Liberty Vol I. No. 20
Not the Daughter But the Mother of Order
Shines that high light whereby the world is saved;
And though thou slay us, we will trust in thee.”
On Picket Duty.
To-morrow is the birthday of Robert Owen, the man who did more perhaps than any other to give impulse to the consideration of industrial wrongs. All friends of labor should unite in doing honor to his memory.
Prince Kropotkine is to lecture in the principal cities of England and Scotland for the benefit of the Red Cross fund. His letters recently written to the Newcastle “Chronicle,” Joseph Cowen’s newspaper, containing fresh, interesting, and valuable information concerning the situation in Russia, are soon to appear in pamphlet form.
The Red Cross fund has received no more honorable or noteworthy contribution than that from Reuben Cooley, Jr., of Georgia, Vermont, acknowledged in another column. Refusing, as an Anarchist, to pay the tax which the State levies upon him, he sends the amount to heal the wounds of those who have fallen in resisting tyranny elsewhere. Mr. Cooley’s noble example is one that should be followed. The time will come when passive resistance to taxation will be recognized as the most effective method of abolishing the State.
The Boston “Globe” says that Patrick Ford “went into the Land League for the purpose of capturing it.” This is a good deal like saying that Christ went into Christianity for the purpose of capturing it, or that Washington joined the Union for the purpose of capturing it, or that Garrison became a member of the Abolition party for the purpose of capturing it. Before Patrick Ford went into the Land League movement, there was no Land League movement, and, if the editor of the “Globe” does not know this, it is high time that he should find it out.
Too much importance is being given to the recent assassinations in Dublin. All such acts of violence are but symptoms of the social disease that tyranny breeds. The wonder is that there are so few of them. The killing of Cavendish and Burke came, to be sure, most inopportunely, and was inspired by unwisdom itself, but it will be suicidal for the Land League to modify its demands in the slightest because of this event. That the leaders and the people should disown the act is well enough, but they will fail most signally in their duty if they do not accompany their protest by the charge that, whoever may be the parties directly guilty, the real sin rests upon the English government. Tyrants are sure to reap the bitter fruit of their own planting. The death of Cavendish is none of Liberty’s funeral.
When human solidarity is in question, count on “Le Revolte!” After printing some resolutions passed at a recent meeting in San Francisco in opposition to the admission of the Chinese, that outspoken journal well says: “And not a single socialist was found in San Francisco to say to these people that they cannot prohibit the admission to America of these poor wretches, who leave their country to find a means of livelihood, without becoming as detestable as the bourgeoisie, and that their duty is to struggle in unison, Mongolians and Caucasians, against the bourgeoisie who make of the Chinese an instrument of exploitation.” If there were any shame in the American socialists who are giving the lie to their watchword, “Solidarity,” by the advocacy of raceproscription, such a rebuke from the ablest socialistic journal of Europe, one would think, would awaken it.
In Switzerland a few weeks ago a Russian woman named Alexandrine Micheeff fired a revolver at a young merchant, missing him, and was about to fire a second shot, when her intended victim wrested the weapon from her hands and delivered her to the authorities, to whom she stated that she had tried to kill Pierre Lavroff in order to prevent him from carrying out a plot against the life of the czar. Professor Lavroff, whom our readers will recognize as co-delegate with Vera Zassoulitch in the organization of the Red Cross Society of the People’s Will, was in London at the time, where he has been living since his expulsion from France. Moreover, he is a man of sixty years, not easily mistakable for a young merchant. It is an open question among the revolutionists at Geneva whether the woman is crazy or an instrument of the “Holy Brotherhood” formed by the Russian nobility for the assassination of Nihilist leaders.
We are reliably informed that Mr. Ivan Panin of Cambridge, who has done and is doing good work in interesting Americans in the Russian revolution, took pains recently in Providence to disassociate the Nihilists from the Anarchists, referring to the latter in terms of depreciation if not contempt. Now, the Anarchists have no desire to hold anybody but themselves responsible for their doctrines; but it is only fair to state that, while the revolution in Russia, like the revolution in all other countries, is made up of many elements, cherishing widely different social theories but united for the common purpose of overthrowing the existing tyranny, the men and women foremost in it, and those of the greatest intelligence, are avowed Anarchists, whose ultimate object is the entire abolition of the State. In substantiation of this statement nothing is needed, to those at all familiar with their views, but the mere mention of such representative names as Prince Kropotkine, Pierre Lavroff, and Vera Zassoulitch. A further statement made by Mr. Panin, that the Nihilists do not recognize Michael Bakounine, is still more absurd. The best informed writers on the subject point to him as the father of the movement, and the Nihilists are not likely to deny their parent. Within the past fortnight Kropotkine’s journal, “Le Revolte,” has republished Bakounine’s radical pamphlet, “Dieu et l’Etat” (God and the State), which, when it is remembered that Kropotkine is a recognized worker for the Red Cross Society, and that that society is championed by “Narodnaia Volia,” the Nihilists’ official journal, must be regarded as a pretty direct recognition of Bakounine by the Nihilists. Moreover, a Russian revolutionary play, written by Louise Michel, has just been produced in Paris, in which the hero is none other than Bakounine. Liberty’s feelings toward Mr. Panin are of the most friendly nature, but it cannot allow such statements to go unchallenged. What his motives are in making them we do not know, but their reiteration will surely weaken his reputation for veracity.
