Liberty Vol. III. No. 16.
Not the Daughter but the Mother of Order
“For always in thine eyes, O Liberty!
Shines that high light whereby the world is saved;
And though thou slay us, we will trust in thee.”
On Picket Duty.
All people interested in Ireland’s struggle for freedom who are not already subscribers to Liberty should subscribe before the next issue, in order not to miss the first instalment of the new and thrilling novel, “Ireland,” by Georges Sauton, translated from the French especially for these columns.
The rapidly augmenting drift toward Anarchism which is seizing upon all classes was very happily evinced on the occasion of a recent address by Henry Appleton in New Haven. To make way for that gentleman the local lyceum, largely made up of Trades Unionists and State Socialists, gave up their hall. When Rev. Dr. Newman Smyth, the leading clergyman of the city, heard of it, he expreseed the most intense desire to be present, and sent his regrets that unfortunately his being obliged to preach a sermon on that Sunday afternoon prevented his coming as he had hoped. But in that little hall, among the revolutionists, Nihilists, and out-and-out Anarchists sat Professor Sumner, the distinguished economist of Yale College, and from the time Mr. Appleton uttered the first word of his address till the last syllable was pronounced he sat with eyes close riveted upon the speaker, save once, when he lay back in his chair and almost roared with laughter as Mr. Appleton drew a satirical picture of the selection of a President, illustrating how the people of the United States are “self-governing.” At the close of the lecture, which was a close and unanswerable statement of the logic and method of Anarchism, several arose and declared themselves converts, and all were carried into a new line of thinking, which is sure to yet bear rich and lasting fruits. That Professor Sumner was at heart in unison with Mr. Appleton’s thought was evident from the intense satisfaction he seemed to take in his pointed and caustic rebuke of governmental supervision and direction social and industrial affairs, but he was careful to get away before he was drawn out to question the speaker or criticise his views, as Mr. Appleton was hoping he might do. Having met with such success, our friends in New Haven are now about to crystallise into a Liberty Club, conducted on Anarchistic principles. I hope soon to see their good work repeated in other places, for wherever two or three intelligent and persistent Anarchists are gathered, they are sure to soon take the field and engage the best thought about them, with results which the near future will make patent to the blindest of statesmen and their dupes.
In a letter received at this office from Madame Elizabeth M. Delescluze of New York occurs the following sentence: “I see now and then your breezy publication, and read it with great interest and attention, notwithstanding my belief that there can be no harmony in a household where Individualism is the established rule.” Then Madame Delescluze can conceive of harmony only where Individualism does not prevail,— that is, where individuals are invaded; for wherever they are not invaded, there Individualism prevails. Why, of course! To be sure! How simple! Why did I never see this before? I might have known that the only way to make people peaceable and sweet-tempered and equable in their dispositions and harmonious in their associations is to smooth them and soothe them by taking away their rights. I see now why the lamb gets along so well with the lion, and why men and women in the bonds of matrimony never quarrel, and why the South feels so pleasantly towards the North, and why Ireland loves England so well, and why the Russian moujiks worship their “dear father,” the Czar; in fact, a perfect flood of light has burst in upon my vision since Madame Delescluze’s letter came along. I notice, by the way, that the lady in question had a debate on “Anarchy” last Sunday afternoon in Newark with S.P. Putnam, she opposing Anarchy and Mr. Putnam upholding it. I sincerely pity Mr. Putnam. She probably used this argument on him, and, if so, his discomfiture must have been utter. How is it, any way, that the secretary of the National Liberal League is championing Anarchy? I ask you, Brother Wakeman, is this all right? Are you going to stand that sort of thing? And how do you feel about it, Brother Palmer? Wouldn’t a card in the papers be about the right thing at this time, consigning Mr. Putnam to the same limbo where you sent Mr. Mitchell? Anarchy means, among other things, free love, you know. Or, perhaps you didn’t know this. Or, perhaps you know it, but Colonel Ingersoll doesn’t. Still, he’s liable to find it out, you know. And if he does, he’ll be no more president of yours. He’ll not associate with free lovers, not he! You may have to choose between Putnam and Ingersoll. And I advise you to keep Putnam. But, at the same time, I advise Putnam to drop you.
And as I look, Life lengthens, Joy deepens. Love intensifies. Fear dies. Liberty at last is God. Heaven is here. THIS SHALL BE. — Ingersoll.
O Freedom, thou queen of Perfection.
Sweet name of the brave and the free.
The choice at our heart’s deep election.
We tender devotion to three!
With Reason thy consort forever.
And Justice the law of thy realm.
Thy kingdom shall perish, O never,
No tyrant thy power shall o’erwhelm!
Chorus. — Then cheer on the just and the true!
Three cheers for the just and the true!
Our hearts shall proclaim thee forever.
The queen of the just and the true!
O Freedom, thou art our salvation!
Our hope and our strength are in thee;
Our joy and our strong consolation
Is the thought that our spirits are free;
We have bowed neath the yoke of our tyrants;
They have taxed us in sweat and in blood;
But now such all-ruling aspirants
No longer can dam back thy flood.
Chorus. — Then cheer on the just and the true!
Three cheers for the just and the true!
Our swords shall defend thee forever,
Sweet queen of the just and the true!
We have tasted thy soul-thrilling waters;
We have breathed in thy life-giving air;
Like a vision, our sons and our daughters
Rise before as, god-like and fair;
All humanity seems in that vision,
Like a mourner who wipes away tears.
Like one who escapes from a prison,
Like a coward who shakes off his fears.
Chorus. — Then cheer on the just and the true!
Three cheers for the just and the true!
Our children shall crown thee forever,
The queen of the just and the true.
J. Wm. Lloyd.
Unpleasant Facts for Herr Most.
To the Editor of Liberty:
It gives me great pleasure to be able to commuuicate to you that Anarchism is making headway among the intelligent working men of New Haven. It was but a short time ago that I visited New Haven and tried to induce some to read and subscribe for Liberty. I found that it was wholly unknown; that very few of the advanced workingmen who read, talk, and take interest in Socialism have any idea what Anarchism is, what Liberty preaches and advocates. As you know, there are a good many Socialists in New Haven. The Germans are mostly Communists of the Most type, and the English element is State Socialistic. Now, the last have organized an Equal Rights Debating Club for the purpose of “bearing all sides.” They have about forty or fifty members. They meet every Sunday and invite speakers of different classes and shades of opinion. Professors, clergymen, labor reformers, State Socialists, positivists, Communists, etc., have spoken there and discussed social questions. But, as is easy to conjecture, little good ever came out of it. Had we had among us readers of Liberty, men who could speak English fluently, there would have been many a lively engagement between us. However, our friends have done what they could.
Last week they had the infinite delight and pleasure of becoming personally acquainted with Mr. D.D. Lum. He was their guest for nearly a week. They took him to the meeting of the club, and he was invited to speak. He stirred them up mightily. He made a good speech on “Evolution and Revolution,” and gave them a chance to hear some sound, logical, and philosophical ideas on Socialism for the first time in their lives, perhaps. You may well imagine what a storm he raised. He was extremely witty and happy in his answers to the many questions that were offered from all sides. He went away, but his influence is not likely to be forgotten. When the next Sunday we carried six copies of Liberty there, they were all gone in a moment. We could have sold at least fifteen copies more. You should have heard, Mr. Tucker, what they had to say about you, your paper, Anarchy, and Mr. Lum. We only smiled, and sought our opportunity to strike the iron while it was hot. When we told them about our proposed meeting with Henry Appleton as the speaker, they unanimously voted to invite him to come over from Providence to address them on Anarchy on Sunday next. I hope he will come. Be sure that this is only the beginning of the end. Of the fifty constant visitors more than half, and that the cream of the elub, will become Anarchists. We will work with a will, and, with the aid of able Anarchistic thinkers and speakers whom we will invite from time to time, we are confident that you will have new admirers and readers added to your list every day.
Mr. Most is dissatisfied with the state of things in New Haven. The State Socialists, also, have reason to be blue about it. What a triumph for Liberty! No sincere and thinking person can live long in the atmosphere of State slavery or Communistic bondage when the light of Liberty has once dawned upon him.
Box 820, Birmingham, Conn., October 13, 1885
Vertiginous Perhaps, Veracious Surely.
[New York Truth Seeker.]
As a humorist and writer of romance, our highly esteemed but vertiginous friend Tucker, of Liberty, is an immense success. His little piece concerning some of the people at the Albany Convention is positively charming in its airiness and in its offhand manner of misinforming the reader. Mr. Tucker should write a bible.
Wealth and Law Conspirators.
[Sir Thomas More in “Utopia.”]
The rich devise every means by which they may in the first place secure to themselves what they have amassed by wrong, then take to their own use and profit, at the lowest possible price, the work and labor of the poor. And as soon as the rich decide on adopting these devices in the name of the people, then they become law.
A Letter to Grover Cleveland:
On His False, Absurd, Self-Contradictory, and Ridiculous Inaugural Address. By Lysander Spooner.
[The author reserves his copyright in this letter.]
But, in spite of all I have said, or, perhaps, can say, you will probably persist in your idea that the world needs a great deal of lawmaking; that mankind in general are not entitled to have any will, choice, judgment, or conscience of their own; that, if not very wicked, they are at least very ignorant and stupid; that they know very little of what is for their own good, or how to promote their own “interests,” “welfare,” or “prosperity”; that it is therefore necessary that they should be put under guardianship to lawmakers; that these lawmakers, being a very superior race of beings,— wise beyond the rest of their species,— and entirely free from all those selfish passions which tempt common mortals to do wrong,— must he intrusted with absolute and irresponsible dominion over the less favored of their kind; must prescribe to the latter, authoritatively, what they may, and may not, do; and, in general, manage the affairs of this world according to their discretion, free of all accountability to any human tribunals.
