Liberty Vol. IV. No. 8.
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.
A new Socialistic exchange, called the “Avant-Courier” and published weekly, comes from Portland, Oregon. If it really proves to be what it calls itself, “an advocate of every reform that promises to ameliorate the condition of the toilers of the world,” it will be the most remarkable case of straddling on record.
It has been suggested to me that my definition of an Anarchist, in my “Fable for Malthusians,” as one who believes in the achievement of Liberty would admit to our ranks those who believe in Liberty as a millennial ideal only. This was farthest from my thought. No platonic love of Liberty will satisfy the requirements of Anarchy. To believe in achieving Liberty is to believe that the sooner we begin to take it, the sooner we shall have it; that, the faster we throw off our shackles, the quicker we shall be free; that whenever opportunity offers to strike a blow at any of the rivets, it should be improved; and, above all, that the surest way to postpone Liberty’s advent is to add, for supposed beneficent and moral ends, to the number and strength of the shackles which the slaves now wear.
Readers of Auberon Herbert’s poem printed in another column will observe the blemish upon it in his expression of an almost laughable aspiration for that good time coming when the rich man shall be able to dwell in safety by the side of the poor man. No man is more thoroughly devoted to the principle of Liberty than Mr. Herbert, but he has never yet found out that it is the denial of Liberty that makes the rich man possible. It has escaped his attention that the worst evil of Authority which he so heartily hates is its separation of mankind into the rich and the poor. His anxiety about the danger to which the rich man’s plunder is subject reminds me of a conversation which I recently had with a good old lady, a rich man’s wife. Bewailing the evil tendencies of the times, she illustrated them by the fact that her husband, a diamond merchant, had once been robbed by burglars of one hundred and fifty thousand dollars’ worth of stones, and had only just succeeded, after a severe struggle of ten years or more, in making up that amount by his “industry,” and is now so fearful lest his toil may again be brought to nought that he does not dare to leave his home over Sunday. The rich man’s lot is indeed a hard one, Mr. Herbert.
“The Boston Knight” is the name of a weekly paper recently added to Liberty’s exchange list. It is an organ of the Knights of Labor, and especially of the barbers. Though edited with some spirit, it is not a paper whose support any party ought to envy. Its editor has been the leading spirit in the hypocritical attempt to have the barbers’ shops of Boston closed under the Sunday law,— an attempt, I am happy to say, which failed ignominiously. As for its publisher, his conduct may certainly be called suspicious. A few weeks ago an article appeared in the paper making serious charges against the proprietor of one of the largest carpet houses in Boston, not naming him, but alluding to him in such a way that it was easy to establish his identity. This was followed by other articles and communications of a similar tenor, but still more pointed. Next came an announcement that the “Knight” had examined the matter, found the charges untrue, and therefore desired to retract them. The succeeding number contained a conspicuous quarter-page advertisement of the carpet house in question. These facts are capable of an interpretation consistent with honor, but the skeptical and cynical are likely to draw uncharitable conclusions. Liberty advises its new contemporary to avoid even the appearance of evil.
Anarchy in Wyoming.
To the Editor of Liberty:
Herewith find my renewal to Liberty. Of all the publications I read none affords me so much pleasure. I only wish Liberty contained more short, pithy articles, instead of the continued stories, which are doubtless very good, but somehow I have arrived at a stage in life’s journey that does not require fiction, but solid facts.
Since writing the short letter from Eaton, Colorado, which you thought worthy of space, I have visited Chicago, St. Louis, Omaha, and intermediate cities between that point and San Francisco, and have mixed and mingled with all classes of reformers,— Communistic Anarchists, State Socialists, Knights of Labor, Greenbackers, Land Tax League, Socialistic Labor Party, etc., etc.,— and at last, sick at heart at the prospect of any speedy relief to the toilers, I have returned to my first love, Anarchy and Wyoming, where there still remains a little of the milk of human kindness and less statute law than in any country I know of. I find that love for one’s own species, like the wind, goes where it listeth, and am more convinced than ever before that any society that requires the surrender of our individuality is contrary to natural law. Miss Kelly’s critics would only need to have had some of my experience to learn how swift the consequences of forcible appropriation of other men’s possessions follow. The three hold-ups who, not content to despoil their victims, clubbed them sometimes until they were unconscious, as at Coolidge, New Mexico, were shot full of lead early one morning by the citizens, after which gentry of that stripe confined themselves to the rolling process,— in other words, went through their victims while they slept under the influence of heavy potations. The fact is, people in the most civilized (so-called) communities continually show their contempt for statute law by summarily executing a certain class of criminals without judge or jury, and everybody but those who fatten off of the law applauds. There are hundreds of men on the frontier to whom it would be an insult to suggest the application of statute law in the case of an attack. They would scorn redress second-handed, as much as some people would atonement through a crucified redeemer.
Naturally men are Anarchists. I know Communists who assert that, if Anarchy prevailed, men would sally forth like roaring lions seeking whom they might devour, and yet these men would become as docile as lambs in a Community. How absurd! Such a fellow would create a rampur in heaven, and the place for him to find the right change for his belligerency is in a state of Anarchy. If other people didn’t object to being killed, these killers would have smooth sailing, but I have always noticed that the bad men and killers who have been allowed by the law’s slow process to escape punishment in the States generally emigrate to this country to die with their boots on, at is fitting for men of their profession. Witness Jim Curry, who shot the actor Porter at Marshall, Texas, a few years ago. He attempted to enact the same role in New Mexico, where the insanity dodge doesn’t go, and he and Red River Tom and another killer, whose name I have forgotten, were sent to join the innumerable throng of bad men who had preceded them to that bourne whence bad men do not return.
As for me, if punishment is to be meted out to an offender, I prefer its immediate execution instead of the slow torturing placets in vogue; it is far less barbarous and decidedly more satisfactory. Locks and keys, bars and bolts, long wire fences and land-grabbing,— all had their advent into this country with the introduction of statute law. There is not an old pioneer on the frontier but regrets the advance of our patent back-acting civilization. These old-timers delight to tell the tenderfoot of the good old days of the early settlement of this country, when the latch strings of their cabin doors hung on the outside, and the tax-gatherer was unknown, and each respected the rights of the other,— in fact, would fight for, and, if necessary, die for a neighbor’s protection. These, without seeking it, had found the boon for which they now mourn, without ever knowing that it Was Individual Liberty. More anon.
J. Allen Evans.
Fort Laramie, Wyoming, May 22, 1886.
Libertas in Excelsis.
[Pall Mall Gazette.]
Away with the crutches, away with the bribes,
Away with the laws that bind,
With the evil race for power and place,
And the taxes that hurt and grind.
Chorus — Each man shall be free, whoever he be,
And none shall say to him nay!
There is only one rule for the wise and the fool —
To follow his own heart’s way.
For the heart of the free, whoever he be,
May be stirred to a better thing;
But the heart of the slave lies chill in its grave,
And knows not the coming of spring.
We are sick of the men who crawl at our feet,
We are sick of the tongues that lie,
Of the changing creeds and the sneaking deeds
And the passions rising high.
Chorus — Each man, etc.
We are sick of this buying and selling of souls,
Of the craft and the hidden plan,
Of the tarnished name and the cheap-held shame,
Where man would be ruler of man.
Chorus — Each man, etc.
We are sick of the talkers who flatter and talk,
With golden words galore;
Of the givers who stand, with an open hand,
To give from their neighbor’s store.
Chorus — Each man, etc.
We are sick of the parties who wrangle and fight,—
Whatever their color or hue,—
Of the people’s friends who have all the same ends,
As friends of themselves, to pursue.
Chorus — Each man, etc.
We are sick of their pedants, their systems of clercs,
That drive with the lashing of whips,
State schools, and State rules, and for all of us fools
The wisdom of office-drilled lips.
Chorus — Each man, etc.
But bright on the world a new creed shall smile,
Like dawn on the wastes of the sea —
The creed of a man, who holds to the plan
To have faith in himself and be free!
Chorus — Each man, etc.
Till the poor man learns that the harsh-grinding laws
Bring never a life’s content;
And that hands to be strong in the press and the throng
Must be clasped with the heart’s consent.
Chorus — Each man, etc.
Till the rich man lives in the midst of his wealth,
As safe as the poor by his side;
And pleases himself what he does with his pelf —
We care not a jot in our pride!
Chorus — Each man, etc.
Then forward your heart set, each lad and each lass,
There is many a fight to renew;
There are idols to break for sweet liberty’s sake,
And many a chain to undo.
Chorus — Each man, etc.
Then forward your heart set, each lad and his lass,
Till to humble and great it is known
That each man shall rule, be he wise man or fool,
His own self, his one self, alone!
Chorus — Each man, etc.
Eighteen Christian Centuries:
Or, The Evolution of the Gospel of Anarchy.
An Essay on the Meaning of History. By Dyer D. Lum.
Continued from No. 85.
Christ had not come! Reaction inevitably set in. The seed of intellectual awakening, wafted over the Pyrenees, began to find root in secret places in the sturdy North. In morals it made its first appearance and openly demanded reform. While the bewildered intellect struggled to assert itself in the wild mazes of Scholasticism, morality declaimed aloud against the prevalent vices. It was not the submissive voice of the gospels, not the restoration of Christian morality from long slumber, but the beginning of an awakening of the human mind. The Latin nations, in which Christianity had been longest prevalent, were silent. The demand, the cry of the new spirit, came from the North, from those who had latest embraced the Christian belief. It was the voice of humanity protesting against Caesarism in such dumb fashion as it could.
In 1073 the great Hildebrand became pope under the name of Gregory VII., and the great strife which had hitherto smouldered was to break out in open light. Papal degeneration had been stayed; the respect of Christendom had been secured; heresy, in fact, controversy itself, may be said to have been stamped out; the awful sanctity of the clergy had been more deeply impressed on the mind by the blameless lives of the German popes; the establishment of the feudal system predisposed men to accept the theory of a spiritual Headship, clothed with authority over his vassals. All that seemed wanting to perfect the claim of Christian autocracy in the person of the pope was statesmanlike genius and daring. In Gregory VII. lay the genius to perceive the occasion, and the daring spirit to attempt the execution of his plans. The ostensible objects he sought to overturn — simony and the marriage of the clergy — were but opportunities for asserting the traditional policy of pagan and Christian Rome. The German emperor, Henry VI., holding the most respected throne in Europe; with a glittering court and surrounded by rich and powerful feudal lords, sovereign over their respective estates; at the head of a great army held to his service by ties of feudal suzerainty; successor of Charlemagne, and of the Caesars to whom the Apostles paid passive obedience,— claimed the hereditary right as feudal lord and Roman Emperor to name the pope who was to wield the authority of St. Peter.
