Liberty Vol. IV. No. 23.
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.
Will subscribers to the Proudhon Library indulge me? The belated numbers will reach them, no matter how long the delay.
Writing, I take it, in apology for E. C. Walker, L. H. Freligh, Jr., says in “Lucifer”: “Although we may call ourselves Anarchists, we may not be able at present to act on all occasions as consistent Anarchists.” Very true. But if we are men of brains and honesty, we shall recognize our inconsistency as such, and not try to palm it off for its opposite.
C. C. Post, formerly editor of the “Roll Call,” has found a spot in Georgia where he thinks Liberals can advantageously locate, and sends me a long article descriptive of its charms. I cannot spare space for it, but any person interested can doubtless obtain full information by answering the advertisement of Fanny W. Robbins, to be found on the eighth page.
John Swinton is guilty of an egregious misjudgment of men when he places Edward Atkinson above William G. Sumner in point of heart. Atkinson is a coldblooded, hypocritical, patronizing snob, while Sumner is a plain, blunt, outspoken hater of humbug. When Sumner sees sentimentalism that is utterly ignorant of the very rudiments of economic law organizing to remodel society, he treats it with freezing scorn and sarcasm, but this cynicism has nothing in common with hardness of heart. Up to a certain point he is a magnificent champion of liberty, and for a political economist he is a very honest man. That he omits to make some of the most important applications of liberty indicates dishonesty I will allow, but I believe that he despises himself for it, and, if he does, the fact tells in favor of his heart.
E. C. Walker employs a deal of sophistry in an attempt to show that “Lucifer” has not treated me unfairly. No amount of pleading, however, can prevail against these plain facts,— that the “Lucifer” view of the matter lately in controversy, stated by Mr. Walker himself, appeared in Liberty at the outset, while the Liberty view, as stated by the editor, has never appeared in “Lucifer” at all, and, even as stated by some of Liberty’s writers, did not appear in “Lucifer” until it was absolutely impossible to suppress it longer without sacrificing the last vestige of the paper’s pretence of hospitality to opinion. Mr. Walker desires to know why I did not write to Mr. Harman requesting publication of my views. I answer by asking why Mr. Walker, who claims that he did not publish my first letter because he thought it was private, did not wait a week to get my permission to publish it, instead of being so precipitate with the publication of his reply.
The National Defence Association has taken up the case of persecuted Mrs. Slenker, and proposes to see her through. A defence fund has been started, for which E. B. Foote, Jr., secretary of the association, will receive subscriptions. His address is 120 Lexington Avenue, New York. Mrs. Slenker is in a very dangerous situation, and needs the unflinching support of all who believe in freedom. Assurance is given that there will be no dodging of issues in the conduct of the defence. As the published appeal says, this is a time for Liberals to be liberal. I wish that the framers of the appeal had avoided the attitude of apology. Whose business is it whether Mrs. Slenker has or has not “lost delicate appreciation of that which is and that which is not nice,” so far as the question of her liberty is concerned? It is well enough for those who think she has suffered such a loss to lament it at the proper time, but apology is uncalled-for when defending invaded persons. Neither Anthony Comstock nor any one else is entitled to any explanation why Elmina D. Slenker, in the exercise of her liberty, does thus and so. She chooses to do thus and so. That is enough.
At the services lately held in Boston in memory of Lysander Spooner, of which a brief report is given in another column, two statements were made that should not be allowed to pass uncorrected. Geo. W. Searle said that Mr. Spooner believed in “a government of the people, for the people, by the people,” and held all other governments in contempt. If this were so, Mr. Spooner’s distinctive greatness would be gone. His life-long contention was for a government of the individual, for the individual, by the individual,— that is, for no external government at all,— and popular majority government was the object of his special contempt. The other statement was made by J. M. L. Babcock, who, after glorifying Mr. Spooner’s work in securing a reduction of postage by fighting the government monopoly, went on to glorify our present postal system, which is more of a monopoly than ever. No one, said Mr. Babcock, can claim that this system could be improved upon by private enterprise. But this is precisely what Mr. Spooner did claim, and he dwelt upon it repeatedly in conversations with me during the last ten years of his life. Of course he regarded the reduction of postage as an excellent thing in itself, but his attack was directed against the monopoly, and, had it been successful, he would have considered such a victory of far more importance to the people in its ultimate effects than any mere reduction of postage. I have no doubt that Mr. Babcock, in approving the present system, meant to speak entirely for himself, but his time was limited, and in his hurry he failed to discriminate between his own view and Mr. Spooner’s.
Sentimentalism at the Spooner Meeting.
To the Editor of Liberty:
Doubtless the high praise bestowed upon your resolutions by the amiable lady who approached you at the close of the Spooner memorial services was fully and justly merited, and she but voiced the sentiment of the entire assemblage. Yet it seemed to me that, were any of those who felt so much pleased with the resolutions asked to explain just what and where was their strength and beauty, they would have found it very far from easy to do so. To me, however, this presents itself as an encouraging sign of the times. Realizing that the resolutions were as different from ordinary resolutions presented on like occasions and as unique, original, and refreshing as was Spooner himself compared with the mass of mankind, I know that their distinguishing feature was their absolute freedom from sentimentalism, care, hypocritical piety, and sham of any kind. It was an egoistical tribute to an egoistical life, and the fact that it was appreciated proves that the people are at last beginning to learn to value sense and reality and to despise humbug, and that they are getting sick and weary of fetich-worship, of “religion,” of meaningless words and empty phrases. The protest against the reign of superstition is as yet but half formulated; nevertheless the age of reason is not far off, and we who can entertain a hope to live and enjoy its blessings naturally take pleasure in doing honor to those light-bearers who, single-handed and isolated, struggled for the light and helped to banish the darkness.
Lysander Spooner was by no means a “perfectly free man,” as Proudhon defines one, but he was a thorough Egoist. His mistakes were not the product of a superstitious reverence for phantoms, as is the case with religious people. Of course his idea that obedience to what he called natural law and natural justice is obligatory “won’t hold water,” but he was prevented from seeing this by the fact that his spontaneous inclinations harmonized so completely with his conceptions of his duties that to him pleasure and duty were synonymous terms. This appeared to me to be your opinion, Mr. Editor, as well as that of our friend, E. B. McKenzie, who, in a few words, said so much about Mr. Spooner.
It gives me pain not to be able to endorse quite as heartily everything that has been said by Mr. Appleton. Two sentiments, especially, expressed by him marred the brilliancy and excellence of his powerful tribute. His pessimism and fear regarding the future are without foundation. While I agree with him that in this noisy age and busy world men are merely talking machines, and individuals worth listening to extremely rare, I do not look upon the Andrewses and the Spooners as the last survivals of an extinct species of superior human beings which Mr. Appleton believes to have flourished in the past and whose death he thinks a calamity. They are rather the fathers of a new race, of the coming race, of a race of free and thinking individual men and women. They have appeared so very great only because the rest of the people were so degraded and enslaved. They were giants among pigmies. (This may shock the hero-worshippers, for there’s more truth in it than poetry.) The future will be full of such beings. Their services are immense, wonderful, and invaluable to the reign of intelligence and individual self-consciousness; but these services are enabling us to go still further and do still more for the triumph of reason. It is a great and unpardonable error to class such types with the past; they are the destroyers of the past, the enemies and conquerors of the past. Children of the present, they are the builders of the future, to which their best energies and qualities are devoted. The past can be credited only with the prejudices, errors, and absurdities of which its greatest and best men are too often the victims. Nay, more, it should be so credited. It would be idle for us to deny the errors of the great, unwise to ignore them, and simply foolish to try to give them a decent appearance. I must, therefore, note another exception to Mr. Appleton’s view and estimate of Spooner in connection with the latter’s “religion.” Religion, in its true sense, according to Mr. Appleton, consists in the belief that justice is the only thing that ultimately pays, or, in other words, that honesty is the best policy. Lysander Spooner having been a firm believer in natural justice, he is thus exalted to the rank of the truly religious. But religion, in any sense, is an unmixed evil and unmitigated nonsense. Anything not having logic or fact for a basis is worthless. Sentimentalism is out of date. If it cannot be proven that what is called justice is a paying article, it is just as childish to cling to it as it is to believe in the efficacy of prayer; and when a thing is proven, its acceptance does not depend upon any religious elements in man’s nature. Lysander Spooner minus his ideas of duty and “God-given rights” would have been incomparably more powerful than the Lysander Spooner we knew; as it is, his weakness cannot be made a source of vitality and strength to our cause; and, while benefiting directly from his truths, we should learn to profit by his mistakes.
It is indeed lamentable to find so many of our friends who ought to know better indulging in romantic talk about good and true “religion.” This age is extremely prosaic, and the conclusion is being arrived at that “fun” is the only thing worth living for. There is nothing higher, nobler, more sacred, holier, and greater than our individual existence. We really care for nothing but our happiness. Having learned by experience, however, that not all ways of making ourselves happy are entirely safe and prudent; that we sometimes “put our foot in it” by displeasing our neighbor and causing him to resist,— we are now deeply interested in solving the pressing problem of “live and let live.” Discussion on this subject is the order of the day, and the usefulness of men is measured by the value of their contributions to this debate and nothing else.
By Georges Sauton.
Translated from the French for Liberty by Sarah E. Holmes.
Continued from No. 100.
“But Gowan orders the assault!” said one, timidly, his courage having been taken away by the hasheesh.
And, in truth, to the astonishment of all, the whole gang of the old hunter, the scoundrel at the head, undertook the impossible ascent, certain of them, by the efforts of their extraordinary horses and notwithstanding the shots which struck them, climbing almost to the peak.
Most of them, nevertheless, paid dearly for their ridiculous temerity, and horsemen and beasts, after fruitless attempts, being received upon the points of pikes and lances and by the edges of scythes, fell back to the bottom, bruised and crushed, the corpses piled up together.
Gowan was infuriated, and his horse accomplished miracles of climbing, straight up, hanging on by his hoofs as with hands, human, heroic; two balls from Irish guns crashing one in the face of the man, the other in the face of the horse, the group whirled about in space, and, rolling down from rock to rock, lay flat on the soil spirting vermilion blood.
