VOL. II.—NO. 15. NEW YORK, SATURDAY, OCTOBER 22, 1887. PRICE FIVE CENTS
Issue #042 WCA 6/20/2015
It has often been said to me: “The only men you can hope to influence are the young men. When men pass the meridian of life their habits of thought are fixed and they are impervious to new ideas.” My experience has contradicted this. It is true that with most men the time for reading and thinking is in their youth, and that after they become engaged in the hard work and active business of life the lose, not the power of accepting new ideas, but the disposition to consider them. But with men who have not permitted themselves to become wholly absorbed by poverty fighting or money getting, I am inclined to think that at seventy the mind is as receptive and as hospitable to new ideas as at twenty. I perhaps even think more so. Certain it is that among the most earnest and most enthusiastic of those who have received the faith and taken the cross of the new crusade are many greybeards.
One of these, the man who has done most to set the ball rolling in Plattsburg, is Thomas Fassett, a commission merchant, now about sixty-three years of age, but as active in mind if not quite as active in body as he was at twenty-three. We had no regular organization at Plattsburg previous to my speaking there on Wednesday, Oct. 12, but Mr. Fassett had got a number of anti-poverty men together and had made all arrangements for a meeting in Music hall, the largest in the place. It was a splendid meeting, too, and many were turned away after the hall was packed with all it could hold. Charles E. Devine, master workman of the Knights of Labor, presided, and a brass band, of which Plattsburg has reason to be proud, enlivened the proceedings. Mr. Devine made a very neat and very strong speech, taking firm ground for the doctrine of the land for the people. I spoke for an hour or more, and then so eager were the questioners that I was kept an hour and a quarter longer answering them.
A formal organization of the united labor party is at once to be made in Plattsburg, a large number of names having already been obtained. A glee club is also to be formed that will sing anti-poverty songs at the meetings. Our friends predict a large vote, and are arranging to push out through the country to distribute tracts and effect an organization in the smaller towns. I met at Plattsburg Mr. L. L. Feltier of Montreal, conductor on the Central Vermont, between Montreal and Rouse’s Point. He tells me that the land and labor clubs of Montreal, all started since January of this year, now number seven hundred and fifty members, and are constantly increasing.
Malone, in Franklin county, where I spoke on Thursday, the 13th, is the center of an agricultural region and one of the places in which the united labor party has only begun to get a footing. Mr. James E. Murphy, an auctioncer and commission merchant, has been the principal promoter of our doctrines here, and an organization which includes a number of active and earnest men is now being formed. The first united labor meeting ever held in this section was addressed by John J. Bealin and Louis F. Post a week before. That, with the distribution of tracts which followed it, had made the land question a topic of general discussion, and I was assured that the meeting would be a very large one. So it was, the large hall being crammed and many turned away. Among those present were the principal clergymen of the place, a number of politicians and officeholders of both the old parties, merchants, school teachers, railroad men and farmers from the surrounding country.
Today I am certain that the issues presented by our platform are the principal topics of political discussion in Malone and its vicinity, and the seed that has been planted will rapidly spring up. Here, as everywhere, I find the farmers quick to see the advantages of the single tax as soon as it is explained to them. In this vicinity the condition of the farmers is anything but satisfactory, over twelve hundred mortgages, I am told, having been recorded in the year. In conversation with an intelligent lawyer of large practice he told me that he knew of but a single case in which a man who had bought a farm on mortgage had succeeded in clearing off the mortgage — that of an Irishman, who by working, himself and his family, summer and winter, from four o’clock in the morning until nine o’clock at night and living with the utmost closeness, had succeeded after a number of years in paying off the debt. This might sometimes be done, he said, by immigrants from foreign countries, but as for the American farmers they were generally doing well if they succeeded in paying interest and getting a living. When farms are rented in this vicinity it is usually for one-half of the produce, the renter furnishing one-half the seed, the labor and draught animals, the owner furnishing the other half of the seed and the milch cows, and taking his half in kind. By selling on mortgage or on deferred payments bearing six percent interest the owner can usually get a price which will yield him even more than half the crop.
