Liberty Vol. I. No. 25.
Not the Daughter but the Mother of Order
“For always in thine eyes, O Liberty!
Shines that high light whereby the world is saved;
And though thou slay us, we will trust in thee.”
— John Hay.
On Picket Duty.
The campaign in Egypt is simply one more phase of the modern universal struggle between the people and the usurers.
“Free thought,” says the Philadelphia “Evening News,” “is a glorious thing — in theory; but in practice it is a good deal like free love, free trade, and free rum.” Exactly so; and therefore a glorious thing in practice too.
Postmaster-General Howe has written a letter in which he says that hereafter he shall rule out of the mails on the ground of obscenity no publications that nave not been pronounced obscene by the courts. Liberty hastens to acknowledge that for once something good has come out of Nazareth.
One of our exchanges well says:— “The cry of ‘Ireland for the Irish’ is one which possesses real meaning when it signifies the transfer of the land to the occupiers. But it can have little significance when, as under Mr. George’s doctrine, it is interpreted as meaning that nobody owns the land any more, and that everybody is to pay rent to the government for it.”
An international conference is to be held at Neuchâtel, beginning September 19, by the British and Continental Federation for the Abolition of State Regulation of Vice, over which Emile de Laveleye is to preside. Of the many societies with long names this is the first, so far as we know, desiring to let vice alone and stop meddlers from interfering with it. We trust that it may soon extend its operations to this country, and inaugurate a campaign for the extermination of all the active and pernicious little pests of whom Anthony Comstock is the leader and typical representative.
Joseph Henry, of Salina, Kansas, is abent to issue a series of six pamphlets, to be sold at twenty-five cents each, in which he will discuss the subject of death and secular funerals, contrasting euthanasy with the Christian death and urging the organization of freethought societies whereby to make more prevalent the custom of what the French call “civil burial.” With Proudhon he looks upon the manner of a people’s death as the decisive test of the value of their education and morality, and regards secular funerals as the symbol of the social renovation. Mr. Hemy is an aged workingman who has given many years to an independent investigation of this subject, and those who feel an interest in it would do well to put themselves in correspondence with him.
We learn from “L’Intransigeant.” that Amilcare Cipriani, the brave Italian revolutionist whose unjust trial and sentence have already been detailed in these columns, was lately transferred by night, under a strong guard of soldiers and policemen, to one of the galleys of the Italian monarchy. He was informed of the change only a few moments before his departure, and neither his friends nor his family know to what galley he has been transferred. “This procedure,” says “L’Intransigeant,” “inspired by fear and a spirit of revenge, recalls the dark days when the Bastilles had not yet been demolished. The Italian monarchy has shown itself on this occasion, as always heretofore, as cruel towards the revolutionists as the czars themselves.”
We have offered to meet the enemy, but the enemy declines to be met. The ardor displayed by District Attorney Stevens in opening his campaign against Walt Whitman’s “Leaves of Grass” seems to have cooled very suddenly when confronted by an offender who refuses to surrender when bidden to lay down his arms. We still advertise the book for sale, and sell it openly and rapidly, but, so far as we know, no steps have been taken toward depriving us of our liberty for so doing. Canvassers are finding a ready sale for the work in Boston stores and offices, but pursue their commendable occupation unmolested by the authorities. The grand jury for Suffolk county has held its usual monthly sessions, but, as its report in no way mentions us, we conclude that its attention has not been called to our alleged violation of the law. All of which goes to show that they have rights who know them, and, “knowing, dare maintain.” It is to be hoped that the Boston booksellers will soon recover sufficient courage to keep the book in stock. Till then we shall continue to supply copies by mail, postpaid, at the rate of two dollars each.
Attorney General George Marston, after persistent silence regarding the charge that he prompted the attempt to suppress “Leaves of Grass” (although we have excellent authority for saying that he has privately denied all connection therewith), now tacitly admits its truth by giving to the press for publication a congratulatory letter from one Joseph A. Galbraith, of Dublin, who signs himself “Senior Fellow of Trinity College.” This Galbraith, after pluming himself on procuring the exclusion of the book in question from his own University library, concludes thus: “I confess that it gave me great satisfaction to find that so high a legal authority us you found it necessary, as the guardian of public morality, to forbid its publication within the limits of your State.” In publishing this letter does this fat-witted guardian of Massachusetts’s morality mean to acknowledge that he forbids the publication of “Leaves of Grass” within his jurisdiction, but allows its sale, the fact of which is now notorious? If he does, he makes himself ridiculous; and, if not, he appears no less so in publicly accepting congratulations on the issuance of an order which he does not dare to put into execution.
