Liberty Vol. IV. No. 3.
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.
“Freiheit” has a witty wrapper-writer. Liberty’s exchange copy now bears the address: “So-called Liberty.” I would remind this embryonic firebug that such little pleasantries are liable to subject the copies on which they are inscribed to being held for letter postage, in which case I should be deprived of the enjoyment of his ebullient humor.
John Most, finding that people will not believe that Justus Schwab is a coward, now attacks him with the graver charge that he gives smaller schooners of beer than any other New York saloon-keeper and no free lunches. Oh, fie! Citizen Schwab, how can you be guilty of such wicked conduct? Why don’t you become a firebug and thus earn an honest living?
The report reaches me that half of the thousand dollars furnished as bail for the release of John Most was contributed by Justus H. Schwab, in spite of the fact that Schwab is being boycotted by Most’s followers and is now the victim of the vilest personal abuse and slander for which Most’s foul mouth can find words. I know not whether this be true, but I do know that such an act is exactly characteristic of my noble friend. And I further know that he furnished bail only a few days before for Braunschweig, one of Most’s lieutenants, arrested, like his chief, on a charge of incendiary utterances. Schwab is outspoken in his denunciation of the incendiary deeds of these men, but, when the question is one of incendiary utterances,— that is, of free speech,— he knows no enemy but the oppressor. His conduct is all the more praiseworthy because he is probably aware that, in heaping coals of fire upon these firebugs’ heads, he is but adding fuel to the flame of their hatred of him.
Gertrude B. Kelly in Liberty and John F. Kelly in “Lucifer” have driven my friend, E. C. Walker, into a very small corner. Unfortunately I cannot lay my hand on Mr. Walker’s original paragraph in defence of Malthusianism, but I remember that it gave me a very decided impression that he regarded large families as a no less direct cause than usury of the prevailing poverty of the masses as a whole, and prudential limitation as a no less direct remedy for this poverty than the abolition of monopoly. I may be wrong, and his words may not justify this impression. However that may be, he is at any rate forced now to declare, under pressure of the Kellys’ arguments, that, he did not mean that limitation would in itself destroy our social evils, but that men with intelligence enough to practise limitation would necessarily have intelligence enough to find a way to destroy these evils. Well, I think they would; Mr. Walker is right. If the knowledge that, besides being able to get to Chicago from Boston by travelling westward for two days, I can “get there all the same” by travelling eastward for several months, makes one a Malthusian, then I acknowledge my conversion; I am a Malthusian, too. Mr. Walker’s idea of the position of the people in relation to the problem of poverty seems to be something like this: “I have a problem before me which can be solved by the rule of three; my mind is unequal to the rule of three; therefore I will study the origin of species; the origin of species, to be sure, has no bearing upon the problem before me; but, when I have mastered the origin of species, my intellect will be so sharp that the rule of three will be a simple matter to me, and with it I then can solve the problem.” Undeniably true; and yet I am tempted to exclaim with Lord Dundreary: “What d-d-d-damned nonsense that is!” Is it any wonder that Proudhon, to the disgust of the Malthusians, loved to treat them with laughter instead of logic, with sarcasm instead of the syllogism, with wrath instead of reason?
The article from the New York “Sun” copied elsewhere, although it does not tell one-half the truth or the worst half, is a collation of names, dates, facts, and figures from official records sufficient to convince every fair-minded person that I told the truth about the scoundrels who are practising the precepts of John Most. They were sifted from an immense mass of material by weeks of tireless investigation pursued under great difficulties, and the writer would have been able to make his exposure much more complete had he not been hampered by the officials of the police and fire departments of New York, whose jealousy and pique at being outdone, and at the incidental revelation of their own stupidity, incompetence, and negligence, know no bounds. The work that he succeeded in doing, however, has thoroughly scared the firebugs, and they will probably discontinue their hellish practices. If not, the first attempt to renew them will be met by prompt and vigorous exposure. The charge made by “Freiheit” that Moritz Bachmann wrote the “Sun” article for money is utterly unfounded. It was written by a professional journalist not identified with the Anarchistic movement, and no one but himself received any pay for it or for the fcats contained in it. Most’s answer to the “Sun” is ridiculous and inadequate in the extreme. He says that he does not know whether the statements are true, and that, whether true or not, he does not know who the men mentioned are. Now, the greater number of these men have been mentioned in “Freiheit” as comrades from ten to fifty times each, and by a singular coincidence, in the very next column to that containing this audacious assertion, Panzenbeck, one of the first of the firebugs, is credited with a certain sum of money among the cash receipts. Most then asks, with characteristic assurance, if it is to be expected that Anarchists’ houses will never take fire, and suggests the advisability of preparing a list of such capitalists’ houses as have been burned. It will be time enough for Most to talk about this when he can find a society of one hundred capitalists even ten of whom (to say nothing of fifteen or twenty) have been so unfortunate as to lose their property by separate fires within a period of three years and so prudent as in each case to take out an insurance policy somewhere from a week to a year before the occurrence of the calamity. And even then, would the fact that he could fasten such crimes upon the capitalists excuse the communists for doing likewise?
Miss Kelly’s Criticism.
While there can be no successful denial of the fact that population does tend to outrun subsistence, that was not my chief contention in the paragraph in “Lucifer” which Miss Kelly criticises. Neither was I oblivious of the “iron law of wages.” My argument was addressed to individual workingmen, as it is only through the improvement of the units that a bettering of the aggregate is possible. The individual laborer, perforce of the “ironlaw” of circumstances, is compelled to take things as they are. He must in a degree adapt himself to his environments, or perish. If he earns only one dollar and twenty-five cents a day, he can not board at a two-dollars-a-day hotel, nor can he support six children so well as he can two. If wages are now fixed, on an average, upon a basis of six children to each married worker, it is quite true that the universal limitation of all future families will have the effect of carrying wages down proportionally, should no other factor be introduced in the meantime. But — and mark this — when any large number of the working people shall have the practical sense to limit their families to two or three children each, the new factor will have been introduced into the problem. Because the extravagance of the masses is supposed to benefit the producers is the poorest of all poor reasons why the head of a family should live beyond his means. Because the universal reduction of the size of families will have the tendency of reducing wages is the poorest of all poor excuses which a man can give for procreating more children than his present means will support. It is in the present that he is living, not in some millennial future, and if he expects to be of the least use in the battle of reform, he must not spike his own guns, break his own sword, and cripple himself as he comes upon the field. So long as the laboring people of the world have not the wise prudence to keep their families within reasonable limits as to numbers, they have not the practical wisdom necessary to establish any system better than the present one of wage servitude, and the “Social Revolution,” of which we hear so much, will bring nothing but a change of masters. The less can not include the greater; revolutions are but passing incidents in the great regenerative work of Evolution, Which simply means growth, and can result in good only in so far as the directing actors in them and the masses who survive them are guided by better principles than those which ruled in the ante-revolutionary societies and systems.
As to the condition of the laboring people of France and the status of Malthusianism there, I respectfully refer Miss Kelly to my reply to J. F. Kelly, which appears in “Lucifer” of May 7.
One word in closing: my critics all proceed upon the assumption, it seems to me, that the wage system is eternal in the nature of things,— at least, that is the way they talk and write when considering the population question. My opinion is that large families and State Socialism sustain to each other the relation of cause and effect, and that, upon the other hand, small families and voluntary cooperation are similarly related. That is, if the laboring people do not make use of intelligent forethought in one thing, they are not likely to in others, and, drifting into revolution without understanding the causes that produce the inequitable conditions whose effects upon themselves they deplore, they are almost sure to accept the extreme despotism of State Socialism as the specific for all their ills. Having a vague idea that society is bound to provide for them and theirs in some way, they pay little or no heed to the counsels of prudence and the warnings of experience, and so burden themselves with families so large that they can not support them, thus furnishing to misdirected philanthropy one more and the crowning excuse for the establishment of the paternal State.
Per contra, the men and women who are thoughtful enough to make the attempt to keep their families within the limits set by prudence will be inclined to think seriously concerning methods of cooperative production and distribution, and they will also object to compulsory communism, for this, if for no other reason, that, whereas the dogma of “to each according to his needs” means, if it means anything, that the more nonproducers a man has in his family, the more he will receive of the earnings of those who have but few, they, being thoughtful people, will at once perceive that reckless improvidence in procreating will be at a premium in the Socialistic State.
Thus, Malthusians naturally drift toward Anarchism and voluntary mutualism, because these rest upon the cost principle.
E. C. Walker.
Valley Falls, Kansas.
We Lack an Earnest Ring.
[London Christian Socialist.]
Liberty, Boston, Mass., is not much to our taste. It lacks an earnest ring, without which no good work can be done. Why does it not tackle the question “What is Justice”? which it puts to the reader. It is no use to start a hare and then gasp.
Eighteen Christian Centuries:
Or, The Evolution of the Gospel of Anarchy.
An Essay on the Meaning of History. By Dyer D. Lum.
Centuries Of Progress
The morning dawns! The long dark night of mind,
By priestly art contrived, at last gives way
Before the dawning of the coming day;
Within dark cloister cells, so long confined
With ghostly gyves of creeds revealed that bind
The soul, the intellect has felt the ray
Of dawning light announcing reason’s sway,
And warms with life, though groping yet half blind.
Light! Herald of a newer, brighter age,—
Fifteenth of Christ, yet mankind’s renaissance,—
It warms to life the sculptor’s noble art,
It stirs new thoughts within Columbus’ heart,
It dazzles pope and king from printed page,
And mines the dikes that dam the soul’s advance.
With sturdy strength the infant mind of man
Tears off the bands which would its limbs infold,
The sacred bands which have for ages rolled
Its limbs of stunted stature. In the van
Of leadership he takes his place to scan
The tales which once his rising thought cajoled
And loathing turns from pap by dotards doled-
Since first the Christian centuries began —
To fresher founts. The Spirit of the Age
Has whispered freedom from the yoke of creeds,
And earth is dyed where freedom’s martyrs fall:
Yet when the age is past beyond recall,—
Sixteenth of Christ,— appears on progress’ page
First of Free Thought, and won by human deeds.