The meeting I addressed at Kingston, Ulster county, on Monday of this week was, the people said, the largest political meeting ever gathered there within four walls — the rink, which will hold two thousand people, being crowded to the utmost. Mr J. B. Smith presided, the mayor of Kingston occupied a seat on the platform, and the clergy were well represented in the audience. Our movement here is very strong, yet it is hardly more than a month old. Herman Shader, secretary of the K. of L. here, a very active and intelligent young man, has been the prime mover in organization. He was until recently opposed to us on account of what he deemed my free trade heresies; but he got hold of a copy of “Protection or Free Trade?” and the result of reading it was to make him an absolute free trader. The first meeting our friends had was a private one, held in an undertaker’s shop, where twelve men met together, but the ideas have spread so rapidly that they now talk confidently of carrying the town. A powerful influence for good in this vicinity has been the presence of Dr. Curran, first at Ellenville and then at Saugerties. Some of our men expressed the hope that Archbishop Corrigan would keep moving the good doctor from place to place, for everywhere he goes, they say, he becomes a center of light. Machine republicans here are split up into two hostile factions, the Cornell faction and the Sharp faction. Mr. Cornell owns a very large tract of land on both sides of the railway in the city, which he refuses to sell except at exorbitant prices, the result being that the factories and shops of the West Shore railroad, which were to have been located here, were driven away, and that what ought to be a compact town, consists of a great straggling village.
I spoke at Poughkeepsie on Tuesday night, in the rink, to a good audience, which would have been larger if there had been any seating accommodation, but the proprietors of the opera house own the ground on which the rink is built, and inserted a clause in the lease by which the rink cannot be rented for any public meeting without their permission. This has prevented the proprietor of the rink from providing proper seating accommodation. Although the opera house was engaged, our friends could not even have secured the rink on this night had they not expressed the determination, if denied it, to hold an out door meeting. Among the audience at the rink were Rev. Father Nilan of Poughkeepsie, Rev. Father McLaughlin of New Rochelle and Rev. Father Powers of Wappingers Falls. Dr. McGlynn has spoken twice already at Poughkeepsie, once before and once since the campaign began — both times to large audiences. He produced, as he always does, a profound impression. One of the results of his first lecture here was the formation of an anti-poverty society which now holds regular meetings every Sunday. It was begun by W. C. Albro, a lawyer; James McLennon of the carpenters’ union, and Wm. Sweeney of the Knights of Labor, who were soon joined by Henry Bartlett, a salesman; C. N. Arnold, a chair manufacturer; Professor L. F. Gardner of Eastman business college, and Edward Burgess, superintendent of public schools. The Knights of Labor voted the anti-poverty society the use of their hall and it meets there every Sunday afternoon between three and five. The audience that assembles has now outgrown the hall, and the society is trying to get a larger one for its regular meetings. Mr. Sweeney, who is chairman of the county committee of the united labor party, is actively pushing the work of getting some one to represent the party at all the polling places of the county, and hopes before election day to have the machinery for the distribution of ballots perfected. The meeting at the rink showed by the character of the audience and the nature of the questions asked that the discussion has fairly started in this vicinity, and therefore that our strength will go on increasing from day to day.
Wherever I go through the interior of the state, I hear stories of the most widespread corruption in elections. In Plattsburg and Malone I heard the same kind of stories as at Port Jervis and Elmira.
In Rosendale, some ten or twelve miles from Kingston, I was told that eight hundred out of a vote of sixteen hundred were counted as purchasable. The sale of votes is not confined to tramps and disreputable characters, but public opinion has become so debauched that even men who regard themselves and are ordinarily regarded as respectable citizens, look on voting as an opportunity to get a little pocket money.
