Liberty Vol. IV. No. 6.
Not the Daughter but the Mother of Order
“For always in thine eyes, O Liberty!
Shines that high light whereby the world is saved;
And though thou slay us, we will trust in thee.”
On Picket Duty.
The July number of the “North American Review” contains a very keen article by Gail Hamilton critical of Professor Sumner’s position on the tariff question. His weak points are singled out very shrewdly and thoroughly laid bare. And yet Professor Sumner is mainly in the right and Gail Hamilton mainly in the wrong. Professor Sumner is weak because of his inconsistency. He will have to turn Anarchist in order to answer Gail Hamilton successfully.
H. L. Green, editor of the “Freethinkers’ Magazine,” says that the reason why “the ‘Truth Seeker’ can’t give the Liberal public a journal of the typographical and literary character, such, for instance, as the publishers of the New York ‘Independent’ and ‘Christian Union’ provide for the Orthodox public,” is to be found in the fact that it has not more than ten thousand subscribers. Not so. Any expert in typography will tell Mr. Green that neither the “Independent” nor the “Christian Union” comes within gunshot of Liberty in beauty of dress and make-up, and neither surpasses it in literary power. Yet Liberty’s circulation is only one-tenth of ten thousand. After this comparison, only my excessive modesty keeps me from adding that taste, knowledge, and brains — not money — are the essentials in the achievement of typographical and literary excellence.
Alfred B. Westrup, of Dallas, Texas, has issued a second and revised edition of a pamphlet published by him several years ago. Its new title is: “The Financial Problem: or, the Principles of Monetary Science.” The views are practically the same as those set forth by Colonel Greene in his “Mutual Banking,” but Mr. Westrup has formulated them a little differently. He realizes the superlative importance of the money question, and has gone to the bottom of it. Any one may secure this pamphlet by forwarding twenty-five cents to Mr. Westrup, his address being simply “Dallas, Texas.” The Galveston “News,” which advocates with marvellous clearness and ability the financial system proposed by Greene and Westrup, makes a rather trivial criticism upon Mr. Westrup’s statement that “interest upon money loaned on good security is irrational,” seeming to suppose that he applies the adjective “irrational” to the conduct of borrowers and lenders under present financial conditions. Mr. Westrup’s meaning clearly is that interest upon money loaned on good security stamps as irrational the monetary system which makes it possible.
On Thursday, June 24, at his home in Hackensack, N. J., died at the age of sixty-nine one of the noblest men I ever knew. I refer to William Rowe, the veteran land reformer. His life-long friend and associate in reform, J. K. Ingalls, delivered the funeral address, and the body of the deceased was buried in Arlington cemetery, near Newark. When I last saw Mr. Rowe, about six years ago, he looked so hale and hearty and robust that I thought him good for at least twenty years more of life and therefore of usefulness to his fellow-men. It was a great and painful surprise when I heard that his health was beginning to fail. Mr. Rowe was one of Liberty’s earliest friends and remained one of its stanchest to the last. No good cause appealed to him in vain. He was not a man of means, but he gave what he had without stint. As Mr. Ingalls well said, “he was ‘the friend of the poor’ in the best and truest sense.” And not only this,— he was also an inspiration to the young. The young radicals in his vicinity looked up to him almost as a father. I shall never forget his cheery face, though it was not my privilege to see it many times. Those to whom it was an almost daily well-spring of hope and courage have my especial sympathy in their loss.
Judge Barrett’s sentence of the boycotters in New York is an infamous outrage. The value of the boycott has been seriously impaired by the frivolous use that has been made of it, and it unquestionably has been accompanied at times by invasion of others’ rights. But boycotting in itself is not invasive, and therefore it is the right of any one to resort to it whenever he pleases and from whatever reason or caprice. He may boycott individually, or he may “conspire” with others to boycott. What one man has a right to do, any number of men have as clear a right to do in concert. A may refuse to deal with B; he may advise C to refuse likewise; he may “threaten” C that, if he deals with B, he (A) will not deal with him (C). D and E may join A in this, and still there will be no invasion of individual rights. It does not alter the nature of such proceedings to stigmatize them as threats, blackmail, or conspiracy, and to imprison any man for engaging in them is simply villainous. It is one of the beauties of the boycott that it cannot be used effectively for any great length of time against just men. Its purpose is to deprive its object of public sympathy and respect, but, as soon as it is used against the just, it defeats this purpose by causing public sympathy to rally to the side of the boycotted. The impertinent law which steps in to interfere with this self-adjusting process should be boycotted itself, and so should its administrators.
Behold the latest device of our lawmakers for the protection of our rights! On April 5, 1886, a bill was introduced in the house of representatives at Washington as a substitute for the existing law against obscene literature,— as if that were not already loose and dangerous enough,— adding to the words “obscene, lewd, or lascivious” the words “filthy or disgusting.” By this bill, which has been favorably reported by the postal committee and passed to a second reading by the house, the publisher who mails any document which a jury may consider disgusting is liable to a heavy fine and a long term of imprisonment. On the same day that this bill was introduced, a similar bill was introduced in the New York senate. This passed both houses and would have become a law, had it not been for Governor Hill. But no Governor or President Hill sits in the executive chair at Washington. That is occupied by a defender of the “purity of the home.” He is very free in his use of the veto, but he’ll veto no law passed in the interest of the “sacred institution of the family.” He wants no disgusting literature to fall into the hands of children, especially children forsaken by their fathers. Having abandoned his own son to the temptations of the world, he will insist that the State shall give his poor boy’s morals its fostering care. Go on, Comstock! Continue your good work till you convince the Liberals and Freethinkers, not only that we do not need a government, but that we very much need to abolish government. Another step or two, and you’ll surely convince Dr. E. B. Foote, Jr., for one. He’s watching you, and any one who wants to know more than I have stated about your latest manoeuvre can find it out by addressing him at 120 Lexington Avenue, New York, N. Y.
Dedicatory of an Anarchist’s Home in Florida.
I dedicate my humble home
(Rude and quaint from sill to comb)
To Justice, Love, and Liberty,
To simple joys and pleasantry,
To keeping Reason, aye supreme,
To watching Nature’s pictured dream,
To healthful work, and restful ease,
To letting folks do as they please,
To Beauty, Grace, and Melody,
And all things that refining be.
So name I it, The Overlook;
Above the shores that wind and crook
Lifts the hill of Overlook.
I know not what my life may be:
I would teach those who would be free;
Teach them health and happiness,
And all the truths that build and bless,
The justice that is harmony
And freedom and fraternity,
The simple lore of honest life,
The ways of ending human strife,
Religion and Morality,
True life, Incarnate poetry.
Breezy heights of Overlook;
From the shores that wind and crook
Rise the slopes of Overlook.
And men must learn, or suffer loss,
Truth’s alchemy makes gold all dross;
For lovely Nature, goddess blind,
Recks not the pains of humankind.
But tortures us as carelessly
As we kill animalculae;
But still she acts by rote and rule.
There’s hope for those who tend her school,
Though cruel and rude her moods may be,
All ends at last in harmony.
Be not too stern, but overlook;
For marred souls that warp and crook,
Hope ever lifts an Overlook.
All sacred, too, my home must be
To hearty hospitality;
And open door and cordial hand
Shall welcome to the flow’ry land;
For always here my friends must find
A spot where none shall curb or bind;
Where honest thoughts and words are free,
Tho’ thoughts and words that war with me;
Where coolness, shade, and peace abide,
And time steps on with easy stride.
O lift your eyes and overlook!
Above the cares that mar and crook
Forever looms an overlook.
Here, ’neath my fig and leafy vine,
The joys of home will grow and twine;
And ’mid the oranges’ sweet bloom,
The old love will its youth resume;
And woman’s smile and childhood’s laugh
Will fill a cup the gods might quaff;
And flowers shall scent the balmy air,
And all their loveliest raiment wear; —
’Tis thus I sing, and thus I hope,
On Overlook’s white-sanded slope.
Pine-plumed heights of Overlook;
Above the shores that wind and crook
I build my home of Overlook.
J. Wm. Lloyd.
Eighteen Christian Centuries:
Or, The Evolution of the Gospel of Anarchy.
An Essay on the Meaning of History. By Dyer D. Lum.
Continued from No. 83.
Yet the popes were not so engrossed in theological affairs as to neglect the temporal affairs of their neighbors. The conversion of Germany under the labors of St. Boniface and others had other aims than the extension of the alleged “Good News.” In France — for with Charles Martel and the eighth century we may begin to use that term — the rise of the mayors of the palace to greater power than the fainéant kings, introduced vigor into government. From this epoch France and the papacy became drawn together by the necessity that ever attracts those possessing privilege in disorderly times. France had been so long occupied with local ecclesiastical feuds and ambition that it had grown somewhat less intimately connected with Rome than was desired by its pontiffs. Rome felt the need of a strong government in France, but this had hitherto been prevented by the old cause,— Germanic invasions. These were far more formidable than attack from the South, where the Saracens had firmly established themselves. To render these attacks less dangerous led France to an alliance with Rome. Through the zeal of St. Boniface of the Anglo-Saxon Church,— thoroughly Roman in spirit and German in language,— the conversion of the Germans soon attained sufficient magnitude to divide the enemy; the converts becoming, by the adoption of Christianity, friendly to their Christian neighbors. More, Charles found in them recruits for his army to fight their pagan compatriots and prepare for’ the subsequent conquests of Pepin and Charlemagne. France gained power to the cause of royalty; Rome extended the prestige of her name and the grandeur of her hierarchy. “Liberty,” says Guizot, “was then a cause of disorder, not a principle of organization.” But why the qualifying “then”? Liberty in the eyes of authority, satisfied with its order, is ever disorder, anarchy.