With garments dyed in floods of crimson hue
By human veins outpoured, Authority
Still wages Caesar’s war on Liberty
In Germany cold Tilly’s ruthless crew
On Luther’s tomb unnumbered victims strew,
While courtly France re-echos Stuart’s cry —
Control o’er thought denied is anarchy!
And State succeeds the Church, hot to pursue
Their common foeman,— Thought. While men record
But royal acts and date of battles fought,
Progress has written with far keener sight
Across the Age in letters fiery bright
The legend Toleration. Of our Lord
Seventeen had passed before free speech was wrought!
To arms! To arms! With strife the welkin rings
Where progress plants it standard at the fore,
And earth again is drenched in human gore
As sons of freedom rise on ardor’s wings
To wrest authority from hands of kings,
Unmindful of the shriek of priestly lore
That right divine was on the crowns they wore,
Inscribed by God from whom all power springs,
As Christ of Caesar said. The parson’s day
Has passed to Rousseau, Junius, and Fame
The age seeks not upon the Jewish tree
That “liberty wherein Christ made us free,”
When eighteen Christian ages bless the sway
Of royal tyrant’s dungeon, rack, and chain.
The Spirit of the Age doth never dwell
In conflicts won, but ever turns its face
To future strife, and seeks to lead the race
To fresher fields. The waters from its well
E’er moisten growing thought, and we foretell
From present problems coming strife. We give place
To other themes than right divine or grace,
Or church or king; coercion hath no spell
O’er rights achieved. Free thought, free speech, and ballot won,
Grim Labor turns to face its ancient foes
In angry mien. Look o’er our modern States,
The economic problem with us dates,
And heed the moral progress once begun,
Coercion wanes the wider freedom grows.
In the history of human progress centuries are the milestones by which we measure the distance traversed. In the East even this method fails us, so stereotyped and lifeless are the forms of social life, so slight the change. But with the restless activity of the Aryan tribes in the West each century has grown more and more unlike the preceding. Grecian culture and Roman arms had broken down the narrowness of national and tribal exclusiveness when the Christian era opens. Roman administration had united vast and distant provinces into an Empire. One after the other they had succumbed to the invader. Whole regions were reduced to slavery; people were transplanted as cattle to swell the wealth of their conquerors; maidens were doomed to prostitution and their brothers to servile labor under the rod of a taskmaster.
Old ties were broken, old customs rudely severed. The Roman lever wielded by the hand of Might brought social upheaval. With ancient liberties trampled upon, lands confiscated or loaded with onerous taxation, homes the spoil of an avaricious procurator, courage withered, the spirit of manhood died, thoughts of vengeance or redress remained dreams. Religion itself had lost its saving grace. The rapidity of conquest rendered gods commonplace. Powerless to protect their people, they were powerless to retain their dominion. Their jostling together in the Roman Pantheon robbed them of their dignity; from familiarity the course ran easily to contempt.
Yet in this social chaos Time reveals its constituent factors. The history of Europe is the record of struggle between conflicting principles; of antagonistic forces contesting for possession. These principles may be named Authority and Liberty. As the result, we have had centuries of internecine strife filled with wails of orphans, shrieks of ravished maidens, tears of widowed and childless mothers, and curses of tortured and helpless fathers; cities sacked, depopulated, and burned; provinces, once teeming with millions in fancied security, becoming barren wastes; schools and universities destroyed, libraries given to the flames and their readers to the sword, the study of mathematics denounced and forbidden, the learning of the past buried in oblivion, and awards bestowed on superstitious ignorance; the blighting effect of fire and fagot in suppressing originality of thought, of rack and gibbet in deteriorating manhood, and of celibacy in the artificial selection of those who possessed what knowledge survived to leave no offspring; the restriction of invention to new instruments for human torture; the constant inculcation that nature is vile and natural enjoyments “fleshly vanities” to be decried, enforced by suppression of Olympic festivals and Capitoline games by Christian emperors and the abolition of public and private baths by the Spanish clergy; the growth of the religion of the Cross, watered by Charlemagne’s sword and Inquisitorial zeal, and sorrow and tears installed in smiling nature with pessimistic ardor as man’s normal condition.
How is it, then, we may well ask, that out of such a tremendous outlay of living material we have — civilization? For a thousand years the word had lost even its old significance. Roman civilization had reaped the fruit of social corruption and privilege which the genius of Authority had so assiduously sown, and on its ruins we see arising those hideous prodigies,— the Papacy and Feudalism; the twin dogmas of Cæsarism,— Church and State. All writers on government seek to determine the position of a just line separating freedom and obedience; how far authority may encroach upon liberty for the preservation of an alleged social order and the maintenance of existing social conditions. It is admitted that in the abstract they are irreconcilable enemies; that, where authority exists, it must involve a loss of a certain degree of personal liberty. In all ages men have sought and still seek to balance these contradictory forces. True social alchemists, they believe that they may be fused to yield harmony as an emergent. What authority is, the world knows. It ever shelters itself behind existing institutions,— survivals of a past stage of progress,— which our social alchemists invariably omit to eliminate from their retorts. Its most logical claim is known to the world by the name of Cæsarism: the claim of absolute and universal sovereignty. It ever seeks support in might, and justification in the maintenance of order. When Napoleon the Little exclaimed: “L’Empire, c’est la paix!” he expressed the animating thought of Caesar and Augustus.
Liberty, however, is undefinable. To define it is to limit it; to materialize it by giving it a fixed form in a progressive social environment. It is ever privilege, not freedom, that requires “constitutional guarantees.” In the following pages, therefore, I have made no attempt to delineate its features, though I trust 1 have been able to seize its spirit. The true answer to the eternal conundrum can only be discovered by watching its course through the ages. To understand civilization and its tendencies we must go back of the seething crucible of the middle ages and analyze their conflicting forces. We must read the milestones of the ages to detect the silver cord of progress winding through darkness to understand the present and catch inspiration from the eternal Zeit-geist. I am not writing the history, or tracing the historic events, of these centuries. My purpose is one far more searching. It is to trace the underlying causes to which we owe the modern tendencies to subordinate the spirit of authority to that of liberty; not what kings and peoples have done, but why they have so done; what the spirit was that shaped their rough-hewn efforts.
To the question: “Our civilization — whence?” We are brought to the great distinguishing features between European and other civilizations. In all the old civilizations of Asia, as well as that of Egypt, society had reached a fixed form; what had once been habit had hardened into enforced custom with the sanction of legality. Self-denial, rather than what Sterling termed “pagan self-assertion,” had become the cardinal virtue. They had all ceased to possess individuality, and had sunk into blind obedience to the interpreters of the gods. Why individuality had ceased to exist has been elaborately set forth by Buckle. The universal economic law that, where the extraordinary fertility of nature supplies a cheap food, there the population tend to servility in character and a degrading poverty in social life, had full scope in all trans-European civilizations. While probably none of them were indigenous in origin, from the want of the necessary spur to activity, in each case man had succumbed to nature.
In the history of Greece we first meet with two new facts in the intellectual history of man: 1, its geographical position in a more temperate zone called out the bodily activity of the Greeks to a greater degree than Egypt or Asia had ever known; 2, the general aspects of nature, by their greater uniformity,— the absence of the startling or terrible,— acted less strongly upon the imagination. Consequently their religion had less of the terrible in doctrine or rite, and a less repressive influence upon the development of the intellect. Rome, somewhat similarly situated, early assimilated the Grecian conception of the dignity of man, and the energy of the understanding tended to supplant the poetic instincts of the imagination. The Aryan, finding himself in a new and peaceful environment, grew less imaginative as the friendly aspect of nature grew more familiar. Benignant nature in Europe softened the awful majesty of the Oriental gods, with their future abodes of eternal woe.
But the extension of the practical genius of the Roman people soon introduced a contrary tendency. The uniformity which Greece was rapidly extending up the heights of Olympus, in Rome found expression in politics; the development of intellect fell before that of craft. And because dealing with men rather than with gods, material weapons were called into employment. The simplicity which had always characterized the domestic life of Caesar, under the further development of his Idea, gave place to the pomp of a Caligula and Heliogabalus, and under Diocletian and Constantine had established in the palace Oriental sultanism. The same process inevitably resulted in the realm of religious conceptions; the imagination was again exalted over the intellect, man was again subordinated to nature. But in this case imperialism was an unnatural development. Europe could not supply the environment requisite to the perpetuity of Asiatic submissiveness; the same great natural causes which had moulded the minds of Greek and Roman were still as active as ever; hence the ceaseless struggle of the ages. They were ever manifesting their influence in the great intellectual revolts of Manes, Arius, Pelagius, and other heretics. They were the struggles of man against authority, to reassert the supremacy of the understanding over the imagination. Buckle has well said:
Looking at the history of the world as a whole, the tendency has been, in Europe, to subordinate nature to man; out of Europe to subordinate man to nature. To this there are in barbarous countries several exceptions; but in civilized countries the rule has been universal. The great division, therefore, between European civilization and non-European civilization, is the basis of the philosophy of history, since it suggests the important consideration that, if we would understand, for instance, the history of India, we must make the external world our first study, because it has influenced man more than man has influenced it. If, on the other hand, we would understand the history of a country like France, or England, we must make man our principal study, because, nature being comparatively weak, every step in the great progress has increased the dominion of the human mind over the agencies of the external world.
Taking the history of Europe in one comprehensive glance, this is profoundly true; but what Buckle has not emphasized is no less true, that the introduction of Cæsarism was an effort to counteract the influences of nature by an appeal to Oriental methods; a futile attempt, as it proved, because the genius of authority could not altogether repress the tendencies everywhere injected into social life by fresh invasions. From the fifth to the tenth centuries inclusive, civil authority was weak, and consequently unable to reduce man to passive obedience to Spiritual Cæsarism. The long contest of the middle ages was a struggle between natural tendencies and a faith uncongenial to European soil; a faith, not in the human, but in the superhuman, repressing individuality and exalting mediocrity by canonizing the “servile virtues.” In China the weight of authority, having a settled condition of society in which to operate, has successfully reduced mind to mediocrity, the Gospel of Commonplace has been assiduously cultivated in character, and genius repressed by the sanctity of custom. And in this connection thoughtful minds will do well to recall the warning words of John Stuart Mill:
The modern regime of public opinion is, in an unorganized form, what the Chinese educational and political systems are in an organized; unless individuality shall be able to assert itself against this yoke, Europe, notwithstanding its noble antecedents and its professed Christianity, will tend to become another China.
