Pavlovna had been looking at her husband with as much distrust and indignation as Kirsanoff had shown on the day of the theoretical conversation. When he had finished, she was red with anger.
“I beg you,” said she, “to suspend this conversation. It is out of place.”
“Why is it out of place, Vérotchka? I speak only of pecuniary interests; poor people like ourselves cannot neglect them. My work is hard and some of it disagreeable.”
“I am not to be talked to thus.” Véra Pavlovna rose. “I will permit no one to approach me with equivocations. Explain what you mean, if you dare.”
“I mean, Vérotchka, that, having taken our interests into consideration, we could profit” ...
“Again! Be silent! Who gave you the right to set yourself up as my guardian? I shall begin to hate you !” She ran hurriedly to her room and shut herself up.
It was their first and last quarrel.
Véra Pavlovna remained shut up in her room until late in the evening. Then she went to her husband’s room:
“My dear friend, I spoke too severely to you. But do not be offended. You seee, I am struggling. Instead of sustaining me you put within my reach that which I am pushing away with the hope,— yes, with the hope of triumph.”
“Forgive me, my friend for having approached the question so rudely. Are we then, reconciled? Let us talk a little.”
“Oh, yes, we are reconciled, my friend. Only do not work against me. I have already enough to do to struggle against myself.” “And it is in vain, Vérotchka. You have taken time to examine your feeling, and you see that it is more serious than you were willing to believe at first. What is the use of tormenting yourself?”
“No, my friend, it is you whom I wish to love, and I do not wish, I do not wish in any way to offend you.” ...
“My friend, you wish me well. Do you think, then, that I find it agreeable or useful that you should continue to torment yourself?”
“My dear friend, but you love me so much!”
“Much, Vérotchka, but what is love? Does it not consist in this,— to rejoice in the joy and suffer in the suffering of the person loved? In tormenting yourself you will torment me also.”
“That is true, my dear friend, but you will suffer also if I yield to this sentiment, which......Ah! I do not understand why this feeling was born in me! A curse upon it.”
“How and why it was born, it makes no difference; nothing can be changed now. There is nothing left but to choose one of these two things,— either that you suffer and myself with you, or that you cease to suffer and myself likewise.”
“But, my dear friend, I shall not suffer; this will pass away. You will see that it will pass away.”
“I thank you for your efforts. I appreciate them because they show that you have the will to do what you deem necessary. But know this, Vérotchka: they seem necessary only to you, not to me. As a looker-on I see your situation more clearly than you do. I Know that this will be useless. You may struggle while you have strength; but do not think of me, do not fear to offend me. You know my way of looking at these things; you know that my opinion is fixed and really judicious; you know all that. Do you expect to deceive me? Will you cease to esteem me? I might ask further: will your good feelings towards me, in changing their character, grow weaker? Will they not, on the contrary, be strengthened by this fact,— that you have not found an enemy in me? Do not pity me: my fate will be in no way deserving of pity because, thanks to me, you nave not been deprived of happiness. But enough. It is painful to talk too long about these things, and still more so for you to listen to them. Adieu, Vérotchka. Go to your room, reflect, or, rather, sleep. Do not think of me, but think of yourself. Only by thinking of yourself can you prevent me from feeling useless sorrows.”
Two weeks later, while Lopoukhoff was busy with his factory accounts, Véra Pavlovna spent the morning in a state of extreme agitation. She threw herself upon her bed, hid her face in her hands, and a quarter of an hour afterwards rose abruptly, walked up and down her room, fell into an armchair, began again to walk with an unsteady and jerky movement, threw herself again upon her bed, and then resumed her walk. Several times she approached her writing table, remained there a few moments, and went away rapidly. At last she sat down, wrote a few words, and sealed them; but half an hour afterwards she took the letter, tore it up, and burned the pieces. And her agitation began again. She wrote another letter, which she tore up and burned in turn. Finally, after renewed agitation, she wrote for the third time, and precipitately, as soon as she had sealed it and without taking time to address it, ran into her husband’s room, threw the letter on the table, fled into her room, and fell into an armchair, where she remained without stirring and hiding her face in her hands for half an hour, or perhaps an hour. A ring! It is he! She runs into his room to get the letter, tear it up, and bum it,— but where is it? It is not there. She looks for it hastily. But where is it, then? Already Macha is opening the door. Lopoukhoff, on entering, sees Véra Pavlovna gliding, with pale face and disordered hair, from her husband’s room to her own. He does not follow her, but enters his room directly. Coolly and slowly he examines his table and the things around it. To tell the truth, he has been expecting for some days an explation by conversation or by letter. At last here is a letter, unaddressed, but bearing Véra Pavlovna’s seal. It is evident that she was looking for it to destroy it; she could not have come in that condition to bring it; she was looking for it to destroy it; his papers are all in disorder; but could the poor woman have found it in her present state of agitation and mental disturbance? She has thrown it as one would throw a piece of coal which burned his fingers, and the letter has fallen on the casement behind the table. It is almost useless to read it: the contents are known. Let us read it nevertheless.
“My dear friend, I was never so strongly attached to you as at this moment. If I could only die for you! Oh! how happy I should be to die if it would make you happy! But I cannot live without him. I offend you, I kill you, my dear friend, and I do not wish to. I act in spite of myself. Forgive me! Forgive me!”
For more than a quarter of an hour Lopoukhoff remained before his table, his eyes lowered and fixed. Although the blow was expected, it was none the less terrible; although everything necessary to be done after such a confession had been reflected upon and decided in advance, he was at first very much agitated internally. At last he collected himself, and went to the kitchen to speak to Macha:
“Macha, wait a little, please, before setting the table. I feel a little indisposed, and I am going to take some medicine before dinner. As for you, do not wait for us; eat, and take your time. When I am ready to sit down to dinner, I will tell you.”
From the kitchen he went to his wife’s room. She was lying down with her face hid in the pillows; on his entrance she trembled.
“You have found it, you have read it! How mad I am! What I have written is not true; this letter is the result of a moment of fever and delirium.”
“Certainly, my friend. There is no need of paying any attention to this letter, since you have written it in so agitated a mood. Things of this importance cannot be decided in such a fashion. We have still much time to think the matter over, and to talk about it calmly several times, considering its importance to us. Meanwhile I wish to talk to you of my business. I have succeeded in making several changes which are very satisfactory to me. Are you listening to me?”
It is needless to say that she did not know herself whether she was listening or not. She could only have said that, listening or not, she heard something, but that, her thoughts being elsewhere, she did not really understand what she heard. Lopoukhoff, however, became more and more explicit, and she began to perceive that something else was in question, something having no relation to the letter. Gradually she began to listen, feeling herself compelled to do so. It was her desire, moreover, to think of something other than the letter, and, although she had not at first comprehended, she nevertheless had been gradually soothed by her husband’s dispassionate and almost jovial tone. At last she really comprehended what he was saying.
“But listen, then; these are very important matters to me,” continued the husband; yes, much-desired changes, which he described in all their details. It is true that she knew three-fourths of these things; she even knew them all; but what difference did it make? it was so good to listen. Lopoukhoff complained again of the lessons which for a long time had been disagreeable to him; he told why, and named the families to which he felt the greatest aversion. He added that his work of keeping the factory books was not unpleasant. It was important and permitted him to exert an influence over the workmen in the factory, with whom he might succeed in doing something: he had given elementary instruction to a few ardent friends, and shown them the necessity of teaching reading and writing; he had succeeded in obtaining for those teachers payment from the owners of the factory, having been able to show the latter that educated workmen injured the machinery less, worked better, and got drunk less frequently: he told how he had snatched workmen from lives of drunkenness, with which object he often frequented their taverns,— and I know not what besides. But the most important thing was that his employers esteemed him as an active and skilful man, who had gradually taken the affairs of the house into his own hands, so that the conclusion of the story, and the part that Lopoukhoff had most at heart, was this: he had been given the position of assistant superintendent of the factory; the superintendent, a member of the firm, was to have only the title and the usual salary, and he was to be the real superintendent; it was only on this condition that the member of the firm had accepted the position of superintendent.
“I cannot accept it,” the latter had said; “it would not become me.”
“But you need only accept the title so that it maybe attributed to a man of standing; you need not take a hand in anything; I will do all.”
“In that case I can accept.”
But it was not the power conferred that concerned Lopoukhoff; the essential thing with him was that he would receive a salary of thirty-five hundred roubles, almost a thousand roubles more than before, thus enabling him to abandon all his other employments, much to his delight. This story lasted more than half an hour, and towards the end Véra Pavlovna was already able to say that she really felt very well and, after arranging her hair, would go to dinner.
