Liberty Vol. IV. No. 25.
Not the Daughter but the Mother of Order
“For always in thine eyes, O Liberty!
Shines that high light whereby the world is saved;
And though thou slay us, we will trust in thee.”
On Picket Duty.
The immigration problem has received some attention from Know-Nothing Powderly, and he recommends a law that no one shall be allowed to land who cannot show that he has the means to support himself one year without employment. Nothing else is expected from Powderly, but that the Union Labor party should contain so much stupidity, ignorance, and inhumanity as to find such a policy suitable for its platform is indeed a matter for surprise. And this is the party of progress and industrial emancipation!
Two new publications are advertised in this issue,— one on the land question, the other on the money question. The former is the fifth number of Charles T. Fowler’s “Sun,” entitled “Land Tenure.” It needs no recommendation to those who have read the previous numbers of this admirable series. The latter is entitled “The Iron Law of Wages,” and is written by Hugo Bilgram,— a new name to the readers of Liberty. Mr. Bilgram has analyzed the money problem with remarkable keenness and by a method peculiarly his own, arriving nevertheless at conclusions substantially the same as those of Proudhon, Greene, aad Spooner.
Readers of Liberty probably remember various paragraphs which have appeared in recent numbers exposing the ignorant misrepresentations of Ararchy that have proceeded from time to time from the pulpit of Rev. Hugh O. Pentecost of Newark. They will now be glad to learn that this preacher has had his eyes opened, at least partly. On Sunday evening, June 26, he preached a sermon in his church on “Christ and the Common People,” in the course of which he referred to the Anarchists. The Newark “Evening News” reports him as follows: “I have heretofore believed that an Anarchist was an individual who went around armed to the teeth, and who would just as soon as not commit some desperate act. I suppose the very antion of the name turns your blood cold. I have, however, talked to a number of intelligent Anarchists recently, and I must confess that, if what they state is true, I have been deceived.” And the “News” adds “The speaker said that he had been surprised to learn that the Anarchists taught many things that were, in his mind, true Christianity.” The clergyman who could say this in his pulpit, not only eating his own words, but flying directly in the face of what is perhaps the intensest prejudice now prevalent in the public mind, is certainly a brave man, and, despite his present adherence to Henry George’s doctrine, I begin to have hopes of him.
I have often noticed that the best things that I write are the things that please nobody at all. I have not adopted this test, however, as an absolute criterion of excellence: otherwise I should take particular satisfaction in the paragraph that appeared some time ago in these columns regarding the English individualistic organ, “Jus.” I cannot help suspecting, nevertheless, that there was something very go. I about it, in view of the unanimity with which it has been condemned. The principal contention is over my comparison of “Jus” with the “Commonweal,” “Justice,” “Freedom,” and the “Anarchist” A writer in the “Commonweal” was the first to complain, his grievance being what I had mentioned the “Anarchist” in this category order to cast discredit upon the three other Socialist papers. Then the editor of the “Anarchist” wailed because I had instituted this classification for the express purpose of bringing his journal into disrepute. And now, just as I was finding some solace in the thought that “Jus,” at least, appreciated and compliments, I discover a nervous fear onsets part lest individualism may get confounded with “Anarchism pure and simple.” Alas! poor Liberty! As always, abhorred and despised, she must go her way alone for a long time yet to come. Luckily she is used to it. Though rejected by the builders, she is sure to become the head of the corner.
E. C. Walker declares that my assertion that he set up legal marriage as a realization of the Anarchistic principle is a reflection upon either my intelligence or my honesty. Mr. Walker will not deny, I think, that he has claimed that his marriage was Autonomistic,— his word for Anarchistic,— and that his defence in court was no compromise. His course, then, according to his claim, was a realization of the Anarchistic principle, and to test the truth of my assertion it remains only to inquire whether this course was a setting up of legal marriage. His own words answer the inquiry. “Our sole plea in the courts,” he says, “was that mutual consent constituted marriage, and that this had been acknowledged by the highest legal authorities.” Now, when a man is charged by the State with living with a woman without being married to her, and he makes answer that he is married to her, he is either dodging,— that is, compromising, and Mr. Walker declares that he did not compromise,— or else he means to declare himself legally married. I am ready to stake my intelligence and honesty against Mr. Walker’s (though it is offering him large odds) on the result of any attempt that he may make to escape this alternative. And before taunting him on not daring to accept the wager, I will give him more time than he allowed me in which to answer his analogy of his conduct to that of Reclus’s daughters. For, on finding no answer in the very next issue of Liberty, he immediately popped out the charge that I had “taken refuge in silence when confronted with an indisputable fact,” whereas the truth is that my answer was already in type. By the way, does Mr. Walker recall the profound silence in which he took refuge, and from which he never emerged, after the appearance of an article which I wrote in reply to him, entitled “A Fable for Malthusians”? He should remember that he lives in a house built or very thin glass, and that the Massachusetts stone crop beats that of Kansas all hollow.
The Reward of Authors.
To the Editor of Liberty:
I received from yor a few copies of the “Sun.” I presume that Mr. C. T. Fowler is the editor and publisher at the same time. On the title page I read: “Copyright reserved by the publisher.” I fell to thinking before I opened the book. What does this reservation of right mean? Surely it does not mean “legal right.” Mr. Fowler would not degrade himself enough to send a copy to the Librarian of Congress in order to protect his right. I cannot think of that. What, then, does it signify? Moral right? Mr. Fowler is afraid lest I will reprint als book. Good heavens! would you mind, Mr. Tucker, if any other paper would regularly reprint your articles and pamphlets? May the gods inspire them with such a desire! I think that would be the greatest boon to your cause. It is just what we want. I well remember that, when the first numbers of “Land and Liberty” (Zemlia i Volia) appeared in Russia, some of the “legal” newspapers quoted and reprinted many articles with the innocent intention of refuting them. What a rejoicing there was in our camp! What a stir it made! Thousands who had never heard of the paper and were even ignorant as to the existence of the Socialistic party began to think and feel an interest in this movement. The government did not fail to realize that the boys were “playing with fire,” and of course silenced them. I believe that the publication of the “Proudhon Library” is far from being remunerative. Would you complain that your rights are violated, should Lippincott or Appleton undertake the publication? You would wish them good luck, knowing that you will not lose, but gain, by their enterprise.
Let me reason. You publish a book. I buy it, read it myself, and it aloud to others, copy it for my friend, and, if I like it, and want to give it a greater circulation for reasons of my own, I set it up and publish it. Must I go to the publisher or author and ask their permission? It is no more their property than the Bible is Moses’s.
It might happen that an author would work all his life over a book and publish it, and that then another would reprint it and sell it at cost, thus depriving the author of his reward.
I don’t care a straw for the author; I want to buy my books as cheap as possible, and have no wish whatever to pay more for what I can get for less.
The author will not be rewarded, and his life-long work will be in vain; he will be left destitute.
I will drop a coin for the poor, and make a collection for the destitute literati. It was for him to foresee all emergencies and publish his work as cheap as the other.
Then there will be no incentive, no stimulant, for authors to write books; progress will be hampered; there will be no literature.
I am not obliged to furnish incentives and stimulants with my money to any one. I will read my Bible until it shall be torn, and peruse my classics until they become rotten.
Why, this will be the best incentive and most efficient stimulant for authors to write and for publishers to publish.
Is it because, the author or inventor is unable to contrive such means as to reap the whole benefit of his labor that one is justified in depriving him wholly of his due reward?
I become confused, and hasten to ask you to enlighten me on this subject.
[If Mr. Fowler has taken advantage of the copyright law, I do not propose to discuss his conduct or motives. That is his own matter entirely. He may be governed by controlling reasons of which I know nothing. When he shall announce that he acted thus in order to exemplify Anarchistic principles thereby, it will then be time enough to criticise him, for he will then be in the same boat with E. C. Walker. Upon the question of copyright itself I agree with my correspondent, though I cannot endorse the whole of his argument. Unless he means to announce himself an outlaw, he does not wish to buy the author’s books any cheaper than liberty and equity will let him; else he might better steal them outright without talk or ceremony. Nor is the matter of charity to the author pertinent to the discussion. The question is one of justice to the author and whether he can get it under liberty. The answer is that, when labor is left in possession of the capital which it produces unburdened by usury or taxation, the author and the inventor will not have to appeal to the rich in order to put their product on the market, but will be able to do so directly, and the start which they will naturally have of all competitors will secure them an equitable reward of their labor. Exact justice might not always be done, but a true conception of justice and such approximate realization thereof as is possible is all that can be hoped for. — Editor Liberty.]
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. 102.
115. It is the same, as already observed, even with reference to natural wealth, in which there is no positive Cost, and so of everything which we require, in kind, for our own use. (81.) Thus, for example, although land in its wild state is not rightfully the subject of price, and although, when simply enclosed, its positive Cost is the labor of enclosing it, yet, if I have selected pleasant situation for my own habitation and culture, and am induced to part with it for the accommodation of another, the price in that case is legitimately augmented by whatever amount of repugnance I may feel to making the surrender.