The recent arrest of Henry George by the English authorities was an act of tyranny which we are ready to go as far as any one in denouncing. There is absolutely nothing to be said for it. But it seems to have excited an indignation in the breasts of some of our contemporaries — the New York “Truth,” for instance — enormously disproportioned to that aroused in the same quarters by the arrest and imprisonment of other naturalized American citizens who of late years have visited Ireland on errands very similar to George’s. The excess of rage manifested on George’s account appears to be based on the fact that in his case the victim is an author and gentleman of culture. We cannot look with any favor upon this discrimination. Mr. George’s authorship of “Progress and Poverty” entitles him in the minds of some to great respect, and in the minds of others to unlimited ridicule,— in our mind, to something of both,— but we are not aware that it endows him with a single right as an American citizen which he did not enjoy before, end in common with the humblest of his fellows. Remembering this, the detention of Mr. George for three hours, despotic act though it be, seems a trivial outrage beside the imprisonment of Mr. McSweeney, for instance, who has been languishng in a British jail for many months.
It is generally recognized in these days by the best editors of encyclopaedias and biographical series that one of the first requisites of a good biographer is a more or less substantial sympathy with the subject of whom he treats. Mr. Morse, the editor of Houghton, Mifflin & Co.’s “American Statesmen” series, seems to have forgotten this in selecting a biographer of John C. Calhoun. Dr. H. von Holst, who was chosen for that office and whose work has just been published, is a German who believes in German methods, an advocate of extreme centralization, a bitter opponent of the, liberal ideas of government for which Calhoun so steadfastly struggled, and a man altogether about as fit a biographer of Calhoun as Robert Toombs would be of William Lloyd Garrison. The book which he has produced is what might have been expected,— the attack of a partisan upon the principles of his opponent. It is too early yet to expect justice for Calhoun. He lived in a troublous epoch with conflicting interests in his charge, and we look back at him through the bitterness engendered by a civil war for which he is wrongly held largely responsible. But when evil passions have died out, John C. Calhoun will be recognized, despite his terrible mistake in championing negro slavery, as the most high-minded, keen-minded, broad-minded, deep-minded statesman that has ever entered the arena of American politics. Race questions aside, he was as true a soldier of Labor and Liberty as any man well can be who busies himself with the affairs of State.
Our ignorance of the Russian language has seemed harder to bear than ever since we learned that John Swinton has contributed an article on “American Literature and the Philosophy of American Letters” to the foremost literary magazine of Russia, the St. Petersburg “Zagranichny Vestnik.” Mr. Swinton must not fail to publish an English translation of the article (or the original manuscript, if originally written in English) for the benefit of his friends and enemies at home. Meanwhile, regretting our inability to do it better justice, we quote the following from the New York correspondence of the Boston “Herald:” “After sketching the theological books of our colonial times and signalizing the name of Jonathan Edwards, the author takes up the political productions of the revolutionary epoch, dwelling upon the traits of Franklin, Jefferson, and Paine; next comes the appearance of American literature proper, about 1820, and its manifestations to the present time. The books and authors, the historians, poets, philosophers, and novelists, of the past sixty years, are grouped and brought into review, characterized and criticised, not always in a flattering way, not by any means; and it seems almost cruel that so many of the literary nincompoops who flourish amid puffery are not even named. Having covered this field, the moral groundwork of American literature in American life and under its environment is next examined as a necessary feature of its philosophical character. The author closes with some pages of comprehensive speculation that may perhaps be deserving of study by the editors of the Atlantic, Harper’s, Scribner’s Lippineott’s. and the North American Review.”
“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.
Receipts to August 15, 1882.
Previously acknowledged, ... $243.05
W. J. Greer, San Rafael, California, ... 1.00
Welcome B. Darling, Utica, N. Y., ... .60
R. M. J. Vail, Port Jervis, N. Y., ... .50
Sales of “English Tyranny and Irish Suffering,” ... .60
Total, ... $245.75
Remitted to Nicolas Tchaikovsky, London.
March 31, Draft for L10, costing ... $49.50
April 5, Draft for L10, costing ... 49.50
April 21, Draft for L10, costing ... 49.50
August 15, On hand.... 97.25
Where We Stand.
Mr. B. W. Ball writes the best articles that appear in the “Index,” which is not saying much, and among the best that appear in any of the weeklies, which is saying a good deal. We were the mere gratified, therefore, to find him treating in a recent number the incipient, bat increasing, opposition to the existence of the State. He at least is clear-sighted enough not to underrate the importance of the advent into social and political agitation of so straightforward, consistent, unterrified, determined, and, withal, philosophically rooted a factor as modern Anarchism, although his editorial chief, Mr. Underwood, declares that the issue which the Anarchists present “admits of no discussion.”