And you seem to be perfectly confident that, under this absolute and irresponsible dominion of the lawmakers, the affairs of this world will be rightly managed; that the “interests,” “welfare,” and “prosperity” of “a great and free people” will be properly attended to; that “the greatest good of the greatest number” will be accomplished, etc., etc.
And yet you hold that all this lawmaking, and all this subjection of the great body of the people to the arbitrary, irresponsible dominion of the lawmakers, will not interfere at all with “our liberty,” if only “every citizen” will but keep “a vigilant watch and close scrutiny” of the lawmakers.
Well, perhaps this is all so; although this subjection to the arbitrary will of any man, or body of men, whatever, and under any pretence whatever, seems, on the face of it, to be much more like slavery, than it does like “liberty.”
If, therefore, you really intend to continue this system of lawmaking, it seems indispensable that you should explain to us what you mean by the term “our liberty.”
So far as your address gives us any light on the subject, you evidently mean, by the term “our liberty,” just such, and only such, “liberty,” as the lawmakers may see fit to allow us to have.
You seem to have no conception of any other “liberty” whatever.
You give us no idea of any other “liberty” that we can secure to ourselves, even though “every citizen” — fifty millions and more of them — shall all keep “a vigilant watch and close scrutiny” upon the lawmakers.
Now. inasmuch as the human race always have had all the “liberty” their lawmakers have seen fit to permit them to have; and inasmuch as, under your system of lawmaking, they always will have as much “liberty” as their lawmakers shall see fit to give them; and inasmuch as you apparently concede the right, which the lawmakers have always claimed, of killing all those who are not content with so much “liberty” as their lawmakers have seen fit to allow them,— it seems very plain that you have not added anything to our stock of knowledge on the subject of “our liberty.”
Leaving us thus, as you do, in as great darkness as we ever were, on this all-important subject of “our liberty,” I think you ought to submit patiently to a little questioning on the part of those of us, who feel that all this lawmaking — each and every separate particle of it — is a violation of “our liberty.”
Will you, therefore, please tell us whether any, and, if any, how much, of that natural liberty — of that natural, inherent, inalienable, individual right to liberty — with which it has generally been supposed that God, or Nature, has endowed every human being, will be left to us, if the lawmakers are to continue, as you would have them do the exercise of their arbitrary, irresponsible dominion over us?
Are you prepared to answer that question?
No. You appear to have never given a thought to any such question as that.
I will therefore answer it for you.
And my answer is, that from the moment it is conceded that any man, or body of men, whatever, under any pretence whatever, have the right to make laws of their men invention, and compel other men to obey them, every vestige of man’s natural and rightful liberty is denied him.
That this is so is proved by the fact that all a man’s natural rights stand upon one and the same basis, viz., that they are the gift of God, or Nature, to him, as an individual, for his own uses, and for his own happiness. If any one of these natural rights may be arbitrarily taken from him by other men, all of them may be taken from him on the same reason. No one of these rights is any more sacred or inviolable in its nature, than are all the others. The denial of any one of these rights is therefore equivalent to a denial of all the others. The violation of any one of these rights, by lawmakers, is equivalent to the assertion of a right to violate all of them.
Plainly, unless all a man’s natural rights are inviolable by lawmakers, none of them are. It is an absurdity to say that a man has any rights of his own, if other men, whether calling themselves a government, or by any other name, have the right to take them from him, without his consent. Therefore the very idea of a law making government necessarily implies a denial of all such things as individual liberty, or individual rights.
From this statement it does not follow that every lawmaking government will, in practice, take from every man all his natural rights. It will do as it pleases about it. It will take some, leaving him to enjoy others, just as its own pleasure or discretion shall dictate at the time. It would defeat its own ends, if it were wantonly to take away all his natural rights,— as, for example, his right to live, and to breathe — for then he would be dead, and the government could then get nothing more out of him. The most tyrannical government will, therefore, if it have any sense, leave its victims enough liberty to enable them to provide for their own subsistence, to pay their taxes, and to render such military or other service as the government may have need of. But it will do this for its own good, and not for theirs. In allowing them this liberty, it does not at all recognize their right to it, but only consults its own interests.
Now, sir, this is the real character of the government of the United States, as it is of all other lawmaking governments. There is not a single human right, which the government of the United States recognises as inviolable. It tramples upon any and every individual right, whenever its own will, pleasure, or discretion shall so dictate. It takes men’s property, liberty, and lives whenever it can serve its own purposes by doing so.
All these things prove that the government does not exist at all for the protection of men’s rights; but that it absolutely denies to the people any rights, or any liberty, whatever, except such as it shall see fit to permit them to have for the time being. It virtually declares that it does not itself exist at all for the good of the people, but that the people exist solely for the use of the government.
All these things prove that the government is not one voluntarily established and sustained by the people, for the protection of their natural, inherent, individual rights, but that it is merely a government of usurpers, robbers, and tyrants, who claim to own the people as their slaves, and claim the right to dispose of them, and. their property, at their (the usurpers’) pleasure or discretion.
Now, sir, since you may be disposed to deny that such is the real character of the government, I propose to prove it, by evidences so numerous and conclusive that you cannot dispute them.
My proposition, then, is, that there is not a single natural, human right, that the government of the United States recognizes as inviolable; that there is not a single natural, human right, that it hesitates to trample under foot, whenever it thinks it can promote its own interests by doing so.
The proofs of this proposition are so numerous, that only a few of the most important can here be enumerated.
1. The government does not even recognize a man’s natural right to his own life. If it have need of him, for the maintenance of its power, it takes him, against his will (conscripts him), and puts him before the cannon’s mouth, to be blown in pieces, as if he were a mere senseless thing, having no more rights than if he were a shell, a canister, or a torpedo. It considers him simply as so much senseless war material, to be consumed, expended, and destroyed for the maintenance of its power. It no more recognizes his right to have anything to say in the matter, than if he were but so much weight of powder or ball. It does not recognize him at all as a human being, having any rights whatever of his own, but only as an instrument, a weapon, or a machine, to be used in killing other men.
2. The government not only denies a man’s right, as a moral human being, to have any will, any judgment, or any conscience of his own, as to whether he himself will be killed in battle, but it equally denies his right to have any will, any judgment, or any conscience of his own, as a moral human being, as to whether he shall be used as a mere weapon for killing other men. If he refuses to kill any, or all, other men, whom it commands him to kill, it takes his own life, as unceremoniously as if he were but a dog.
Is it possible to conceive of a more complete denial of all a man’s natural, human rights, than is the denial of his right to have any will, judgment, or conscience of his own, either as to his being killed himself, or as to his being used as a mere weapon for killing other men?
3. But in still another way, than by its conscriptions, the government denies a man’s right to any will, choice, judgment, or conscience of his own, in regard either to being killed himself, or used as a weapon in its hands for killing other people.
If, in private life, a man enters into a perfectly voluntary agreement to work for another, at some innocent and useful labor, for a day, a week, a month, or a year, he cannot lawfully be compelled to fulfil that contract; because such compulsion would be an acknowledgment of his right to sell his own liberty. And this is what no one can do.
This right of personal liberty is inalienable. No man can sell it, or transfer it to another; or give to another any right of arbitrary dominion over him. All contracts for such a purpose are absurd and void contracts, that no man can rightfully lie compelled to fulfil.
But when a deluded or ignorant young man has once been enticed into a contract to kill others, and to take his chances of being killed himself, in the service of the government, for any given number of years, the government holds that such a contract to sell his liberty, his judgment, his conscience, and his life, is a valid and binding contract; and that if he fails to fulfil it, he may rightfully be shot.
All these things prove that the government recognizes no right of the individual, to his own life, or liberty, or to the exercise of his own will, judgment, or conscience, in regard to his killing his fellow-men, or to being killed himself, if the government sees fit to use him as mere war material, in maintaining its arbitrary dominion over other human beings.
4. The government recognizes no such thing as any natural right of property, on the part of individuals.
This is proved by the fact that it takes, for its own uses, any and every man’s property — when it pleases, and as much of it as it pleases — without obtaining, or even asking, his consent.
This taking of a man’s property, without his consent, is a denial of his right of property; for the right of property is the right of supreme, absolute, and irresponsible dominion over anything that is naturally a subject of property,— that is, of ownership. It is a right against all the world. And this right of property — this right of supreme, absolute, and irresponsible dominion over anything that is naturally a subject of ownership — is subject only to this qualification, viz., that each man must so use his own, as not to injure another.
If A uses his own property so as to injure the person or property of B, his own property may rightfully be taken to any extent that is necessary to make reparation for the wrong he has done.
This is the only qualification to which the natural right of property is subject.
When, therefore, a government takes a man’s property, for its own support, or for its own uses, without his consent, it practically denies his right of property altogether; for it practically asserts that its right of dominion is superior to his.
No man can be said to have any right of property at all, in any thing — that is, any right of supreme, absolute, and irresponsible dominion over any thing — of which any other men may rightfully deprive him at their pleasure.
Now, the government of the United States, in asserting its right to take at pleasure the property of individuals, without their consent, virtually denies their right of property altogether, because it asserts that its right of dominion over it, is superior to theirs.
5. The government denies the natural right of human beings to live on this planet. This it does by denying their natural right to those things that are indispensable to the maintenance of life. It says that, for every thing necessary to the maintenance of life, they must have a special permit from the government; and that the government cannot be required to grant them any other means of living than it chooses to grant them.
All this is shown as follows, viz.:
The government denies the natural right of individuals to take possession of wilderness land, and hold and cultivate it for their own subsistence.
