Liberty Vol. V. No. 8.
Not the Daughter but the Mother of Order
In a great cause: the block may soak their gore;
Their heads may sodden in the sun; their limbs
Be strung to city gates and castle walls —
But still their spirit walks abroad. Though years
Elapse, and others share as dark a doom,
They but augment the deep and sweeping thoughts
Which overpower all others, and conduct
The world at last to freedom.
The Science of Society. By Stephen Pearl Andrews.
Cost the Limit of Price: A Scientific Measure of Honesty in Trade As One of the Fundamental Principles in the Solution of the Social Problem.
Continued from No. 111.
230. It follows from these considerations that all that class of risks,— now by far the most considerable,— which arise out of the contingencies of speculative commerce and the prevalent dishonestly of commercial nations appear as soon as true principles are in operation. Hence they cease to be taken into account as a basis of interest or rent of capital. The lender lends with entire confidence, resting upon the security of the property loaned,— which will remain in some form always on hand to meet his demand,— the actual risks from the accidents of nature being covered, so far as practicable, by insurance. He recognizes in principle that his capital earns nothing: hence, if it is surplus with him,— that is, if he desires to make no other present use of it than merely to preserve it,— it becomes at first immaterial to him whether it remains in his own custody or in the custody of a friend, while, in the second place, it is a relief to him to be freed from its administration in the intermediate time; and, finally, he will be, along with all the rest of the community, a participant in the benefits which will result to the whole public from having it occupied in any enterprise conducted upon the Cost Principle, Hence again it follows, as stated in the preceding chapter (222.), that “whoever evinces the highest grades of inventing and organizing talent will have the command, freely, of the requisite capital to aid the execution of his designs, limited only by the aggregate amount of surplus capital in the community, as compared with the number of such beneficent enterprises on foot.”
231. It is nevertheless true that under the operation of these principles there are circumstances in which the use of capital is fairly a matter of price. Such is the case whenever the capital loaned is not a surplus above present needs, and when, consequently, to make the loan at all is to postpone one’s own present enjoyment, and hence to endure a sacrifice,— to assume cost. It is the same with labor done for another at a time when it is an inconvenience to perform it. To render this distinction, and also the difference between the operation of true principles and of the present false principles, more obvious, let us assume an illustrative case.
Suppose twenty families of emigrants landing in Oregon. All need houses forthwith. But houses for all cannot be built at once. It is assumed, now, that it is morally and economically right that those who are willing to give the largest amount of their present wealth or future labor for the assistance of the others should have their houses built first, that the enhancement of price in consideration of credit is in the nature of interest, and hence that interest is right.
The answer is this: Cost has its positive and negative aspect. It includes, 1. Active performance of painful labor; 2. Passive suffering, sacrifice, deprivation, or endurance. Under this second head I legitimately charge a price for the surrender of the use of capital (my labor being also capital), at any time when it would be really advantageous to me to use it for myself; but the exact measure of the price of such surrender is the amount of that sacrifice,— not the amount of the benefit which I shall confer on another by making it. It is legitimate that the party who postpones building at a sacrifice to himself for the accommodation of another shall charge an enhanced price. So far we seem to go toward admitting the basis of interest, which is assumed. This enhancement of price is entirely different, however, from interest on money, as now in use. Such as it is, it is not only entirely harmonious with, but is absolutely demanded by, the Cost Principle, the foundation of the charge being the cost of pain endured.
232. You are right in assuming that, in the case put, an enhanced price should be charged. You are wrong in assuming that the measure of that enhanced price is the amount of present wealth or future labor which the several parties are respectively willing to give to obtain the accommodation. Those parties will be willing to give most who stand in want of shelter; in other words, those who suffer most from being unhoused; in other words, again, the weak and feeble, the invalid, the unprotected women and children. They are willing to give or promise most, because their wants are greatest; in other words, because the value to them of comfortable shelter is greater than it is to the robust and enduring. This, then, is the value principle, or the supply-and-demand principle, as it is sometimes called,— the false principle of commerce which now prevails,— the antipodes of the Cost Principle,— the true principle of commerce, which will prevail under the reign of Equity.
233. Let us see now the application of the Cost Principle to the case in hand. An enhanced price is to be charged by those who postpone their own accommodation, but that enhancement is measured by the amount of sacrifice or inconvenience suffered. Consequently the stronger, the healthy, and those most accustomed to hardships, will postpone their own accommodation for less augmentation of price than others, and the weak and suffering will be housed first, as they out to be morally, and at the cheapest rate, as the ought to be economically. A false principle always puts on the guise of a true principle. Hence, both the Value Principle and the Cost Principle promise the same thing, and will begin by building the houses of those who are in the greatest want first; but the Value Principle robs the weak for whom it builds, during the process, and then builds more magnificently for the strong, making hewers of wood and drawers of water of water of the weak for ever afterward. It is again seen, therefore, that the Value, or Supply-and-Demand Principle is the essential element of the civilized cannibalism which now prevails, and the Cost Principle the essential element of true or harmonic relations among men.
234. There is still another ground upon which a defense of interest is set up. It is said that trees grow, or, in other words, that property has a natural tendency to increase, and hence that a smaller amount of property in hand now is, upon natural principles, worth as much as a larger amount to come into possession one, two, or three years hence, and hence, again, that I ought to receive more in payment of a debt which is postponed, which is again in the nature of interest.
It has been stated that, in the case of a real inconvenience occasioned by a delay, a price is equitably paid. That admission does not, however, affect the case now put. Cases must be distinguished. It is not true that all wealth increases naturally by time. Some does so, while other kinds deteriorate. Let us apply the principle, however, to the case of an actual increase. It is a consequence of the Cost Principle that natural wealth bears no price; consequently the increase of natural wealth bears no increased price. For example: if cattle increase naturally upon the open prairie, and no human labor is bestowed upon their care, they are the common wealth of all mankind. If a given amount of labor is bestowed upon the care of a drove of one hundred, that amount of labor, or its equivalent, is the legitimate price of the drove. If, then, a drove of one hundred and fifty can be cared for just as well by the same labor, the legitimate price of the larger drove will be precisely the same as that of the smaller, for not value but cost is the limit of price. Hence, under the operation of the Cost Principle, there is no sacrifice to me in postponing the receipt of property due to me on the ground of its prospective natural increase, for, if there is no human labor added to produce the increase, the price remains the same, and I can at the future day purchase the larger quantity at the same rate as I should now give for the smaller. And again, if human labor contributes to the increase, then it is not natural or spontaneous increase, and there will be an augmentation of price; but in that case the augmentation will be merely a precise equivalent of human labor so bestowed, so that it becomes entirely indifferent with me whether I have the property now in possession and bestow upon it the necessary labor myself, or whether it remains in the possession of another, who bestows the labor, and to whom, at the expiration of the term, I give merely an equivalent,— that is, an equal amount of labor in some other form. Hence, while there is, under the auspices of the Value Principle, which now governs property relations and apparent sacrifice from the postponement of payment on the ground of natural increase, there is no ground of sacrifice, and consequently no basis for interest, under the Cost Principle.
235. I anticipate an objection like this. What is said here of natural wealth supposes an abundance of that species of wealth. What is said of the cattle on the prairie may be all right if there are enough cattle for all. But so soon as a scarcity occurs, will anyone who has possession of a drove divide with others for a due proportion of the labor he has bestowed upon it?
This is a mere question as to what men will do under the pressure of temptation to do wrong. It is clear that the only right the individual has to the drove more than others results from the labor he has bestowed upon it. That makes it his property. He can refuse to dispose of it if he requires it for his own use. If he does dispose of it, the just measure of price is the amount of labor bestowed. As he cannot augment that price, if he acts justly, by retaining it while pressed by the wants of others to dispose of it, the temptation to retain more than he requires for his own wants is removed. There is no motive left to act against his humanity, and, as humanity is an element in the nature of every man, it will of course act to induce him to dispose of what he can spare.
236. Still the objection is not fully answered without this additional statement. It is easy to act upon the true principle,— that is, there is less temptation to deviate from it,— just in proportion to the prevalence of general abundance and the complete adaptation of supply to demand; but, on the other hand, the greater prevalence of abundance and a more perfect adaptation of supply to demand grow directly out of the adoption of the principle. The exercise of the principle will create the atmosphere in which it can itself live with a more and more perfect life. A false principle now prevents the development and proper distribution of wealth. It is no impeachment of the true principle that, under the pressure of want created by the false one, there is a strong temptation to act in turn upon the false instead of the true one.
237. It will be seen, then, that although the Cost Principle allows sometimes of an augmentation of price on the ground of delay of payment, such augmentation is quite different from interest on money, as now understood. It is, nevertheless, the spice of truth contained in the proposition that delay is a sacrifice which gives plausibility to this argument for interest.
238. Interest differs from any such augmentation of price: 1. Because it relates to the value of benefit of the accommodation to the receiver, and not to the sacrifice or cost to the grantor. 2. Because it goes by rule, and, even when it professes to be based on cost, does not individualize the cases of real sacrifice, apparent sacrifice, and no sacrifice. 3. Because it claims to be based, in part, on the natural increase of wealth, whereas all natural wealth, and consequently the increase of natural wealth, is no legitimate basis of price whatsoever.
Everyone must admit the essential justice of the Cost Principle in its primary statement,— namely, that as much burden as you take for my sake so much am I bound to take for your sake. The logical consequences of that admission sweep all interest out of existence, so far as interest is an admission of the right of capital to accumulate more capital, and vindicate the claim of all mankind to the equal enjoyment of every species of natural wealth.