It may seem at first glance a strange claim for the emperor, intent on maintaining what he regarded as imperial rights, inherent in the divine right pertaining to the imperial crown, as the champion of Teutonic liberty against Roman authority. Yet this great struggle was here waged. But the spirit of liberty inherent in the Teuton character had been cramped by institutions; one by one its limbs had been compressed within the vice of ecclesiasticism. Its only form of open opposition could come from their kings; that is to say, the old spirit of protest to oppression could only find imperfect voice in the sole channel left for its expression, its national representative. Victorious here, it would not be long before he, as the custodian ot instituted authority, would also have heard its voice. As this is one of the great turning points in history, we may well pause to glance at the situation.
The time had not come! The spiritual thunder of the pope was more deadly than Henry’s sword. Nor could the Empire, ostensibly so great, command a sufficient force to maintain his claims. The Empire was but a feudal combination of separate principalities. Feudal disintegration, by weakening central authority, was laying the foundation for future liberty. Already Saxony, under its prelate princes, was in open revolt, and had destroyed an imperial fortress deemed impregnable. The individualism so inherent in the Teuton character found its expression in petty nationalities, and the unity of the Empire was but in an illusory title. Each new emperor obtained recognition of suzerainty by the extorted concessions of further local rights. Henry was young and pressed by an avaricious aristocracy; Gregory was mature in years and statesmanship.
The avowed objects of reform insisted upon so strongly by Rome were so pressed that, while they established the autocratic claims of the papacy, they won the approval of the common people. Simony, the sale of ecclesiastical benefices, was the legitimate consequence of the inordinate wealth of the clergy in a feudal age. The possession of wealth, no matter what form of government prevails, entails power. Government, whether autocratic, limited monarchy, democratic, or communistic, is in every case the expression of those who hold the means that confer power. Spiritual preferment and landed wealth could not be separated. As proprietor, the possessor became liege of the sovereign; could the sovereign abdicate his right to confer these feudal dignities? Says Milman:
Charlemagne himself had set the example of advancing his natural sons to high ecclesiastical dignities. His feebler descendants, even the more pious, submitted to the same course from choice or necessity. The evil worked downward. The bishop, who had bought his see, indemnified himself by selling the inferior prebends or cure. What was so intrinsically valuable began to have its money price; it became an object of barter and sale. The layman who bought holy orders bought usually peace, security of life, comparative ease. Those who aspired to higher dignities soon repaid themselves for the outlay, however large and extortionate.
Popes and councils had for centuries denounced the practice; not for the purpose of curbing aristocratic privilege, but because it weakened the church by a divined allegiance. Gregory saw his opportunity in Henry’s weakness, and in the interest of Caesarism resolved to strike at the fountain head of the evil,— civil investiture.
The question of the married clergy in no less degree was directly concerned with Roman supremacy. Marriage not only introduced domestic ties, which weakened the supreme claim to undivided allegiance and implicit obedience to orders, and thereby gave emphasis to the voice of nature, but, by establishing through descent an hereditary aristocracy, deprived the church of its direct claim on the incumbents of its offices. The clerical, like the lay, nobility would become an exclusive caste, and, like them again in possessing hereditary privilege, would be tempted to struggle against their superiors. It was the introduction of feudal strife in the one indivisible church.
The Saxon bishops were beside themselves with rage. “The pope must be a heretic,” they said in synod at Erfurt, “or a madman. Has he forgotten the saying of the Lord? All cannot fulfil his word. The apostle says, ‘Let him that cannot contain marry.’ He would compel all men to live like angels. Let him take care, while he would do no violence to nature, he break not all the bonds which restrain from fornication and every uncleanness. They had rather abandon their priesthood than their wives, and then let the pope, who thought men too groveling for him, see if he can find angels to govern the church.” The old pagan spirit still moved in Saxon hearts, and would yet be heard again!
The reform instituted against moral degradation by Gregory’s predecessors had found its support in the monks. They were the “angels” upon whom Rome could always rely. Says Michelet: “Ever since the tempest of the barbaric invasion, the world had taken refuge in the church and sullied it; the church took refuge with the monks: that is to say, with the severest and most practical,” as well as the legitimate inheritors of the “primitive, pure, and undefiled” doctrine of passive obedience. Against both State supremacy and prelatical privilege Gregory boldly appealed to the people.
The people! The down-trodden millions, oppressed and plundered by both prince and prelate, were now called upon to sit in judgment on their masters. Dangerous precedent! the effect of which was to outlast the temporary urgency. The proud prelate at home was hated for his rapacity, for his relentless cruelty and extortion, for his life of luxury won from the sweat of his plundered people; the proud prelate at Rome was lost to view in the brightness of St. Peter, or visible only in the Apostolic halo. At home was ruin and death; at Rome all and every hope that reached their darkened minds. Their hatred and wrath excited by the fierce preaching of the monks, they rose in fury and tore the astonished bishops from their very altars. In the words of the poetic Michelet:
A brutal levelling instinct made them delight in outraging all that they had adored, in trampling under foot those whose feet they had kissed, in tearing the alb, in dashing to pieces the mitre. The priests were beaten, cuffed, and mutilated in their own cathedrals; their consecrated wines were drunk, and the host scattered about. The monks pushed on and preached. The people became impregned with a hold mysticism, and habituated to despise form and dash it to pieces, as if to set the spirit free. This revolutionary purification of the church shook it to the foundation.
Caesarism triumphed. The danger which had threatened the claim of unity and headship was overcome. Gregory had found his “angels” to enforce subjection. On a January morning in the year 1077, in a winter of unprecedented severity, with the ground deep in snow, the State, in the person of Henry IV., stands alone in the courtyard of the castle of Canosa, where the victorious wielder of Rome’s traditional policy was the honored guest of his protectress, Countess Matilda of Tuscany. No knightly armor or royal sword now distinguished the humble suppliant. Clad only in the thin, white dress of the penitent, and fasting, he stood there, humbly awaiting the pleasure of the pope. A second and a third day passed, and the gates did not open; cold, hungry, agitated with alluring hopes and bitter reflections, the unsheltered head of God’s Anointed bows in suppliant petition for permission to abase himself.
Christianity had triumphed. The might of the pagan Caesar had been sustained by his legions, and his pleasures guarded by praetorian guards; the might of the Christian Caesar had been sustained by a papal bull, and its efficacy secured by the sermons of monks. He who had so boldy claimed the right to sit in judgment over all men, when “before him shall be gathered all nations, and he shall separate them one from another, as a shepherd divideth his sheep from the goats,” was everywhere adored. The spirit of universal authority, sanctioned by revelation and thus making faith paramount to reason, planted in finite minds and thus made subject to the laws of social evolution, embraced and preserved by the practical genius of Rome and thus saved from the barrenness of Eastern speculation, had prevailed.
Unity had been restored at home; it must be extended abroad. The infidel Saracen held possession of the tomb of Christ, and the glory of his triumphant church demanded his expulsion from the sacred soil divine feet had trod. We are on the eve of the crusades — and the dawn of progress. Twenty years from the scene of Henry’s humiliation at Canosa, Europe was ringing with the fiery cry of Peter the Hermit to redeem the Holy Land. We cannot enter into the history of that period. The Crusades were apparently to unite still stronger the interests of Europe with those of Rome. Wealth, power, influence, the triune support of the authority of man over man, centred in the church. All Europe recognized in the pope their commander-in-chief. He possessed in all its extent the power “to bind and to loose,” and had carried out the excommunication pronounced by Christ: “If he neglect to hear the church, let him be unto thee as a heathen and a publican.”
But the changes we have already noted were silently at work. In 1099 Jerusalem was captured, and the twelfth century opened a new epoch. More than half a million men died in the first crusade. A second and a third followed. To meet the expense domains were thrown into the market and changed hands. The humble serf of the glebe, who had wearily plodded in the path his father and his ancestors had worn, without hope or knowledge of what lay beyond the narrow boundaries which held him, now was offered freedom by donning the cross. If he returned from the East, the witness of varied scenes and modes of life, he was no longer the simple Jacques Bonhomme of the past. Commerce received an immense impetus by the opening of the East. Luxuries and arts hitherto unknown in Christendom, which Draper compares with modern Caffraria, began to gain ground. The Jews introduced bills of credit from Lombardy, and thus facilitated exchange. The restless activity of the European peoples, which had hitherto found sole vent in personal warfare, found new fields in industrial warfare upon nature. Cities began to assume a new aspect. The counter of the merchant and the bench of the artisan developed a different attitude in their attendants than the shrines of saints. With the extension of commercial and industrial activity, the old forms could no longer hold the new spirit. Caesarism had held its power by the free use of three agencies: 1, Power over conscience — obedience to spiritual authority; 2, Power over the body — submission to temporal authority; 3, Power over the means of life — subjection to economic privileges. Against all three the spirit of liberty we find henceforth insurgent; but, as the three formed a hierarchy in the order stated, the protests were often blind and futile, for all freedom was impossible while the rnind was fettered. Towns revolted from baronial domination and became free cities. Saon, in France, won its charter in 1108. The communal revolution became general. Free cities abounded.
The triumph of Gregory VII. over Henry IV. brought more than unity; it instinctively forced royalty into alliance with the people to curb the power of feudal barons. Political unity necessarily became an ideal in changing social conditions; hence royalty struggling against insubordination from feudal lords eagerly granted charters to free cities from baronial claims. Intellectual activity, without which progress would have made a blind circuit, found expression in such thinkers as Roscelin and Abelard. From Spain had come the Aristotelian dialectics to weaken scholasticism. From the same source came the knowledge of gunpowder, which, later, was to revolutionize war by placing arms in the hands of the communal burgher. In the midst of this general awakening Jerusalem again passed into the hands of the Infidel,— the tomb of Christ was profaned by the horses of Moslem cavalry. The arm of the heavenly Caesar had not defended his own; legions of angels, looked for to aid the Holy Cause, had beat a retreat before the Crescent; the miracle-working relics of the saints lost their efficacy. Sismondi ascribes to “the geography of the pilgrims” the most influence in redeeming Europe. Let us not forget that the geography of the returning pilgrim was that of one who not only had traveled in distant famls, but who had seen his simple faith mocked by the logic of events!