And all the audacious men who had struggled with prodigious skill to follow their chief tried to wheel about; but the frantic leaps of their horses dismounted them, and they fell upon the ragged rocks, or else the pike-men, recovered from the surprise and fright which paralyzed their forces at first, pierced them in the air.
During this exercise in equestrian gymnastics, the main body of the army approached in its turn the cliff, and Marian, very pale and ready to sink, noticed by the side of Newington, incensed at the repulse of his scouts, Sir Bradwell, as phlegmatic as usual, but looking at the heights embattled with soldiers, where, doubtless, he distinguished her, leaning forward in the front rank.
Where the horsemen, madly valorous, had vainly rushed to encounter only death, the foot-soldiers would surely succeed easily; so, ordering the charge to be sounded, Newington commanded the assault, which Sir Richard offered to lead; but the Duke invited him to remain at his side, probably lacking confidence, not in the courage, but in the firmness of the capitulator of Christmas, and the Ancient Britons, anxious to revenge themselves for their defeat of the night before, rushed forward at double quick.
Sir Walpole had obtained the honor of this perilous enterprise by reason of the fame of his family, and in order that he might obtain glory: but his superiors in rank, on whom would fall the command of the assaulting column, being jealous of him, saw with satisfaction his check at the first onslaught, and the repulse of himself and his troops after furious resistance.
In vain he returned to the charge, encouraging his men who cursed in spite and swore to eat the entrails of the stubborn Irishmen; all, pell-mell, in bleeding cascades, fell back pierced, mutilated, killed, the first to ascend upon those who ascended last, and the latter, in turn, upon the heaps of killed and wounded.
Harvey, Treor, Paddy, John Autrun multiplied themselves, ran in whichever direction the assailants presented themselves, and by their example revived the energy of the faltering men weakened by hasheesh. Marian’s grandfather, this old man, fought with the valor of a knight, the vigor of a soldier in his prime, and the surety of an old stager bronzed on battle fields; and Marian, always at his side, admirable in her coolness, braving death twenty times a minute without winking, the angel of the holy war, did marvels. She received the wounded in her arms, dressed their wounds quickly amid the shower of bullets, consoled the dying, and, religiously lying, assured them of the success of their cause, the triumph of the country.
“Newington is turning his heels!” she said; “he is falling back. Hear them sounding the retreat.”
In the exhaustion of their death agonies the unhappy men did not distinguish; it was, on the contrary, the charge, the furious charge, which they heard, and the Duke sent forward, to sustain Walpole’s companies, other companies and others yet, who all, one after the other, broke upon the rampart of rocks furnished with such intrepid defenders.
The position, in other circumstances, would certainly have remained impregnable; the deaths, insignificant on the side of the Irish, amounted on that of the enemy to a considerable number; but the hasheesh had not vainly carried its debilitating effects into the arteries, and the arms which held the muskets, suddenly relaxing, offered only a childish resistance to the aggressor precisely at the moment when, doubtful of success, Newington sent Sir Richard to the attack, ordering him to conquer at any price, if he wished to redeem his foolish clemency of the previous evening.
And Marian heard the command and the recommendation at the same time that she heard Sir Harvey order his best marksmen to check this new attacking column and to aim especially at the leaders.
“Whoever shall lay one low will deserve well of the country.” And seizing a rifle himself, he tried to hit Bradwell who was calmly advnucing, with his cane under his arm, surrounded by bullets which grazed him, scratched the ground about his feet, and struck his soldiers behind him on either side.
“Forward!” said he. And now he began the ascent, apparently as coolly as he would have cleared the steps of an ordinary stairway, although projectiles converged towards him from all sides.
Marian looked at him not without poignant emotion; with each second, her heart oppressed, she believed she should see him rolling to the bottom, and suddenly she murmured:
“My God! It is for him that I am afraid!”
And having collected herself with a prayer, she exclaimed again:
“My God! It is for him that I pray!”
Completely worn out, the pike-men retreated, remounting the plateau, and under the tempest of bullets Sir Richard was still climbing the declivity.
“To the rescue, comrades!” cried Paddy, who continued:
“At Dublin, one breezy day, I came near getting a chimney on my head.... With a tempest like this, the rocks of the cliff shall melt upon the backs of the assailants.”
“Saint Patrick, protect us!” prayed Edith.
“Not only Saint Patrick,” rejoined Paddy Neil, “but Saint Peter and Saint Rock!”
And using their pikes as levers, he and a dozen of his comrades pried off enormous fragments of rock, and succeeded in rolling them into space, causing frightful cries of pain and furious shouts of rage where they fell.
Marian, leaning over the edge of the abyss, closed her eyes, and tried at first not to hear; then, on the contrary, she tried to distinguish, among the cries, if any came from the breast of Sir Bradwell. But what foolishness! If he should fall, pain would not draw from him an exclamation. He would die stoically. Then she looked upon the means of defence improvised by Paddy as monstrous, and almost cowardly,— yes, cowardly,— and she was about to say so when she saw Richard.
Free from harm, without a wound, imperturbable, he continued his way, his uniform wet with steaming blood and splashed with fragments of brain. He was wiping his face, which was also soiled.
He felt her eyes upon him and turned his own towards Marian; but, thus engaged, he did not notice a sword raised over his head, which would undoubtedly split it if he did not suddenly parry or dodge it; she almost cried out to him to beware, but by a lucky chance a bullet broke the arm which brandished the fatal weapon and checked the confession on her lips.
At first she applauded, but was instantly ashamed.
In which camp did she consider herself, then? An Irish girl! She had no soul! Her oath of renunciation on the Gospel a comedy in that case; her kiss given to Paddy—that is, to the victim of the hatred of the torturers—a grimace, an affectation, or the unreflecting act of her excited nerves, and it shrunk to the level of the most ordinary crisis.
Paddy Neill! Now, on Richard’s account, she felt for him an animadversion which would readily change into a feeling of deeper hostility, and though salvation rested in the hands which bore the rocks, she revolted against the expedient, not from humanity, not from charity, not in behalf of all those whom the weight of the boulders would break, but for the benefit of a single one, to save the only Sir Bradwell, so terrible moreover,— in fact, the worst of executioners, in case he should carry out the sacrilegious threats made by him three days before.
But she violently put aside this conjecture; words pronounced in anger, a cruelty of which one makes a show in order to intimidate; his back turned, it was all over. The other evening, in their house, had not Richard, on coming to the aid of Sir Newington, contradicted by his attitude, by his horror at the savage struggle in progress, his former odious proposals of massacre and his implacable declarations of war?
Nothing was more natural than that he should march with the. English troops, at their head, leading them to the assault, at a time when no one but the old or the infirm remained motionless at their firesides awaiting events. To avoid being suspected of cowardice at his age, notwithstanding the sympathy he had thus far shown for the Irish, he had been obliged to mingle in the struggle, to affront its perils, and since she had repudiated his offers to serve Ireland, he participated in the operations of the opposing camp.
But without wrath, without any animosity, and, who knows? perhaps that he might meet death, the end of an existence of repentance and despair, the termination of an ignominious life.
Thus severely did she rate the treason of Sir Richard in regard to his father; and since he lacked sufficient energy to escape from its practice, from the solicitations of this unworthy and tempting crime, and since she refused him the hope of salvation in the future, what reason had he for dragging out on earth a painful and lamentable existence?
Fresh pity seized her, in spite of the remonstrances which she addressed to herself the minute before, and, without going the length of criminal wishes—Oh, not far from that, never—that victory might favor Sir Richard, she formulated prayers that he might escape the shots fired at him from all directions. The others, his soldiers,— well! let them perish to the last man; but let him, fighting alone against all, be made prisoner, or allowed to retreat, slightly wounded, incapacitated from exposing himself anew.
No! rather a serious wound, but one from which he would recover after a dangerous sickness, in the course of which the austere reflections of long wakeful hours would drive away whatever remained of his guilty passion for Lady Ellen, and, in the weakness of his convalescence, another gentle face of a young girl partly seen would take the place, in this reviving heart, of the refractory Irish woman!
In an instant she was seized with a desire to inflict the saving wound herself with her own hand, to grasp the rifle of a crippled neighbor and strike him with a bullet; but where should she aim in order not to kill him or occasion a fracture which would leave him forever disabled? She knew how to fire; she stopped the defiant crows in their flight; but now she trembled too much and renounced her design.
It became needless, moreover; an enormous block was loosened by the efforts of Paddy and his comrades, who toiled and sweat like cattle under the hot midsummer sun, and, as the stone fell, Sir Richard disappeared before the eyes of Marian, who instinctively closed the lids, fainting, though still standing. But her brief swoon over, she saw Richard again, picking himself up; with his bleeding fingers, which he did not even stanch, he picked up his sword torn from the belt, and with no apparent wound save that his joints were simply bruised, but not dislocated, he having been hit by the rock but providentially saved from being crushed, he summoned the hesitating ones, more or less crippled, but capable of a new effort, and the reinforcements which Newington sent him, to a new assault, and once more began the ascent.
Again all the guns singled him out, but the more ardent shot away the tops of rocks around his body, without doubt because of the virulence of the hurricane which juggled the bullets and shook the muskets like pliant branches of shrubbery in the firmest hands, and all the more then the hands of the marksmen whom the hasheesh had enervated.
Nevertheless, two, three projectiles successively penetrated his uniform, and blood stained his shoulder and ran over his chest; but he did not bend for that, but continued the arduous ascent, encouraging his subordinates.
“Forward! forward!” repeated he.
His look riveted on Marian, he questioned her mentally and in a manner so eloquent, so explicit, that she comprehended him as clearly as if he spoke.
Fixed, decided, without weakness, without a passing gleam of tenderness, these looks were equivalent to a summons. Surely Richard was aware of the piteous fashion in which the priest had failed, and was not accompanying Newington as an amateur, or that they might not doubt his bravery, but to keep his execrable promise.