Whether custom can effect what material force found itself unable to accomplish, is not the problem we have here to consider. We have now to study past conditions, when nature was supposed to be silent before the authoritative revelation of its “Maker.” So profoundly did the genius of authority impress this upon the human mind that even today a majority of the civilized world still profess to believe it; still hold that a written code of few rights and many duties, arising under a past stage of culture, is of universal application; that the Hindu, the African, and the South American have entered upon the highroad of earthly civilization and heavenly bliss, the moment they yield dogmatic assent to an alleged revelation. And this, too, in view of the signal failure of Christianity in Mexico and Peru, and the equal paucity of results attending modern missions.
The Oriental view of man’s nature and destiny did not succeed in Europe, but its failure was not altogether owing to the influence of “the general aspects of nature, climate, soil, and food,” the four conditions upon which Buckle lays sole stress. We know that these conditions profoundly modified the aspect of Christianity and influenced thought, but Imperialism failed because the general upheaval of society, following the Barbarian invasion, had left it powerless to enforce its high pretensions, until the new society had been so long under natural influences that eradication became impossible. The papal thunders of Innocent III. and Boniface VIII., in the noonday of papal power, fell upon a world far different from that which had listened awe-struck to Gregory the Great.
The first great factor we detach from the warring forces in the genesis of our civilization is the general one,— nature. We have now to consider the special factors which have entered into the emergent. These we will find to be two: 1. Rome; 2, the Teuton invaders, whose influence upon the forming social state prevented the full exercise of the Caesarian claim.
I. Rome. The most fruitful event, probably, in history is that known by the name of Julius Caesar, who was the head and rallying point in the revolution which overturned the Roman Republic and paved the way for that system of government with which his name is forever associated; one which has largely colored all succeeding history, and is the direct progenitor of the various phases of authority under which modern States are organized. Rome had brought vast regions into closer social relations, broken down provincial narrowness and prejudice, and was introducing administrative unity. From the British Isles in the West to the empire of Mithridates in the East, Rome’s victorious legions had carried her standard. Kingdoms, cities, national institutions, and local independence fell before the invading hosts. Roman genius had a predilection for administration. Rome was not a mere collection of palaces and huts, a limited geographical space, but the mistress of the world, and about to become a religion. Man was nothing save as Roman citizenship conferred upon him rights; even personality was absorbed in the citizen, subordinated to the city. To the citizen Rome brought equality before the law, but it was an equality where individualism found no place: to freemen, a vast State Communism; to the populace, a social providence by which they had been treated as children,— fed by free distribution of grain, and amused by free theatrical representations and gladiatorial exhibitions.
In previous centuries Persia had undertaken the task of establishing a universal empire, but that attempt had been dictated by desire to obtain new provinces paying tribute rather than new fields for devastation. Persia had lacked the genius for combining its vast possessions under a common civilization; hence its several provinces were united only by a rope of sand, to be dispersed by the first adverse blast. It had joined States, not united them under a common discipline; there was no cohesion of parts, no unity of administration, to cement the work of the sword. Later, the conquests of Alexander the Great, so far from building up a Greek empire, had laid the foundation for the subsequent ruin of Greece. Although the splendor of his victories gave a common purpose and aim to Grecian cities, hitherto torn by contending factions and in perpetual strife with each other, engendered by mutual jealousies, it afforded an aim which led enterprise from Greece to Asia, transferred commercial greatness from Athens to Alexandria, and drained Greece of men and means to establish colonies abroad,— colonies that ceased to have that connection with and interest in the parent country which the old Athenian policy had so successfully carried out.
[To be continued.]
The Wife of Number 4,237.
By Sophie Kropotkine.
Translated from the French for Liberty by Sarah E. Holmes.
Continued from No. 80.
She started in fact, and took a few steps on the road, but returned to seat herself on a little stone-post at the gate of the cemetery.
“Oh! I will see him!” she said. “Not to let me see him when he was sick! Not to let me make my last farewell! I must see him . . . But they could bury some one else and tell me that it was Jean?”
And she recollects that there was a Jacques Tissot in their village. What a resemblance in names, and how easy to mistake the number!
And it seems to her now that it really is Jacques Tissot who is in a pine coffin. Jean is as well as he has been all these eighteen months; he is there, behind those walls, and he does not even mistrust that his Julie, dying of sorrow, is so near him.
But her thoughts become confused. Another idea has been born; it grows, takes root, obtrudes itself, and drives away all others.
“And if they have buried him alive?” she asks herself. “They said that he was sick. Sick people have fainting-fits; they might have taken him for dead. Dead yesterday, buried today! . . . But he may be in a state of lethargy.”
All her blood freezes at this thought, and she recalls stories she had heard in her childhood of an old lady buried alive, who revived when a thief disinterred her to get her ring.
She halts decisively at this idea.
“No, I will not let you die: I will restore you, I will dig you up.”
She no longer doubts that Jean is buried alive, and all her thoughts are directed towards one object,— to dig up the coffin, open it, see Jean. In a few minutes, her plan had ripened with the rapidity of delirium. She will go and conceal herself in the woods, and as soon as it is night, she will make her way into the cemetery. She will climb up on this stone-post; the railing is low; she can climb over it. She has seen where they put the shovel, and she can quickly clear away the earth. Her eyes glisten with a wild joy at this resolve.
Poor Julie! You do not know that, if you could open the coffin, you would recoil terrified. You do not know that this forehead which you covered with kisses so tender has been crushed with a hammer and that the broken skull has let the gray mass of the brain ooze out; that the heart which beat for you is torn out, cut in pieces, and crammed, pell-mell with the intestines, into this breast on which you rested so comfortably your pretty brown head . . .
No, Julie knows nothing of all this, and, alone, abandoned by all the world, every one occupied with his petty affairs — alone, without a single heart to help her, her frenzy goes on increasing.
She goes into the woods. She seeks, but does not find a hiding-place safe enough to crouch in till evening: the trees are too thinly-scattered, the bushes are too bare. There is a cave filled with brambles: there she will hide herself, without perceiving that the thorns tear her hands and cheeks.
“If he only does not suffocate before night!” — that is her only thought; but she recalls again the old woman disinterred by the thief, the two miners buried with her father: after three days they were still alive.
In her delirium, the poor Julie does not dare to move from her den. She is tormented with thirst, but: — “They will see me, they will prevent me,” she thinks, and puts leaves on her tongue to add fuel to the flame which is devouring her.
At last, night approaches; some stars shine through the branches. Julie, holding her breath, quits her refuge and glides through the brush-wood. The briers tear her hands, she does not feel them. Very soon she loses comb and hat; her black tresses, floating over her shoulders, catch in the bushes.
The noise of a dead branch which falls, of a bird which stirs in the confusion, fills her with terror. All the tales of ghosts which she has heard in her childhood, all the superstitions of a village of miners, reappear before her eyes. Each tree seems a monster ready to smother her in its clutches.
The moon is shining as she leaves the forest. She descends the hill and stops fifty steps away from the cemetery, not daring to approach it; her dress in rags, her hair full of dead branches, drops of blood on her livid cheeks, she tries to walk, to run, but remains fastened to the spot. The fields, the woods, seem to flutter about her, peopled with fantastic beings: all is confusion in her head.
A night-bird’s sad plaint is heard,— it is Jean who is calling her! Then she makes a superhuman effort and throws-herself towards the gate. She is already climbing the post, her hand touches the edge of the railing, she is ready to get over it.
But at this moment she perceives a great black cross stationed in front of the gate. For her this is an immense, black, hairy being, extending his arms. He grows larger, approaches, his arms lengthen, stretch out . . . She does not breathe or budge. Now the arms touch her, clasp her, stifle her . . . A feeble cry, and Julie falls. The moon illumines with its mild beams this pale face contracted with pain and suffering.
The next morning a peasant perceived her. He approached and spoke to her; she responded only in incoherent words. Her whole body was burning, consumed by fever. They carried her to the hospital of the neighboring village.
Her delirium was terrible. She tore the bands by which they tried to keep her on the bed. She fell on her knees before the nurse, begging her to let her see her Jean.
“I am his wife,” she said. “If you only knew how he loves me. We are two, alone in the world . . . No one . . . . I am everything to him ... I will cure him” . . . . .
Then, rising, she leaped forward and seized the nun by the throat, crying:
“Ah! wretches,— not to see him! Not even when sick! not even when dead! Infamous assassins! Wicked rules!”
Four days later they carried her to the cemetery, as they had carried Jean. There was not even the dog to follow her,— the only being whose sad eyes had testified a regret for this life, broken off in the midst of its dreams of happiness. The same indifference, the same abandonment, as for Number 4237.
By Georges Sauton.
Translated from the French for Liberty by Sarah E. Holmes.
Continued from No. 80.
He would land at last, triumph over all obstacles, all snares, escape perils, and dash into the paternal house through the open door.
She had pronounced this tender word, in a high voice, suffocated with happiness, moist with tears, and her arms ready for embraces.
“What is it, then?” said Arklow anxiously, believing her suddenly struck with mental alienation.
She excused herself, related her vision, her delusive mirage, and explained that the disappointment of the awakening had made her tears flow. But Harvey comforted her.
Certainly in six months the call of the committee could not reverberate to India, causing Michael to obey and cross the thousands of leagues between them. But they knew at Dublin from an authentic source that a number of the regiments in which the Irish recruits had been sent away had received the order to leave the colony and reembark.
The mother-country dreaded their contact with her conquered people of Hindostan, and feared lest a fraternal understanding might be agreed on between them. When she should order her oppressed of the East to be bound to the mouth of cannon, she was not sure that her oppressed of the West would not turn the cannon against her. Ships overburdened with troops had headed towards Europe; they would deposit their burden of men at Malta, at Gibraltar, whose garrisons would return to England, and the execution of this operation once completed, from Gibraltar, from Malta, Ireland would not be far.
“Thank you! thank you!” repeated the excellent mother, consoled, drying her eyes, and renewing her excuses for the trouble she had caused by her entirely personal emotion; she had not been able to control it, to force it back, to repress its outbreak.