The thirteenth century opened with preparations for a fourth crusade, which, however, stopped on its way to rifle and pillage the Greek-Christian city of Constantinople. In the sorrowful language of Pope Innocent: “They practised fornications, incests, adulteries, in the sight of men. They abandoned matrons and virgins, consecrated to God, to the lewdness of grooms. They lifted their hands against the treasures of the churches — what is more heinous, the very consecrated vessels — tearing the tablets of silver from the very altars, breaking in pieces the most sacred things, carrying off crosses and relics.” Yet, notwithstanding the Pope’s protest, he was content to divide with the Doge of Venice the spoils of this Christian city!
Heresy, that plough of the intellect, spread rapidly. The immorality of the clergy, the education of the crusades, the revival of thought, the extension of commercial relations, and the growing independence of industrial activity were all bearing fruit. In the political realm we find a constant centralization and disintegration of feudal customs, in the ecclesiastical, a new effort toward reform in the establishment of the Dominican and Franciscan monks. In France we find Louis IX. organizing the trades of Paris into guilds; in England, the barons wresting Magna Charta from John.
Amid this social change the power of the papacy seemed unshaken. At the death of Innocent III., in 1216, the power of Rome had reached its utmost height. Boniface VIII., at the close of the century, may have been more exorbitant in pretension and violent in his measures, but the reaction had already begun. Henceforward the history of Europe is the story of Liberty. Of this century Milman writes:
The essential inherent supremacy of the spiritual over the temporal power, as of the soul over the body, as of eternity over time, as of Christ over Caesar, as of God over man, was now an integral part of Christianity. There was a shuddering sense of impiety in all resistance to this ever-present rule; it required either the utmost strength of mind, desperate courage, or desperate recklessness, to confront the fatal and undefined cousequences of such resistance..... Ideas obtain authority and dominion, not altogether from their intrinsic truth, but rather from asseveration, especially when they fall in with the common hopes and fears, the wants and necessities, of human nature.
Heresy in the south of France became so rampant that the arms of the crusaders had to be used to extirpate its inhabitants. But the revolt of the mind could not be stayed. Simon de Montfort, Earl of Leicester, was calling the burghers of England into its first parliament. Flanders, through industry, was rising into commercial greatness, and already was exbibiting a certain degree of freedom and dangerous democratic tendencies. “Ah! happy Saladin,” cried Philip of France, when placed under an interdict, “he has no pope above him!” Troubadours with their love ditties were replacing the psalter; the knight vowed to his lady the devotion once bestowed on the Mother of God. Frederick II. of Germany almost openly manifested his contempt for Christianity; while the artisans of Lyons were giving voice to the heresy that the sanctity of a priest lay, not in his office, but in the manner of his life.
To meet the emergency the Holy Inquisition was called into being to make men’s minds fit the mental garments God was said to have cut and fashioned for the Roman slaves of Palestine in the first Christian century. Independent thought was to be exterminated. To prevent its birth the study of science was prohibited in the schools,— by Innocent III. in 1215, by GregoryXI. in 1231, and again by Clement IV. in 1265.
We have followed the rise of Caesarism from the Rubicon, and seen it ever growing in strength, until we have reached its period of meridional grandeur in the thirteenth century,— a period called by Hallam “the noonday of papal dominion.” How much it has been the same spirit, whether in Caesar or Gregory VII., needs no summing up to make more clear; every page of history has been stamped with its seal, and the long martyrdom of man bears witness to its baneful effects. In now following its decline, let us bear in mind the hierarchy of powers resting on man, which we have described; and that revolt, to be successful, must begin at the head and proceed downward. To weaken an autocratic rule other powers must be arrayed against it, and such has been the course of progress. To crush Catholic Caesarism progress allied itself with monarchic States; the Teuton spirit has never changed, though forming many different alliances, being always found warring against the spirit of authority of man over man.
[To be continued.]
By Georges Sauton.
Translated from the French for Liberty by Sarah E. Holmes.
Continued from No. 85.
She had had one that same morning; and after the cold quarry which had just been given in the court, between rows of footmen covered, like reliquaries, with liveries crusted with gold, each holding flaming torches, the guests left the balconies, threading the hall, which was illuminated and garlanded with foliage, and discussed the accident which the Duke had escaped by a miracle.
His horse, becoming suddenly frightened, shot off like an arrow, ran, flew like the wind, like a hurricane, so fast that Newington, though well in his saddle and, as usual, master of himself, could not check him.
The animal directed his steps, at an infernal rate, towards a precipice that was almost perpendicular, and two minutes later would have fallen fifty feet. But all at once, quieting down, he slackened his pace, obeyed the bit, and gracefully turned his hack upon the yawning gulf.
Lord Newington, for the twentieth time, explained how the accident happened: a fragment of blackthorn, introduced under the saddle, suddenly pierced the horse’s flank like a pitiless spur, thrusting itself in deeper at each of the animal’s bounds and cruelty and continually accelerating his painful speed. Then the point broke off, and, sliding over a bone, became fixed in a horizontal position, harmless and of no effect.
“In leaping a hedge,” concluded the Duke, “I might have detached a thorn.”
“Pardon me! pardon me!” said the sharp voice of a new arrival, Tom Lichfield, on whom all eyes were turned, surprised or scandalized.
He bowed obsequiously first in one direction and then in the other, and stepped up to the master of the house, who extended his hand and familiarly wished him welcome.
“Pardon me,” repeated he. “Your honor makes a mistake — out of charity, doubtless — in not adding this to the offences of these rascals of Irishmen. Be sure of it: this was one of their tricks, and I, for my part, attribute the device to that monkey, that, ugly monkey, Paddy Neill.”
The big Englishman bore Paddy a grudge for making him lose Harvey, and was glad to make Newington suspect him. In support of his insinuation, which was almost as formal as an accusation, he told the story of the pranks played by the young rascal upon himself, who had been caught, as an old fox up to all sorts of tricks is sometimes caught by a hen. Aud, right in the middle of the race, slap! he sprawled upon the ground, in a way that did not often happen to him, his nose flattened and his stomach compressed like a fire balloon in distress.
They laughed, but he went on:
“My tormentor had suddenly bent down and, with a neat trip, sent me to kiss his foot-prints, as he said, railing at me ... I tried to rise, he rode on my back; I tried to call out, he gagged me. Struggle? Admirably tied up, better than a package to go to the East Indies, he dragged me over the ground among the stones and briers. I steeled myself against the pain, but suddenly there came a fright worse than the suffering; I found myself suspended at the end of a branch which bent under my weight over a deep pool of water, and the rascal advised me not to gesticulate, but to free myself from my bonds and regain my freedom of circulation. Otherwise, the branch, which he had slightly cut for this purpose, would detach itself from the paternal trunk and plunge me into the bosom of the water.”
The hearty laughs which greeted his recital were on the increase, although some of the noble guests maintained their reserve, scowling at this insignificant personage so out of place in their company: such, for instance, as Lord Jennings, Sir Muskery, and my Lady Carlingford, puffed up with their quarters, their heraldries, their interminable genealogies, made famous by as many mean as glorious acts on fields of battle.
“In the bosom of the water ... water which I should have drank for the first and the last time if my clerk, roaming about either in search of me or to hide himself, had not come to my rescue.”
They had been expecting new turns, more comical, more complicated, and at any rate prolonged, and the hilarity died out before this commonplace dénouement of an adventure, amusing in itself, but which called for a progressive succession of comicalities.
And the groups which had gathered for an instant about the narrator, broke up, dispersed, questioning the excuse for the presence of as humble an individual at this party.
Withdrawing into a corner of the window, the Duke and the merchant talked in an undertone: Tom Lichfield, very voluble, half-closing his eyes, lavish of his gestures; Newington, interested, attentive, silent, taking passing notes of the information.
“You see,” said Lord Jennings, with a bad grace, to my Lady Carlingford, “this cask set upon feet is a spy. Really, the Duke ought to spare us contact with such people.”
“Do not despise Tom Lichfield,” comically interrupted the giddy Miss Lucy Hobart, even giddier than usual, speaking disjointedly, wagging her delicate head, her eyes surrounded by deep circles reaching to the cheek-bones, her face as white as porcelain or a pearl-shell, and smiling without cause.
“Why?” asked the antique Lord Muskery, who never lost an opportunity to try to talk with her, pursing up his lips, and from whom she rebelliously fleet before he, with his stiff old legs, could ever get to her!
“Because he is a magician!”....
“He!” gasped Muskery.
“Do you not see,” resumed the young girl, “that I am under the charm? I step more lightly than a phantom, than the clouds, than a zephyr. My soul is divested of its flesh, of its rags.”
“If one can so blaspheme the corolla of the most beautiful of flowers!” said the amorous septuagenarian, in an effort to be gallant.
“My wish is my law. I traverse space, I visit the infinite, just by wishing it.”
“She is getting deranged!” exclaimed, wrinkling her withered mouth, my Lady Carlingford, near whom yelped a King Charles spaniel, with long silken hair that swept the carpet.
“No, I have been eating hasheesh,” replied the delightful child; “Lichfield, this dear Lichfield, whom you despise, was kind enough to give me some.”
But, while applying the most amiable adjectives to the big merchant, Lady Hobart, looking at him attentively, suddenly began to laugh, without any reserve, without any modesty, without any deference to “cant,” shocking the prudery of a half-dozen ladies on the wane, puzzling the others, and annoying her near friends.
At dinner, it had been remarked that she ate very little. And it was not that she had been drinking: she barely moistened her lips with the sherry and claret which circulated around the table.
At all events, Lichfield did not cease to delight her; she unceremoniously pointed him out with her finger in the most unseemly way, and stooped, like a woman of the people, in order to enjoy in greater comfort the appearance of the merchant, whose legs, she pretended, were wasting away, while his head shriveled up like a little appendage of twisted wood.
Taken as a whole, he resembled, in fact, an immense pumpkin which all at once began to move in its native garden, rolled under the impulse of its own weight, and laid the vegetables around it flat on the ground, like ninepins.