An Anarchistic Ideal.
When the Muses nine
With the Virtues meet,
Find to their design
An Atlantic seat,
By green orchard boughs
Fended from the heat,
Where the statesman ploughs
Furrow for the wheat;
When the Church is social worth,
When the State-house is the hearth,
Then the perfect State is come,
The republican at home.
Ralph Waldo Emerson.
A Last Word.
I should be quite willing to let my criticism of the “Guiteau Exports” editorial in No. 12 stand as it is, but that your comments seem so completely to miss the important points that I fear others may do the same. My opinion that Guiteau, while insane in a certain sense, was legally responsible for his act when he shot the president was not the important point. If the jury, who listened to all the testimony and gave the whole question a thorough investigation under a sense of great responsibility, bearing the arguments of counsel and aided by the court as to law, had decided him insane, no one would have rejoiced more than I, and I should have felt that they were more likely to be right than I, or any one not having their advantages.
What amazed me, and what I felt to protest against, was that Liberty should attempt to depreciate expert testimony on what seems to me absurd grounds. Absurd because, if the, reasons why experts come to their conclusions could always be understood by ordinary men, there would be no difference between experts and non-experts,— in other words, there would be no experts. I am happy to see that Liberty now regards “real expert” testimony so valuable as to advise me to read that of certain members of the New York Medico-Legal Society and be convinced that I am mistaken! And the advice is repeated with emphasis. Liberty “sustains our position better than we can ourselves.” Neither these gentlemen nor any other experts, so far as I know, can lay down an exact definition of insanity from a medical point of view. Each case has to be decided by experts on its facts, by their judgment formed by long study and observation, without reference to the grounds being communicable to others or not. But there is a more exact legal definition,— namely, that, if a man knows what he is doing and the consequences of his acts, he is responsible, although, he may be in a sense insane. I cannot see how the law could take any other position. At any rate, it does not.
But the most amazing thing of all is the assumption, entirely contrary to the law and the fact, that expert testimony has any different standing before the jury from other testimony. Surely Liberty knows that the jury are bound by their oaths to consider and weigh expert testimony exactly as they do other testimony brought before them, on the one side and the other. They are to give no more weight to that testimony than in their judgments it is entitled to, no more weight to the testimony of the government than to that of the prisoner, always giving the benefit of a reasonable doubt to the accused.
It astonished me that Liberty should deliberately say: “Do the lives of men in this country legally depend on the mere judgments of twenty, fifty, or a hundred” experts? Liberty cannot believe that they do, and it is against the assumption that they do that I wish to protest. If, for any reason, Guiteau failed to get the benefit of testimony from the best experts, he ought to have a new trial, and I hope he will get it, I have very little faith in hanging as a preventive of murder under any circumstances, and probably such punishment of Guiteau would not deter another man like him, could there be one, from doing a similar deed. But that is another question.
[Though the foregoing letter contains little that “Basis” had not previously said, Liberty, in dropping the controversy, is happy to allow him his “last word,” if for no other reason than to gratify what seems to be his passion for reply even when he has little but reiteration to offer. — Editor Liberty.]
“A free man is one who enjoys the use of his reason and his faculties; who is neither blinded by passion, not hindered or driven by oppression, not deceived by erroneous opinions.” — Proudhon.
The Red Cross Fund.
The following statement exhibits the results thus far achieved of the efforts to enlist American sympathy in behalf of the brave Russians who suffer for Liberty’s sake. The list of donations ought to be a thousand times longer. Those who have already given have our sincerest gratitude; those who have not can best atone for their tardiness by doubling their generosity.
Receipts to May 9, 1882.