Now, it would not appear again; she would abandon herself to her joys later, and she finished the packing of his provisions, bandages, and herbs, and even manifested impatience and anxiety, holding her ear against the window, whose cracked panes of glass were curtained fortunately with sheets of paper.
The deep voice of Lichfield’s clerk thundered outside, bawling the list of wares: “Knives, scissors, thread, needles,” and Edith was seized with fear for Sir Harvey, although Paddy and his friends still kept close to Lichfield; but those two, the spy and his clerk, so artful, familiar with all the tricks of rogues, constituted truly a serious menace.
Many times already had alarms by day and night filled her with terror; but none to the same extent as now.
“Hand-mirrors, looking-glasses, carpetings, table-covers, jewelry, laces!” chanted William Grobb like a drowsy chorister, whose interminable somnolent profile she perceived through a corner of the window-pane, and who drove for the love of God the horse and the van of his employer, without even turning round to see whether any customers were forthcoming.
“Hand-mirrors, looking-glasses!” Who then, in this miserable hamlet, had money for these superfluities? Mirrors, glasses, to reflect wan faces, made livid by suffering and privation! Carpetings? Shoes first. Table-covers? And what about bread?
Jewelry, laces! Go to! weapons for the struggle or a shroud in which to wrap the dead,— the dead from hunger and those fallen in battle!
No, no, no, even if there had been no warning, these merchants showed all too plainly that they had no desire to sell their stock; Harvey was their game, surely. Ah! Tom Lichfield drew close about his carriage the group in the midst of which he harangued, with his good-natured eloquence, and Paddy and all let themselves be dragged along, docile victims of cajolery, one would have said, dazzled without doubt by the gleam of some gift. But this was complicity! Lichfield communicating with his clerk, Edith comprehended that the danger lay in this approach, and she urged her husband to run to avert it, to put himself in the way, and remind Neill, who was forgetting himself, of the critical nature of the situation.
But Harvey opposed it. He placed the most absolute confidence in Paddy; he could fall asleep on him, on his intelligence, on his generous cunning in the work of baffling Lichfield and defeating his plot.
Yes, he had learned the value of this boy in their interviews since his days of forced rest. Under his simple appearance, his lively spirits, he hid much practical sense and a calm mind, and under his frivolity a heroism proof against anything.
“His joviality, his sallies, his sarcastic or droll flashes,” said he, “are the very essence of our nature, the particular mark of our race, a mark which is obscured in you and me by the consciousness of our distresses, of our slavery, of the horizon so dark with storms. He is younger, has more elasticity, is less depressed, and moreover his recklessness is principally on the surface, calculated to more thoroughly deceive this Lichfield.”
“As you will,” sighed Edith; “nevertheless I predict bad results of his complacent attitude towards the artifices of this person. You can see for yourself; the other fascinates him like a lark with the display of his four-penny goods.”
Sir Harvey approached the window, and Arklow, at the renewed entreaty of his wife, went out to see, to correct the heedlessness of his comrades, if there was reason to. With his hands in his pockets, whistling a sailor’s tune, his nose in the air, he directed his steps towards the van.
Paddy at this moment was bargaining for a coat, a marvellous coat, red and purple at the same time, like the sun setting in the sea; a coat, declaimed Lichfield, whose skirts, like the wings of the albatross, would last always; a coat, too, lately on the illustrious back of an admiral. The trace of the epaulets was still to be seen.
The merchant took it down from a peg and held it out at arm’s length, spreading it over his shoulders; in order that Paddy, from a distance, might better judge its effect, he walked back and forth, and, William Grobb approaching in response to one of his winks, he tried it on him, talking all the while to his customer, but succeeding in surreptitiously slipping into the clerk’s ear, a few words at a time, this admonition:
“Find a way of summoning the soldiers; Harvey is in the but where the bill is posted.”
And soon the long young man, divested of his brilliant paring which Paddy put on in turn, let himself down under the false pretext of picking up a piece of money which had fallen noisily from his breeches pocket, the lining of which he had just adroitly cut with the blade of his knife. On all fours, he searched in the grass, so conscientiously, so dismayed, that they did not distrust him or trouble him in his task; they would rather have helped him, and Arklow did not perceive his absence till some minutes after his departure.
[To be continued.]
“A free man is one who enjoys the use of his reason and his faculties; who is neither blinded by passion, nor hindered or driven by oppression, nor deceived by erroneous opinions.” — Proudhon.
Liberty and Violence.
It is always difficult for one not an eye-witness to write fairly and intelligently of conflicts that occur between the police and revolutionary elements of whatever stripe. That the police in large cities are, for the most part, brutal, unscrupulous, merciless wretches is unquestionable; but, on the other hand, it is impossible to place the most implicit confidence in what is said of their conduct in special instances in the ravings of John Most or the harangues of such men as Spies, Fielden, and Parsons of Chicago. More than usual uncertainty surrounds the recent throwing of a bomb at the Chicago police with such destructive effect. No satisfactory information has yet been furnished as to how far the police really interfered with the meeting that was in progress or as to how much wanton violence was exercised in accomplishing the interference. It seems unlikely, however, that then-conduct could have been of such a character as to warrant the throwing of the bomb. It seems much more likely, inasmuch as men of ordinary prudence are not in the habit of carrying dynamite bombs in their coat-tail pockets, that the individual who threw it was seeking an opportunity to throw it. I cannot understand the assertion of Spies and his comrades that the bomb would not have been thrown if the meeting had not been attacked. How do they know? Have they not been preaching for years that the laborers need no other provocation than their steady oppression by capital to warrant them in wholesale destruction of life and property? Was not this very meeting held for the purpose of advising the laborers to pursue such a policy? Why, then, should they not expect some ardent follower to act upon their advice? If Spies, Fielden, and Parsons fail to accept and applaud this act regardless of any special provocation for it, they will confess themselves blatant demagogues who talk to hear themselves talk. I should be sorry to think so ill of them.
This event at Chicago opens the whole question of the advisability of armed revolution. The right to resist oppression by violence is beyond doubt; it is only the policy of exercising this right that Anarchists at this juncture have to consider. In Liberty’s view but one thing can justify its exercise on any large scale,— namely, the denial of free thought, free speech, and a free press. Even then its exercise would be unwise unless suppression were enforced so stringently that all other means of throwing it off had become hopeless. Bloodshed in itself is pure loss. When we must have freedom of agitation, and when nothing but bloodshed will secure it, then bloodshed is wise. But it must be remembered that it can never accomplish the Social Revolution proper; that that can never be accomplished except by means of agitation, investigation, experiment, and passive resistance; and that, after all the bloodshed, we shall be exactly where we were before, except in our possession of the power to use these means.
One thing the Chicago bomb-thrower established emphatically,— the superiority of dynamite to the Winchester rifle. No riot has occurred in this country in which so many policemen were killed and wounded at one time as by this single bomb; at least, so I am informed. As a true terrorist, the bomb-thrower made but one mistake,— in choosing a time when a crowd of working people were gathered upon whom the police could wreak their vengeance. If it becomes necessary to vindicate free speech by force, the work will have to consist of a series of acts of individual dynamiters. The days of armed revolution have gone by. It is too easily put down. On this point I may quote an instructive extract from a private letter written to me by Dr. Joseph H. Swain of San Francisco a few days before the Chicago troubles broke out.
For two or three weeks we have had labor orators from Oregon, Washington Territory, Colorado, Kansas, etc. They tell us that we are behind. In the places named labor societies are being organized and armed with Winchester rifles, while, as one of the fire-eaters said, we of San Franeisco are not prepared to even lift a tooth-pick in a contest with capital. They claim there are many men already prepared for the coming conflict, and in Denver many women,— I think seventy,— all of whom are expert riflemen. They are urging the Socialists here to do the same. There is a good deal of secresy. Some time ago it was said that the Knights of Labor Executive Committee ordered the local bodies to cease adding members or to go slow, the reason given being that men were joining before they understood the objects of the order. I think it was because revolutionists were joining. These men say that the Knights in the above States are Socialists. I think the trouble on the Gould line was caused by these revolutionary Knights. Powderly sees they are likely to swamp the order. Powderly is a good fellow, but doesn’t understand the labor problem. He thinks the Knights could make money running Gould’s railroad. One orator said revolutions started in conservative reform bodies, but soon the radicals took them out of their hands. The socialists would do the same with this movement of the Knights. He said the Anarchists in Chicago were pretty good fellows. They predict an uprising within a year. I think there is great activity among these advocates of armed resistance. Their statement is that they must be armed to command the respect of the capitalists and to prevent an attack. Like Grant, they will have peace if they have to fight for it,— the peace of Warsaw. Which means, if they are armed, they can seize a railroad, and the owners won’t dare to resist. As one speaker from Kansas said last night, the strikers had a right to prevent others from taking their places, for they had acquired a labor title to the road,— i.e., were owners as well as the capitalists. He did not use the term labor title, but that was the idea. Of course, then, they will justify themselves in seizing the railroad, their property. If a conflict is precipitated, it will be a severe blow to Liberty, and the fellows will find what fools they are, or were. They forget that it is brains, skill, long training, knowledge, and natural fitness that win in a contest of arms, that the men so qualified are in the service of capital, and that they will lead other workingmen against these undisciplined bodies, so that workingmen will shoot down each other. Fatal error, to think they can intimidate the capitalists, who are mostly men of courage and superior to the masses and as sincere in their opinions as to their rights to the property they control. Then, the rebels will be in small bodies and unable to concentrate, for the authorities will hold the depots and use trains, if they are run at all, to concentrate troops at given points, which the rebels will be unable to reach. This will afford the capitalists an excuse for a strong government, and progress will be retarded. The net gain will be money in the pockets of manufacturers of guns and other war munitions, and a strong government, with loss incalculable to the workers, who will lose some of the liberty they now have, and have to pay the cost of the war. If I could control the men in all these labor organizations, I could, without even lifting a tooth-pick other than to write with it, in a perfectly quiet way bring capital to its knees, or, if I thought it just and wise, force proprietors to sell their property at cost, or less. A resort to arms is suicidal to the side that initiates it. Moral force once clearly perceived as a social principle will be found to yield inexhaustible working power to defend natural rights. The simplicity of the thing is so apparent when you once strike a true lead that all brute force would cease. What a glorious chance the Irish had to rid themselves of landlords and politicians! Had the no-rent policy been adhered to one year, the landlords would have been beggared. The price of land would have been discovered to have its only basis in monopoly, seizure, legal title. One such success would have opened the eyes of all civilized men to the weakness of brute force in a contest with moral, force, and would have shown the ease with which governments could be rendered powerless. What a fraud and shadow they are, terrible only to childish men! If there were a God, he would never forgive Parnell and the priests for furling the no-rent banner. If we could get but one such illustration of passive resistance on a large scale, Anarchy would be an accomplished fact.