In Dutchess county, however, this unblushing bribery has been pretty well broken up. This county had some years ago the reputation of being one of the worst in the state in this respect. Up to two or three years ago, I am told, it was a common thing to see one of the “workers” put a ticket in a voter’s hand, and keeping hold of his hand so that he could not change the ticket, walk with him up to the ballot box, still holding his hand while he handed in the vote, and then openly pay him the money. Something over three years ago an effort was made to start here a branch of the Civil service reform association, of which George William Curtis is president. It resulted in a few good citizens of both parties getting together and forming an anti-bribery society. They felt however, that they could do nothing without money, and the cause of reform was not dear enough to wealthy citizens to enable the society to collect for the sake of pure reform enough to speak of, so they presented the subject to the candidates, or at least to some of them, as a matter of economy, asking for a portion of the money that otherwise would be required to buy votes with. Senator Newbold, who was running on the democratic ticket, responded handsomely, and so did some of the other candidates, and the anti-bribery society thus armed with funds sent one of their number to New York and engaged forty Pinkerton detectives to watch the polling places on election day. The knowledge that measures had been taken to enforce the laws against bribery very largely prevented it, but a number of offenders were arrested, among them a deputy sheriff, and cases against them were prosecuted, but without conviction. At the election two years ago the same thing was repeated, the Pinkerton men being stationed at every polling place in the county. The effect has been so good that open bribery has been for the last two elections broken up in Dutchess county. Some buying of votes is yet done, however, the arrangement being made privately and the voter taking his ballot from an agreed person as near the polling place as possible, and holding it openly in his hand until he votes it, receiving his compensation in private afterward. Of course reform of this sort is only temporary. This year the anti-bribery society is out of funds, and there will be no Pinkerton detectives, but the united labor men propose to watch the polls.
While the badness of our system of voting has afforded every facility for bribery and intimidation, this widespread corruption is unquestionably due to a deeper cause. In the absence of more vital issues politics have for some time become a mere struggle for spoils and a large class of voters who have nothing else to vote for than to give this set or that set of men offices, out of which they expect pecuniary profit, have been readily disposed to make a little pecuniary profit themselves. The bringing into our politics of the live issues which are presented in the Syracuse platform and which are already awakening discussion and arousing enthusiasm all over the state, will have a purifying effect on politics. This is likely to be particularly marked where the labor associations are interested.
Everywhere I go I find that the demand for the adoption of the Australian voting system meets the warm support of the people.
In the current issue of the Irish World Patrick Ford publishes a long double-column, double leaded, signed article entitled, “Henry George’s Mistake,” in which he gives his reasons why, “here where the roads fork I must bid good-by to Henry George, still retaining for him the warmest personal regards and hoping that the day may come when we may again reunite in a good cause on a common platform.”
The gist of these reasons is thus given:
The open and violent opposition of Mr. George to the Catholic church necessitates this action on my part. Henry George is a Protestant, was born and brought up a Protestant, and it is but natural, of course, that he should see the Catholic church with the eyes of a Protestant. (I use the word Protestant here in the broadest sense.) An expression by him of his religious views, if called upon, in public or in private, could not offend any sensible man. His offense is that he has singled out the Catholic church as an institution and has declared war against her as against an enemy of society. He has misrepresented her motives, derided her authority, and sought to bring her entire hierarchy, with the pope himself, into hatred and contempt. And with the virus of this hatred he has endeavored to inoculate the new political party of which he is the recognized head. According to Henry George the Catholic church is an utterly corrupt organization, the foe of liberty and human rights the world over. It is made up of tyrants and slaves, and in it only hypocrites can be in good standing. If all this or one-half of it were true, then no honest men could remain in the Catholic church, and indeed only such Catholics as openly challenge and defy excommunication are, in his opinion, honest men and worthy of admiration.
It is not necessary for me to say to the readers of The Standard, and especially to the Catholic readers of The Standard, including many Catholic priests and religious, that this is not true. But of all men, I am astonished that such a charge should come from Patrick Ford. For in both his public and in private utterances no man has more clearly drawn the distinction between the spiritual and the human, the church and the machine, than has Patrick Ford.