After dinner Macha was given eighty kopecks to get a cab with which to carry in all directions a note from Lopoukhoff, saying: “I am at leisure, gentlemen, and shall be very glad to see you.” Shortly after appeared the horrible Rakhmétoff, followed soon by a number of young people, and a learned discussion began between these confident and obstinate debaters. They accused each other of all imaginable violations of logic; a few traitors to this elevated discussion aided Véra Pavlovna to pass a tolerable evening. Already she had divined the object of Macha’s errands, “how good he is!” thought she. This time Véra Pavlovna was glad to see her young friends, and, though entering into no frolics with them, she looked at them with joy and was ready to cover Rakhmétoff himself with kisses.
They did not separate till three o’clock in the morning. Véra Pavlovna, tired, was no sooner in bed than her husband entered.
“In speaking to you of the factory, I forgot, my dear Vérotchka. to say one thing, which, however, is not of great importance. Passing over the details,— for we are both in need of sleep,— I will tell you in two words. In accepting the place of assistant siqierintendent, I have reserved the privilege of taking a month, or even two if I like, before entering upon my duties. I wish to make good use of this time. It is five years since I went to see my parents at Riazan; hence I will go to embrace them. Till tomorrow, Vérotchka. Do not disturb yourself, Tomorrow you will have time. Sleep well.”
When the morrow came and Véra Pavlovna left her room, her husband and Macha were filling two valises with his things. Macha was very busy. Lopoukhoff had given her so many things to pack that she could not manage them.
“Help us, Vérotchka.”
All three drank their tea together while the packing was going on. Scarcely had Véra Pavlovna begun to come to herself when her husband said:
“Half past ten! It is time to go to the station.”
“I am going with you, my dear friend.”
“Dear Vérotchka, I shall have two valises; there will he no room for you. Sit with Macha in another cab.”
“That is not what I said. To Riazan.”
“Well, in that case Macha shall take the valises, and we will go together.”
In the street the conversation could not be very intimate, the noise of the pavements was so deafening!
Many things Lopoukhoff did not hear; to many others he replied in such a way as not to he heard himself, or else did not reply at all.
“I am going with you to Riazan,” repeated Véra Pavlovna.
“And your things? How can you go without your things? Get ready, if you wish to: you shall do as you think best. I will ask only this of you: wait for my letter. It shall reach you tomorrow; I will send it by some one coming this way.” How she kissed him at the station! What names she called him when he was boarding the train! But he did not stop talking of the factory affairs, of what a good state they were in, and how glad his parents would he to see him. Nothing in the world is so precious as health; she must take care of herself. At the very moment of parting he said to her through the railing:
“You wrote me yesterday that you were never so attached to me as now; it is true, dear Vérotchka. I am no less attached to you. Good feelings toward those whom we love implies a great desire for their happiness, as both of us know. Now, there is no happiness without liberty. You would not wish to stand in my way; no more do I wish to stand in yours. If you should stand in your own way for my sake, you would offend me. Therefore do nothing of the kind. And act for your greatest good. Then we will see. You will inform me by letter when I am to return. Au revoir, my friend! The bell is ringing the second time; it is time to go. Au revoir!”
This happened towards the end of April. In the middle of June Lopoukhoff returned to live at St. Petersburg for three weeks; then he went to Moscow,— on factory business, as he said. He started on the ninth of July, and on the morning of the eleventh occurred the adventure at the hotel situated near the Moscow railway station, and two hours later the scene which was enacted in a country-house on the island of Kamennoy. Now the reader with the penetrating eye can no longer miss his stroke and will guess who it was that blew his brains out. “I saw long ago that it was Lopoukhoff,” says the reader with the penetrating eye, enchanted by his talent for divination. What has become of Lopoukhoff, and how does it happen that his cap is pierced by a hall? “I do not know, but it was surely he who played this rascally bad trick,” repeats the reader with the penetrating eye. So be it, obstinate reader; judge in your own way; it is impossible to make you understand anything.
XXIX. An Uncommon Man.
About three hours after Kirsanoff’s departure Véra Pavlovna came back to herself, and one of her first thoughts was this: the shop cannot be abandoned. Much as Véra Pavlovna might like to demonstrate that the shop would go on of itself, she really knew very well that this was only a seductive idea, and that, to tell the truth, the shop required some such management as her own to keep it from falling to pieces. For the rest, the business was now well under way, and the management caused her but little trouble. Madame Mertzaloff had two children; but she could give half an hour to it two or three times a day. She certainly would not refuse, especially as she had already accepted opportunities to do many things in the shop. Véra Pavlovna began to unpack her things for a sale, and at the same time sent Macha first to Madame Mertzaloff to ask her to come, and then to a buckster named Rachel, one of the shrewdest of Jeweses, but an old and good acquaintance of Véra Pavlovna, toward whom Rachel practised the same absolute honesty that characterizes almost all the small Jewish merchants in their dealings with honest people. Rachel and Macha were to enter the apartments in the city, get all the clothes that had been left at the fur-dealer’s, where Véra Pavlovna’s cloaks had been deposited for the summer, and then, with all this baggage, come to the country-house, in order that Rachel, after estimating the value of the goods, might buy them all at once.
As Macha stepped through the carriage entrance, she met Rakhmétoff, who had been rambling about in the vicinity for half an hour.
“You are going away, Macha? For a long time?”
“I do not expect to get back before night. I have so much to do.”
“Is Véra Pavlovna alone?”
“Then I will go in and see her. Perhaps I will stay in your place, in case I can be useful.”
“Oh, yes, do so: I am afraid on her account. I have forgotten to notify any of the neighbors; there are, however, a cook and a child’s nurse, two of my friends, to serve her at dinner, for she has not yet dined.”
“That is nothing; no more have I; I have not dined; we can serve ourselves alone. But you,— have you dined?”
“Yes, Véra Pavlovna would not let me go away without.”
“Well, again! I should have supposed that it would have been forgotten.”
Excpet Macha and those who equalled or surpassed her in simplicity of soul and garb, everybody was a little afraid of Rakmétoff, Lopoukhoff, Kirsanoff, and all those who were afraid of nothing sometimes felt in his presence a sort of fear. Véra Pavlovna did not regard him as a friend: she found him too much of a bore, and he never frequented her society. But he was Macha’s favorite, although less amiable and talkative with her than were Lopoukhoff’s other visitors.
“I have come without an invitation, Véra Pavlovna,” he began: “but I have seen Alexander Matvéiteh, and I know all. Hence I thought that I might be useful to you in some way; so I will stay with you all the evening.”
Offers of service were not to be disdained at such a moment.
Any one else in Rakhmétoff’s place would have been invited, and would have proposed himself, to unpack the things; but he did not do it and was not asked to; Véra Pavlovna pressed his hand and said to him with sincere feeling that he was very grateful to him for his attentions to her.
“I will stay in the study,” he answered: “if you need anything, you will call me; and, if any one comes, I will open the door; do not disturb yourself.”
Having said this, he went very quietly into the study, took from his pocket a large piece of ham and a slice of black bread, weighing in all about four pounds, sat down in an armchair, ate the whole, and in trying to masticate it well drank half a decanter of water; then he went up to the bookshelves and began to look for something to read.
“Familiar....Imitation....Imitation....Imitation.....” This word Imitation referred to the works of Macaulay, Guizot, Thiers, Ranke, and Gervinus.
“Ah! here is something which falls opportunely to my hand,” said he, reading on the backs of several large volumes “Newton’s Complete Works”; he turned over the leaves, found what he was looking for, and with a gentle smile exclaimed: “Here it is! Here it is! ‘Observations on the Prophecies of Daniel and the Apocalypse of St. John.’
“Yes, I know little of such things as these. Newton wrote these commentaries in his extreme old age when he was half mad. They constitute a classic source for one studying, the question of the mingling of intellect with insanity. This is a universally historical question; this mixture is found in all events without exception; in almost all books, in almost all heads. But here must necessarilly be a typical form of it. In the first place, it concerns the greatest genius known. Then, the insanity mingled with this intellect is a recognized, indisputable insanity. Therefore this is a capital book of its kind. The most delicate indications of the general phenomenon must appear here in a more striking manner than in the case of any other individual, no matter who he may be, and no one can doubt that these are really the indications observable in phenomena concerning the mingling of insanity with intellect. In short, a book worth studying!”
So he began to read the book and with pleasure,— this book which no one had read for a century, except, perhaps, those who corrected the proofs. To any other than Rakhmétoff to read this book would have been like eating sand or sawdust. But he had a keen taste for it.