239. The reader must distinguish well between capital itself, and the capacity of capital of itself to make additional accumulations. The Cost Principle makes no attack upon capital. It recognizes capital as the legitimate accumulations of labor It simply denies that capital itself has any legitimate power, when not used by the owner, to accumulate more capital for him. But what, cries the fat citizen who lives on his rents and whose ideas are steeped in the actual routine of commerce, what is the use of capital which produces no income? It is of use, my good friend, simply for the purpose of being used. It is of use in the same manner, and for the same purpose, as honey accumulated in the hive is of use to the bees. Honey is made for the purpose of being consumed. From the time the bees cease to work, their store of wealth, ceasing to augment, begins to decrease. No contrivance has ever been hit upon among them by which the honey itself should go on making more honey after the bees retire from business. Hence, among bees, the rich do not become richer, nor the poor poorer, except in proportion as they work and eat. Under the operation of the true principles of industry and commerce the same will be true of mankind. Accumulations of wealth will be an object of ambition then, as now, because, so long as they last, they will exempt the owner from toil, if he chooses to be exempt. The man who has wealth will be in the condition of a man who has done his work. He can acquire wealth through his own labor, or through donations, bequests, or inheritance from friends. His capital will be invested in houses, shops, machinery, improvements upon lands, the Labor Notes of others, in everything, in fact, which is legitimately property, precisely as now; but such investments will bring him no rents, profits, or interest, as an augmentation of his capital. Whatever he withdraws, converts into a consumable shape, and consumes, will be so far a diminution of his capital stock, as it will be obvious to every candid mind that it should.
240. Let us look a little more specifically into this operation of the principle, as relates to the rent of lands and houses, the use of machinery, and the like. We have already noticed the effect as relates to the price of land when sold. (82.) On the same grounds there stated, and elsewhere illustrated, the rent of lands is nothing, provided they are maintained in as good a condition, in all respects, as that in which they were when received by him who hires them. If the owner maintains them in that condition, manuring them, fencing them, etc., then the rent is the equivalent of the cost of doing so. If the hirer puts the lands in a better condition than they were in when he received them, the price is due from the owner and renter of the lands to him, inverting the present order of payment, and is measured by the cost of such augmentation of value. So, if the owner sells the lands, it will be remembered that the price is the cost of the successive augmentations of value upon the soil since the land was in its natural state, and which still remain with it. Hence it follows that not only is all speculation on land extinguished, but along with it all temptation to monopolize the soil. There is no advantage in owning land which one does not want for his present uses, except this,— that one my foresee the probability of his requiring a particular lot for his subsequent private occupation, and may, for that reason, desire to retain the control of it, or rather the right which ownership confers to resume the control of it at a future time. The ownership of the disposable improvements or augmented value upon the soil may also be as convenient an investment for one’s surplus wealth as any other, since that can at any time be converted, by sale, into consumable property, to supply his wants. On the other hand, there is no advantage on the part of him who cultivates land in owning the land over hiring it of another, except in the permanency of his tenure. As a mere tenant, he may be required to remove at the expiration of his term for the convenience of another, but, so far as the profitableness of his occupancy is concerned, it is precisely the same whether he owns or hires.
241. As relates to the hiring of houses and structures of all sorts, the operation of the principle is the same. The rent is a mere equivalent of cost to the wear and tear of the premises. If the tenant keeps them in thorough repair, so that there is no depreciation of value, the rent is zero. If on the other hand, the deterioration is suffered to go on, the annual amount of that deterioration, as averaged upon the term which the property may last, is the annual rent, so that when the property is worn out the owner will have received a full equivalent for it, and have kept his capital good by other investments, or have consumed it by supply his own wants. Suppose, for example, a house upon a money calculation (all such calculations will be finally resolved into hours of labor or pounds of corn) costs ten thousand dollars, and is estimated to be capable of lasting two hundred years; the annual rent of it will then be fifty dollars per annum. The owner of such a building will then have an annual income of fifty dollars per annum in addition to his earnings from his own labor, which he will consume if he chooses, and at the expiration of the term of two hundred years the whole will be exhausted. If he owns such a property, and wishes to consume it more rapidly, he can sell it to such persons as wish to preserve their capital, and use up the proceeds. It follows that the more permanent the structure the less the rent, so that buildings capable of defying the inroads of time,— stone structures and the like, for example,— will command no rent at all. Still this is perfectly harmonious, since such edifices are a safe means of investing capital, which really earns nothing let it be invested where it may, and which can be reconverted at any time into consumable property by sale. Where capital earns nothing, selling is just as advantageous as renting, since renting is really selling piecemeal instead of in the gross. Hence, under those circumstances, it is no objection to the purchaser who has capital to invest that the stone house will bring no rent.
To be continued.
By Georges Sauton.
Translated from the French for Liberty by Sarah E. Holmes.
Continued from No. 111.
Their mutual burdens in this execrable tragedy balanced each other; their culpability was equal; perhaps his even surpassed that of the Duchess. Misled by a sort of rape, led astray by ungovernable passion afterwards, Ellen had been fatally, irresistibly led to the suppression of the obstacle which impeded the free exercise of her passion; her commendable feminine repugnance at being shared by two possessors had likewise guided her; and in truth, in such circumstances, the real crime was in having kindled this frenzy!
To the rebuke of the Duchess, he made no answer, and, bending over the catafalque, he contemplated the hideous body with a consternation absolutely edifying, but less that of an inconsolable son than of a repentant criminal, and Lady Ellen could not forbear saying so to him in a low voice, and exhorting him to circumspection.
Silently removing himself a few steps from the monks who were praying, and calmly touching the arm of the young woman, he simply asked her, with a kind of religious solemnity: “You have, then, no remorse?”
And he, in his astonishment, opened his eyes so wide that the impenitent Lady came near bursting into a laugh, and answered lightly, in a tone whose disdain was not concealed:
“Remorse! . . . Eagerness to have this ended, that is all; my lord lowered into and sealed within his tomb of stone!”
The left corner of her lips turned up with scorn, and in her eyes, where the gleam of the tapers was reflected, shot a look of pride, of defiance of the terrors of conscience, which sickened Richard, who could find only this exclamation for response: “What a frightful creature!”
And Ellen replied immediately, emphasizing her sickly irony with bravado:
“Because I have not to repent of an action which I have meditated for a long time and which frees me. The abominable crime? Is it a just, a merciful man that I have put out of existence? No: the object of universal execration, a rascal whose hands are red with the blood of a whole people. I have only anticipated the lover of justice who would sooner or later have punished him.”
“You should have waited for him.”
Richard answered mechanically, preoccupied by dull noises outside which struck his ear; and Ellen lashed him on account of this word which escaped him in his distraction:
“Wait! O the hypocrite, and to rejoice at my deliverance! The profit without the danger, an honest maxim! To desire ardently the death of some one, applaud it, have the benefit of it,— is not this, then, the crime, minus the boldness, the courage, to commit it?”
“Exactly!” said Bradwell, convinced. “But if, in the case of a natural death, only the having wished it constitutes a sufficient motive for remorse, we have a still stronger reason for being frightfully obsessed. . . . For my part — and the merited torment has already commenced — I shall never know again, by day or night, a moment’s rest.”
“Not so loud. Hush!” said Ellen, who thought that she saw the monk’s cowl move in a listening attitude. “Absorbed in prayer or asleep, they do not hear us.”
The uncertain voice of Richard provoked in Ellen an opposition which she formulated, and, looking at his terror-stricken face, she taunted him as a childish coward, afraid of a shadow or of a vain spectre.
“Your altered countenance will betray us; recover yourself; control your blood, your nerves!”
But, insensible to these griefs, Bradwell, without attempting to comfort her, listened, more and more frightened, passing through all the shades of alarm, and hardly controlling a trembling which aroused in the Duchess a protest of violent reproach. To explain his increasing emotion. Richard tried to induce her to listen also. The stifled tumult of a struggle near at hand, in which could be distinguished a moving of furniture, stamping, suppressed attempts at cries, and groans. . .
But Ellen discerned nothing of the kind and laughed at his hallucination, asking him if he had not been smoking hasheesh, like the old Treor.
“I swear to you,” affirmed Richard. “That all the tumult has your brain for its seat. I do not wish to pretend to be stronger than I am. I too, in the suffering of these latter days, in certain lapses of my energy, have been haunted by these noises which exist only in ourselves. Calm yourself, then!”
“Before the soldiers present themselves to arrest us,” resumed Bradwell, “you may rest assured I shall recover my serenity, and my countenance will not dishonor me. . . . But I admit that the unknown frightens me, and these noises which persist, and which I hear feebly but surely, revolutionize me. Hark! cries are breaking out. . . .”
“Hallucinations!” repeated the Duchess, testily; “the hallucination of the massacre in the recent battle. The victims, raised rotting from the soil, detached from their gibbets, are running to curse you, accompanied by their sisters, their daughters, their wives, and it is the chorus of these imprecations which rises in your demented brain.”
“No! no! They are killing people, I tell you!”
Lady Ellen listened out of complaisance; but not even the wind whistled in the chimneys. Some accident, she admitted, might have taken place; a cavalier dismounted, a beggar bitten by the dogs, or a scuffle of soldiers, such as often occurred, without reason, for a ration of gin, for nothing, for fun.