It asserts that wilderness land is the property of the government; and that individuals have no right to take possession of, or cultivate, it, unless by special grant of the government. And if an individual attempts to exercise this natural right, the government punishes him as a trespasser and a criminal.
The government has no more right to claim the ownership of wilderness lands, than it has to claim the ownership of the sunshine, the water, or the atmosphere. And it has no more right to punish a man for taking possession of wilderness land, and cultivating it, without the consent of the government, than it has to punish him for breathing the air, drinking the water, or enjoying the sunshine, without a special grant from the government.
In thus asserting the government’s right of property in wilderness land, and in denying men’s rigid to take possession of and cultivate it, except on first obtaining a grant from the government,— which grant the government may withhold if it pleases,— the government plainly denies the natural right of men to live on this planet, by denying their natural right to the means that are indispensable to their procuring the food that is necessary for supporting life.
In asserting its right of arbitrary dominion over that natural wealth that is indispensable to the support of human life, it asserts its right to withhold that wealth from those whose lives are dependent upon it. In this way it denies the natural right of human beings to live on the planet. It asserts that government owns the planet, and that men have no right to live on it, except by first getting a permit from the government.
This denial of men’s natural right to take possession of and cultivate wilderness land is not altered at all by the fact that the government consents to sell as much land as it thinks it expedient or profitable to sell; nor by the fact that, in certain cases, it gives outright certain lands to certain persons. Notwithstanding these sales and gifts, the fact remains that the government claims the original ownership of the lands; and thus denies the natural right of individuals to take possession of and cultivate them. In denying this natural right of individuals, it denies their natural right to live on the earth; and asserts that they have no other right to life than the government, by its own mere will, pleasure, and discretion, may see fit to grant them.
In thus denying man’s natural right to life, it of course denies every other natural right of human beings; and asserts that they have no natural right to anything; but that, for all other things, as well as for life itself, they must depend wholly upon the good pleasure and discretion of the government.
What’s To Be Done?
A Romance. By N. G. Tchernychewsky.
Translated by Benj. R. Tucker.
Continued from No. 67.
Ah! there it is; at last she sees that it is with herself that she is discontented, but why? She was too proud for that. Is it only with the past that she is discontented? That was the case at first, but she notices that this discontent refers also to the present. And of how strange a character this feeling is! As if it were not her, Véra Pavlovna Kirsanoff, who felt this discontent, but as if it were the discontent of thousands and millions of human beings reflected in her. For what reason are these thousands and millions of human beings discontented with themselves? If she had lived and thought as she used to when she was alone, it is probable that this feeling would not have shown itself so soon; but now she was constantly with her husband, they always thought together, she thinks of him in the midst, of these other thoughts. That aids her much in determining the character of her feeling. He has been unable to find the solution of the enigma: this feeling, obscure to her, is still more so to him; it is even difficult for him to understand how one can feel discontent without this discontent referring to something personal. This is a singularity a hundred times more obscure to him than to her. Nevertheless she feels much aided by the fact that she thinks always of her husband, that she is always with him,-observes him, and thinks with him. She has noticed that, when the feeling of discontent comes, it is always followed by a comparison (it is even contained in this comparison) between herself and her husband, and her thought is illuminated by the right word: “A difference, an offensive difference.” Now all is clear to her.
“How agreeable N. N. is, Sacha I [The name spoken by Véra Pavlovna was that of the officer through whom she had desired to make the acquaintance of Tamberlik in her horrible dream.] He has brought me a new poem, which is not to be printed for a long time yet,” said Vera Pavlovna, at dinner. “When we have dined, we will read this poem, if you like. I have waited for you, though I had a great desire to read it.”
“What, then, is this poem?”
“You shall judge. We shall see if he has succeeded. N. N. says that he himself — I mean the author — is almost, satisfied with it.”
They sat down in Véra Pavlovna’s room, and she began to read:
Oh! comme la corbeille est pleine!
J’ai de la perse et du brocart.
Ayez pitié, o mon amour,
De l’épaule du garcon.
“Now I see,” said Kirsanoff, after hearing several dozen lines: “it is a new style peculiar to the author. But it is easy to see who wrote it. Nékrassoff, is it not? I thank you very much for having waited for me.”
“I believe it is!” said Véra Pavlovna. And they read twice the little poem, which, thanks to their intimacy with a friend of the author, they thus had the privilege of seeing three years before its publication.
“But do you know the lines which most impress me?” said Véra Pavlovna, after they had several times read and re-read several passages of the poem; “these lines do not belong in the principal passages, but they impress me exceedingly. When Katia was awaiting the return of her lover, she grieved much;
Inconsolable, elle se serait consumée de douleur
Si elle avait eu le temps de so chargriner;
Mais le temps des travaux pénibles pressait,
Il aurait fallu achever une dizaine d’affaires.
Bien qu’il lui arrivat souvent
De tomber de fatigue, la pauvre enfant,
Sous sa faux vaillante tombait l’herbe,
Le blé criait sous sa faucille;
C’est de toutes ses forces
Qu’elle battait le blé e tous les matins,
Et jusqu’a la nuit noire elle étendait le lin
Sur les prairies pleines de rosée.
These lines are only the preface of the episode where this worthy Katia dreams of Vania; but, I repeat, they are the ones which most impress me.”
“Yes, this picture is one of the finest in the poem, but these lines do not occupy a prominent place. You find them so beautiful because they accord so closely with the thoughts that fill your own mind. What, then, are these thoughts?”
“These, Sacha. We have often said that it is probable that woman’s organization is superior to man’s, and that it is probable, therefore, that intellectually man will be thrown back by woman to a second place when the reign of brute force is over. We have reached this supposition by watching real life and especially by noting the fact that the number of women born intelligent is greater than that of men. Moreover, you rest this opinion on various anatomical and physiological details.”
“How well you treat men, Vérotchka! Fortunately, the time that you foresee is still far off. Otherwise I should quickly change my opinion to avoid being relegated to a second place. For that matter, it is only probability; science has not yet observed facts enough to solve this grave question properly.”
“But, dear friend, have we not also asked ourselves why the facts of history have been hitherto so contradictory of the deduction which may be drawn, with almost entire certainty, from observations of private life and the constitution of the organism? Hitherto woman has played but a minor part in intellectual life, because the reign of violence deprived her of the means of development and stifled her aspirations. That is a sufficient explanation in itself; but here is another. So far as physical force is concerned, woman’s organism is the weaker, but it has at the same time the greater power of resistance, has it not?”
“This is surer than the difference in native intellectual powers. Yes, woman’s organism is more effective in its resistance to the destructive forces,— climate, inclement weather, insufficient food. Medicine and physiology have paid but little attention to this question as yet, but statistics has already given an eloquent reply: the average life of women is longer than that of men. We may infer from this that the feminine organism is the more vigorous.”
“The fact that woman’s manner of life is generally even less healthy than man’s makes this all the truer.”
“There is another convincing consideration given us by physiology. Woman’s growth may be said to end at the age of twenty, and man’s at the age of twenty-five; these figures are approximately correct in our climate and of our race. Admitting that out of a given number there are as many women who live to the age of seventy as men who attain the age of sixty-five, if we take into consideration the difference in the periods of development, the preponderance of vigor in the feminine organism becomes even more evident than the statisticians suppose, as they have never taken into account the difference in the ages of maturity. Seventy years is twenty times three and five-tenths; sixty-five years is twenty-five times two and six-tenths. Therefore woman’s life is three and one-half times as long as the period of her development, while man’s is but little more than two and one-half times as long as the period of his development, which is a little slower. Now, the respective strength of the two organisms should be measured by this standard.”
“The difference is greater than my readings had led me to believe.”
“You have read only the statistical summaries bearing on the average length of life. But if to these statistical facts we add physiological facts, the difference will appear very much greater yet.”
“That is so, Sacha; I thought — and the thought now strikes me still more forcibly — that, if the feminine organism is better fitted to resist destructive forces, it is probable that woman could endure moral shocks with the greater ease and firmness. But in reality the opposite seems to he the truth.”
“Yes, it is probable. But it is only a supposition. It is true, nevertheless, that your conclusion is derived from indisputable facts. The vigor of the organism is very intimately connected with the vigor of the nerves. Woman’s nerves are probably more elastic and of more solid texture, and, if that is the case, they ought to endure painful shocks and sensations with the greater ease and firmness. In actual life we have far too many examples of the contrary. Woman is very often tormented by things that man endures easily. Not much effort has been made as yet to analyze the causes which, given our historical situation, show us phenomena the opposite of what we are justified in expecting from the very constitution of the organism. But one of these causes is plain; it governs all historical phenomena and all the phases of our present condition. It is the force of bias, a bad habit, a false expectation, a false fear. If a person says to himself, ‘I can do nothing,’ he finds himself unable to do anything. Now, women have always been told that they are weak, and so they feel weak and to all intents and purposes are weak. You know instances where men really in good health have been seen to waste away and die from the single thought that they were going to weaken and die. But there are also instances of this in the conduct of great masses of people, entire humanity. One of the most remarkable is furnished by military history. In the Middle Ages infantry imagined that it could not hold its own against cavalry, and actually it could not. Entire armies of foot soldiers were scattered like flocks of sheep by a few hundred horsemen; and that lasted until the English foot-soldiers, small proprietors, proud and independent, appeared on the Continent. These did not share this fear, and were not accustomed to surrender without a struggle. They conquered every time they met the innumerable and formidable French cavalry. Do you remember those famous defeats of French horsemen by small armies of English foot-soldiers at Crécy, Poitiers, and Agincourt? The same fact was rejected when the Swiss foot-soldiers once got the idea that they had no reason to think themselves weaker than the feudal cavalry. The Austrian horsemen, and afterwards those of Burgundy, still more numerous, were beaten by them in every fight. The other horsemen wanted to meet them also, and were always routed. Everybody saw then that infantry was a more solid body than cavalry: but entire centuries had gone by in which infantry was very weak in comparison with cavalry, simply because it thought itself so.”