So far he had not personally used his weapons; he faced death without reply: but to urge on others; to lead them back, after a repulse, to the combat; to excite their emulation by his audacity, his coolness, his luck, which left him untouched amid the bullets and rocks; to participate in the furious action, sure to end in pitiless butcheries; to make himself an accomplice in command and in execution,— did not these things lay upon him a responsibility worse than the highest after Newington’s?
And, irritated by these persistent checks, intoxicated with powder, motion, and tumult, at last he would use his sword, dip it in the blood of the enemy, and, after this baptism, holding back no longer, kill like any Briton, his coreligionist in murder, like the survivors of the Infernal Mob, his equals in hatred!
Then, this not sufficing to satisfy his thirst for blood, whereas now he simply urged to victory, he would order unlimited massacre of those who should still struggle against him, of those also who should disarm, of those, if they encountered such, who should beg for mercy.
Marian’s face, in proportion as she deciphered the tumultuous thought of Sir Bradwell, reflected the sadness and horror which invaded the soul of the young girl, and Bradwell, seeing what sentiments he inspired instead of the desired submission, was filled with wrath; she blinded him, she unsettled his brain, and filled it with a determination to commit terrible cruelties.
Marian saw this, and ran to Treor.
“Your dagger!” she said, without preface, holding out her hand to receive it.
Brought home by one of her ancestors from a voyage to the Indies, the blade which she asked for, short, narrow, but serpentine, with a groove running its entire length, had this frightful peculiarity,— that, poisoned, its wound, though a mere scratch of the epidermis causing only a drop of blood to flow, proved fatal in a few minutes.
So Treor refused it to her, pleading that there was danger that, in striking the enemy, the weapon might, if not handled firmly, turn in the hand and cause the death of whoever was using it in defence.
“Exactly. Give it to me!” repeated the young girl, in a serious voice.
And, reminding her grandfather of a confession made at the time of her fatal love for the Englishman,— a love, she had informed him, which reached in Richard the point of criminal frenzy,— she told him of the demand of Newington’s son and his threats if she did not yield
To be continued.
The Science of Society. By Stephen Pearl Andrews.
Cost the Limit of Price: A Scientific Measure of Honesty in Trade As One of the Fundamental Principles in the Solution of the Social Problem.
Continued from No. 100.
83. It is the same with the other natural elements. Water as it flows past in the stream is natural wealth, and not the subject of price. The man who should seize upon a stream of water and fence it up or turn it aside, for the purpose of levying a tribute upon those who lived below him upon the same stream, in the form of a price for their necessary supplies, would commit an obvious breach of natural law. But although water, in its natural condition, is not equitably susceptible of price, yet so soon as human labor is bestowed upon it by any person for the benefit of another, a price may be rightfully affixed to the water, to be precisely measured by the cost or burden of the labor so bestowed. Every individual has a right to appropriate so much of the common natural wealth as is requisite to the supply of his wants. So soon as I have dipped up a pitcher full of water from the spring or stream, it is no longer mere natural wealth; it is a product of my labor as well. It is thus my individual property. No one has a right to take it from me without my consent, and in case I do consent, I have an equitable and just right to demand a price equal to the burden I have assumed, which consists of the labor, the risk, or whatever else made it a burden. If I have merely dipped it up, the equitable price is a trifle probably not worth considering; but if I have carried it two miles over a burning plain, it may be considerable; and if I have run the risk of carrying it for the sake of another through the brisk fire from an enemy’s battery, the risk will enter equitably into the estimate of the price. (121.) In all these cases it is not really the natural wealth itself, the land or the water, which acquires a price, but the human labor and other elements which are bestowed upon it. Nothing is properly the rightful subject of price but repugnance overcome. But as the portions of natural wealth to which human labor has thus been added are the objects which are wanted by the purchaser, and which are delivered to him when the price is paid, it is natural to speak of them as bearing the price.
84. It is obvious from this application of the principle of cost, which we have seen is nothing but the scientific measure of equity, that simple equity cuts up by the roots every species of speculation in lands. It will be seen, in the next place, that it cuts up equally another species of speculation, which the world hardly suspects of being, although it is, both in principle and in its oppressive results, equally iniquitous,— that is, speculation in talent, natural skill, or genius. The definitions and principles above stated render it obvious that no man has any just or equitable right to charge a price for that which it cost nothing of human labor to create. “Freely ye have received, freely give.”
85. A superior natural tact for the performance of any function or labor renders it easier instead of harder to perform the function or labor. It makes the burden ordinarily lighter instead of heavier, and consequently, upon the Cost Principle, reduces instead of augmenting the price. I say, “ordinarily,” because the case may happen of a person having a high degree of natural ability for a particular kind of industry, and having at the same time, from some special cause, an unusual repugnance to its performance, and it must be constantly remembered that it is the degree of personal repugnance overcome which measures the price. As the rule, however, the taste or attraction for a given pursuit accompanies and corresponds to the degree of excellence in it, and in that case the remarkable result above stated flows from the principle.
86. Naturally enough, a conclusion so strikingly dissimilar to all that is now seen in practice or entertained in idea will be received at first blush with some suspicions of its soundness. It will be found, however, upon examination, that the consequences of admitting it are all beneficent and harmonious. They are, in fact, indispensable to the solution of the problem of true social relations.
87. Talent, natural skill, or genius, distinguished from each ability as is the result of labor or acquisition, is one species of natural wealth. It is not, like earth, air, and water, equally distributed by nature to all men, and cannot, therefore, be equally enjoyed by all. Those on whom it has been conferred in a high degree have a kind of enjoyment of it in the fact of its possession, which cannot be participated with others. It is the same with health or personal beauty, or a naturally graceful deportment. In this particular way, although it is natural wealth, it is individual wealth also. There are other ways, however, in which it is not individual or exclusive, but in which it may be partaken of by all around, as when we experience the pleasure of looking upon a beautiful countenance or a graceful figure, or when we enjoy the creations of another’s genius, or the productions of another’s natural endowments. This kind of enjoyment is bestowed by nature gratuitously, and is not confined to the individual who produces it. It is the common patrimony of mankind as much as air, earth, and water.
88. It follows from these considerations that neither the forensic talents bestowed by nature upon a Daniel Webster, nor the musical endowments of a Jenny Lind, nor the natural agility of the mountebanks, constitute any legitimate or equitable basis of price, for the simple reason that they have cost their possessors nothing, and it has already been settled that cost is the only legitimate ground of price.
89. Observe, in the first place, that I do not say that the labor which it may require on their part to exercise these natural talents is not a legitimate basis of price. On the contrary, I affirm that it is so, and that such labor is the only basis of price in the performance, and hence that the price of the performance is equitably limited by the precise amount of the labor in it, estimated according to its repugnance to the individual, relatively to other kinds of labor,— not augmented one iota on account of the extraordinary natural abilities which the performance demands. There is in that element no labor, no repugnance overcome, no cost, and consequently no basis of price.
90. Observe, in the next place, that labor expended prior to the performance, in cultivating the natural talent and fitting it for the performance, is an element of cost, a due proportion of which may be equitably charged upon each specific exhibition of the talent. This point will be more fully considered presently in treating of the constituents of cost. (121.)
91. It will be objected that under this system talent and skill receive no protection. Talent and skill are intellectual strength, and it is not strength but weakness which demands protection. Talent and skill now enable their possessors to subject the world as effectually, though its industrial relations, as prowess and physical manhood formerly enabled their possessors to do so upon the battle-fields of past history. The dominion of physical conquest is now partially becoming extinct. We are in the midst of the reign of intellectual superiority, which is far more subtle and intricate in the modes of its tyrannical action. The discovery of the true laws of social order will not be, therefore, the discovery of increased facilities for talent or intellectual power to exert itself for its own immediate and selfish aggrandizement, but the precise contrary.
92. At the same time talent and skill will always command, like physical manhood, a certain degree of homage, and secure, indirectly, more refined and yet more substantial rewards than direct appropriation would confer. In discussing the subject of price we are by no means discussing all the possible effects of performance, but only that one which forms the basis of a demand for a direct equivalent or compensation.
93. Price is that which a party may properly demand AS HIS RIGHT, in consideration of services rendered. It relates, therefore, to exact justice between the parties, and justice has in it no touch of mercy, or gratitude, or benevolence,— no tribute of admiration, no homage. It does not exclude the exercise of those sentiments after its own demands are satisfied, but, for itself, it know nothing of that sort. Justice demands Equity, exact Equivalents, Burden for Burden; and will be satisfied with nothing else. To understand the appropriate sphere of these various affections we must individualize their functions. It is essential not only to the security of rights, but equally in order that benevolence or homage be felt and accepted as such, that the limits of each should be exactly defined. The rendition of justice is the basis, or platform, or prior condition, upon which benevolence must rest. The slave feels little or no gratitude toward his master for any act of kindness which the master may do, because he is conscious that the master is living in an unjust relation toward him, and that he owes him as matter of justice more than he grants as an indulgence. This apparent destitution of the sentiment of gratitude reacts upon the master, and he despises and depreciates the moral constitution of the slave. The fault is in the absence of the prior condition of Justice, which alone authorizes benevolence, which then inspires gratitude, and all conspire to institute and maintain friendly and harmonious relations. A charity bestowed while justice is withheld is always an insult.
94. Again, according to a law of the human mind, injustice persisted in begets aversion or hatred on the part of the perpetrator as well, toward the object of it. But justice cannot be rendered while one is ignorant of what justice is; and since no one how does not know that Cost is the Limit of Price knows what the limits of justice are, it follows that every one has been living in relations of injustice toward all around him. A partial consciousness of this truth tends still farther to inspire ill-will on the part of the governors toward the governed, of the employers toward the employed, and of masters toward slaves. Hence, it will be perceived that a denial of justice operates through two channels to prevent the natural flow of benevolence, by hindering its bestowal, at the same time that it enfeebles or destroys the appreciation of it by the recipient.
95. Still again, from ignorance of the landmarks of justice or Equity, acts are continually done under the supposition that justice demands them, and with no sentiment of benevolence, which should fall within the province of benevolence, while the same ignorance on the other hand hinders their acknowledgment as benevolent acts, and prevents, consequently, the appropriate sentiment of gratitude or reciprocal benevolence, which should be the result.