Previously acknowledged ... $137.63 J. A. Ames, Lake Village, N. H., ... 1.00 A. German, Boston, ....25 J. Canton, Boston, ....25 A. Tramp, Boston, ....50 J. Flora Tilton, Boston, ....50 E. B. McKenzie, Boston, ... 1.00 Jeremiah Kelly, Hoboken, N. J., ... 1.00 • • •, New York, ... 1.00 E. B. K., New York, ... 1,00 • • •, New York, ....50 H. H., New York, ....25 W. W., Hoboken, N. J., ....50 James F. Kelly, Hoboken, N. J., ... 1.00 Eugene Schmit, Jersey City, N. J., ... 1.00 Edward F. Kelly, Hoboken, N. J., ... 1.00 V. Schmidt, Jersey City, N. J., ... 1.00 James K. Saggs, Jersey City, N. J., ....50 W. Smith, Jersey City, N. J., ....25 William Rowe, Jersey City, N. J., ... 2.00 Cornelius Sweeney, Jersey City, N. J., ....25 James McCraron, Jersey City, N. J., ....50 Adolph Herben, Jersey City, N. J., ... 1.00 Jean E. Dumuid, Jersey City, N. J., ....50 John McCallum, Jersey City, N. J., ... 1.00 Frank McArdle, Jersey City, N. J., ... 1.00 August Tewes, Jersey City, N. J., ... 2.00 Owen Travers, Jersey City, N. J., ... 1.00 John F. Kelly, Hoboken, N. J., ... 4.00 William F. Channing, Providence, R. I., ... 2.00 Cash, Providence, R. I., ....25 J. V., Boston, ....50 An American Friend, ... 10.00 Reuben Cooley, Jr., Georgia, Vermont (the amount of a tax which be refused to pay to the State), ....22 H. M. Cross, Newburyport, Mass., ... 1.00 No Name, Vineland, N. J., ... 1.00 Joseph Henry, Salina, Kansas, ... 1.00 Emile Lambotte, Salina, Kansas, ....25 J. H. Gibson, Salina, Kansas, ....25 Mrs. A. Wilvers, Salina, Kansas, ....25 F. P. Wilvers, Salina, Kansas, ....25 Charles Sanders, Salina, Kansas, ....25 L. L. Ruggles, Salina, Kansas, ....25 J. W. Yount, Salina, Kansas, ....25 I. W. Tuchocki, Macon, Ga., ....75
Total, ... $181.85
Remitted to Nicolas Tchaikovsky, London.
March 31, Draft for £10, costing ... $49.50 April 5, Draft for £10, costing ... 49.50 April 21, Draft for £10, costing ... 49.50 May 9, On hand, ... 33.35
Acknowledgments from Tchaikovsky.
London. April 11. 1882.
Received to-day from Benj. R. Tucker of Boston £10 draft as first subscription for the Red Cross Society of “the People’s Will.”
Delegate for England.
London, April 17. 1882.
Received to-day from Benj. R. Tucker of Boston £10 draft as second subscription for Red Cross Society of “the People’s Will.”
Delegate for England.
One of the conscriptions acknowledged above was accompanied by the following letter:
Benj. R. Tucker:
Dear Sir and Friend,— I return herein the subscription list which you sent me. It is useless to keep it longer. I should like to have collected a sum worthy of this noble cause, but, as I foresaw, instead of devotion, solidarity, and fraternity, I encountered only indifference, selfishness, bigotry, and corruption. The few cents which I send you were subscribed wholly by poor devils. The rich and well-to-do have many other things to attend to, other miseries to assuage than those of the young “fanatics” whom a czar, a representative of God, sends to rot or freeze in Siberia. If they were only Americans or Frenchmen! — but Russians, oh, no! Authority, country, religion, hypocrisy,— these are the most invincible obstacles opposed to humanity’s happiness. There is still much to be done before the day of deliverance. The enemy is wounded unto death, the head of the monster is crushed, but its tail still vibrates and beats in all directions. We no longer worship Jehovah, but we still revere his representatives. Except perhaps in Russia, we no longer burn men or strangle pregnant women, but, even in the great republics, we still hang men, degrade women, and beat children. “At last we are beginning to get clear of Catholic corruption,” wrote a Belgian friend to me the other day. That may be so, I answered, but for some time yet you will continue to breathe the miasmata accumulated in the swamps, and you are still the victims of the social canker which is feeding on your flesh.
Ever yours for Liberty and Justice,
In addition to the money contributions, we have received from Avery Meriwether, of Memphis, Tennessee, fifty copies of his pamphlet, “English Tyranny and Irish Suttering,” which he authorizes us to sell at ten cents each for the benefit of the Russian exiles. An advertisement of the work may be found in another column. Those who order it will have the double satisfaction of obtaining an admirable pamphlet and helping to dwell the Red Cross fund.