But even Mr. Ball shows, by his article on “Anti-State Theorists,” that, despite his promptness to discover and be impressed by the appearance of this new movement, he has as yet studied it too superficially to know anything of the groundwork of the thought which produced, animates, and guides it. Indeed this first shot of his flies so wide of the mark that certain incidental phrases indicative of the object of his aim were needed to reasure us that Anarchism really was his target. In a word, he has opened fire on the Anarchists without inquiring where we stand.
Where, then, does he suppose us to stand? His central argument against us, stated briefly, is this: where crime exists, force must exist to repress it. Who denies it? Certainly not Liberty; certainly not the Anarchists. Anarchism is not a revival of non-resistance, although there may be non-resistants in its ranks. The direction of Mr. Ball’s attack implies that we would let robbery, rape, and murder make havoc in the community without lifting anger to stay their brutal, bloody work. On the contrary, we are the sternest enemies of invasion of person and property, and, although chiefly busy in destroying the causes thereof, have no scruples against such heroic treatment of its immediate manifestations as circumstances and wisdom may dictate. It is true that we look forward to the ultimate disappearance of the necessity of force even for the purpose of repressing crime, but this though involved in it as a necessary result, is by no means a necessary conditioner the abolition of the State.
In opposing the State, therefore, we do not deny Mr. Ball’s proposition but distinctly affirm and emphasize it. We make war upon the State as the chief invader of person and property, as the cause of substantially all the crime and misery that exist, as itself the most gigantic criminal extant. It manufactures criminals much faster than it punishes them. It exists to create and sustain the privileges which produce economic and social chaos. It is the sole support of the monopolies which concentrate wealth and learning in the hands of a few and disperse poverty and ignorance among the masses, to the increase of which inequality the increase of crime is directly proportional. It protects a minority in plundering the majority by methods too subtle to be understood by the victims, and then punishes such unruly members of the majority as attempt to plunder others by methods too simple and straightforward to be recognized by the State as legitimate, crowning its outrages by deluding scholars and philosophers of Mr. Ball’s stamp into pleading, as an excuse for its infamous existence, the necessity of repressing the crime which it steadily creates.
Mr. Ball,— to his honor be it said,— during antislavery days, was a steadfast abolitionist. He earnestly desired the abolition of slavery. Doubtless he remembers how often he was met with the argument that slavery was necessary to keep the unlettered blacks out of mischief, and that it would be unsafe to give freedom to such a mass of ignorance. Mr. Ball in those days saw through the sophistry of such reasoning, and knew that those who urged it did so to give some color of moral justification to their conduct in living in luxury on the enforced toil of slaves. He probably was wont to answer them something after this fashion: “It is the institution of slavery that keeps the blacks in ignorance, and to justify slavery on the ground of their ignorance is to reason in a circle and beg the very question at issue.”
Today Mr. Ball — again to his honor be it said — is a religious abolitionist. He earnestly desires the abolition, or at least the disappearance, of the Church. How frequently he must meet or hear of priests who, while willing to privately admit that the doctrines of the Church are a bundle of delusions, argue that the Church is necessary to keep the superstition-ridden masses in order, and that their release from the mental subjection in which it holds them would be equivalent to their precipitation into unbridled dissipation, libertinism, and ultimate ruin! Mr. Ball sees clearly through the fallacy of all such logic, and knows that those who use it do so to gain a moral footing on which to stand while collecting their fees from the poor fools who know no better than to pay them. We can fancy him replying with pardonable indignation: “Cunning knaves, you know very well that it is your Church that saturates the people with superstition, and that to justify its existence on the ground of their superstition is to put the cart before the horse and assume the very point in dispute.”
Now, we Anarchists are political abolitionists. We earnestly desire the abolition of the State. Our position on this question is parallel in most respects to those of the Church abolitionists and the slavery abolitionists. But in this case Mr. Ball — to his disgrace be it said — takes the side of the tyrants against the abolitionists, and raises the cry so frequently raised against him: The State is necessary to keep thieves and murderers in subjection, and, were it not for the State, we should all be garroted in foe streets and have our throats cut in our beds. As Mr. Ball saw through the sophistry of his opponents, so we see through his, precisely similar to theirs, though we know that not he, but the capitalists use it to blind the people to the real object of the institution by which they are able to extort from labor the bulk of its products. We answer him as we did them, and in no very patient mood: Can you not see that it is the State that creates the conditions which give birth to thieves and murderers, and that to justify its existence on the ground of the prevalence of theft and murder is a logical process every whit as absurd as those used to defeat your efforts to abolish slavery and the Church?