116. The exact thinker will readily perceive the distinction between objects of all sorts which are required for personal convenience at the time, and surplus property or capital not needed for present use, or needed only as the means of procuring other conveniences by means of exchange,— between things properly in commerce, and things taken out of commerce by special appropriation. In the latter case the labor contained in or bestowed upon the property is the whole of its equitable price. In the former it is augmented by the amount of sacrifice experienced in parting with it, occasioned by the present need.
117. In the case of passive or negative Cost,— the mere repugnance to the surrender of what is at the time serving a personal purpose,— none but the party making the surrender can know the real extent of the sacrifice, or can judge with accuracy of the equity of the price charged. Hence, with reference to things not properly in commerce, a common average of estimate cannot be attained as in the ordinary case of exchanges. (195.) But even here the operation of the principle is quite distinct from that of value as the limit of price. The party making the surrender will satisfy his own conscience by estimating the degree of sacrifice to him, and not as under the value standard by estimating the degree of the want of the other party. In other words, whenever he has arrived at a price which he would prefer to take rather than not sell, he is restrained from going farther, without inquiring whether he has reached the highest point to which the purchaser would go. This distinction between the active Cost of the labor of production and the passive Cost of surrender is important in various ways, and especially, as we shall see, in settling the question of interest or rent on capital. (226.)
118. As it is the positive Cost of the labor of production, alone, which relates to things properly in commerce, it is that which is usually meant by Cost, unless the repugnance of surrender is especially mentioned in addition.
119. There is still another observation in relation to the comprehensiveness of the term Cost. Although it refers back, in its rigid technical sense, to the original labor of production, measured by its repugnance, and fixes the price in labor, still it holds good as the equitable measure of price with reference to all articles purchased with money, under the present system, and not traced back to their component, labor. Thus an article purchased for a given price in money, and sold again for the same amount of money, plus the labor of the transaction, is sold for Cost. The Cost Principle is, therefore, merely the entire abandonment of profit making, whether it relates to labor production or dealings in money. The method of keeping a shop and selling goods upon the Cost Principle, during the transition period,— that is, while the community is too small to supply all its own wants,— is to charge for each article its original money Cost with all the money charges and contingencies, in money, and the labor of buying, handling, and selling, in labor, the time occupied in the transaction being measured, by the clock and charged according to the estimated repugnance of that kind of labor. A yard of cloth is, therefore, so many cents in money and so many minutes in labor. The particulars of the management of such stores, and the immense power which they exert over the commercial habits of large districts of country within their influence, will be shown in Mr. Warren’s work on Practical Details.
120. The comprehensiveness of the term Labor needs also to be defined. By Labor is meant, in the first place, not merely manual, but intellectual and oral labor as well,— whatever is done or performed by the hand, head, or tongue, and which involves repugnance or painfulness overcome,— the measure of price being based upon the well-known principle that man naturally seeks the agreeable and shuns that which is disagreeable or painful.
121. In the second place, the Labor by which price is measured is not always merely the particular performance done at the time. Whatever has required an especial skill obtained by previous labor, unproductive at the time, has its price augmented by its own due proportion of such loss, from previous necessary unproductive labor. For example, the surgeon may equitably charge for each surgical operation not only the time occupied in it, measured by its repugnance, but an aliquot portion of the time necessarily expended in acquiring the knowledge to enable him to do it in a skillful manner, according to the repugnance to him of that preliminary labor. So of every other necessary contingency,— all necessary contingencies, such as prior preparatory labor, risk incurred, etc., entering into and constituting a portion of Cost.
122. It results from what has been said that the basis of vendible property is human labor, and that the measure of such property is the amount of labor which there is, so to speak, laid up in the article owned. The article is the product of labor, and is therefore the representative of labor. Price is that which is given either for labor directly, or for property, which is the product of labor, that is, for labor indirectly, and it should therefore be a precise equivalent for that labor. The only proper ground of difference, then, between the price of side-saddle and the price of a house is the differenced in the amount of human labor which has been bestowed upon the one and upon the other. It follows, again, that the mode of arriving at the legitimate price of any article whatever is to reduce it first to labor. For example: if we take a house to pieces, we trace it back to trees growing in the woods, to clay, and sand, and lime, and iron, etc., lying in the earth. All that makes it a house, and entitles it to a price, as property, is the human labor that there is in it. That house over the way is, then, so many hours of labor at brick-making, so many hours of carpenter’s work, so many of lime-burning, so many of iron-work, nail-cutting, so many at glass-blowing, so many at hauling, so many at planning, drafting, etc., etc., etc. The whole house is nothing but human labor, dried, preserved, laid away. Each of these hours of labor in different occupations may have a different degree of repugnance, so that to estimate the gross amount of labor in the house it is necessary to bring them all to a common denomination. This is done by reducing them to the standard degree of repugnance in the standard labor,— corn-raising,— which is then expressed in the standard product of that kind of labor,— namely, so many pounds of corn. Hence the price of a house, or of any other object, is said to be so many pounds, or so many hours, meaning so many pounds of corn, or so many hours of labor at corn-raising, in the same manner as we now say so many dollars and cents. By this means all price is constantly referred to labor, and rendered definite, instead of being referred to a standard which is itself continually expanding and contracting by all the contingencies of speculation or trade. (77.)
123. The first point is to obtain a standard for a single locality, after which it is quite easy to adjust the standard of other localities to it. Agricultural labor is first selected, because it is the great staple branch of human industry. The most staple article of agricultural product is then taken, which for this country and especially for the great valley of the Mississippi, is Indian corn. In another country it may be wheat or something else, although Indian corn, wherever it is produced, will be found to have more of the appropriate qualities for a standard than any other article whatsoever, being more invariable in quality, more uniform in the amount produced by the same amount of labor in a given locality, and more uniform in the extent of the demand than any other article. At a given locality, or, as I have stated, at a great variety of localities in the Western States, the standard product of Indian corn is twenty pounds to the hour’s labor,— the measurement by pounds being also more inflexible or less variant than that by bulk. If, then, in some other locality,— as, for example, New England,— the product of an hour’s labor devoted to raising corn is only ten pounds of corn, the equivalent of the standard hour’s labor there will be ten pounds of corn, while in the West it will be twenty pounds. It is the hour’s labor in that species of agriculture which is therefore the actual unit of comparison, of which the product, whatever it may be, is the local representative. And in the same manner, in another country wheat may be the standard,— as, for example, in England,— and may be reckoned at ten pounds to the hour, or whatever is found by trial to be the fact. The reduction of the standard of one locality to that of another will then be no more difficult than the reduction of different currencies to one value, as now practiced.
124. There is an absolute necessity for some standard of cost, and it is not a question of principle, but of expediency, what article is adopted. It is the same necessity which is recognized at present for a standard of value, which is sought for, and by some persons erroneously supposed to be found, in money. The question may still be asked: Why not employ money as the standard with which to compare other things, and as a circulating medium, as is done now? The answer is found in the uncertain and fluctuating nature of money,— in the fact that it represents nothing definite.
125. Money has professedly two uses: (1) as a standard of value, and (2) as a circulating medium.
First, then, as a standard of value, or a measure with which to compare other values. It does not even profess to be a standard of cost. It has no relation whatever to the cost, or, in other words, to the labor which there is in the different commodities for which it is given as price, because there is no question about cost in existing commerce, the value alone being taken into account. But value is incapable of a scientific estimate, as will be more specifically shown in the next chapter. (134.) Hence it is fluctuating because it relates to nothing definite. But what are the capacities of the yard-stick itself? Is it fixed or elastic? The theory is that gold and silver are selected as standards of value because the quantity of those commodities in the world is more uniform than that of most other articles. If the fact be granted, then gold and silver have one of the fitting properties of a standard. But gold and silver are not convenient as a circulating medium. Hence paper money is assumed as a representative of specie. So far very well again. There was a time when bank-paper was an exact representation of specie, if it represented nothing else. The old bank of Amsterdam, the mother of the banking system, issued only dollar for dollar. Her bills were merely certificates of deposit for so much specie. So far, then, the yard-stick did not stretch nor contract, while the paper money was more convenient as a medium of circulation than the specie. But with the development of the banking system two, three, five, or more dollars of paper money are issued for one dollar of specie on deposit. The amount is then expanded and contracted, according to the fluctuations of trade and the judgments or speculating interests of perhaps five hundred different boards of bank directors. How is it, then, with the inflexibility of your standard? Your yard-stick is one year, one foot long, and the next year, five feet long. The problem with existing finance, then, is to measure values which are in their nature positively, incapable of measurement, by money, which is in its nature positively incapable of measuring any thing. It is therefore uncertainty x fluctuation = price.
126. There is no such thing, therefore, in money as a standard of value. As a circulating medium merely, considering no other properties nor the reasons why we should have a circulating medium at all, nothing better can be devised than paper money. It is thin, light, pliant, and convenient in all respects.