“True, Sacha. We are weak because we consider ourselves so. But it seems to me that there is still another cause. I have us two in mind. Does it not seem to you that I changed a great deal during the two weeks when you did not see me?”
“Yes, you grew very thin and pale.”
“It is precisely that which is revolting to my pride when I remember that no one noticed you grow thin or pale, though you suffered and struggled as much as I. How did you do it“”
“This is the reason, then, why these lines about Katia, who escapes sorrow through labor, have made such an impression on you! I endured struggle and suffering with reasonable ease, because I had not much time to think about them. During the time that I devoted to them I suffered horribly, but my urgent daily duties forced me to forget them the greater part of the time. I had to prepare my lessons and attend to my patients. In spite of myself I rested during that time from my bitter thoughts. On the rare days when I had leisure, I felt my strength leaving me. It seems to me that, if I had abandoned myself for a week to my thoughts, I should have gone mad.”
“That’s it, exactly. Of late I have seen that the origin of the difference between us was there. One must have work that cannot be neglected or postponed, and then one is incomparably securer against sorrow.”
“But you had a great deal of work too.”
“My household duties, to be sure, but I was not obliged to attend to them, and often, when my sadness was too strong, I neglected them to abandon myself to my thoughts; one always abandons that which is least important. As soon as one’s feelings get firm possession of them, these drive all petty cares out of the mind. I have lessons; these are more important; but I can neglect them when I like, and the work is not absorbing. I give it only such attention as I choose; if my mind wanders during the lesson, no great harm is done. And again: do I live by my lessons? Is my position dependent on them? No, my main support then came from Dmitry’s work as it now comes from yours. The lessons allow me to flatter myself that I am independent, and are by no means useless. But then I could get along without them.
“Then I tried, in order to drive away the thoughts which were tormenting me, to busy myself in the shop more than usual. But I did it only by an effort of the will. I understood well enough that my presence in the shop was necessary only for an hour or an hour and a half, and that, if I stayed longer, I was tying myself down to a fatigue which, though certainly useful, was not at all indispensable. And then, can such altruistic occupation sustain perse as as ordinary as I am? The Rakhmétoffs are another sort of people: they are so much concerned about the common welfare that to work for public ends is a necessity to them, so much so that to them altruistic life takes the place of private life. But we do not scale these high summits, we are not Rakhmétoffs, and our private life is the only thing, properly speaking, that is indispensable to us. The shop was not my matter, after all; I was concerned in it only for others and for my ideas; but I am one of those who take little interest in the affairs of others, though they are suffering themselves. What we need in such cases is a personal, urgent occupation, upon which our life depends; such an occupation, considering my feelings and condition, would weigh more with me than all the impulses of passion; it alone could serve to support me in a struggle against an omnipotent passion; it alone gives strength and rest. I want such an occupation.”
“You are right, my friend,” said Kirsanoff, warmly, kissing his wife, whose eyes sparkled with animation. “To think that it has not occurred to me before, when it would have been so simple; I did not even notice it! Yes, Vérotchka, no one can think for another. If you wish to be comfortable, think for yourself of yourself; no one can take your place. To love as I love, and not to have understood all this before you explained it to me! But,” he continued, laughing, and still kissing his wife, “why do you think this occupation necessary now? Are you becoming amorously inclined towards any one?”
Véra Pavlovna began to laugh heartily, and for some minutes mad laughter prevented them from speaking.
“Yes, we can laugh at that now,” she said, at last: “both of us can now be sure that nothing of the kind will ever happen to either of us. But seriously, do you know what I am thinking about now? Though my love for Dmitry was not the love of a completely developed woman, neither did he love me in the way in which we understand love. His feeling for me was a mixture of strong friendship with the fire of amorous passion. He had a great friendship for me, but his amorous transports needed but a woman for their satisfaction, not me personally. No, that was not love. Did he care much about my thoughts? No, no more than I did about his. There was no real love between us.”
“You are unjust to him, Vérotchka.”
“No, Sacha, it is really so. Between us it is useless to praise him. We both know very well in what high esteem we hold him; it is vain for him to say that it would have been easy to separate me from him; it is not so; you said in the same way that it was easy for you to struggle against your passion. Yet, however sincere his words and yours, they must not be understood or construed literally.
“Oh! my friend, I understand how much you suffered. And this is how I understand it.”.....
“Vérotchka, you stifle me. Confess that, besides the force of sentiment, you also wanted to show me your muscular force. How strong you are, indeed! But how could you be otherwise with such a chest?”
“My dear Sacha!”
“But you did not let me talk business, Sacha,” began Véra Pavlovna, when, two hours later, they sat down to tea.
“I did not let you talk? Was it my fault?”
“Who began the indulgence?”
“Are you not ashamed to say that?”
“That I began the indulgence. Fie! the idea of thus compromising a modest woman on the plea of coldness!”
“Indeed! Do you not preach equality? Why not equality of initiative as well?” “Ha, ha, ha! a fine argument! But would you dare to accuse me of being illogical? Do I not try to maintain equality in initiative also? I take now the initiative of continuing our serious conversation, which we have too thoroughly forgotten.”
“Take it, if you will, but I refuse to follow you, and I take the initiative of continuing to forget it. Give me your hand.”
“But we must finish our talk, Sacha.”
“We shall have time enough tomorrow. Now, you see, I am absorbed in an analysis of this hand.”
“Sacha, let us finish our conversation of yesterday. We must do so, because I am getting ready to go with you, and you must know why,” said Véra Pavlovna the next morning.
“You are coming with me?”
“Certainly. You asked me, Sacha, why I wanted an occupation upon which my life should depend, which I should look upon as seriously as you on yours, which should be as engaging as yours, and which should require as much attention as yours requires. I want this occupation, my dear friend, because I am very proud. When I think that during my days of trial my feelings became so visible in my person that others could analyze them, I am thoroughly ashamed. I do not speak of my sufferings. You had to struggle and suffer no less than I, and you triumphed where I was conquered. I wish to be as strong as you, you equal in everything. And I have found the way; I have thought a great deal since we left each other yesterday, and I have found it all alone; you were unwilling to aid me with your advice; so much the worse for you. It is too late now. Yes, Sacha, you may be very anxious about me, my dear friend, but how happy we shall be if I prove capable of success in what I wish to undertake!”
Véra Pavlovna had just thought of an occupation which, under Kirsanoff’s guidance and her hand in his, she could engage in successfully.
Lopoukhoff, to be sure, had not hindered her at all; on the contrary, she was sure of finding support from him in all serious matters. But it was only under serious circumstances that he was as devoted and firm as Kirsanoff would have been. This he had shown when, in order to marry her and deliver her from her oppressive situation, he had sacrificed all his scientific dreams and exposed himself to the sufferings of hunger. Yes, when the matter was serious, his hand was held out to her, but usually it was wanting. Véra Pavlovna, for instance, organized her shop: if, in any way whatever, his aid had been indispensable, Lopoukhoff would have given it with pleasure. But why did he actually give almost no aid at all? He stood in the way of nothing; he approved what was done and rejoiced at it. But he had his own life as she had hers. Now it is not the same. Kirsanoff does not wait for his wife to ask him to participate in all that she does. He is as interested in everything that is dear to her as she is in everything that relates to him.
From this new life Véra Pavlovna derives new strength, and what formerly seemed to her as if it would never leave the realms of the ideal now appears entirely within reach.
As for her thoughts, this is the order in which they came to her:
[To be continued.]
“A free man is one who enjoys the use of his reason and his faculties; who is neither blinded by passion, nor hindered or driven by oppression, nor deceived by erroneous opinions.” — Proudhon.
In the next number of Liberty will begin the serial publication of a new and thrilling romance, entitled:
translated especially for this journal from the French of the great novelist,
The author weaves into a drama of unusual poignancy and melancholy power the story of one of the heroic struggles of the sons of Erin to lift the accursed yoke of the English,— the English who have stolen their lands, burned such cities as resisted too vigorously, exterminated entire and inoffensive populations, and established as an axiom this monstrosity:
It is not a felony to kill an Irishman.
He also gives the bloody history of the repression of this noble attempt at deliverance, terrible, frightful, cowardly repression, by exile, punishment, and execution without trial.
He lifts the conquered to their legitimate pinnacle of glory, and puts the conquerors in the pillory of shame.
Every Irishman and every lover of freedom should read this story.
To the Editor of Liberty:
Will you give direct and explicit answers to the following questions?
I certainly will, wherever the questions are direct and explicit.
Does Anarchism recognize the right of one individual or any number of individuals to determine what course of action is just or unjust for others?
Yes, if by the word unjust is meant invasive; otherwise, no. Anarchism recognizes the right of one individual or any number of individuals to determine that no man shall invade the equal liberty of his fellow; beyond this it recognizes no right of control over individual conduct.
Does it recognize the right to restrain or control their actions, whatever they may be?
See previous answer.
Does it recognize the right to arrest, try, convict, and punish for wrong doing?
Yes, if by the words wrong doing is meant invasion; otherwise, no.
Does it believe in jury trial?
Anarchism, as such, neither believes nor disbelieves in jury trial; it is a matter of expediency. For myself, I am inclined to favor it.
If so, how is the jury to be selected?
Another matter of expediency. Speaking for myself again, I think the jury should be selected by drawing twelve names by lot from a wheel containing the names of all the citizens in the community,— jury service, of course, not to be compulsory, though it may rightfully be made, if it should seem best, a condition of membership in a voluntary association.
Does it propose prisons, or other places of confinement, for such as prove unsafe?