“This was not a scuffle, or simultaneous scuffles,” insisted Bradwell, “but a battle.”
“Between whom? Our Britons and the phantoms of the enemy exterminated everywhere?”
“No, perhaps not so completely; Paddy Neill, who, I believe, escaped from the carnage, and Harvey, who, as you know, succeeded in regaining his troops, and has taken command of them again to force the victory,— these two may have rallied the routed survivors fleeing from all the neighboring villages.”
“And you think they would lead them back into this region, occupied by numerous troops?”
“Yes, by outflanking them and baffling their vigilance, which perhaps is relaxing.”
“And for what end?”
“For vengeance!” said a grave voice.
“For vengeance!” added another voice, coming, like the first, from a cowl.
And, terrified by this sudden intervention, asking themselves who were these bold priests who responded in this manner to their interrogations, Ellen and Richard remained nailed to their places as they recognized, standing around the corpse, Edwige, the old servant of the priest of Bunclody, Edith, the mother of the soldier Michael, Paddy, whom they had either hanged or disemboweled, and Treor, Marian’s grandfather, who was dead!
Do the dead then return now? By the blow of this unexpected apparition, the incredulity of the Duchess was shaken, but not for long. She, like everyone else, had imagined Treor dead, when he still lived, his soul fastened to his old bones, and only in a faint. His friends caring for him with solicitude and perhaps with an empirical science which regular physicians do not possess, the old man had been raised from his pallet, not from the tomb; there was really no need to be frightened as if it were some supernatural manifestation!
Bradwell, on his side, so depressed, straightened himself proudly, fixing with defiance the phantoms, who remained unmoved, their arms extended towards him and towards Ellen!
The peril declared, he was prepared, and he marched deliberately up to Treor, who added, as solemnly and gravely as the God of the Christians in the pictures of the last judgment:
“We are here for your punishment!”
“It is I who punish rebels!” said, boldly, the son of Newington, and he called to his people to seize these four first.
But in the vestibules arose a confused murmur of whispering voices and stamping feet, the noise of a surge, of a human tide rising; and Lady Ellen, thinking that the persons invited to the obsequies were approaching, went precipitately to meet the flood and drive it back, till the required soldiers, seizing the troublesome mourners, should drag them outside. She recoiled, uttering exclamations of fright. A deep serried band of Irish, gloomy, fierce, with a look of the other world, was advancing, and their growls of anger, at sight of her, were not calculated to lead her to expect mercy from their tardy intervention.
She was conscious that they came to execute the threats contained in the warnings addressed to Richard, and, commencing to dread thoroughly the penalties promised Bradwell, but which she would evidently share, notwithstanding her desire to conceal her weakness, she called to her aid the servants, the officers, Lord Muskery Jennings, all those on whom a woman could count.
But at her cries, though the doors opened to make way for those whom she summoned, they all entered gagged, chained, pushed into the room by the Irish, whose compact mass filled all the outlets, and numbers of whom carried on their clothes large, damp, vermilion stains, which shone in the flame of the lamps; from their rags which fumed in the heat of the room exhaled a red steam with the characteristic odor of human blood recently shed.
“Your servants, your friends,” said Treor, “are prisoners or dead.”
“And you are going to assassinate us in our turn?” replied Lady Ellen, in whom the looks of the crowd of enemies, their features still contracted with the effort of the struggle, inspired a terror which she could not drive off. She tried, however, to conceal it before so many witnesses.
“We have assassinated no one,” responded Treor. “All those whom our brothers have stabbed, strangled, put to death in any fashion, we have particularly designated for capital punishment. Not one who has not perpetrated abominable crimes, who has not shown and paraded a gratuitous cruelty.
Soldiers! no: execrable executioners! pitiless persecutors! The loyal adversaries whom we know as such, who, in the battles have simply fought with valor, though they have killed more than one of ours, we have been contented to reduce to a state of absolute helplessness. Bound firmly, under bolts, or disarmed and sent away on parole, they live, and can tell the story of our justice. . . . which is going to judge you, Lady Ellen, Duchess of Newington, you, Richard Bradwell.”
Richard, folding his arms, without bluster, without wrath, as without fear, looked at the old man in acceptation of his irregular jurisdiction which he did not possess the power to challenge. Defiance, bravado, protestations, or even a pretence of commanding these men who held him in their hands, seemed to him nothing but swagger.
If the hour — and he felt it — had struck for him to answer for his crimes toward his father, well! he was ready, and he said simply and very clearly to Treor:
“Listen,” said the old man, slowly, and after a pause in which all became profoundly silent: “Richard Bradwell, you did not profess for our race the native hatred of your compatriots; far from that, even; your inclination was toward us, and nevertheless you have associated yourself, without the conviction which would excuse it, in the work of extermination carried on by your English brothers, and yon have surpassed them in fury.”
“No argument,” interrupted Bradwell, proudly, “no formality, no witnesses, no routine proceedings. The conclusion, promptly.”
“For those,” continued Treor, “whom you have ordered hanged without passion against them, national or personal, for those whom your soldiers, excited by you, have massacred like savages, the penalty of retaliation.”
“Yes! yes!” clamored all the Irish, over-excited, warming up at the recital of this odious crime.
“Then,” resumed the old man, “for these crimes the punishment indicates itself: shot and fastened then to the gibbet, food for the ravens, as an example to your sad fellows.”
“I am ready!” said Bradwell, relieved that he was not charged with the murder of Sir Newington, and not fearing death when life, as he had declared to Ellen, held for him only sleepless nights full of nightmares. Still calm, he took a few steps towards the Irish who claimed the task of his execution.
But Treor’s voice stopped him; it said: “Sir Richard Bradwell! listen to me again.”
And the son of Newington, turning back in astonishment, heard these words:
“You cannot be released with this liberating punishment, for the sentence which you would have incurred for the sole incriminating acts affirmed by me sinks into insignificance beside other crimes more monstrous yet, and, above all, more dishonoring, of which you know!”
“We are lost!” murmured the Duchess, seeking wildly in the crowd a clearing by which she might be permitted to escape, searching among the mass for a look of curiosity, of sympathy, of pity, which she might change into sudden love.
She implored, she tried to subjugate, promising herself entirely; in the eyes turned towards her by admirers of her beauty, of her radiant seductiveness, endeavoring to pour the corrupting philter which emanated from her whole person.
Sir Richard, still very firm but deathly white, waited, with forehead slightly bowed, while Treor explained himself farther:
“I see,” said the old man, “that you do not dream of denying, of opposing us with contradictions which, moreover, would be useless; nevertheless this sudden repentance comes too late to move us; at the time of our secret warnings you should have shown it, and complied with our injunctions, which were sufficiently imperative.”
There was no response, and a murmur of astonishment ran through those present, friends and enemies, who were ignorant of the charge against the son and the widow of Newington and who questioned each other, Lord Muskery and the other frequenters of the castle protesting in advance. And, feeling herself sustained by these, the Duchess overcame the cowardice which had taken possession of her, body and soul, brightened her pale features, and resolved to save herself by a daring attitude.
“Of what horrible, dishonoring crimes am I, then, guilty?” she demanded, superb and haughty.
On a sign from Treor, the old servant of Sir Richmond, who had been silent, then spoke:
To be continued.
“In abolishing rent and interest, the last vestiges of old-time slavery, the Revolution abolishes at one stroke the sword of the executioner, the seal of the magistrate, the club of the policeman, the gunge of the exciseman, the erasing-knife of the department clerk, all those insignia of Politics, which young Liberty grinds beneath her heel.” — Proudhon.
To the Breach, Comrades!
Of the tragedy just enacted at Chicago, what is there to say? Of a deed so foul perpetrated upon men so brave, what words are not inadequate to paint the blackness on the one hand and the glory on the other? My heart was never so full, my pen never so halt. As I write, the dying shout of noble Spies comes back to me from the scaffold: At this moment our silence is more powerful than speech. But, who speaks or who keeps silent, all of us, I am certain, will from this time forth face the struggle before us with stouter hearts and firmer tread for the examples that have been set us by our murdered comrades. If we add to these a clearer vision, the result will not be doubtful.
And when it is achieved and history shall begin to make up its verdict, it will be seen and acknowledged that the John Browns of America’s industrial revolution were hanged at Chicago on the Eleventh of November, 1887. The labor movement has had its Harper’s Ferry; when will come the emancipation proclamation?
Not good-by, but hail, brothers! telegraphed Josephine Tilton to Albert Parsons on the morning of the fatal day; “from the gallows trap the march shall be taken up. I will listen for the beating of the drum.”
The drum-tap has sounded; the forlorn hope has charged; the needed breach has been opened; myriads are falling into line; if we will but make the most of the opportunity so dearly purchased, victory will be ours.
It shall be; it must be!
For, as Proudhon says, “like Nemesis of old, whom neither prayers nor threats could move, the Revolution advances, with sombre and inevitable tread, over the flowers with which its devotees strew its path, through the blood of its champions, and over the bodies of its enemies.”
A New Organ of Philosophical Anarchy.
Of a paper which lately appeared, and which, though not editorially Anarchistic, announced none but Anarchistic contributors,— I refer to “Nemesis,” which died with its first number,— it became necessary to frame an estimate for these columns which could not be otherwise than disparaging. Today confronts me with the pleasanter task of extending my warmest welcome and heartiest tribute of praise to another new paper, which has not only a splendid list of Anarchistic contributors, but an Anarchistic editor as well.