Ireland and Government.
The philosophy of Liberty puts all social movements, great and small, in a new and original light. To us it is as clear as the noon-day sun that usury, land monopoly, and every species of exclusive privilege are solely due to the existence of certain usurping mobs, falsely copied governments, and styling themselves parliaments, congresses, legislatures, etc. That alone can properly be called government which rests upon leadership through attraction, consent, and voluntary support.
The machine which men ignorantly call the British government is not a government on any rational, moral, and philosophical grounds. Its leadership does not rest upon attraction, but upon strategy, force, and superstition. Unless compulsory acquiescence can be called consent, it can claim no authority from that source. How far the machine is removed from voluntary support the wail of protest whose expression in open revolt is with difficulty kept down throughout the whole kingdom by the bayonet is sufficiently shown.
The thing, then, over which Gladstone presides is not a government, but a usurpation, a mob, a morally unauthorized conspiracy. Its purpose is to prevent the masses from enjoying government, and its first care is to put down by force any competitive leadership among the masses in the interest of better social conditions.
In the light of our philosophy the Land League has been a glorious and significant movement from the fact that it has developed something which, with some justice, might be called a government in the place of Gladstone’s mob. If Parnell is stronger to-day than Gladstone, it is because his leadership is the result of attraction, not of balloting tricks and bayonets. If the Land League treasury has more terrors in it than the whole English exchequer, it is because every dollar in it was the result of voluntary contribution, not of compulsory taxation. With those who believe in government, in the sense that the Land League has become a government, we have no reason to dispute. Governments of this kind, so long as they in no wise conflict with Liberty, we welcome, and wish them all power and glory.
The successful rivalry of such a government with Gladstone’s mob we regard as one of the most promising omens of true civilization. The full significance of Gladstone’s defeat has scarcely a single interpreter among the Land Leaguers, but is none the less glorious on that account. Parnell would probably be shocked if he were publicly accused of attempting to overthrow the State, but this is exactly what he has practically been doing. The issue has been the survival of the Land League government against the British mob known as the State. Gladstone, the leader of the mob, confesses a clean defeat but, alas! at this point it is probable that the moral attitude of Parnell reaches the limit of its measure. He has all along been Acting better than he knew, and has probably acted the grandest part of which he is capable.
In the future we shall probably see the Land League chieftain devoting his best energies to the chimera known as local self-government in Ireland. Not, indeed, that glorious voluntary self-government which the Land League has exemplified, for the intellectual stature of Parnell has not yet outgrown the idea that, if a pattern of Gladstone’s parliamentary mob could only be set up in Ireland and be called “local,” it would be a triumph worthy of the Land League. Neither he nor any other of the Land Leaguers is level-headed enough to see that the Land League is the only local self-government that has any right to be called a government. The other thing, which the Home Rulers are after, is not government, but the old mob transplanted.
If some man were broad and brave enough to plant himself in the centre of Ireland and declare — what Gladstone has long ago admitted — that the Land League is the de facto government, that the no-rent resolve must now be executed with double vigor, and
that all organized conspiracies governments, but immoral and irresponsible mobs, it would be the high destiny of Ireland to lead the emancipation of the world. The Land League has accomplished what the armies of the world have never dared to attempt. It has conquered Great Britain, but does not know how to utilize the victory. It has shown the masses in all countries how impotent and irresponsible the mobs that are arrayed in legislatures become when the people can only be induced to unite under the simple resolve to withhold the supplies of usury plunder, for the forcible collection of which the State is chiefly organized. This lesson can never be lost, whatever may become of Parnell and the others who emerge from jails in the pitiable attitude of aspiring to imitate the mob rats of England as a means of emancipating Ireland.
Andover Theological Seminary.