The vegetables, into which the personages present were transformed, she named as fast as the ridiculous ball struck them: the Duke, a scarlet beet; Lord Muskery, a poor cabbage which had sprung up, all gnarled; Jennings, a hip-shot carrot; Lady Drowling, a bearded celery plant; and my Lady Carlingford, pitted with the small-pox, appeared to her like the watering-pot of a kitchen-gardener.
What a hue and cry on the part of those at whom the galleries were laughing, what disagreeable replies, what harsh recriminations, and what unreserved good humor on the part of the simple spectators, who urged the frolicsome miss not to stop, but to carry her play to the end!
For they imagined that she was feigning incoherence to amuse herself and entertain the guests; that it was only one of her thousand customary jokes.
But no: Lichfield admitted having given her — at her request — some hasheesh, as she called it, intoxication in a bonbon, happiness in a preserve, paradise in a pill.
“The intoxication of a cook, the happiness of a gardener, the paradise of Saint Fiacre!” fumed the Carlingford.
“Oh! I admit it,” said Lichfield; “the first phase of the ingestion manifests itself in absurd visions, talk without head or tail, odd sensations, but the following phases transport you into a world exalted, beautified, sublimated; then follows ecstacy.”
Rambling more and more, her eyes on fire, Miss Hobart, humming a tune, began to oscillate, and some of the gentlemen hastened to support her and lead her slowly into a boudoir, while, in the drawing-rooms, they censured her imprudence, and especially the culpable compliance of Tom, who, taken to task directly by several ladies, tried to excuse himself, affirming on his honor, as the worshipped head of Mrs. Lichfield, that Miss Hobart had forced him to it.
“Moreover, she will recover from it easily; it will only be an insignificant fatigue which the repose of a night and another morning will dissipate.”
But why did he peddle this drug? Newington invited the merchant to explain to his guests.
“Lichfield,” said he, “has based a whole governmental system on the use, by peoples, of this marvellous paste.”
“Just the same as the use — and abuse, of course — of whiskey, opium, strong liquors, .... holidays and .... women in other countries. A king of France, who spoke wisely and whose name was Louis, had a sovereign recipe for reigning tranquilly, without quarrel or opposition to his will: ‘Divide.’ ‘Stupefy’ is still more efficacious.”
“Very good!” came from several quarters, in the midst of an intense flattering murmur.
“Hasheesh,” he continued, “produces prostration in its last stages. The whole Orient has reached that point. We will bring the Irish there, once this insurrection closes, so that in them may never again spring up the germ of future rebellions.”
The voices of assent redoubled, warm and enthusiastic.
“In the present crisis,” concluded he, “adroitly distributed among the disinherited, skilfully mixed with the tobacco for their pipes, which so often take the place of bread, the insidious hasheesh, by weakening their courage, relaxing their nerves, and benumbing their conscience, will aid us more than regiments, better than cannon, more surely than torture, to subdue the rebels, and all this without striking a single blow, without wearying ourselves with battles”...
Squarely, the delicate hands of the Lords applauded as if they would raise the roof, and, above the din of these frantic bravos, Tom finished his tirade:
“Without being tormented at our repasts by the trumpets or in our starry dreams by the noise of musketry.”
“And at the same time realizing agreeable profits,” concluded sharply, but not without good sense, Lady Carlingford, who was not disposed to allow undisputed triumph to this merchant, to whom she owed a grudge, to say nothing of his inferior station.
The laughers promptly went over to her side; but Lichfield, whose want of tact, in his eagerness to enjoy the incense of victory, had exposed him to this thrust, had already retired with Newington to the recess of the window, where they held mysterious consultation.
Muskery, in the absence of the object of his flame, displayed his senile graces to the Duchess, who, though forced to listen to him, kept her rosy ear open to the words of Lichfield and her husband, enabling her to hear the merchant say:
“I did not reveal to the company one detail of my disaster which concerns you alone, and which demands secresy in order that you may profit by it. I believe that I know the author of the attempt to murder you.”
He lowered his voice, and Lady Ellen feared that she would hear no more.
Fortunately the Duke, in his surprise at the revelation, repeated almost aloud the name uttered in a whisper:
“Positively,” affirmed the big Englishman. “My gag did not blind me, and I recognized perfectly this unlicked cub who passed close by my tree, a little after the shot to which you were exposed. He was muttering and lengthening his steps, I beg you to believe, turning from time to time to assure himself that he was not pursued.”
“He simply apprehended, doubtless, the danger that his presence in the woods might cause him to be confounded with the guilty one.”
“Not at all; here is proof that he was the criminal: he smelt of his feet and shook his big nose. Certainly they tainted the dust; he bathed them carefully in a pool of water, in which he also washed his face, on account of the flash of the pan, of which his right cheek probably still kept the odorous trace.”
“Oh! in his natural perfume,” said the Duke, “it would have been difficult to discern. However it may be, I risk nothing by questioning him. I will give myself that pleasure directly. Ah! he would play a double game; he will lose, I charge myself with that, my gelder; if I convince myself of your guilt, I will force you to exercise upon yourself the cruel talents of your trade”
The Duchess blushed slightly, crowning the ferity ot the poor Muskery. Might lie not impute to the tender warmth of his words the carmine which so exquisitely colored the face of the lady of the castle, and her hasty flight?
“She fears me!” said he, merrily.
He was not die less disconsolate because of her retreat and was preparing to pursue her, but he encountered Miss Lucy, who reentered as the Duchess left, and attached himself to the young girl
The brown halo which encircled her eyes had developed still more, feeding now on her face, and her pupils flamed like candles; she walked like a somnambulist, listening afar off and directing her steps towards Newington.
“You do not hear, then?” said she, with astonishment, and a marked dash of reproach in her voice.
“Why, this woman at the door, who begs that it be opened in order that she may speak with you.”
“A woman! What woman?”
And Lucy, half-opening the window, added:
“She is giving an account of herself for the tenth time, in order that they may describe her to you. Are you not moved to pity?”
“My ear is a little more lazy than yours,” said the Duke, “and I hear no woman at the door, not at all.”
“Nor I, nor any one!” said Lady Carlingford: “however, Miss Hobart, having ears a little larger than the average”...
“Under the influence of hasheesh,” interrupted Lichfield, “the perspicacity of the senses increases in an extraordinary fashion, and I am strongly inclined to believe that the young lady is not deceived in the least.”
“It is really so,” said Sir Walpole, coming in; “it is the mother of the soldier; she begs to see her son Michael, and insists on soliciting your grace for authority to do so.
“Absolutely flat, weeping, with clasped hands; a little more, and she would be on her knees.”
“Perfect!” said the Duke, preserving a stately composure. “Then, let them set the dogs on her!”
The effect, which he foresaw, was enormous.
They were imagining him touched by the request, the attitude of submission of the widow, and this sally, abruptly disconcerting their conjectures, excited their applause. He finished by joining in the general gayety which his barbarous order, formulated under such conditions, suggested.
Nevertheless, the evening grew tiresome. The stage erected in the hall continued to await the orchestra of the usual balls, the musicians belonging to which usually arrived at Cumslen-Park the evening before, thus being able to rehearse fully the pieces of their repertoire and to give the necessary attention to such indispositions or colds as they had taken on the way.
But this time they had not appeared. Had they deserted the cause of those who always paid them generously? All of them being English, from the fife to the big drum, there was no reason to suspect that. No, indeed: the natives, those frightful natives, those savages, were massacring them perhaps at that very hour to teach them to arouse the enemy, to make him dance on the tombs of his victims. And condolences flew through space to these poor men who deserved well of their country.
“They have not massacred them,” said Lucy Hobart, still at the window. “Look down there, on Blue Cloud Hill, among that mass of bright lights. Do you perceive the swarming, moving, fluttering multitude? Now, listen, listen: the word is given, the dances are beginning.”
And, in truth, the wind brought, by puffs, bits of gay airs, to which the guests of the Duchess swayed their bodies and moved their heads, envying the peasants whom the gentlemen rudely cursed, talking of getting astride of their horses and running to plunge this ball of boors into an abyss from which they would not rise again to exult over the farce played upon those longshanks of the castle.
With the aid of glasses they could see them well, wheeling, dancing, in high spirits; and, when the piece was finished, in full chorus they turned towards Cumslen-Park, and, in that direction letting fly jests which they naturally did not explain, but the meaning of which could be imagined, they bombarded the guests with mocking hurrahs, sufficiently significant. They had intercepted the orchestra, and were using it in the face of the people for whom it was destined; this trick amused them enormously.
Several young ladies and almost all the young girls proposed that they should not be angry or sulky over this joke. In a carriage or on horseback, how long would it take to make the journey? In their opinion, this was the most sensible way of taking this piece of mischief. The Duchess? They called for the Duchess that she might approve this resolution and give orders accordingly.
They called her, they sought her in vain, and, willing or unwilling, they had to resign themselves to remaining; after all the airs of the English répertoire, the musicians were now beginning on those of the Irish répertoire, selecting the most characteristic, those having the most local color, and those considered seditious.
“To the harp!” they said to Lady Jennings.
And Lady Carlingford offered to play the instrument in place of Lucy, who persisted in leaning on her elbows at the window.
She perceived in the thick darkness of the court a singular movement of two united shadows: the one unsteady, heavy, staggering painfully along; the other slender, light, impatient, leading the way and hurrying as fast as possible, though evidently not making satisfactory progress.
And in spite of a dark hooded cloak which covered the latter, falling over her face and almost entirely concealing it, the young Lucy was not deceived; it was Lady Ellen, whom they had just been calling; as for her companion, it was an unclean individual, groaning under his fat, and basely polluted by the traces of a drunkenness now going through the phase of dull, disgusting idiocy, wallowing nausea, the swinish phase.
Nevertheless, Lucy Hobart saw very clearly all that passed between the young woman, elegant, superb, perfumed, and the hiccoughing, vomiting blackguard.
He staggered, held on to her skirt, and leaned on her delicate arm, which did not bend, stiffened to prevent an untimely fall on the pavement where the dogs, quarreling over the smeared bones of a stag, had left slimy tracks in which their feet slipped.
Leaning over him, without haughtiness, without apparent repulsion, the Duchess begged her filthy companion to hasten his steps in order to save himself from the vindictiveness of Newington, who knew all,— the two attempts on his life, that of the woods and that of the hunt,— and was preparing to make him pay dear for them, very dear!