96. The magnificent testimonial bestowed by the English people upon Rowland Hill for his conception of the idea of cheap postage and his exertions in behalf of the reform had in it nothing discordant with true principles, because it was bestowed as a gratuitous homage and accepted as such. Whenever all obstructions to the natural exuberance of benevolence toward those who confer benefits upon us are removed by the establishment of equitable relations, such voluntary tributes repeated on all hands will furnish a richer inheritance for genius than the beggarly and precarious subsistence which now inures from pensions and patent-laws. The testimonial to Rowland Hill was not the price of his services, any more than a bridal present is the price of affection. Had he opened an account of debtor and creditor with the nation, and charged them a hundred thousand pounds as the price of his services, gratitude would have been extinguished by the preposterous pretension, and benevolence have been converted into aversion and disgust. The people, ignorant of the law of equivalents as a principle, would have felt it as an instinct, and have been repelled unwittingly by the reach of it. To make the higher class of services a matter of price at all somewhat depreciates their estimate. The artist and the inventor is apt to fee something akin to degradation, when forced to prefer a pecuniary demand in return for the fruits of his genius. Every genuine artist has an instinct for being an amateur performer solely. There is an intimation in this fact that in the true social order the rewards of genius will either cease to be pecuniary altogether, or, if not, that they will be wholly abandoned to the voluntary largesse of mankind. (174.)
97. The Cost principle deals wholly with price,— that is, with that to which the party rendering the service should limit his demand, if fixed by himself, not to what it is proper, or becoming, or natural that others should bestow as a gratuity, which latter is a matter solely for their consideration. This last is not his affair.
98. It is in this rigid sense that it is affirmed that Jenny Lind has no equitable right to charge more for an hour expended in singing than any other person should receive for an hour of labor equally repugnant, and which has involved equal contingencies of prior labor and the like. Even that price is then divisible among all who hear her. The refining results of this operation of the principle in diffusing the benefits of superior endowments in every sphere among the whole people will be traced out into infinite ramifications by the reader for himself.
To be continued.
“In abolishing rent and interest, the last vestiges of old-time slavery, the Revolution abolishes at one stroke the sword of the executioner, the seal of the magistrate, the club of the policeman, the gunge of the exciseman, the erasing-knife of the department clerk, all those insignia of Politics, which young Liberty grinds beneath her heel.” — Proudhon.
☞ The appearance in the editorial column of articles over other signatures than the editor’s initial indicates that the editor approves their central purpose and general tenor, though he does not hold himself responsible for every phrase or word. But the appearance in other parts of the paper of articles by the same or other writers by no means indicates that he disapproves them in any respect, such disposition of them being governed largely by motives of convenience.
A Spooner Publication Fund.
Lysander Spooner left no will. His estate consisted of a stock of printed pamphlets, of which he was the author, and an immense quantity of manuscripts. Many of the latter have never been published, and some of them are of high importance. His legal heirs are people who had no sympathy with or comprehension of his ideas and who regarded him as an outcast,— people manifestly unfit to have the custody of his interests. Consequently I have purchased of them the entire stock of pamphlets and manuscripts at no little risk and expense, and I intend to publish as many of the manuscripts as I can. For this purpose I now open a subscription, and appeal for aid to all who are willing to render it. To readers of Liberty I do not need to dwell upon the importance of the work. The manuscripts cover a vast range of subjects. I have not space even for their titles. Among them are treatises on finance, marriage, property, government, and religion, unpublished parts of “Natural Law,” “Revolution,” and “No Treason,” and second and third letters to Grover Cleveland. This is but a mere hint at their value. Whatever is subscribed to this fund must be considered as an outright donation. I can give the subscribers no guarantees beyond the simple assurance that I will do the best that I can to properly put Mr. Spooner’s work before the world as he left it. For the benefit of this fund his printed pamphlets will be sold. An advertisement of them will be found in another column. Some of them are rare, and may never be reprinted. All receipts from their sale above their cost to me will go to swell the fund. Let the orders and the contributions be numerous, generous, and prompt. The following have been received thus far:
Gertrude B. Kelly ..... $10.00
Geo. W. Searle ...... 5.00
Walter C. Wright ..... 2.00
Benj. R. Tucker.
The Method of Anarchy.
To the editor of the San Francisco “People” Anarchism is evidently a new and puzzling doctrine. It having been propounded by an Anarchist from a public platform in that city that Anarchism must come about by peaceful methods and that physical force is never justifiable except in self-defence, the “People” declares that, except physical force, it can see but two methods of settling the labor question,— one the voluntary surrender of privileges by the privileged class, which it thinks ridiculous, and the other the ballot, which it rightly describes as another form of force. Therefore the “People,” supposing itself forced to choose between persuasion, the ballot, and direct physical force, selects the last. If I were forced to the alternative of leaving a question unsettled or attempting one of three ineffectual means of settling it, I think I should leave it unsettled. It would seem the wiser course to accept the situation. But the situation is not so hopeless. There is a fourth method of settling the difficulty, of which the “People” seems never to have heard,— the method of passive resistance, the most potent weapon ever wielded by man against oppression. Power feeds on its spoils, and dies when its victims refuse to be despoiled. They can’t persuade it to death; they can’t vote it to death; they can’t shoot it to death; but they can always starve it to death. When a determined body of people, sufficiently strong in numbers and force of character to command respect and make it unsafe to imprison them, shall agree to quietly close their doors in the faces of the tax-collector and the rent-collector, and shall, by issuing their own money in defiance of legal prohibition, at the same time cease paying tribute to the money-lord, government, with all the privileges which it grants and the monopolies which it sustains, will go by the board. Does the “People” think this impracticable? I call its attention, then, to the vast work that was done six years ago in Ireland by the old Irish Land League, in defiance of perhaps the most powerful government on earth, simply by shutting the door in the face of the rent-collector alone. Within a few short months from the inauguration of the “No-Rent” policy landlordry found itself upon the verge of dissolution. It was at its wits’ end. Confronted by this intangible power, it knew not what to do. It wanted nothing so much as to madden the stubborn peasantry into becoming an actively belligerent mob which could be mowed down with Gatling guns. But, barring a paltry outbreak here and there, it was impossible to goad the farmers out of their quiescence, and the grip of the landlords grew weaker every day.
“Ah! but the movement failed,” I can hear the “People” reply. Yes, it did fail; and why? Because the peasants were acting, not intelligently in obedience to their wisdom, but blindly in obedience to leaders who betrayed them at the critical moment. Thrown into jail by the government, these leaders, to secure their release, withdrew the “No-Rent Manifesto,” which they had issued in the first place not with any intention of freeing the peasants from the burden of an “immoral tax,” but simply to make them the tools of their political advancement. Had the people realized the power they were exercising and understood the economic situation, they would not have resumed the payment of rent at Parnell’s bidding, and to-day they might have been free. The Anarchists do not propose to repeat their mistake. That is why they are devoting themselves entirely to the inculcation of principles, especially of economic principles. In steadfastly pursuing this course regardless of clamor, they alone are laying a sure foundation for the success of the revolution, though to the “People” of San Francisco, and to all people who are in such a devil of a hurry that they can’t stop to think, they seem to be doing nothing at all.
Beauties of Labor Politics.
John Swinton reminds his readers that the supply of presidential timber for the next campaign is now in order. He invites suggestions. Some have responded, but none have pleased him. It is a curious fact that the name of the man who in the not very distant past caused so much exultation and enthusiasm in the ranks of labor and so much confusion and impotent fury in the counsels of the great body of plunderers and drones is occurring to no one of these people. In vain will the impartial observer seek to explain to himself this sudden desertion of Henry George,— the new prophet who “lighted a sun” when he broached his land-value-tax scheme. The truth of politics is stranger than fiction, and “labor” politics, though still in its infancy, is already displaying unmistakable signs of great art and genius. There is a future full of glorious promise for the labor party, and I call for three cheers in its honor.
Labor party, did I say? I apologize; labor parties: for there are two in full swing, with hopeful prospects of another addition before long. There is the Union Labor Party, standing on the platform of “everything in general and nothing in particular,” and appropriately representing the hosts of labor who are sure they want something, but can’t tell what; and there is the “George” party with the platform: “Tax us and make us happy, and Henry George knows all about it.” These parties are holding conventions, organizing, and preparing to save the country. But their most valuable work consists in furnishing useful information about each other, and thereby enabling as to choose between them and decide with which we should cast our lot. Thus we learn from “John Swinton’s Paper” that the managers and leaders of the “George” party are traitors and selfish schemers, whose policy is “rule or ruin,” who antagonize the Union Labor Party through jealousy and personal ambition, and who, in the last campaign, made disgraceful and shameful bargains with the enemy, the hirelings of monopoly and jobbery. But how about the integrity, honesty, and reliability of the Union Labor Party? The New York “Leader” has nothing but sneers and cutting sarcasms for it. We are informed that, as a “labor” party, it is of no consequence whatever, but that there can be no doubt as to the part some of its moving spirits have played in the last campaign, when they tried to sell labor votes to Hewitt....
Thunder and lightning! Are these the parties that feel it to be their mission to reform and remedy the abuses of the corrupted old parties? What remains for the sovereign American voter who, ballot in hand (for vote he must), is unable to determine whether he needs more to be saved from his friends than from his enemies? Ah! there is still some loyalty and moral worth left in the labor world. Powderly is the man, the conservative, practical, “American,” sober-minded Powderly, and that solid and respectable element whom he represents,— these are the true friends of reform. Alas! even this last idol is cruelly smashed and shattered by pitiless reality. An official circular, duly issued, signed, and sealed, from an assembly of Knights, squarely accuses Powderly of being a tool of monopoly and charges him with treason and corruption. Poor Powderly! The pathetic and deeply touching scene at the convention, when he so nobly manifested his overflowing devotion to the American flag, seems to have been utterly lost on his ungrateful and unpatriotic followers. All this, however, is quite natural. There is no room for surprise in the world of politics. But, as the American citizen will vote, I would here nominate a ticket which has at least the merit of being bold, and on which all political parties, labor as well as capital, which, whatever their pretended differences, have at bottom one common purpose,— to deny liberty and perpetuate one or another form of spoliation,— can cordially unite.