This Institution seems to be fast losing its grip on Tophet. All its original theological capital, and virtually also all its financial capital, were invested in a bottom mortgage on the infernal regions. This mortgage was to be a perpetual one; the interest only to be paid; and this was to be paid only in board, lodgings, and brimstone for such sinners as the Institution should see fit to send there. At the time this arrangement was entered into, the Institution claimed the prerogative, as God’s vicegerent, of sending sinners to Tophet in very large numbers; and that, too, whether the sinners themselves consented to go there, or not. So long as the right of the Institution to do this was undisputed, both its theological and financial prosperity was satisfactory to its proprietors. But of late years the sinners have been coming to the conclusion that they have rights to a voice in the matter; and most of them have actually decided that they will not go there at all. The result is that the quarters set apart for the damned are nearly all vacant; and consequently the mortgage, which the Institution holds on the premises, is rapidly becoming worthless. We think the holders of the mortgage would to-day be glad to realize ten per cent., perhaps even five per cent., on their original investment. In evident dismay at their prospects for the future, they are now trying to reduce the temperature of the place so its to make it more comfortable — or, rather, less uncomfortable — for the sinners, for whose residence they originally designed it. They seem to imagine that they can thus save the place from utter depopulation. But in this we think they are mistaken. The truth is, that the concern has got a bad name among those for whom it was intended. In other words, sinners, as a class, are sick of Andover, its theology, its penal colony, and all its belongings. Its brimstone stench
has disgustad them. And people who havo no desire to burn even their fingers — to say nothing of burning their souls — have no inducements to make their home in Tophet, under any change of climate which its proprietors may be able to effect. In fact, sulphur stocks of all kinds are a drug in all the theological markets, with no prospect of ever being again in demand. We therefore advise the holders of the Andover mortgage to give the Devil a quit-claim of the premises, and leave him in full possession of his dominions. He seems to be the only one who will ever have any further use for them. Nevertheless, he would not be the greatest gainer by the transaction. The priests themselves would be the greatest gainers, for they would then have less inducements to make asses and hypocrites of themselves; and might perhaps in time become sensible and honest man. If such should be the result, who will ever say again that miracles are impossible?
Emerson, the Reformer.
The ceremony of placing the body of Emerson in the tomb at Sleepy Hollow, the final resting-place of his family, occurred on Sunday, April 30. In common with thousands of others we turned to the Monday morning reports, hoping, more than expecting, to read that fitting words had been spoken, and, if ceremonies there must be, that they had been in happy accord with the great life they were devised to celebrate. It is an ungracious task to proffer criticism of such an occasion. How much more congenial to the feelings would be that approbation of mind and heart the solemn, truthful interest of the time should have awakened and inspired! The obsequies of Emerson! What profane words could fall from dullest officiating lips? The very stones of the street might be expected to cry out, This was a king! And if men could not speak the word fitting and honorable, silence would have been, at least, discreet. But, as it turned out, there was no dearth of puny and trivial speech. Words, words, words enough; but the gracious presence of the daring, non-conforming soul — the Emerson sacred to history — they did not depict. One speaker dimly recalled somewhat the living seer would have cherished, but the Emerson who uttered these words following no voice summoned; yet how appropriate! What else at all appropriate?
Our age is retrospective. It builds the sepulchres of the fathers. It writes biographies, histories, and criticism. The foregoing generations beheld God and nature face to face; we, through their eyes. Why should not we also enjoy an original relation to the universe? Why should not we have a poetry and philosophy of insight and not of tradition, and a religion by revelation to us, and not the history of theirs? Embosomed for a season in nature, whose floods of life stream around and through us, and invite us by the powers they supply, to action proportioned to nature, why should we grope among the dry bones of the past, or put the living generation into masquerade out of its faded wardrobe? The sun shines to-day also. There is more wool and flax in the fields. There are new lands, new men, new thoughts. Let us demand our own works and laws and worship.
The preachers surrounding Emerson’s bier forgot this lesson wholly. Their Scripture and their prayer were dragged out of tradition, empty, worn-out phrases, signifying nothing to the generation before them. “I am the resurrection and tue life,” one reads. And the prayer leads backward in the same strain to the official claim of the Jewish Jesus. How much more becoming Emerson’s own text: “That is always best which gives me to myself. That which shows God in me fortifies me. That which shows God out of me makes me a wart and a wen. There is no longer a necessary reason for my being.” What did these Christian preachers, by implication at least, but this very thing! They would show Emerson with the God out of him, following, obeying, not himself, but another. They left the impression that he who cried, “One would rather be
A Pagan suckled in a creed outworn,
than to be defrauded of his manly right in coming into nature,” and be told, “You must subordinate your nature to Christ’s nature,” went hand in hand with themselves in lowliest submission to the Judean king. Was it honest? Hear Emerson’s own words again: “Historical Christianity ..... has dwelt, it dwells, with noxious exaggeration about the person of Jesus. The soul knows no persons. It invites every man to expand to the full circle of the universe, and will have no preferences but those of spontaneous love.” It was this “noxious exaggeration” that cropped out in the Scripture lesson and again in the prayer. Why should there have been any prayer at all at Emerson’s funeral? How well had it been had these, his own sentences, been read instead!