Of people like Rakhmétoff there are but few: I have met but eight (of whom two were women); they resembled each other in nothing, save one point. There were among them the amiable and the stern, the melancholy and the joyous, the fiery and the phlegmatic, the impressionable (one with a stern countenance, satirical even to insolence, and another with an apathetic face, have sobbed several times in my presence like hysterical women, and that not because of their own affairs, but in connection with a conversation on general topics; I am sure that they wept often when alone) and the imperturbably calm. They resemble each other in only one point, I have said; but that is enough to make a special type of them and distinguish them from all other men. I laughed at those whom I knew, when I was with them; they got angry or not, but they could not help doing as much themselves. And indeed there were many ridiculous things about them, and it was in that respect that they resembled each other. I like to laugh at such people.
The one whom I met. in the circle of Lopoukhoff and Kirsanoff, and whom I am about to describe, serves to prove that the opinions of Lopoukhoff and Alexey Pétrovitch on the qualities of the soil, in Véra Pavlovna’s second dream, allow one exception,— namely, that, whatever the quality of the soil, one may always find little patches of ground capable of producing healthy ears.
The genealogy of the principal personages of my story — Véra Pavlovna, Kirsanoff, and Lopoukhoff - has not been traced beyond their grandfathers and grandmothers. What would be the use of saying anything about the great-grandfather when the great-grandfather is already wrapped in the shades of oblivion? It is only known that he was the husband of the great-grandmother and that his name was Kiril, the grandfather’s name having been Gueracime Kirilytch.
Rakhmétoff belonged to a family known since the thirteenth century,— that is, to one of the oldest families not only in Russia, but in all Europe. Among the chiefs of the Tatar regiments massacred at Tver with their army, for having tried to convert the people to Mohammedanism, according to the reports (an intention which they certainly did not have), but in reality simply for having exercised tyranny,— among these chiefs was one named Rakhmét, who had had a child by a Russian whom he had abducted, a niece of the principal court official at Tver,— that is, the high court marshal and field marshal. The child was spared on account of the mother and rebaptized as Latyfe-Mikhail. It is from Latyfe-Mikhail Rakmétovitch that the Rakhmétoffs descend. At Tver they were boyars, at Moscov they were only grand officers of the crown, and at St. Petersburg in the last century they were generals-in-chief,— not all of them, of course; the family having become very numerous, certainly all its members could not be generals-in-chief. The father of the great-grandfather of our Rakhmétoff was a friend of Ivan Ivanytch Chouvaloff, who got him out of the disgrace into which he had fallen in consequence of his friendship for Munich. His great-grandfather was the colleague of Roumiantsoff, had attained the rank of general-in-chief, and was killed at the battle of Novi. His grandfather accompanied Alexander to Tilsitt, and would have gone farther than any of the others, but his friendship with Spéransky put an early end to his career. “At last his father served the government without success or disgrace. At the age of forty he retired and went to live as a retired lieutenant-general on one of his estates sattered along the banks of the Medveditza and near its source. The estates, however, were not very large, containing in all about twenty-five hundred souls. But he had many children,— eight, we believe. Of these eight children Rakhmétoff was the next to the last, there being one sister younger than himself; consequently his inheritance was rather small: he received about four hundred souls and seven thousand acres of land. What he did with these souls and fifty-five hundred acres of the land no one knew; so also no one knew that he kept fifteen hundred acres, that he was a seigneur, and that he derived an income of three thousand roubles from the leases of that part of the land which he kept; no one knew that while he lived among us. We did not learn it till later, but we supposed of course that he belonged to the family of Rakhmétoffs containing so many rich seigneurs, whose aggregate wealth was estimated at seventy-five thousand souls. These seigneurs live near the sources of the Medveditza, the Khoner de la Soura, and the Tzna; they have always been marshals of the nobility of their district. The marshal of the nobility for the government in one or another of the three governments through which flow the tributary sources of the aforesaid rivers is always a member of this family. We knew also that our friend Rakhmétoff spent four hundred a year; for a student that was much in those days, but for a Seigneur Rakhmétoff it was very little. But it was difficult to get information, and we simply said to ourselves that our Rakhmétoff belonged to some branch of the family that had fallen into poverty,— that perhaps he was a son of the counsellor of some financial board who had left his children a small capital. But of course all these things interested us but little.
Now he was twenty-two years old; he had been a student since the age of sixteen, but he had spent almost three years away from the University. At the end of his second year he went to his estate, arranged his affairs, and, after having overcome the resistance of his tutor, won the curses of his brothers, and behaved himself in such a way that the husbands of his sisters had forbidden them to pronounce his name, he began to travel through Russia by land and water in ordinary and extraordinary ways,— on foot, for instance, and in decked boats, and in boats of not much speed. He met with many adventures; he took two individuals to the University of Kazan and five to that of Moscow,— they were his bursars,— but to St. Petersburg, where he intended to come himself, he brought none; this accounts for the fact that no one knew that his income was not four hundred roubles but three thousand. That was not ascertained till later. Then we only saw that he had disappeared for a long time, that two years before he had entered the philological faculty, that still earlier he had been in that of the natural sciences, and that was all.
But though none of his St. Petersburg acquaintances knew anything of his relatives or his fortune, all on the other hand, knew him by two surnames; one of these, “the rigorist,” the reader knows already; this name he accepted with his light smile of half-content. But when they called him Nikitouchka, or Lomoff, or by his full surname, Nikitouchka Lomoff, a broad smile lit up his face, which was justifiable, since it was not by birth but by the firmness of his will that he had acquired the right to bear this illustrious name among millions of men. But this name is glorious only in a strip of land one hundred versts wide crossing eight governments; to readers living in other parts of Russia this name requires explanation. Nikitouchka Lomoff, a boat-hauler who went up the Volga fifteen or twenty years ago, was a giant of Herculean strength; two archines and fifteen verchoks in height, his chest and shoulders were so large that he weighed fifteen poudes, although he was not fleshy, but simply solid. As for his strength it is enough to say that he received on account of it four times the usual wages. “When the vessel reached a town and our man went to the market, or, as they say on the Volga, to the bazaar, the young villagers in the neighboring alleys were heard to shout: “There’s Nikitouchka Lomoff! There’s Nikitouchka Lomoff!” and everybody ran into the street leading from the wharf to the bazaar, and the people followed in crowds their hero-athlete.
When Rakhmétoff, at the age of sixteen, came to St. Petersburg, he was an ordinary youth of somewhat above the average height and strength, but very far from being remarkable for his muscular force: of ten of his equals in age taken at random two surely would have thrown him. But in the middle of his seventeenth year he formed the idea of acquiring physical strength and acted accordingly. At first he practised gymnastics; it was a good plan, but gymnastics only perfects the original material; it was necessary, therefore, to equip himself with the material, and during twice as long a period as he had spent in gymnastics he became for several hours every day a laborer in search of work requiring strength; he carried water, delivered fire-wood, chopped it up, cut stone, dug in the earth, sawed wood, and forged iron; he tried many different kinds of work, changing very often, for with each new task, with each change, new muscles were developed. He adopted the diet of pugilists: he ate food known exclusively as strengthening, especially almost raw beef-steak, and from that time on he always lived so. A year later he took his journey, and found in it still more favorable opportunities for developing his physical strength: he had been an agricultural laborer, a carpenter, a boatman, and a worker at all sorts of healthy trades; once he even went along the Volga from Doubovka to Rybinsk as a boat-hauler. To say that he wanted to be a boat-hauler would have seemed in the last degree absurd both to the master of the boat and to the boat-haulers, and they would not have accepted him; but he took the bank simply as a traveller. After having put himself on friendly terms with the boat-haulers, he began to aid them in pulling the rope, and a week later became a veritable boat-hauler; they soon saw how he pulled, and they measured strength with him; he vanquished four of the strongest boat-haulers; he was then twenty years old, and his fellow-workmen christened him Nikitouchka Lomoff, in memory of the hero who was then already dead. The following summer he travelled by steamboat; one of the men with whom he had worked at boat-hauling happened to be in the crowd on deck, and it was in this way that some students, his fellow-travellers, learned that he had been called Nikitouchka Lomoff. In fact, by devoting his time to it, he had acquired and learned how to use extraordinary strength. “I must do it,” he had said; “it will make me loved end esteemed by the common people. And it is useful; some day it may prove good for something.” And thus it was that he acquired this extraordinary strength. At the age of sixteen he came to St. Petersburg an ordinary school-graduate, who had worthily completed his early studies, he passed his first months of study after the manner of beginners.
[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.
Show me a man whose motive in wanting to get the existing governmental machine out of the way is to make room for his own pet machine, and I will show you a man who is not a true Anarchist, but a quack masquerading as such,—a man who has an axe to grind.