Tired with walking, exhausted with hurrying, blowing like a seal, he brutally recriminated. By whom had he been driven to murder? By her! It belonged then to the Duchess to save him; it did not concern him; let them clear it up! If the Duke molested him, he would say: “Lay it to your wife!”
“Nothing more just, Casper,” confessed the proud, irritable Duchess, who humbled herself, assumed a milder tone, and flattered with delightful cajolery the adipose, thick-skinned, filthy-souled monster.
At the same time, she coaxingly invited him to hurry, nevertheless. He would not regret it. She would put him forever beyond the reach of the frightful Duke and his vengeance.
“Quick, quick, quick,” she repeated, “quick, my little Casper!”
He stopped to argue, turning over again his same stubborn drunkard’s reasoning, in whose thick skull a stupid idea had become fixed.
“But it was you who ordered it!”
“Oh, well! I shall incur his wrath, but he will not spare you on that account. It would be better to escape, both of us, it seems to me, than to fall together under his blows.”
She pulled him by the sleeve, a little roughly, principally in order to get out of the bloody mass in which he was splashing and in which she was trying not to put her feet, not wishing to soil her dress, which she lifted with her skirts under her cloak.
“In a minute!” he said, striking his nose with his short fore-finger, solemnly. She became fidgety and tried to draw him away; he sprawled on his back under the violence of the shake which she gave him, and lay swearing like a devil in a holy-water font.
Sure that he would be heard throwing himself about, Lady Ellen hid herself hurriedly in the shade, watching, shivering, and raging, while the situation at the house was growing worse for her every moment.
That marionnette of a Lady Carlingford pressed the harp-strings, with mouth screwed up and head thrown back, in poses far from artistic, the company thinking nothing of the lady and literally bursting out laughing. The duenna perceived this at last, and deserted the instrument and the hall. In her wake the laughs followed, finding full vent; but, after a while, they died away, having nothing to feed upon, and from the emptiness of the evening, after the fatigue of the hunt, a gloomy ennui, a contagious spleen, exhaled and spread.
“Yes, decidedly,” said the young Miss Arabella Stagsden, a doll even fonder of moonshine than Lucy Hobart, “we must attack these Irish, who hinder us from dancing and are always setting us at defiance.”
“And put the cap of pitch on some of them,” added Lady Milet-Mill, who on this occasion appeared in society for the first time since her churching.
“Willingly would I shave them with my white hand,” added a widow of twenty, of whom it was rumored that her strictness and extreme prudery had led her husband to his grave.
“My faith!” said the Duke, “I offer you this entertainment without having to disturb ourselves. I have a rascal under my cup whom we will scalp first and hang afterwards by the light of the torches.”
[To be continued.]
“In abolishing rent and interest, the last vestiges of old-time slavery, the Revolution abolishes at one stroke the sword of the executioner, the seal of the magistrate, the club of the policeman, the gauge of the exciseman, the erasing-knife of the department clerk, all those insignia of Politics, which young Liberty grinds beneath her heel.” — Proudhon
A One-Sided Contract.
Justice O’Gorman of New York was highly commended by the papers of that city for refusing to give naturalization papers to a man who had not read the constitution of the United States. The inference is that a man who has not read a contract is incompetent to sign it honestly. But while the State refuses its assumed benefits, except by mutual contract, it imposes its burdens, whether the victim has contracted to shoulder them or not. It seizes the individual by the throat without asking, and then tells him that, if he will swear to support the instrument under which he has been forcibly captured, he may enjoy its favors.
If the term consistency can properly be used in connection with this blackmailing business of the constitution, then existing citizens who have not read that document have no right to its benefits, according to O’Gorman. Probably not one-tenth of the people have ever read it or been asked to read it. The whole swindle is so utterly ridiculous when viewed in the light of a contract between man and man that a thoughtful person is almost staggered at the stupidity of the masses in never questioning it. And yet an individual in private life who should attempt to execute such a scheme of fraud and violence and call it a contract would be jailed within twenty-four hours as a blackmailer or shot as a pirate.
Anarchism as Our Banner.
There is a feeling possessing some of the very best thinkers in our movement — I might say the best — that the agitation of our method of thinking under the head of “Anarchism” is unfortunate, in that it does not dwell in the integral source of human wrongs, but is rather a protest against a particular organized branch of the fabric of authority.
Anarchism is a protest against government on the political side, and, though this protest may logically be made to comprehend every species of authority, it is the political side that is understood in the universally received application of the term.
If any logical consequence of a root evil be unravelled, it is found to reach back to the source of that evil; yet back-handed reasoning is not scientific, and no first-class thinker feels at ease till he is conscious that the corner-stone and sign-board of his agitation are planted on the bed-rock of its logic.
The thing called government by the Anarchists is only one of the consequences growing out of the universal violation of the Sovereignty of the Individual. It is, after all, but a comparatively small part of the whole field of the government of man by man. The protest called Anarchism, then, is a protest aimed simply at a result, and only by inference at its cause.
On such a basis a thoroughly trained mind can never be at ease. Kicking against results is a vocation that belongs to untrained minds. When I began my reform development, I was satisfied to protest against a result as far away from the cause as the wages of labor. I finally worked up to usury as the cause of the slavery of labor. But finding that usury was only made possible by the State, I worked up to Anarchism. But I have long been aware that the State is caused by something which antedates it, just as usury is caused by a preceding evil.
Being aware that, in protesting against the State under the banner of Anarchism, I am still only fighting a result, I shall never be satisfied till somebody, even wiser than Tucker, heads a movement which shall agitate a protest resting solidly in the original root-springs of every species of authority. The trouble with all these protests against mere results is that they do not and can not maintain a philosophical character. Only that protest which projects directly from the very root of an evil can float in an everpresent, all-surrounding, and all-comprehending philosophy, and a protest which does not thus float will never satisfy the highest type of minds.
Individualism, or, as Stephen Pearl Andrews stated it, integralism is the philosophy that underlies our system. When human society is surveyed under this glass, it is found that a vast mountain of government exists outside of the organized State, and that this government is the efficient cause of the State, which latter is simply its external organized expression. It is for this reason that the very best minds can never be satisfied with a mere protest against the State, under the head of Anarchism. They want a comprehensive philosophy that shall go deeper than the State, and be an ever-present guide in every sphere of social association, and a solid guide in all matters of taste, judgment, and the conduct of life.
I take it that Anarchism is only a step in the movement of progress. Something more satisfying is yet to develop out of it, when the right combination of brains, money, and character is ready to set afloat a journal and a library of philosophical text-books which shall properly educate a group of theoretical and practical individualists. Till then the movement of the new era will drift along in an accidental, half-equipped way, unballasted by a comprehensive logic. Meanwhile the banner Liberty is good in its way, but it only stands for a term in our logic. What we want is something that will carry the whole logic itself along with it at every step. We want a philosophy, and we want as a sign-board something that is inscribed in the very roots of our system.
When shall we have it?
Comments on the Foregoing.
Mr. Appleton says that, “if any logical consequence of a root evil be unravelled, it is found to reach back to the source of that evil.” Will his “thoroughly trained mind” be good enough to tell me what the source of a root evil is? Has Mr. Appleton joined in the wild-goose chase for final causes? If so, then truly the Anarchistic camp is not the place for him; he will find the Concord School of Philosophy better suited to his aims. If not; if he really sees, outside of the State, a vast mountain of government which is the State’s efficient cause,— he should point it out to his shorter-sighted companions, and tell them definitely what it is and how it acts. But that he does not even attempt to do.
It certainly cannot be true that “the thing called government by the Anarchists is only one of the consequences growing out of the universal violation of the Sovereignty of the Individual.” Such a limitation of the term government has been expressly and repeatedly excluded by Liberty in defining it. The Anarchistic definition of government is this,— any violation whatsoever of the Sovereignty of the Individual. What does this leave out which Mr. Appleton would like to take in? I see no way by which he could make it any broader, unless under the head of government he means to include the influence of reason, voluntarily-accepted guidance, boycotting, Mother Grundy’s gossip, etc., none of which are invasions of individual sovereignty or have anything in common with the arbitrary, wilful government of man by man. If Mr. Appleton asserts that but a comparatively small part of such arbitrary government is exercised by the State, then it is incumbent on him to show what the larger part is and through what agency it is exercised. Liberty’s position is that, of the really serious and important acts of invasion of individual sovereignty, at least nine-tenths are committed by organized State governments or through privileges granted by them, and that the governmental idea, with the State as its principal embodiment, is the efficient cause of almost all our social evils. The State, therefore, is practically fundamental in our present social structure, except in the sense that it may he said to rest on human ignorance,— which is a valueless truism, for all evil rests on ignorance. “I have long been aware,” says Mr. Appleton, “that the State is caused by something that antedates it.” Of course he means (and he says so in another sentence) something that not only antedates it, but is now its active cause; for I cannot suppose him ever to have been unaware that all phenomena are antedated by some cause or other. Now, I propose to show how long he has been thus aware, and how long he has wanted a new sign-board. In his editorial in Liberty of May 22, 1886, written a little over two months before his present article, occurred these words:
On the whole, the term Anarchy is the proper one. It simply means opposed to the arbitrary rule of self-elected usurpers outside of the Individual. The Boston Anarchists are individualists; the Chicago mobbists are Communists.... One of these days Communism will be weeded out of Anarchism, and then thinking people will begin to recognize that the Boston Anarchists are the only school of modern sociologists who are in the line of true peace, progress, and good order. Because it is not yet weeded out, I see no reason why we should take in our shingle and so give the appearance of running away from our philosophy. We propose to let the old sign-board stand, and by and by the best intellect and conscience of the land will enter in among us and be made whole.
The italics in the foregoing extract are mine, as well as those in the following from Mr. Appleton’s editorial in Liberty of July 3, 1886, written about a month before his present article:
It is the abolition of the State after all that underlies all social emancipation. This abolition we do not propose to bring about by violence, for that is the very thing we protest against in the imposition called law. The abolition we contemplate shall come of the abolition of ignorance and servile superstition in the masses, to the end that by a gradual desertion of the ballot-boxes and a refused of the people to voluntarily touch any of the foul machinery of the lie called “government,” tyrants shall yet be compelled to survive or perish solely on their own merits, at their own cost, and on their own responsibility. This process is already in settled operation, and all the powers of authority, fraud, and sanctified violence can never stay it. Anarchism has come to stay.