We ought to celebrate this hour by expressions of manly joy. Not thanks, not prayer seem quite the highest or truest name for our communication with the infinite, but glad and conspiring reception,— reception that becomes giving in its turn, as the receiver is only the All-Giver in part and in infancy..... It is God in us which checks the language of petition by a grander thought. In the bottom of the heart, it is said: “I am, and by me, O Child! this fair body and world of thine stands and grows. I am; all things are mine: and all mine are thine.”
We turn from the burial. Emerson could not be buried. Christian tradition could not so dispose of him while living! nor can it now enclose him in its most ancient tomb. Did it succeed in laying away his body? It matters not. “He, being dead, yet speaketh.” He is his own resurrection and life. He still lives. His volumes are his life and his present speech. Every aspiring youth may purchase them and therein listen to his own thought. For here was a man who made no claim to private ownership of that divinity which hedges all men as well as the king, thereby making kings of all. “The sublime is excited in me by the great stoical doctrine, Obey thyself,” said the young Emerson, and commended no different message to others.
We attempt here no biography. We celebrate only the advent of an original mind in our world, and wish there were more men and women with minds as daring and true.
What this man, whose vision was unclouded by Church or State, thought end said, the American people may consider, with true home interest.
1. Emerson put the religious question on the simple basis of nature. Even his transcendentalism was the soul’s individual experience,— that “original relation to the universe,” without the intervention of other persons and institutions, possible to and a necessity unto all. Historical religions tell us of other peoples’ religion. Let us have our own religion, as they had theirs. Explore thyself. God is in thee, and not elsewhere — for thee! That is all. A simple creed! Never old, always new; fresh and true for every generation, while the world stands.
2. On the vital question of American scholarship Mr. Emerson took strongest of positions, treating his theme in no narrow, collegiate fashion. It is the broad universal culture of the world he sets forth. “The Scholar is Man Thinking.” But, in the “degenerate state,” he appears as the “victim of society,” and becomes a mere thinker, or, still worse, “the parrot of other men’s thinking.” Every man is a “student.” The “true scholar is the only true master.” The first influence is nature; the next, the mind of the Past. The study of books is prescribed. “Books are the best of things, well used; abused, among the worst.” What is their use? They are for nothing but to inspire. Better never see a book than to be “warped by its attraction out of one’s own orbit.” The end of all is the “active soul.” America wants all men, all women, for her scholars. They are to be teachable in all practical ways; to be whole men and women, and not parts. The present “state of society is one in which the members have suffered amputation from the trunk, and strut about so many walking monsters,— a good finger, a neck, a stomach, an elbow, but never a man.” “The planter sees his bushel and his cart, and nothing beyond; sinks into the farmer, instead of being Man on the farm. The priest becomes a form; the attorney a statute book; the mechanic a machine; the sailor a rope of the ship.” This is the degradation of the Man. But then, is a counteracting influence at work,— a “new political importance given to the single person. Everything that tends to isolate the individual — to surround him with the barriers of natural respect, so that each man shall feel the world as his, and man shall treat with man as with a sovereign state — tends to true union as well as grestness. The scholar is the man who must take up into himself all the ability of the time, all the contributions of the past, all the hopes of the future. If there be one lesson more than another which should pierce his ear, it is: The world is nothing, the man is all.”
3. Thus, Man Thinking is also Man the Reformer. Over his door, as motto, he may write: “The dread of man and the love of man shall be a wall of defence and a wreath of joy around all.” The Reformer is by Mr. Emerson thus summoned:
I will not dissemble my hope that each person whom I address has felt his own call to cast aside all evil customs, timidities, and limitations, and to lie in his place a free and hopeful man, a reformer, a benefactor, not content to slip through the world like a footman or a spy, escaping by his nimbleness and his apologies as many knocks as he can, but a brave and upright man, who must find or cut a straight road to everything excellent on the earth, and not only go honorably himself, but make it easier for all who follow him to go in honor and with benefit.
The encouragement to such an honorable course is vividly drawn, but a sentence or two must suffice.
The scholar says: “Cities and coaches shall never impose on me again; for behold, every solitary dream of mine is rushing to fulfillment. That fancy I had and hesitated to utter because you would laugh,— lo, the broker, the attorney, the market men are saying the same thing. Had I waited a day longer to speak, I had been too late. Behold, State Street thinks, and Wall Street doubts, and begins to prophesy!”