Another matter of expediency. If it can find no better instrument of resistance to invasion, Anarchism will use prisons.
Does it propose taxation to support the tribunals of justice, and these places of confinement and restraint?
Anarchism proposes to deprive no individual of his property, or any portion of it, without his consent, unless the individual is an invader, in which case Anarchism will take enough of his property from him to repair the damage done by his invasion. Contribution to the support of certain things may, like jury service, rightfully be made a condition of membership in a voluntary association.
How is justice to be determined in a given case?
This question not being explicit, I cannot answer it explicitly. I can only say that justice is to be determined on the principle of the equal liberty of all, and by such mechanism as may prove best fitted to secure its object.
Will Anarchists wait till all who know anything about it are agreed?
This question is grammatically defective. It is not clear what “it” refers to. It may refer to justice in the previous question, or it may refer to Anarchism, or it may refer to some conception hidden in the recesses of the writer’s brain. At a venture I will make this assertion, hoping it may hit the mark. When Anarchists are agreed in numbers sufficient to enable them to accomplish whatever special work lies before them, they will probably go about it.
Will they take the majority rule? Or will they sustain a small fraction in their findings?
Inasmuch as Anarchistic associations recognize the right of secession, they may utilize the ballot, if they see fit to do so. If the question decided by ballot is so vital that the minority thinks it more important to carry out its own views than to preserve common action, the minority can withdraw. In no case can a minority, however small, be governed against its consent.
Does Anarchism mean the observance and enforcement of natural law, so far as can be discovered, or does it mean the opposite or something else?
Anarchism does mean exactly the observance and enforcement of the natural law of Liberty, and it does net mean the opposite or anything else.
If it means that all such as do not conform to the natural law, as understood by the masses, shall be made to suffer through the machinery of organized authority, no matter under what name it goes, it is human government as really as anything we now have.
Anarchism knows nothing about “natural law as understood by the masses.” It means the observance and enforcement by each individual of the natural law of Liberty as understood by himself. When a number of individuals who understand this natural law to mean the equal liberty of all organize on a voluntary basis to resist the invasion of this liberty, they form a very different thing from any human government we now have. They do not form a government at all; they organize a rebellion against government. For government is invasion, and nothing else; and resistance to invasion is the antithesis of government. All the organized governments of today are such because they are invasive. In the first place, all their acts are indirectly invasive, because dependent upon the primary invasion called taxation; and, in the second place, by far the greater number of their acts are directly invasive, because directed, not to the restraint of invaders, but to the denial of freedom to the people in their industrial, commercial, social, domestic, and individual lives. No man with brains in his head can honestly say that such institutions are identical in their nature with voluntary associations supported by voluntary contributions, which confine themselves to resisting invasion.
If it means that the undeveloped and vicious shall not he interfered with, it means that the world shall suffer all the disorder and crime that depravity unhindered can consummate.
I hope that my readers will take in Mr. Blodgett’s final assertion in all its length and breadth and depth. Just see what it says. It says that penal institutions are the only promoters of virtue. Education goes for nothing; example goes for nothing; public opinion goes for nothing; social ostracism goes for nothing; freedom goes for nothing; competition goes for nothing; increase of material welfare goes for nothing; decrease of temptation goes for nothing; health goes for nothing; approximate equality of conditions goes for nothing: all these are utterly powerless as preventives or curatives of immorality. The only forces on earth, that tend to develop the undeveloped and to make the vicious virtuous are our judges, our jails, and our gibbets. Mr. Blodgett, I believe, repudiates the Christian doctrine that hell is the only safeguard of religious morality, but he re-creates it by affirming that a hell upon earth is the only safeguard of natural morality.
Why do Mr. Blodgett and all those who agree with him so persistently disregard the constructive side of Anarchism? The chief claim of Anarchism for its principles is that the abolition of legal monopoly will so transform social conditions that ignorance, vice, and crime will gradually disappear. However often this may be stated and however definitely it may be elaborated, the Blodgetts will approach you, apparently gravely unconscious that any remark has been made, and say: “If there are no policemen, the criminal classes will run riot.” Tell them that, when the system of commercial cannibalism which rests on legal privilege disappears, cutthroats will disappear with it, and they will not deny it or attempt to disprove it, but they will first blink at you a moment with their owllike eyes, and then from out their mouths will come the old, familiar hoot: “Tu-whit! tu-who! If a ruffian tries to cut your throat, what are you going to do about it? Tu-whit! tu-who!”
As regards the one vital issue of Liberty Individual Sovereignty, history has been everlastingly repeating itself, and yet no considerable body of reformers seem as yet to have profited by the lesson.
The rise and progress of the thousand reform movements that have developed in the world is essentially the same. Each begins with a few scattered justice-loving and liberty-loving individuals. In its weakness, ill-repute, and poverty of resources it opens wide its humble doors to all who love justice and fair play and bids all a hearty welcome to its platform it soon becomes a moral force and swells its ranks.
But sooner or later the cloven-footed beast of politics creeps in. It organizes. Committees, caucuses, and votes are introduced. Finally, it erects a creed, a platform, or some other machine binding on others without their consent. Then exclusiveness is engendered, ruling cliques spring up, and the ultimate result is that the same bigotry, narrowness, ostracism, and usurpation are exercised that prevail in the organizations against which it pretends to stand as a protest. The whole thing finally sums itself up into the fact that human nature remains just what it was before, with the added hypocrisy universally engendered by all collectivized machines. You cannot make a quart pot fill a bushel measure, though you magnify it by the artificial glass of creed; and a little narrow ten-per-cent, soul, “perfecting the organization of liberalism” by political methods, is engaged in not a whit less contemptible work than are the hierarchs of the Romish church.
I was silly enough to help start the “Free Religious” movement in my town some years ago. “Come,” said a few isolated men and women, “let us start a liberal platform, free to all,— Jew, Gentile, Christian, and infidel.” We started it, but soon the deadly spirit of politics sneaked in and took the business in tow towards despotism. A ruling clique of wealthy and “respectable” dilettantists of the Courtlandt Palmer order soon straddled it, and turned their backs upon free-lovers, Anarchists, and such others as had religious issues on hand which met the censure of the ruling syndicate. Now this organization is fully as exclusive as the churches. Its salaried priest dresses in solemn ecclesiastical black, prates piously from a manuscript every Sunday about the shadowy nonentities of “ethical culture,” and, after taking on the title of “Rev.,” has servilely asked the legislature to empower him to join couples in holy wedlock.
The glory of the Spiritualists was for a long time the persistent individualization of their movement, but they too are rapidly falling into the exclusive and despotic ways of politics. Their temple, lately dedicated in Boston, smells ominously of ecclesiasticism, and is said to be under the domination of a wealthy and exclusive ring. Whether the old spirit of individualism is to be entirely overridden and the organized hierarchical order substituted remains to be seen. From present indications, however, Spiritualism seems to be partially captured by the same old demon of politics that has throttled all the other new movements.
The so-called Freethinkers, who lately held their yearly congress in Albany, are another pitiable example of the inevitable doom of all attempts to organize liberalism on political methods. The liberal boss was as apparent at Albany as though it had been a meeting of regular politicians, and the treatment of Boss Wakeman and Boss Palmer towards E. H. Heywood, Josie Tilton, and Seward Mitchell makes it evident to any honest person that their liberalism is only skin-deep.
My captious friend “Edgeworth,” who, by the way, seems to be a sort of Anarchistic porcupine who never sits down, thinks I ought not to anathematize all kinds of politicians, “without the necessary distinction of degrees.” I am nevertheless at war with the whole brood, of all degrees and in all places, and shall continue to be. Whenever a would-be liberal movement enters upon voting, under majority rule, and sets up the machinery of authority on that basis, it is damned for all ultimate good, and is sure to cost Liberty more than it is worth, though it may accomplish some incidental good. It is morally sure to end in imitating the very despotism it started out to head off. When that despotism masquerades in the name of liberalism, it is doubly contemptible, and ought to be hounded and followed up by all the artillery that satire, rebuke, and exposure can command. A Freethinkers’ Association that practically holds a political convention at Albany is engaged in far sadder business than are John Kelly and Boss McLoughlin when they summon their henchmen thither.
The Cause of Human Nature.
I remember reading with absorbing interest the speech delivered by Senator Seward protesting with scholarly eloquence against the intervention of Russia in the Hungarian struggle for independence. His opening sentence, quoted from an address of Washington’s to the Continental Congress, yet lingers in my mind. “Let it be remembered,” exclaimed Washington, “that the cause for which America has contended has ever been the cause of human nature.” A broad, free stroke, painting with masterly confidence, as I must believe, the sublime endeavor of the future of our nationality, doing this no less faithfully than it recorded the achievement of the past. The end, the commanding purpose, unchangeable: the means, the ways, the methods of procedure, varying, improving with the advancing intelligence, with the moral elevation, of the people. There is what scientists call the law of modifications, to which lives of individuals and of nations are alike subject; a law ever dividing mankind, with whom the movement is in part voluntary, into radical and conservative; the one party pressing eagerly forward, fearless, full of belief in the necessity and wisdom of the change; the other, reluctant, cautious, afraid,— content to bear the ills we have, convinced that we can only fly to others we know not of.
It may be contended that the world has always in some form or other devoted itself to the cause of human nature. Does not every one, the most selfish of us, do this? If you look out for number one, O friend! is not that a look out for human nature?