We have now followed the course of events to the opening of the ninth century. Yet so far from the extension of Christianity ameliorating manners or aiding natural morality, we find society in greater dissoluteness. The seventh century had been preeminently the age of saints; it was a century, says Sismondi, “which has given the greatest number of saints to the calendar.” From the period when Queen Brunehant had been aided in her long list of murders by priests, finding in them willing instruments for the worst of crimes, all classes were tainted with vice. Superstition and ignorance were assiduously cultivated. Church dignitaries imitated the old Roman patricians, in prodigality, oppression, luxury, and vice. Intellect had flown from the shadow of the Cross to bloom under the Crescent; the long, dark night of the Middle Ages had fully set in. In every quarter kings were abdicating their power to seek a cell in a monastery. At the period at which we have arrived no less than eight Anglo-Saxon princes had laid their crowns at the feet of the pope, while kings of France and Lombardy followed their example and sought absolution from the Head of Christendom.
Cæsarism is not “a spirit of life,” but of death. Morality found no nourishment under the upas shade of the Messianic Branch. The historic page confirms the conclusion of Professor Bryce:
The Holy Roman Church and the Holy Roman Empire are one and the same thing under two aspects. Catholicism, the principle of universal Christian society, is also Romanism; that is to say, it rests upon Rome as the origin and type of its universality, manifesting itself as a mystic dualism which corresponds to the two natures of its Founder. Opposition between two servants of the same king it inconceivable, each being bound to aid and succor the other, the cooperation of both being needed in all that concerns the welfare of Christendom at large.
II. Legislation. It was formerly the usual custom to ascribe to Christianity the preservation of the Roman system of jurisprudence. Volumes have been written filled with glowing eulogies of the pious care of industrious monks in transcribing these laws and redacting the barbarous codes, and, finally, of the zeal with which they opened to the knowledge of the great legists of the Middle Ages the newly-discovered Justinian code. It is true that many of the ancient authors were preserved in monastic libraries, because elsewhere they were destroyed, but it is none the less true that the weight of the Church was directed against their study. Further, many of these manuscripts were erased to be used for preserving the record of some miracle-working saint. If these old manuscripts were copied (a doubtful point), the true and prevalent Christian spirit lay not with these few and unknown monks vegetating in their cells, but in the letter from Gregory the Great to the bishop of Vienne; a letter in which the bishop is sharply reproved for teaching grammar in the cathedral school. “It is not fit,” he wrote, “that a mouth sacred to the praises of God should be opened for those of Jupiter!”
Is it urged that the great Justinian, who codified the Roman legislation, was a Christian, and hence the preservation of his work was a Christian work? We know that Justinian was an ardent Christian, as he formally closed the schools of philosophy at Athens [A. D. 529], and made the teaching of the Grecian philosophers a capital crime (crime being the political synonym of theological sin). Modern criticism has forever exploded this a priori reasoning by appealing to the facts. Guizot, in his “History of Civilization in France,” conclusively showed that Roman legislation never became extinct. In the cities of southern France and of Italy the old municipal organization survived the establishment of the feudal system, and sheltered itself in the charters extorted by them in the twelfth and thirteenth centuries. Guizot, on this subject, says:
Not only do the barbaric laws everywhere make mention of the Roman laws, but there is scarcely a single document, or act, of this epoch which does not, directly or indirectly, attest their application. . . . . All absolute expressions are exaggerated; still, in considering things in general at the sixth century, we may say everything in Gaul was Roman. The contrary fact accompanies barbaric conquest: the Germans leave to the conquered population their laws, local, institutions, language, and religion. An invincible unity followed in the steps of the Romans: here, on the contrary, diversity was established by the consent and aid of the conquerors. We have seen that the empire of personality and individual independence, the characteristic of modern civilization, was of German origin; we here find its influence; the idea of personality presided in laws as in actions; the individualities of peoples, while subject to the same political domination, was proclaimed like that of man. Centuries must pass before the notion of territory can overcome that of race, before personal legislation can become real, and before a new national unity can result from the slow and laborious fusion of the various elements.
In the new face of affairs the introduction of personality necessarily produced discord,— in that it endangered privilege,— but the whole effort of the Church, now become a Christian Cæsarism, was to perpetuate the Roman, and crush out the Teutonic, Idea. In that boiling crucible of antagonistic forces which I have tried to analyze the foundation of modern civilization was laid; but until the period of the crusades the principle of personality was ever subordinated to that of Roman unity. The Justinian code was the embodiment of the spirit of Rome. It was to be in future centuries profoundly modified by the Teutonic element; but Christianity, the new incarnation of the same spirit, was too nearly akin to alter or modify it in any essential manner. Lecky says:
Receiving the heritage of these laws, Christianity no doubt added something; but a careful examination of the whole subject will show that it was surprisingly little, except ecclesiastical laws for punishing heretics and augmenting the influence of the clergy.
Dean Milman, the historian of Christianity, is equally explicit. He says:
Christianity, in the Roman Empire, had entered into a temporal polity with all its institutions long settled, its laws already framed. . . . . In the “Institutes” of Justinian it requires strong observation to detect the Christianity of the legislator.
Nor can it be alleged that Christianity merely adapted itself to the laws and political institutions as established, and sought its empire in the mind, or the heart, alone. Christianity, as a doctrine, “a spirit of life,” in all that distinguished it from the purely human, or social, elements, which needed no divine inspiration to reveal themselves in human nature, was based on an authoritative revelation made by Christ and recorded by his disciples. This became the Procrustean standard of all truth. Truth was divine, had been revealed to man, and any belief, or act which did not accord therewith was manifestly erroneous. The Church, as the living legatee of the Messiah, and the earthly minister of the Divine Caesar, could only adapt itself to that state of society where absolutism admitted of no appeal.
We see this strikingly illustrated in the fierce conflict between the papacy and the Lombards. The Lombards were bringing Italy under a unified rule; they had been converted from the Arian to the Catholic faith; they acknowledged the spiritual supremacy of the popes; they limited the enforcement of their Teutonic laws to their own race, leaving to the Romans their own laws; what more could be asked? The Lombard laws were characterized by a broad toleration unknown to the Caesarian code. There was sturdy independence, the right of popular representation, of indifference to absolute claims, and the sanctity of the individual,— there in germ. Witchcraft, the curse of the Christian ages, was denied as an impossibility. Canon Kingsley, in his eloquent lectures, exclaims:
If these were the old Teutonic laws, this the old Teutonic liberty, the respect for man as man, for woman as woman, whence came the opposite element? How is it that these liberties have been lost through almost all Europe? How is it that a system of law prevailed over the whole continent, up to the French Revolution, and prevails still in too many countries, the very opposite of all this? I am afraid that I must answer, mainly through the influence of the Roman clergy during the Middle Ages.
Panlus Diaconus, a Lombard chronicler, asserts with pardonable pride that violence and treachery were unknown, that no one plundered, and that the traveller went where he would unmolested. It was the struggle that appears everywhere in history, the struggle of authority against freedom. The spirit of the Roman and the Lombard, the spirit that governed their respective legislation, may be briefly stated in their own words. Pope Gelasius expressed the spirit dominant in Christianity when he addressed the emperor in these words:
There are two powers which rule the world, the imperial and the pontifical. You are the sovereign of the human race, but you bow your neck to those who preside over things divine. The priesthood is the greater of the two powers; it has to render an account in the last day for the acts of kings.
The Lombard Theodoric exhibited far other characteristics when he stated the sentiments by which he had regulated his actions. He said:
To pretend to a dominion over the conscience is to usurp the prerogative of God. By the nature of things the power of sovereigns is confined to political government. They have no right of punishment but over those who disturb the public peace. The most dangerous heresy is that of a sovereign who separates himself from part of his subjects because they believe not according to his belief.
In legislation, as in morals, Roman influence was Caesarian, and at war with the Teutonic element.
III. Slavery. Our notice of the effect of Christianity upon the institution of human slavery must be brief. We have seen that it had not given to the world moral purity. The barbarian conquerors were chaste, and held the lewdness of Romans in abhorrence. Yet with this soil to work upon the conversion of the pagan, while it established Christian authority and uniformity, let both priest and proselyte sink into the slough of vice. We have also seen that Christianity had no effect upon legislation, save to preserve whatever savored of absolutism, and to crush that in which liberty manifested itself. Can we look for a different result here? Christianity had appeared in an age when, as Coulanges says, “unity had been the general aspiration for two centuries,” and slavery was most extensive. Not the slavery of race, of the ignorant, but of the conquered, however learned, wealthy, or honored they might be. It was a system which drew into its vortex the poor debtor unable to meet his obligations, which opened its rapacious arms to receive children sold by their parents, or abandoned in infancy, and in which you might become the slave of your own neighbor. Yet from the lips of “the Man of sorrows,” or from those of his Apostles, came no word of condemnation. On the contrary, the highest praise was invariably bestowed upon the most servile virtues, and passive obedience td a Nero strenuously inculcated. Organized Christianity never lifted a weight nor loosened a fetter from the slave. What is somewhat indefinitely called unorganized Christianity we have seen to be a human, not a divine, product; an element not from above, but of the world, continually laboring to modify the Messianic claim of authority by supplanting the “divine” with human tendencies.
“Nations and classes,” says Lecky, “had been advancing since the days of Augustus.” The same social sequences which had led to unity of government in State and in religion was also silently operating to effect the social unity of the race. Long centuries passed before a change was apparent. The barbarians, with their new ideas of human nature and the value of human character, were the first to change the existing state of social life. Christian laws still forbade intermarriage between slave and the free; in fact, Christian Cæsarism intensified the feeling of the legitimacy of slavery. Lecky says:
If a free woman had improper intercourse with her slave, Constantine ordered that the woman should be executed and the slave burned alive. By the pagan law the woman had been simply reduced to slavery. The laws against fugitive slaves were all rendered more severe.
Later, during the period of the invasions, so many freed slaves entered the priestly office that Pope Leo the Great tried to prevent it on the ground that it must degrade the priesthood! Hallam says:
It is a humiliating proof of the degradation of Christendom that the Venetians were reduced to purchase the luxuries of Asia by supplying the slave markets of the Saracens. Their apology would perhaps have been that these were purchased from their heathen neighbors; but a slave dealer was probably not very inquisitive as to the faith or the origin of his victims. The trade was not peculiar to Venice. In England, even after the conquest, it was very common to export slaves to Ireland.