I say a new paper though it professes to be an old and revived, because this profession is not borne out by the facts. The title only is a revival; the paper itself is a birth. The title is the one formerly used by A. R. Parsons,— hallowed be his name! — but the “Alarm” now issued by Dyer D. Lum at Chicago is not Parsons’s “Alarm” by any means. The name, to be sure, fitted the latter as it does the former, for Parsons sounded the alarm against the social dangers surrounding us in as noble a spirit as that which now prompts Lum; but Lum has the advantage over Parsons of knowing and understanding as Parsons did not the principles whose adoption can alone eliminate and overcome these dangers. Lum’s “Alarm” stands on a platform differing as widely as Liberty’s from that on which Parsons’s “Alarm” stood. In fact, it stands on Liberty’s platform identically. Here-is-its-announcement of “Fundamental Principles”:
Equality or Opportunities for All. — Hence, extinction of privilege and restriction, protection and oppression, chartered rights and vested wrongs.
Free Land, Mutual Credit, and Equitable Commerce. — Hence, abolition of rent, interest, and profits.
Sovereignty of the Individual. — Hence, liberty, the cessation of authority, or industrial emancipation and social cooperation.
This is not the Communism which Parsons’s “Alarm” preached so bravely, but its diametrical opposite, the “philosophical Anarchism” of Liberty, and Liberty is proud of the latest fruit of the seed which it has sown. For it is as true that this new paper, transformed from a Communistic to an Anarchistic organ, and now edited by a man who was a State Socialist and a Greenbacker when Liberty first appeared and who still later spent some effort in the futile endeavor to make a patchwork of Communism and Anarchism, is an outgrowth of Liberty’s work as that Liberty, in its turn, was an outgrowth of the teachings of Warren and Andrews and Proudhon and Greene.
The first number of the paper keeps well up to the platform; few traces are shown of that tendency to compromise which has sometimes occasioned differences between Comrade Lum and myself; excellent special features are offered as attractions; and a list of contributors is announced which contains the names of George Schumm, Georgia Replogle, and the Kellys, whom I congratulate on having found a worthier channel than “Nemesis” for their thoughts. In view of these considerations, I ask for the “Alarm” all the aid that Liberty’s friends can afford it. It is of the greatest importance that such a paper should be published at Chicago, and the man who has the bravery to undertake it deserves copious encouragement. The price is $1.50 a year, but subscriptions will be received until January 1, 1888, at $1.00 a year. Letters should be addressed to “Dyer D. Lum, Room 23, 169 Washington Street, Chicago, Ill.”
The old “Alarm” is dead! Long live the new “Alarm”!
General Walker and the Anarchists.
Ladies and Gentlemen,— Some four years ago I had occasion to write a criticism of a work then new,— Professor Ely’s “French and German Socialism in Modern Times,”— and I began it with these paragraphs:
It is becoming the fashion in these days for the parsons who are hired, either directly or indirectly, consciously or unconsciously, to whitewash the sins of the plutocrats, and for the professors who are hired, either directly or indirectly, consciously or unconsciously, to educate the sons of the plutocrats to continue in the transgressions of their fathers,— it is becoming the fashion for these to preach sermons, deliver lectures, or write books on Socialism, Communism, Anarchism, and the various other phases of the modern labor movement. So general, indeed, has become the practice that any one of them who has not done something in this line begins to feel a vague sense of delinquency in the discharge of his obligations to his employer, and consequently scarce a week passes that does not inflict upon a suffering public from these gentlemen some fresh clerical or professorial analysis, classification, interpretation, and explanation of the ominous overhanging social clouds which conceal the thunderbolt that, unless the light of Liberty and Equity dissipates them in time, is to destroy their masters’ houses.
The attitudes assumed are as various as the authors are numerous. Some are as lowering as the clouds themselves; others as beaming as the noonday sun. One would annihilate with the violence of his fulminations; another would melt with the warmth of his flattery and the persuasiveness of conciliation. These foolishly betray their spirit of hatred by threats and denunciation; those shrewdly conceal it behind fine words and honeyed phrases. The latest manifestation coming to our notice is of the professedly disinterested order. Richard T. Ely, associate professor of political economy in the Johns Hopkins University at Baltimore and lecturer on political economy in Cornell University, Ithaca, N. Y., comes to the front with a small volume on “French and German Socialism in Modern Times,” the chapters of which, now somewhat rewritten, were originally so many lectures to the students under his charge, and substantially (not literally) announces himself as follows: “Attention! Behold! I am come to do a service to the friends of law and order by expounding the plans and purposes of the honest but mistaken enemies of law and order. But, whereas nearly all my predecessors in this field have been unfair and partial, I intend to be fair and impartial.” And we are bound to say that this pretence has been maintained so successfully throughout the book that it can hardly fail to mislead every reader who has not in advance the good fortune to know more than the author about his subject.
I quote these paragraphs at the beginning of this paper, because I was forcibly reminded of them on reading the other day in the Boston “Post” a long and very interesting report of an address on Anarchism and Socialism, delivered the previous evening before the Trinity Club of this city by General Francis A. Walker, president of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. The tone of the address, like that of Professor Ely’s book, was seemingly so fair; there was such an apparent effort to carefully discriminate between the different schools of Socialism, and to bestow words of praise wherever, in the speaker’s judgment, such were deserved; and a disposition was so frankly exhibited to find important elements of truth in Socialistic teachings,— that I myself, usually so wary and so doubtful of the possibility of any good issuing from the Nazareth of orthodox political economy, was misled, not indeed into acquiescence in the speaker’s errors, which were many and egregious, but into a belief in his honesty of purpose and his genuine desire to understand his opponents and represent them accurately. This man, said I to myself, is ready to be set right.
So I wrote him a letter, asking the privilege of an hour’s interview. The request was phrased as politely as my knowledge of English and of the requirements of courtesy would permit. I congratulated General Walker on his evident disposition to be fair, but hinted as delicately as I could that certain things had escaped him and certain others have misled him. I assured him that I had no expectation of converting him to my views, but was confident that I could give him a better understanding of Anarchism. I told him that, if necessary, I would give him references among the foremost Socialists of America as to my competency to accurately represent Anarchism, and added that for three years I was a regular student in the educational institution of which he is now at the head.
A day or two later I received this reply:
Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Boston, October 27, 1887.
Dear Sir: — Your letter of the 25th inst. is received.
I regret that I have not time to go into the subject of Anarchism, as you propose. The report of my speech before the Trinity Club, on the 24th, was altogether unauthorized. I was assured that I was addressing a private club, informally; and, at the last, only assented to the title of the lecture being mentioned.
I dare say the report was also incorrect. Such reports generally are. I have not read it.
Francis A. Walker
This letter completely dissolved my illusion. It showed me at once that General Walker’s fairness, like that of his brother economist, Professor Ely, lay entirely on the surface,— the only difference between them, perhaps, being that, while Professor Ely falsified deliberately and with knowledge of the truth, General Walker spoke in ignorance, though posing as a teacher, and became a hypocrite only after the fact, by refusing to know the truth or have it pointed out to him. Here is a man, famous as an economist, with a reputation to sustain, who has time to prepare and deliver, or else to deliver without preparation, before a private club, on the uppermost and most important question of the day, an address so long that even an inadequate report of it filled a column and a half of the Boston Post, but has not one hour in which to listen to proof offered in substantiation of a charge of gross error inferred against him by one who for fifteen years has made this question a subject of special study.
It will not do for him to plead in excuse that the “Post’s” report, which he has not read, may be incorrect, and that therefore the charge of error may be based on statements unwarrantably attributed to him. It so happens that it falls to my lot as a daily journalist to revise and prepare for publication reports of all descriptions to the number of several hundred a week, and in consequence I know an intelligent report when I see one as infallibly as a painter knows a good picture when he sees one. In the report in question there may be minor inaccuracies; as to that I cannot say: but as a whole it is a report of uncommon excellence and intelligence. Given a report containing a mass of errors, if these errors are the reporter’s, they will be a jumble; if, on the other hand, they bear a definite relation to each other and proceed from a common and fundamental error, it is sure that they are not the reporter’s errors, but the lecturer’s. In this case the error fallen into at the start is so consistently held to and so frequently repeated that it would be contrary to the law of chances to hold the reporter responsible for it; General Walker must answer for it himself. And as he will not listen to a private demonstration offered in a friendly spirit, I am compelled to submit him to a public demonstration offered in a somewhat antagonistic spirit.
What, then, is the fundamental error into which General Walker falls? It is this,— that, in trying, as he claims, to set Anarchism before his hearers as it is seen by its most intelligent advocates, he discriminates between men of whom he instances Prince Kropotkine as typical, as intelligent exponents of scientific Anarchy on the one hand, and, on the other hand, men like the seven under sentence at Chicago as unintelligent, ignorant, ruffianly scoundrels, who call themselves Anarchists, but are not Anarchists.