I shall not attempt to remove the discussion from the plane of pure, unadulterated, unmitigated if you please, selfishness. But I shall insist that you shall be selfish in the most intelligent or scientific fashion. If you are going to stand for human nature as represented by your own individual, private interests, do yourself the honor not to think meanly of yourself, but claim all there is of you, assert your title to the well-nigh infinite possibilities, which is your prerogative. When you do this, you will find — what? Simply that no man can live to himself alone. Let him sever the root that connects him with the race, and be will most, assuredly wither away, and find himself at length dwarfed and wrecked, here on this bank and shoal of time. In the good providence of his being there are mystic chords of love and friendship which shoot out like tendrils to entwine themselves about the lives of his fellow-creatures, wherever he may wander over the habitable globe. Let him draw all these sacred lines of hope and succor in unto himself, coiling them round about his own heart. What has he done? Strangled his life at the fountain! In other words, he has acted like a fool; he has asserted that there is no common humanity, no essential unity of the spirit of man in the evolution of his nature, his thought, his aspiration, his well-being in the world. “The human race,” said Pascal, “is as one man who never dies, but is always advancing toward perfection.” To be wise, mankind must perceive, realize, accept their mutual dependence, find the glory of “each in all, all in each.”
Notice a few facts. Go to your histories. Where are the civilizations of the antique world? Perished. Why? They each and every one represented, not the endeavor of the whole, but the struggle of parts; each seeking the triumph of its own individual power and happiness, aside from, if not at the expense of, every other. No civilization thus limited, sundered from the race-life, could be carried to full success, or retain the results it had achieved. It met its foe in the outlying barbarism, which, when the favorable moment came, overwhelmed it in confusion and destruction.
But we need not retrace the steps of time. The present, passing hour brings illustration on illustration. Indeed, the newspapers are full of them; yea, do they not live on them? Where will you turn your gaze not to see the struggle going on? Individuals and races dissevered and bent on private aggrandizement, and yet a whole world crying peace, peace, when there is no peace, nor can be any. For isolated prosperity, every partial advance of culture, leaves behind the old-time foe,— the non-prosperous, the uncultured, the barbarism that is lurking, savage, jealous, envious, malignant, for the good chance it is sure to get to wreak its vengeance. Perchance I do injustice now. Perhaps the barbarism is in high places. Perhaps it is civilization masked under the disfigurations of want and suffering that is climbing up from the gutter. Pass the thought by. Still remains the fact that no form of selfishness which does not shape itself after the broad pattern of the whole race has any full claim to intelligence or a scientific recognition.
I understand very well the force that lies in the modern formula of the “survival of the fittest.” I enter no dissent to the general doctrine of evolution. On the contrary, I joyfully affirm it. I think, however, that there can be an exception taken to the form of Mr. Herbert Spencer’s recent restatement of it. After describing the state of universal warfare maintained throughout the lower creation, and showing that an average of benefit results from it, he proceeds with the following passage:
The development of the higher creation is a progress toward a form of being capable of a happiness undiminished by these drawbacks. It is in the human race that this consummation is to be accomplished. Civilization is the last stage of its accomplishment. And the ideal man is the man in whom all the conditions of that accomplishment are fulfilled.
Thus far, well and good. But he continues:
Meanwhile, the well-being of existing humanity and the unfolding of it into this ultimate perfection are both secured by the same beneficent, though severe, discipline to which the animate creation at large is subject: a discipline which is pitiless in the working out of good: a felicity-pursuing law which never swerves for the avoidance of partial and temporary suffering. The poverty of the incapable, the distresses that come upon the imprudent, the starvation of the idle, and those shoulderings aside of the weak by the strong which leave so many in shallows and in miseries, are the decrees of a large, far-seeing benevolence.
One cannot ascribe to a man like Mr. Spencer any ill-will toward his fellow-men, however incompetent, or imprudent, or even vicious, they may appear to him to be. He would be glad if they were less incompetent, less imprudent, less vicious. He wishes them no harm; but their non-survival is imperative. “Forbearance will tend to fill the world with those to whom life will bring most pain, and tend to keep out of it those to whom life will bring most pleasure.”
My point of criticism, which I am forced to give in briefest limits, is this: The form of this statement omits the consideration that it is a most difficult, if not impossible, diagnosis of human nature as illustrated by individuals and classes which the practical world is thus enjoined to make. “Meanwhile,” he says; that, is, before the “higher creation is accomplished,” the sure discipline of weeding out the unfittest must go on. I raise the question: are we to enter upon a crusade of the fit against the unfit? Alas! is it not precisely here, if we go deep enough, that all the evil lies? There is the saying of Christ, “Judge not, lest ye be judged,” which it appears to me it will be well for the world to hold in greater and greater reverence. And Shakspere’s outburst I commend to you, in that passage between Hamlet and Polonius, which I must quote from memory.
Hamlet. See that the players are well bestowed.
Polonius. Ay, my lord; I will treat them after their deserts.
Hamlet. Much better, sir. Treat every man after his deserts, and who shall ’scape whipping?
Exactly. And here I catch what appears to be a higher interpretation of the law that the fit alone shall survive, and perceive that it is quite in harmony with that spirit of universal brotherhood dawning over the earth, by which the higher civilization can alone be guided.
The Revolution, said Napoleon, means a chance for all. I call that the modern spirit — the democracy that shall save the world,— a chance for all to survive by some redeeming trait or quality inherent in all. Why not follow out the line of evolution which has brought us to so many assurances of our universal commonweal, and declare boldly that there is in each and all the promise and the potency of somewhat fit to survive? Can we not thus amplify the doctrine, and yet stick to fact, so that it will read the survival of the fittest in every individual? Already you have done something in this line by the establishment of your asylums for the idiotic and the deaf and dumb. A change of front, truly; a veritable new era inaugurated, if you but carry the thought into all your institutions and customs.
Thus, then, let us continue to say: By the force of traditions and opportunity America is dedicated to a vindication of the cause of human nature. After the pattern set in the mount of her own transfiguration, let her go forward proclaiming “all men are created free and equal, and endowed with inalienable rights, among which are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.”
True Love All-Embracing.
[George Eliot in “Daniel Deronda.”]
In all ages it hath been a favorite text that a potent love hath the nature of an isolated fatality, whereto the mind’s opinions and wonted resolves are altogether alien.....
Yet all love is not such, even though potent; nay, this passion hath as large scope as any for allying itself with every operation of the soul: so that it shall acknowledge an effect from the imagined light of unproven firmaments, and have its scale set to the grander orbits of what hath been and shall be.
Then and Now.
XXII. Contentment and Ambition
Boston, October 24, 2085.
My Dear Louise:
In course of conversation with Mr. De Demain recently, I remarked that I presumed contentment to be the leading characteristic of the people of the time. I was entirely innocent in my allusion, and had no idea of the storm that it would raise.
“Contentment? the thing that poets and fools sighed for; the thing that the rich and powerful wanted for the poor and weak! It was ambition — the opposite to contentment — that first brought organized life from inorganic protoplasm. It is ambition that has caused all development, both physical and mental, since.
“Contentment means stagnation. Contentment kept the savage a savage. Contentment made slaves of men. Contentment kept men in ignorance and poverty. Contentment of the many made rulers of the few.
“Contentment never did one thing for the advancement of humanity. It never moved a stone, it never cut a tree, it never built a fire, it never provided shelter, it never painted a picture, it never wrote a line, it never sang a song, it never taught a lesson.
“Contentment never made a discovery, it never conceived an idea, it never made an exertion.
“Contentment was the fruit of the lotus that benumbed the senses of the people, tied hands and feet, stopped thought, and turned them over as slaves to the ambitious. The moment ambition broke through the crust of contentment, there was advancement. While the laborer was contented with his lot, employers could easily become millionnaires. Business was good, interest was high, rents were high. The blessings of contentment were preached from the pulpit, taught in the schools and by the newspapers, scribbled about by poets, and talked of on the street-corners by fools and pharisees. Ambition was pictured as a terrible curse, but the picturers did not pose as examples. It was contentment that gave powers to giant monopolies; it was discontent — undefined ambition — that curbed those powers. Contentment was satisfied with the State; ambition gave birth to Anarchy, and the mother did not die in childbirth.
“Contentment under Anarchy! Were there contentment, there would be no such thing as Anarchy. Anarchy is not stagnant; Anarchy is progressive, constantly, rapidly changing and advancing. Anarchy is not a rule, it is not a law, it is not a standard. I can tell you what it is and what it has been, but I cannot tell you what it will be, except that it can never be contentment.
“Ambition is a tool. Put in the hands of a few men, it makes all others slaves to them; put in the hands of all men, it gives plenty and happiness to all, and makes humanity constantly greater and grander.
“Ambition is not a desire to conquer men, to rule states, to control monopolies, to become a millionnaire,— it is a desire to improve, to advance, to have more, to enjoy more and suffer less. Could there be any nobler motive? Could there be any better state of society than that under which such a desire is given the greatest scope?
“Contentment ate its crust and drank its water while Gould and Vanderbilt piled up millions and ate and drank the best the world afforded.
“There is no place for contentment under Anarchy. It is a mould that the sunlight of Liberty has killed. There are no germs of the unhealthy fungus left.
“There is but one thing with which we are content, and that is Anarchy. If that were not progressive in proportion to our ambitions, we should not be content with that.”
If this is true that Mr. De Demain says,— that there is no contentment under Anarchy,— what a peculiar state of existence it must be in which the people of today are placed! And still he says they are happy, and I confess myself that they appear so. Can it be that we in 1885 did not know the true meaning of happiness? Or is happiness, like most other things, but a progressive state, whose fullest development may never be reached, yet whose influence may constantly be brighter?
I will leave it for you to decide.
Mr. Spencer and Socialism.
The following are copious extracts from an essay which I wish I had room to print in full, written by Gertrude B. Kelly for the “Contemporary Review” in answer to the series of papers printed in that magazine from the pen of Herbert Spencer and since republished in a volume entitled, “The Man and the State.” It is needless to add that the essay was rejected by the “Contemporary.”