Once for all, then, we are not opposed to the punishment of thieves and murderers; we are opposed to their manufacture. Right here Mr. Ball must attack us, or not at all. When next ho writes on Anarchism, let him answer these questions:
Are not the laboring classes deprived of their earnings by usury in its three forms,— interest, rent, and profit?
Is to not such deprivation the principal cause of poverty?
Is not poverty, directly or indirectly, the principal cause of illegal crime?
Is not usury dependent upon monopoly, and especially upon the land and money monopolies?
Could these monopolies exist without the State at their back?
Does not by far the larger part of the work of the State consist in establishing and sustaining these monopolies and other results of special legislation?
Would not the abolition of these invasive functions of the State lead gradually to the disappearance of crime?
If so, would not the disappearance of crime render the protective functions of the State superfluous?
In that case, would not the State have been entirely abolished?
Would not this be the realization of Anarchy and the fulfilment of Proudhon’s prophecy of “the dissolution of government in the economic organism”?
To each of these questions we answer: Yes. That answer constitutes the ground on which we stand and from which, we refuse to be drawn away. We invite Mr. Ball to meet us on it, and whip us if be can.
The Unholy Root of Despotism.
Congress has adjourned. Hardly is the fact announced when a general cry of relief goes up from all quarters. Taking up the great dailies one sees such announcements of the adjournment as “Thank God!” “Scorched out at last!” “Too hot to steal!” “The heated term a blessing!” etc., while the very political organs of the congressmen are lavish in denunciations of them as a recognized body of thieves who have “let up” for a season to cool off.
So in the counting rooms, the clubs, and wherever people come together to talk over the daily news the adjournment of congress is made the subject of grim jokes, of which the understood inference is that a body of professional thieves has temporarily suspended operations, and given editorial paragraphers material enough to last a week or more.
And yet all this joking is carried on by the editors, capitalists, and politicians themselves in the face of the hard fact that the lying, stealing, corruption, and rowdyism of congress is literally real. Not a suspicion is anywhere entertained that the parading of political iniquity through wholesale public joking could possibly imperil the profession of politics or the perpetuity of the governmental machine. The people who support the joke and pay the enormous costs can joke and be joked with in perfect security. No risk is incurred that anybody of consequence will resent it as dastardly trifling with their pockets and liberties. The machine is so deeply and firmly rooted in ages of antecedent superstition that not a jar is anywhere anticipated.
And yet, if three hundred and sixty-nine rogues and thieves in any other conceivable sphere of society were guilty of even a small fraction of the outright plunder of other people’s property and liberty of which these elected scoundrels stand self-convicted, they would be hunted down, shot, hung, and imprisoned as marauding public wolves. Labor, which in this case furnishes the plunder without a murmur, would lay down its tools and never rest till such a mob of barefaced thieves had been exterminated.
But in this case it is “government.” It is “the people’s chosen representatives.” It is “our elected rulers.” Not that anybody seriously believes this, but it stands for authority. It is office set up for homage. It is God translated into the State. In short it is superstition pure and simple. In publishing and joking over their stolen millions of other people’s property the agents of government and their accomplices virtually say to the victims: “We know that you will freely overlook our robberies out of your settled and unshaken respect for the sacredness of God’s holy office as made manifest in the State, His other political half.”
In the light of this condition of things the vast and searching work of serious reformers is vividly foreshadowed. Every step in the work of human emancipation, to be logical and effective, must be made to do its part in undermining all respect for office. The beginning of office and its central despot is the man-invented colossus called God. This huge fraud whose phantom heel is on the neck of humanity must first be dethroned and his office challenged, defied, belittled, and steadily abolished by every possible means. The State is God’s vantage ground. It is there that the prime usurper forges the artillery which keeps him in office. To attempt to abolish the State and unseat its officers while God is suffered to remain unchallenged is futile trifling with the work in hand.
Yet, before the reader suffers himself to be painfully shocked by the above remarks, let him bear in mind that we intend no disrespect to God as an ideal that any individual may hold dear. Any fancy or principle which may be formed into an ideal for the better conduct of life, provided such God assumes no authority over others, may be entertained without our protest. It is God the office-seeker and office-holder with whom we take issue, and it is only such a God that makes the politician possible. Such a God is the Jewish Jehovah, the usurping king now foisted upon humanity to shield Russian czars, German emperors, Gladstone ministers, and thieving American congresses. We refuse to respect and obey such a God, and demand that he be put out of the way as soon as possible. It is he who nurses and defends despotism and throws the sacred glamour over office that keeps the governmental craft afloat. Gods may be beneficent institutions so long as they are not set up on the pedestal of office. As soon as they are set up, they become “worshipful” frauds, who shirk their just deserts by assuming to be exempt from responsibility for their acts in vhlue of their office. Take down your Gods! is our demand of despotism. Then we will let them alone so long as they let us alone. They cannot let us alone so long as they are in office, for, as God-ism is now organized, office is synonymous with premeditated assault on individual liberty.