I can add nothing to these wise words, nor can I make plainer their valuable lesson.
Leaving now our consideration of the actual throwing of the bomb, surrounding which, as I said, there is some doubt, let if glance a moment at what has happened since, regarding which there can be no doubt. The conduct during the last fortnight of the police, the courts, the pulpit, and the press, including many of the labor organs themselves, has been shameful in the extreme. Mammon’s priests have foamed at the mouth; the servants of Plutus who sit in editorial chairs have frothed at the point of the pen; the stalwart graduates of the slums who are licensed and paid to swing shillalahs over the heads of unoffending citizens have shrieked for vengeance; and wearers of judicial ermine on which there is room for no new spots have virtually declared their determination to know no bounds of right, mercy, or decency in dealing with any Anarchist who may be brought before them. Spies and Fielden have been arrested and held for murder, though they are not known to have done anything worse than to speak their minds; nearly every one in Chicago who has dared to avow himself an Anarchist has been clapped into jail, and those who reach that haven without a broken head deem themselves peculiarly fortunate; houses have been broken into and searched by wholesale; the “Arbeiter Zeitung” and the “Alarm,” and, for aught I know, the “Budoucnost,” have been suppressed without a shadow of natural or legal right; to be a German is to be looked upon with suspicion, and to be a Pole or Bohemian is to be afraid to show one’s head; and it has become exceedingly unsafe for the most respectable of men to stand upon the streets of Chicago and question the superiority of existing social and political systems to the Utopia of Sir Thomas More. Talk about the Communists being madmen! The authorities and their mouth-pieces are the real madmen now. One would think that the throwing of this bomb was the first act of violence ever committed under the sun. These lunatics seem to forget that they are the representatives and champions of a standing regime of violence, a regime which is a perpetual menace levelled at every one who dares to claim his liberty, a regime which ties the hands of laborers while a band of licensed robbers called capitalists pick their pockets. How can they expect aught but violence from their victims? The fact is, there are two ways of inciting the suffering classes to violence: one is that of the so-called revolutionists who directly advise them to use force; the other, and by far the more dangerous, is that of the so-called friends of order who try to leave them no other hope than force. These two parties, though outwardly opposed, really play into each other’s hands, to the damage of the real revolutionists and the real friends of order, who know that force settles nothing, and that no question is ever settled until it is settled right. Just as truly as Liberty is the mother of order, is the State the mother of violence.
In conclusion, it needs to be especially noted that among the victims of these authority-ridden maniacs is John Most. Toward him as a social reformer Liberty’s attitude has been and will be hostile in the extreme, but toward him as a human being deprived of his fundamental rights it can be nothing but sympathetic. To defend John Most’s right of free speech is not to defend his use of free speech or the horrible practices which he sanctions by his connivance or his silence. It is more important to defend the rights of the weak — even those who are weak from their wickedness — than the rights of the strong. We Anarchists do not need to be Knights of Labor to know that “an injury to one is the concern of all.” Therefore every voice should be raised, as Liberty’s is, in denunciation of Most’s arrest and of his brutal treatment at the hands of Inspector Byrnes and his understrappers. Let those who shrink take to heart the following words written by Gramont in “L’Intransigeant”:
Human right is an august thing. Every human being carries it within him, in its entirety, unrestricted, unmodified. From the moment that the right of a human being is violated, whatever he may be, that being becomes sacred, worthy of being defended, worthy of being avenged. It matters little what he is. Or, rather, he is no longer what he was. Everything in him vanishes, disappears, save this,— the rape of right. He becomes the man in whom right is struck down and bleeding. He is that, and he is nothing else.
In the last “Freiheit” the firebugs extend the right hand of fellowship to their new comrade, Seymour, of the London “Anarchist.”
Coming to Its Senses.
No longer ago than May 6 the New York “Herald” raved in thus fashion against the Anarchists:
The whole land is filled with horror at the damning deeds of butchery by the Anarchists of the West. Anarchism is a venomous and slimy reptile, and only an iron heel should deal with it.
And on the 7th, 8th, and 9th of May, it had still more in the same strain.
But on the 10th it changed its tone so far as to say:
In a free country men remedy abuses by their votes; and if they reason intelligently, they see that abuses grow mainly because of bad laws, and that the remedy lies not in enacting more laws, but in repealing injurious laws. Whenever any part of the people suffer a real grievance, it will be found that this is a consequence of a law interfering with their liberty of action in some needless way; and that the remedy lies not in more law, but in striking off a law.
Now, such talk as this comes very nearly to Anarchism itself, pure and simple; at least as this writer understands it. He cannot answer for Herr Most, or anybody else, but only for himself.
Such a change, as this of the “Herald,” in a single day, is really coming to one’s senses very fast. And inasmuch as the “Herald” has now set its face in the right direction, we hope it will go forward fearlessly, like the honest and true friend of the people, which it so often tells us that it really is.
But if it is going to procure the repeal of all the “bad laws,” from which “any part of the people suffer a real grievance,” or which “interfere with their liberty of action in some needless way,” we can inform it that it has undertaken a very heavy task.
We hope, however, that it will not be disheartened at the magnitude of the labor before it. If it cannot do all that is needed, in the way of procuring the repeal of “bad laws,” it can, without doubt, do a great deal. All we ask of it is, that it will do what it can. And when it shall have done all it can, we think it will no longer have occasion to lose any sleep on account of Anarchy or Anarchists. We do not know of an Anarchist — we doubt if there be one — in this, or any other country — who asks for anything more than the repeal of all “bad laws.” And if the “Herald” will but be honest with itself and the people, we would be almost willing to pledge ourselves in advance to abide by the “Herald’s” own opinion of what are, and what are not, “bad laws.”
Will the “Herald” now go on with the duty it has so plainly prescribed for itself?
This outbreak at Chicago, whether the actors in it were good or bad men, is a very small one, compared with those that have proceeded from “bad laws” in this and other parts of the world; and a very small one, too, in comparison with those that will succeed it, here and elsewhere, unless the “bad laws” are repealed.
Is not the duty of the “Herald” a plain one? And is it not a duty which the “Herald” has very much neglected?
“The Boston Anarchists.”
The so-called Boston Anarchists are opposed to violence.
It is for this very reason that they are opposed to the State, which is a usurping fraud, conceived in and maintained by violence.
The Boston Anarchists are on principle opposed to every manner of brute force.
They are therefore opposed to the State, whose chief reliance is upon brute force rather than consent.
The Boston Anarchists hold murder, except in self-defence, to be an unwarranted crime.
For this reason they hold the State to be the chief of criminals, as it commits more murders than all other agencies beside, and commits them with the fullest premeditation and the most deliberate design.
The Boston Anarchists hold arson to be a heinous outrage, and an incendiary to be a presumptive murderer.
For this reason they hold the State to be an outrage, since it halts not at burning whole cities and districts in its career of war, and even legitimatizes wholesale incendiarism when committed by itself.
The Boston Anarchists are opposed to mob rule.
For this reason they are opposed to the State, whose rule is nothing less than mob rule, since all arbitrary rule which is enforced by brutal agencies is mob rule. The State, then, is the chief of mobbists.
While, therefore, the Boston Anarchists are ready to denounce the savage Communists of Chicago, who, falsely sailing under Anarchistic colors, commit murder, arson, and mob violence, they yet wish to press most emphatically the fact that the so-called government is committing these very crimes every day; has always committed them, and always intends to commit them. And not only this, but this same so-called government legalizes these crimes when committed by itself, justifies them through courts created by itself and paid to justify them, and even commits the blasphemy of maintaining that Almighty God ordered the machine which commits them. Of course this kind of Almighty God is a god of its own creation, an ally of its usurpations, but none the less is the whole scheme for systematic murder, arson, robbery, and mob rule one which the Boston Anarchists feel in duty bound to denounce without fear or stint.
Since the late Chicago outrages I have been patronizingly told how unfortunate it is that the Boston Anarchists, standing as they do for peace, and being the first to denounce violence, should suffer themselves to be confounded with those bloody mobbists who desecrate the true principles of Anarchism through deeds which Liberty emphatically repudiates.
On the whole, the term Anarchy is the proper one. It simply means opposed to the arbitrary rule of self-elected usurpers outside of the Individual. The Boston Anarchists are individualists; the Chicago mobbists are communists. The methods of the Boston Anarchists are logically those of peace, education, and evolution. The methods of the Most school are logically those of pillage, brute force, and violence, since Communism, being opposed to natural law, must necessarily call upon unnatural methods if it would put itself into practice.
One of these days Communism will be weeded out of Anarchism, and then thinking people will begin to recognize that the Boston Anarchists are the only school of modern sociologists who are in the line of true peace, progress, and good order. Because it is not yet weeded out, I see no reason why we should take in our shingle and so give the appearance of running away from our philosophy. We propose to let the old sign-board stand, and by and by the best intellect and conscience of the land will enter in among us and be made whole. We have the best assurance of this in the goodly number of noble men and women who already occupy our benches.
The schoolboys in four of the Baltimore public schools have organized the “Baltimore Association of Schoolboys, Knights of Labor,” and on April 18 the following proclamation was posted on the gates of many of the schools: “To all schoolboys whom it may concern, and they better be concerned, unless they join the schoolboys’ Knights of Labor and prepare to strike for four hours, to act Monday, April 19, they will be knocked out. By order of the signed executive committee.” The schoolboys have learned their lesson well. They have packed into a nutshell the spirit and methods of their parent and pattern organization.
“The Wages of Sin is Death.”
Landlords and Lawlords and Tradelords, the spectres you conjured have risen —
Communists, Socialists, Nihilists, Rent-rebels, Strikers, behold!
They are fruits of the seed you have sown — God has prospered your planting. They come
From the earth like the army of death. You have sowed the teeth of the dragon!