127. To make gold the standard of cost, instead of value, would be to take as much gold as is ordinarily dug in an hour in those countries where it is procured — say California — as the price of an hour’s labor in other branches of industry equally troublesome and repugnant. This may perhaps be one dollar, which would make the price of labor a dollar an hour, and the difference between that price in this article and the usual price of labor in the same article — which is rendered necessary now, as the means of acquiring all other commodities — is some indication of the degree to which labor is robbed by adopting the value standard instead of the cost standard of price. But the fact is that no average of the product of gold-digging can be made. It is proverbially uncertain. The product of gold, therefore, regarded as a standard of any thing, is as nearly worthless as the product of any article can be. The demand for it in the arts is also exceptional and uncertain. Apart from the factitious demand resulting from the fact that it is made a nominal standard and a medium, it is not in any sense a staple article. It would be just as philosophical to measure all other industry by the product of the mackerel fishery, or the manufacture of rock candy or Castor oil, as it would be to measure it by gold. The result of all this investigation is therefore this: That the product of gold, and, for the same reason, that of silver, is quite unfit for the first purpose we have in view, which is to select a staple species of labor with which to compare other labor, while corn or wheat does fulfill those conditions and (2) that paper is just what is wanted as a circulating medium, provided it can be made to rest upon a proper basis, and represent what ought to be represented by a circulating medium.
128. Now, what is it which ought to be represented by a circulating medium? Clearly it is price,— the price of commodities. The pledge or promise should be exactly equivalent to, as it stands in the place of, the commodity or commodities to be given hereafter. These commodities, which the paper stands in the place of, are the price of what was received. The equitable limit of price is, we have seen, the cost of the articles received. The promise is therefore rightly the equivalent of, or goes to the extent of, the cost of the articles received. But the cost of an article is, we have seen, the labor there is in it, rightly measured. Every issue of the circulating medium should therefore be a representative of, or pledge for, a certain amount of human labor, or for some commodity which has in it an equal amount of human labor, and, to avoid all question about what commodity shall be substituted, it is proper that a staple or standard article, the cost of which all agree upon, should be selected.
We return, then, to the Labor Note as the legitimate germ of a circulating medium.
To be continued.
By Georges Sauton.
Translated from the French for Liberty by Sarah E. Holmes.
Continued from No. 102.
Oh! for an end of the torture which he endured, his intense desire for her growing still more intense with the irresistible evocation of her luminous face! He would die, but at least holding between his shriveled fingers that soft and precious hand which he almost crushed and whose feverish heat remained upon his flesh and permeated his whole being.
Marian! The name constantly rose to his lips in a stammer, and left his throat in spite of himself; and, to touch anything of hers, no matter what, he held in front of him the dagger, as a monk in prayer holds before his eyes the divine crucifix, and with ardor contemplated the weapon, glittering in the expiring light of the fireplace, and its tapering blade insensibly magnetizing him into the mysterious ecstasy of a dream.
And suddenly he who had not been roused from his torpor by the thousand noises outside, or the haughty commands of Newington whose echoes reverberated through the vast halls, or the bustle of the soldiery still filling the courts, or the shots of the sentinels amusing themselves by firing at some inoffensive passer-by, trembled nervously at the sound of a silken train brushing imperceptibly over the thick carpet.
Enveloped in a loose wrapper of white satin, somewhat open at the neck, Lady Newington, with her long golden tresses and her undulating and charming step, advanced slowly and silently, looking, in the reddening brightness of a falling brand, like the marvellous apparition of a Fata Morgana. Insensible to the fantastic grace of this entrance, Richard, with knit brows, in an outhreak of malignant wrath, tried to rise and conceal from Ellen’s look, as from a profanation, the dagger which he had wrenched from the Irish girl. The Duchess made this impossible; and as, with a seeming nonchalance, she leaned on Bradwell’s chair, with a quick gesture she seized the weapon and took possession of it.
Bradwell gave an instinctive cry of terror.
“Ellen! do not touch it.”...
“It is poisoned.”
And the Duchess broke into a harsh, incredulous laugh, whose fleeting banter doubled the fascination of her being by parting her voluptuously moist lips over the milky whiteness of her teeth and lowering over her sparkling eyes her blinking lashes.
“My lady! You frighten me, you are playing with death I swear it to you.”....
Ellen’s laugh ceased, not under the influence of fear, but because of a sudden idea which imposed itself upon her, again transforming her mobile face and changing its artificial and provoking gaiety into an expression of diabolical cunning, of cold cruelty; and with her clear voice, impenetrable, enigmatic, cutting, and metallic as steel, she repeated:
“Poisoned! We will see!”
Very quickly she turned towards the window, with one push opened it wide, and gave the odd call with which she usually summoned her doves. Bradwell recoiled with horror.
A frightful odor of blood reached them, borne by the wind from the height where the bodies of the Irishmen, not yet removed, were rapidly decomposing, and also the more pungent and stifling smell of fires which had been lighted.
Whirlwinds of black smoke passed, veiling for an instant the bloody purple of the heavens, flames darted from distant beds of coals, licking the horizon, upon which were outlined in a triple and interminable row the sinister shapes of gallows, and the deafening, exultant croaking of the ravens responded to the smothered sound of a vast and many-voiced sob, while the hastening flock of doves encircled the Duchess, smiling at them wheeling in their flight.
For three days, frightened by the tumult of the battle, they had been cowering in the towers of the castle, where, trembling, they awaited the end of the devastations in the neighborhood; and as the last gleams of the blazing roofs set on fire the surrounding woods, the poor, gentle birds, chilled and famished, flew joyously at the call of the kind mistress who usually petted them so much, pampering their greediness, and all flew around the marvellous young woman, making her a halo with their glittering wings, greeting her with a hosanna of joy, and celebrating her surpassing beauty in song.
But the beating of their agitated wings, their cooings, more tender than words of love, left the wicked Duchess indifferent, and the invasion of the entire band seemed rather to annoy her.
The Duchess called the nearest of the turtle-doves, behind which the others held discreetly back, Aisse, the favorite, whiter than the others, with a suspicion of a tuft of black, and black also on the breast, perhaps over the heart, and who wore about the neck a loop of gold from which hung an enormous diamond, glittering in the night like a clear star when, amid the darkness, she left her nest to come and knock at Lady Ellen’s window.
Instantly Aisse alighted, light as a flake, placing her pink feet on the shoulder of the Duchess, and with her round beak kissed the divine ear of Ellen, who, unscrewing the cover of her sweetmeat-box of colored porcelain, pricked a square of apricot paste with the point of the dagger.
“You are not going to try the virtue of the poison on this dear little creature!” cried Sir Richard, in sudden indignation and extending his hand to prevent the crime.
But the bird had already snapped up the bonbon in a fatal hurry, fearful of the movement made to save her, which she interpreted erroneously as intended to deprive her of a delicacy; and the Duchess, moreover, helping her, she had scratched her palate with the blade deep enough to make the blood flow.
So successful was the experiment that, before the eyes of the horrified Bradwell and of Lady Ellen, who was radiant at the promptness of the result, the dove suddenly exhaled a plaintive sigh, and, with the anguish of a human creature in her golden eyes which grew dull, she stiffened her supple limbs, and, rendering up her life, fell on the carpet, while her mates of the pigeon-house, surprised and mournfully disturbed, with their narrow animal instinct, felt vaguely the abomination of what had passed, and flew swiftly away, bewildered, frightened, silent, and melancholy.
“Monstrous! monstrous!” cried Sir Bradwell, looking sadly at the bird which the Duchess thrust away from her with her foot.
The excessive sensibility of Sir Richard at the insignificant death of a bird made her laugh, coming the day after he had ordered his frightful executions, his furious massacres; she answered his silly tenderness, his indignation over a trifle, with a contemptuous shrug of her shoulders, considering that the corpses of his victims were rotting hideously, without burial, and, shaken to and fro by the wind in the branches of the trees, would soon shed swarms of worms upon the ground.
And, a propos of that, she questioned him regarding the scandalous and ridiculous scene in which he had exposed to public view his sentiments in regard to the young Marian, and she refused to believe in the veracity of the account which had come to her, though from twenty different sources.
“Tell me, I beg you, that you did not open your heart, as beggars expose their sores to excite charity, and that you did not receive a lesson in dignity from this young girl, from all the Irishmen shouting the refrain of “Long live Ireland!” It was a falsehood that they told me, was it not?”
“Not at all.”
“You were mad, then; unsettled by the fight or drunk with too much whiskey, taken before the action to nerve you up.”
“What! I seek a motive, an excuse for your unspeakable conduct, and you push away the support which I offer you? You acted, then, in cold blood?”
She questioned him closely, breath to breath, in a rising wrath, at first light, contemptuous, and contained, but now flagrant and brutal; and as he did not answer, as he averted his darkening face, saddened, doubtless, by the picture of the adventure which she evoked, the irascible young woman, forgetful of decorum, of her bearing, seized him by the facing of his coat which she shook to rouse him from his insulting reverie and force him to a categorical explanation.
“Richard,” she resumed, “answer me, I wish it, and answer me in the way that I desire. Lie, if necessary, if lying will quiet my alarm. You did not possess your reason. Is not that the truth? Or else—you see I am generous—you felt towards the Irish girl the revival of a worn-out fancy.”