Charlemagne made inquiry regarding the sale of slaves to the Saracens, but it was only to prevent the sale of Christian believers to heathen masters. When the Italian dukes lay evidence before him implicating Pope Adrian in the sale of his own vassals to Saracens, he thought it better to shut his eyes and thus avoid giving rise to scandal. The practice, however, continued to a period subsequent to the crusades; and we are informed by various authors of the extent of the practice of selling the children of serfs to the Saracens,— a practice in which both ecclesiastics and barons were pecuniarily interested. In the year 864 Charles le Chauve forced the nobles and ecclesiastics, by a decree, to permit redemption for those who had been obliged by want to sell themselves into slavery to them. Hallam calls attention to the fact that “a source of loss of liberty, which may strike us as extraordinary, was superstition; men were infatuated enough to surrender themselves, as well as their properties, to churches and monasteries, in return for such benefits as they might reap by the prayers of their new masters.”
The change effected by the barbarian conquest affected slavery as well as other institutions, and under feudalism it became modified into serfdom, or predial slavery, and this lasted till that social harvest of the Christian ages,— the French Revolution. In Italy chattel slavery began to decrease in the eleventh and twelfth centuries, but still lingered until the fifteenth before it could be called extinct. In Germany it seems to have been entirely modified into serfdom during the thirteenth century. But under the new form it continued; in England, to the time of Elizabeth. Slavery was modified into serfdom by causes with which Christianity had nothing to do. So, too, the final disappearance of serfdom was produced by independent causes. The upheaval of social life produced by the Crusades to rescue the tomb of the dead Saviour produced the living Saviour of civilization,— Industry. The growth of commerce and industrial arts following wider social intercourse instituted vast economic changes in society, by which free labor became much more valuable than slave labor, and it was not until these changes that slavery began to give place to the present system. The influence of Christianity before, during, and after the change was ever allied with personal profit.
It seems strange that emancipation from slavery should be claimed as an effect of Christian influences in the light of history. Even in our own generation we have seen slavery existing in America, defended from Christian pulpits, and the friends of abolition branded as heretics. The sole effect Christianity has had upon the slaveholder is, I believe, that illustrated in these lines:
The supercargo, Mynheer Van Dunck,
In his cabin sits, adding his figures;
He calculates the cargo’s amount,
And the probable gain from his niggers.
”Six hundred niggers I bought dirt cheap,
Where the Senegal river is flowing,
Their flesh is firm, and their sinews tough
As the finest iron going.
If only three hundred niggers are left
When I get to Rio Janeiro,
I shall have a hundred ducats a head
From the house of Gonzales Ferreiro.
For Christ’s dear sake, O spare, good Lord,
The lives of these swarthy sinners;
O spare their lives for Christ’s dear sake,
Who died for our salvation;
For unless I have left three hundred head,
There’s an end of my occupation.”
Let us now resume our seven-league boots and run rapidly through the history of mediaeval Europe to note the progress of Christian Cæsarism to the zenith of its power. Temporarily checked by the infusion of Teutonic-individualism, it was now nearing its final triumph.
In the East Christianity had virtually ceased to exist. The Romans and Vandals had depopulated the southern shore of the Mediterranean. Although Justinian, in the sixth century, reconquered Africa, the losses inflicted by war, pestilence, and famine — estimated at the astounding number of one hundred million lives — were too great to heal, and Africa was lost to Christendom. Arianism was trampled out, but civilization was involved in its downfall. In the following century, the Persians wrested Syria from the Christian fold. Magianism flourished where once its followers were said to have worshipped the infant Christ. In every case the ruin of Christian hope had been accomplished by the treachery of Christian believers; those whom Rome adjudged heretics sweetened their fate with such consolation as revenge could bestow. In the words of Dr. Draper:
The Magian fire had burnt the sepulchre of Christ and the churches of Constantine and Helena; the costly gifts of the piety of three centuries were gone into the possession of the Persian and the Jew. Never again was it possible that faith could be restored. They who had devoutly expected that the earth would open, the lightning descend, or sudden death arrest the sacrilegious invader of the holy places, and had seen that nothing of the kind ensued, dropped at once into dismal disbelief. Asia and Africa were already morally lost. The cimeter of the Arabian soon cut the remaining tie.
[To be continued.]
By Georges Sauton.
Translated from the French for Liberty by Sarah E. Holmes.
Continued from No. 83.
Newington returned in the midst of his staff, and in the humor of a hunter when he has found the bird flown.
He was storming and reminding his officers of the good time when famine weighed upon the country.
The poor died by thousands; they did not take the trouble to bury them, but simply, that they might not infect the air with their fetidness, levelled the walls of their huts over their putrefying bodies. Dens and bandits destroyed by the same blow, peace reigned for a decade in the island.
“We will try,” said one of the perfumed officers, “to replace the famine and surpass it!”
“Married sooner than I think,” said Sir Richard, solicitous, searching the brilliant eyes of his mistress for the meaning of this prediction.
“Yes,” said she, “yes . . . soon.”
“How so?” he asked, turning pale and refusing to see the dim light which was dawning on his mind, showing, in the near future, monstrous and impious scenes of murder.
“Is it not certain,” she answered, feigning innocence, “that the Duke, who is sowing hatred, will reap the deadly fruits?”
“Yes, it was not only for the persecuted that I urged him to mildness, but in his own interests.”
“Ah! really! in his own interests? I will remember the confession. It would determine me if I should hesitate” . . .
“At what?” . . .
“Ellen, you know something?”
“That Lord Newington provokes malediction upon him, and that some day it will show itself more effectively than by clamor or suppressed rage or idle appeals to heaven to punish him.”
“You are aware of a plot against his life?”
“Which is more precious than my happiness, confess it, Richard! He does not disturb you, does he? You even find it convenient that he exists. It excuses you from passing all your time with me. See: be frank. You do not love me any more, you are tired of me, of my caresses” . . .
“I love you, but I do not wish” . . .
“That a whetted knife should pierce his heart, that an exasperated enemy should even now load his gun to punish him while at his work. By what right would you prevent justice from taking its course?”
Sir Bradwell, deaf to her arguments, approached his father; she forced him to stop, hanging on his arm, urging him not to go or to take her back to the carriage; they would depart.
“No, no,” said he, trying to disengage himself, “Lord Newington is in danger, you are aware of it, your joy tells me so; it is my duty to warn him.”
“Your duty as a son?”
“My duty as a man.”
“Oh! because your duty as a son would be not to take me.”
He removed her fingers, with which she was clutching his fore-arm so tightly as to dig into the muscles, and she began to complain. He hurt her, he was bruising her joints, breaking her nails. She pulled off her glove quickly and showed him the blue marks, growing angry.
“You are as brutal as the Duke, there.”
And treacherously, insidiously, exaggerating the facts to rouse and hold his jealousy, she began to tell him of the attempt to which she had been exposed on the part of her husband, in his apartments, the evening of the return of this Paddy Neill. In a passion, quite beside himself, a perfect madman in his paroxysm of sensual appetite, he expressed his desire to possess her, forthwith and henceforth, at his pleasure, forever.
“Oh, hush!” said Bradwell, starting.
He seized her delicate soft wrist, with its net-work of blue veins and contagious warmth. She gave a little cry, and, being set free, her bare hand glided into Richard’s and doubled up there with a quivering caress, the fingers which he had just before been twisting now touching his skin softly and, as if playing on a magic key-board, banding through his whole being intoxicating sensations the intensely agitating effect of which was redoubled by the memory of radiant hours in the past.
A mist formed before his eyes, hiding Treor’s granddaughter, and, in the place of that chaste face, numerous visions ot Ellen were outlined, tender, wanton, voluptuous, exciting; his ears filled with a murmur of far-off music, which completed his subjugation.
Lord Newington was mounting his horse, he threw him a malicious glance, with bloodshot eyes, yet, nevertheless, suddenly, in a gleam of reason and cool judgment, started to run to him, calling out to him to look out for his safety.
The Duchess held him energetically, whispering with a terrible fluttering of her heart.
“You wish, then, to be killed in his place, or with him?”
At the same instant the report of a rifle rang out from the neighboring underbrush, and a ball whistled through the air, passing over the heads of the pedestrians, who greeted it with surprise.
No more whistling; it had reached its aim, and Lady Ellen stood by Newington, who said very calmly, as he settled himself in his saddle:
“They fired at me!”
His cap had fallen to the ground; the Duchess feverishly picked it up; the projectile had pierced the crown, and consequently had not touched the Duke, or, at most, had grazed his skull.
“Clumsy Casper!” she murmured. “This is all to do over again.”
Officers and soldiers collected around the Duke, questioning him eagerly, and Bradwell inquired anxiously if his father was wounded.
“Not even scratched! not even grazed!”
No matter! They must not let this audacious attempt go unpunished and must show themselves more skilful than the assassin and not miss their mark.
Sir Walpole leading, twenty Britons entered the woods, uttering threats at every step of the way, with their bayonets lowered, and Sir Bradwell, in his bewilderment, joined them.
“Stay here,” begged the Duke, “or, better still, take Lady Ellen home.”
The Duchess refused.
“No,” she said, simulating deep emotion, “I fear too much a new attack: I will return only with you, my lord.”
Nevertheless she clung to Richard, and now, at Newington’s entreaty, pushed her lover towards the vehicle, meeting no resistance from him. He was undecided, vacillating, demoralized, reproached himself for not joining in the soldiers’ search, and, at the same time, trembled at the thought of aiding in the arrest of the poor devil, whether he were an avenger of Ireland’s wrongs or an accomplice of the Duchess who might denounce her in order to save himself and escape the responsibility of his crime.
They got into the vehicle, and had nearly reached Cumslen-Park, when, in the forest behind them, they heard a frightful concert of furious yells of savage vengeance and cries of sharp pain, interrupted by vehement vociferations.
Lady Ellen experienced a brief feeling of weakness,— a desire not to enter the castle, but to go with Richard far away, abroad. But, perceiving the gelder going along quietly by the side of the road, twirling a stick in his fingers, and watching the confusion of clouds in the heavens brushing against each other like steed, she reassured herself, breathing a sigh of relief.
The Britons, nevertheless, had captured some one on whom their blows were raining, and who was struggling boldly, obstinately, without weapons, against muskets, bayonets, and sabres.