It is astonishing, even among those who try to pass for Anarchists, how deeply rooted is the superstition that human society cannot go on except some compact, overshadowing machine be set up to cover all social concerns.
The State Socialist hates the existing governmental machine, and says it must go. But if you tell him that society can get along without any machine at all, he thinks you a fool and a fanatic. What he is after is to knock out the machine of Thomas Jefferson and set up the machine of Karl Marx in its place.
I have been reading with great interest some recent articles in Johann Most’s “Freiheit,” explaining the modus operandi of his scheme. Most and his adherents have a machine too, which is to cover all the human race and all the humanities. Curious it is to see Most wriggle and twist to avoid exposing what is inevitable in every such scheme to take care of everybody,— a square resort to brute force.
Herr Most warns the faithful to be wary of Proudhon’s notions of “free will” in social contracts. His patent machine for social grouping is to rest upon free contracts, of course; but they must not be contracts which may be declined, changed at will, or seceded from. This, he says, is farthest from his thoughts. Furthermore, he asserts that there is no such thing as “free will,” — that the will is simply the plaything of our thoughts, needs, and interests, which force us into groups, instead of leaving us to voluntary option.
Evidently the thing referred to, which forces us into social groups, instead of leaving us to voluntary option, is the will of Herr Most, behind his patent omnibus machine. No man living has ever yet been able to get a square answer out of Most, as to whether he proposes to let the individual severely alone who wants nothing to do with any of his groups or any part of his machine, but who simply proposes to mind his own business at his own cost. The fact is that his, like every other machine which proposes to supervise and run things by the wholesale, must ultimately hinge on force.
When will reformers learn that it is the machine itself, as a principle, that underlies the curse of despotism? If we must have a machine, it is immaterial whether we are saddled with the machine of Thomas Jefferson, Karl Marx, Henry George, or Herr Most. One is just as good as the other; for all are loaded with despotism, and all are infinitely bad.
Jefferson unrolled the whole scroll of despotism when, in the Declaration of Independence, he affirmed that “governments are instituted among men,” etc. In that word “instituted” lies the whole mischief. True social order is a thing of evolution. It develops out of such conditions as follow from the mutual recognition of individual sovereignty and liberty among men. It is not a thing “instituted.” It takes care of itself when instituted machines are not suffered to interpose. Instituted schemes anticipate social conditions by pure invention, and are not willing to wait and let men associate in such ways as they may select, after free social combinations are made possible. How. does Herr Most know how I may choose to associate with my neighbors for mutual well-being, after the existing order is abolished? What right has he to institute a machine for me, when he knows that in the very nature of things he is bound to resort to force in order to make the instituted thing cover society at large? Is he at bottom engaged in any better business than those who instituted the governments which he intends to knock out?
When true social order comes naturally, it is self-instituting. Just as fast as men secede from the old order, they go about the new order in their own way. The reform machinist is not satisfied with this. He wants to draft the whole edifice of the future all at once. He is evidently possessed with the fatal delusion of the “builders of States.” He has invented a machine, and is determined to set it up. It is so big that there is not room for it and the old one together; so he proposes to blow up and clean out the old one with a rush, to make room for his. Then, since the machine is an omnibus, every man in society must take hold of it, or it fails: so he is driven to concede that every man who will not take hold of it is a public enemy and must be “fired” off or squeezed off the social field. The reform machinist is evidently an egotist who has an axe to grind.
The new coming order will spring up silently in a thousand places, just as fast as Liberty and the basic rights of individuals are recognized, and men turn away from the old order in their manifold social spheres. Nobody’s pet omnibus machine is ever going to do it. I have no sympathy with this egotistic quackery of the machine reformers. They had far better be spending their time and money in assisting Liberty by word and deed than in concocting schemes which, when sounded to the bottom, deny Liberty. He is a strange Anarchist — not unfitly described as a “home rule Anarchist” — who is anxious to abolish existing rulers in order to get in his own rule.
An Oil-and-Water Combination.
A convention of delegates from Pacific Coast trades unions was held in San Francisco in March under the auspices of the International Association, at which the following resolution was offered by P. Ross Martin of Sacramento:
Resolved: That, revolting the words of Louis Blanc and Victor Hugo of France, Karl Marx and William Liebknecht of Germany, H. M. Hyndman and William Morris of England, Bronterre O’Brien and Michael Davitt of Ireland, Piy-Margal of Spain, Andreas Scheu of Austria, and John Swinton, Joseph R. Buchanan, Henry Appleton, Wendell Phillips, Henry George, and Laurence Gronlund of America, we, the Pacific Coast Congress of Trades and Labor Organizations, unanimously declare: First, that every individual who is willing to work has a right to demand from organized society the opportunity to labor and to receive for that toil its full value; second, that it is the duty of the whole people in their collective capacity to so administer the affairs of the commonwealth as to secure to all their just demands.
The circular sent me does not make it quite clear whether the above resolution was adopted, but I infer that it was. In that case, Henry Appleton being a pronounced Anarchist of the anti-Communistic school and a believer in labor solutions diametrically opposite to those proposed by the eminent State Socialists with whom his name is thus unwarrantably associated, it is his clear duty to himself and to Anarchism to publicly protest against this resolution and expose its author’s ignorance in confounding ideas that have nothing in common. No doubt he will do so.
Because I said, in answer to the “Investigator” editor’s interrogative argument, “Would you like to see your own daughter living in polygamy?” that the wishes of the daughters themselves should be consulted, Mr. Seaver says that I seem by my language to be “in favor of wives living in polygamy;” and because I further I said that “every honest father, whatever he may desire to see his daughter do or not do, will strive to secure her in the right of choice,” Mr. Seaver charges me with declaring that “every honest father will say amen” to polygamy,— that is, will approve it. The most charitable explanation of these extrordinary non-sequiturs is to be found in the assumption that Mr. Seaver is a peevish old man.
The Possibilities of Evolution.
[E. W. Ball in The Index.]
At length, in the nineteenth century of the vulgar era, we have a new, modern, popular civilization, which is bringing the masses to the front, and accustoming them to the assertion and exercise of their social and political rights as men, as beings born upon the high plane of reason, thought, will, and feeling, whatever their material circumstances and perversities may be. It is a new, a great departure; but no step backward will be taken, whatever temporary discouragements may happen to cloud the social and political prospects of the multitude. There is infinite time ahead for the evolution of “the rascal rabble” or the lowest of the low at last into rational, thoughtful, self-governing men and women. For, as I have said, current civilization is truly popular. It is a universal light-spreader and knowledge-diffuser. The amelioration of the mental, moral, and material condition of the masses has begun; and it will go on from century to century, until the brutishness, ignorance, and poverty of the past shall have been eliminated from human society everywhere. Time, in the course of thousands and millions of years, has been, as we learn from geology and prehistoric investigation, a miraculous transformer of men and things. With time enough, almost any kind of metamorphosis can be accomplished, physical, social, or political. We as yet stand on the threshold of the historic period. As Emerson truly says, “Geology, a science of forty or fifty summers, has bad the effect to throw an air of novelty and mushroom speed over entire history. The oldest empires,— what we called venerable antiquity,— now that we have true measures of duration, show like creations of yesterday.” Go back far enough, and we find the human race, with all its capabilities of indefinite development, dwelling in caves, hairy, prognathous, repulsive, and anthropoid. So say the evolutionists. While gazing at pictorial representations of the primitive homo or cave-dweller, we can hardly see how by any possibility of derivation the noble men and beautiful women of the highest civilizations of the last twenty or thirty centuries could have emanated from such a hideous source. In like manner, a thousand years hence, majority rule may have given place to no rule at all in the absence of the necessity of any repressive government, each man spontaneously respecting every other man’s rights. What the few have been and are in mental and moral elevation, all men, in the lapse of thousands of years, may become. Barbarism will then have become extinct; and the more and more deeply contriving brain will have made bone, muscle, and animalism of no account or we. The distance from the present to such a social consummation is not so great as it is from the cave-dwellers to the best specimens of the best races of today.
A Household of Four.
Taking for his text a recent social sensation, Edmond Roland writes as follows of polygamy in the Paris “Radical”:
All Paris is talking about the strange Odyssey of Lecouty, the bigamist of Alfortville, the details of which our readers know. Lecouty, therefore, is the hero of the day; he is spoken of everywhere, and everywhere his case is discussed, but without any abhorrence, for the crime which he has committed is not of those which bring down upon their authors the curses of the crowd.
Vain to call him criminal, for he is interesting just the same: men, astonished, pity him, and women, while blaming him, cannot help finding attenuating circumstances in his favor, for in their eyes a man who has the courage to marry two women at once is not an ordinary being.