“You felt a desire for her of old, before falling in love with me; she is agreeable, has ingenuous, exciting ways, and your jealousy is irritated at the thought that this tender and sweet fruit will one day be plucked by some boor before your face.”
He was suffering terribly, and a vehement wrath was arising within him. To hear his love and Marian’s misfortune so treated and in such a tone, when the very name of the young girl in the mouth of the Duchess, soiled with criminal kisses and the grossest sensuality, seemed to him a stigma upon the chaste and respected virgin!
But, notwithstanding the folds in his menacing forehead and his harsh voice, he did not impose silence on his mistress, whose eyes flamed with spite, and she went on, violent, perfidious, odious:
“Only confess that it is the simple desire of the flesh which holds you, and I will grant you permission to content yourself.”
Indignant beyond all expression, he put his hand on her lips to close them; but, drawing away, she continued:
“In war, this is easy: she refuses, take her!”
An expression of supreme disgust and intense pain at the same time leaped from Richard’s throat at the sight of this unworthy condescension, this obliteration of the moral sense and the baseness of this advice of the tempter. And the Duchess, put beside herself-by this insulting reception of her conciliatory proposition, by the sentiments roused in the mind of her lover, walked rapidly up to him, folding her arms, her face thrust forward, darting from under her half-closed lips the thunderbolts of her overflowing fury, and, shaken by a convulsive trembling, said in a hiccoughing voice:
“Then with her you would not dare? It is not as with me, whom you have taken by force, without scruple.... Take care of your remarks, which outrage me!... Your Marian”....
Bradwell, trying to regain his equanimity, preserved an enervating speechlessness, foreseeing disagreeable consequences from this harpy’s miserable outburst, and feeling in himself a disposition to violence if Lady Ellen did not cease her attacks on the young girl.
She perceived, under Richard’s outward calm, the thought which was evolving in his mind and saw in his twitching hands the itching for violence; so she provokingly resumed her interrupted sentence:
“Your Marian, you would not touch her! On account of her virginity, perhaps.... ah! ah! ah! do not trouble yourself: many a fine day, doubtless, has she run in the fields!”
She purposely used this coarse expression, which she had heard in the conversations of the servants at the castle, or, in former days, among the country people about her father’s parsonage. A more discreet circumlocution would not have so deeply wounded Richard, who in his distress was seeking revenge, and this broad language would irritate the wound caused by calumnious assertions.
The infamy of the proceeding did not escape him; she knew perfectly well, from having informed herself, as a false detective, the irreproachable reputation of the young girl; but, in her thought, besides satisfying her hatred, the trage, formulated with this indecency of idea and by such revolting images, would pollute Marian, would sully her horrifying halo of sinless purity, would ruin his protégé, and would destroy the power, made a hundred times stronger by her refusals, which she exercised over Sir Bradwell.
But the immediate effect of this venomous insinuation might be dangerous to her, might complete the exasperation of him whose privacy she so monstrously invaded, and she shivered with fear as she felt the young man’s hand graze her cheek.
Starting to strike the provoking, hateful face, his hand had suddenly swerved on the way, and the Duchess, who mechanically and convulsively grasped the hilt of the dagger to answer the brutal blow, the unpardonable offence, stood wonderstruck, looking at Richard’s face.
He bent no longer on her his look as piercing and cutting as the steel in the hands of the executioner; restless, shaded with a sudden sadness which gradually darkened them, his eyes traced in space an imaginary outline, and fixed themselves, beyond the walls of the apartment, the confines of Cumslen Park, the limits of the village, in the distance, in search of Marian. Lady Ellen’s low and vulgar invective had roused in Sir Bradwell’s mind the thought of the frightful peril which perhaps menaced the young girl at this very hour on the roads swarming with victorious soldiers in the terrible country where the troops were going through their evolutions, with blood on fire, greedy for the joys which crown triumphs.
Alone, without a defender, without defence; Paddy Neill doubtless hanged or butchered; Treor a prisoner in a casemate of the castle; without the weapon which would have protected her against violence, whether she had used it to repel the first attempt, of those attacking her or had turned it upon her own breast and thus offered to their lust only a rigid corpse; harassed surely every minute, at the turning of the roads, at the corners of hedges; assailed, thrown down, without the resource even of flight, so exhausted was she by the emotions of the day,— she was falling a prey to the vile passions, not only of the single aggressor of the moment, but of all the brutes who crossed her path.
The poor unfortunate! and, by the side of the real dangers which she ran, what signified the words with which the Duchess tried to sully her? How much more culpable was he than Lady Ellen, he who had exposed, condemned Treor’s granddaughter to this flight beset with traps, with ambushes, with snares, with surprises a hundred, a thousand times worse than death?
Evidently his only role, in order to repair the wrong, if there was still time, was to leave the castle at once, and not return until Marian should be found, taken to a safe place, and confided to sure friends, to careful guardians provided with the authority necessary to over-awe the English troops.
While he was beating about in the darkness on the roads converging upon the battle-field, where, worn out and wounded, the poor, sweet child had perhaps laid since the evening before, awaiting help or preferable death, some reliable soldiers, not brutes like the others, should make a similar and more extended search in other directions.
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.
The Spooner Publication Fund.
Gertrude B. Kelly . . . . . $10.00
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Walter C. Wright . . . . . 2.00
Victor Yarros . . . . . . 2.00
Tak Kak . . . . . . . 10.00
George T. Remington . . . . . .50
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Charles H. Kohlman . . . . . .50
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Total . . . . . . . $35.50
Why Wages Should Absorb Profits.
Van Buren Denslow, discussing in the Truth Seeker the comparative rewards of labor and capital, points out that the present wage system divides profits about evenly between the two, instancing the railways of Illinois, which pay annually in salaries and wages $81,936,170, and to capital, which Mr. Denslow defines as the labor previously done in constructing and equipping the roads, $81,720,265. Then he remarks: “No system of intentional profit-sharing is more equal than this, provided we assent to the principle that a day’s work already done and embodied in the form of capital is as well entitled to compensation for its use as a day’s work not yet done, which we call labor.” Exactly. But the principle referred to is the very thing which we Socialists deny, and until Mr. Denslow can meet and vanquish us on that point, he will in vain attempt to defend the existing or any other form of profit-sharing. The Socialists assert that a day’s work embodied in the form of capital has already been fully rewarded by the ownership of that capital; that, if the owner lends it to another to use and the user damages it, destroys it, or consumes any part of it, the owner is entitled to have this damage, destruction, or consumption made good; and that, if the owner receives from the user any surplus beyond the return of his capital intact, his day’s work is paid for a second time.
Perhaps Mr. Denslow will tell us, as we have so often been told before, that this day’s work should be paid for a second and a third and a hundredth and a millionth time, because the capital which it produced and in which it is embodied increased the productivity of future labor. The fact that it did cause such an increase we grant; but that labor, where there is freedom, is or should be paid in proportion to its usefulness we deny. All useful qualities exist in nature, either actively or potentially, and their benefits, under freedom, are distributed by the natural law of free exchange among mankind. The laborer who brings any particular useful quality into action is paid according to the labor he has expended, but gets only his share, in common with all mankind, of the special usefulness of his product. It is true that the usefulness of his product has a tendency to enhance its price; but this tendency is immediately offset, wherever competition is possible,— and as long as there is a money monopoly there is no freedom of competition in any industry requiring capital,— by the rush of other laborers to create this product, which last until the price falls back to the normal wages of labor. Hence it is evident that the owner of the capital embodying the day’s work above referred to cannot get his work paid for even a second time by selling his capital. Why, then, should he be able to get it paid for a second time and an infinite number of times by repeatedly lending his capital? Unless Mr. Denslow can give us some reason, he will have to admit that all profit-sharing is a humbug, and that the entire net product of industry should fall into the hands of labor not previously embodied in the form of capital,— in other words, that wages should entirely absorb profits.
Mutualism in the Service of Capital.
In a long reply to Edward Atkinson’s recent address before the Boston Labor Lyceum, Henry George’s “Standard” impairs the effect of much sound and effective criticism by the following careless statement:
Mr. Atkinson does not even know the nature of his own business. He told his audience that his “regular work is to stop the cotton and woollen mills from being burned up.” This is a grave blunder. Fire insurance companies are engaged in distributing losses by fire among the insured. As a statistician he knows that statistics show that in New Hampshire, when the State was boycotted by the insurance companies, the number of fires was reduced by thirty per cent. He does not save buildings from fire.
This is a gross slander of one of the most admirable institutions in America,— none the less admirable in essence because it happens in this instance to exist for the benefit of the capitalists. Mr. George unwarrantably assumes that Mr. Atkinson is engaged in an insurance business of the every-day sort. This is far from true. He is the president of an insurance company doing business on a principle which, if it should be adopted in the banking business, would do more to abolish poverty than all the nostrums imagined or imaginable, including the taxation of land values. This principle is the mutualistic, or cost, principle.