However, this is a small matter. Patrick Ford has a perfect right to support me or to oppose me, and I do not care to question his grounds for so doing. If his religion is such that at the nod of archbishop, propaganda or pope he must turn his back upon the priest who incurred the hostility of the ecclesiastical machine for preaching that doctrine of the land for the people, which Patrick Ford as a Catholic layman has over and over again declared to be God’s truth and God’s will, it is his own misfortune. But how is it that Patrick Ford should have become so silent about that doctrine? For years and years the Irish World unceasingly devoted its great influence to teaching its readers that the existing system by which the God-given heritage of all is treated as the private property of some individuals, is a wrong and a sin. This was the great distinctive feature of the Irish World; it was this that gave it its power; it was this that endeared it to thousands and thousands of earnest men, we because of this, were proud to call themselves “Irish World men.” Patrick Ford may deem it his duty to oppose me; he may deem it his duty to stand by in silence while the priest who at his instance, as he says, came forward to make a public stand for this doctrine of the God-given and inalienable rights of all, is punished and persecuted; but why should he keep silent about the doctrine itself? He says in this very article that he yet stands upon the platform of the land for the people. How then is it that the Irish World no longer contains the telling extracts from the writings and speeches of Catholic bishops and laymen in favor of this doctrine that it used to publish? and that where its whole strength used to be devoted to “spreading the light” it does not now lisp one word.
I am sorry for Patrick Ford. He is one of those who, having put their hands to the plow, turn to look back. The seed that he sowed is coming up faster and thicker than he could once have dreamed possible. The great cause that he did so much to forward counts today its hundreds of thousands of earnest supporters. The issue is made and the battle is set — and Patrick Ford is silent. The great struggle for human rights, which has now come out of the realm of the abstract and into the arena of practical politics must be made, not only without him, but in spite of him, for the effect of his present utterances is to arouse religious prejudices against what he has so often declared to be a religious truth.
But the good cause will go on to victory without him. No one who appreciates the good work Patrick Ford has done in the past wiil care to reproach him now. But it is a pity, nevertheless.
In the meantime I commend to Patrick Ford the following article, written by a Catholic priest in good standing, the respected pastor of a very large parish, and sent by him to The Standard for publication:
The Lyceum is a monthly magazine published by the Jesuits in Dublin. Among its princbipal contributors are members of the faculty of their university college in the same city. A leading article in the current October number is entitled, “The Theology of Land Nationalization,” taking for service as text two extracts from Henry George’s works, and one from a small pamphlet by Father Higgins, a member of the same order, living now out in Kentucky.
The erudite author observes: “We may note at the outset that the church has passed no formal judgment on the doctrine.” This is a definite and comprehensive proposition, entirely consonant with what is known by these who wish to learn that Cardinal Mazella, deputed by the holy see to examine the writings of Henry George, found nothing censurable in them. Would it not be well for the directors of the Jesuit institutions in this city to pay heed to this and prevent such men as Father Prendergast from using coarse language in their pulpit and abusing the confessional by refusing absolution to Catholics for attending the anti-poverty meetings.
But the author of the article in the Lyceum proceeds to show that in the syllabus of Pius IX, par. 4, quoted by Archbishop Corrigan in a letter which is part of the volume containing the acts of the late synod, “Land nationalization had no place in the holy father’s thoughts, and cannot be identified with the opinions he condemns. The same remark applies to the encyclical quod apostolici of the present pope, and there are no other pronouncements bearing, even remotely, upon the subject. Neither have the bishops judged the matter.”
Why, then, it may be asked, do Jesuits and others presume to condemn and denounce opinions which their brethren in other lands uphold as entirely tenable? Are Catholics in New York to be excommunicated for exercising that common freedom guaranteed by their church and publicly maintained by their brethren beyond the sea? The question is too important to be put off with an offensive or malicious threat.