It is known that he was kind to his first wife and adored his child; hence he was a good husband and a good father. Moreover, this Lecouty is highly moral, for, being greatly smitten with Mlle. Levanneur, he did not try to deceive her, as so many others would have done in his place; on the contrary, like an honest man, he went to her father and asked him for his daughter’s hand.
He had no right to do this, you will say; he was already married once, and should not have abandoned his wife.
Who told you that he wished to abandon her? That matter has never been in question; Mme. Lecouty (the first) is pleased to admit that her husband has never ceased to show the kindest regard for her. There is nothing to prove that after his second marriage he would not have continued to fulfil his duties as a husband towards his first wife.
Now, what is going to happen?
Lecouty is going to be arrested and condemned for the crime of bigamy; he will go to the galleys; his marriage with Mlle. Levanneur will be annulled, and very likely Mme. Lecouty (the first) will obtain a divorce.
Here are two women who were regularly married to a man whom they loved and who are about to find themselves unattached because the law takes their husband away from them.
I appeal to all those fathers of families who know how difficult it is in these days to marry one’s daughter suitably. Because the law does net permit every citizen to have two wives at once, how many young girls never know the delight of marriage and grow old with the orange-blossoms or turn into the paths of vice, thus increasing the number of unproductive factors in society.
There is nothing very frightful in polygamy per se; how many people there are, reputed to have pure morale, who practise it on a great scale,— convivial husbands and faithless wives! Only that goes on outside of the household; it is known, but never spoken of.
I know, right here in Paris, an excellent man who has three legitimate wives and does not get along so badly, nor they either for that matter.
He married his first wife in Paris, and shortly after separated from her. He went to live at Bordeaux, and married again; his second wife having left him, he started for Buenos Ayres, and married a third time with the same unconstraint.
Returning to France four years ago with his third wife, after having made his fortune, he took a house in the Batignolles.
Wife number two had come to live in Paris, where, by a singular chance, she had met number one. The two women told their sorrows to each other, and swore solemnly to hunt “the wretch” down.
They met him, and both proceeded to the house of our trigamist, entering upon him like a hurricane and creating a terrible scene: cries, tears, threats, swoons, nervous attacks,— nothing was lacking, and our man spent nearly an hour running from one to the other with a bottle of vinegar in his hand. He emptied it entirely.
When the crisis was passed, the trigamist took the floor, first inviting them to be calm. He began a little speech in which he showed them how little it was for their interest to appeal to the courts, for then none of them could live with him. He spoke next of the fortune that he had made, of mutual wrongs, of dormant but not extinct affections; he was tender, compassionate, loving, persuasive, and squarely proposed that all four should live together.
The three women sprang up simultaneously on hearing this proposition, and articulated a formidable “Never!”
The trigamist begged them to reflect, adding that, if he should receive no reply, he would blow his brains out the following evening. He remained alone with number three, whom he consoled as best be could.
The next day two furniture wagons stopped at his door; the first two wives had reflected!
And ever since that time all four have been living very happily together, without quarreling,— a fact which is thus explained: whenever one of the wives is in bad humor and tries to pick a quarrel with “her husband,” the others join against her to please “their husband,” and she finds herself obliged to capitulate.
On the contrary, whenever he sulks, all three display so many seductions that he has to resume his gayety, for a man may perhaps resist one woman, but not three at once!
So let us confess that Lecouty is not as criminal as they are trying to make him out.
Advice to a Congressman.
Though I know nothing else especially in favor of Edward J. Phelps, the new Minister to England, the following letter, written by him in December, 1883, to John W. Stewart, at that time just elected a Republican member of congress from Vermont, is enough to convince me that there is good material in him for an Anarchist:
Always vote in favor of a motion to adjourn. And, if the period of adjournment is in question, vote for the longest time and the earliest day.
Vote steadily against all other propositions whatsoever. There is already legislation enough for the next five hundred years. No honest man wants any more. Even unconstitutional bills for the further enlargement of the negro should form no exception to this rule.
Make no speeches. Nobody attends to congressional oratory when delivered. When printed, nobody reads it, and it is a nuisance to the mails. I have had more than four million such speeches sent me, and never read one in my life.
Do not allow yourself to be drawn into aspersion upon the memory of Guy Fawkes. He has been much censured by shallow men. History will in the end do him justice. Before you have been long in congress you will perceive that one such man nowadays, with better luck, might do the country more service than a hundred presidential candidates or Christian statesmen.
Do not be seen much in public in the company of Republicans. Outside of New England, they are not, as a rule, savory. Some associations will be tolerated, though known to exist, when decently veiled. But there is no excuse for parading them in public.
Practise rigid economy. The experience of the average congressmen shows that it is possible by judicious frugality to save about one hundred thousand dollars each session out of the salary. Thus the true patriot, in standing by his country, makes his country stand by him.
Cultivate assiduously all newspaper correspondents. All there is of public life is what the papers say. And they will say anything that is made worth their while.
Do not become a candidate for the presidency. The idea that the country is anxious to elect you to that office is chimerical. Nor has the country anything to do with it except to vote as it is told.
In case of doubt take the trick.
Keep your nostrils open, your mouth shut, your bead cool, and your feet warm. Avoid congressional whiskey, Bob Ingersoll, the game of poker, and the courts of the District of Columbia.
Beware of statesmen with great moral ideas. You will find immoral ideas more honest as well as more interesting.
Whatever happens, do not relinquish hope. As Cicero observes, nil desperandum, do not despair. You have once been a respected member of the Addison county bar. Resolve to regain that position. Live for the future and live down the present.
Liberty takes pleasure in translating from “L’Intransigeant” the following tribute from the pen of Gramont to one of the foremost revolutionary spirits of this age, who succeeded, almost unaided, in revolutionizing in his own lifetime one of the most important realms of life,— music:
The admirable thing about this man, Richard Wagner,— one of the things which contributed to make him great,— is this:
He continued. It all lies there.
I mean that he allowed himself to be discouraged by nothing,— neither by poverty, nor by hissing and ridicule, nor by disappointments and drawbacks.
Never did he allow doubt to invade his mind. He continued, he persevered, he had the sublime stubbornness of genius. He has completed his task, accomplished his work. And he has accomplished it exactly in accordance with his wishes and his dreams, without being moved or disturbed, without compromising, without granting the slightest concession. Ah! there is no more need of compromise in art than in politics or sociology. And one is always rewarded for being inflexible.
It is because he did what he did, as he did it, and as he wished to do it,— at whatever cost,— in spite of everything and everybody,— that Wagner has finally triumphed, and found hearers and admirers and fanatics and nations to cheer him. That is why his apotheosis is now beginning.
He might have acted otherwise; compromised, yielded; listened to the criticisms of some, surrendered to the good advice of others.
Perhaps in this way he would have achieved success more quickly, sooner have attained an unquestioned position.
But he could not have become intoxicated from the divine cup of Glory.
He might have occupied an excellent rank among the composers of his day: he would not have been the formidable creator of the lyric Drama and the musical Comedy.
He would have written some “Rienzis.” He would not have produced “Tristan and Isolde,” or “The Meistersingers,” or “The Ring of the Nibelungen,” or “Parsifal.”
He would be a remarkable musician. He would not be a unique man.
Nothing was able to turn him from the path which he had undertaken to pursue and to the end of which he was determined to go.
“I will overturn, I will revolutionize, I will transform the lyric theatre. I will make music thus, and no otherwise. I will make such and such works, conceived and executed in such and such fashion. And thus it shall be, and I will sacrifice no part of my ideas, of my system. I will not cut out a measure, not a note. So much the worse for those who prove unable to understand me! So much the worse if they outrage me and scoff at me! To insults and hisses I am indifferent.”
And what he undoubtedly said to himself he did.
Perseverance,— that was the condition necessary to change the concert of raillery and insult into an immense clamor of triumph.
“Genius is patience,” said Buffon. Too absolute a formula to be exact. But patience is one of the essential qualities of genius. Certainly! Wagner, Balzac, all the great names that have been disputed, all the great men that have been despised, are striking proofs of this.
Patience,— or, better, obstinacy, stubbornness, which no objection can convince or conquer.
The littérateur, the musician, the artist, when attacked, ridiculed, or advised, should answer imperturbably, in the words of the Jesuit concerning the statutes of his order: Sint ut sunt aut non sint!
“There is my drama, my symphony, my picture; there is my work: I wished it thus, thus I have made it,— and thus it shall be, or it shall not be at all!”
Henry Maret lately recalled — in one of his articles so admirably French in their clearness, logic, and wit — the story of that hero of the “Thousand and One Nights” who, having started on the conquest of the marvellous singing tree, would not allow himself to be disturbed on his way by the jeering voices of had genii.