For president of the United Despotisms: Jay Gould.
For vice-president: Jacob Sharp.
Platform of the consolidated political parties: “The people be damned.”
As to all the offices at the government’s disposal, they can be filled indiscriminately, for, whether “labor” or “capital” politicians get there, the platform is sure to be successfully carried out.
False Friends of Individual Liberty.
The Builders of Chicago, in their warfare upon the unions, profess to be the only original and simon pure defenders of individual liberty. In a long proclamation recently issued they conclude with the following spread-eagle peroration:
Individual liberty is the dearest possession of the American people. We intend to stand by it and protect it in every emergency, and to our mind there has never been before presented an occasion more significant and decisive than the present, and in doing all we can to maintain it we feel that we are fighting, not for our own selfish ends alone, but for the welfare and protection of every individual in the land.
Individual liberty is not incompatible with associations, and associations are not incompatible with individual liberty. On the contrary, they should go hand in hand. We call upon all to sustain us in maintaining all that is good and in defeating all that is bad in this difficult problem of labor.
Liberty is our watchword, and this struggle is but a continuation of that endeavor which began a hundred years ago, when the little band of patriots at Concord bridge fired that shot heard round the world, which was the first blow in establishing American independence.
J. M. Blair,
Edward E. Scribner,
William H. Sayward,
John H. Tucker,
Executive Board of the National Association of Builders.
So far, good; let us see how far they are willing to go in their virtuous endeavor to secure liberty. Does liberty exist where rent, interest, and profit, hold the employee in economic subjection to the legalized possessor of the means of life? To plead for individual liberty under the present social conditions, to refuse to abate one jot of the control that legalized capital has over individual labor, and to assert that the demand for restrictive or class legislation comes only from the voluntary associations of workmen is not alone the height of impudence, but a barefaced jugglery of words.
The workman wants liberty to acquire a piece of land for a home, but he finds himself disinherited from man’s birthright, unless he pays toll to some one who claims that a parchment title-deed has conferred upon him the sole right to dispose or to hold this land as he may see fit. And he himself by his labor has increased the value of the land he desires to purchase, for the pressure of population and increasing demand in a manufacturing community inevitably raises the price. In short, land values are a social product, of which only the legalized holder reaps the benefit. If the community had to pay a direct tax to the possessor of land instead of the present indirect tax in the form of rent, it is likely the National Association of Builders, or some other, would see the point, and pierce our ears with their vehement denunciations of this invasion of their individual liberty. Let them stand by their own logic, and denounce as infamous the great National Association that, through the process of legalization, renders a social product — land values — a monopoly for a few. Let the disinherited have a taste of individual liberty as well as the privileged landlords, and there will be less ground for dispute in the building trades. Individual liberty would settle the difficulty, if not their Association also.
Again, has the workman individual liberty to compete with the master builder? Can a union enter the market on equal terms with the great capitalist? The thought is absurd. But why not? Because behind the capitalist, as we know him today, privilege stands as support. To be consistent in asserting individual liberty, the Builders should repudiate that National Association that, through legalization, confers privilege and power upon capital,— that transforms the fruits of honest industry into a hideous Moloch which stands with outstretched arms to receive as sacrificial victims the toilers who made that capital possible. Capital in itself is man’s best friend, the true saviour that opens the march of progress and that has transformed society into peaceable pursuits. But under the blasting hand of legalization, where privilege sits entrenched and mocks at penury and want, its mission is thwarted. As Satan is said to have been once an angel of light, so, in this denial of individual liberty to credit, capital has become a demon of hell. Be logical, gentlemen, and assert individual liberty for credit,— free banking,— and protest against the shackles which deprive you of this inalienable right.
Yet again, if they would have men enjoy individual liberty,— and they say, “we intend to stand by it and protect it in every emergency,”— where will they stand on the profit system? If they succeed in securing liberty “in every emergency,” necessarily all restrictions cease. Privilege and restriction are the antitheses of each other; the one implies the presence of the other. Their own logic leads them, as we have seen, to the denial of exclusive privilege or monopoly of land or money,— that is, if they are consistent and understand the meaning of the words they use so flippantly. Individual liberty and chartered rights cannot coexist; Liberty and Authority are as directly antithetical as God and Devil. Consequently, when these Anarchistic Builders, provided they escape the clutches of Chief Ebersold and Clubber Bonfield, shall have established individual liberty, the profit-system must necessarily fall, for, under the absence of privilege and restriction, freedom of trade and commerce, of production and distribution, would at once adjust itself to the minimum expense, and cost would necessarily become the limit of price.
As water ever seeks a level, and whatever may be the obstacles placed against its flow, the law holds good, so trade and industry are ever seeking freedom to flow where natural conditions indicate they should. It is not what liberty we still possess that is the fault, but the enforced restrictions which render that liberty as unreal as a scarecrow would be if labelled goddess of liberty. If the Master Builders want liberty, let them assist in removing all restrictions, and all the tyrannies of a “walking delegate,” the necessity for limiting apprentices, and the arbitrariness of trade-unions will vanish as the morning mist before the rising sun.
Come out, gentlemen, and cease to be Anarchists in disguise. Thomas Paine said his “Rights of Man” that:
It is a perversion of terms to say that a charter gives rights. It operates by a contrary effect,— that of taking rights away. Rights are inherently in all the inhabitants, but charters, by annulling those rights in the majority, leave the right by exclusion in the hands of a few. If charters were constructed so as to express in direct terms “that every inhabitant who is not a member of a corporation shall not exercise the right of voting,” such charters would, in the face, be charters, not of rights, but of exclusion. The effect is the same under the form in which they now stand; and the only persons on whom they now operate are the persons whom they exclude.
As apostles of individual liberty, the Builders should recognize this, and pave the way for their own extinction as “bosses” by carrying their logic to its legitimate conclusions.
No man or body of men can demand individual liberty and consent to the least modification of that liberty. Individual liberty and free competition are identical. Individual liberty means complete freedom of trade and industry; neither the employer nor employee can have “rights” which give him the least economic power over his fellow man. If the Builders believe that some restriction,— some legalized or chartered right, should be preserved, they are enemies of liberty, and should take their stand in some of the various schools of State Socialism, anywhere on the scale between Bismarck at one end and Laurence Gronlund at the other. The adherents of each, and of all intermediate schools, unite in decrying individual liberty as utopian, except, like the Builders, where they are personally interested.
Dyer D. Lum.
The junior editor of “Lucifer” repudiates all responsibility for the gossip about my private affairs which appeared in its columns, and admits that its publication was a “great outrage” upon me. On this point, then, he is excused. But the senior editor, Mr. Harman, aggravates the offence by defending it. And even the junior editor pleads impulse and feeling in behalf of the writer. This is a foreign consideration. The article in question proved the writer to be a person much too contemptible for notice. My grievance is against the editor, whom I once thought of as a man who would not allow his impulses to betray him into indecency. Whatever he may do hereafter, I should be foolish to complain, for I know now what to expect. In our attitude towards men much depends upon this question of expectation. When Eliseé Reclus, for instance, celebrated the illegal union of his daughters to the young men of their choice by a banquet given to friends and relatives, I was agreeably surprised at finding him so far advanced, and I referred to the matter approvingly. Reclus, so far as I knew, had no previous record on this subject. Mr. Walker now wants to know why I approved Reclus’s course and denounced his. One reason is that from Mr. Walker I was prepared for the best and did not get it. But there is another and more important distinction. Reclus was nowhere guilty of the one and only thing which I have condemned in Mr. Walker as a betrayal of Anarchistic principle,— namely, the setting-up of legal marriage as a realization of this principle. Of Mr. Walker’s publication of his sexual relations I have spleen simply as a piece of folly; in my first article I expressly stated that that in itself should not deprive him of Anarchistic support against the interfering State. But Mr. Walker reminds me that I commended Reclus even in this particular, and I am very willing to admit that, in speaking of “M. Reclus’s wise example,” I did not discriminate as carefully as I should have done. For this there were two reasons: first, my mind was dwelling entirely on Reclus’s rebellion against legality; second, in 1882, when I wrote the words quoted, I did not have so strong a sense as I have now of the essential indelicacy which a man and woman commit when they announce from the housetop with a flourish of trumpets that they are about to sleep together.
Because I characterized as silly E. C. Walker’s determination to stay in jail rather than pay costs, he ironically infers that “an entirely different principle was involved when Mr. Tucker went to jail rather than pay his tax.” The difference is real, despite Mr. Walker’s irony, though not so much in principle as in circumstances. My resistance to taxation stood on its own merits. Mr. Walker’s resistance to costs occurred in an affair where he had already surrendered to the State by setting up a defence of legality, not confessedly as a device by which to slip from a tyrant’s clutches, but professedly as a vindication and actualization of Anarchism in love relations. The silliness consisted in posing as a combatant after such an ignominious surrender, in straining at a gnat after swallowing a camel.
How many readers of Liberty would like a fine cabinet photograph of Lysander Spooner at fifty cents? Let all who would immediately send in their orders accompanied by the money, so that I may decide how many to print from the negative. Those who delay in ordering may have to pay a higher price. All receipts above photographer’s charges will be contributed to the Spooner Publication Fund.
A Jumped-At Conclusion.
My dear Tucker:
In your Liberty of May 28 I find this:
The insinuation of the “Truth Seeker” that she [Mrs. E. D. Slenker] may be insane is a shameful insult. If that paper would put her in an insane asylum because it differs with her, I cannot see why it should combat the position of banker Truesdell of Syracuse, who would like to imprison Anarchists because he differs with them.