Mr. Appleton may put these extracts in contrast with what he now says and call it growth if he likes; as for me, I call it vacillation, and am unwilling to have Liberty’s editorial columns stultified by it any longer. Were I to allow it, the criticisms heretofore passed by me upon the San Francisco “Truth,” the Chicago “Alarm,” and the London “Anarchist” might, be turned back upon me with perfect justice.
Which brings me, in conclusion, to a serious and painful announcement. Liberty was founded to abolish the State, or, at least, to do its utmost to that end. Mr. Appleton was invited at the outset to contribute regularly to its editorial columns, for the reasons that he was a powerful writer and was in thorough sympathy with the editor concerning the fundamental purpose in view, however much he might differ otherwise. No number, from the first to the present, has ever appeared without his contribution, and no one is more eager than I to testify to the great value of the work that he has done. In this work he has been allowed the largest liberty of utterance. But the second of the reasons for inviting him has now disappeared. To him the fundamental purpose of this journal — the abolition of the State — has become a secondary and comparatively trivial thing. Hence the manifest impropriety of his continuance as an editorial contributor. Even where editorials are signed, in order to define responsibility and provide for the fullest liberty, a consistency regarding fundamentals must be maintained, in order to give the policy an effective power. Without it there would be no use in a distinct editorial department.
I know and regret the valuable elements that will disappear from Liberty’s editorial columns with the familiar signature, “X,” but these need not be lost, unless Mr. Appleton wills it so. Pending the appearance of that journal and that library which are now his desiderata, Liberty’s columns will always be open to him, where, standing on the same footing as the other correspondents, his thought can clash with theirs and with mine, and exercise such influence as is in it. I hope he will write no less regularly than before. Perhaps the new conditions, if he accepts them, will prove more agreeable to him. As a correspondent, he can grow as fast and “work up” as high as ho pleases; fancy free, he can indulge in the most extraordinary evolutions; and his wings, “trained” to and longing for aerial flights, will no longer be held to earth by the loitering paces of the laggard who edits Liberty.
Is this a free fight, or a fight for freedom? Is everybody’s “sthick” welcome? It’s Miss Kelly, and Mr. Kelly, and Mr. Walker, and Mr. Tucker, and Mr. Yarros, and Malthus, and Godwin, and Condorcet, and French peasants minus children and windows, and prairie men plus too many children and mortgages, and you’re a State Socialist, and you’re no Anarchist, and you’re another. Whoop! it’s a glorious time entirely. How the shillalahs rattle, and the big brains churn top and down in their pans! It’s the Revolution, boys, and the Jubilee is “jist forninst.”
“If you see a head, hit it.” Whist! I see one, and here’s at it. But hold on! Surely I am mistaken,— no, I cannot be, for by the mouth (or pen representing the mouth) of the head, I am informed that said cranium is the property of my good comrade Yarros.
Mon Dieu! Friend Yarros, what are you here for? And, if you don’t want to be hit, why do you say: “The now cannot be made more comfortable, all tho quack doctors to the contrary notwithstanding, and ought not,” etc? To say truth, man, I believe you mean all right, but cannot think you are. As I understand our glorious faith, we hold to the idea that Self is the true centre. It is the hub from which all spokes radiate, to which they all converge. Enlightened self-interest, Which is a huh admitting its relation to, and cooperating with, the spokes (not selfishness, which is it hub breaking off from and disowning its spokes), is our true philosophical basis. It is because of our love for self that we are Individualists, Autonomists, that we demand liberty, equal opportunity, and a chance to grow unhindered. We demand all this for self, and only incidentally for other folks because they are useful and important to self. A free self therefore is our central thought, our root, our starting point, and our end. Vice is self-invasion, self-enslavement, suicide, murder in the first degree. To invade others is bad enough, but to invade self is the unpardonable sin. The care, protection, development, and love of self, being our central purpose, both by natural necessity and intelligent endeavor, is, according to my view, “our one duty,” of which all other duties are but parts and members.
If this be Anarchism, everything that makes for self, that strengthens self, that improves self, that purifies, develops, defends, frees self, is truly Anarchistic and liberating. Virtue is all this. Per contra, everything that works against self, that weakens, degrades, adulterates, represses, exposes, and enslaves self, is opposed to Anarchism and invasive. Vice is all this. How say you, then, that “this [doctrine that individual initiative is primary] does not at all mean that we must begin by reforming our habits.... Stop crime first and reform vice afterwards”? Now, the reforming away vice is to my mind clearly our first step to freedom, or at any rate should go jointly with resistance to external government. Reforming away vice is to us the sharpening of the axe that is to fell the Upas tree, the cleaning of the pistol that is to kill the Czar, the whetting of the blade that is to sever our bonds.
I dislike the term “self-government.” Would not self-freedom or self-order be preferable expressions? Let us not govern anybody, not even ourselves; let us simply be free. My thought is that we should not tyrannize over ourselves. Every human body is a confederation of organs, each organ having its special function. To perform this function normally is all that can properly be asked of any organ. If its function is suppressed, perverted, or permitted to become excessive, it becomes either a slave or a tyrant, perhaps both. The intellect, then, and the other directing nerve-centres, should not “govern” the organs, but should simply defend,— that is, prevent the invasion of outside forces, or the invasion of one organ by the others, maintaining their equal freedom. This is the state of a virtuous or self-free man.
In a vicious person all this is changed. The stomach mayhap recklessly follows its cravings, and without gluttony and drunkenness destroys its own freedom and tyrannically throws overwork on the excreting organs. Or the sex organs follow their passions, and, among other results too peculiar to mention, we have too many children, neurasthenia, venereal disease, etc, The vices, in fact, create uproar in the whole system, just as crime does in society.
I tell you, Friend Yarros (though I hate the State as much as you or any other man reasonably can), if the State should be abolished tomorrow, and there were none but these cowardly, passion-burnt, whore-mongering, drunken, gluttonous, self-weakened fools that we see all around us to fill the vacuum, another despotism would have its heel on our necks before we could draw a second breath. What would these flabby muscles, dyspeptic stomachs, shaking nerves, and beer-fuddled brains do with liberty, if they had it? Are these the tools with which you would destroy the State,— the State, which is the consummation and flower of human force and selfishness? Yes, I am a “purity and morality crank,” and I tell you the people will never have liberty till “they are worthy of it”; could have it today if they were self-wise and self-free enough to be worthy of it. This great boa-constrictor, the State, is no plaything. Its muscles are not weakened, nor its scales softened, by any lack of exercise. It has few vices, and seldom sins against itself. Ancient and modern athletes found and find it necessary to drop every vice and cultivate every power, and I tell you, if ever men needed to be athletic, we are the men. We must lay aside every weight and the sin that doth so easily beset, or we are whipped by our own self-inflicted weakness and folly. We have all earth and hell beside to fight, and we have limited ourselves to the overcoming of all this evil by good alone. Clear brains and strong muscles we must have to win, and these are correlative only with health, and vice is the Thug of health.
What saith Proudhon? “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.” He is not ashamed, you see, to put mental and physical health and passion-free vision before political emancipation and disentanglement from sophistry. If he had written that as a definition of a virtuous man, would it not have been equally fitting? Has a vicious man the free use of his reason or faculties? Is he not always blinded by passion?
Nay, good comrade, liberty — like charity — must begin at home. Reform vice thoroughly, and you have no crime to stop, for crime is also a vice, being always injurious to self. Perhaps it may be no good reason, because we are not all prudent, virtuous, and brave, that we are robbed and plundered, but it is a reason, nevertheless. It is very nearly the reason. Give us enough of the prudent, virtuous, and brave, and we will very soon stop that work. The Now can be made more comfortable, and should for the sake of the Now and the Hereafter. I’m sure I don’t know (since the fracas) whether I am a Malthusian, or an Anti-Malthusian, or a Neo-Malthusian, or no Malthusian at all, but I believe in small families. I am no prohibitionist, but I believe in total abstinence from stimulants and narcotics. I am a free-lover, but I believe in purity (don’t misread that Puritanism, Friend Yarros) and sexual temperance. I am no ascetic, but I believe in simple diet, non-exciting pleasures, slow living, and moderation in all things.
If this makes me any the weaker an Anarchist, may the State have mercy upon me!
Forward the whole front of reform!
J. Wm. Lloyd.
[I am seized with a strong desire to swing my shilalah forthwith over the head of Mr. Lloyd; but I forbear, knowing that I am too much given to meddling in the controversies of my correspondents. Mr. Yarros will probably take care of Mr. Lloyd. One of his points, however, demands my personal attention, as it concerns my choice of the motto that has heretofore stood at the head of Liberty’s editorial columns. I have sometimes addressed the query to myself whether the sentence from Proudhon referred to, however true in idea, had not the defect, for Liberty’s purpose, of misleading, by giving too wide a range to the word freedom, in violation of my general policy of using words in as specific a sense as possible. Mr. Lloyd has answered my query for me, and it will be observed that I have replaced the motto by another front the same author. The victim of passion and error lacks freedom in the sense that a cripple lacks it, but not necessarily in the sense that a slave lacks it. The slave is the victim, not necessarily of passion and error, but of oppression. Slavery, as Colonel Greene so well puts it, is the confiscation of individuality by an extraneous usurping will. My direct battle is for freedom as the opposite of slavery; only indirectly am I fighting, though the more powerfully and effectively, for freedom as the opposite of weakness and deformity. And the same was true of Proudhon, however Mr. Lloyd may try to make it appear otherwise by quoting the motto in question. Proudhon spent very little of his time in preaching against vice. He knew that vice was the result of crime almost exclusively, especially of the crime committed by “society” against the individual, and his life was devoted to social reconstruction and the reformation of conditions. It is a singular fact, and one containing a lesson for Mr. Lloyd and Mr. Walker, that the only vice that Proudhon allowed himself to preach against was incontinence, and that the only liberty that he denied was the liberty of woman. — Editor Liberty.]
And Our Fun Costs But a Dollar a Year.
[Boston Correspondence of John Swinton’s Paper.]