A lie that is all a lie may be met and fought with outright.
But a lie that is half a truth is a harder matter to tight.
That ceitain truths, when isolated, separated from the other truths with which they form a coherent whole, may amount practically to falsehoods, is a fact which Mr. Herbert Spencer has taught us to believe. Not satisfied with a complete theoretical demonstration, and numerous illustrations cited from the works of other writers, he now appears to be intent upon forcing the truth upon us by the examples furnished in his own recent writings. That the series of articles by him, recently published in the “Contemporary Review,” consist in the assertion of partial truths, forcibly wrenched from theier natural relationship, a short examination will, I think, enable us to see.
In the first place, Mr. Spencer says that the “miseries of the poor are thought of as the miseries of the deserving poor, instead of being thought of, as in large measure they should be, as the miseries of the undeserving poor.” So conservative a political economist as John Stuart Mill has admitted, nay, positively stated, that no one but a romantic dreamer could believe that in modern society the rewards are proportioned to the work, and that even those poor people, commonly called the “undeserving poor,” whose condition might with perhaps a trace of justice be said to be due to their own faults, have done and do more work than those who enjoy much worldly prosperity. One would need to be a philosopher to appreciate the fact that poverty and misery are proportional to the laziness of the individual. The ordinary mortal, on being told that a man works a great many hours in a day, or, as they are popularly and with good reason called, “long hours” immediately jumps to the conclusion that that man’s wages are small. The harder as well as the longer a man works, the smaller his wages are.
Mr. Spencer is surprised at the number of idlers that stand in the streets waiting to open cab-doors, etc., and expecting to be paid for it, and at once decides that these men are good-for-nothings. who never have worked, and who do not wish to work if they can live off some one else. Perhaps some of them are, and, admitting that they are, are they any worse than the titled and honorable loafers who live in the same way? But did it never occur to Mr. Spencer to question why these men are in the streets? The life in the streets is not a very enticing one, I suppose Mr. Spencer will admit; but, had as it is, these men have discerned that it is much easier, and that a great deal more money can he made in this way than could be made by hard work continued through long, weary hours, even if that work were always to be had. Let us hear Mr. James Greenwood on this subject, who cannot be accused of “timid sentimentalism”: “To a man who has to drudge at the docks, for instance, for threepence an hour,— and there are thousands in London who do so,— it is a dangerous experience for him to discover that as much may be made on an average by sauntering the ordinary length of a street, and occasionally raising his hand to his cap. Or he may know beforehand by rumor what a capital day’s work may be done at ‘cadging,’ and in bitter sweat of underpaid labor complain that he is worse off that a cadger.”
The command that he “that does not work, neither shall he eat,” no one is more willing than the socialists to see carried out. Does Mr. Spencer mean to say that the eating is now proportioned to the working? Formerly the privileged classes justified themselves by claiming divine right, tribute due to mental superiority, etc., but it remained for Mr. Spencer at the close of the nineteenth century to make the astounding statement that they are an equivalent in labor to society at large for what they receive from it; that, if they consume more than the common people, it is because they produce more.
Here follows a long array of extracts from competent authorities showing the poor quality and insufficient quantity of the food eaten by the hardest-worked manual laborers in various countries of the world, after which the writer continues:
This is a hasty summary of the condition of the working classes in the various so-called civilized countries. Admitting that the men and women found on the streets are to blame for their condition, are the men and women who work early and late eating according to their work? Let us hear Mr. Spencer himself on this subject.:
Surely the lot of the hard-handed laborer is pitiable enough without having harsh judgments passed upon him. To be wholly sacrificed to other men’s happiness, to be made a mere human tool; to have every faculty subordinated to the sole function of work,— this, one would say, is alone a misfortune needing all sympathy for its mitigation. Consider well these endowments of his, these capacities, affections, tastes, and the vague yearnings to which they give birth. Think of him now with his caged-up desires, doomed to a daily, weekly, yearly round of painful toil, with scarcely any remission but for food and sleep. Observe how he is tantalized by the pleasures he sees his richer brethren partaking of, but from which he must forever be debarred. Note the humiliation he suffers from being looked down upon as of no account amongst men. And then remember that no has nothing to look forward to but a monotonous continuance of this till death..... How offensive is it to hear some pert self-approving personage, who thanks God that he is not as other men are, passing sentence on his poor, hard-worked, heavily-burdened countrymen, including then: all in one sweeping condemnation because in their struggle for existence they do not maintain the same prim respectability as himself. — Social Statics.
Mr. Spencer seems to have now joined the ranks of those “self-approving personages.”
Now, as to our “responsibilities,” Mr. Spencer admits that we have some, but the only examples be can bring forward of our and our ancestors’ evil doings, are the old Poor-Law and the laws regarding tramps. When Mr. Spencer was younger and probably more honest, he admitted that the monopoly of the land and of all natural forces was wrong, and that our ancestors were to blame for that. The old Poor-Law, bad as it was, was only an attempt made to patch a hole in an evil system, and was not, as Mr. Spencer would have us believe, at all passed with a view of benefiting the laborers, nor at the instigation of the laborers, but with a view of benefiting the farmers, and at the farmers’ and landowners’ bidding was it passed. Nobody objected more than the working people to the old Poor-Law, as they saw and felt that its whole tendency was to degrade them. “Betty Higden” in Dickens’s “Mutual Friend” is a good example of how the people regarded the Poor-Law and the Poor-House. If the game the landowners and farmers played reacted on themselves, we have no pity for them.
When we look back on the Anti-Slavery movement in the United States, and read the various speeches and writings in favor of slavery, we are very much surprised, nay, we doubt, that any ordinarily intelligent person could honestly believe that the slave-owners supported the slaves, and when we read such as the following by the Rev. William Meade of Winchester, Virginia: “You are to be faithful and honest to your masters and mistresses, not purloining nor wasting their goods and substance, but showing all good fidelity in all things. Do not your masters and mistresses support you? And how shall they he able to do this, to feed and to clothe you, unless you take honest care of everything that belongs to them? Remember, God requires this of you, and if you are not afraid of suffering for it in this world, you cannot escape the vengeance of Almighty God,” we are inclined to think that the man was either a knave or a fool (more probably a knave, for the Church knows well how to select), because an honest man of the most ordinary intellectual capacity must have seen the falsity of the plea. In the same manner is it with the slaves of today, black and white (for, as Carlyle once truly remarked, the only difference between the northern and the southern slave was in the difference of time for which they were sold). In the near future men will wonder how Mr. Spencer, “the philosopher” of the nineteenth century, could have allowed his devotion to the bourgeoisie to so cloud his morality (for we cannot believe it was his judgment that was at fault) as to cause him to say that the rich supported the poor. How do they do it? By standing by and seeing the poor work, taking away all their products, and giving back to the workers just sufficient to keep them in working order,— in many cases not even as much as that; and, if sometimes their generosity is so great that, a little education is thrown in, they have gone beyond the limits and are encouraging the children of the “unworthy” at the expense of those of the “worthy.”
Being a follower neither of Mr. George nor of Mr. Hyndman, I do not think it necessary to take up arms in the defence of either, but some of the points on which they are attacked by Mr. Spencer are those on which nearly all socialists are agreed. What are the just claims of existing landowners? Mr. Spencer once asked: “How long does it take for what was originally a wrong to grow into a right? At what rate per annum do invalid claims become valid?” If the appropriation of land was once wrong, and Mr. Spencer admits it was, can any amount of time make it right? Has Mr. Spencer discovered the rate? Even with the feeble morality of the present State (if an entirely immoral institution can be said to have any morality), in ordinary civil and criminal cases the lapse of time does not make a wrong right. Can the expounder of the new ethics teach us nothing better than that the continuity of robbery renders it justifiable, and that, while we should deal summarily with the thief who has picked our pocket once, we should compromise with and treat as respectable him who has done it daily for years? If the ancestors of these persons had been guilty of a single act of robbery, the crime might have been forgiven with the lapse of time, but their descendants each year repeat the original robbery, and surely there can be no “vested rights” in a system of spoliation. Mind you, the paying of the existing owners (?) is regarded by Mr. Spencer, not as a matter of expediency, but, as a matter of justice. As a matter of expediency, it might be cheaper to buy out the existing landholders than to fight them out, but I doubt it.
Mr. Spencer regrets very much that laissez faire is getting to be an exploded doctrine. Mr. Spencer evidently is not a believer in laissez-faire, as he comes to the assistance of the landowners and capitalists in general with all the arguments in his power, even if the views now expressed are totally opposed to those expressed before he was captured by the bourgeoisie. The only true advocates of laissez faire in modern times are the Anarchists. They are Mr. Spencer’s true disciples, more true to his teachings than he is himself; they truly believe in laissez-faire principles, and they seek every opportunity to put them in practice. These “shareholders” to whose rescue Mr. Spencer comes in such haste are under the protection of, and are only allowed to drive their nefarious trade in flesh and blood through the intervention of that institution Mr. Spencer pretends to abhor,— the government. But Mr. Spencer is not the first philosopher who “builded better than he knew,” and the Anarchists are deeply grateful to him for the arguments he has furnished them against government in all its forms, than which there are probably none better, and his recent relapse into Philistinism does not vitiate these arguments in the least. There they stand for all time, and the “youth of America” are beginning to appreciate them.