Allow me space to say that I did not say, nor insinuate, nor do I think, that Mrs. Slenker should be put in an insane asylum. Neither did I say that Mrs. Slenker is insane. My words were: “Medical men assure us that people may be perfectly sane on all but one subject, but be verging upon insanity regarding that one.” That is to say, people may dwell upon one subject so long, almost excluding all others, that it becomes with them a mania, and they become “cranks” upon it: such kind of folks were Jesus Christ, Mother Ann Lee, Mohammed Hashem, Lewis the Light, John the Baptist, and others. Mrs. Slenker confesses to have gone to extreme lengths upon a subject possessing her whole being. Nevertheless, that was her right, and so long as she did not invade others’ rights by forcing her “information” upon them, she is morally guiltless. I have said this before, and shall probably have occasion to say it again, and I do not care to have your misrepresentation taken as my judgment in this case by those who read Liberty and not the “Truth Seeker.”
Yours very truly,
E. M. MacDonald.
[There is no pertinence in Editor Macdonald’s words, as quoted by himself, except as they hint at the insanity of Mrs. Slenker, and the effect of them is to give additional excuse for her persecution. There is no more reason for classing her with Mother Ann Lee because she makes one idea prominent than for classing Mr. Macdonald with Lewis the Light. If monomania in that sense constitutes madness, we are all lunatics. Macdonald’s red rag is the Christian Church. Mine is the political State. Mrs. Slenker’s is a depraved husband. Comstock’s is a naked woman. In settling our rights it is not a question which of us is the craziest, but which of us observes the equality of others. Were Macdonald to be prosecuted for blasphemy, he would resent, and very properly, the conduct of any friend who should make the same remark about him that he has made about Mrs. Slenker. I do not doubt that he intends to stand for her rights. My complaint is that in doing so he has incidentally contributed a stone to the foundation of her persecution. — Editor Liberty.]
The Political Theology of Mazzini And The International.
By Michael Bakouine, Member of the International Association of Working-People.
Translated from the French by Sarah E. Holmes.
Continued from No. 100.
Therefore there is but one means of saving Europe,— the civilization of Asia. Such is the inevitable consequence of this law of solidarity which unconsciously unites all humanity, and which makes the destiny of each individual dependent upon that of his whole nation, and the destiny of each nation upon that of all nations and tribes, of all human collectivities, in a word, large or small, which all together constitute humanity.
Civilize Asia! That is easy to say, but difficult to do; to civilize it in a manner to render it not only inoffensive, but useful to and in sympathy with the liberty and humanity of Europe! In official and officious regions, as well as in all circles where conservatism, doctrinarianism, and bourgeois authoritarianism prevail, much is said about civilization; indeed, today they talk of nothing else. But what is called civilization in such circles is pure barbarism, only refined and perfected in the direction of organization and not in that of the humanization of destructive and brutal forces. Civilization in this sense signifies exploitation, subjection, slavery, if not extermination. Bismarck, Thiers, the three emperors of Europe, the Pope, the Sultan, all the statesmen, all the generals, of Europe, are the knights of this civilization.
It is a long time since England especially, but Russia also, undertook this work of the civilization of Asia. The principal means are, first, conquest, and then commerce and religious propagandism, I have just said what 1 think of conquest. Of these three means commerce is doubtless the most efficacious. It-brings Asia and Europe together by the exchange of their products, and by this means even establishes between them a commencement of real solidarity. The peaceful invasion of European merchandise must necessarily carry with it—very slowly, it is true—the successive introduction at least of some of the customs and habits of European life; but with these customs and habits are indissolubly bound up certain ideas, certain sentiments, and certain social relations, heretofore unknown in Asia; furtively, insensibly, Asia is being penetrated by at least a few drops of that human respect of which she is utterly ignorant and which is the true, the only foundation of all morality and civilization.
Of reverence or of divine worship, which Mazzini preaches to us, probably to take us back to Asia, she has had only too much. All the religions which today still afflict the human world were born in Asia, not even excepting the new religion of Mazzini, which is in reality, as I shall presently demonstrate, only a very strange eclectic collection of Chinese, Brahministic, Buddhistic, Jewish, and Christian principles,— and if we should search thoroughly, we should find Mohammedanism also, the whole sprinkled with Platonic metaphysics and Catholico-Danteistic theosophy. But what has been always lacking in Asia, the complete absence of which properly constitutes Asiatic brutality, is human respect. The life of man, his dignity, his liberty, count for nothing there. All that is pitilessly crushed in blood and mire by God, by castes, by the principle of authority, by the State. Nowhere can we see more clearly that these two principles, these two pestilent historical fictions,— God and the State,— are the intellectual and moral source of all slavery; whence it follows that, from the point of view of intellectual and moral propagandism, what must be done first of all to emancipate Asia is to destroy in its popular masses faith in any authority, whether divine or human.
Is the Christian propagandism exercised today on so large a scale in China, in Cochinchina, in Japan, in the East Indies, and in Tartary, by the French Jesuits, by the Protestant Biblists of England and America, and by the Russian Popes, really capable of civilizing, of emancipating Asia, intellectually and morally? The question is answered decidedly in the negative by the facts. For almost three centuries already has Christianity, represented at first by the Portuguese missionaries, later by the Jesuits, and, beginning with the past century, by the English Protestants, tried to Christianize China, Japan, and the Indies. Vain efforts! At most they have succeeded in making some hundreds of thousands of men accept a few religious ceremonies, a few Christian rites; an absolutely external conversion, for not a single spark of the Christian spirit has entered into these souls. Mohammedanism, much better adapted, it seems, to these rude natures, at once contemplative and violent, idle in their daily lives, but destructive and furious when aroused under the impulse of any passion whatsoever, seems to carry on today a propagandism much more extensive and real than that of Christianity. As for Christianity, it has made a complete failure in the East. One would say that, after having vomited it from its breast, the East wishes to hear no further mention of it. This is so true that the few primitive churches which remain, either in Syria or in Armenia or in Abyssinia, are dying of inanition....
But even supposing that either Christianity or Mohammedanism should finish by spreading throughout the East, would this be a real progress for civilization, in the human sense of the word, the only one which, as we have just seen, can avert the horrible danger with which the Eastern world menaces the liberty of Europe? Have not these two religions for a fundamental principle, as well as all the other religions which have sprung from the East like themselves, the belief in divine authority and consequently in human slavery? I think I have no need to demonstrate it for Mohammedanism; but has not Christianity itself, whatever form it may take, Roman Catholic, Greek Catholic, or Protestant, always been contrary to liberty? I very well know that I may be pointed to the examples of a part of Switzerland, of Holland, of England, and of the United States of America,— not of Germany, I hope,— as proof, in opposition to what I have just stated, that Protestantism has established liberty in Europe. This is a great error. It is the economic, material emancipation of the bourgeois class on the one hand, and on the other its necessary accompaniment, the intellectual, anti-Christian, and anti-religious emancipation of this class, which, in spite of Protestantism, have created that exclusively political and bourgeois liberty which is today easily confounded with the grand, universal, human liberty, which only the proletariat can create, because its essential condition is the disappearance of those centres of authority called States, and the complete emancipation of labor, the real base of human society.
Moreover, is not the present state of Europe an evident proof of the absolute incapacity of Christianity to emancipate men and to organize society according to justice,— what do I say? — to even inspire their political and social acts with a somewhat human character? Europe counts today nearly a dozen centuries of Christianity and three centuries of Protestantism. What is its last official word today? The veracity of the Popes, the liberalism and humanity of the Mouraviefs, the Thiers, and the Bismarcks. Imagine all these great men, accompanied by their priests, their clerks, their generals, and their officers, not forgetting their great manufacturers, their great merchants, their bankers, reigning as sovereigns in Asia in the name of a Christian civilization, acquiring renewed strength in the Divine sources of the old Oriental slavery! It would be then that Europe and humanity with her would be lost.
It is clear that, in the absence of a truly human and moral principle, there remains to the Europe of today, official and bourgeois, only one means of civilizing the East,— namely, commerce. The needs of the world’s commerce have succeeded in overthrowing today all the walls with which the East had surrounded herself in the interest of her immobility and conservatism. Railroads are being built in the Indies, they will necessarily be built, sooner or later, in Asia Minor, in Persia, in Tartary, and in the Chinese Empire itself. Telegraph lines already bind Japan, the Indies, and Pekin itself with Europe and America. All this introduces the commodities and with them the social relations of Europe at the remotest points; all this tends to destroy the fatal stagnation of the Orient.
The Orient, these eight hundred millions of men asleep and enslaved which constitute two-thirds of humanity, will be forced to awake and put itself in motion. But in what direction and to what end? Behold the terrible question on the solution of which the whole future of humanity in Europe depends. Is commerce, as it is carried on today, capable of humanizing the East? Alas! No.
It enriches many commercial houses in Europe, it increases the accumulated riches of a much more limited number of great merchants in the East, but it does nothing for the amelioration of the wretched economic situation or for the social, political, intellectual, and moral emancipation of the populations of the East. How should it, since it does not and cannot do this for those of Europe? The commerce of England is certainly superior to that of all other countries in the world. But the economic situation of the English proletariat and especially of the peasantry is miserable. In London alone there are almost a hundred thousand individuals who do not know what they will eat tomorrow, and the fact of able workmen seeking, but not finding, work has become a common and daily fact in this richest and most prosperous of all the countries in the world.
Eastern commerce cannot civilize, cannot humanize the countries of the East for this simple reason, if for no other,— that it is founded principally on the misery and slavery of the people, a slavery and a misery which are the principal foundation of the cheapness of Eastern goods, the importation of which into Europe enriches exclusively the great commercial houses of Europe.
From all this does it follow that the present Europe is absolutely incapable of civilizing or humanizing the East? Yes, it would have to be said, if there had not recently appeared a fact of the extremest importance, which opens new prospects for the civilization of the East. I refer to those hundreds of thousands of Chinese laborers who, pushed on by the surplus population of the Celestial Empire, are going to seek their bread today in remote countries, principally in Australia and California. They are very badly received and looked upon by the American workmen. This is very natural: accustomed to a miserable existence, they can sell their labor much cheaper and make a competition very dangerous to the labor of American workmen. On the other hand, habituated from their infancy to the hardest slavery — since that is the foundation of the religion of the East — and to bad treatment of all kinds, they are welcomed by the employers with double favor. The employers of America, as well as those of Europe and, in general, all men who are put in a position of command, are naturally more or less despots; they love the slavery of their laborers and they detest their revolts; this is in the nature of things.