A symbol of the conduct which the artist ought to follow! He starts, he too, on the conquest of the fairy tree; he must close his ears to the vain and foolish din without, and listen only to his own genius, his fine familiar spirit.
In that way one reaches the radiant summits, and some day rises up in splendor before the eyes of the stupefied and enthusiastic crowd.
But even though one should not arrive! Even though one should fail! Even though one should never be rewarded, by triumph, for his obstinate perseverance! What matter?
There are other rewards, other joys, for the artist!
Those who — to use the beautiful expression of a contemporary thinker — “do not carry within themselves their own glory” are despised and hated by the Muse, and never will they feel upon their lips the devouring, the terrible, the delicious fire of the kiss of the Immortal.
A Despot Republic.
It is enough to make the devil laugh to hear our congressmen and courts talk of this or that proposed enactment being unconstitutional, while the statutes of the United States positively swarm with clauses contrary to the letter and spirit of the constitution of the Union, if words have any meaning.
In Elliott’s Debates,— Volume, Virginia,— there was much debate among the founders on the “sweeping clause,” as ’tis called. Patrick Henry and others insisted that there should be some express check on the power of congress to punish offences. Henry remarked that under that clause congress might in time assume power to punish all offences “from petit larceny up to treason.”
One member replied that it would be impossible, because the constitution gives them power to punish only treason, felony on the high seas, piracy, counterfeiting, offences against laws of nations, and those arising in the army, navy, etc., districts, territories, forts, dockyards, etc.
Madison very clearly explained why congress could punish only such offences as were named. In the volume, Massachusetts, is a remarkable speech made by Holmes describing the condition of the country should the time ever come when congress would assume power to punish all offences. The men of that day dreaded the idea of dragging accused persons from the “county of the fact” and trying them before jurors not of the “vicinage.” Alas! the very words today have no meaning to their descendants.
However, to satisfy all parties and make assurance doubly sure, the constitution was amended by clause Number 2 of the Amendments.
The history of that time shows that the people were all awake to the importance of keeping a check on this power of congress to create and punish offences.
A few years after the constitution was adopted, congress passed an act to punish “sedition”; also an act to punish “frauds committed on the United States Bank.” The whole country was soon in a ferment. Madison drew up the Virginia Resolutions, and Jefferson the Kentucky Resolutions. These Resolutions declared that, whereas congress had no power to punish any offences except treason, etc., the act to punish sedition and the act to punish frauds were null, void, and of no effect. Jefferson was elected president on the issues presented, and congress seceded from its attempt to encroach. But how can a mere bit of parchment with no tribunal to speak for it resist the constant aggressions of other departments of government? Today congress punishes at least a hundred offences it has created within the past thirty years. Accused persons are dragged from their counties and States and compelled to defend at their own costs. No compensation, if discharged, for ruinous outlays, for mileage, witness fees, etc. To get one witness will often cost not less than a hundred dollars. It lies within the power of a district attorney to annoy to death any citizen. Is this exaggerated? Commissioner Raum reported that a vast number of such prosecutions had been gotten up merely to make fees. It has come to light that some United States Marshals have retired with millions made by illicit prosecutions. Thousands of men have been driven into bankruptcy, madness, or suicide by groundless prosecutions within the past twenty years. Truly, it is a grand spectacle to see a Republic like this prosecuting on groundless charges poor wretches in violation of its fundamental law and with the use of such legal machinery as drags the accused hundreds of miles from the county of the fact before jurors utterly unknown to him. A long life of manly virtue has perhaps made him a tower of strength at his home. No blackmailer dare approach him: no spy’s oath can ruin him where his character gives the lie to the charge. If accused and tried at home defence is easy. But drag him hundreds of miles among utter strangers. “Who is this contemptible prisoner the great United States has throttled? Some vile fellow, no doubt.” He must bring his bail or go to prison. He must fee the officers to pay their travelling expenses. He must advance hundreds of dollars forthwith. When ready for trial, the State is not. He must go through it all again; then, in nine cases out of ten, after he has been racked and wrecked, he is dismissed. Thousands have been thus abused to gratify the greed or malice of officials.
The Impartial Dynamiter.
[Galveston Daily News.]
Before the centralising state socialist establishes his all-pervading tyranny, perhaps the ubiquitous dynamiter will get away with him, too. It one set of despots must go, then all other despots must share the same destiny.
Then and Now.
XV. A Newspaper Editor Tells of the Tricks of His Trade.
Boston, April 25, 2085.
My Dear Louise:
Several weeks ago I was introduced by Mr. De Demain to the editor of the chief newspaper in Boston. It is a daily of thirty two pages, each page about twelve inches long and nine inches wide,— quite convenient to read. The circulation is very large, often reaching, I am told, five hundred thousand copies in a single day. Editions are printed every hour from one a.m. to seven p.m. I will not attempt to further describe the paper for you, but will let the editor do that in his interesting talk with me.
“Without our papers,” said he, “I think anarchy would be impossible. Anarchy is nothing more or less than a nice adjustment of the different forces that cause individuals to act. The newspaper chronicles their acts, and thus enables the individuals to see when the social mechanism is out of order. In this way the equilibrium can be kept. The newspaper today is a mirror which reflects the acts of humanity. It gathers, but does not magnify, the rays of human actions, concentrating them so that one man can see with the eyes of all men. That is, he can see the facts pictured in truthful outlines. He gets a sketch that he may fill in to suit his fancy. If any part of society gets started on the wrong track, disastrous results will show themselves sooner or later. These results the newspaper records, and the reader is, in consequence, warned in time, and the evil tendency is corrected. You can readily see how such information, or news, is of very great value to every individual. It is no idle curiosity that prompts men to read the newspapers. It is absolutely necessary for their welfare that they do so. That newspaper which gives the greatest number of correct reports of events of the day is most valuable to the reader, and will naturally have the largest circulation. But the newspaper not only warns men against evil tendencies, but, by giving the news, shows them when they are going right, when they are advancing. In this way the newspaper is a most potent factor in the development of humanity.
“The province of the newspaper is not to criticise, not to advise. We simply print information, nothing else.”
“But,” said I, “you print advertisements?”
“Yes, but those are information. We receive payment for them according to the space they occupy, but they are all written by men connected with our office, who inspect the goods offered by the advertiser and then write the notices for the paper in accordance with the facts. Our intention is to print nothing but reports of things as they actually are, of past events as they actually happened, and of coming events which are controlled by man as it is proposed they shall actually happen.”
“Then you do not believe in making comment, favorable or unfavorable, in print on the acts of humanity?”
“I most certainly do believe in it, but not in a newspaper. Such comment is not information, and has no place in a newspaper. There are numbers of very successful dailies, weeklies, monthlies, and quarterlies whose space is almost entirely devoted to comment. Then there are many others filled with poems and romances for the amusement of their readers,— journals somewhat similar to those published two centuries ago.”
“Then the only difference between the newspaper of today and that of two hundred years ago is that today you have no editorial page?”
“We fancy that there is more difference than that,” said he with a smile. “But that is an important difference, for this reason: when we make no comments, we make no mistakes in judgment; we let each individual read the reports of events as they happen and form his own opinions first. If he desires the opinions of others, he can always find them in journals published for that purpose.
“You appreciate the fact that we Anarchists believe in individual opinions. We like to read the opinions of others, but we prefer to form our own opinions first. ‘Editorial policy’ was the worst feature of the newspapers of two hundred years ago. It kept the people in a sort of slavery intellectually, and helped keep them in actual slavery to the profit-gatherers. If the newspapers of that time had printed faithful reports of current events, without comment, anarchy would have resulted in a very short time. The editorial policy of the newspapers was then dictated by those whose interests it was to keep alive the system of robbery fostered by government. Matter in the news columns every day showed that society was founded on false principles; the editorial columns were devoted to articles showing that these principles were not false.
“How absurd it is to speak of the editorial opinion of a newspaper! There can be no opinion but the opinion of man. All opinion must be individual opinion. This is recognized by those who edit publications which consist of comments; and all articles are signed with the name of the writer.”
“Are there, then, no papers which publish both news and comment?”
“There are a few, but, for the reasons that I mentioned above, they are not popular. There is a sort of mutual understanding between editors and readers that a man cannot deal in news and comment in large quantities both at the same time any better than he can deal in silk and groceries. Of course, a man may do the latter, but he can’t do it well. I think it is always well for a man to give his attention to one kind of work at a time, and the rule applies to papers as well.”
I suppose he must be right in his views about newspapers. However that may be, his paper is very interesting to me, and everybody reads it, I may send you a copy sometime.
Social Evolution in the Thought-Sphers.
Our personal experience may foreshadow upon consciousness the more complex evolutions of society as well as those which history records.