The writer proceeds to prove the “total misapprehension of their meaning,” i. e., the meaning of Henry George’s theories, evinced in a “published criticism” obviously referring to the archbishop’s synodical letter. He adduces the testimony of Cardinal Manning and Archbishop Walsh; the first, who “saw nothing to censure as unsound” in the works of Henry George; the second “declared in a published statement his adhesion to the principle of land nationalization.” He concludes: “The church, then, has pronounced no authoritative judgment upon the point we are discussing.”
He advances further and shows clearly that the theory is in perfect conformity with the theology of the church. He very truly observes: “We need not hope to find the theory of land nationalization discussed in set terms by the classical theologians. They had no idea of the modern theory, which makes ownership of land to be different in kind from ownership of any other property. But their judgment on it may be clearly gathered from the principles they lay down concerning property in general.” He adduces extracts from the best writers of the church, such as Molina, Sylvius, Lessius, Valentia, Salas, Vasquez, Aragon, the Salmanticenses, Autome, Viva, Crolly, Billuart, etc., to establish the following conclusion, which I give in his own words, as follows:
“The importance of this teaching becomes apparent when we find that, according to the same authorities, the right of private property in material things is based upon the jus gentium. If private property is based upon the law of nations, and if the law of nations, like all positive human law, is liable to be abrogated or repealed by human will, private property may be abolished. Particular social circumstances will, no doubt, affect the morality of the abolition; what is desirable as well as valid in one place may be undesirable in another; but the abstract truth must be admitted that individual ownership is a product of positive legislation, and may be forbidden by it.”
The intelligent reader can readily see how much more comprehensive is this statement than any to be found in the works of Henry George. Does the spiritual director of St. Francis Xavier’s alumni association permit this Jesuit monthly to be placed on the reading table of his young men? If so, why do the goody goody pious members make faces at their clear-headed associates who have already accepted the new theory?
As thinks this Catholic priest, so think thousands of the best and truest of Catholics, cleric and lay. The time is coming when the Corrigans and Simeonis will hold the same place in public estimation as is held today by the prelates and priests who a generation ago defended chattel slavery in the name of religion.
SHE HATH DONE WHAT SHE COULD.
An American Woman’s Contribution to the Fair, and Why She Sent It.
The following letter accompanied a gift of two infants’ hoods and two sacques to the fair of the Anti-poverty society.
New York, Oct. 7.—Along with this letter please find two infants’ wool hoods and two sacques for the benefit of the united labor party.
The contribution is very small, but it is the widow’s mite; and although but two more evenings remain for the sale of goods, I hope they will be sold.
These things are the remnants of a small fancy goods store that I kept on 125th street in this city. My store was only nine feet wide. Each year the landlord raised the rent. Last year I paid $45 a month, and this year he raised it to $50, which forced me to give up the store in despair and go out of business, as during the last year I had been working up to twelve and one o’clock at night at dressmaking to pay the rent. I am now doing dressmaking only, and can just succeed in keeping body and soul together.
I intended to have sent these things before, but have been sick and hurried with my work; but I cannot let the opportunity go by to do a little something for the great cause. I ought not to be so poor, for I am, as the saying goes, “a Yankee from ‘way back!” My ancestors on both sides were in this country long before the revolution. My grandfather, great grandfather, and great great grandfather fought in the revolution, the war of 1812 and the Mexican war. My mother’s father was a brigadier general in the war of 1612, and his father served through the revolution. My fathers father and grandfather also bore arms for their country. And I, the descendant of these patriots, have to work hard from day to day to make a living, without a right to an inch of the land for which they fought.
God never meant this to be. It is due to the wickedness and cupidity of man; and I pray constantly for and firmly believe in the coming of the day when the united labor party shall make God’s heritage free to all men. I shall be a proud woman when to feel that I did all I could to help along the cause. J. B .
Progress in Chatauqua County.
Dunkirk.—Rev. E. P. Adams is doing much for the cause and has made many converts. Besides presiding at our public meetings he is preaching the anti-poverty doctrine to his congregation. Sunday before last he delivered a telling sermon. He is in this way slowly but surely bringing many to “see the light.” Dr. Alfred S. Houghton of Cincinnati and Robert Crowe of New York addressed our last big meeting and created a strong impression.