In the first impulse of the discovery, the soldiers were going to kill him; but Sir Walpole had opposed it. Dead, the prisoner could not name his accomplices or disclose any of the things which it might be for their interest to know and of which they were now kept in ignorance, since Casper, viewed with suspicion by his coreligionists, no longer attended their secret councils.
But if they did not massacre him completely, they spared him neither blows, nor cuts, nor gashes, nor deep wounds. All over his body, wherever the wounds would not endanger some vital organ, they riddled him.
They plunged their bayonets into his flesh, legs, thighs, and trunk, and, using their muskets as clubs, showered blows upon his shoulder-blades, sides, and very powerful neck.
Why, then, did he resist? He railed at them; he seized the barrels of the guns and wrenched them from the hands of his cowardly aggressors; and by furious parrying, executed with as much skill as force, he cleared the ground about him, till a surprise from the rear put him again in check.
They called out to him to surrender, and he stoutly refused.
Surrender! On what ground? For what crime, what misdeed, what offence? For having fired at Lord Newington. And with what? He had no firearms. He had thrown away his gun? Let them show it to him, then.
“Here it is,” said a Briton, who had remained in the rear, and who now ran up brandishing a hunting rifle, all warm yet, almost smoking.
“It is not mine!” said the captive.
In spite of his energetic denial, they would not believe him. In vain did he affirm that he would acknowledge the rifle if it were his, that he would accept the responsibility of the act with which they reproached him if he were really the author; they put no faith in his declarations.
“Hold,” said he, to convince the incredulous, “I approve the attempt; did it succeed? No? I regret it. Ireland would have been rid of an odious despot. There you have a confession which is as much as my life is worth: shoot me; but that I have discharged a ball at Newington is not true!”
And, in the midst of the bandits’ gnashing of teeth, of the insults which they threw in his face and of the blows which he could no longer parry, beginning to give out, he added:
“It was not I who shot at him; I am a better shot, and I would not have missed my good man.”
All the time executing him with cruel punches, they drove and dragged him towards the village square, where Newington, hearing the tumult, called out to them to hurry themselves, and even to hurry the criminal into eternity. What need of sparing him? Why should they keep him alive? That his resistance might encourage others to imitate him, that he might pronounce last words which his comrades would engrave upon their hearts and repeat like those religious phrases that make martyrs.
None of these tomfooleries: death without phrases from the dying. Were they, perchance, so simple as to pretend to try him? Go to! death at once!
The prisoner emerged from the woods.
“Arklow!” cried the Irish.
“My husband!” said Edith, who sprang toward him so suddenly that the soldiers could hardly hold her.
“Kill him then!” commanded Newington.
And, obeying this abominable order, notwithstanding the clamor of unutterable horror from the inhabitants and the superhuman cry of protest which leaped from the breast of the poor woman, the savages, joyous, drunk with carnage, buried their bayonets at will, at pleasure, in the body of the old sailor.
They stabbed everywhere, but especially in those parts which they had at first been compelled to respect,— in the stomach, in the throat, in the face, and the implacable bayonets kept on in their work upon the corpse stretched upon the ground, with extended arms, in pools of blood which did not dry up.
The intestines exuded from the yawning abdomen; through the holes could be seen the heart.
“Cowards! ruffians!” repeated Edith.
And, kneeling down close to the dead, she turned aside the bayonets which cut her hands; she received thrusts in the back, mingling with her tears her blood in that of the victim of this most monstrous of murders.
“Enough!” ordered the Duke; and the lieutenant cried out again in the ears of his men, as if they were deaf: “Enough! enough!” perfectly furious at being forced to approach so near, in order to be heard, as to soil his boots in the red puddles which transformed the earth into a disgusting marsh.
[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.
Fighting for Free Speech in Liberal.
“Equity” is the name of a new fortnightly journal published in that misnamed town, Liberal, Missouri, by Henry P. and Georgia Replogle. It is a tiny sheet, but a brave one. Announcing its object as “emancipation from sex, wage, monopolistic, and custom slavery, and State superstition,” its tone thus far seems pretty genuinely Anarchistic. One thing appears certain,— that it is waging a courageous battle for free speech in one of the most despotic and authoritarian communities in America.
G. H. Walser, the founder of the town of Liberal, is evidently as thorough-going a tyrant as can be found anywhere. Beginning, as Owen proposes to begin at Sinaloa, by forbidding his fellow-townsmen to establish churches or saloons, he has now reached the point where he is ready to supervise their morals in other respects. The name of the town has naturally attracted from time to time many really liberal people, most of whom have speedily gone away again. But there have always been enough of them on hand to constitute a thorn in the side of the tyrant Walser. The thorn just now seems to be the Replogles. It appears that they and a few of their friends are out-and-out free lovers, and are damaging the reputation of Liberal for purity by advocating their doctrine in “Equity.” Tyrant Walser thinks this will never do. So, with the aid of his hall devoted to “Universal Mental Liberty” and his paper also misnamed the “Liberal,” he has begun a campaign to drive out the offenders. His first step was to import still another misnomer, a “freethought lecturer,” whose other name is C. W. Stewart. This auxiliary delivered a lecture on morality at Liberal, which Walser reported as follows in the “Liberal”:
The speaker handled that social evil called free love without gloves. He divested the hydra monster of its gaudy vestment, ripped open its rotten carcass, and exposed its foul hideousness in all its forms to public gaze that it might be seen as it really was.
This lecture seemed to be called on the account of the frequent attempts of would-be reformers to subordinate the people of Liberal to polyandry, pimpism, lust, and debauchery, all under the sweet-scented name of free lave.
After the lecture was over, those of the audience who indorsed the sentiments uttered by Mr. Stewart were requested to rise to their feet. At once the vast audience with but few exceptions rose. The reverse side was then put, and those not agreeing with the sentiments of the speaker were requested to rise, and four rose to their feet. Then ensued a scene which was heartrending indeed. A brazen young man, whose aged mother was in the audience, and who has bright, pure, and intelligent sisters, who would naturally expect a brother’s protection and a brother’s defence of their honor, arose and placed himself among those whose lustful gratification was held paramount to the purity of mother, sister, wife, or daughter. A shriek was wrung from that old mother’s heart which evinced a sense of pain a thousand times worse than would be the fact should death strike the loveliest flower from the family. The scene was so painful that tears flowed from the strongest eyes in sympathy for the poor mother, with a corresponding feeling of disgust for the brazen wretch who stood unmoved, as dead to shame, before his mother’s sinking, bleeding, broken heart.
This pathetic picture has another side. The following plain statement of facts taken from “Equity” forms a striking contrast to these mock heroics.
On Sunday evening, June 27, C. W. Stewart gave a lecture in the Opera House of this place on sexual morality, in which he found occasion to recommend shot gun and boot logic for those who should attempt to teach his family other than that he had been preaching. G. H. Walser then arose, and, endorsing all of Stewart’s mobocratic speech, added that this objectionable element referred to by Stewart should be led to the outskirts of the town and invited to leave, and other expressions in the same strain. He then called a rising vote of the assembly endorsing Stewart’s speech. The most of the people arose. He then called for those who did not endorse it. Four only arose,— Owram, Thayer, Youmans, and myself, objecting each of us to some of his expressions. Numbers cried out against any of the four being heard, but finally all were. Walser ordered me to “shut up” repeatedly, though he was not chairman.
On Tuesday morning, about two a. m., as a result of Walser’s violence inciting speeches, a mob came to my door and demanded to see Mr. Youmans. When he asked what was wanted, they demanded an explanation of his conduct at the hall on Sunday evening. On being adversely answered, these midnight executors of Walser, Stewart & Co. gave Mr. Youmans twenty-four hours to leave, stoned the house, fired several shot into it, and left a long dirk at the gate of the yard.
These are the agents and agencies for spreading freethought and “Universal Mental Liberty,” the motto inscribed on the hall. I would prefer that Walser, Stewart & Co. lead their own reformatory schemes at midnight, themselves.
Tyrant Walser, who fathered this outbreak of mob law, is violently opposed to Anarchy under the pretence that it means mob law in place of “law and order.” He has yet to learn that the difference between Archy and Anarchy is not entirely included in the distinction between mob and police. Mobs are often intensely Archistic, while the police of a voluntary association might be purely Anarchistic. The vital difference is to be looked for in the purposes for which either uses its strength. If the purpose is invasion, the force is Archistic; if the purpose is protection and defence, the force is Anarchistic. Walser and his mob are unquestionably invaders and Archists of a very offensive type.
I was considering the advisability of prodding my old friend, Jay Chaapel, who has lately been editing the “Liberal” for Walser, for aiding and abetting his master in such outrageous conduct; but I am relieved by the arrival of a later number of the paper, in which Mr. Chaapel severs his connection with it. Knowing his past record, I could not believe that he would stultify himself by allowing himself to be used for such purposes. I hope the Replogles will keep up their gallant light, and that real Liberals and Anarchists will support them in it by subscribing for “Equity,” which costs but fifty cents a year.
It is also to be noted that “Lucifer” is threatened with prosecution in consequence of its use of plain language in discussing sexual questions. There are evidently clearer instances of the denial of free speech than anything that has happened at Chicago, but I fail to hear a lisp about them from any of the men who are so excited because I am not as frantic as themselves concerning the fate of the men on trial in that city. In denouncing the ravings of the authorities and the press over the throwing of the bomb, I recently had occasion to say: “One would think that the throwing of this bomb was the first act of violence ever committed under the sun.” It now seems appropriate to remark that there are some people who imagine that there are no offenders against free speech outside of the Chicago police force.
It’s All Greek to Griffin.
There is a highly instructive etymological discussion in progress in the Denver “Labor Enquirer.” It was begun by that fine specimen of a “Communistic Anarchist,” C. S. Griffin, who, wishing to emphasize the pugnacious rather than the philosophical nature of Anarchy, declared that the word is derived from “anti” and “archy,” and therefore means “against government.” Upon this another correspondent, “L. T. G.,” very properly pointed out that the first component part of the word Anarchy is not “anti,” but the Greek privative, “a” or “an,” meaning “without” rather than “against.” In answer to this Mr. Griffin draws upon the resources of his learning as follows:
“An” means one [italics mine] and “archy” ruler, which is exactly expressed by the word “monarchy,” thus showing that the true meaning of the word cannot be drawn from the present manner of spelling or pronouncing it. . . . . “Anti” is a Greek word and means opposition, and is proper to be coupled with another Greek word, like “archy”; but “a” is not Greek, though it is probably an abbreviated sound of the Greek letter, “alpha,” which was the first letter in their alphabet. “A” was not used as a word any more than “z” or “p” is until “a” was used as an abbreviation of the word “an,” which means one.