Some time ago a number of mill-owners decided that they would pay no more profits to insurance companies, inasmuch as they could insure themselves much more advantageously. So they formed a company of their own, into the treasury of which each mill pays annually a sum proportional to the amount for which it wishes to insure, receiving it back at the end of the year minus its proportion of the year’s losses by fire paid by the company and of the cost of maintaining the company. It is obvious that by the adoption of this plan the mills would have saved largely, even if fires had continued to occur in them as frequently as before. But this is not all. By mutual agreement the mills place themselves, so far as protection against fire is concerned, under the supervision of the insurance company, which keeps inspectors to see that each mill avails itself of all the best means of preventing and extinguishing fire, and uses the utmost care in the matter. As a consequence the number of fires and the aggregate damage caused thereby has been reduced in a degree that would scarcely be credited; the cost of insurance to these mills is now next to nothing, and this cost might be reduced still further by cutting down an enormous salary paid to Mr. Atkinson for services which not a few persons more industrious and capable than he are ready to perform for less money. Mr. Atkinson’s insurance company, then, does save buildings from fire, and Mr. George’s statement that it does not is as reckless as anything that Mr. Atkinson ever said to prove that the laboring man is an inhabitant of paradise.
Moreover, it is the height of stupidity for any champion of labor to slur this insurance company, for it contains in germ the solution to the labor question. When workingmen and business men shall be allowed to organize their credit as these mill-owners have organized their insurance, the former will pay no more tribute to the credit-monger than the latter pay to the insurance-monger, and the one class will be as safe from bankruptcy as the other is from fire. Yet Mr. Atkinson, whose daily life should keep this truth perpetually before his mind, pretends that the laborer can achieve the social revolution by living on beef-bones and using water-gas as fuel. Can any one think him sincere?
No Method in the “Sun’s” Madness.
The New York “Sun’s” governmentalism is above suspicion, and so was its sanity — until recently. But some of its latest utterances would seem to indicate that it was not simply its own interest in maintaining the present condition of things that made it so reckless and uncompromising an upholder of the thousand and one government-created and law-sustained monopolies which are rapidly destroying every distinctive feature of this new world. It proves itself to be State-crazy and verging upon a state of dangerous lunacy. Not long ago it startled its sensible readers by the wild declaration that there is but one step from boycotting to assassination, which is tantamount to saying that no man has a right to choose and decide for himself with whom he shall associate, what he shall read, where he shall get his daily supplies, and on whom he shall bestow his favors. It virtually said: once having become a reader of the “Sun,” you are bound to support it as long as you live, or as long as the owners find it profitable to continue its publication; it may offend and insult you; it may lie about you most outrageously and damnably; it may fill its columns with vituperation and abuse of everything that you respect and approve,— still you must send in your regular subscription, or else be denounced as an assassin. Can the love for government reduce men to still more pitiful idiocy? The “Sun’s” latest “shine” demonstrated that it can.
Some trouble occurred in a certain minor labor organization in consequence of the appropriation by the financial secretary of the funds entrusted to him, and the indignant members, unwilling to cause themselves greater annoyance and loss by lodging a legal complaint against the defaulter, simply resolved to expel him and expose his villainous conduct to his fellow-laborers in order that he might be treated according to his deserts. What is there in this act that any person of ordinary sense could object to as criminal and illegitimate? A number of people have agreed to sever their connection with an individual who misused and robbed them, and also to warn others against him. This, nevertheless, was a text for a bitter and violent attack upon the labor body in question by the “Sun,” which charged them with having assumed the function of a criminal tribunal. It claimed that the robbed parties had no right to pass judgment upon the thief until they secured his conviction by a jury through the legal and State-provided machinery. To be a good citizen, then, one must cease to be a man, a freeman, an individual. Such logic can only add to the strength of the Anarchistic protest against the existence of the State, but, coming from the “Sun,” which professed to labor for freedom and favor a government which governs least, it teaches us to beware of such friends of liberty. All believers in government of man by man inevitably fall a prey to this terrible malady and become raving maniacs.
Mr. Perrine’s Difficulties.
To the Editor of Liberty:
I suppose I should feel completely swamped by the great waves of satire which have rolled over my head from all directions but the front.
Still I feel able to lift my hand, and make the motion of scissors.
I have had the fallacy of a part of my argument so clearly pointed out to me by another than Liberty that I did not think it would be necessary for its editor to go so far around my position as to deny the sanctity of contract in order to refute me.
Indeed, my only hope of Liberty now is that it will define some of its own positions.
I have heard a great deal of “spooks” and “plumb-lines,” but I cannot clearly see the reason that contract has ceased being a “plumb-line” and become a “spook,” unless we have to allow that much liberty for an argument.
Will you please explain what safety there may he in the individualistic community where it becomes each man’s duty to break all contracts as soon as he has become convinced that they were made foolishly?
Again, it being the duty of the individuals to break contracts made with each other, I cannot clearly see how it becomes an act of despicable despotism for the Republic to break contracts made with the Crow Indians, unless tho ideal community is that in which we all become despicable despots and where we amuse ourselves by calling each other hard names.
Indeed, as I have said twice before, you seem to me to deny to others the right to make and carry out their own contracts unless these contracts meet with your approval.
I am aware now of my error in assuming that the authority of the State rested historically on any social contract, and those points which were brought in in your reply as secondary are the main objections to my position.
The true authority of the State rests, as Hearn shows in his “Aryan Household,” not on contract, but on its development; a point at which I hinted, but did not clearly develop.
However, I do not feel warranted in entering with you into any discussion from that standpoint till I am able to find out more clearly what Liberty means by development. In your reply to me, you seem to think of it as a sort of cut-and-try process; this may be a Boston idea absorbed from the “Monday Lectures,” but I think that it is hardly warranted by either Darwin or Spencer.
I tried in both of my letters to insist on the existence of a general line of development which is almost outside the power of individuals and which is optimistic. By its being “optimistic” I mean that, on the principle of the survival of the fittest, our present condition is the best that it is possible for us to have attained. You do not deny man’s divinity, “neither do you deny his degradation”; from what has man been degraded? You do not accept an Edenic state; then what do you mean by “man’s degradation”?
The idea of development which admits of a degradation and which expects Liberty’s followers to arrest the “wasteful process” which has already made trial of everything else and is now in despair about to make the experiment of Anarchy is something so new to me that I must ask for a more complete exposition of the system.
Frederic A. C. Perrine.
Newark, N. J.
[Mr. Perrine should read more carefully. I have never said that it is “each man’s duty to break all contracts as soon as he has become convinced that they were made foolishly.” What I said was that, if k man should sign a contract to part with his liberty forever, he would violate it as soon as he saw the enormity of his folly. Because I believe that some promises are better broken than kept, it does not follow that I think it wise always to break a foolish promise. On the contrary, I deem the keeping of promises such an important matter that only in the extremest cases would I approve their violation. It is if such vital consequence that associates should be able to rely upon each other that it is better never to do anything to weaken this confidence except when it can be maintained only at the expense of some consideration of even greater importance. I mean by evolution just what Darwin means by it,— namely, the process of selection by which, out of all the variations that occur from any cause whatever, only those are preserved which are best adapted to the environment. Inasmuch as the variations that perish vastly outnumber those that survive, this process is extremely wasteful, but human intelligence can greatly lessen the waste. I am perfectly willing to admit its optimism, if by optimism is meant the doctrine that everything is for the best under the circumstances. Optimism so defined is nothing more than the doctrine of necessity. As to the word “degradation,” evidently Mr. Perrine is unaware of all its meanings. By its derivation it implies descent from something higher, but it is also used by the best English writers to express a low condition regardless of what preceded it. It was in the latter sense that I used it. — Editor Liberty.]
From the raw recruit in the Salvation Army up to the Theoretical Anarchist, none are lacking in “methods” whereby man may be saved. The religious recruit who, perhaps, has just heard of Jesus is filled with sublime faith. In his exuberant optimism earth and heaven seem about to unite, peace is to reign everywhere, and happiness fill every soul. But one thing is lacking,— faith. So he sets out, like Bunyan’s Christian, steadfast in purpose to convince the world that the vade mecum of temporal and eternal success is but this one thing: Think as I do, and you will be saved! But, alas! men have listened to the old song for centuries, and heaven has not descended nor earth ascended to supernal bliss. Here, as elsewhere, difference of views is a constant factor. What Proudhon calls “the force of events” has led to wider and wider differentiation of character, and consequently of methods. We will leave tho religionist to his theoretical method, and sadly smile as we pass by.
The statesman — from the public minister to the itinerant, demagogue — also has a method, a “Morrison’s Pill” for all social ills. Having outgrown the dulusion of the Fifth Monarchy men, who sought to intersect, the parallel lines of religion and polities, keeping one eye on earth and the other wildly staring at the hollow vault that but re-echoed back their loud appeals, the statesman sees but one method,— the ballot! Eureka! let workmen adopt political methods for economic ills, put We, Us & Co. in office, and the problem is solved! But again the constant factor appears; in spite of harangues, preaching, and able editors, men will not think alike. Here and there are those who assort that this mingling of political and economic methods is but a repetition of the former folly.