Gen. F. A. Walker and twenty or thirty other professors, political economists, scientists, etc., have formed a society to evolve a new system of political economy which will forever and forever solve the “labor problem.” They are going to think, intensely think, about it, read about it, write about it, and talk about it. Their range of discussion and study will be limited only by the size of the planet. Land, labor, rent, wages, silver, gold, factories, mines, men, women, and children, and all industries, from Dan to Beersheba, are to come under their keen analysis. The entrance fee to this ne plus ultra society is only three dollars. Who knows but Ben Tucker may join it? If he does, there will be more than three dollars’ worth of fun at the first session.
How Vice-Reform Works in England.
The following article is from an excellent little London magazine entitled “The Present Day,” and was written by the editor, Thomas Barrett. It contains a lesson for the “purity fanatics” who have been so strenuous in their efforts to raise the “age of consent” in this and other States. We shall hear of similar outrages in Massachusetts before long.
The Vigilance Association for the Defence of Personal Rights (2, Westminster Chambers, is a society that should have the support of every lover of liberty. Its object is to watch over whatever infringes, or is likely to infringe, our freedom,— to oppose all bills introduced into parliament that would have that effect, to watch the administration of the law, and to urge the repeal of all oppressive enactments. The Association publishes a monthly journal, which is admirably edited, and contains a large amount of very interesting reading.
The Association proposes, we understand, to drop the word “Vigilance,” and substitute “National.” The reason for this is not far to seek. Mr. Stead, as all the world knows, originated various vigilance committees, the object of which is certainly not the defence of personal rights,— rather the reverse. Amongst other achievements, these committees wage war against brothels. Brothels are, no doubt, very sad evidences of the utter rottenness of modern civilized society; but the attempt forcibly to suppress an inevitable effect is not to reach the cause. It would be equally wise, in a ease of small-pox, to shave off every pustule with a razor.
But that is not the only ground for objecting to these raids on what are called “disorderly houses.” We cannot fully go into the matter now, but may return to it on another occasion. In the meanwhile, we commend to the especial attention of our readers the January number of the Vigilance Association’s “Journal,” which gives a heart-rending account of the cruelties indicted on poor girls through the operations we have alluded to.
At the bottom of all this is that delightfully muddle-headed piece of legislation, the “Criminal Law Amendment Act” of last year, which was passed in a moment of public excitement, the effect of a huge hoax. Sooner or later there will have to be an amendment of the amendment. Under its operations persons are subjected to long terms of imprisonment who were never intended to be caught in its meshes. We will mention just two cases that have recently occurred as samples. A man named Russell had been on intimate terms with a young woman before the passing of the act of 1885, but she was over thirteen, and so she was doing no legal wrong. When the act became law, she was a few months under sixteen, and hence (as he did not immediately break with the girl) he got entrapped, and is now suffering for an act of immorality, and for nought else — what? — one year’s imprisonment with hard labor! If he had married her, and then half killed her with brutal violence, he would probably have got one month. A few days afterwards, a man, for holding a boy over a blazing fire, with intent to grill him, got fined twenty-one shillings! These injustices are enough to make one turn Anarchist.
The other case was reported in the papers of June 8. Even Mr. Justice Hawkins saw it was not as it should be; and that was when he had to sentence a boy under fourteen years of age to a long term of imprisonment for being indecent, nothing more, to a girl! Such is the precious Act of 1885, the darling of the Social Rarity Societies!
“To the Chicago bomb-thrower I reverently raise my hat.” — Lucifer, June 16.
Between this propagandum by deed and the “heroic” defence made by firing into an unarmed crowd, which had fascinated “Lucifer’s” editor, my admiration hesitates, like the classical ass between two bundles of hay. The first act has, however, greater merit of originality and spontaneous initiative: it was the parent of the second, as Liberty is the mother of order. Observations on hircine morality and psychology prove the conduct of the police to be quite in the natural order of things, for, the amatory duel excepted, a goat, when gored, never strikes back at the gorer, but soon runs into a third and unoffending party. This seems to be nature’s understanding of the term solidarity, and I suppose nature is large enough to find room even for a city police. What is more remarkable is the demoralization of moral judgment by these emotional acts affecting men accustomed to reason about social phenomena, and even a man of superior mind. It is natural to raise one’s hat under the emotional wind of a bomb; but afterwards the question arises: Does it make a boom for Liberty, or for Despotism? Answer: suppression of the “Alarm,” censorship of the “Vorbove,” &c. Answer: cessation of public meetings and imprisonment of friends.
In your sympathy with mere audacity and preference for deeds over words, you miss a point in defence of your imprisoned friends,— to wit, that they are men of too much sense for it to be supposed that they conspired for the throwing of a single bomb without following up its effect. Even if reckless of the danger to which it exposed their friends among the crowd, they could not expect the police to be passive, nor that they would be exterminated at one blow; neither could they regard the police as more than mercenary tools whose places could and would be supplied by the thousand and whose force would be increased after provocation with ineffectual resistance. They would consider the probable tendency of any given act, towards the advancement of their social influence, or contrariwise, and reflect that public opinion always sides with success against failure, not looking to motives.
Speculative historians may argue that every act whatever, in a given series, conduced either directly or indirectly to the foregone and fatal conclusion; but before we know this conclusion acts are judged in reference to their proximate consequences.
Another point: Nihilist measures require secresy and avoidance of notoriety by the chiefs. These will then eschew the roscrum, and the two rôles of propagandism by the word and by the deed will be confided to different persons, the latter unknown to the former. The intelligent few cannot afford to make mistakes and alienate their friends, like Knights of Labor. Every ball must strike its mark, and that a shining mark.
Malthus’s “Main Principle.”
To the Editor of Liberty:
Having read Miss Kelly’s reply to my letter on Malthus, I fail to see that she has noticed my statement of his doctrine. The ignoratio elenchi is always the argument of prejudice. I said, the fundamental propositions of Malthus — the “main principle,” as he called them, which he always distinguished from mere obiter dicta, though Ingram and other authors of popular misinformation may not, are as follows: “Population tends to increase faster than the means of subsistence. But, of course, it cannot outrun them, except for a very short time during actual famine. The checks which reduce it to equality with them are either positive, which increase the proportion of deaths, or preventive, which diminish the proportion of births. Whatever one of these gains is at the expanse of the other.”
Now, I should like Miss Kelly, who justly says we have not given the subject one-twentieth part the attention it requires, to answer these questions. Can she deny that this is a succinct and correct statement of Malthus’s “main principle”? Can she find any flaw in the argument itself? If not, does not it involve certain important consequences, among them these,— that high mortality does not diminish a population while the food supply remains constant; that fecundity does not replenish a country while the food supply remains constant; that the old ideas about the duty of propagating the species, and the danger of nations becoming extinct, are great mistakes; that early marriage and rapid increase are not, as a rule, to be recommended; that marriage and maternity are not the great duties to which women ought to subordinate everything else; that there must (in the absence of preventive checks) arise, from time to time, a “struggle for existence” (Malthus’s own phrase), in which every peculiarity, individual, national, or special, which favors any competitor must be preserved and intensified by natural selection? Now, if Miss Kelly has to answer these questions in the manner their form suggests, I do not see how she can deny that Malthus was an epoch-making discoverer. There is much in her letter that I could answer, but it refers to side issues. I keep myself, and would like to keep her, to the “main principle.” which is what I wrote about in the first place.
C. L. James.
411 Pine Street, Eau Claire, Wis., July 25, 1886.
Waiting for Proof.
The longer one lives, the more one learns. Until the present controversy on Malthusianism arose, I had not known what constituted “irrelevancy” and “side-issues” in a discussion. But now I am beginning to find out. Malthusians are to be allowed to make any number of unsupported statements, which can in any way serve to prop up their cause; but the moment an Anarchist brings forward proof to show that these statements are false, on one side arises the cry of irrelevancy, and on the other that of the valuelessness of statistics. I am not at all surprised at this; the evidence being against Malthusianism, of course evidence is of no use, for Malthusianism is and must he right. If Mr. James will take the trouble to re-read his former article and my answer thereto, he cannot fail to see that I but answered his statements seriatim, bringing forward proof in each case, to show that they were false. If any side-issues were introduced, Mr. James is responsible for them, and not I.
The question at issue was whether the reduction in the number of members composing families would be of any advantage to the laborers under present conditions, and to this I strictly adhered until irrelevant matter was introduced by my opponents, into the discussion of which I willingly entered lot the purpose of showing that they were as much at fault on the side as the main issue. Mr. James’s whole article was a side issue.
Now, again, as to the scientific value of Malthus’s work. That there is a relation between population and food-supply, probably no person will deny, but what this relation is has never yet been determined, and Malthus’s random assertion has not in the least helped to determine it. We have as yet no data whereby to determine the relationship, and, until we have, there is no further new in discussing this matter. The main proposition remaining undemonstrated, we are hardly yet in position to make deductions from it. There is nothing in Malthus of any value that had not been seen by earlier writers, and by none more clearly than Condorcet, against whom the “Principle of Population” was mainly directed.
To return to the original discussion, from which I have been accused of straying, I will ask the Malthusians to prove that, everything else remaining unchanged, the reduction in numbers, whether it be in the adult population or in families, would improve the condition of the working-people. When they do this, I shall be willing to take up the discussion again. But, as statistics are of no value and proof is irrelevant, the readers of Liberty will probably succeed in obtaining a much-needed rest from Parson Malthus and his philosophy.
Gertrude B. Kelly.
John Swinton Confirms Liberty.