God and the State are simply different manifestations of the same despotic principle. It is impossible to abolish the State without abolishing God, and every-step which abolishes the central despot now crowned God is a step in abolishing the State. Such “liberal” reform journals as the Boston “Investigator,” the “Truth Seeker,” and other enemies of theology are as yet too blind to see this, and, not really knowing their own business, cast dissenting eyes towards us, for which we forgive them, since they are blindly acting better than they know.
The term “office” stands for the direst curse of humanity. To scoff at the assumed sacredness and respectability of office everywhere and to belittle and defy the office-holder in every place, from God down, is the best practical expression of labor for Liberty.
All for Labor.
One of the last and most fitting acts before adjourning of the mob known as the United States Senate, was an authorization of the committee on education mid labor “to take into consideration the subject of the relations between labor and capital, the wages and hears of labor, the condition of the laboring classes in the United States, and their relative condition and wages as compared with similar classes abroad,” and (2) the subject of labor strikes, the causes thereof, and the agencies producing the same. The first branch of the investigation has been assigned to a sub-comittee of three, With Senator Aldrich as chairman, and Senator Miller, of New York, and Senator Graham, of Maryland, as the other two members. This committee will begin its labors at Newport.
It does not require especial keenness to see through this little game, and to understand how governments are instituted “to promote the general welfare.” The individual who is to be chairman of the committee to take into consideration the relations between labor and capital is one Nelson W. Aldrich, a servile tool of the despotic ring which runs Rhode Island, a manufacturer, and at the time of his corrupt election president of the Board of Trade. Such is the man chosen to sit in Newport at the expense of labor and compile lying statistics in support of sophistical arguments to beguile toiling, sweating dupes into the delusion that they are better off than European barbarians, that “supply and demand” covers the whole scheme of industrial salvation, and that all will be lovely if American labor will only vote itself protection through the high tariff that keeps the European slave more miserable than itself. To pay for the wine, women, cigars, and “sundries” of this stealthy junta in Newport would be a trifle for labor, but to pay for the concocting of a deliberate plot to deprive them of their own scanty meal is a burden which none but slaves would bear.
What “Max” Thinks About Taxation.
That curious crank, “Max,” whose conversations in the Boston municipal court room, as reported in the Boston “Globe,” have heretofore been quoted in these columns, has been ventilating his views on taxation through the same channel. Can it be that “Max” reads Liberty? Certainly the following ideas read not unlike her own:
The respect which some people have for the law, and the interest which they manifest in compelling others to conform to its minute requirements, are sometimes remarkably profound and wholly inexplicable, but, as a general thing, when a man is conspicuously solicitous that his neighbor should in all things conduct himself as a law-abiding citizen, his motives may be looked for and found among the least commendable traits of his nature. The law offers superior facilities for getting even with your enemy, and not seldom opens avenues of profit leading from his pocket to your own, although in the latter case the law taps the wealth in transitu, and levies a heavy protective tariff for its own benefit. In a certain class of cases prosecutions are assured by holding out pecuniary indactments to informers, which is the same thing as bribing the members of society to annoy one another with the squirt guns of petty political tyranny. This is a confession on the part of the law-makers that their regulations are of so little importance to the welfare of society that members thereof cannot be depended upon to assist in the enforcement without the incentive of avarice. Some of the license laws are of this character. For instance, the keeping of a dog is made an excuse for compelling a person to contribute more than the animal is usually worth to the fund from which the dangerous classes — that is, the politicians — draw their sustenance. Neglect to pay this tax works no injury to anybody but the children of the horse-leech, government, who are always trying for “more!” The tax is so manifestly arbitrary that the men who invented it recognized the difficulty of inducing anybody to assist in its collection, and so they offered a bribe of five dollars to any person who should inform them of the failure of his neighbor to voluntarily pay his dog tax. In case of injury to society, or interference with individual rights, through the keeping of an unlicensed cur, one would suppose that the law might be content with relying upon public spirit or personal animosity as incentive to the informer, without offering a premium to people to make themselves disagreeable to their neighbors. A tax that can be collected only through an appeal to cupidity or by application of force is a fraud, my son, and don’t you forget it. I noticed a few days ago that the chief of a tribe of Indians in the Northwest refused to be fleeced by an officer of