The Prohibitionists see the world redeemed when all men abjure rum or are unable to obtain it. If they perversely refuse to be virtuous, it is proposed to inject virtue into them. The Socialists of the “orthodox” stripe have been persistent, in season and out of season, in demonstrating to the world that, when their “propaganda” has brought all men to one way of thinking, incompetency will be able to select competency, or capacity, to run the social machine. The Coöperator also turns his little “crank,” and, in haste to realize results, gathers himself together and starts a society in the south or west, where he proposes to socialize “Millerism” within the State. But, again, to all these schemes the constant factor remains,— that the Apostle is only an Apostle to the few.
And thus, though not least, appears the Theoretical Anarchist, who, while abjuring “systems,” still as vociferously asserts the validity of his unpatented “method” whereby the Millennium is to be inaugurated. True, it has failed hitherto,— in Ireland, for instance, but there the “method,” not “system,” when it came to the test, found that existing political methods had far greater attractions. Strange! but “’twas ever thus,” and so it will be again while the State remains. Let us listen and see if we do not catch the old time-worn cadence, so long familiar to our ears:
“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 today they might have been free.”
Salvation Army hymn again! “The force of events” within the State will ever lead the attraction of State, methods to predominate. The State must go! How? I neither know nor care; I have no patented or unpatented “method” to foist upon a long-suffering community. Let the inevitable come as it will; I can protest then as now. If the “brutal Communists” of Chicago, as Liberty called them, had been more theoretical in their methods, they would not now be lying under the shadow of the gallows for “conspiracy” to resist invasion of individual rights.
In fact, to realize “the method of Anarchy,” I am forcibly reminded of an incident which occurred when I risked my life to spread cheap labor over the South. A young lieutenant was sent out with a platoon to make a reconnaissance, and on his march came to a river which was not fordable. Drilled in army methods, he followed his instructions to make a requisition on the quartermaster if he needed anything. “Realizing the power he was exercising and understanding the military situation,” he sent in a requisition for a platoon of men eighteen feet high! If he had waited till the water had run by, he might have crossed easily, but then, as now, nature and men remained constant factors.
Dyer D. Lum.
[It is no wonder that Mr. Lum feels sad. I should feel not only sad, but ashamed, if the responsibility of the above article rested on my shoulders. It is such a bundle of absurdities, such a labyrinth of analogies that cross each other at every turn, such an unmethodical mass of errors, that it is impossible to pursue any method in answering it. There is so little about it that is structural or organic that it must be dealt with more or less at random. Perhaps I shall strike in a not altogether wrong direction if I point out to Mr. Lum that the State which he is trying to abolish is not the State as institution, but simply the existing State. He is like the slave who is so utterly destitute of an idea, so thoroughly incapable of a generalization, in short, so entirely and exclusively practical, that he cannot appreciate the remoter fact that his oppression rests upon an almost universal belief in mastership, but can see no further than the concrete master whose lash he feels. If one of his fellows were to reason from the latter back to the former and seek some method of striking at the foundation of the tyranny, this slave would sneer at him, as Mr. Lum sneers at the “Theoretical Anarchist”; but to one of his fellows who should snatch the lash from the master’s hand and beat him to death, though with no other thought than of straightway kneeling to another master, this slave would lift his hat, as Mr. Lum “lifted his hat to the thrower of the Chicago bomb.” I care as little as Mr. Lum how the State goes, but I insist that it shall really go,— that it shall be abolished, not reformed. That it cannot be abolished until there shall exist some considerable measure and solid weight of absolute and well-grounded disbelief in it as an institution is a truth too nearly axiomatic for demonstration. In the absence of such disbelief the existing State might he destroyed by the blindly rebellious or might fall through its own rottenness, but another would at once arise in its stead. Why should it not, how could it be otherwise, when all believe in the necessity of the State? Now, it is to create this measure and weight of disbelief that the “Theoretical Anarchist” is working. He is not trying, like the religionist, to convert the whole world to his way of thinking by a never-ending series of individual conversions, or, like the politician, Prohibitionist, and Socialist, to get a majority upon his side, or yet, like the Coöperator (whom I am surprised to see cited as “theoretical”), to retire from the busy world to build a play-house in the wilderness; he is simply addressing himself to such persons as are amenable to reason to the end that these may unite end here and now enter upon the work of laying the foundations of Liberty, knowing that, these foundations once laid, the structure must rise upon them, the work of all men’s hands, as a matter of economic necessity. This is a work that must be done sooner or later, and the sooner the better. If, as Mr. Lum conceives, the destruction of the existing State by force is inevitable, no fact more than this should incite the “Theoretical Anarchist” to immediately concentrate all his energies upon the work which he has laid out. If ruin is to confront as so soon and surely, all the greater need of seeing to it that Liberty, and not Authority, shall be the architect of the succeeding social structure. If Mr. Lum and his friends, the Communists of Chicago (whose characterization as “brutal” Mr. Lum in the past, when less anxious to score a point against me, has carefully and correctly attributed to “X” instead of to Liberty), had devoted one half the energy to this “theoretical” work that they have expended in preaching the gospel of dynamite and proclaiming “the logic of events,” not only would none of them “now be lying under the shadow of the gallows” (the desirability of which position I do not perceive as clearly as Mr. Lum), but very likely there would now be enough “Theoretical Anarchists” to begin some work similar to that which C. T. Fowler is outlining in his luminous “Sun.” If Mr. Lum can demonstrate the impossibility of creating such a force as this, he will not only knock the bottom out of “Theoretical Anarchism,” but he will reduce every species of Socialism to a utopian dream. But, until he can, it will be futile for him to fight “Theoretical Anarchism” with analogies based on such impossibilities as the recruiting of men eighteen feet high. The two methods must be proved equally impossible before the analogy will bold. I have not touched all the weak points, but perhaps I have said enough. At any rate, as Proudhon has been referred to, I cannot close more aptly than with these words from his “What is Property?” “There is one truth of which I am profoundly convinced,— nations live by absolute ideas, not by approximate and partial conceptions; therefore, men are needed who define principles, or at least test them in the fire of controversy. Such is the law,— the idea first, the pure idea, the understanding of the laws of God, the theory: practice follows with slow steps, cautious, attentive to the succession of events; sure to seize, towards this eternal meridian, the indications of supreme reason. The cooperation of theory and practice produces in humanity the realization of order,— the absolute truth. All of us, as long as we live, are called, each in proportion to his strength, to this sublime work. The only duty which it imposes upon us is to refrain from appropriating the truth to ourselves, either by concealing it, or by accommodating it to the temper of the century, or by using it for our own interests.” — Editor Liberty.]
I have already told you, my dear friend, that the socialization of the means of production is a dogma; that a dogma is proclaimed, taught, imposed; that it has its faithful, its apostles, its sectarians, its priests, its martyrs, and its visionaries; but that it is not opened, justified, demonstrated.
The dogma is by nature mysterious and obscure, and you ask me to throw some light upon it, on the ground that I have taken as my motto: “Whatsoever is not clear is not true.” has any one ever thrown light on the dogmas of transubstantiation, incarnation, and the trinity? And yet millions and millions of men have believed in them. For them men have disputed with each other, beaten each other, tortured each other; for them generations, entire nations have been annihilated; and they have cost the wars of the Albigenses, the massacres of the sixteenth century, Saint Bartholomew, the revocation of the Edict of Nantes, and the Inquisition.
The socialization of the means of production is the religion of the day; it has its adepts from the North to the South, from the Orient to the Occident; it is confessed in journals, magazines, meetings, congresses; it commands armies; and you, profane man, ask it to bring you proofs!
Have its adherents asked for proofs? And they are almost as numerous as the stars of heaven — visible to the naked eye. Have its apostles, its leaders themselves asked for proofs?
They have believed; believe! They have followed; follow! They have given the word of command; obey!
You snake objection that you, being a libertarian, are not obedient; that to follow under such conditions is to take one’s place among Panurge’s sheep; and you send me the triumphant argument that you cannot believe without knowing.
Alas! no more can I.
Let us learn, then; and since one is never so well informed as by himself, let us inform ourselves and run for a little while, over mountains and through valleys, to lay hold of the said dogma and find out for ourselves whether it is so refractory to analysis.
It forms a part of the Christian baggage. Christianity is a championship of the exploited, the wretched, the poor, against the exploiters, the powerful, the rich.
Against the iniquity of distribution it has protested by the instinctive as well as unconscious cry of every social revolution in its infancy: Communism.
Listen to the fathers of the Church.
Saint Basil says: “The rich man is a thief.”
Saint John Chrysostom: “The rich man is a brigand.”
Saint Jerome: “Opulence is always the result of robbery.”
Saint Clement: “It was iniquity that gave rise to private property.”
No more private property, everything in common, and then no more thieves, no more brigands, no more opulence, and no more iniquity.
You see, the solution is simple, direct, convenient, and easily dispenses with knowledge and even with thought. It may be subject to some illusions and disencliantments. Application (Acts: 4: 34 and following):
“Neither was there any among them that lacked: for as many as were possessors of lands or houses sold them, and brought the prices of the things that were sold,” — today they would add tools, and the distribution indicated in the next verse would be made in kind,— “And laid them down at the apostles’ feet: and distribution was made unto every man according as he had need.”