We have followed up their speeches with tracts and have brought not a few into the ranks. Our doctrines are gaining the respect of more and more of the thinking portion of our citizens every day.
A Concert Which Should be Liberally Patronized.
A concert will begin in the Brooklyn Academy of Music on Thursday, Oct. 27, under the auspices of the Henry George land and labor club for the benefit of the united labor party in Kings county. A long list of artists well known in Brooklyn have volunteered their services, and an evening of genuine amusement is promised. Tickets, ranging from seventy-five cents for box seats down to fifteen cents for seats in the family circle, can be had at Chandler’s music store, 172 Montague street.
The Abolition of Chattel Slavery Only Began the Work of Emancipation.
Cheboygan, Mich.—Please accept thanks for land and labor tracts, which I shall endeavor to place where they will do the most good. I lost my good right arm in trying to free the black men, but it seems our work was only then begun; but thank God we have now leaders whom every honest man can follow, and it is my constant prayer that they may triumph at last in the glorious cause they have undertaken. Philip O’Brien.
Brooklyn’s Mass Meeting.
The grand united labor party ratification mass meeting of Brooklyn will be held in Clermont avenue rink, the largest hall of the city, on Saturday evening. Addresses will be made by Dr. McGlynn, John J. Clancy, Victor A. Wilder, Henry George and others. C. O’Connor Hennessy, a journalist, will preside.
Actively Distributing Tracts in Lansingburg
Lansingburg, Rensselaer Co., Oct. 17.— Our meeting here at which Judge Maguire spoke was a decided success. The hall was filled, and many converts were made. We are actively distributing tracts, and shall poll a big veto. James McMann, Sec’y.
The Fund for Dr. McGlynn.
The publisher of THE STANDARD acknowledges the receipt of $8 for the fund for Dr. McGlynn — $5 from Patrick Cooke of New York city, $2 from No. 1,450, A. P. society, and $1 from ‘ammer, ‘ammer, ‘ammer.
And No Wonder!
Grand Rapids Workman.
Colonel A. T. Bliss and ex-Governor R. A. Alger have just concluded a sale to Bay City and Detroit parties of pine lands in this state estimated to cut 50,000,000 feet. They got $160,000 for the land, which they paid $90,000 for less than two years ago. These men look upon Henry George, Father McGlynn, Rev. Hugh O. Pentecost, et al. as demagogues.
Judge Maguire’s Tour
Troy, N. Y.—On every hand, after my return from Buffalo, Olean and Hoosick Falls, our friends were asking, “How does our cause progress in the interior?” Not the men and women of New York city alone, but hundreds of thousands of our people everywhere watch eagerly for tidings of our work. They are obliged to rely upon the Standard exclusively for their information, and it therefore seems to be the duty of soldiers of the new crusade to report all important facts for publication.
After my reception at Madison square garden by the enthusiastic thousands who attended on the evening of October 4 I took the midnight train for Olean, At Hornellsville I met our earnest missionary, George Van Winkle. He was actively engaged with several others in spreading our “gospel of justice” and preparing for Dr. Houghton’s meeting on the 7th.
At Olean I met our enthusiastic representative, Mr. Frank O’Neil. The night was stormy, there were a couple of cheap shows in town and the meeting was poorly advertised — the appointment having been made on one day’s notice. But, in spite of all the disadvantages, about one hundred and fifty earnest and intelligent men appeared, and from the enthusiasm manifested it is plain that even this backward town will soon be in line. Five weeks ago we had only one united labor man in Olean.
At Buffalo I had a splendid reception. There our leading members are prominent business men, who, living above the narrow prejudices that keep so many of their class in the dark, have seen the light and enrolled in the ranks of the new crusade.