the customs, who demanded the payment of duties on personal property brought over the Canadian border by the tribe. The chief could see no justice in the demand, and neither can any man see it. He could not understand why he should pay any pirate, who happened to be a government official, for the privilege of moving a few miles to the southward a lot of blankets, tent poles, dried scalps, and ponies. The chief very properly declined to recognize any imaginary boundary lino, and insisted that he had a right to occupy at his own sweet will any land which he could use and which nobody else was using. You see his notions of political economy are not very advanced. He is away down at the bottom of the whole business, and may never attain to that degree of civilization requisite for the acceptance of more elaborate doctrines. He probably has no theory of government, and knows nothing of the advantages of protection. In its noddle there is a crude idea, that what he has is his, and that no man can make him pay either for keeping it or packing it about the country. As the obstinate savage concluded by ordering the government bandit out of camp, we are told that military interference seems necessary. That ii the way to civilize the red man. If there are any etude ideas of natural law in his head which conflict with the improvements of statute law, they must be evicted by the butt of a musket or enticed forth by the persuasive pellet of lead. By all means let us have military interference. Your army is a rare inculcator of advanced ideas. The law-abiding remnants of that tribe of Indians will probably pay customs duties one of these days. It is because of the possibility of military interference that any of us pay duties or taxes of any kind, and even a dog tax must be collected as a tribute of fear to physical force.
To the Vessel That Carries the Cash.
The following article is a translation of an editorial written by Maurice Talmeyr, which appeared in “L’Intransigeant” of July 13, just after the bombardment of Alexandria:
The most touching news that has reached us from Egypt — that which will moisten with the hottest tears the eyes of people of feeling and stir most profoundly the souls of patriots — is this:
A vessel carrying the cash of the Ottoman Bank, of the Credit Lyonnais, and of several other banking houses, has already left here.
At the present hour, then, there sails the sea, at the mercy of all the hazards, all the breaths, and all the caprices of immensity, a vessel carrying the cash of the Ottoman Bank! The cash of the Credit Lyonnais is trusted to the solidity of a few planks, precisely as was Virginia when Paul awaited her, all breathlessly, on shore!
The Cash, “supreme hope and supreme thought” of M. Gambetta, of M. Sherer, and of M. Patinot, is dependent at this moment upon a tempest. A gust of wind may throw to the fishes bonds, stocks, notes, and ringing coin. A rock may hurl beneath the water, to incalculable depths, the strongboxes for which more than a thousand victims have already been massacred, and in which are contained, as in a tabernacle, so many twenty-franc pieces, so many pounds sterling, yellow offerings of the Golden Calf in whose name the rabble of contemporary polititians have decided to soak Egypt in blood.
This vessel bears the divinity of the day. For this god assassins make expeditions into chambers, and statesmen commit murder by wholesale. Deputies and senators who came into political life six or seven years ago not worth a sou, and who today have turned their credentials into coin in all the boards of administration, are servants of this god. It is because he has been touched by the grace of this providence that such or such a journalist clamors for the bombardment of Alexandria by the French fleet. For the grand cause of Egyptian bonds M. Gambetta devoted his ministerial career to precipitating into a maritime adventure France already weighed down with diplomatic engagements, just as the couple Fenayron threw into the water their victim weighed down with lead. For the noble cause of gold England has signified her ultimatum to the Egyptians. Today the Cash-Box is the Holy Ark; reasons of Silver have replaced reasons of State.
It would be a fine thing to see the Grand Ministry return to the conduct of affairs, our fleet immediately mingled with the English fleet, war unchained everywhere, the Mediterranean covered with bullets, din, and smoke, and all for the immortal principles of ‘89 — per cent., all in the name of Cash! “Before and above all,” M. Gambetta, dictator of the seas, would telegraph, “do not forget that you are to save the Credit Lyonnais and the Ottoman Bank! Defend, then, as you would defend the country itself, the vessel that bears their interests. Sacrifice yourselves all, to the last man, on behalf of the ‘Journal des Debats.’ Allow the capture, if you must, of the vessel that carries the flag, but do not allow the capture of the vessel that carries the Cash!”
For some days back Robert Macaire has spent his time upon the hill that overlooks the port of Marseilles, and there, erect, face toward the East, musing, eyes moist, and hand upon his pocket, he scans the horizon. Deeply moved, he contemplates the Mediterranean, and, while, the wind plays through the skirts of his coat, and beats down violently in the distance upon the little white sails that dot the foaming billows, he dreams of the vessel en route from Egypt, and, piously anxious, from the height of Our Lady of the Guard, he invokes, in subdued tones, Our Lady of Reports.