That is the pure Communistic doctrine, as simple as the child just born, and not yet adulterated in view of the resistance of those people who, under the pretext of liberty, are disinclined to go to lay no matter what at the feet of no matter whom, and to go to beg, from the bands of no matter whom, no matter what.
“But a certain man named Ananias, with Sapphira his wife, sold a possession,
“And kept back part of the price, his wife also being privy to it, and brought a certain part, and laid it at the apostles’ feet.
“But Peter said: ‘Ananias, why hath Satan filled thine heart to lie to the Holy Ghost?’” — the auditor of the time,— “‘and to keep back part of the price of the land?’
“And Ananias hearing these words fell down, and gave up the ghost: and great fear came on all them that heard these things.”
Christian Communism inaugurated the tradition of all Communisms, past and future, which have always included in their methods of action a salutary terrorism.
“And the young men arose, wound him up, and carried him out, and buried him.”
To add to the terror:
“And it was about the space of three hours after, when his wife, not knowing what was done, came in.
“And Peter answered unto her: ‘Tell me whether ye sold the land for so much?’ And she said: ‘Yea, for so much.’
“Then Peter said unto her: ‘How is it that ye have agreed together to tempt the auditing committee? behold, the feet of them which have buried thy husband are at the door, and shall carry thee out.’
“Then fell she down straightway at his feet, and yielded up the ghost: and the young men came in, and found her dead, and, carrying her forth, buried her by her husband.
“And great fear came upon all the church.”
And this is the way they establish good communities.
This fear aiding, they coutinued, in the course of the centuries, to bring the prices of things, then the things themselves, actual property real and personal, and place them in the hands of the Christian collectivity, as it is called today.
You understand, of course, that the “hands of the collectivity” is a metaphorical expression, and that these hands practically resolve themselves into a certain number of individuals appointed to receive private property and to distribute, it afterwards, “according to needs.” Now, bands, though made to receive and even to distribute, are also excellently fitted to retain. You know the proverb: “What is good to take is good to keep.”
And besides, hands are attached to arms, and arms to bodies endowed with strong appetites, passions, and other qualities, which do not abandon individuals, even in collectivity.
The delegated administrators, the executive committees of the Christian collectivity,— vicars, priests, bishops, popes,— quickly discovered that the best Communism is that which begins at home.
To each according to its needs, said the constitution.
These chiefs of the Christian community,— for delegates, even though elected in the most democratic fashion in the world, always become chiefs in communities,— popes, bishops, priests, and vicars had need of good food, fine clothes, splendid residences, and they distributed them to themselves; their appetites coming as they ate, they also had need of vast domains, numerous servants, and even immense collections of serfs, and they satisfied these needs according to the formula.
The needs of the shepherds being thus appeased, there doubtless was not much left for the sheep; nevertheless, when they were too bane, having been too closely shorn, and when they were too hungry, and if they bowed very, very low and even begged upon their knees, a few bits were thrown them from the social warehouse.... by way of charity.
The people, who had risen against exploitation, again became subject to exploitation. Their hatred of the rich had created rich; their cry for freedom died out in a slave’s prayer and the most horrible, the most stupefying, the most debilitating, the most degrading, the most humiliating of systems marked the logical development and end of an attempt at Communism undertaken by reformers of conviction, who were courageous, energetic, sincerel honest, devoted to the point of sacrifice, to the point of persecution, to the point of martyr, dom, to the point of death.
Through having abandoned their goods, men had lost their liberty, their dignity, their security.
The Kerry Anarchists.
Dear Mr. Kelly:
I have great pleasure in acknowledging the receipt of your last letter, together with a very large instalment of Liberty and several numbers of the “Proudhon Library,” etc. Such invaluable matter shall be utilized to the best advantage.
Until Henry Appleton’s latest contribution to Liberty appeared, the numerous friends and admirers of that great reformer doubtless might have entertained some lingering hopes of his return to the Anarchistic fold. I don’t know whether it would be too much to ask Honorius of the “Irish World,” before he sets fire to the boats, to take one retrospective glance at his old comrades who are working night and day for the abolition of the organized State, in case he fails to point out or explore this imaginary “vast mountain of government” outside of it.
In a recent issue of Liberty I perceive that Comrade Benj. R. Tucker asks me to explain why so many young people should have been found within the Roman Catholic church at Brosna sufficiently rid of superstition to protest against the gross impertinence of the priest on the occasion when he thought to pass sentence of excommunication on a young couple. The parish priest gave public warning from the altar one Sunday that, “unless this pair had separated before seven days, they would be treated as they deserved.”
The young couple attended on the following Sunday (right or wrong), accompanied by several friends, to hear the parish priest’s ultimatum. His Reverence commenced by stating that there were only three or four couples in his parish rightly married, as all the other married parties kept their relationships carefully concealed from the priests. You see, this was tantamount to defrauding the vicar out of so much hard cash by way of “dispensation.” He also asserted that the people of Kerry were the descendants of thieves and robbers and outlaws who, in the reign of Queen Bess, had to fly before the forces of the crown; that they found shelter in the mountains of Kerry, and the present inhabitants were descended from them I Then there was an ominous shake of the head, accompanied by low guttural mutterings, signifying brimstone and fiery pits. Having been delivered of so much by way of introduction, he did not feel surprised that such a people should have totally disregarded and despised his own authority by holding communication with those unhappy wretches, etc. The parties already named left, and were cheered lustily.
I remember another exodus from the church when the people were denounced as robbers and red republicans for adopting the “No-Rent Manifesto” and “Hold the Harvest.”
In the neighboring parish of Mount Collins, County Limerick, the people were denounced for “Moonlighting” a few Sundays ago by their priests, who said that “it was a wonder that the ground did not open and swallow them up,” and that they were “the scum of society and the pliant tools of the Kerry Anarchists.” Since then the people of Mount Collius, when called on to pay Easter dues, unanimously refused to contribute one penny to the support of their slandering pastors.
The “Criminal Law Amendment (Ireland) Bill” will become law,— a sure sign how that lumbering old machine called the British Constitution has failed to hold Ireland in chains. Many will fly from this country in consequence of this new persecution by the organized State, while others may be imprisoned or exiled.
But far dearer the grave or the prison
Illumined by one Anarchist’s name
Than the trophies of all who have risen
On Liberty’s ruins to fame.
Oh, Liberty, thou goddess heavenly bright!
Profuse of bliss and pregnant with delight,
Eternal happiness in thy presence reign.
And smiling plenty guide thy laboring train.
Brosna, County Kerry, Ireland, April 21, 1887.
[Those who do not remember Mr. Hickey’s letter and my comments in No. 95 should read them in connection with the above communication. The fact of the week’s notice given by the priest makes the matter dear. I thank my earnest Irish comrade for his kind explanation and for the excellent work which ho and his neighbors are doing in a country where it is most needed. — Editor Liberty.]
A Criticism That Does Not Apply.
To the Editor of Liberty:
It pains me to see your frequent attacks on Henry George, as they make the defenders of monopolies secure in the knowledge that there is discord in the ranks of the reformers. It appears to me—though I may be mistaken and will gladly accept arguments and refutation—that one important point of the land question has escaped your attention, just as the vital point of the money question does not seem to be clear to the editor of the “Standard.” It is my conviction that in a state of perfect liberty, assuming the existence of intelligent egoism, the people will combine for mutual protection, and among other things will enter a social compact creating an equitable right of property. They will also protect their members in the possession of the land they till, or on which they ply their trade or build their homes. But since some land possesses advantages over other land, they will demand an equitable remuneration for this protection and renunciation, especially if it can be shown to cost the consumers of whatever is produced under these special advantages exactly as much as the holder of land is able to obtain as “rent” (Ricardo’s “rent,” John Stuart Mill’s “unearned increment”). The community would therefore collect the rent in the form of taxes,— i.e., equitable pay for the right of possession,— and, to be perfectly fair, should divide the proceeds among those consumers who, through the operation of the law of supply and demand, were forced to pay more than the average cost. But as such distribution would be practically impossible, the proceeds of this taxation should be used as nearly as possible to the advantage of those to whom it equitably belongs. Can you suggest a better disposal than Henry George does? If so, we are ready to hear. But please admit, or else refute, the statement that the collection of rent by the community would be the natural outgrowth of equitable social compact entered for the sake of order and peace in a state of perfect liberty among intelligently egoistical beings.
You cannot convince Henry George of the error of his position in relation to capital, if you deride the truths he advances together with his errors. Let us reason together, and I am sure we can ultimately unite on one platform,— i.e., the abolition of all unjust laws, of which the permission given to individual persons of appropriating the unearned increment (which has a natural, not an artificial, origin) is not by any means the least.
Philadelphia, May 11, 1887.