As to property, outlined in my individual life, are the three successive phases:
Instinctive selfishness in exclusive proprietorship.
Expansive friendliness in the communion of goods.
Axial independence, by property in the soil, with culture consecrating that property, and the social radiation of uses from this axis. Even of ulterior developments, as Labor Exchange, I find a germ in free mutual contracts of service, repudiating all external laws.
The earliest phase — the instinct to appropriate, accumulate, and hoard — is the more remarkable because purely sportive, and without external motive or pressure, in solitude, before school days. It was perhaps an atavism reflected from my palingenesic experience. I once saved up eleven coppers, and buried them in a little grotto on my father’s big lot. I put under my pillow for tomorrow morning the gingercake that I could have enjoyed in the evening. I had my own private library under a sidetable, and a green curtain, apart from the big family book-case, to which I had free access. Next appeared the germ of traffic in the form of swapping toys; but my mother, who had the aristocratic aversion to trade, soon made me ashamed of this. Then I became very generous, and time and again shared freely all I could command with the needier, as members of our human solidarity, either with or without ties of personal affection. This was the phase of communism, an instinctual sentiment, which never took the form of a rational principle. I had passed the age of fifty before multiple experience of the unworthiness, the perfidy, the ingratitude, the knavery of men compelled me to suppress my too liberal allowance for their circumstances, and to identify their characters with their conduct, shaping my own to them accordingly, as the Anarchist must do in his cautious contracts.
While general society is still in the primitive child-phase of selfishness, altruist generosity and devotion, of which Christianity was once the exponent, now repelled by the secular ambitions of the church, take refuge with the Nihilists, and since the Shakers have got rather too rich, Communism seems to have become the banner bearer of the International movement, purely secular.
The higher organic phases of cooperative association, though demonstrative by certain well-known local successes, have been hitherto restricted and prevented from leavening the social mass, partly because of its defective susceptibility, but chiefly because of the counteracting influence of the Press, enslaved to capitalistic monopoly.
Horace Greeley, reputed the champion of “Fourierism,” on account of having sold a few columns of the “Tribune” to Brisbane, a phalansterian propagandist and at least intellectually honest, was really the enemy of that system, and the open opponent of passional liberty. He never showed the least conception of those principles of social counterpoise — “equilibre passionnel” — upon which the industrial order of serial association reposes, and without which the latter cannot hold together. Thus leaning on a broken reed, the cause of association became an easy prey to the malignity of prejudice, either capitalist or clerical. The social revolution, to which it might have been the lightning rod of safety, now masses black clouds in the horizon. Heedless of enlightened philanthropy, the money power sits at its Belshazzar’s feast.
In the annals of romantic history, a Cumcean sybil, if my memory serves, offered at a certain price the secret of salvation for the State in nine rolls of parchment. Her offer being declined, she came again with six at the same price, and finally with three, abating nothing. I believe that the State had to close with her terms.
Thus came Fourier at the sunrise of this century, offering to capital the most liberal terms,— in fact, a magnificent premium for the ransom of Labor in particular and society in general. Him rejected, came Proudhon, less prodigal, nearer to strict justice; still allowing Capital to hybernate on its accumulated fat, on condition of ceasing to rob Labor and fairly dividing future earnings. Napoleon le petit sent him to jail. Now comes Karl Marx, saying: Since you will not share your profits with labor and accept interest or rent in liquidation of debts and mortgages, your capital is forfeited. Consider yourselves fortunate to be allowed to go to work and mend your ways. Qui vivra verra.
Fourier had proposed to Capital, not a sacrifice, but a great bargain, which the calculable advantages of the combined order justified, especially in France at that time, when, drained by the Revolution and the Empire successively, Capitals were few and small; but, taking counsel of that little tea-pot called the steam engine, which was then just beginning to sputter, Capital replied: The enormous profits we accept, likewise the economies; but we shall make them both at the expense of tributary labor. You would economize Jesus. We economize Darwin. You speak in the name of God. Only leave us the Devil, especially the printer’s; and, by the holy name of Saint John Baptist Say, we will have God on his marrow bones, in every church, to us. As the Romish Harlot led, so her sister of England followed, and the latest fulfilment of this prophecy may be heard any Sunday, unless in the lecture season, at Plymouth Church in Brooklyn, if, as I suppose, a certain illustrious hypocrite, still holds forth there.
Political economy, considered as that school of the philosophy of material interests in which Malthus, Say, and Ricardo have been distinguished exponents, plays in social evolution the part of the cuckoo in ornithology. As the cuckoo lays its eggs in the nests of other birds, whose young its own extrude in order to monopolize the feed, so has this purely selfish system of business morality laid in the bosom of the Church of England by Malthus a doctrine the opposite of Jesus’s and fatal to its evolution in society.
The organic flaw in Jesus’s conception, which has frustrated its evolution beyond some ascetic societies, seems to have been its too exclusive altruism, as the organic flaw in political economy is its too exclusive egoism. It suffices to compare the two ethical statements to perceive that neither is susceptible of permanent generalization, and that each stands in need of the other.
The very altruism of Jesus was unsound in this respect,— that it reposed upon indifferentism to the worldly goods of which it divested itself sanctimoniously as a hindrance to spiritual culture. It was not a hearty desire to share goods because esteemed good, not the frank generosity of a child who will not eat very nice fruit until it can share with those it loves.
So is the egoism of political economy unsound, inasmuch as it ignores the higher pleasures of sympathy, while exposing its goods to danger by the cupidities of destitution. Jesus didn’t care enough about living, and anticipated by a voluntary martyrdom, according to the legend, the end of the world, which he believed to be at hand. The political economists don’t care enough about letting others live. Wealth being so good, we cannot have too much of it, for ourselves, say they. Hark to John Baptist Say:
When the demands of labor are numerous, the earnings of laborers fall beneath the price of the necessaries to maintain them in the same number; the families most burdened with children and with infirmities die out. Then the simply of labor falls, and its price consequently rises; or, as Ricardo puts it, by dint of privations, the number of laborers is reduced, and the balance restored between supply and demand.
Very simple, gentlemen; Nature does not want an encum-berment of population, and death officiates as her police. Let us then rejoice at not being one of her too many, says Count Duriveau (Sue’s Martin).
These are but fioritures on the older argument of Malthus against excess of population. They are all simple observations on the actual course of things, and are no more science than counting grains of sand is mineralogy. Malthus was hardly in his grave before science had discovered means of supporting in comfort on the soil of Great Britain twice as many as occupy it, besides the resource of emigration. Had Malthus been a man of science, he could no more have fallen into a belief of the fatality of misery than if he had been exalted by faith in the promise that God would provide. “For your heavenly father knoweth that ye have need of these things.” Let us note that Fourier, Saint Simon, Proudhon, Marx, Cabet, all welcome Jesus’s doctrine, because they believe that their methods would realize his promises of general prosperity.
Ricardo was a member of the British Parliament in 1843. From Malthus down to the present time, with the exception of J. Stuart Mill’s episode upon cooperation, political economy seems to have been turning in this same vicious circle of facts, without attempting any means of extrication. How account for the vogue which such trumpery has enjoyed? It has been a refreshing antithesis to the tiresome hypocrisy of professing Christianity, whose cardinal principle is love of the neighbor (exclusive of sex). The zest with which economic arguments have been cultivated is a homoeopathic reaction from the uncongenial doctrine of Jesus. It has had the relish of infidelity without relinquishing the secular advantages of orthodoxy. Its pretension to science constituted it, like business, a field of thought outside of religion. There is something piquant in flouting en esprit fort, and yet in full church membership, a doctrine that one hates and disbelieves, but must profess in a Grundiform fashion because conventionality is the religion of success, and “language the art of concealing our ideas.” It is not the hypocrisy that is hated; that has become a second nature for civilized peoples, certainly so at least for those of Middle Europe, Great Britain, by the double profession of Christianity and of economism, and the United States. Hypocrisy is all the more rampant but this latter, the dumb, darling child of the virgin mother, self, has found a voice as well as action.
To this joyful event in the reigning family of human forces, this escape of philosophy from scholastics, to take its seat before the loaves and fishes, was added mother, more important in the matter-of-fact world,—the explosion (I mean suddenly increased rapidity of the evolution) of machinery, coordinate with the great modern revelation, the physical sciences.
So long as wealth means social power, it feeds egoism. Restricted to the personal satisfactions of mere luxury, it gets blasé, and, hankering after new sensations, may become liberal, generous. Take from private individuals, or from exclusive corporations of capitalists, the control of public communications, of transportation and the currency, and of land,— the balloon of their egoism collapses, their monstrosity is atrophied, and, like the Medici, they will probably seek concubinage with the fine arts.