For ourselves, we think it was very honest in the Egyptians not to hold as pledges of security the cash of the Ottoman Bank and the cash of the Credit Lyonnais. So long have the financiers been accustomed to make blood flow that we should see no great evil in the tempest or bullet that should make their money flow. The wishes, then, which we send up for the vessel that carries the cash have nothing in common with the wishes which Horace sent up for the vessal that carried Virgil.
Capital’s Only Right.
[“Phillip” in the “Irish World.”]
The only natural right Capital has, as seen by the law of decay that is controlling all property, is the right of decrease. The increase is by virtue of the labor put upon it. Hence, for one man to gather in three-fourths of that labor as reward for the use of his dead, decaying, decreasing capital, is to take seventy-five out of one hundred parts reward more than he is entitled to. Now, if he does this by force, he is a robber, or a representative of a robber system. And the liberty of tee robbed disappears just in the ratio of that robbery.
To Mrs. Lucy N. Colman.
Read July 26, 1882, on the grounds of Walter C. Wright, of Medford, Mass., before a party gathered in celebration of the sixty-fifth birthday of Mrs. Lucy N. Colman, the veteran abolitionist.
Bearing the burdens of Right and Wrong;
Mad, glad years,— Earth’s incubating Day,
Time all Impotent for Purpose strong.
Hours of sad years!
Joys, loves, and tears!
Who’s glad to-day? Is’t thou?
Ah, no! but we who now
Behold the aureole of peace,
That seared, solemn peace,
That glint of silver sheen
By you, perchance, unseen.
They of prophetic sight
Watch it breaking into light
Of that New Day.
Serene thou may’st rest to-day;
We chant, “thine own are come to thee,”
Up from the earth and down the “Shining Way”
They come, they whom thou gav’st Liberty,
Thou friend in deed
For worthy need.
Who’s glad to-day? Is’t thou?
Ah, no! but we who now
Count the birthdays all so brief;
Who see thee as God’s ban-relief
Leaning soulward in love’s light;
Guiding all slaves, black or white;
Teaching yet the half untold;
Teaching love that’s never been told,
The prelude of New Day.
What are earth’s years, O faithful friend!
But elemental tempest rude?
This habitat of clay God’s potter ‘gins to mend.
Three-score of Time the spirit lieth nude,
It Just being born,
From earth-mould torn.
Who’s glad to-day? Is’t thou?
Yes, O Soul, rejoice now!
Thou’st felt the bigot’s ocarse disdain
And Liberty’s exquisite pain.
All wounds like these soon heal,
And souls like thine quick feel
The Fate that’s consecrate to thee,
That higher power of Destiny.
Thy genial, radiant face
Illumes this woodland space
On this glad day.
As Summer pours her oils and wine,
So give we tribute to thy soul.
Some newer meaning of the “mine and thine”
Hath thy life given in generous dole,
O earnest woman,
So grandly human!
Who’s glad to-day? All, all!
The great who greet thee and the small.
What matters silent tongue or spoken,
If kindred faith the soil has broken,
And planted Principles as trees
To wrestle with the centuries?
We keep this day that you were born,
Forgetting wrongs and doubts forlorn.
Thou’st taught new births are possible for men
Who upward build from Right again.
Peace, weary heart! Shine Autumn’s Sun
Setteth all glorious o’er Duty done.
Prophetic of New Day.
One Level Head Left in San Francisco.
From San Francisco come the following wise and witty words, addressed to Dr. J. H. Swain of this city By P. J. Healy. It seems almost phenomenal to see a ray of light on the Chinese question from one who is at once a Socialist, an Irishman, and a resident of California. We gather new courage from the brightness of this star still shining in that socialistic wilderness.
Of course you were one of those Puritanical New Englanders who refused, or tried to refuse, us deliverance from the Asiatic Horde, the cunning, the wily, saffron-colored Heathen. Oh, yes, there is no doubt of it. You probably petitioned Ah Thur to keep the gates open. Well, sir, yon had better beware how yon moddle with us Californians. We want no inferior race on our soil. We desire that it may be kept in its Virgin Purity that it may yield to the vigorous persuasion of Celtic No-Renter or the Socialistic Deutsche. They will stay with us, and spend our money with us. They will raise children, who will also labor for the common good,— thus is, for the good Stanford, Murphy, Spreckles, et al They will give our politicians a chance to display their buncombe. John was so infernally stupid he could not appreciate the self-sacrifice of our public servants; and of course we do not want such a stolid, indiferent audience. Our country is now on the high road to Prosperity. No more sorrow in the land. Pixley has concluded not to secede, not to burn the Chinese steamships at the dock. Our Semitic brethren, who have largely employedd the breathen, are joining the League of Deliverance, and are discharging the Mongolian fast as they can get the proud Caucasian to take his place for the wage which John has reduced to a minimum. Thus you see how much sentiment there is in this matter, the truth being that this crusade against the moon-eye was largely instigated by the Hebrew employers who have recently been unable to make their cent per cent. from him. In a word, John had Moses at his mercy, and Moses joined the sand-lot. Both political parties were also glad to get John out of the way as a separate issue. So you see we have quite a different background to the Chinese picture this time.