Hark to the bay of the leader! You shall hear the roar of the pack
As sure as the stream goes seaward.
—John Boyle O’Reilly.
The uprisings in Chicago, in Milwaukee, in St. Louis, in San Francisco, in New York, in London, in Brussels, in Decazeville, are as much the result of the capitalistic system of today, as was the French Revolution the result of the feudal system. To ascribe these uprisings, as do the lights of the capitalistic world, of the pulpit, and the press, to the teaching or example of a few fanatics is to betray a childish lack of comprehension of the connection between causes and results, between men and their conditions, and is as senseless as it would be to ascribe the Revolution of ’89 to Robespierre, Danton, and Marat. Instead of Spies, Fielding, and Schwab, Grotkau, Hyndman, Williams, and Burns being responsible for these mad outbreaks, they are but mere straws thrown aloft by the whirlwind of insurrection; they but serve to indicate in which way the storm is blowing. By imprisoning, burning, drawing, and quartering these men, quiet may seemingly for a time be restored; but we may rest assured that, it will be only for a time, for, the causes of insurrection continuing, the results must inevitably follow.
To the thoughtful mind there is a frightful similarity between the conditions in this country now and those in France before the Revolution. On one side we see the almost blind despair, the realizing sense that things are becoming more and more hopeless, the rising of the people against they know not what nor whom, and on the other a blind confidence that this is but a mere temporary insurrection, fraught with no far-reaching dangers, which need not at all interrupt us in our pursuit of pleasure, as it can be met by the “bravery and prowess of the police,” by having, as the “Sun” suggests, the police of New York and elsewhere provided as in Chicago “with patrol-wagons, so that an overwhelming force may be concentrated at a critical point.” But what if all points should become critical?
This same method of crushing out discontent was tried in France. On the 2nd of May, 1775, a vast multitude of the people presented a petition of grievances to the king, and for answer they received the “hanging of two of them on a new gallows forty feet high, and the driving back of the rest of them to their dens — for a time.” But, strange to say, this hanging and driving back did not appease the hunger and discontent of the French people, and perhaps the “Sun” may yet find out that the concentration of an overwhelming force of policemen at a critical point will not and cannot settle the dispute between capital and labor, for it has come to stay, and society must either solve it justly, or suffer itself to be dissolved.
Attempting to stamp out an insurrection which has its origin in the very nature of things, by mere force, is like trying to put out a fire in the midst of inflammable material by scattering it in all directions. The fire, which left to itself might have burned itself out, or, if it spread, only very slowly, may thus become a general conflagration, for each scattered spark becomes the starting-point of a new fire. When a million of men are out of employment, in this country, and millions more are therefore able to obtain only the barest necessaries of life, the amount of inflammable material is very large, and the ruling classes ought to be very careful about applying the match, for they may arouse a fire of class-hatred, which will involve them in its all-devouring flames. The Knights of Labor have up to the present used peaceful methods, and for this they have been praised by the capitalistic papers; but now that the tide of success is turning against them, when they find themselves being beaten on all sides, and that the praises of the papers bring them neither bread nor work, how soon may they not resort to force? The terrible name of “rebels to the law” may not much longer serve to scare the people of even this law-abiding country, when they once begin to realize that all the laws have no other object than to perpetuate injustice, to support at any price the monopolists in their plunder.
Though seeing these outbreaks to be inevitable, there are none who deplore them more than we, Anarchists, do, for we realize that the labor question can never be solved by force. If these men should succeed in obtaining all they wish tomorrow, if, by any means, they succeeded in wiping out all the capitalists, no good for the laboring classes would have been accomplished, for, in a few years, the old inequality of conditions would reappear, because the causes that make them possible would still be at work. State Socialism, or any other form of despotism, may be obtained by war, but Anarchism, never. You cannot shoot down or blow up an economic system, but you can destroy it by ceasing to support it, as soon as you understand where its evils lie. War appeals to the passions and not to the reason of the combatants, and reason alone can be relied upon to solve the labor problem justly.
Gertrude B. Kelly.
A Letter to Grover Cleveland:
On His False, Absurd, Self-Contradictory, and Ridiculous Inaugural Address. By Lysander Spooner.
[The author reserves his copyright in this letter.]
The tenth amendment is in these words:
The powers not delegated to the United States by the constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.
This amendment, equally with the ninth, secures to “the people” all their natural rights. And why?
Because, in truth, no powers at all, neither legislative, judicial, nor executive, had been “delegated to the United States by the constitution.”
But it will be said that the amendment itself implies that certain lawmaking “powers” had been “delegated to the United States by the constitution.”
No. It only implies that those who adopted the amendment believed that such lawmaking “powers” had been “delegated to the United States by the constitution.”
But in this belief, they were entirely mistaken. And why?
1. Because it is a natural impossibility that any lawmaking “powers” whatever can be delegated by any one man, or any number of men, to any other man, or any number of other men.
Men’s natural rights are all inherent and inalienable; and therefore cannot be parted with, or delegated, by one person to another. And all contracts whatsoever, for such a purpose, are necessarily absurd and void contracts.
For example. I cannot delegate to another man any right to make laws — that is, laws of his own invention — and compel me to obey them.
Such a contract, on my part, would be a contract to part with my natural liberty; to give myself, or sell myself, to him as a slave. Such a contract would be an absurd and void contract, utterly destitute of all legal or moral obligation.
2. I cannot delegate to another any right to make laws — that is, laws of his own invention — and compel a third person to obey them.
For example. I cannot delegate to A any right to make laws — that is, laws of his own invention — and compel Z to obey them.
I cannot delegate any such right to A, because I have no such right myself; and I cannot delegate to another what I do not myself possess.
For these reasons no lawmaking powers ever could be — and therefore no law-making powers ever were — “delegated to the United States by the constitution”; no matter what the people of that day — any or all of them — may have attempted to do, or may have believed they had power to do, in the way of delegating such powers.
But not only were no lawmaking powers “delegated to the United States by the constitution,” but neither were any judicial powers so delegated. And why? Because it is a natural impossibility that one man can delegate his judicial powers to another.
Every man has, by nature, certain judicial powers, or rights. That is to say, he has, by nature, the right to judge of, and enforce his own rights, and judge of, and redress his own wrongs. But, in so doing, he must act only in accordance with his own judgment and conscience, and subject to his own personal responsibility, if, through either ignorance or design, he commits any error injurious to another.
Now, inasmuch as no man can delegate, or impart, his own judgment or conscience to another, it is naturally impossible that he can delegate to another his judicial rights or powers.
So, too, every man has, by nature, a right to judge of, and enforce, the rights, and judge of, and redress the wrongs, of any and all other men. This right is included in his natural right to maintain justice between man and man, and to protect the injured party against the wrongdoer. But, in doing this, he must act only in accordance with his own judgment and conscience, and subject to his own personal responsibility for any error he may commit, either through ignorance or design.
But, inasmuch as, in this case, as in the preceding one, he can neither delegate nor impart his own judgment or conscience to another, he cannot delegate his judicial power or right to another.
But not only were no lawmaking or judicial powers “delegated to the United States by the constitution,” neither were any executive powers so delegated. And why? Because, in a case of justice or injustice, it is naturally impossible that any one man can delegate his executive right or power to another.
Every man has, by nature, the right to maintain justice for himself, and for all other persons, by the use of so much force as may be reasonably necessary for that purpose. But he can use the force only in accordance with his own judgment and conscience, and on his own personal responsibility, if, through ignorance or design, he commits any wrong to another.
But inasmuch as he cannot delegate, or impart, his own judgment or conscience to another, he cannot delegate his executive power or right to another.
The result is, that, in all judicial and executive proceedings, for the maintenance of justice, every man must act only in accordance with his own judgment and conscience, and on his own personal responsibility for any wrong he may commit; whether such wrong be committed through either ignorance or design.
The effect of this principle of personal responsibility, in all judicial and executive proceedings, would be — or at least ought to be — that no one would give any judicial opinions, or do any executive acts, except such as his own judgment and conscience should approve, and such as he would be willing to be held personally responsible for.
No one could justify, or excuse, his wrong act, by saying that a power, or authority, to do it had been delegated to him, by any other men, however numerous.
For the reasons that have now been given, neither any legislative, judicial, nor executive powers ever were, or ever could have been, “delegated to the United States by the constitution”; no matter how honestly or innocently the people of that day may have believed, or attempted, the contrary.
And what is true, in this matter, in regard to the national government, is, for the same reasons, equally true in regard to all the State governments.
But this principle of personal responsibility, each for his own judicial or executive acts, does not stand in the way of men’s associating, at pleasure, for the maintenance of justice; and selecting such persons as they think most suitable, for judicial and executive duties; and requesting them to perform those duties; and then paying them for their labor. But the persons, thus selected, must still perform their duties according to their own judgments and consciences alone, and subject to their own personal responsibility for any errors of either ignorance or design.
To make it safe and proper for persons to perform judicial duties, subject to their personal responsibility for any errors of either ignorance or design, two things would seem to be important, if not indispensable, viz.:
1. That, as far as is reasonably practicable, all judicial proceedings should be in writing; that is, that all testimony, and all judicial opinions, even to quite minute details, should be in writing, and be preserved; so that judges may always have it in their power to show fully what their acts, and their reasons for their acts, have been; and also that anybody, and everybody, interested, may forever after have the means of knowing fully the reasons on which everything has been done; and that any errors, ever afterwards discovered, may be corrected.
2. That all judicial tribunals should consist of so many judges — within any reasonable number — as either party may desire; or as may be necessary to prevent any wrong doing, by any one or more of the judges, either through ignorance or design.
Such tribunals, consisting of judges, numerous enough, and perfectly competent to settle justly probably ninety-nine one-hundredths of all the controversies that arise among men, could be obtained in every village. They could give their immediate attention to every case; and thus avoid most of the delay, and most of the expense, now attendant on judicial proceedings.
To make these tribunals satisfactory to all reasonable and honest persons, it is important, and probably indispensable, that all judicial proceedings should be had, in the first instance, at the expense of the association, or associations, to which the parties to the suit belong.
An association for the maintenance of justice should be a purely voluntary one; and should be formed upon the same principle as a mutual fire or marine insurance company; that is, each member should pay his just proportion of the expense necessary for protecting all.