Now, I perfectly agree with General Walker that the Chicago men call themselves Anarchists, but are not Anarchists. And inasmuch as my subject compels me to say something in criticism of these men’s opinions and inasmuch also as five days hence they are to die upon the gallows, victims of a tyranny as cruel, as heartless, as horrible, as blind as any that ever bloodied history’s pages, you will excuse me, I am sure, if I interrupt my argument, almost before beginning it, long enough to qualify my criticism in advance by a word of tribute and a declaration of fellowship. Instead of ruffianly scoundrels, these men are noble-hearted heroes deeply in love with order, peace, and harmony,— loving these so deeply, in fact, that they have not remained contented with any platonic affection worshipping them as ideals ever distant, but have given their lives to a determined effort to win and enjoy them to the fullest. I differ with them vitally in opinion; I disapprove utterly their methods; I dispute emphatically their Anarchism, but as brothers, as dear comrades, animated by the same love, and working, in the broad sense, in a common cause than which there never was a grander, I give them both my hands and my heart in them. Far be it from me to shirk in the slightest the solidarity that unites us. Were I to do so, for trivial ends or from ignoble fears, I should despise myself as a coward. For these brave men I have no apologies to make; I am proud of their courage, I glory in their devotion. If they shall be murdered on Friday next, I fear that the vile deed will prove fraught with consequences from which, if its perpetrators could foresee them, even they, brutes as they are, would recoil in horror and dismay.
I say, however, with General Walker, that these men are not Anarchists, though they call themselves so. But if I prove that Prince Kropotkine agrees with them exactly, both as to the form of social organization to be striven for and as to the methods by which to strive for and sustain it, I show thereby that, as they are not Anarchists, he is not one, that General Walker’s discrimination is therefore a false one, and that, in making it, he showed utter ignorance of the nature of Anarchism proper. Now, precisely that I propose to prove.
To this end the first question to be asked is: What is the Socialistic creed of the Chicago men? It is a very simple one, consisting of two articles: 1, that all natural wealth and products of labor should be held in common, produced by each according to his powers and distributed to each according to his needs, through the administrative mechanism and under the administrative control of workingmen’s societies organized by trades; 2, that every individual should have perfect liberty in all things except the liberty to produce for himself and to exchange with his neighbors outside the channels of the prescribed mechanism. Not stopping to consider here how much any liberties would be worth without the liberty to produce and exchange, I proceed to the second question. How do the Chicago men propose that their creed shall be realized? The answer to this is simpler still, consisting of but one article: that the working people should arm themselves, rise in revolution, forcibly expropriate every proprietor, and then form the necessary workingmen’s societies, whose first duty should be to feed, clothe, and shelter the masses out of the common stock, whose second duty should be to organize production for the renewal of the stock, and whose third duty should be to suppress by whatever heroic measures all rebellious individuals who should at any time practically assert their right to produce and exchange for themselves. The literature circulated by this school is now so well known that I do not need to make quotations from it to show that its teachings are as I have stated. I assume that this will not be disputed. It remains to consider whether Kropotkine’s teachings materially differ from them. I claim that they do not, and, as Kropotkine’s writings are less familiar to Americans, it is necessary to prove this claim by quotations. His chief work is written in French, a volume of some 350 pages entitled “Paroles d’un Révolté” (“Words of a Rebel”). The title of the closing chapter is “Expropriation.” From that chapter I now translate and quote as follows:
We have to put an end to the iniquities, the vices, the crimes which result from the idle existence of some and the economic, intellectual, and moral servitude of others. The problem is an immense one. But, since past centuries have left this problem to our generation; since we find ourselves under the historical necessity of working for its complete solution,— we must accept the task. Moreover, we are no longer obliged to grope in the dark for the solution. It has been imposed upon us by history, simultaneously with the problem; it has been and is being stated boldly in all European countries, and it sums up the economic and intellectual development of our century. It is Expropriation; it is Anarchy.
If social wealth remains in the hands of the few who possess it to-day; if the workshop, the dockyard, and the factory remain the property of the employer; if the railways, the means of transportation, continue in the hands of the companies and the individuals who have monopolized them; if the houses of the cities as well as the country-seats of the lords remain in possession of their actual proprietors, instead of being placed, from the beginning of the revolution, at the gratuitous disposition of all laborers; if all accumulated treasure, whether in the banks or in the houses of the wealthy, does not immediately go back to the collectivity — since all have contributed to produce it; if the insurgent people do not take possession of all the goods and provisions amassed in the great cities and do not organize to put them within the reach of all who need them; if the land, finally, remains the property of the bankers and usurers,— to whom it belongs to-day, in fact, if not in law,— and if the great tracts of real estate are not taken away from the great proprietors, to be put within the reach of all who wish to labor on the soil; if, further, there is established a governing class to dictate to a governed class,— the insurrection will not be a revolution, and everything will have to be begun over again. . .
Expropriation,— that, then, is the watchword which is imposed upon the next revolution, under penalty of failing in its historic mission. The complete expropriation of all who have the means of exploiting human beings. The return to common ownership by the nation of all that can serve in the hands of any one for the exploitation of others.
This extract covers all the doctrines of the Chicago men, does it not? That it covers common property and distribution according to needs no one can question. That it covers the denial of the right of individual production and exchange is equally clear. Kropotkine says, it is true, that he would allow the individual to access the land; but as he proposes to strip him of capital entirely, and as he declares a few pages further on that without capital agriculture is impossible, it follows that such access is an empty privilege not at all equivalent to the liberty of individual production. But one point remains,— that of the method of expropriation by force; and if any one still feels any doubt of Kropotkine’s belief in that, let me remove it by one more quotation:
We must see clearly in private property what it really is, a conscious or unconscious robbery of the substance of all, and seize it joyfully for the common benefit when the hour of revendication shall strike. In all former revolutions, when it was a question of replacing a king of the elder branch by a king of the younger branch or of substituting lawyers for lawyers in the best of republics, proprietors succeeded proprietors and the social régime had not to change. Accordingly the placards, Death to robbers! which were placed at the entrance of every palace were in perfect harmony with the current morality, and many a poor devil caught touching a coin of the king, or perhaps even the bread of the baker, was shot as an example of the justice administered by the people.
The worthy national guard, incarnating in himself all the infamous solemnity of the laws which the monopolists had framed for the defence of their property, pointed with pride to the body stretched across the steps of the palace, and his comrades hailed him as an avenger of the law. Those placards of 1830 and 1848 will not be seen again upon the walls of insurgent cities. No robbery is possible where all belongs to all. Take and do not waste, for it is all yours, and you will need it. But destroy without delay all that should be overthrown, the bastilles and the prisons, the forts turned against the cities and the unhealthy quarters in which you have so long breathed an atmosphere charged with poison. Install yourselves in the palaces and mansions, and make a bonfire of the piles of bricks and rotten wood of which the sinks in which you have lived were constructed. The instinct of destruction, so natural and so just because it is at the same time the instinct of renovation, will find ample room for satisfaction.
Nothing more incendiary than that was ever uttered in the Haymarket or on the lake front at Chicago by the most rabid agitator of that volcanic city. And if further proof were needed, it could readily be found in the columns of Kropotkine’s paper, “Le Révolté,” in which he lately lauded to the skies as a legitimate act of propagandism the conduct of a member of his party named Duval, who, after a fashion externally indistinguishable from that of a burglar, broke into a house in Paris and plundered it, and who afterwards vindicated his course in court as deliberately entered upon in pursuance of his principles.
In view of these things, I submit that General Walker has no warrant whatever for referring to such men as Kropotkine as true Anarchists and “among the best men in the world,” while in the same breath he declares (I use his words as reported in the “Post”) that “the mobs at the Haymarket were composed of pickpockets, housebreakers, and hoodlums,” and that “the ruffians who are called Anarchists who formed the mob in the Haymarket in Chicago were not Anarchists.” If Kropotkine is an Anarchist, then the Chicago men are Anarchists; if the Chicago men are not Anarchists, then Kropotkine is not an Anarchist. If the Chicago men are pickpockets and housebreakers, then Kropotkine is a pickpocket and housebreaker; if Kropotkine is not a pickpocket and housebreaker, then the Chicago men are not pickpockets and housebreakers. The truth is that neither of them are housebreakers in the ordinary sense of the term, but that both of them, in advocating and executing the measures that they do, however unjustifiable, these may be from the standpoint of justice and reason, are actuated by the highest and most humane motives. And as to their Anarchism, neither of them are Anarchists. For Anarchism means absolute liberty, nothing more, nothing less. Both Kropotkine and the Chicago men deny liberty in production and exchange, the most important of all liberties,— without which, in fact, all other liberties are of no value or next to none. Both should be called, instead of Anarchists, Revolutionary Communists
In making this discrimination which does not discriminate, General Walker showed that he does not know what Anarchism is. Had he known, he would have drawn his line of discrimination in a very different direction,— between real Anarchists like P. J. Proudhon, Josiah Warren, Lysander Spooner, and their followers, who believe in the liberty of production and exchange, and miscalled Anarchists like Kropotkine and the Chicago men, who deny that liberty. But of the true Anarchism he seems never to have heard. For he says:
All Anarchistic philosophy presumes the Communistic reorganization of society. No Anarchist claims that the principles of Anarchy can be applied to the present or capitalistic state of society. Prince Kropotkine, in common with other Anarchistic writers, claims that the next move of society will be free Communism. We must understand that Anarchism means Communism.
So far is this from true, that Communism was rejected and despised by the original Anarchist, Proudhon, as it has been by his followers to this day. Anarchism would to-day be utterly separate from Communism if the Jurassian Federation in Switzerland, a Communistic branch of the International, had not broken from the main body in 1873 and usurped the name of Anarchism for its own propaganda, which propaganda, having been carried on with great energy from that day to this, has given General Walker and many others an erroneous idea of Anarchism. To correct this idea we must go to the fountain-head.