Before I take leave of the anti-Chinese question, I wish to relate an incident which goes to show how completely the press of the country has the people under its control. On the twenty-third of April the “Evening Bulletin” printed a despatch from Chicago showing that the communists of that city had denounced the Chinese bill and all like legislation. Well, you know, the “Bulletin” people own the “Call” also, and their evening despatches usually do service in the morning paper; but, strange to say, this one about the communists was not in the “Morning Call” or in any of the morning papers. Why was this thus? The “Bulletin” is read by business men and people of leisure. The communistic item would not injure them. But to put it before the morning audience — the men who carry their dinners in tin palls — was an entirely different thing. It was not desirable that they should know that any of their class in any port of the country thought differently on the main question. Therefore, the Conspiracy of Silence has been enforced; and yet we say we are free!
The Assassinated Guiteau.
Henri Rochefort, with characteristic bravery and clear sightedness, lost no time in condemning the assassination of Guiteau in the following editorial translated from “L’Intransigeant.” The passage which we italicize states paradoxically a most important point emphasized by Liberty in one of her earliest articles on Guiteau’s act.
The execution of Guiteau, the assassin, or, rather, the murderer of President Garfield,— for assassination implies a will,— like the execution of Verger, the murderer of the archbishop, and also that of the hydrocephalic Menesclon, is simply a judicial assassination. It is not to be doubted that these three men were indisputably insane, and that the jurors are the more responsible for their death because the wretches had lost all responsibility.
These terrible manifestations of public anger testify to the profound immorality which makes the scaffold the pretended avenger of society. They do not measure the crime by the mental condition of him who commits it. They estimate it by the importance of the victim, it is evident that, if Guiteau had fired at a passer-by and not at the president of the United States, it would have been easy to convince the masses that, born of a family of madmen, he could only be confined in a lunatic asylum as one afflicted with a dementia that had become dangerous.
But the universal grief provoked by this unexpected crime rendered the judges implacable, and even misled the doctors, who did not hesitate to declaim in full possession of his free will a lunatic absolutely deprived of it. So, if the Abbe Verger had stabbed one of his penitents Instead of his archbishop, it would have been demonstrated by all the allenists that this visionary had never for a moment had his own head.
They recoiled before the idea, destructive of the whole principle of authority, that a vulgar priest, even though out of his senses, could with impunity do evil to a prince of the church, and Verger was guillotined, though in no view a fit subject for the guillotine.
The death-penalty is thus being gradually transformed into a punishment of hatred, not of protection.
The despatches in the English journals telling the story of the last moments of the wretch whom the Americans have offered as a sacrifice to the memory Of their lamented president clearly show that the Saint Anne Asylum and that of the Ville-Evrard never harbored a being more thoroughly stripped of his reason. This restless man, who composes expressly for the occasion Verses which he promises to read upon the scaffold, who asks to he strangled at the very moment when he shall pronounce the last line of his poetry; and who, addressing the people, expresses the desire that some one may set it to music, is himself sufficient evidence of the degree to which his brain was turned.
In this case as in Verger’s it was objected that bis frightful deed was the more unpardonable from the fact that his victim was unacquainted with him, and consequently could not have incurred his ill-will to any extent whatever. It is precisely because the crime was inexplicable that insanity was the only cause by which it was possible to explain it.
The more atrocious the misdeed, the stronger the probability that its author is innocent; and the subtleties that horrified the jury and took from it all disposition to be indulgent decisively demonstrate that they were conceived by a diseased to which mercy would have been but the strictest justice.
We do not condemn to death the chimney that falls upon your head. We do not drag to the scaffold the locomotive that passes over your body. Men like Guitteau are living catastrophes, no more to be called to an account that the avalanche that engulfs the traveller lost in the snow.
The tragic death of President Garfield moved us as deeply as any one. None the less certain are we that, in this affair which has just produced its second corpse, the more assassinated of the two is Guiteau.