Will Mr. Griffin be kind enough to interpret the word “anonymous” for me in the light of these remarks? That word comes from this same Greek privative, “an,” and “onoma,” name. Does anonymous mean “against a name,” then, or “one name”? Most people suppose it to mean “without a name,” but that is contrary to Mr. Griffin’s etymology. “A,” Mr. Griffin, instead of being “an abbreviation of the word ’an’ which means one,” is a Greek negative prefix, to which, when prefixed to a word beginning with a vowel, the letter “n” is added for the sake of euphony. Thus, “a,” which, prefixed to “theism,” makes the word “atheism,” without God, becomes “an” when prefixed to “archy,” making the word “Anarchy,” without government. Mr. Griffin’s knowledge of Greek and etymology is on a par with his knowledge of Anarchy. To be plain about it, Mr. Griffin is an idiot. (I say this boldly, because the word “idiot” comes from the Greek, and there is no danger that Mr. Griffin will know what it means; between us, reader, I wanted to be more accurate and call him a sciolist, but that word is from the Latin, which Mr. Griffin possibly knows.)
Mr. Griffin says that he takes the trouble to correct “L. T. G.” in order to prevent people from confounding Quakerism with Anarchism. If the Communists and the capitalists would make no worse mistakes than to confound Anarchism with Quakerism, that word would be more clearly understood than it is. Anarchism has much more in common with Quakerism than it has with the Communism with which Mr. Griffin confounds it or with the chaos with which the capitalists confound it. There was a good deal that was Anarchistic about the real Quakers of the olden time, and there is a good deal that is Quaker about the real Anarchists of today.
Anarchistic Small Fry.
The subject of plumb-line and cork-screw seems to dwell so persistently in the minds of some of Liberty’s leading spirits that I am tempted to take one more hand in this rather trivial matter, and then I am done.
Two very important facts seem to escape the onesided moralists who are anxious to keep me in good Sunday-school trim. The first is that the cork-screw is just as useful and legitimates a tool as the plumb-line. Though Friend Tucker has little use for the former, his great reasoning powers will yet be able to comprehend it. Whether the world has been more benefited by the one or the other of these two devices would be a difficult question to decide. The auger, the screw, and that class of tools are indispensable. If Tucker and Miss Kelly insist on throwing them away and driving nothing but plumb-line bolts with their sledge-hammer intellects, let them do so. But they must not call me a dishonest mechanic because I choose to keep my augers, or use a cork-screw instead of knocking the neck clean off the bottle, with great danger of spilling much of the wine of truth within.
The second fact is that a cork-screw can move in a plumb-line just as truly as a steel bolt, driven by these mighty sledge-hammer intellects of my critics. When a carpenter wishes to be dead sure of driving his bolt in a plumb-line, he takes his auger. This instrument, moving on the cork-screw principle, does not make so much noise and pretension as the sledge-hammer device, but it gets to the plumb-line point, where the steel bolt and sledge-hammer system fails. Tucker is thinking of a crooked auger and a bent cork-screw, and Miss Kelly’s eye is following the worm of the cork-screw instead of its central line of motion, which is a true compromise with its spiral circumference and is on the plumb. Before my good friends spend much more time in prayerful anxiety for my soul’s salvation, they need to ponder with their terrible intellects these simple laws of moral mechanics.
But these shortcomings of theirs are nothing compared with the vital point they seem to forget, viz., that as individualists they are bound to give full faith and credit to every man’s methods, provided these are on a plumb with his best judgment and conscience. The data of all true ethics reside alone in the individual. To seek for the plumb-line in the act and not in the sovereign individual is direct treason to all that individualism stands for. When the individual is on the plumb with himself, he cuts a square figure by all the vital canons of our philosophy, and for one individual to assume to plumb another is in the direct line of authoritarianism. As for compromise, it can only be predicated on the individual, and not on the acts of the individual. I can only compromise as an individual, *** our philosophy, when I compromise with myself,— that is, when I do something opposed to my own convictions and conscience. On this matter I am sole judge and tribunal, and cannot possibly compromise where the sovereign within approves, no matter what I may do. Tucker may be dead plumb with himself, and call himself a plumb-line. I, when dead plumb with myself, am a plumb-line too. Yet in Tucker’s eyes I may be a cork-screw, and he in my eyes an intellectual pollywog. The fact is that we are both what we are, and each is alone constituted to plumb his individual self. The moment he assumes to plumb me, he violates his whole philosophy, if he has any as an Anarchist.
A broad and all-comprehensive philosophy is this of individualism, of which Anarchy only represents one side of a protest. Either my good critics do not understand it, or else only a few scattering seeds of authority have been killed out of them. Bear this severely in mind,— viz., that by all that is high and holy in our system I am on the dead plumb when I plumb with myself, though I may be cork-screw, jig-saw, or crooked wormer to all the world. From this there is no appeal, and all attempts to force one are conceived in the spirit and unreason of despotism and authority. This persistent small talk on other people’s conduct is rather cheap business for Anarchists.
Comments on the Foregoing.
In the last issue of Liberty Mr. Appleton wrote as follows:
When I am mentally plumb sober, I stand for radicalism, the whole of radicalism, and nothing but radicalism. But now and then the temptation to be seduced into faith in the possible virtue of pretentious superficial movements, having no sound radical basis, but imposing in numbers, noise, and passing respectability, gets something of a hold on me. When this sensational will o’ the wisp has suddenly vanished as quickly as it came, I sober back into the standing conviction that all essential reform must develop out of an understanding of the true roots of social evil.
These words were a virtual confession that the burden of the criticism passed by me upon their writer is true. I did not expect that this confession would stand, neither did I expect that it would be so soon retracted. Who or what caused this present lapse from sobriety bless me if I know.
Let us look back a little at this controversy. Miss Kelly delivered in Boston an entirely impersonal lecture in opposition to the policy of compromise. No person was mentioned by the lecturer, and I think I may safely say that her remarks were aimed at no particular individual. Mr. Appleton, however, thought that she was aiming at him, and in defence of himself he made a grossly personal attack on Miss Kelly in Liberty. For some reason that has never yet developed itself, he made me, equally with Miss Kelly, the object of this attack. Almost all that he had to say was based upon the alleged success of his personal career and methods, which he thereby offered for criticism. He expressly said: “I rise for prayers, and ask Sister Kelly and Brother Tucker to keep me from going astray.” I accepted this challenge to a personal controversy, as I saw that Mr. Appleton was determined on it, and I subjected his career and methods to a somewhat searching examination. He being tender and my criticism being true, some soreness resulted, which, it now appears, is not healed yet. But his soreness will heal in time, if I and other writers for Liberty do not innocently happen to touch him too frequently on the raw.
I presume that in some way I have touched him on the raw, and for that reason he cries out in pain. This may be pardonable. But that he should accuse me, whose criticism he invited, of attempting to force him or “assuming to plumb” him is decidedly cool. That he, who declared that he had risen for prayers, should complain of the time that I spend in prayerful anxiety for his soul’s salvation is another of the shuffles at which he is so adept. When he took occasion in the last issue of Liberty to denounce Powderly as a “skunk,” was he “seeking for the plumb-line in the act” or “in the sovereign individual”? In thus “assuming to plumb” Powderly, was he “in the direct line of authoritarianism”? In inquiring into Powderly’s convictions and conscience, was he passing upon a matter in which Powderly is “sole judge and tribunal”? According to Mr. Appleton’s conception and practice of Anarchism, it should allow him to unsparingly criticise the acts and motives of others, but should protect him from their criticism even when he invites it himself. Mr. Appleton’s present article either means that to criticise another is to attempt to force or govern him, or it means nothing. The former meaning is too silly to be ascribed to Mr. Appleton; I must therefore think that he means nothing.
Mr. Appleton is done, and I am done. He, with his usual elegance, concludes by calling me an “intellectual pollywog;” I, with my usual coarseness, conclude by declining to vie with him in the exchange of that class of epithets. The phrases by which I have characterized Mr. Appleton may not be as refined as that, but are more intelligible.
The work before us — crude in thought, but passable in style, not irrational in its aspirations, but, as usual with State Socialists, without grasp of natural principles and begging the question of an ideal government — covers too much ground to be fairly reviewed in the column allotted by Procrustes Anarchicus. I will, however, take up a point or two.
With Herbert Spencer the author has a little tilt, which is more creditable to him as a popular writer than as a deep thinker. He evades the sad necessity for social progress to eliminate weakness and depravity, by ad captandum appeals to the cheap philanthropy of charity and mercy, ignoring their utter and long proved incompetence. He not only denies the survival of the fittest, but would provide for the survival of the unfit.
But he finds himself in full accord with Spencer in what we regard as the signal flaw in Spencer’s social logic, and in which Spencer falls far below the vigorous judgment of Proudhon. This is in the nationalization of the soil. In affecting a logical consistency Spencer falls into a practical absurdity, failing to note that the abuses of landlordry are most effectively precluded by the simple limitation of property in land to the uses and needs of its cultivator. What a silly non sequitur, to argue against the proprietorship of a garden or farm, from the inconvenience of subjecting thousands of gardens and farms to the unrestricted proprietorship of one owner! As private property happens to be the bee in our “capitalist’s” bonnet, of course he must deny it in the soil, where it becomes, through labor, the necessary basis and continent of all other property, but for Spencer, who holds with us to private individual property in other things, to renounce it with regard to the soil is inexcusable. The author triumphs by this inconsistency, and fortifies himself by alliance with Spencer’s error. In fact, to renounce private property in the soil is logically to renounce it everywhere. The true question is simply of limiting personal rights by consideration of the neighbor’s rights. Land superabounds for all cultivators; speculation in it, as a market value, is what not only all socialists, but every one who lives by labor on the soil, wants to prevent. Government can prevent it only by arbitrary measures, whether the form of robbery called taxation, or interfering with the natural right of individuals to transfer their property, the result of their labor inseparable from the soil. But for government, and the superstitious respect accorded to its titles, no one could monopolize land without maintaining a standing army of defence against the landless, as in the feudal system, which was less oppressive than our mercantile.