In 1840 Proudhon published his first important work, “What is Property? or, An Inquiry into the Principle of Right and of Government.” In it the following passage may be found:
What is to be the form of government in the future? I hear some of my younger readers reply: “Why, how can you ask such a question? You are a republican.” “A republican! Yes; but that word specifies nothing. Res publica; that is, the public thing. Now, whoever is interested in public affairs — no matter under what form of government — may call himself a republican. Even kings are republicans.” — “Well, you are a democrat?” — “No.” — “What! you would have a monarchy?” — “No.” — “A constitutionalist?” — “God forbid.” — “You are then an aristocrat?” — “Not at all.” — “You want a mixed government?” — “Still less.” — “What are you, then?” — “I am an Anarchist.”
“Oh! I understand you; you speak satirically. This is a hit at the government.” — “By no means. I have just given you my serious and well-considered profession of faith. Although a firm friend of order, I am (in the full force of the term) an Anarchist. Listen to me.”
He then traces in a few pages the decline of the principle of authority, and arrives at the conclusion that, in a given society, the authority of man over man is inversely proportional to the stage of intellectual development which that society has reached; that, just as the right of force and the right of artifice retreat before the steady advance of justice, and must finally be extinguished in equality, so the sovereignty of the will yields to the sovereignty of the reason, and must at last be lost in scientific Socialism; and that, as man seeks justice in equality, so society seeks order in Anarchy.
This is the first instance on record, so far as I have been able to discover, of the use of the word Anarchy to denote, not political chaos, but the ideal form of society to which evolution tends. These words made Proudhon the father of the Anarchistic school of Socialism. His use of the word and its adoption by his followers gave it its true standing in political and scientific terminology. Proudhon, then, being the Anarchist par excellence, let us examine his attitude towards Communism in order to test thereby General Walker’s assertion that all Anarchistic philosophy presumes the Communistic reorganization of society and that Anarchism means Communism.
It probably will surprise many who know nothing of Proudhon save his declaration that property is robbery to learn that he was perhaps the most vigorous hater of Communism that ever lived on this planet. But the apparent inconsistency vanishes when you read his book and find that by property he means simply legally privileged wealth or the power of usury, and not at all the possession by the laborer of his products. Of such possession he was a stanch defender. Bearing this in mind, listen now to the few paragraphs which I shall read from “What is Property?” and which are separated only by a dozen pages from what I have already quoted from the same work:
I ought not to conceal the fact that property and communism have been considered always the only possible forms of society. This deplorable error has been the life of property. The disadvantages of communism are so obvious that its critics never have needed to employ much eloquence to thoroughly disgust men with it. The irreparability of the injustice which it causes, the violence which it does to attractions and repulsions, the yoke of iron which it fastens upon the will, the moral torture to which it subjects the conscience, the debilitating effect which it has upon society; and, to sum it all up, the pious and stupid uniformity which it enforces upon the free, active, reasoning, unsubmissive personality of man have shocked common sense, and condemned communism by an irrevocable decree.
The authorities and examples cited in its favor disprove it. The communistic republic of Plato involved slavery; that of Lycurgus employed Helots, whose duty it was to produce for their masters, thus enabling the latter to devote themselves exclusively to athletic sports and to war. Even J. J. Rousseau — confounding communism and equality — has said somewhere that, without slavery, he did not think equality of conditions possible. The communities of the early Church did not last the first century out, and soon degenerated into monasteries. In those of the Jesuits of Paraguay, the condition of the blacks is said by all travellers to be as miserable as that of slaves; and it is a fact that the good Fathers were obliged to surround themselves with ditches and walls to prevent their new converts from escaping. The followers of Babœuf — guided by a lofty horror of property rather than by any definite belief — were ruined by exaggeration of their principles; the St. Simonians, lumping communism and inequality, passed away like a masquerade. The greatest danger to which society is exposed to-day is that of another shipwreck on this rock.
Singularly enough, systematic communism — the deliberate negation of property — is conceived under the direct influence of the proprietary prejudice; and property is the basis of all communistic theories.
The members of a community, it is true, have no private property; but the community is proprietor, and proprietor not only of the goods, but of the persons and wills. In consequence of this principle of absolute property, labor, which should be only a condition imposed upon man by Nature, becomes in all communities a human commandment, and therefore odious. Passive obedience, irreoncilable with a reflecting will, is strictly enforced. Fidelity to regulations, which are always defective, however wise they may be thought, allows of no complaint. Life, talent, and all the human faculties are the property of the State, which has the right to use them as it pleases for the common good. Private associations are sternly prohibited, in spite of the likes and dislikes of different natures, because to tolerate them would be to introduce small communities within the large one, and consequently private property; the strong work for the weak, although this ought to be left to benevolence, and not enforced, advised, or enjoined; the industrious work for the lazy, although this is unjust; the clever work for the foolish, although this is absurd; and, finally, man — casting aside his personality, his spontaneity, his genius, and his affections — humbly annihilates himself at the feet of the majestic and inflexible Commune!
Communism is inequality, but not as property is. Property is the exploitation of the weak by the strong. Communism is the exploitation of the strong by the weak. In property, inequality of conditions is the result of force, under whatever name it be disguised: physical and mental force; force of events, chance, fortune; force of accumulated property, etc. In communism, inequality springs from placing mediocrity on a level with excellence. This damaging equation is repellent to the conscience, and causes merit to complain; for, although it may be the duty of the strong to aid the weak, they prefer to do it out of generosity,— they never will endure a comparison. Give them equal opportunities of labor, and equal wages, but never allow their jealousy to be awakened by mutual suspicion of unfaithfulness in the performance of the common task.
Communism is oppression and slavery. Man is very willing to obey the law of duty, serve his country, and oblige his friends; but he wishes to labor when he pleases, where he pleases, and as much as he pleases. He wishes to dispose of his own time, to be governed only by necessity, to choose his friendships, his recreation, and his discipline; to act from judgment, not by command; to sacrifice himself through selfishness, not through servile obligation. Communism is essentially opposed to the free exercise of our faculties, to our noblest desires, to our deepest feelings. Any plan which could be devised for reconciling it with the demands of the individual reason and will would end only in changing the thing while preserving the name. Now, if we are honest truth-seekers, we shall avoid disputes about words.
Thus, communism violates the sovereignty of the conscience, and equality; the first, by restricting spontaneity of mind and heart, and freedom of thought and action; the second, by placing labor and laziness, skill and stupidity, and even vice and virtue on an equality in point of comfort. For the rest, if property is impossible on account of the desire to accumulate, communism would soon become so through the desire to shirk.
This extract sufficiently disposes of General Walker’s claim. He probably has never read it. In fact, I should judge from his address to the Trinity Club that his sole knowledge of Anarchism was derived from one very mild article written by Prince Kropotkine for the “Nineteenth Century.” I think I have proven what I started to prove,— that his discriminations between Anarchists have no existence outside of his own imagination, and that he knows next to nothing of this subject, upon which he professes to teach others. His addressed contained a number of other errors which I might as easily expose, had not this paper already extended beyond the limits originally set for it. Time also forbids me to explain the true idea of Anarchism. That I must leave for some future occasion. The lesson that I have endeavored to teach to-day I find stated by General Walker. He says: “Even our public speakers themselves exhibit a gross ignorance of the principles of Anarchism and Socialism as they are held by large bodies of intelligent men.” Of all his remarks to the Trinity Club, that was nearly the only one the truth of which he succeeded in establishing; and that one he established, not by argument, but by the object-teacher’s method of personal illustration and example.
Despotism Not a Matter of Form.
[New York Sun.]
Government has been the only form of social organization in the past that proved very effective, and to many men it is the only form of organization that can be conceived. It seems preposterous to some persons to say that there shall be any organization whatever unless it be directed and controlled by an overshadowing central authority able to make or unmake according to its pleasure, and exercising its functions under the plea of either divine right or popular right. But divine right and popular right are two forms of expression which correspond with each other in a very startling degree when placed in opposition to individual, personal, or local right. If our social order means anything, it means the enfranchisement of the individual and his right to the control of any legitimate force that he may choose to put in operation in his own behalf. It may be that the framers of our constitution did not sufficiently emphasize their purpose; but they never expected to have to do the thinking for all posterity. Their meaning was clear enough. The position of a communal slave would be even more intolerable than the position of the slave to a personal ruler. The master of the former would be more watchful, more tyrannical, and more free from a sense of personal responsibility than the master of the latter. A nominally republican government exercising despotic powers would be incomparably worse, while it lasted, than a personal despotism. But it would not last very long; for no one would wish to see it last, and it would have no defenders.
There is no remedy for social ills in politics. If some people are poor and dependent, and if there is want and suffering in the world which might be averted, it is a financial problem, and the resources of finance are sufficient for its solution. Men cannot stand alone, it is true, and expect to escape the consequences of their selfishness. But neither can they be mastered under the control of bosses placed too far above them to be held responsible, and find their circumstances made anything but worse. Certainly, if they are poor because they are oppressed, they will not escape from their poverty by increasing and strengthening the agencies of oppression. But their poverty is not due to oppression. Men are born into the world without clothes, and though a few may be born with silver spoons in their mouths, it is not the common lot, and most men have their spoons to get. But they can all get them when they learn to help themselves by helping each other.
It seems almost a pity sometimes that Government in this country was ever intrusted with either the post-office business or the coinage of money. It was possibly unavoidable at the time of the adoption of the constitution; but three-fourths of the agencies of exchange are now furnished through financial institutions, and under suitable regulations for security those institutions could furnish the remainder, and help to break down the dependent, slavish, but at the same time usurping spirit which is growing up in the community.