But he must also, and beforehand, speak to satisfy his own soul. His way, the way of all to honorable employment, is “blocked by so many abuses,” he must needs choose: he must right them, or be “lost in them.” “Has he genius and virtue? The less does he find them fit for him to grow in, and, if he would thrive in them, he must sacrifice all the brilliant dreams of boyhood and youth as dreams, and take on him the harness of routine and obsequiousness.” But, “if not so minded, nothing is left for him but to begin the world anew, as he does who puts the spade into the ground for food.”
4. It may surprise many that Mr. Emerson put himself on record as instigator and friend of almost all the most radical reforms before which the conservative world now lauding him turns pale and waxes wroth, especially if some penetrating, executive mind urgently saith: “What is to hinder? Shall they not now be instituted?” But here are his volumes, and for all the vital reformatory interests of our time they furnish the texts that cut away all foundations beneath the feet of opposition. The Labor Question, for our first instance:
The ways of trade are grown selfish to the borders of theft, and supple to the borders (if not beyond the borders) of fraud..... The trail of the serpent enters into all the lucrative professions and practices of man..... The general system of our trade is a system of selfishness; is not dictated by the high sentiment of human nature; is not measured by the exact law of reciprocity, much less by the sentiments of love and heroism, but is a system of distrust, of concealment, of superior keenness, not of giving but of taking advantage. It is not that which a man delights to unlock to a noble friend; which he meditates on with joy; but rather what he puts out of sight, only showing the brilliant result, and atoning for the manner of acquiring by the manner of expending it.”
Is here not a truthful picture, fit to be framed for the parlors of millionaires? And here a fine text for the English premier’s new Irish policy: “Of course, whilst another man has no land, my title to mine, your title to yours, is at once vitiated.” It is but for the want of space that we limit these quotations, and pass to the “new ideas” concerning the State
5. The essay on “Politics” opens thus vigorously: “In dealing with the State, we ought to remember that its institutions are not aboriginal, though they existed before we were born: that they are not superior to the citizen.” Consider also the following:
Whilst I do what is fit for me and abstain from what is unfit, my neighbor and I shall often agree in our means, and work together for a time to one end. But whenever I end my dominion over myself not sufficient for me and undertake the direction of him also, I overstep the truth and come into false relations to him. Love and nature cannot maintain the assumption: it must be executed by a practical lie, namely, by force. This undertaking for another is the blunder which stands in colossal ugliness in the governments of the world.
This last sentence should be read as though printed in capitals. Also this following:
This is the history of governmtents,— one man does something which is to bind another. A man who cannot be acquainted with me taxes me; looking from afar at me, ordains that a part of my labor shall go to this or that whimsical end, not as I, but as he happens to fancy. Behold the consequence! Of all debts, men are least willing to pay taxes. What a satire is this on government! Everywhere they think they get their money’s worth, except here.
The evil is pointed out. What is the antidote?
The antidote to this abuse of formal government is, the influence of private character, the growth of the Individual; the appearance of the wise man, of whom the existing government is, it must be owned, but a shabby imitation.
And if some one should now boast of our present modern republic, our system of majorities, and our universal freedom in voting one another down, let our prophet’s rebuke fall on his ear:
We think our civilization near its meridian, but we are yet only at the cock-crowing and the morning star..... We live in a very low state of the world, and pay unwilling tribute to governments founded on force. We have not in us sufficient faith in the power of rectitude to inspire us with the broad design of renovating the State on the principle of right and love. All those who have pretended this design have been partial reformers, and have admitted in some manner the supremacy of the bad State. I do not call to mind a single human being who has steadily denied the authority of the laws on the simple ground of his own moral nature. Such designs, full of genius and full of fate as they are, am not entertained except avowedly as air pictures. If the individual who exhibits them dare to think them practicable, he disgusts scholars [?] and churchmen; and men of talent, and women of superior sentiments, cannot hide their contempt. Not the less does nature continue to fill the heart of youth with suggestions of this enthusiasm, and there are now men,— if, indeed, I can speak in the plural number,— more exactly, I will say, I have just been conversing with one man, to whom no weight of adverse experience will make it for a moment appear impossible that thousands of human beings might share and obey each with the other the grandest and truest sentiments, as well as a knot of friends, or a pair of lovers.
Here we must bring our brief survey of the great man to an end. But perhaps even this slight notice — weighted as it is with the sublime utterances of the man we honor — may direct some one to a fresh reading of those writings bequeathed mankind by the seer and prophet whose form we so lately saw moving in our midst.