Let us return to our clew of evolution in the sphere of thought. The two remarkable children of virgin mothers fall in love with each other, they marry, or something of the kind, and, in due course of moons, is born that promising babe,— an infant it is not,— Sociogeny.
This is not, observe, the first time it was born, but a palin-genesic birth, which, in its cycle of metempsychosis, remembers the bulrushes on the banks of the Nile. But at an intermediate period, when the social sentiment had expanded, as in Jesus or in Buddha, to embrace universal humanity, why was it not sociogenic? Steam and the dynamo are by no means essential to industrial and domestic association. No, the reason is rather metaphysical; it is because pure sentiments are sterile. The most sublimed altruism of devotion so proved itself in Jesus and in Buddha. Why did they not attempt to organize labor, instead of moralizing sin, or curing a few sick folk, or amusing the populace with miracles, fireworks not having yet been invented?
As Essene communities already existed, this would have been a safer direction of influence for Jesus than preaching theology, which the jealousy of the clerical party so soon silenced.
I reply that a good many of us would like to organize labor, but we have neither the necessary capital nor social influence, and that it is one thing to like to hear an eloquent man talk, and quite another to follow his guidance about work or domestic arrangements. Peter the Hermit or Demosthenes may send a nation to die upon the battlefield, but a little rural neighborhood contains and limits the synthetic forces of an Oberlin.
Nothing shows that a genius for organizing is implied by a genius for divinity, or morality, or miracles, or magnetism. In miracles it seems that economy is necessary. The Catholic Church rather discredits itself by performing too many. It may seem to outsiders as easy to improvise a large capital as a big fish dinner, but what do we know about that? An organizer may have certain veins of enthusiasm, but hardly the passion for martyrdom; nor are organizers apt to imagine that the world is about to be destroyed. This opinion gave a peculiar bias to the teachings and conduct of the primitive church, without bearing which in mind they are unintelligible.
Three of the more important modern sociologists have, in common with Jesus, each a radical principle. Between Jesus and Fourier, it is elective affinity, bearing on pursuits and associates. Between Jesus and Proudhon, it is spontaneity, bearing on the sovereignty of the individual and against legislation. Between Jesus and Marx, it is the enthronement of the proletariat. “The first shall be last and the last shall be first.” The social class from which Jesus chose his apostles is significant; so are the common Communistic features, though between the State Social and the Kingdom of Heaven there if possibly room for a desire.
This class of mind — the sociogenic — is at once visionary and calculating, intuitive and observant. It combines sentiment with interest, or Jesus with political economy, as acid and base form a salt distinct from either. Jesus’s influence on social evolution is of the same character as that of Goethe and Emerson,— i.e., a modification of personal culture, it is a potent though indirect motor. Jesus manipulated that great blind power, faith. Faith is a horse; the point is in put it in the right harness. Others may have invented the right sort of harness, but the blind horse couldn’t see it, and they couldn’t get him geared. Now that, is about the actual fix of social evolution. As to political economy, it has neither horse nor harness; it is simply a critical observer, yet very narrow-minded and sophistical. Having given birth to sociogeny, it is fallen into the seat and yellow leaf, but it and Christianity together take a new tease of life in their offspring.
Liberty Weakening a Greenbacker.
To the Editor of Liberty:
Liberty has helped me out of State Socialism, and has weakened, if not destroyed, in me, respect for authority. I have voted with the National party, hut have lost faith in getting anything from a party after it once feels well established in power. You are doing a good work,— for me at least. The whole machine of State needs tearing down, but the hardest part is to get the people started to thinktng, and I believe I can see that the dynamite explosions in England have had a good effect here and put a great, meny to thinking. Success to you in your work of education!
Demino, Indiana, March 18.
Spanish Anarchists Not Communists.
For the following translation from the Spanish journal, “Revista Social,” Liberty is indebted to the “Miners’ Journal” and its editor, John McLaughlin:
Number three of “La Question Sociale,” of Paris, publishes a letter from an old friend and comrade in Barcelona, in which he says;
The Anarchistic-Collectivists of our region (the Spanish) are in accord with the Anarchistic-Communists of other regions; all desire the same thing; it is a difference in name, not in object. The International Congresses that have taken place have well demonstrated that fact.
Our old friend is mistaken in regard to the line of conduct to be pursued, and the economical idea, as we shall demonstrate in future articles.
The Collectivists are in accord with Communists in the desire to abolish all authority and all power, although some Communists say that Collectivism is authoritarian. We have affirmed and demonstrated many times in our congresses, and in the press, that Anarchistic-Collectivists seek the abolition of all political and legal states now existing, substituting for them Anarchy, or the free universal federation of the free associations of free working people.
Suppressing all authority and power and organizing the workers of each trade in every locality into sections for purposes of production, exchange, and consumption; federating those of the same trade in every district, in every region, and in all the regions for the same object, and federating those of every locality, of every district, of every region, and of all the regions to determine the business incumbent upon the locality, district, region, or regions; practicalizing an organisation like the one now practicalized by those who belong to the federation of workers for the struggle, and transforming it after victory into the organization for production, consumption, and exchange, and to defend the conquest of the revolution from the attacks of its enemies; it is, in our opinion, the free federation of free producers, the true social order. Anarchy which denies government, affirms the rights of the people, individual liberty, the sovereignty of each one, equality, and solidarity.
For this we are Anarchists and are enemies of all government, because all government is the negation of the peoples’ rights; the existence of political authority, individual dependence; the existence of classes, the supremacy of one over the others, inequality, civil war, antagonism, and the exploitation of man by man.
We are, in fine, Anarchists of the Anarchy defined by the regional congresses of ’81, ’82, and ’83, because it appears to to the clearest and justest definition of this word, and because it is the same definition given by Michael Bakounine in the statutes of the “Alliance of the Social Democracy,” alliance that organized the first sections of the International in Spain, and gave them their programme, a programme that is identical in its political and economical idea with that which the federation of working people defends, free already from trying to please any of those who do not accept the grand principles of Anarchy, Collectivism, and Federation.
The Anarchistic-Collectivists do not hold and have never held as a motto:
“From each according to his ability, to each according to his needs.”
This motto is purely Communistic, and has never been professed by the Spanish Collectivists, who have always said that the laborer has a right to the entire product of his labor, and have sustained and still sustain their motto, already old in doctrinal disputes, and which is as follows:
“To each according to his works.”
A New Phase of San Franciscan Humor.
[John Swinton’s Paper.]
The iron-workers of San Francisco have won their strike against a reduction of wages. Just before they did so the “San Franciscan” showed that they were in the wrong, that the capitalists did right in reducing the wages which were fixed by the great law of supply and demand. Notwithstanding all this, the iron-workers’ strike against the law of supply and demand was in success, and the capitalists put the law out on the clothes-line to dry. Whereupon the same “San Franciscan” stopped a moment to take a breath, and then gravely opened its mouth thus: “The triumph of the workmen is an illustration of what organization can do in the way of mitigating the severity of competition.” Yet, after all this concentric humor from the “San Franciscan,” there are people who suppose that Mumus deserted California when Bret Harte was driven out of it.
Swiss Ideas of Treason.
The Swiss government has done more than expel the Anarchists. It has seized a newspaper office and suppressed the paper. The journal in question was not a secret affair, but a well-known public print. The theory that discussion, however extreme, may be tolerated with more safety than to suppress it does not command the approval of the Swiss government, it seems. Anarchists will feel complimented to learn time they have struck a vein of opinion the very statement of which is deemed treason. This is a distinction that the most savage of political radicals could not attain in Switzerland. The Anarchist paper’s offence was that of saying persistently that “the political state in every form, republican as well as monarchical, democratic as well as aristocratic, is essentially a humbug, an evil, and an unnecessary evil.” The democratic republican government of Switzerland deemed that the reiteration of this opinion, coupled with attempts to show that officials of the Swiss republic were not free from suspicion of conniving with the German and Austrian governments to violate the integrity of the Swiss territory in the matter of political refugees, was dangerous as tending to unsettle the minds of the honest Swiss people, heretofore devoutly attached to their form of government; hence the decision to suppress the obnoxious publication.
 A diminutive of Nikita.
 A verst is equivalent to a little more than half a mile.
 Nearly seven feet.
 More than five hundred and forty pounds.
 This is hardly correct. Proudhon’s offer allowed capital to keep its existing accumulations until it should consume them, but gave it nothing more, Some of his proposals, I believe, provided a reduced share for Capital during a transitional period, but not permanently. Proudhon’s idea — and it is the correct one — of a fair division between Capital and labor was that Labor should have all and Capital nothing. — Editor Liberty