Anarchy in Northeastern Asia.
[Work and Wages.]
For several weeks past I have been cruising along this extreme northeastern shore of Asia from this point for one hundred and fifty miles or more to the south, visiting several settlements of the natives and studying their customs and modes of living; and as these people are practically unknown to the world let me give the readers of “Work and Wages” a few facts in relation to them.
Whalemen have got to calling the natives of these shores from Cape Navarin north to and around East Cape for an indefinite distance, “Masinkers”. This is from the fact that, when ships first came up here thirty years ago or more, the natives would point to themselves and say, “Masinker”. This was interpreted at first to be their name, but it was simply an attempt to make the new comers understand that they were among good (masinker being their word for good) or peaceable people. Since then the name has clung to them, and I shall call them such, for the general term of Eskimo would be too general and indefinite.
The only law here is the one born in every human breast: “Do unto others as you would that they should do unto you.” If a man wants to move his family and effects to another spot or settlement, there is nobody to object or interfere. If he wants to be in bed all day, there is no one outside of his family who cares. If he does not want to go hunting, all well and good, for only himself and family are the sufferers. No on a outside of his family is dependent on him, nor he or his family dependent upon anybody else. In short, every Musinker is an independent sovereign. He may live in a comparatively large settlement, but there is no chief or council or other government to say, “You shall,” or “You shall not.” He may go “walrusing” or “sealing,” and whatever he gets is his own; he has no tax to pay, nobody to divide with. If he wants to go to such extremes as to murder his wife or anybody else, there is no law to punish him, but just as sure as a murderer does not commit suicide, the friends of the murdered person will kill him. If his son or brother should take up the feud, both families might in the end be killed off.
Experience has taught the Masinker that it is not best to go it alone at all times; he has found that it is better to go in company with one more, but more probably several more. In whaling it has been found that the most successful results are obtained by three canoes going in company. And here comes in he Masinker’s spirit of justice. Every man, woman, and child who takes part in the whaling gets a certain “lay” or percentage, just as every man in the whale-ship gets his lay. It is customary to give a bucket of ship bread to every canoe that comes alongside a whaler, and that bread is as carefully divided, to a small fraction, among all those in the boat as is the whale among all those present at the catching.
It will be seen that the Masinkers have everything necessary for the making of a typical community that has been advocated so much, for there is perfect freedom of action and no restraint. If misfortune comes upon a family and starvation seems imminent, the neighbors will put their own families on short allowance to aid them. Should both parents die leaving children, each child will he adopted into some other family and cared for as tenderly and carefully as though it were born there. These people do not lie to each other. Neither do they steal from each other. Every Masinker knows that such misconduct would result in his being driven from house and home, to die, and that nobody in his own or any other settlement would care for or feed him.
Herbert L. Aldrich.
At Anchor Under East Cape, June 20, 1887.
Indictments by Wholesale.
At last the blow has fallen! We are all indicted. Severally and jointly.
The names of nine of the subscribers on our local list appear as the witnesses cited, presumably to prove the receiving of the indicted copies of “Lucifer” through the mail. Among these names is that of one of our bondsmen, N. H. Harman. Evidently “our friend, the enemy,” Mr. McAfee, does not mean to be accused of partiality in selecting witnesses! Five issues of “Lucifer” are indicted. The alleged mailing of a copy of each of these to each of the nine subscribers named in the indictments is a “count” against each of us separately and against all jointly. This makes forty-five counts against each separately and forty-five more against the editors and publishers, jointly, thus aggregating ninety counts each against M. Harman, Geo. Harman and E. C. Walker, or two hundred and seventy in all against the unfortunate members of the “‘Lucifer’ outfit,” to use a favorite expression of a pious local contemporary.
And what is the offending matter? What articles in these five numbers of “Lucifer” are “obscene, lewd, and lascivious?” We do not know. In the indictments, this is alleged of each copy specified:
And said obscene, lewd, and lascivious paper and publication aforesaid so knowingly deposited as aforesaid is of a nature so obscene, lewd, and lascivious as to dispense with the incorporation of the words and figures in this indictment.
What a very modest grand jury! How tenderly solicitous for the morals of the court officials and other unworldly gentlemen!
Seriously, the infamy of such a prosecution renders it impossible to fitly characterize it. When men can be indicted for words written or printed and then be prevented from knowing what those words are until the hour of trial, the attack upon the liberty of the press has assumed so outrageous a form that earnest and thoughtful men are justified in declaring that the machinery of the grand jury system is being used, not to advance the cause of justice, but to carry into execution the schemes of private hate, class interests, and religions bigotry. How do we know what words or paragraphs in these indicted issues of “Lucifer” are “obscene, lewd, and lascivious,” as viewed through the smoked glasses of these grand jurymen, and so what is to prevent us from again and again committing the “crime” of writing, printing, and mailing them? What right has a grand jury to tell a man that some words of his are “obscene,” etc., and yet refuse to inform him which those words are? Is this Comstockian method of drawing indictments intended to promote “law-breaking”? It certainly has that appearance.
But whether we do or do not know what the offending words and phrases are, we shall never admit that we have exceeded our rights as editors and publishers, for we have not, and we shall continue to conduct our paper to suit ourselves and our subscribers, regardless of the meddling intolerance of McAfee and the obsequious grand juries whisk do his bidding.
The above-named special agent of the post-office department was in leaven worth while the grand jury was in session, and to this western Comstock we are indebted for the indictments. He seems anxious to rival in scoundrelism his eastern coadjutor and exampler. But let none ever forget that he is merely an instrument,— the infamous and unconstitutional law which be enforces is the real enemy, and against that we must direct every force at our command.
We are held in bonds of five hundred dollars each to appear for trial on the second Monday of April, 1888, in the United States District Court at Topeka. N. H. Harman, of Valley Falls, and J. B. Johnson and N. J. Holum, of Topeka, are our bondsmen.
It is a square fight for Free Press. We flatly deny the charge of obscenity. “Lucifer” has never contained an obscene word, even when judged by the anti-natural standards of the dominant religion and sociology. We ask the comradeship and substantial help of the Freethinkers and Humanitarians of the country. To defend in the United States court against such a charge as this is costly, and the publication of a radical paper such as ours bring, in money in a very slow and intermittent stream. To pay current expenses out of our weekly receipts is all that we are able to do, and so, in a crisis like this, we must appeal to our co-workers to help us in our defensive struggle with the powers of intolerance and proscription, a struggle upon whose final issue hangs the liberty to speak and write and print, of every man and woman in our land.
E. C. Walker.
Valley Falls, Kansas, October 31, 1887.
Ingersoll Preaching Anarchism.
The following interview between Colonel R. G. Ingersoll and a reporter of the New York “Herald” is pretty thoroughly Anarchistic as far as it goes. One cannot read it without a feeling of sorrow that the brilliant man who takes this position regarding government in its relation to the telegraph system does not logically follow out his teaching in all directions.
“What is your opinion of the present telegraphing facilities in the United States?” asked the reporter.
“New railways are being constructed at the rate of several thousand miles a year,” was the reply, “and lines of telegraph are a necessity on all these roads. Then extensions to these lines are constantly called for to reach towns that are springing into existence all over the States and Territories of the Union, and other extensions are being built to connect with lines in other countries. In addition to this, the business of the country is rapidly growing, and the number of people who prefer telegraphing to writing is constantly increasing, for the reason that time is becoming more and more important, and the mails are too slow to satisfy the requirements of modern business. The mail begins to sustain the relation to the telegraph that canals do to railways. My opinion is that telegraphic facilities will increase rapidly from year to year.”
“I suppose that you are opposed to the Western Union monopoly?”
“I am satisfied that the telegraph business of this country can never he done satisfactorily by one company. If there is only one telegraph company, no matter how cheaply and promptly it may do the business, there will still be the idea that it is a monopoly, and that in some way it is oppressing the people. Every man that meets with the slightest rebuff from the smallest agent will instantly conclude that there ought to be another company. The people believe in reasonable competition, and two companies can satisfy the people far better than one. The Western Union would like to own every wire and every pole in the United States. It would like to fix the rates at such a figure that it could pay a dividend on sixty millions of stock that does not represent a dollar’s worth of property. The Western Union, should it become the only telegraph company in the United States, would be, in my opinion, the most dangerous corporation that has ever existed in the United States.”
“What is your idea of a postal telegraph company?”
“If you mean what is my idea as to the government buying or building or operating telegraph lines, all I call say is that I am opposed to a purchase by the government of the present telegraph lines of the country. If the government needs lines for the transaction of its own business, it had better build than buy. I do not believe in the government going into any business that can be transacted by individuals. I am opposed to paternalism in government. I want the people to be left to do everything that can be done by individuals or by corporations, and, except as between nations, individuals and corporations can transact all kinds of business better than the government. People who are in favor of giving the telegraph to the government bring forward as an argument the manner in which the government runs the post office. Everybody admits that the post office department is well administered,— that the service is excellent, and that the cost is reasonable,— but I am satisfied that it could be done far cheaper by individuals. As a matter of fact, however, the mails are carried by contract; the work is done by individuals acting for themselves. Suppose the government bad to run the railways, the stages, the ships, on which the mails are carried? Certainly it would be far better that the entire work should be done by individual enterprise.”
“Have you studied the working of the English postal telegraph system?”