We are well aware that there has been a persistent attempt of late years to show that the aged philosopher had, in important particulars, renounced the dream of his youth and the faith of his manhood, inclining more and more to the Christian and other popular traditions. And we, heeding these rumors, have at times recalled his own remark to the noble Kossuth: “We fear, sir, that you are growing popular.” He, however, has himself, even within the closing year of his life, authorized the statement that in none of his convictions had he seen fit to make any change. Delicately, touchingly his own lines in the poem “Terminus” give the same assurance:
As the bird trims her to the gale, I trim myself to the storm of time, I man the rudder, reef the sail, Obey the voice at eve obeyed in prime: “Lowly faithful, banish fear, Right onward drive unharmed; The port, well worth the cruise, is near, And every wave is charmed.”
The Socialists of New York and vicinity, with a devotion that does honor to their manhood, very properly thought Sunday the most appropriate day on which to dedicate their temple of humanity. Socialism was their religion, and, as religious processions are always in order, they concluded to march through the streets to the place of dedication.
But certain grog-mongering aldermen, rowdy police commissioners, and other political loafers immediately suffered a severe shock of their pious sensibilities, and straightway prohibited the proposed procession, on the ground that the dedication services were not to be of a religious nature. These fellows have a very delicate scent of what constitute the true attributes of religion.
The “New Yorker Volkszeitung,” in its indignation, suggested that the Socialists should arrange themselves in marching order, with banners bearing such devices as, “Society the religion of humanity.” “The ancient order of Jesus Christ,” “The society of Christian redemption,” etc., and thus leave the eternal odium upon the “authorities” of suppressing a religious procession. But men so thoroughly outlawed from anything worthy the name of humanity as are these politicians are impervious to shame and oblivious to odium.
And who are these low-minded loafers who make up the government (so-called) of New York? Let every Socialist who lauds the ballot and “works” on election day remember that they are simply vile creatures of whom he has helped in the making. The trouble with the Socialists is that they stoop to recognize these villains as “authorities.” They are self-elected bullies, who represent nobody in the political sphere — not even themselves. They are figureheads that stand for the State, and, having compulsory taxation, guns, and clubs at their backs, perform whatever tricks they conceive to be safest and most popular and most profitable. So long as the Socialists recognize the State they can consistently make no protest. When they become wise enough to put these politicians on the same plane as all other irresponsible ruffians who assault peaceable precessions on the streets, it is probable that the religious instincts of all concerned will receive a fresh and saving impetus.
The Chicago Platform.
Benj. R. Tucker:
Dear Friend and Comrade,— In the last issue of Liberty I notice an inquiry of Comrade Dr. Swain as to the non-publication of the proceedings of the Congress held in this city in October last. It is to be regretted, it is true, that the orders of the Congress were not carried out by the Revisory Committee
more diligently and faithfully than has been the case, but the peculiar state of affairs in this city, the indifferentism and non-participation of our comrades in party or organization matters,— not the committee,— are to be blamed for the delay. However, the platform and plan of organization have been given in print, and will be sent to all sections and groups of the country within the next two weeks. I would request through Liberty all those wishing them sent, to address
87 Fifth Avenue, Chicago, April 14, 1882.
Monopoly the Cause of Poverty.
The following clear analysis of the causes of poverty is taken from W. N. Slocum’s (for the most part) admirable pamphlet, “Revolution,” the publication of which by H. W. Brown of Boston was announced in our last issue:
The primal causes of poverty lie at the very base of our social system, and cannot be rooted out without radical change in the system itself. They are organic — sanctioned by custom, sustained by the church, enforced by law, and interwoven with the very fabric of society. The main cause of crime, poverty, and degradation throughout the world is the monopoly of the natural sources of wealth,— the usurpation by the few of that which by right belongs to all. From the earliest organisation of government among men to the present time the preponderance of legislation has been for the protection of property. By natural right that only can be private property which is produced by labor; and all so produced is subject to decay; but human enactments affirm that to be private which nature made public; and human law gives the power of increase to that which nature dooms to destruction. Statutes thus in conflict with the laws of “God” must necessarily be in derogation to the rights of man. By virtue of these usurping laws it follows that what is recognized as property consists of two distinct species,— one externally existent, the other acquired — one a gift of nature, the other a product of labor. It is evident that without exclusive control of the one it would be impossible to monopolize the other: because all created wealth soon passes away, and can only be replaced by additional labor. No sane person advocates an arbitrary division of this species of property, because, under our system, created wealth constantly flows into channels by which it is concentrated into the hands of those who monopolize the sources of wealth. The way to destroy a poisonous plant is not by pruning its branches, but by striking at its roots.