Spencer’s doctrine of collective property in land: “Equity does not permit property in land. For if one portion of the earth’s surface may justly become the possession of an individual and may be held by him for his sole use and benefit, then other portions of the earth’s surface may be so held, and our planet may lapse altogether into private hands. All who are not landholders could then exist upon the earth by sufferance only. Should the others think fit to deny them a resting place, these landless men might equitably be expelled from the earth altogether.”
Our author chuckles over this concession. His intelligence meets Spencer in an accord of tom-foolery. Why not apply the same logic to property in anything else as in the soil? You must not own anything because the principle of ownership is exclusive, and, if applicable to any part, is applicable to the whole. Specific limitation in legal contracts confirms the right which it defines. Why not so of the natural contract formed by labor and occupation with the earth, and which is limited by physical necessity to a few acres? It would be just as rational to argue that I had no right to hire a man for a day, because a day was a part of his life, and the man a member of the human race; therefore my control of this man’s labor for a day implied the right to control that of the whole human species through all time or as long as we lived. I felicitate our “capitalist” on the stable he has found for his hobby horse on Mr. Spencer’s premises. And he is perfectly logical in his application, for to concede that the soil is not by specific limitation of labor title a proper subject of personal appropriation, and that the title conferred by occupation with labor is exclusive at discretion of the owner, is to concede that all private property is wrong; for what is there worth mentioning, of which a place to stand upon is not a necessary condition of possession and enjoyment?
One needs but the site of a house for his business, another will add a garden, a third a field, a fourth pasture ground; all need some woods or access to coal, and the largest of these needs and uses for a family is confined within a few hundred acres, while they may be restricted to five. To fill the earth up to such an allotment war, pestilence, and other blessings of civilization or barbarism must have ceased, and science will be able to subsist a family well upon one acre.
The original title to land may be either individual or corporate, or even national, according as it derives from pioneer occupation and culture, from tribal occupancy, or from conquest, but labor alone confers titles in equity. Such labor must be free and localized, not that of slave or hireling or under military compulsion. The author, with Henry George and other sophists, assumes the soil to be a gift of Nature to mankind, a twaddle of pompous phrases that will not bear analysis. Nature is everything, man and the soil included. Nothing is given to anybody. Each may take and improve according to his capacity. The collectivist land doctrine is marked in the corner with the arbitrary and connives at the “divine right of governments,” and hence of all usurpations and oppressions, whence analytic individuation supplies the sole clew to enfranchisement.
For the land or other property title of a species, a race, or a society, to supersede the individual title of its occupant, utilizer, and enjoyer, the collective being should, it would seem, have preceded the individual, the latter being only a phenomenon of the former. But is this conceivable on any other hypothesis than that of species, races, nations, and their governmental organs having sprung all at once into existence, as Chateaubriand poetically imagines for the advantage of picturesque scenery, of fruits all ready mingled with flowers and leaves, and especially of parents provided for the young of all kinds. While we are fiatizing, let us do it liberally. Thus the species or society would have preexisted to its individuals, in the creative concept.
Evoluted species, races, and societies are rather inclined on the other hand to beg of individuals the question of their existence.
Collectivists exalt the imagination about social destinies attainable only by cooperative synthesis of forces. In puerile admiration before a pyramid of stones, trivial fact beside the least of natural mountains, they ignore the individual lives of their crushed serf-builders. Anarchy, or, as our Irish friend happily puts it, Autoarchy, also desires cooperation, but such only as results from the free development of sympathies, of passional affinities, grouped in autonomies, where affections become facultative. Any other order is an incubus. The smallest living plant is a greater fact than the pyramid of Gizeh. Life is spontaneous. Social spontaneities play within the organic limitations of autonomy, but States impose constraint.
The nation is but a phrase of parade, behind which government lies in ambush to seize on individual rights. The rights and properties of governments are simply the spoils which certain individuals, conspiring, have wrested from others, or which have been conceded to them by contract for functions of protection and convenience which governments, that of the United States in particular, have neither fulfilled nor even endeavored to fulfil, but have conspired with the despoilers of labor.
Egoism in Sexual Relations.
A proverb says: “All is fair in love and war.” This is a recognition of the superior force of egoism in sexual relations. What man seeks a woman from the sentiment of duty to unite? It would be absurd. In this matter liking, inclination, guides. As in eating and drinking, equally primary needs of the individual, personal appetite and taste cannot be subordinated to a foreign standard of “right.” Information, which the individual can make his own and which may aid him to choose what is best for himself, is the only pertinent influence, unless one is superstitious. Is not the disparagement of natural inclinations in sex a really striking, and to the natural man or woman a disgusting, piece of superstition? It is avowedly a disparagement of egoism, or selfhood, in one of its most powerful, irrepressible manifestations. It is by observing the play of personal inclination in such matters of primary importance that we know egoism to be the undeniable law of life.
Tchernychewsky’s Life and Trial.
Translated from the Russian for Liberty by Victor Yarros.
Continued from No. 83.
“In the diary was found what appeared to be a copy of a letter to his betrothed, in which the following paragraph and the thoughts expressed therein attract attention: ‘I am liable to be taken at any moment, whatever I may do. Nothing would be found, but I have numerous and powerful enemies; I would restrain myself and say nothing; but I shall hardly be able to stand it very long. Sooner or later I should certainly lose patience and speak my mind freely and openly; then, of course, farewell to freedom! I could never hope to be outside of the prison walls.’ When already in prison, Tchernychewsky, in a letter to his wife, wrote as follows: ‘Our lives will be recorded in history. Centuries will pass and our memory will still be dear to the hearts of men who will not cease to love us and think of us with gratitude.’ Further, explaining to his wife that he intends to publish an encyclopaedia of knowledge and life, he writes that no work of such magnitude has been undertaken since Aristotle, and that, like Aristotle, he will be a guide and teacher to humanity for many centuries.
“While Tchernychewsky’s case was being investigated, B. Kostomaroff was tried and convicted for circulating revolutionary literature at Moscow. On his way to Siberia he was suddenly taken ill. He wrote a letter to a friend of his, a certain Sokoloff, which the officer in charge of him forwarded to the St. Petersburg police authorities. Kostomaroff tells his friend how Tchernychewsky brought all the trouble upon his head. He declares that the proclamation addressed to the serfs was written by Tchernychewsky and Michailoff, and the proclamation ‘To the soldiers’ by Colonel Shelgunoff. Characterizing Tchernychewsky as an agitator, who had led astray a number of young, inexperienced people, he says: ‘The biblical Samson fell together with the temple whose pillars he had shaken loose and was buried beneath its ruins, while our Samson knows better than that: he will have others do the dangerous and destructive work, and sit quietly by, watching the end. If they succeed in demolishing the old structures, he will go to superintend the erection of new ones. If they fail, and are crushed in the attempt, he remains safe and undisturbed. You must not blame me,’ continues Kostomaroff, ‘for my seemingly strange and inexplicable conduct during the trial. I had documents in my possession, which would have cleared me and exposed the true offenders, but it was impossible for me to act otherwise than I did. So I silently took the responsibility of the matter upon myself. Now, when it is all over, it seems very unjust to suffer for others’ misconduct, and I keenly feel this injustice. Endeavoring to throw off all suspicion from Tchernychewsky, I have sacrificed my own liberty and honor. I am fully conscious of the enormity of the sin I have committed against myself and society. Tchernychewsky’s teachings are poisonous, his influence upon youthful enthusiasts extremely pernicious.’
“This letter caused the third department to order Kostomaroff back. He was immediately ordered to appear before the St. Petersburg authorities for examination. On his person (?) was found a note signed ‘T,’ and addressed to himself, in which he is requested to correct a certain phrase in the proclamation ‘To the Serfs.’ Kostomaroff explained that the note was left at his rooms by Tchernychewsky, who called on him, but did not find him at home. Tchernychewsky denied alike the authorship of the proclamation ‘To the Serfs’ and the alleged visit to Kostomaroff for the purpose of making some alteration in the original text. The note, he declared, was a counterfeit. The clerks of the Senate, comparing Tchernychewsky’s handwriting with that of the said note, have expressed the opinion that, although there is no likeness in the general character of the handwritings, and the first impression is likely to be favorable to Tchernychewsky’s statement, yet a considerable number of separate letters, namely, twelve out of the twenty-five, the whole number of letters in the note, are similar to Tchernychewsky’s. The Senatorial Council decided that both in separate letters and in the general character of the handwritings there is a perfect similarity.
“The proclamation ‘To the Serfs,’ a copy of which, in some unknown handwriting, was attached to the file of documents of Kostomaroff’s case, the latter declares to be the production of Tchernychewsky. In this proclamation, apparently written for the peasantry and all sorts of illiterate laborers, the Ukase of the 19th of February is deliberately and wilfully misreported and misrepresented. The author asserts that the serfs were deceived and betrayed by the czar; that, instead of the freedom he promised to give them, instead of the improvement they expected from the Ukase, they are, in virtue of the Ukase, still more enslaved and impoverished; that true freedom and real improvement can never be had under the czars, as the people can easily be shown; real freedom exists only in those countries where there is no compulsory military service, no heavy taxes, no passport system, as, for instance, in France or England. There the will of the common people rules supreme, and the nominal rulers, or kings, are directly elected by the people, in whom also lies the power of replacing them. In conclusion, the author recommends secret organization of the peasantry, the militia, and the city laborers for the purpose of violent overthrow of the government when the proper time comes and a signal is giver, by the author to rise.