“X,” in a recent article in Liberty, ascribed the disintegration of the Knights of Labor to the deference paid by that body to the law as soon as the State stepped in to suppress strikes and boycotts. John Swinton, in his “Paper,” disputes this, and traces labor’s disasters to the blow struck the southwestern strikers by Jay Gould. Very likely Gould’s blow was an important factor in the matter, but it never could have been struck except for the folly of the Knights, who made a woful mistake in starting the strike, a still graver one in not abandoning it after the discovery of their blunder, and perhaps the gravest of all in pushing it with that half-heartedness and indecision which generally accompany consciousness of error. But, whatever the causes of the collapse, I am chiefly interested here in the fact that John Swinton, by summarizing the principal features thereof in language much more vivid than Liberty’s, unexpectedly confirms my estimate of the value of “organized labor’s” recent mushroom growth. I quote his remarkable words:
It is our opinion that organized labor, even after all its defeats, is still a pretty solid establishment, and not at all of the nature of a bubble on parade. Its growth, in the first four months of this year, was rapid beyond all previous experience. At least half a million men rushed into the order of the Knights of Labor and the trade unions. Much of the material was, of course, crude and disorderly; but it was hoped that all the elements could be brought into cooperation under the few plain principles upon which these bodies are founded. In March, on account of the rush into the K. of L., the Executive Board “called the halt” of forty days; but, when that quarantine expired, the rush again became overwhelming, and it seemed as though the order would be swamped. The raw recruits at once became impatient for results. Labor, too, began to obtain results that few men had looked for. It began to advance in a hundred trades and a thousand localities. It began to get better terms and better wages. It began to feel its strength. It began to indulge in new hopes that seemed to us very modest, and to look for better times that, at best, were but a paltry instalment of what could easily be won by union, sound sense, and courage. Those were very cheerful days in March, and they continued through a great part of April. Then came the knock-down for labor,— the blow with which Jay Gould laid low the southwestern railroad strikers. Labor rallied from it, and entered upon the great struggle of the opening days of May. The Chicago bomb was turned against its heart by the capitalist class. It reeled and rallied again and again. But it never recovered from the first blow of Gould. That had turned the adverse tide against it, even before his subservient press had acclaimed him as the victor. For the past sixty days we have had a long and dismal record of disasters. Hundreds of strikes, great and little, involving hundreds of thousands of men and women in scores of industries, have failed, from Troy to Chicago and Leavenworth, all over the land. The capitalist conspiracy has beer, strengthened by its successes. Gould and his allies have taken vengeance upon hundreds of crushed strikers, who have been made the victims of false charges. Multitudes of men have been driven out of the ranks of organization. The boycott has been repressed with an iron hand, while the black list has been mercilessly enforced. Judicial hirelings, dependent upon political rings, have made haste to do the shameful work of their masters. Capital, in its domineering insolence, has trampled upon the restraints of prudence. The shackles have been riveted as never before upon the working people, almost without protest. And more has been done for the degradation of American liberty than in all the previous period since its proclamation. Capital has acknowledged Jay Gould as the man who relieved its fears when its bones were shaking, and who took the lead in driving back a million of men toward that “European basis” to which he said last year they must be reduced. Anybody can trace the disasters of the past sixty days back to the stunning blow which he delivered against the southwestern railroad strikers.
Translated from the “Messenger of the People’s Will” by Victor Yarros.
[This selection is perhaps the best of Tourguéneff’s “Poems in Prose.” The reader will readily see why it was left out of the “legal” edition of the “Poems.” It was written in 1881, after the execution of Sophie Perovskaya and her associates. The “Russian girl” is no other than Sophie Perovskaya, whose likeness, drawn by himself with a pencil, Tourguéneff kept in the same drawer with the manuscripts of his “Poems.” It will be seen that Tourguéneff modified his views after the publication of his “La Novale.” He was deeply affected by the displeasure of the Russian youth and the severe criticisms passed upon that book. He bitterly complained of the injustice done him, and showed in the “Poems in Prose” where his sympathies really lay. The Czar said of the celebrated writer: “C’est wa bete noire.” “The Threshold” may well serve as an epilogue to his novel, “On the Eve.” At last Russia found her Irsaroffs, and Helene can no longer say that there is nothing to be done in Russia. — V. Y.]
I see an immense edifice. In the front wall a narrow doorway is open. A gloomy mist inside. At the high threshold stands a girl ... a Russian girl.
Bleak is the impermeable gloom, and along with the freezing streams of air breaks out a dull, unsteady voice.
“Oh, you who wish to step over this threshold, do you know what awaits you here?”
“I do,” answers the girl.
“Cold, hunger, hatred, ridicule, disdain, indignity, imprisonment, death itself?”
“Complete estrangement, isolation?”
“I know ... I am prepared; I will endure all suffering, all inflictions.”
“Not only from the enemy, but from kindred, friends?”
“Yes, even from them.”
“Well. Are you prepared for a sacrifice?”
“For an obscure sacrifice? You will perish,— and no one ... no one will even know whose memory to honor.”
“I do not want gratitude, nor pity. I do not care for a name.”
“Are you prepared ... to commit a crime?”
The girl sunk her head.
“Yes, for a crime too” ...
The voice did not soon renew the questions.
“Did you reflect,” spoke the voice again at last, “that you may lose faith in your beliefs, discover that you have erred and uselessly destroyed your young life?”
“I thought of it. Yet I wish to enter.”
The girl stepped over the threshold, and a heavy curtain dropped instantly after her disappearance.
“The fool!” said somebody behind, gnashing his teeth.
“The saint!” resounded a voice, in answer.
[From a private letter.]
The “conspiracy” of the Chicago “Anarchists” is equalled by nothing that I know of except that of the jeunesse dorée in “Madame Angot”:
Quand on conspire,
Quond sans frayeur
On peut se dire
Pour tout le monde
Il fant avoir
Et collet noir.
The Chicagoans seem to have worn their blonde perukes and black collars everywhere.
The Farce of the Familistere.
The worshippers of M. Godin have never forgiven Liberty’s audacity in long ago laying sacrilegious hands upon the factitious reputation of that exploiter of labor, who is supposed to embody all that is good and great and holy. But sooner or later the facts will bear Liberty out, and this over-estimated man will pass at his true value. To this end the following letter, recently written by J. Sibilat, formerly assistant foreman in M. Godin’s factory, but discharged therefrom on suspicion of having written articles for “Lé Révolté,” criticising the institution, will contribute in no small degree. It is translated from “Lé Révolté,” and addressed to M. Godin, socialist and founder of the Familistere of Guise.
Last Saturday you called together the subjects of your little kingdom in the theatre to explain to them what Anarchy is.
Hear ye, O people of the neighborhood, come and listen to the words of truth and light! The Pope of Godinism is about to descend among you and complete the instruction that he wishes you to have!
Great was my astonishment, on arriving at the Familistere, to see a surging crowd engaged in warm discussion. Approaching, I learned that the door was closed to them under the fallacious pretext that these citizens did not belong to the Familistere; I entered the hall, and the very first person whom I elbowed was a gentleman who does not belong to the association.
It appears, then, thought I, that the meeting is picked and chosen; contradiction is feared; those in a position to reply without being immediately deprived of their daily bread are kept out; such is the freedom of opinion here.
I will not stop to analyze your vagaries, but will content myself with taking up one point which will give those who were excluded a chance to estimate the value of your argument; you say: “I have done my work, I have built palaces, I have given work to a thousand laborers; let the Anarchists show me what they have done, what changes they have effected in the existing social organization.”
Really, M. Godin, it is very imprudent to speak in this way, for, if what you call your work is a sample of what the future society will be, I, who am willing to go down into the street to secure an improvement, would willingly fight to save the existing social state!
No, the Anarchists, fortunately for their fellows, have not built Godin convents; no, the Anarchists do not possess the art of shearing sheep without making them bleat; but they maintain that, if you had wished to do anything for your working people, you would have taken a different course; in the first place, you would have abandoned the twelve and a half per cent. which you generously bestow upon yourself out of the profits; you would have divided the annual profits into equal portions and distributed them among all the workmen, employees, and directors. This last class, however, are paid wages high enough to satisfy them with the present mode of distribution.
Ah! Monsieur Founder, if you had entered upon that path, perhaps your exploited employees would have pardoned you the millions with which they have filled your safes.
On seeing the turn that your sermon was taking, I went out, thinking such treatment of the subject not worth listening to.
Was it because you noticed my exit, that you thought it fair to attack me? Was it my absence that gave you that revival of spirit of which you were utterly destitute when talking of things unfamiliar to you?
This is the substance, I have been told, of the passage concerning me, which I would have answered in Anarchistic fashion, had I been present;
The disorderly man who has thrown disorganization into our association has stood in need of my services under circumstances particularly awkward; he was threatened with prosecution for an offence which this is not the place to describe; I interfered and gave him one hundred and fifty francs; in short, I saved him.
This tale contains a falsehood and a piece of petty infamy (I say petty).
In the first place, you have never given me anything, and, though you have handed me a certain sum, it was only an advance from the wages due me; perhaps this was the only time in my life that I have not given credit to my employer, for in your factory, as in others, the employees are paid only monthly; however, your slaves must have laughed heartily to hear you affirm that you had given me money; they know by experience that you seldom give!
Then you thought to deal me a hard blow when you uttered these words, which were intended to be wicked because they imply so much, but which are only grotesque: prosecution for an offence which this is not the place to describe. Fortunately no one present was unaware that the famous offence was a purely political one, relating to the posting at Lyons of a placard insulting to the government and supposed to have been written by me; in the absence of proof, the case was not pushed, a point which you might have added; you who are such a ferocious champion of legality. You wished to throw doubt upon my character, leaving conjecture a free field; you would have been happy if you could have passed me off for a malefactor. You have faded, and I have the consciousness of carrying away from Guise the esteem and friendship of those who have known me, which to me is far more essential than to carry away yours and that of the most of your sub-Godins.
Then, in terminating, with an outburst too pathetic to be genuine, you said in the form of a climax: “The revolution is approaching with huge strides; I await it confidently; and the day when it shall break out I will throw myself into your arms.”
Before pronouncing upon this, I will venture to ask you a very simple question.
If you are a revolutionist, why, on the eighteenth of March, when you were deputy, did you throw yourself into the arms of Thiers, and why, in the celebrated session of the twenty-first of May, 1871, did you include yourself among those who voted congratulations to the army of Versailles and all the gold-laced bandits who commanded it? (See “L’Officiel” of May 22, 1871.)
Believe me, dear pontiff, before talking of throwing yourself into the arms of the workingmen, you should sponge out a little of that past which is, faith, very embarrassing today.
A word in conclusion.
Driven by necessity, having paid enough with my person, it is my duty to pick myself up and seek shelter where there is less excitement; therefore I shall take no further part in controversy, for it is probable that the notoriety which would surround my name would not be calculated to dispose my future masters in my favor.
I deposit in the hands of safe men the documents which I possess; they may serve in future as material for the history of that immense farce of which you are the principal author and which is called the Familistere.
Upon this I have the honor to salute you, urging you not to forget that the Tarpeian Rock is near the Capitol.