“I know but very little about it. But England is only a little bit of a country, something like one of the States In this Union, and a system that works well there might not be adapted to a country like this. Besides, the people of England are used to having the government do things. The government keeps the cars from running over them. The government has a policeman go with them to keep the people from buying eleven eggs for a dozen, and hey like to have all matters of that character attended to by the government.
“Certainly no one can complain here of the cost of telegraphic messages. In no country on the earth are the rates as low. Besides all this, I like the politeness born of competition rather than the airs and arrogance begotten of monopoly, no matter whether the monopoly is that of a company or of a government.”
“Why are you opposed to the purchase of the Western Union by the government?”
“Simply because I object to seeing the government fooled I do not want to see millions of leaning poles and hundreds: of thousands of miles of rusted wire, covered with all sorts of contracts and undertakings and guarantees, pushed over to the government as though the whole thing were brand new and prosperous. And besides, I do not want to see the government in the telegraph business. Why should not the government go into other business? The fact that a thing is a necessity is no reason why the government should attend to it. Clothes and coffins and bread are all necessities, but I do not think that governments should buy up all the bakeries, or make all the coffins, or edit all the papers.”
“Could not the Western Union Telegraph Company legally restrain the government from following its routes or from building parallel lines?”
“Certainly not. The government has a right to build a line of telegraph wherever it may desire. It has the right to condemn the Western Union lines, pay the assessed value, and take possession of the property. At the same time I do not believe that any honest government would parallel the lines of a telegraph company or of a railroad, knowing that the result would be the destruction of private property. A government ought to be as honest as it is powerful. One of the great objections to government entering into all kinds of business is that it comes in competition with the individual, and the individual falls. If the government should make up its mind to go into the telegraph business, it would probably purchase existing lines at a fair rate or build new ones but it certainly would not build the new with the purpose of destroying the old. This would be infamous.”
“What would you substitute for the Western Union?”
“Nothing. The Western Union has the right — the same right that any other company has — to carry on the telegraph business. No one wishes to destroy that corporation; probably no one can. But, as I said before, there ought to be more than one telegraph company in the United States. There ought to be good, healthy, reasonable competition,— competition enough at least to make all parties reasonable, fair, and anxious to discharge their obligations to the public in the most satisfactory manner. Competition is polite. Monopoly is arrogant, overbearing, insufferable.
“You will see from this my objection to the government going into the business. The government becomes domineering and arrogant. Neither do I believe that it would he possible for the government to do the business as cheaply as it is now being done.
“Let us leave all business enterprises open to the great public. The true office and business of the government is to see to it that the powers given to corporations are not abused,— that they do not become subversive of the very ends for which they were created.”
— In No. 108 V. Yarros wrote that “the editor of Liberty and the Russian Nihilists deserve no more credit for their mode of living than the undeveloped pleasure seeker....” Imagining Mr. Yarros as laying aside sympathies or other interest, simply making a cosmic survey, the statement is intelligible and as accurate as it can be while containing the words “deserve” and “credit,” which then have no application. Praise and blame artfully applied are simple modes of seeking benefit. When instinctively called forth, they are manifestations of ordinary self-interest, unconscious as unconfessed. But, given the fact that the editor’s work is congenial to his readers, they have a balance sheet open with him, and for every good article he receives credit in the measure that they receive pleasure. I will express my disapprobation whenever I feel it, provided that the one who has incurred it is susceptible of being influenced by it and that I wish to influence him. I will deliberately give approbation for the reason that men who are promoting ends in which I feel an interest need to know what encouragement and support they are to have; or I need to know that they know it. You verily deserve well; you have credit with me. But from the enemy you deserve only the credit of a valiant warrior, setting his young men an example of patience, work, and fortitude.
— Mr. F. C. Perrine, in the same number, sneers: “I suppose, then, should your work in this cause happen to interfere with your sound sleep at night, it will be thrown aside.” If Mr. Perrine would carefully read the biographies of reformers and note how many of them have shortened their presumably useful lives by neglecting or defying physical conditions of longevity, he might review hie estimate of the value of a zeal which ignores health. Does Mr. Perrine lose his sleep, or does he merely expect such suicidal devotion of others?
— The unity of this country is demonstrated by the sameness of villainism in the press. The following extracts are from two leading southern dailies:
The wife of Captain Black, counsel for Chicago’s condemned Anarchists, is credited with saying that, “if those men are hanged, their wives will kill their children, and then commit suicide.” This may be a little rough on the children, but it may prove a sacrifice of the minority for the good of the majority. — Louisville (Ky.) Courier-Journal.
When Spies is bung, his proxy wife will probably grieve for him by proxy. — Atlanta (Ga.) Constitution.
— J. W. Lloyd in No. 107 says: “We need a term antithetical to selfishness to describe the mental attitude of the enlightened Egoist, who clearly perceives the folly of selfishness, the self-wisdom of generosity and justice, who perceives that all crime is vice.” I have nothing but contempt for the man who needs to perceive the “self-wisdom” of generosity In order to he generous. This is no reflection upon Mr. Lloyd, who, I take, is generous first and perceives the wisdom or folly of his generosity afterward.
On the gallows, stem and high,
For their love of liberty.
They are worthy,— judges deem;
So the poisoned presses scream,—
“Hang the noose upon the beam!
Satan tempts with liberty;
God hath put us where we be;
Man He made for Property.
Property must be secure,
Human flesh must e’er endure;
Rope and lead shall make it sure.
Blaze not forth with banners red.
We may level you with lead;
Very equal are the dead.
Speech is free with an except —
Say not that the poor have wept,
Fraud hath won and Force hath kept;
Talk not fiercely of your wrongs;
Hush the clamor of your songs;
Words stop short in hempen thongs.)
Meet not in the public square;
Rich men do not wish you there —
Disperse! — or consequences bear.
Women, children, keep away!
Fairest game and targets gay,
Pinkertons are brave today.
Do you long for stations high? —
Look up yonder to the sky;
God in Heaven hears your cry.
Do you long for food to eat? —
See these loaded rifles neat;
Do not hunger on the street.
Have you then no place to dwell? —
Note this dainty prison cell;
We can lodge you cheap and well.
Is your clothing rather scant? —
Lust not for the soft raiment;
Blessed are the well-content.
You are slothful, stir your feet!
Drink not, smoke not, be discreet;
Economy will both ends meet.
This is Right — Majority
Hath decreed it — it must be;
Silence! all who disagree!”
(“Truth may reach the people’s ear:” —
Ancient Lies are pale with fear,
Church and State in love draw near.
“Once they know — we lose our spoil,
Down with them must earn and toil —
Surely rope and lead will foil.”)
Seven men are doomed to die.
On the gibbet, stem and high,
Sacrificed to Tyranny.
Brothers, lay your daggers down,
Smooth your brows from vengeful frown,
Blood can only Freedom drown.
Clear the brain and ope the sight;
Wake all sleepers to the light;
Stronger this than dynamite.
Principles of equity,
Teach afar from sea to sea,
Truth of Equal Liberty.
Then, when millions clearly see
in that moment they are free.
Government shall hide its head;
Defend-ment will hold its stead —
We have then avenged the dead.
Seven men are doomed to die,
For their love of Liberty —
Take their mantles, you and I!
J. Wm. Lloyd
Oct. 17, 1887.
On Picket Duty.
“Liquor, land, labor, and money,— these four,— but the greatest of these is money.” Right you are, Rev. Thomas K. Beecher.
Mrs. Slenker is cleared on an error in the indictment against her. It is to be hoped that the authorities will have the good sense and decency not to reindict her. In any event the delay can do her case no harm.
I call attention to the appeal of E. C. Walker in another column for funds to enable the two Harmans and himself to fight the prosecution to which they are subjected under the obscenity laws. Liberty seconds the appeal most heartily, and hopes to see the defence fund roll up to generous proportions.
The next meeting of the Anarchists’ Club will be held Sunday afternoon, November 20, at half past two o’clock, in Codman Hall, 176 Tremont Street. A. H. Simpson will make the opening address, his subject being: “The Principle of Freethought the Principle of Anarchy.” He will show that the secularization of the State logically leads to the abolition of the State.
Nearly all of value that has been said regarding events at Chicago has been condensed by J. Wm. Lloyd, with true poetic fire and instinct, into the soulstirring lines printed in another column. He wrote them some weeks before the executions, when it was supposed that seven instead of five would die. The poem was read at the memorial meeting held in thin city, and aroused great enthusiasm.
It is many years since so remarkable a meeting has been held in Boston as that which gathered in New Era Hall on Friday night, November 11, to mourn the loss, honor the memory, and profit by the example of the comrades who had that day been snatched from them by the brutal arm of power. Whoever witnessed the grief-stricken earnestness and deep-set enthusiasm manifested by nearly every person present must have felt the folly, I should think, of resisting the advance of an idea thus potent to move the hearts of sober-minded men and women.
It would be interesting to know just how much the New York “Sun” means by the admirable editorial remarks which Liberty reprints in this issue. In showing that the republican form of government does not exclude oppression, that government ought to cease to meddle with private business enterprise, and especially that the coinage of money should be left to private hands, it is either ignorant of the full purport of its words, or else makes these radical assertions with mental reservations. For the realization of its proposals would compel capitalists to work for a living, consummation for which Charles A. Dana is not reputed to have any very devout wish.
 This address was delivered before the Anarchists’ Club at its last meeting by the editor of Liberty. The meeting occurred prior to the Chicago executions.