Now, as to the “coming slavery” which Mr. Spencer so much dreads. Let me preface my remarks on this subject by telling Mr. Spencer that he dreads it no more than we Anarchists do. But does Mr. Spencer know that he and his kind, who deny the existence of the evils, and foster all the injustice, of modern society, are hastening the advent of this “slavery”? The people know, that evils exist, and that injustice exists, and, if certain people arise, and either for their own ends, or because they believe it to be the truth, tell them that State Socialism will “fix” everything, are they to he blamed if they believe it? In their work-a-day: life they have not time even to work out vast problems for themselves, and, if such philosophers as Mr. Spencer tell them that their condition is all due to their own fault, their “laziness,” etc., when they know very well that their life is one continuous toil, any amount of argument he can bring to bear against State Socialism will have no effect in stemming the tide in its favor. They may not be able, and probably will not try, to answer his arguments, but they know that their lot is hard, and they will follow the only persons who seem to be ready to show them a way out of their misery. It is because we fear State Socialism, fearing, nay knowing, that it would and should relapse into despotism, that we are sorry to see Mr. Spencer’s arguments against it, which are excellent and incontrovertible in themselves, almost entirely nullified, at least in the minds of the mass of the people, by his defence of the wrongs of the present state of society.
Let us take up some of Mr. Spencer’s arguments against State Socialism, and see how far they apply to the existing order: “A slave is one who labors under coercion to satisfy another’s desires..... The degree of his slavery varies according to what he is forced to yield up and that which he is allowed to retain, and it matters not whether his master is a single person or society.” Now, we propose to show on this definition what slaves the working-people are. I suppose Mr. Spencer will admit that without labor of either hand or head we can have no products, and that products consumed by those who do not produce are stolen from those who have produced them, and that in so far as these products are taken away from those who do produce, in so far are those people slaves. Now in England, the royal family is supported in magnificent style and gives nothing in return; the landholders are well-supported and give nothing in return. Now, somebody is forced to labor in order that these may sleep, and in so far somebody is a slave. With the royal family, and the landowning class, noble and bourgeois, we have not exhausted by any means the extent to which the working-people are slaves. Every particle of interest and profit absorbed by the capitalists is so much unwilling tribute wrung from labor, for, according to their own admissions, their interest and profit are entirely outside of and above what they claim to cover expenses,— i. e., what pays entirely for the time and labor expended in superintending, directing, etc., which labor is paid at a very much higher price than any other requiring an equal amount of skill and care. Now, Mr. Spencer says that a “slave is he that labors under coercion to satisfy another’s desires,” and under this definition every working-man in every civilized country is a slave. According to tables compiled by Carroll D. Wright of Massachusetts, the working-man is a slave two-fifths of his time,— that is, he works two-fifths of his time for the capitalist and three-fifths for himself, for, according to the capitalists’ own showing, there is nothing on which they claim this two-fifths of the workman’s time, these tables deducting in advance ten per cent. for expenses (which they admit covers all the wear and tear of machinery, etc.) and six per cent. for interest, which pays them for the abstention (?) practiced in their youth. Admitting the justice of this interest (which we do not, as it is taking something for nothing), still there is no ground on which they can claim anything farther, except that “brute force” which Mr. Spencer objects so much to having the capitalists accused of. Of course, we must not forget, when making our calculations as to how much a man is a slave, to count in all his masters; this three-fifths time which the man works for himself is in reality not all his own, for further tributes are required from him,— to the landlord in the shape of rent, i. e., all money paid over and above the value of the building (in other words, the amount of labor expended in erecting it and keeping it in repair); to the landowner indirectly by what he pays for the products he consumes, etc., and again to the capitalists, who sell these products at a profit, and to the government in the shape of taxes, direct and indirect. So that probably out of a working day, say of ten hours, a man really works only two, or at most three, hours for himself. But Mr. Spencer can see nothing of this slavery, which is as bad as — worse, as far as material advantages are concerned, than — the slavery of State Socialism. But one disadvantage of State Socialism which strikes Mr. Spencer very forcibly is that there could not be then as now agreement between employer and employed. Agreement! Think of it! Yes, such an agreement as there is between the wolf and the lamb, the highwayman and his victim, or any other two individuals, in which one is wholly at the mercy of the other. Mr. Spencer (“Social Statics”) says that with the power conferred on the landholders they could expel, if they wished, the landless ones from the earth altogether. They do not expel them from the earth, because it is not to their interest to do so, for the land (i. e., all natural forces) would be useless without the expenditure of human labor, but they do use all the power which the possession of the land gives them.
It is curious into what inconsistencies even a philosopher may be led by his desire to uphold the existing order. Mr. Spencer, in speaking of State Socialism, predicts the certain failure of the institution on account of the imperfections of human nature; “love of power, selfishness, injustice, and untruth fulness” would work against the just administration of the system; that is, as before remarked, “wherever there is an opportunity for power to exercise itself, there will power he exercised to the advantage of the holders of it.” But all this is contradicted in the very next paragraph, when he comes to the aid of the railway shareholders, “who, sometimes gaining, but often losing, have made that railway system by which national prosperity has been so greatly increased,” as if these men had been actuated by the highest motives of benefiting England and thereby humanity, and that the power which the State conferred on them of robbing the people had never been used. Mr. Spencer is very much shocked at the State Socialists’ accusation of these superhuman beings having done such a wicked thing as “laying hands on the means of communication.” We say superhuman advisedly, for Mr. Spencer assures us in the same paragraph that State Socialism could not fulfil the destiny its advocates mark out for it, because it would be beyond human nature to withstand the temptation to use power which was placed in its hands. To what passes are philosophers brought in their attempt to prop up the capitalistic system!
Now, the Anarchists agree with Mr. Spencer that no “Morrison’s Pill” “can make an ill-working humanity into well-working institutions,” and also “that benefit may result, not from a multiplication of artificial appliances to mitigate distress, but contrariwise from a diminution of them.” But, more logical and more honest then Mr. Spencer, they wish to carry this diminution to the utmost, and destroy all the support which the State gives to one part of its citizens at the expense of all the others; in a word, they wish to abolish the State, which, according to Mr. Spencer himself, originated in aggression, and has been nurtured by aggression,— is, in fact, aggression itself. They believe, with Buckle, that the only good laws ever passed by any legislature were those repealing old bad laws, and therefore, if governments went out of existence, there would he no necessity for the passing of these “good laws,” for the had laws would he destroyed with the government. Yes, the Anarchists believe in laissez faire, and their mission to the people is to tell them laissez faire; to cease sending their men into the army and navy and police; to cease supporting the government, which uses the army and navy and police (composed of their brothers) to crush them; in short, to cease to pay tribute to idlers, and to see that he who does not work shall not eat.
When Divine Right is not Divine.
Henri Rochefort, writing in “L’Intransigeant” of the attitude of Prince Alexander of Bulgaria towards the Roumelian revolution, says:
This new example of the comedy enacted by monarchs before the nations will do a good deal to enlighten consciences. Pillage, robbery, and incendiarism are the acts of revolutionists who try to throw their oppressors to the earth. Heroism, love of independence, and the victories of liberty are the acts of revolutionists whose revolutions benefit the pretended champions of property, authority, and divine right.
Right is divine when we attack it. It ceases to be so when the princes of Bulgaria confiscate it.
“Come and dine with me,” wrote the Abbé Grégoire to a member of the Convention. “Yesterday from the tribune you called me a scoundrel; but I know that in politics a scoundrel means one who differs with us in opinion.”
The reactionists are not content with calling us scoundrels: they banish us and shoot us, as if the epithets which they shower upon us really belonged to us. If the Commune, apropos of which the Versaillese caused rivers of blood to flow, had been established to reinstate the younger branch, the Orléanists who have sent so many men to die on old hulks, in jails, and on the posts of Satory, would have kissed us on both cheeks, absolving us in advance from all guilt for the pillage, violence, and execution of hostages for which they now hold us responsible.
The July combatants were overwhelmed with honors and pensions because their struggle on the barricades favored the advent of Louis-Philippe. When, two years later, they took up their muskets to overthrow him, they were good for nothing but to throw to the dogs: that is why they were thrown into Mont-Saint-Michel.
In polities, decidedly, there is but one thing sure to succeed,— namely, success.
A Shot at the Czar in Copenhagen.
The Berlin journals have had a good deal to say lately about a recent attempt on the life of the Czar of Russia committed at Copenhagen. The report has reached St. Petersburg, but, the details are lacking, and the people are reduced to conjecture; but a person of high station, in a position to obtain accurate information, says that the truth is as follows:
The Czar, by the advice of his doctor, takes long walks every morning, as he has been growing fat for some time. In this matter he is following a rigorous course of treatment, and eats but one meal a day, at noon; about seven o’clock in the evening he drinks tea without sugar. At Fedensborg the Czar went out every morning, accompanied only by an aide-de-camp, and his son, the Grand Duke Nicolas Alexandrovich. His walks were confined to the grounds of the chateau. On Thursday, September 14, the Czar, after walking in the park, went to a small piece of woodland about twenty minutes distant. He was engaged in animated conversation with his son, when suddenly he uttered a cry and quickly raised his hand to his left side, where he had just felt a sharp pain. At the same time a slight report was heard. The son of the Czar hastened to his father’s aid. The emperor’s coat was torn and his waistcoat pierced, but his watch, carried in a side pocket, had deadened the force of the ball, which, when picked up from the ground, proved to be of small calibre. Promptly recovering from his agitation, the Czar returned in haste to the chateau. The news of the accident became known immediately. An investigation was made to see whether the shot was intentional or the work of some awkward hunter in the woods. But the inquiries came to nothing, and at the Czar’s request the greatest secrecy was observed, not so great, however, that the affair has not got abroad.
 Katia is the diminutive of Katérina.
 Prose translation: Incosolable, she would have been consumed by sorrow if she had had time to grieve; but the time for ardaous tasks was pressing, and there were a dozen things to be finished. Although the poor child often fell from fatigue, under her gallant scythe fell the grass, the corn rustled under her sickle; with all her strength she treshed the corn every morning, and until dark night she spread the flax over the dewy fields.
 Vania is the diminutive of Ivan.