“The officer in charge of Kostomaroff, while en route, reported that a man named Iakovleff visited Kostomaroff when the latter was ill and had a very long conversation with him, from which the officer gathered the knowledge that Iakovleff knew the exact character of the relations between Kostomaroff and Tchernychewsky. Believing that some useful information could thus be produced, the officer requested Iakovleff to prepare a written statement of the matter, to which the latter readily consented. This statement was duly forwarded to the third department. Iakovleff testifies as follows. In the summer of 1861 he was employed by Kostomaroff as a clerk and copyist of manuscripts. Kostomaroff used to be visited quite often by a gentleman who was spoken of as the celebrated St. Petersburg journalist, N. G. Tchernychewsky. Once, while they were promenading arm-in-arm in the garden, Iakovleff heard them talk of publishing some circular from Tchernychewsky’s pen. Tchernychewsky then used the following expression: ‘Best compliments to the serfs from their well-wishers. You have expected freedom from the czar; now you have got it.’ He paid no attention to the remark, for, not suspecting anything, he but half understood the meaning of the words. But now, having heard that Kostomaroff is charged with conspiracy and plotting against government, he regards it as a duty to report all he knows. It was afterwards ascertained that Iakovleff intended to appear personally before Potapoff, and with this end in view had left for Petersburg, but was locked up on a charge of drunkenness and turbulence. He was promptly brought before the authorities and cross-examined. He repeated his former statements, and recognized in Tchernychewsky that visitor of Kostomaroff whom he described.
“Michailoff, the journalist who was convicted of revolutionary propaganda and sentenced to hard labor in the mines, admitted in the course of his trial that he knew of the circulars ‘To the serfs’ and ‘To the soldiers,’ that he had copied and corrected them, but persistently refused to reveal the names of his associates.
“The minister of justice directed the attorney general to lay a letter received at the third department before the Commission for careful consideration. The letter is signed by the initial ‘T’ and addressed to some Aleksei Nicolaievitch (doubtless Plescheieff). It reads thus:
“‘My dear Aleksei Nicol., you will perhaps reproach me, and not unjustly, with carelessness and imprudence. I place too much confidence in people but little known to us. I know how dangerous it is, but can I help it or avoid it? We cannot afford to wait and waste opportunities. Now or never. To reflect and hesitate is criminal. It would be an inexcusable weakness, an irreparable mistake. You have not yet furnished us with the press which you promised nearly a year ago. We waited. All the time various parties have been offering us their services, but we declined to accept them. Now delay is no longer possible. We must act at once, if we do not wish to lose the game. I have entrusted the work to some persons who have been in this line before. They are not very bright, but they seem to be very energetic and earnest. There can hardly be any danger of exposure, as that would entail the severest penalty on themselves. Nevertheless, try to stop all talk about my acquaintance with these persons. I understand that Soulin and Soroka are not looked upon very favorably in the Moscow circles, so you will find no difficulty in disclaiming any connection with them. As to Kostomaroff, I think he can safely be relied upon. At any rate, he is very useful and active so far. However, we must not be too frank with him till he is put to some serious test. I do not write anything about our literary interests, for I have no time. Kostomaroff is hurrying me. I see you are still inclined to take a sceptical and discouraging view of the affair. Too bad! It won’t do at all. It is a sin to be passive now when everybody is astir. More energy, more faith! I am very busy. I press your hand.
“In regard to this letter Kostomaroff stated that he was to deliver it in person to Plescheieff immediately after his arrival at Moscow, but that he mislaid it and could not execute the commission, When he finally found it among his things, it was stained and torn, and he did not care to show it it to Plescheieff. The handwriting of this letter was found to be perfectly similar to that of other papers on file, which were not disclaimed by Tchernychewsky.
“The accused answered all these charges with a wholesale denial, and declared the evidence false. Neither on his examinations, nor on confrontation with Kostomaroff and Iakovleff, did he avow his guilt. While he did not attempt to conceal the fact of his intimate acquaintance with Kostomaroff and Michailoff, he asserted that there were purely literary connections between them, all of them being professional writers, but no other. The letter and note he pronounced counterfeits, and he petitioned for permission to collate the handwritings with the aid of a strong magnifying glass. This was not granted, as the Senatorial Commission was satisfied that all due accuracy was observed and the law strictly complied with in the investigation.
“After careful consideration and dispassionate deliberations the Senatorial Commission submits the following:
[To be continued.]
A Plea for Parson Malthus.
To the Editor of Liberty:
In one of your recent articles about Malthusianism I see my own name, together with certain reflections which prompt me to rise and explain. In my humble opinion Malthus was one of the first of social philosophers. The doctrine which bears his name is worthy to be understood by every radical, and the prejudice against it which prevails among radicals, though not unnatural, is misleading, as all prejudices are. “X” says: “Parson Malthus thought pestilences which swept away millions of the victims of a few score of despots were wise providences whereby to check surplus population.” This is a mistake. Gertrude B. Kelly says: “The true Malthusian does assume the wage system to be eternal”; the fundamental doctrine of Malthusianism is “that the working people would be better off, everything else remaining unchanged, if their numbers were diminished.” These are mistakes. “Malthus’s ‘Theory of Population’ was written in answer to Condorcet’s ‘Esquisse des Progres de l’Esprit Humain’ and Godwin’s ‘Political Justice.’” This is true, but irrelevant. Malthus’s motives have nothing to do with the truth or importance of his doctrine. If his doctrine is true and important, then he was a great social philosopher, no matter how bad his motives may have been; and if it was not true or important, then he was not a great philosopher, however good his motives. The Malthusian doctrine — that doctrine to which Malthus fully and finally committed himself — is this. Population tends to increase faster than the means of subsistence. But for evident reasons it cannot outrun the means of subsistence, except for a very short time during actual famine. There is, therefore, a principle which equalizes population and food. What is it? It may be divided into two agencies,— positive checks, which increase the proportion of deaths, and preventive checks, which diminish the proportion of births. Whatever one of these gains must be at the expense of the other.
This is not only true, but it is so nearly self-evident that some of Malthus’s critics represent it as a bald truism on which no system can be built. But, in truth, it is no truism, but a very complicated equation, from which have been deduced the most important conclusions in history, morals, politics, and biology. In history, it explains such surprising facts as that war, when not accompanied by devastation, does not diminish the population of a country. The gain of the positive check is the loss of the preventive. The increase in the number of deaths while the food supply remains constant stimulates trade, raises wages, promotes marriage; and the births soon make up for the deaths. But when a country is invaded and ravaged, the population does diminish, for it cannot outrun the supply of food. In morals Malthusianism strikes a deadly blow at the infamous doctrine which makes women mere breeders. When Miss Kelly says: “Condorcet has shown that with improved conditions, and the increased morality necessarily resulting from this improvement, the population question would settle itself” (which, by the bye, is only in a measure true), she ought to see that, so far as it is true, Condorcet has merely anticipated Malthus in stating a truth of vital importance to her sex,— a truth which abuse of Malthus can serve no purpose but to obscure. To revile Malthus is to defend marriage. To defend marriage is to degrade woman. The phrase “increased morality necessarily resulting from improved conditions” wants a little defining. Brutes are not subject to rent, usury, etc., but brutes multiply until positive checks cut down their numbers. So do men in the barbarous state. So would men in any state, even if women were free, unless at least one sex had learned that there are objects more worthy than the immediate gratification of passion. And this knowledge comes from experience of the evils of this gratification, which is simply self-taught Malthusianism. In politics Malthus and the Malthusians are resolute opponents of that insulting foolish charity according to law which, like the vampire’s wing, lulls into fatal slumber those whose blood is being sucked by the noble and wealthy. It must be added that Malthus was a staunch advocate of State education, of which I, as an Anarchist, do not approve; but I think he may be pardoned for this error, since its source was his zeal for education in general. In biology Malthus was the forerunner of Darwin, and to a great extent anticipated his ideas. But Darwin’s discoveries are the most important and revolutionary of the century, not only because of their endless applications in pure and applied science, but because they have given the death-blow to theological superstition, and established correct views of the creative process.
It may be added that Malthus was not so bad a man as it is the fashion to represent him. The leading features of his character were, in phrenological language, causality, combativeness, and benevolence. He loved disputation, but he loved truth, and loved his fellow-men. His original pamphlet contained the substance of some private arguments with his father, who swore by William Godwin, and it seems to have been prompted by no deeper motive than the disputatiousness of a young man. It made him famous at once. In the second edition, five years later, the polemical tone has disappeared, Godwin is no longer made a consideration of any importance, and the argument deals not with the future, but only the past and present. Instead of considering war, pestilence, and famine providential arrangements for the restriction of population, Parson Malthus would have said that they are the natural punishment of certain follies, which he wanted people to avoid by substituting the preventive check for the positive,— few births and long lives for the double agony of too many births and a proportionate number of early deaths. Instead of assuming, as Miss Kelly says, that population was always too great for the food supply, it was almost his fundamental thesis that population could not become too great for the food supply, except in case of famine, and it was from the rarity of famine in civilized countries that he argued the entire practicability of his great remedy,— continence,— and its tendency to come in with, but not without, the progress of civilization, which, he thought, depended on the sense of personal responsibility, and therefore thought (wrongly as I believe) to require laws for the protection of property rights. In his later days he departed widely from the “orthodox” school of political economy, or perhaps I should rather say that they departed from him. Ricardo, who was intellectually as well as naturally younger than Malthus, set out with his premises, but added to them entirely novel conclusions. Ricardo attributed the rise of rent solely to the taking up of inferior land, which, he hold, must result from the increase of population. The wages of the common laborer gravitate to the lowest point at which life can be sustained, because the increase of population would induce competition which must drive it down to that. This was developing the views of Malthus into what is incorrectly called by many the Malthusian theory. Incorrectly, for it is Ricardian and not Malthusian. Malthus rejected with emphasis these improvements on his system. Population cannot increase beyond the means of subsistence. The rise of rent depends on a variety of causes, but increase of population will not raise rents without first raising prices, which it does not necessarily do. The laborer’s wages gravitate, not to the lowest point at which he can live, but the lowest at which he will consent to live, and it is not at all necessary that this should be a condition of squalid poverty. The victory for the time remained with Ricardo, but since Mill’s day there has been a decided reaction towards the views of Malthus. though very few people have read enough of him to be aware that they are his. The wage-fund dogma, which Miss Kelly mentions, was a further improvement on Ricardo’s deductive economy, introduced by MacCulloch, and, like much else, is sometimes put to the praise and sometimes to the blame of Malthus, although he repudiated it altogether.