The Chinese laborers are sober, patient, servile, and skilful. These are precious qualities to employers. But by these very qualities they degrade, not only with regard to wages, but morally, with regard to human dignity, the labor and consequently also the whole economic and social position of the laborers of America, from which results the growing hatred of the latter for the Chinese laborers. We know that in California monster meetings are held with a view to the expulsion of these Oriental slaves from the sacred soil of liberty.
This is not easy. Hundreds of thousands of workmen, organized in secret societies for protection against the persecutions of American workmen, are not to be driven across the ocean at a day’s notice. Neither is it desirable, for this is perhaps the only way which the force of events and the necessities of international production have opened for the real civilization of the East. The presence and the competition of these Chinese laborers is doubtless very inconvenient, today, for the laborers of America, but it is salutary for China, for these hundreds of thousands of Chinese laborers are serving today in Australia and California their apprenticeship in liberty, dignity, rights, and human respect. We have already seen that, following the example set by American workmen, they have struck on several occasions for an increase of wages and an amelioration of the conditions of their work.
This is the first step in the path of human and real emancipation; this is the apprenticeship of humanity, of its foundation, of its aim, of its thought, of the only road to its emancipation, of its force,— “the foundation of human liberty and human dignity on emancipated and solidary labor by the collective revolt of the working masses, organized, not by the efforts of directors, guardians, or any official leaders whatever, but by the spontaneous action of the laborers themselves, with a view to the emancipation of labor and of human right, and thereby constituting the solidarity of each and all in society.”
The revolt of the laborers and the spontaneous organization of human solidary labor through the free federation of the workingmen’s groups! This, then, is the answer to the enigma which the Eastern Sphinx forces us today to solve, threatening to devour us if we do not solve it. The principle of justice, liberty, and equality by and in solidary labor which is agitating today the working masses of America and Europe must penetrate the East equally and completely. The salvation of Europe is to be had only at this price, for this is the true, the only constitutive principle of humanity, and no people can be completely and solidarity free in the human sense of the word, unless all humanity is free.
It is not enough that the Latin, Celtic, German, and Anglo-German West of Europe should emancipate itself and form a grand Federative Republic founded on emancipated and solidarity organized labor. That this constitution may be enduring it is indispensable that the whole Slavic, Grecian, Turkish, Magyaric, Tartaric, and Finnish East of Europe should emancipate itself in the same way and form an integral part of this Federation. Nor will it suffice for humanity to triumph in Europe, America, and Australia. It must also penetrate the dark and divine East, and expel therefrom the last vestige of Divinity. Triumphant in Africa and especially in Asia, it must drive from its last refuges this cursed principle of authority, with all its religious, political, economic, and social consequences, in order that in its place human liberty, founded solely on solidary labor, scientific reason, human respect, justice, and equality, may triumph, develop, and become organized.
Such is the final object, such the absolute morality, of the humanity which Mazzini vainly seeks in his God, and which we materialists and atheists look upon as the constitutive principle, as the fundamental, natural law, of the human race.
Papa’s Own Girl in Topolobampo.
I have just finished reading “Papa’s Own girl,” that novel of Marie Howland’s which forms so important a part of the propaganda of the Credit Foncier. Truly there is much to praise in this little book. It is refreshing to read “a novel with a purpose,” so clear-cut, simple, and straightforward, yet dainty, natural, and really charming withal. Some very hearty, full-blooded creations of fancy move through its pages, talking to each other, and to the reader, for all the world like human beings,— a thing rare enough in fiction to make a note of.
“Papa’s own girl” was, to the best of her knowledge and ability, all that it fancier in reform girls could desire; and “Papa” himself, I rejoice to see, knew enough to swear when he was mad. Now I don’t approve of getting mad; far from it; ’tis a waste and ridiculous excess,— an insanity, mostly; but, when a fellow is mad, there is no other way given among men by which he can so easily, harmlessly, and ornamentally shoot himself off into the air as by delivering a volley of good, mouth-filling oaths. Swearing balances the circulation, expands the chest, and cultivates the voice and the imagination. ’Tis refreshing, romantic, poetical, historical, mythological, and — Ingersollian. Selah! I tell you seriously, my brethren, beware of the man who never swears. The chances are that the poison of wrath he has bottled up has cankered there till he is rotten within. This is plainly, though covertly, a free-love novel. To be sure there is marriage in it, but it seems to be of the “autonomistic” gender (neither he, she, nor it), and the whole code of its sexual ethics is after the order of liberty. Thus Dr. Forest makes kisses a part of his treatment for his lorn lady patients. Pretty Susie, being unfortunate enough, like some other not-wisely loving young ladies, to entertain an angel (baby) unawares, does not, like so many other conventionally “ruined” girls, make her ruin real by marrying the cause of it. And black Dinah comforts her with the somewhat startling consolation: “Dem accidents will happen mos’ all de time!” Remark the doctor’s talk with his wife and daughter previous to Clara’s wedding:
Women are beginning to see that they are slaves in one sense. They are not permitted, legally or morally, to dispose of their affections according to their tastes. When a man assassinates one whom his wife regards too favorably to please him, he is generally acquitted by the courts. Common sense would show that the wife had sufficient interest in the matter to be consulted; but honor does not admit her rights.... Now, some of the best women in the world, and I believe the majority of all that ever lived, have been attracted, in a greater or less degree, by other men than their husbands. What will you do with the facts?
And so on. Observe, too, that Clara does not leave her husband because another woman has a place in his affections, but because she, herself, has none. Not jealousy, but eviction, sends her forth. And, finally, she contemns the law by marrying Frauenstein contrary to the order of the court. And even the Count declares that “all children must be legitimate,” which is a neat enough sentiment, though, in it, he confounds legitimacy and right just like any ordinary no Count mortal.
In view of all this, what would be the status of “papa’s own girl” in Topolobampo, should she advocate and apply “papa’s” ideas there? Suppose her as falling in love with A. K. Owen,— what then? The “one law” of Topolobampo enacts marriage, and for her to love two men at the same time would be an intolerable horror. Evidently “papa’s own girl,” with her papa’s notions, would be badly out of place in this one-horse heaven where even Cupid has to submit to “directors.” By the way, are not these directors some kin to the surgical elements of that name,— mere arbitrary grooves, along the tenotome of tyranny slides to the more effectual among of all natural ties?
The ideas of the book on temperance are notable. Everybody seems to believe in moderate drinking; but when this leads to its not infrequent result and Dan becomes a sot, the ladies turn out and run a “Crusade” at the saloons. Prohibition is spoken of approvingly, and liquor-selling is prohibited in the Social Palace. Yet, right on top of all this, we are introduced to this remarkably hominopathic remedy for intemperance,— teach the children to drink wine and water. Ye gods! what a muddle! Wine-bibbing, “cognac in café noir,” inebriacy, crusades, prohibition, and “hair of the dog to cure the bite.” This remedy must be a new form of the vaccination craze. When you get to Mexico, Marie Howland, the “Greasers” will teach you a new trick,— having the babies smoke at their mother’s breast. This undoubtedly destroys all immoderate craving for nicotine in life; so just add the cigarette to the weak wine and water. But there is one thing that disturbs my faith. I was not suckled on weak wine and water; I doubt if I have imbibed a gallon of wine in my whole life; I have never even tasted whisky, brandy, gin, or “cognac in café noir”; and yet at the mature age of thirty years I find myself without craving for stimulants or narcotics, and can discover no symptom of inebriacy or delirium tremens. Peculiar, isn’t it?
What is the moral of this to Anarchists tempted to settle in Topolobampo? Just this. There the community is responsible for the health of its members, therefore controls their habits. If you are a plumb-line teetotaller, your children might be compelled to use weak wine and water. If a hygienist, you might have to submit to vaccination and drugging; and, if not a hygienist, might find vaccination forbidden and have to submit to nauseous diet and swear-worthy snakings. If loving a fragrant Habana or social glass, you might find — as at present — their sale prohibited and their use “in every way discouraged” (“Credit Foncier,” No. 36). And if “Papa’s own girl” happens to have an instinctive affection for dogs,— those gentle, brown-eyed, demi-human quadrupeds,— she would do well to avoid Topolobampo, where prohibition is so popular that even dogs are prohibited. It would do her no good to quote the Scripture, “Love me love my dog.” This “dog-gone” law is equally operative against dogs, drinks, and “bull-headed eastern tenderfeet” (curious pedals, those, it seems to me. Wonder if they would seem less contemptibly “tender” if vibrated judiciously just beneath Mr. Owen’s royal coat tails). A. K. Owen hath spoken it, and all the people have said, “Amen!”
Therefore, comrades, keep out of Topolobampo.
And even in Mrs. Howland’s ideal palace, where Liberty (like a mene, mene, tekel upharsin) is blazoned on the wall, education is compulsory, and the poor workmen are to pay back the cost of their home with six per cent, interest. At least that is a not unwarranted assumption from the Count’s speeches. What right had this man, who by his own confession did not honestly own more than $500, the rest of his money having been obtained by the robberies of speculation or by inheritance from other robbers, to six one-hundredts of all the hard earned savings of these people for fifteen years? What right had he to more than equitable compensation for labor performed? If he had equitable title to his wealth, why did he not hasten to what restitution might be in his power, and return the money to the poor, from whence it came? There would have been no “charity,” only an indirect and tardy justice, had he given the palace to these people outright. And how much of this palace could an individual call his own, after he had worked hard for a share and more than paid for it?
One of the most unconsciously natural touches in this book is where the Count makes his first speech to his workmen. Just such a condescending, awkward, sure-to-be-applauded-as-eloquent speech as such a man might be expected to make. The jackanapes has even the impudence to tell these honest workmen that he is an aristocrat, and proud of his disgraceful title.