A single individual could not reasonably be expected to delay, or forego, the exercise of his natural right to enforce his own rights, and redress his own wrongs, except upon the condition that there is an association that will do it promptly, and without expense to him. But having paid his proper proportion of the expense necessary for the protection of all, he has then a right to demand prompt and complete protection for himself.
Inasmuch as it cannot be known which party is in the wrong, until the trial has been had, the expense of both parties must, in the first instance, be paid by the association, or associations, to which they belong. But after the trial has been had, and it has been ascertained which party was in the wrong, and (if such should be the case) so clearly in the wrong as to have had no justification for putting the association to the expense of a trial, he then may properly be compelled to pay the cost of all the proceedings.
If the parties to a suit should belong to different associations, it would be right that the judges should be taken from both associations; or from a third association, with which neither party was connected.
If, with all these safeguards against injustice and expense, a party, accused of a wrong, should refuse to appear for trial, he might rightfully be proceeded against, in his absence, if the evidence produced against him should be sufficient to justify it.
It is probably not necessary to go into any further details here, to show how easy and natural a thing it would be, to form as many voluntary and mutually protective judicial associations, as might be either necessary or convenient, in order to bring justice home to every man’s door; and to give to every honest and dishonest man, all reasonable assurance that he should have justice, and nothing else, done for him, or to him.
Of course we can have no courts of justice, under such systems of lawmaking, and supreme court decisions, as now prevail.
We have a population of fifty to sixty millions; and not a single court of justice, State or national!
But we have everywhere courts of injustice — open and avowed injustice — claiming sole jurisdiction of all cases affecting men’s rights of both person and property; and having at their beck brute force enough to compel absolute submission to their decrees, whether just or unjust.
Can a more decisive or infallible condemnation of our governments be conceived of, than the absence of all courts of justice, and the absolute power of their courts of injustice?
Yes, they lie under still another condemnation, to wit, that their courts are not only courts of injustice, but they are also secret tribunals; adjudicating all causes according to the secret instructions of their masters, the lawmakers, and their authorized interpreters, their supreme courts.
I say secret tribunals, and secret instructions, because, to the great body of the people, whose rights are at stake, they are secret to all practical intents and purposes. They are secret, because their reasons for their decrees are to be found only in great volumes of statutes and supreme court reports, which the mass of the people have neither money to buy, nor time to read; and would not understand, if they were to read them.
These statutes and reports are so far out of reach of the people at large, that the only knowledge a man can ordinarily get of them, when he is summoned before one of the tribunals appointed to execute them, is to be obtained by employing an expert — or so-called lawyer — to enlighten him.
This expert in injustice is one who buys these great volumes of statutes and reports, and spends his life in studying them, and trying to keep himself informed of their contents. But even he can give a client very little information in regard to them; for the statutes and decisions are so voluminous, and are so constantly being made and unmade, and are so destitute of all conformity to those natural principles of justice which men readily and intuitively comprehend; and are moreover capable of so many different interpretations, that he is usually in as great doubt — perhaps in even greater doubt — than his client, as to what will be the result of a suit.
The most he can usually say to his client, is this:
Every civil suit must finally be given to one of two persons, the plaintiff or defendant. Whether, therefore, your cause is a just, or an unjust, one, you have at least one chance in two, of gaining it. But no matter how just your cause may be, you need have no hope that the tribunal that tries it, will be governed by any such consideration, if the statute book, or the past decisions of the supreme court, are against you. So, also, no matter how unjust your cause may be, you may nevertheless expect to gain it, if the statutes and past decisions are in your favor. If, therefore, you have money to spend in such a lottery as this, I will do my best to gain your cause for you, whether it be a just, or an unjust, one.
If the charge is a criminal one, this expert says to his client:
You must either be found guilty, or acquitted. Whether, therefore, you are really innocent or guilty, you have at least one chance in two, of an acquittal. But no matter how innocent you may be of any real crime, you need have no hope of an acquittal, if the statute book, or the past decisions of the supreme court, are against you. If, on the other hand, you have committed a real wrong to another, there may be many laws on the statute book, many precedents, and technicalities, and whimsicalities, through which you may hope to escape. But your reputation, your liberty, or perhaps your life, is at stake. To save these you can afford to risk your money, even though the result is so uncertain. Therefore you had best give me your money, and I will do my best to save you, whether you are innocent or guilty.
But for the great body of the people,— those who have no money that they can afford to risk in a lawsuit,— no matter what may be their rights in either a civil or criminal suit,— their cases are hopeless. They may have been taxed, directly and indirectly, to their last dollars, for the support of the government; they may even have been compelled to risk their lives, and to lose their limbs, in its defence; yet when they want its protection,— that protection for which their taxes and military services were professedly extorted from them,— they are coolly told that the government offers no justice, nor even any chance or semblance of justice, except to those who have more money than they.
But the point now to be specially noticed is, that in the case of either the civil or criminal suit, the client, whether rich or poor, is nearly or quite as much in the dark as to his fate, and as to the grounds on which his fate will be determined, as though he were to be tried by an English Star Chamber court, or one of the secret tribunals of Russia, or even the Spanish Inquisition.
Thus in the supreme exigencies of a man’s life, whether in civil or criminal cases, where his property, his reputation, his liberty, or his life is at stake, he is really to be tried by what is, to him, at least, a secret tribunal; a tribunal that is governed by what are, to him, the secret instructions of lawmakers, and supreme courts; neither of whom care anything for his rights of property in a civil suit, or for his guilt or innocence in a criminal one; but only for their own authority as lawmakers and judges.
The bystanders, at these trials, look on amazed, but powerless to defend the right, or prevent the wrong. Human nature has no rights, in the presence of these infernal tribunals.
Is it any wonder that all men live in constant terror of such a government as that? Is it any wonder that so many give up all attempts to preserve their natural rights of person and property, in opposition to tribunals, to whom justice and injustice are indifferent, and whose ways are, to common minds, hidden mysteries, and impenetrable secrets.
But even this is not all. The mode of trial, if not as infamous as the trial itself, is at least so utterly false and absurd, as to add a new element of uncertainty to the result of all judicial proceedings.
A trial in one of these courts of injustice is a trial by battle, almost, if not quite, as really as was a trial by battle, five hundred or a thousand years ago.
Now, as then, the adverse parties choose their champions, to fight their battles for them.
These champions, trained to such contests, and armed, not only with all the weapons their own skill, cunning, and power can supply, but also with all the iniquitous laws, precedents, and technicalities that lawmakers and supreme courts can give them, for defeating justice, and accomplishing injustice, can — if not always, yet none but themselves know how often — offer their clients such chances of victory — independently of the justice of their causes — as to induce the dishonest to go into court to evade justice, or accomplish injustice, not less often perhaps than the honest go there in the hope to get justice, or avoid injustice.
We have now, I think, some sixty thousand of these champions, who make it the business of their lives to equip themselves for these conflicts, and sell their services for a price.
Is there any one of these men, who studies justice as a science, and regards that alone in all his professional exertions? If there are any such, why do we so seldom, or never, hear of them? Why have they not told us, hundreds of years ago, what are men’s natural rights of person and property? And why have they not told us how false, absurd, and tyrannical are all these lawmaking governments? Why have they not told us what impostors and tyrants all these so-called lawmakers, judges, etc., etc., are? Why are so many of them so ambitious to become lawmakers and judges themselves?
Is it too much to hope for mankind, that they may sometime have courts of justice, instead of such courts of injustice as these?
If we ever should have courts of justice, it is easy to see what will become of statute books, supreme courts, trial by battle, and all the other machinery of fraud and tyranny, by which the world is now ruled.
If the people of this country knew what crimes are constantly committed by these courts of injustice, they would squelch them, without mercy, as unceremoniously as they would squelch so many gangs of bandits or pirates. In fact, bandits and pirates are highly respectable and honorable villains, compared with the judges of these courts of injustice. Bandits and pirates do not — like these judges — attempt to cheat us out of our common sense, in order to cheat us out of our property, liberty, or life. They do not profess to be anything but such villains as they really are. They do not claim to have received any “Divine” authority for robbing, enslaving, or murdering us at their pleasure. They do not claim immunity for their crimes, upon the ground that they are duly authorized agents of any such invisible, intangible, irresponsible, unimaginable thing as “society,” or “the State.” They do not insult us by telling us that they are only exercising that authority to rob, enslave, and murder us, which we ourselves have delegated to them. They do not claim that they are robbing, enslaving, and murdering us, solely to secure our happiness and prosperity, and not from any selfish motives of their own. They do not claim a wisdom so superior to that of the producers of wealth, as to know, better than they, how their wealth should be disposed of. They do not tell us that we are the freest and happiest people on earth, inasmuch as each of our male adults is allowed one voice in ten millions in the choice of the men, who are to rob, enslave, and murder us. They do not tell us that all liberty and order would be destroyed, that society itself would go to pieces, and man go back to barbarism, if it were not for the care, and supervision, and protection, they lavish upon us. They do not tell us of the almshouses, hospitals, schools, churches, etc., which, out of the purest charity and benevolence, they maintain for our benefit, out of the money they take from us. They do not carry their heads high, above all other men, and demand our reverence and admiration, as statesmen, patriots, and benefactors. They do not claim that we have voluntarily “come into their society,” and “surrendered” to them all our natural rights of person and property; nor all our “original and natural right” of defending our own rights, and redressing our own wrongs. They do not tell us that they have established infallible supreme courts, to whom they refer all questions as to the legality of their acts, and that they do nothing that is not sanctioned by these courts. They do not attempt to deceive us, or mislead us, or reconcile us to their doings, by any such pretences, impostures, or insults as these. There is not a single John Marshall among them. On the contrary, they acknowledge themselves robbers, murderers, and villains, pure and simple. When they have once taken our money, they have the decency to get out of our sight as soon as possible; they do not persist in following us, and robbing us, again and again, so long as we produce anything that they can take from us. In short, they acknowledge themselves hostes humani generis: enemies of the human race. They acknowledge it to be our unquestioned right and duty to kill them, if we can; that they expect nothing else, than that we will kill them, if we can; and that we are only fools and cowards, if we do not kill them, by any and every means in our power. They neither ask, nor expect, any mercy, if they should ever fall into the hands of honest men.