C. L. James.
411 Pine Street, Eau Claire, Wisconsin, June 24, 1886.
Wanted,— a Malthusian Who has Read Malthus.
The only excuse that can present itself to my mind for these so-called Anarchist who have arisen to the defence of Malthus is the supposition that they have really never read his book. It is impossible for me to conceive of a social reformer both honest and intelligent placing a high estimate on the work of Malthus, if he really be acquainted with what that work consists of. An honest but unintelligent man may be taken in by it, or a dishonest intelligent one may use it to further base ends, but to a man both honest and intelligent the book is simply superficial and dishonest. There is nothing new in it that is true, or nothing true that is new. But Mr. James assures us that Malthus was “one of the first of social philosophers.” It is rather strange that now, when Malthus and Malthusianism are being thrown overboard by the orthodox economists, Anarchists should arise to clasp him to their bosom as a social philosopher. J. K. Ingram says:
Notwithstanding the great development which he gave to his work and the almost unprecedented amount of discussion to which it gave rise, it remains a matter of some difficulty to discover what solid contribution he has made to our knowledge, nor is it easy to ascertain precisely what practical precepts, not already familiar, he founded on his theoretic principle . . . . . The first desideratum here mentioned,— the want, namely, of an accurate statement of the relation between the increase of population and food,— Malthus doubtless supposed to have been supplied by the celebrated proposition that “population increases in a geometrical ratio, food in an arithmetical ratio.” This proposition, however, has been shown to be erroneous, there being no such difference of law between the increase of man and that of the organic beings which form his food. When the formula which we have cited is not used, other somewhat nebulous expressions are sometimes employed, as, for example, that “population has a tendency to increase faster than food.” A sentence in which both are treated as if they were spontaneous growths, and which, on account of the ambiguity of the word “tendency,” is admittedly consistent with the fact asserted by Senior that food tends to increase faster than population. — Encyclopædia Britannica.
This is the doctrine which Mr. James tells us “is worthy of being understood by every radical.”
I again repeat that the true Malthusian does consider the wage system to be eternal, and that the fundamental doctrine of Malthusianism is that the working-people would be better off, everything else remaining unchanged, if their numbers were diminished, and I defy Mr. James to quote anything from Malthus to prove the contrary.
Mr. James says that my statement that Malthus’s “Theory of Population” was written in answer to Godwin and Condorcet is irrelevant. If I mistake not, in a letter to “Lucifer” some time since, Mr. James made a somewhat similar statement, but on that occasion it was made for the purpose of glorifying Malthus, who, he said, had proved that the millennium of Godwin and his school could not be brought about by any political arrangements, but only by substituting the “prudential check” for the “positive.” So that if my statement is irrelevant now, his was then. But I do not at all admit its irrelevancy; on the contrary, I think it extremely relevant. As sociology is not yet by any means an exact science, and as few, if any, men are capable of separating themselves from the prejudices in which they have been reared, it is very important for us to know under what special conditions any special doctrine has been conceived, as we are then more apt to be on our guard against errors born of prejudice. That Malthus’s book was intended to put a stop to all forms of socialism, which was then for the first time beginning to make itself really felt, is now doubted by hardly any thinking person, and that it did for a long time produce the desired effect is as little capable of doubt, as Ingram says:
It can scarcely be doubted that the favor which was once accorded to the views of Malthus in certain circles was due, in part, to an impression, very welcome to the higher ranks of society, that they tended to relieve the rich and powerful of responsibility for the position of the working-classes by showing that the latter had chiefly themselves to blame, and not either the negligence of their superiors or the institutions of the country. The application of his doctrines, too, made by some of his successors had the effect of discouraging all active effort for social improvement.
“In morals Malthusianism strikes a deadly blow at the infamous doctrine which makes women mere breeders.” It does no such thing. Malthus had no idea of a woman but as a mere breeder, and it was for this very reason that he condemned early marriages, as the idea of post-nuptial continence, which Mill has since developed, had never once occurred to him; on the contrary, he proposed a pension for all those families in which there were more than six children. When he did not regard women as mere breeders, he regarded them as something infinitely worse. Malthus admitted that the vast majority of men could not be expected to keep continent outside of marriage, and as, of course, the material for their gratification must be supplied from some source, there must always be a class of women sacrificed to support the virtue of their sisters, for, of course, when a man came to marry, he was not going to marry an unchaste woman, unchastity in a woman being a crime. Malthus never declared for the abolition of marriage, i. e., for the abolition of property in women, but simply wished this property, as he wished all other property, confined to the few. In his reply to Godwin he undertakes to prove that property and marriage, if abolished, would return, from the nature of things.
What Mr. James says in regard to Malthus’s position in reference to legal charity clearly proves to me that he has never read Malthus. Malthus objected to legal charity not because it “lulled into fatal slumber those whose blood is being sucked out by the noble and wealthy,” but because it led them to think that they had some right to expect help from the rich, whereas the rich really owed them nothing.
I cannot help believing that, if the poor in this country were convinced that they had no right to support, and yet in scarcities and all cases of urgent distress, were liberally relieved, which I think they would be, the bond which unites the rich with the poor would be drawn much closer than at present, and the lower classes of society, as they would have less reason for irritation and discontent, would be much less subject to these uneasy sensations. — Principle of Population.
As to Malthus’s position on State education, though Mr. James had previously told us that motives were not to be taken into account when considering the truth or falsity of a man’s doctrine, he now tells us that he is to be excused for this because of his zeal for education in general. This also is false. Malthus desired that the working-classes be educated, in order that they should better appreciate how little their condition was dependent upon inequality of conditions.
And it is evident that every man in the lower classes of society who became acquainted with these truths would be disposed to bear the distresses in which he might be involved with more patience; would feel less discontent and irritation at the government and the higher classes of society on account of his poverty; would be on all occasions less disposed to insubordination and turbulence; and, if he received assistance either from any public institution or from the hand of private charity, he would receive it with more thankfulness and more justly appreciate its value. — Principle of Population.
He also attempted to prove that the superior education of the Scotch made them more subordinate than the Irish. Glorious zeal for education in general!
Mr. James’s ideas as to the development of the doctrine of evolution are, to say the least, crude. They are entirely unevolutionary. Admitting all the importance of Darwin’s work, still there can be no doubt that, if he had never existed, the doctrine would have been propounded, and its acceptance could, at most, have been put off but a few years.
In the seventeenth century Descartes had a very fair conception of evolution, and gave as much expression to his ideas as was possible under the conditions in which he lived. Silencer’s Synthetic Philosophy was worked out independently of Darwin, and even Darwin’s special work, the discovery of the part which natural selection plays in the origin of species, had been independently and simultaneously discovered by Wallace, a socialist. As far as the general doctrine of evolution is concerned, Lanarck had worked it out nearly fifty years before, and, as Huxley says, the only thing that prevented its acceptance at that time was the lack of that vast accumulation of facts which have since been brought to its support. Besides, the science of embryology, on which evolution depends more for support than upon anything else, had been brought to a high state of perfection by Von Baer and his associates. Malthas was as much the forerunner of Darwin as the falling apple was the forerunner of Newton. After both men had been thinking over their respective subjects for a long time, a trivial incident, which would have passed unnoticed by the ordinary observer, served to give completion to their thought. Great was Malthus, and great was the apple!
Malthus did maintain that the laboring population was always too large for the food-supply, and to this was due their squalor and wretchedness.
As to Ricardo’s theory of rent being foisted upon Malthus, Malthus’s “Nature and Progress of Rent,” upholding the theory of rent which is generally known as Ricardo’s, was published in 1814, while Ricardo did not appear till 1817. In the preface to his book Ricardo acknowledges his indebtedness to Malthus.
The causes of the high price of raw produce [from which he deduces the necessity and justice of rent] may be stated to be three: 1st, and mainly, That quality of the earth by which it can be made to yield a greater portion of the necessaries of life than is required for the maintenance of the persons employed upon the land; 2dly, That quality peculiar to the necessaries of life of being able to create their own demand, or to raise up a number of demanders in proportion to the quantity of necessaries produced; and, 3dly, the comparative scarcity of the most fertile lands. . . . . . The qualities of the soil and its produce here noticed as the primary cause of the high price of raw produce are the gifts of nature to man. They are quite unconnected with monopoly, and yet are so absolutely essential to the existence of rent that without them no degree of scarcity or monopoly could have occasioned that excess of the price of raw produce above the cost of production which shews itself in this form. — Nature and Progress of Rent.
Ricardo shared Malthus’s idea exactly on the wages question,— that, if the workers were fewer in number, or had a higher standard of comfort, below which they would not consent to live, their condition would be improved. It is perfect nonsense talking of the wages at which the laborer will consent to live, for, if there is one man out of employment (and Marx has shown conclusively that it is a necessary concomitant of the capitalistic system that there should be always unemployed laborers), the wages will always gravitate to the lowest point, i. e., to that necessary to a mere subsistence. What difference can it make to the American workmen of today how high their standard of comfort may be, when there are a million of idle men just waiting to step into any places that may be made vacant?
When I spoke of the wages-fund, I did not ascribe it to Malthus, but only quoted it to Mr. Walker to show that the Neo-Malthusians were as silly as the Malthusians.
I feel that I have occupied a great deal of valuable space in replying to Mr. James, but nevertheless have not given the subject one-twentieth part of the attention that it requires, for it really involves the discussion of the whole labor problem. But I hope I have proven how much of a social philosopher Malthus was, to say nothing of his benevolence and his love for his kind. As Ingram says, “both he and his followers appear to have greatly exaggerated both the magnitude and the urgency of the dangers to which they pointed . . . . Because a force exists capable, if unchecked, of producing certain results, it does not follow that these results are imminent, or even possible in the sphere of experience. A body thrown from the hand would under the single impulse of projection move forever in a straight line; but it would not be reasonable to take special action for the prevention of this result, ignoring the fact that it will be sufficiently counteracted by the other forces which will come into play.”
Gertrude B. Kelly.
 By a Capitalist. Published by the Truth Seeker Company, 33 Clinton Place, New York.