[My correspondent, who, by the way, is a highly intelligent man, and has a most clear understanding of the money question, should point out the truths that I have derided before accusing me of deriding any. I certainly never have derided the truth contained in Ricardo’s theory of rent. What I have derided is Henry George’s proposal that a majority of the people shall seize this rent by force and expend it for their own benefit, or perhaps for what they are pleased to consider the benefit of the minority. I have also derided many of the arguments by which Mr. George has attempted to justify this proposal, many of which he has used in favor of interest and other forms of robbery, and his ridiculous pretence that he is a champion of liberty. But I have never disputed that, under the system of land monopoly, certain individuals get, in the form of rent, a great deal that they never earned by their labor, or that it would be a great blessing if some plan should be devised and adopted whereby this could be prevented without violating the liberty of the individual. I am convinced, however, that the abolition of the money monopoly, and the refusal of protection to all land titles except those of occupiers, would, by the emancipation of the workingman from his present slavery to capital, reduce this evil to a very small fraction of its present proportions, especially in cities, and that the remaining fraction would be the cause of no more inequality than arises from the unearned increment derived by almost every industry from the aggregation of people or from that unearned increment of superior natural ability which, even under the operation of the cost principle, will probably always enable some individuals to get higher wages than the average rate. In all these cases the margin of difference will tend steadily to decrease, but it is not likely in any of them to disappear altogether. Whether, after the abolition of the state, voluntary co-operators will resort to communistic methods in the hope of banishing even these vestiges of inequality is a question for their own future consideration, and has nothing whatever to do with the scheme of Henry George. For my part, I should be inclined to regard such a course as a leap not from the frying-pan into the fire, but from a Turkish bath into the nethermost hell. I take no pleasure in attacking Mr. George, but shall probably pursue my present policy until he condescends to answer and refute my arguments, if he can, or gives some satisfactory reason for declining to do so. — Editor Liberty]
Dr. Anthony Thinks It Heart Disease.
To the Editor of Liberty:
As I understand thee and like thinkers, a part of Anarchy’s platform, if it can be said to have a platform, is free banking. This seems faulty, or, at least, not a finality, and I would be glad if, for the sake of ultimate truth, thee would do what thee can to clear the matter up.
The shrewd lad who applied to a bank president for employment and, getting a negative reply, dexterously dropped a pin, and, on turning to leave, innocently stooped, picked it up, and by this evidence of care and economy secured the coveted place and soon fitted himself to become a wealthy and permanent resident of Canada, well illustrates the opportunity and method of semiring, by some, the fruits of others’ toil that free banking, etc., affords.
An honest exterior covering a dishonest purpose within, time, a trusting people, and convertible wealth are, in this line, the elements of success. All these exist unlimitedly.
Do not the present hour and all hours call for a realizing sense of what and why sin is sin that thus a change of heart, so to speak, may be had in us all and right action be the result simply because other action will be known to defeat the end — our common happiness — sought?
As Spencer has well said, we cannot expect golden grains from leaden instincts.
Plainly, it seems that a state of rectitude and brotherhood which alone is compatible with free money or free banking will call for neither.
How is it?
Coleta, Whiteside Co., Illinois, March 30, 1887.
[If Mr. Anthony will read the opening chapter of the second part of Stephen Pearl Andrews’s “Science of Society” (Numbers 95 and 96 of Liberty), he will find his doctrine that a right heart leads to right conduct examined at considerable length. Though I do not coincide with all that Mr. Andrews says, he sufficiently disposes of the argument, that, because wisdom is an outgrowth of love, therefore we need not try to discover social laws. Even if the premise be true, no such conclusion follows. As Mr. Andrews points out. “it is as if one should assert that the sense of hunger naturally impels men to find the means of subsistence, and hence that no man need trouble himself about food. Let him sit down, quietly relying upon the potency of mere hunger to provide the means of the gratification of his appetite.” When Mr. Anthony italicized the word “known,” he answered himself. Consistently he should have said “felt.” Saying “known,” he acknowledges that we need a change of head rather than a change of heart. Now, when Dr. Anthony once gets his head right, he will diagnose society’s case differently. He will see that his patient is suffering, not from heart disease, but from consumption of the blood,— that is, a restriction of the circulating medium. That in all kinds of business between man and man there is more or less opportunity for fraud no one denies. But that free banking affords such an opportunity in any special sense is pure assumption on the part of Mr. Anthony. On the contrary, the claim of its advocates is that it will do more than anything else to keep the fruits of toil out of the hands of the idlers. They sustain this claim by facts and arguments. Has Mr. Anthony ever examined them with care? He gives no evidence of it. Let him do so, and then I will give him space in Liberty to try to answer them if he thinks he can. But if he wishes to further exhort people to a change of heart, I must refer him to his friends, the religionists. They have an infinite variety of newspapers, and will doubtless welcome him with open arms. — Editor Liberty.]
State, Church, and Strong-Box.
Government is a suction-pump, with its draught-pipe anchored in industry’s pocket. It draws the valuables out of that pocket, and forces them into the pocket of idleness. This is the agent that makes the many poor, while it makes the few rich. The rich in turn loan the plunder to industry, at usury, acting as a blister on the wound made by government, intensifying the disease, till it becomes unendurable. The church then comes along and applies a poultice composed of two parts, one to “bear the burden for Christ’s sake,” the other a small sprinkle of charity,— the mite it can spare from support of the priesthood. A small mite it is, too.
Robin Hood Redivivus.
The following from the London “Jus” is printed here with great satisfaction, not only because of its intrinsic excellence, but because, being an editorial utterance, its closing sentence places that paper squarely in opposition to compulsory taxation:
A certain Quaker was so enamored of peace that he was ready to fight for it. Professor Huxley loves liberty so dearly that he would use coercion to bring it about. A little judicious despotism, he thinks, might well be exercised today with a view to forcing men’s minds into a proper frame of such sort that they will tomorrow clamor for liberty. We trust we are not misrepresenting him. “Some people,” he said, “carry the doctrine of voluntaryism so far as to think that even taxation should be voluntary. It is not worth while to discuss the question whether it is abstractly right or abstractly wrong to employ the authority of the community for compelling the payment of the sums necessary for the purposes of education. Whatever may be the ultimate state of the world, we are not at the present time advanced enough to leave to private enterprise general measures for the public welfare.” And now comes the grand argument for coercion. Coercion is the road to liberty. Thus, speaking of free libraries, “if there were no other excuse for State authority in this matter, the very excellent one is sufficient that the existence of these libraries will more than anything tend to bring about that state of mind in which compulsion will become less and less necessary, and more opportunities will be given for voluntary effort.” To coerce men for their own good is an old cry, but to coerce men in order to prepare them for freedom is quite original, and worthy of Professor Huxley. But, alas! in the very next sentence he lets the cat out of the bag. He only wants to catch the individualists. “We want to get support from all sides, and do not mind for what reasons it is given.” Has it never occurred to so clearheaded a thinker as Professor Huxley that to compel men by brute force to pay for what they do not want is sheer robbery, and that those who advocate it are neither better nor worse than pickpockets, burglars, highwaymen, brigands, and thieves?
Let no man hurl anathemas at me because I am inconsistent. As blind revolt is the ultimate right of a nation, so blind inconsistency is the ultimate right of the individual.
I admit, intellectually that two pieces of mince pie are too much. Nevertheless, eat two,— nay, if I can get them, I eat three pieces and suffer the consequences. Shall any man charge that my intellectual admission was insincere, merely because my conviction was not strong enough to counteract my gluttony? Or, if I admit the correctness of Anarchy theoretically, am I a dog because the old Archical Adam clings to me in my practice! Advocating violence, am I utterly condemnable if I commit none; or, advocating non-resistance, shall there be no forgiveness for me if I forget my principles and break somebody’s head?
Away with consistency! It is a delusion. What I really think and what I really do is of import, even though my thoughts be contradictory among themselves and be negatived again by my acts. But what I think I ought to think and what I do because I think I ought to is of no importance, no value, no consideration.
Wonderful will be the results when physiology shall have succeeded in deciphering the play of the atoms of the brain; when the first dawn of a new idea shall be discerned in the displacement of its corresponding nerve tissue; when its advance and coordination with other tissue-registered ideas shall be noted; when in time it predominates so far as to influence action; when it becomes a moving force, a religion, permeating every fibre, influencing every breath.
Until then the virtues of inconsistency will be unappreciated.
Finally, as I recognize that almost all the evil of the past and present is done by men in deference to some outside principle, against their nature, for the sake of an alleged consistency, I deem it for myself the highest duty to be inconsistent: I should be inconsistent with my principles were I not inconsistent with them.
John Beverley Robinson.
[As I know no way of answering Mr. Robinson except by showing the inconsistency of his argument either with itself or with some truth which I suppose him to admit in common with the rest of mankind, and as success in showing such inconsistency would, by Mr. Robinson’s own statement, only make him more enamored of his position, I shall not make the attempt. He will not complain of this neglect, inasmuch as, in saying that he deems it his duty to be inconsistent and that what he does because he thinks he ought to is of no importance, he admits that his attitude is not worth consideration. For in self, however, I wish to add that I always judge deliberate inconsistency by the end in view and the adequacy of such a method of attaining it. From this standpoint inconsistency between belief and conduct may sometimes be defensible. Inconsistency between beliefs held by one person at the same time can never be deliberate. Such inconsistency always springs from ignorance or inadvertence, and it can be only a kindness to point it out. — Editor Liberty.]