For all these reasons, they are not only modest and sensible, but really frank, honest, and honorable villains, contrasted with these courts of injustice, and the lawmakers by whom these courts are established.
Such, Mr. Cleveland, is the real character of the government, of which you are the nominal head. Such are, and have been, its lawmakers. Such are, and have been, its judges. Such have been its executives. Such is its present executive. Have you anything to say for any of them?
Boston, May 15, 1886.
The Facts Coming to Light.
In a recent editorial, speaking of my accusations against the firebugs, I said: “It has never been my intention to try these charges, or prove them, in these columns. Sooner or later that will be done elsewhere.” That I was not talking at random has since been shown by the appearance of a remarkable article in the New York “Sun”, of May 3, corroborating the charges in a way that defies all answer. After referring to Liberty’s exposure and Most’s answer thereto, the “Sun” says:
An attempt to verify Most’s denial discloses a peculiar condition of things in Anarchistic circles here. There is internal dissension and discord, or rather there was, for a considerable number of the hundred or so members of the International Working People’s Association have withdrawn from it. The cause of the scession lies in the facts which led Liberty to make its charges of incendiarism and rascality. These facts, which have been gleaned after considerable difficulty, show that the leading members of the International Working People’s Association have been remarkably unlucky men. Taken in connection with Most’s extraordinary doctrines, the curious fires from which these gentlement have suffered are interesting. They have all originated in the upsetting, breaking, or exploding of kerosene oil lamps, and have resulted in more or less damage to the property of others than Anarchists, and in the collection of more or less insurance money each time by the persons in whose apartments the fires occurred.
Before taking up these occurrences in detail, it will be interesting to review rapidly various events in the past few years that may tend to throw light upon the German revolutionists of America.
After this historical review, the “Sun” describes the mechanical devices for carrying on “propaganda by the deed” according to the instructions laid down by John Most in his pamphlet, “Revolutionary War Science,” and proceeds as follows:
It is by no means asserted that Mr. Most has himself put into practical use any of his destructive devices, or even that his friends and followers have done so, but certain it is that the idea of “propaganda by deed” was received by several members of the International Working People’s Association with enthusiasm. Earnest and eloquent in seconding and advocating Most’s doctrines were Comrades J. C. Panzenbeck and Joseph Kaiser. These two are frequently mentioned in “Freiheit” as having partaken in the public discussions of the association, as well as having made set addresses on revolutionary topics. Among the radical Socialists of the city they are known as having extremely “radical” views upon their relation to society. Others who listened with marked attention to the seductive doctrine were Comrades Fritz C. Schaar, Wilhelm Scharff, Carl Heusler, Otto Nicolai, Hermann Wabnitz, Adolph Kramer, and Comrades Nolle, Weber, Kubitsch, and Beck. Some of these, as Schaär and Kubitsch and Beck, are acknowledged as members in “Freiheit”; the others are well known as frequenters of the meetings now held in Coburger Hall, Stanton street, but formerly in a hall on Bond street, and in various other places where the association met to hear Most’s harangues. Quiet inquiries in various quarters elicited the invariable response that all these men were Most’s associates and members of either the International Working People’s Association or the Social Revolutionary Club.
On the evening of May 14, 1883. Comrade Joseph Kaiser was so unfortunate as to suffer the ravages of a fire in his tenement at 432 East Fourteenth street. The fourth floor of this building was occupied by Adolph Kramer as a dwelling. Kaiser lived on the third floor, where the fire originated, owing, according to the story told to the firemen, to Mrs. Kaiser’s accidentally letting a kerosene lamp fall. The building was damaged to the extent of $250. Mr. Kaiser’s furniture naturally suffered some injury,— $25 worth, say the official records of the Fire Department. The insurance company which took the risk on the property, however, thought differently, and settled with the agitator for $278.68. The amount of the policy was $300, and it is a piece of good fortune that Mr. Kaiser had managed to secure the policy on May 7, a week preceding the calamity.
On November 27 John Charles Panzenbeck was then living at 406 East Sixty-third street. He or some resident of the building told the fireman that a picture fell from its place on the wall and knocked over a kerosene oil lamp. At any rate, the fire resulting from this or some other cause damaged the house to the extent of $1,000, but Caroline Yost, the owner, was amply insured. The contents of Panzenbeck’s suite on the third floor were injured to the amount of several hundred dollars, he said. Some time in the first part of the month he had luckily taken out a policy for $700, and was paid nearly that amount as indemnity. Other tenants in the house lost from $50 to $100 each.
On the 29th of December, 1884, Wilhelm Scharff applied to one of the greatest companies in the city for a policy upon worldly goods contained in the fourth floor tenement of 400 East Fifty-ninth street. His application was successful, and after the lapse of a few days he found himself the holder of a document securing him against loss by fire to the extent of $500. This was peculiarly fortunate; for, in the evening of January 5, 1885, six days after his application, a kerosene lamp upset in his apartments and fire broke out. The damage to the building, owned by John D. Hines, was not over $200. The record maker of the Fire Department thought Scharff’s furniture was not injured over $200 worth, but the insurance company nevertheless were induced to settle for $456.25. An interesting feature of this case was that, when Scharff presented his bill of losses at the headquarters of the company, the day after the fire, his policy had not been registered. The money, however, was paid over.
Some time in this same year Carl Heusler, Social Democrat, established a small fancy-goods store at 137 Ludlow street. The building is a six-story tenement house, and was occupied in all apartments. On the evening of June 5, Mr. and Mrs. Heusler, after shutting up shop, entertained a few friends in the room back of the store. The people were Joseph Kaiser and his wife Mary, who lived at the time at 65 Walton street, Brooklyn; Hermann Wabnitz of 61 East Eleventh street, Carl Baum of 98 Avenue B, and Otto Nicolai, the engineer of St. Charles Hotel. Shortly after nine o’clock a kerosene oil lamp exploded, and besides damaging the property caused severe but not dangerous injuries to the little party. No one else in the building was hurt, though great excitement prevailed, and the fire was soon extinguished. Heusler’s goods were insured, and a collection of upwards of $300 was made from the company. Most of the unfortunate persons present, however, had to pass two or three weeks in the hospital, some going to Bellevue, others to the New York Hospital. Heusler had but recently stocked up his store, and did not resume business after this unfortunate event.
Long before this the International Working People’s Association had suffered several secessions. Certain of the members became suspicious of their comrades and preferred to withdraw from association with them. The seceders are one and all exceedingly reticent on the subject, and it was difficult to obtain information from them. This much, however, is certain: It was frequently asserted among the habitués of saloons where the advanced Socialists are in the habit of congregating that accidents to kerosene lamps were sometimes arranged with great skill; that the comrades were shrewd and successful in their onslaughts on capitalistic society. It was even asserted that the injuries received by the party in Heusler’s back room were due to the premature appearance of the fire fiend, owing to carelessness in handling the materials or ignorance of the teachings of Kriegswissenschaft.
But these are not the only fires that have visited the agitators. On February 1, 1885, Adolph Kramer took possession of a tenement at 157 Ellery street, Brooklyn, in the house owned and in part occupied by Frederick Stuft. At ten o’clock in the evening of February 9 a kerosene oil lamp broke in his apartments, and an interesting conflagration was the result. Stuft’s house was seriously damaged, over $300 worth, he says, and Kramer’s furniture and belongings to an unknown amount. Mr. Kramer was paid $300 by the insurance company. It was not, however, until Kramer had been prosecuted ineffectually on a charge of incendiarism that he collected from the company.
In the autumn of the same year a similar accident happened in the tenement of a house on Clinton avenue, West Hoboken, occupied by Fritz C. Schaär. The house, owned by Mr. William Murphy, was so badly damaged that only the walls remained intact. Mr. Schaär was fortunately insured.
Mr. Murphy, owner, noted the fact that, when he arrived at the scene, the only thing burning was a bed, and that a strong odor of kerosene pervaded the entire building. But the odor may have been caused entirely by the lamp, and the lamp might have been placed accidentally near the bed before it broke.
Another unfortunate Anarchist was Louis Weber, who lived at 84 Avenue A. The lamp exploded in his tenement at 7.53 o’clock in the evening of November 30 last. His furniture was insured for $600.
Not long ago Wilhelm Scharff and Carl Wilmund were arrested for carrying concealed weapons with felonious intent. The circumstances are well known, although Scharff was then travelling under the alias Schliman, and was convicted under that name. He is at the penitentiary on Blackwell’s Island, and Wilmund was sent to State prison for three and a half years by Recorder Smyth on Monday last. It may be remembered that a letter was found upon Wilmund in which he addressed himself to Most, offering his services in the cause of propaganda by deed.
The flaxen-haired Justus Schwab was approached. The reticence of this reformer is well known, and in this instance he preserved his character.
“I would rather have nothing further to say,” remarked Mr. Schwab to the reporter; “you know how it is yourself?”
“But would you explain upon what grounds you ejected Wilhelm Scharff, alias Schliman, Adolph Kramer, and Joseph Kaiser from your saloon, and forbade their return?”
The muscular German drew himself up to his full height, and exclaimed sharply: Where did you get those names?
“From the official records of the Fire Department,” replied the reporter.
The answer apparently failed to satisfy Mr. Schwab. However, he said:
“I turned them out because I had good reason to believe that they were immoral men, and that is reason enough for me.”
An interesting interview was obtained with a young mechanic who is conversant with these affairs. He suggested a way in which such fires as have occurred might have been set, had the occupants so desired.
“They might take a lamp, filled with oil,” he said, “and securely plug up the passage on the side of the burner intended for the escape of gasses. Then, if the lamp be lighted and a candle placed so that the candle flame touches the oil chamber, gases will be quickly generated that, having no means of escape, will soon break the lamp and cause a fire. If the materials are skilfully placed, the breaking lamp will be sure to tip the candle off the table, so that its agency will not be suspected. This method may be made more sure by saturating strips of cloth with benzine and laying them from a point near the lamp to inflammable material elsewhere in the room. Benzine leaves no trace, and its fire-conducting qualities are so powerful that an experiment of this kind is perfectly sure of success. But if the parties at work are careless in handling the benzine, a conflagration may take place prematurely, and somebody will get hurt.”