Frauenstein is about the only miscarriage in the book. He appears to “the reader with the penetrating eye” very different from what the fond fancy of Marie Howland would paint him.
Finally, on the fly-leaf of this book I find an “ad” of the Credit Foncier, from which I extract;
Its colonists are to be known as “constructionists” and “individualists” in contradistinction to a branch of socialists who favor destruction and communism.... It asks for evolution, and not for revolution; for inter-dependence, and not for independence; for cooperation, and not for competition; for equity, and not for equality; for duty, and not for liberty; for employment, and not for charity; for eclecticism, and not for dogma; for one law, and not for class legislation; for corporate management, and not for political control; for State responsibility for every person, at all times, and in every place, and not for municipal irresponsibility for any person, at any time, or in any place; and it demands that the common interests of the citizen — the atmosphere, land, water, light, power, exchange, transportation, construction, sanitation, education, entertainment, insurance, production, distribution, etc., etc. — “be pooled,” and that the private life of the citizen be held sacred.
Fellow Anarchists, “heard ye ever the like of that noo!”
Topolobampo must be Thomas Paine’s country,— “where Liberty is not.”
J. Wm. Lloyd.
Grahamville, Florida, May 15, 1887.
The Spooner Memorial Meeting.
The services in memory of Lysander Spooner were held in Wells Memorial Hall, Boston, in the afternoon of Sunday, May 29, as announced in the last number of Liberty. The audience was not large, but very attentive, scarcely any one leaving the hall during the three hours and a half of speaking. Theodore D. Weld of Hyde Park, the anti-slavery veteran, presided, and speeches were made by Mr. Weld, Geo. W. Searle, Henry Appleton, J. M. L. Babcock, John Orvis, and F. B. McKenzie. It is of course impossible to do any justice to their addresses in Liberty’s limited space and therefore no attempt at it will be made, save in the case of Mr. McKenzie, who utilized so well the minute allowed him at the close that his brief tribute was especially admired. It is given here in full:
“FRIENDS: The life of our dead friend was an illustration of the truth of the words of Ruskin,— that the best service a man has to render his fellow-men is never tendered for pay. I have no time at this late hour to speak of Mr. Spooner’s place as a legist, as a jurist, as a financier and economist, and will only say, as he said at the grave of his friend, Edward Linton: ‘He lived the life that he liked, the life that he wanted to live, and it was beautiful.’”
The following resolutions were read by Benj. R. Tucker, in behalf of the committee of arrangements, and received with enthusiastic applause:
Resolved: That Lysander Spooner, to celebrate whose life and to lament whose death we meet today, built for himself, by his half century’s study and promulgation of the science of justice, a monument which no words of ours, however eloquent, can make more lasting or more lofty; that each of his fifty years and more of manhood work and warfare added so massive a stone to the column of his high endeavor that now it towers beyond our reach; but that nevertheless it is meet, for our own satisfaction and the world’s welfare, that we who knew him best should place on record and proclaim as publicly as we may our admiration, honor, and reverence for his exceptional character and career, our gratitude for the wisdom which he has imparted to us, and our determination so to spread the light for which we are thus indebted that others may share with us the burden and the blessing of this inextinguishable debt.
Resolved: That we recognize in Lysander Spooner a man of intellect, a man of heart, and a man of will: that as a man of intellect his thought was keen, clear, penetrating, incisive, logical, orderly, careful, convincing, and crushing, and set forth withal in a style of singular strength, purity, and individuality which needed to employ none of the devices of rhetoric to charm the intelligent reader; that as a man of heart he was a good hater and a good lover,— hating suffering, woe, want, injustice, cruelty, oppression, slavery, hypocrisy, and falsehood, and loving happiness, joy, prosperity, justice, kindness, equality, liberty, sincerity, and truth: that as a man of will he was firm, pertinacious, tireless, obdurate, sanguine, scornful, and sure; and that all these virtues of intellect, heart, and will lay hidden beneath a modesty of demeanor, a simplicity of life, and a beaming majesty of countenance which, compelled with the venerable aspect of his later years, gave him the appearance, as he walked our busy streets, of some patriarch or philosopher of old, and made him a personage delightful to meet, and beautiful to look upon.
Resolved: That, whether in his assaults upon religious superstition, or in his battle with chattel slavery, or in his challenge of the government postal monopoly, or in his many onslaughts upon the banking monopoly, or in his vehement appeal to the Irish peasantry to throw off the dominion of privileged lords over themselves and their lands, or in his denunciation of prohibitory laws, or in his dissection of the protective tariff, or in his exposure of the ballot as an instrument of tyranny, or in his denial of the right to levy compulsory taxes, or in his demonstration that Constitutions and statutes are binding upon nobody, or in the final concentration of all his energies for the overthrow of the State itself, the cause and sustenance of nearly all the evils against which he had previously struggled, he ever showed himself the faithful soldier of Absolute Individual Liberty.
Resolved: That, while he fought this good fight and kept the faith, he did not finish his course, for his goal was in the eternities; that, starting in his youth in pursuit of truth, he kept it up through a vigorous manhood, undeterred by poverty, neglect, or scorn, and in his later life relaxed his energies not one jot; that his mental vigor seemed to grow as his physical powers declined; that, although, counting his age by years, he was an octogenarian, we chiefly mourn his death, not as that of an old man who had completed his task, but as that of the youngest man among us,— youngest because, after all that he had done, he still had so much more laid out to do than any of us, and still was competent to do it; that the best service that we can do his memory is to take up his work where he was forced to drop it, carry it on with all that we can summon of his energy and indomitable will, and, as old age creeps upon us, not lay the harness off, but, following his example and Emerson’s advice, “obey the voice at eve obeyed at prime.”
Mr. Tucker also read the following letter from Gertrude B. Kelly, which was the more highly appreciated because coming from one whose lecture in Boston last year and whose articles in Liberty and other papers had excited in Mr. Spooner an admiration to which he was never tired of giving voice:
Dear Mr. Tucker:
Nothing would give me greater pleasure than to bear testimony at the Memorial meeting to the wonderful value of Lysander Spooner’s work to our cause, were it not that I think that the money which would be expended in going to Boston can be spent to better purpose in aiding in the publication of his unpublished manuscripts, or in increasing the circulation of those already in the market. I will cheerfully give ten dollars to he devoted to this purpose, provided that the publication be entrusted to no one who is at all liable to mar, add to, or subtract from, or in any way interfere with, Mr. Spooner’s work.
In these times, when a wave of authoritarianism — if anything, greater than that which swept over France at the time of its great revolution — is sweeping over all the countries of the civilized world, when all classes seem to vie with one another in demanding governmental interference, aid, and protection. It is important that the hands of those who hold aloft the torch of liberty should be well supported, in order that some light may go down to coming generations to prove that the age was not wholly dark.
Of the torch-bearers of liberty and justice in this country, none is greater or more worthy of support than Lysander Spooner. Of the beauty of his personal character, of his service to the cause of abolition, of his life-long devotion to what he conceived to be the truth, I will leave others, who had the good fortune to know him better than I, to speak, but of his services to the cause of Anarchism, to the cause of liberty and justice, I feel that I have as good a right as any other to offer my meed of praise. If Lysander Spooner had written nothing for us but his “Natural Law,” it would entitle him to a place in our saints’ calendar, if Anarchists may be allowed to have a saints’ calendar. In this little pamphlet of twenty pages, he shows as clearly as if he had written a volume that, if there is no such thing as natural justice, then governments have no business to exist, as there is no such thing as justice to enforce, and all their pretences of enforcing justice are mockeries and delusions, and that, if there is such a thing as natural justice, any human legislation is wicked and absurd,— wicked if it tries to enforce any other than natural law, and useless, absurd, and unnecessary when it attempts to regulate and interfere with a science that is to be learned and applied like any other science. This principle might be elaborated and illustrated after the manner of Herbert Spencer; it might be shown in a thousand instances that, when justice was violated, disaster always followed, and in a thousand other instances that, when obeyed, peace and happiness reigned; but the principle itself could not stand out in greater clearness in a hundred volumes. Mr. Spooner takes the last step towards Anarchism, which Mr. Spencer has as yet failed to take,— that is, that no collection of individuals, calling themselves a State or anything else, has any right whatsoever to compel a person to join it to protect himself from molestation.
Into the value of his “Law of Prices,” “Universal Wealth,” etc., and that masterpiece of research, logic, and close reasoning of the end of his days, his “Letter to Grover Cleveland,” I have not space to enter. They are all, however, but applications and illustrations of the principles laid down in “Natural Law.”
Though the recognition of the principles of justice and truth is not all that is necessary to morality (these principles must become part and parcel of men’s natures — in other words, they must become sentiments — before they are effective moral agents), still the recognition of the principles of right conduct is a very important step, and the first step, towards right conduct, and this step Lysander Spooner much as any man in our century has helped us to take. The best tribute we can pay to his memory, the best proof that we can give that we really appreciated him, is to continue, if not with the same ability, still with all the ability we possess, the work to which he devoted his life. That your meeting may help to promote this work is the ardent hope of yours sincerely,
Gertrude B. Kelly.
61 East Seventh St., New York, May 27, 1887.
Victor Drury would probably have been among the speakers, had he not been previously engaged to speak at Minneapolis. The letter of invitation was forwarded to that city from New York, and his reply reached Boston too late to be read at the meeting. It is given below:
Yours reached me here tonight. The news of the death of my old friend Josiah Warren, then of Edward Linton, and now of Lysander Spooner, has reached me in each case from Boston. If Boston kills more friends to true liberty, it must be that she produces more than other cities.
Lysander Spooner is dead, but his work is living, and in the work of large and true freedom few men living have accomplished half so much as our departed and greatly-regretted friend.
Vive sa mémoire!
It is impossible personally to pay a tribute to our departed friend. I simply write this to express a hope that we shall all labor to keep his memory green and to practically follow his teachings.
Minneapolis, Minn., May 26, 1887.
At the door of the hall, upon a table attended by Josephine S. Tilton, copies of nearly all the pamphlets ever written by Mr. Spooner were exhibited for sale.