Messrs. Ronayne, Spitznuller, Waldrow, Neil and many others are doing noble service. It rained during the afternoon and evening, but in spite of that we had a large and enthusiastic audience. When I said that God made the earth for the equal use of all mankind, four well-fed Buffalonians, evidently disgusted, got up and walked out, but the remaining hundreds, more grateful for God’s bounty and with more faith in His impartial justice, applauded the sentiment most heartily.
I find that sentiment particularly offensive to the “classes,” as is also the opening sentence of the Declaration of American Independence, “We hold that all men are created equal,” etc. Thank God!
They may shut their eyes, but they cannot hide
The sun’s meridian glow.
Buffalo will give a good account of our work on Nov. 8.
I next went to Hoosick Falls where I addressed an enthusiastic meeting of about eight hundred voters. The quick and clear general appreciation and hearty approval of every point made in the course of my address indicated that the work of education has been well executed, and this town will give our principles a splendid vote.
Our single meeting at Newark, N. J., was a grand success. If we could have had a few more of them we would have carried the city election. No matter; we have destroyed the supremacy of the old parties, and for the first time in her history, as I am informed, Newark has a minority mayor. This is surely glory enough for the first fight. Next time we will furnish her with a majority mayor.
My meeting at the Brooklyn Academy on Sunday evening was also a grand success, notwithstanding the rain. The intelligent enthusiasm of our people there gives promise of good results.
Last evening I addressed a large and intelligent audience in Constitution hall, Green Island. At the close of the address the audience arose, almost to a man, and joined in three hearty cheers for the united labor party. Our representatives here are doing splendid work.
I speak tonight in Troy. All classes of people with whom I come in contact speak seriously of the united labor party now. Even these who are most bitterly opposed to us shake their heads sadly and acknowledge that “it is undoubtedly growing.”
Men of all parties condemn the action of the commissioners in refusing to appoint the united labor party’s inspectors, and I believe that thousands of good citizens will vote our ticket for the sole purpose of offsetting the fraud which is so strongly suggested by that refusal.
As one gentleman said today in speaking of the matter, “I do not believe in your principles, for I do not yet understand them, but I do know that you are entitled to the election inspectors that you ask for in New York, and as I believe that ‘right is right while God is God’ I will vote your ticket as a protest against the un-American and dishonorable conduct of your opponents.”
James G. Maguire.
As the Price of Coal Advanced the Rental Value of the Coal Mines Would Increase and the Tax be Raised Accordingly, and Where Would Your Operators be Then?
New York, Oct. 15.—I do not, like Charles Field, think it absurd for any one to dig a ton of coal for himself, but I do not quite see how monopolization, or rather a corner in coal, would be prevented by the mere taxing of land value. Coal land is in comparison to other land limited, and as it is not proposed to confiscate the same by the state, but only to tax its land value, how then would it be prevented that the coal market be monopolized or cornered just the same as now. Even though the railroads were owned and operated by the government, could not the coal operators charge as much as they pleased by the simple process of combining, as now, after they had satisfied the demands of government? Would not special laws be necessary to prevent exorbitant prices? Adolph W. Meylich
To Our Friends Throughout the State.
The Standard invites correspondence from its friends throughout the state relating to the progress of the campaign, and giving facts which may illustrate or bear upon the principles advocated by the united labor party. Such correspondence should be brief, and confined to the recital of facts, to avoid undue pressure upon our columns.
THE TWENTY-FIFTH MEETING ATTENDED BY AN UNDIMINISHED CROWD.
A Terse Explanation of the Doctrines of the Society by Henry George – A Pleasant Speech by President Atkinson of the Philadelphia Society — Dr. McGlynn’s Description of His Tour Throughout the State
The Academy of Music saw the twenty-fifth meeting of the Anti-poverty society last Sunday evening. Miss Munier’s chorus and McAuliffe’s orchestra furnished the musical part of the programme. The house was full when Chairman Croasdale opened the meeting. He referred to the partisan malice which had tried to take away the value of the fair, but said that the men who had done it would feel sick when they found out that, despite their acts, over $10,000 had been cleared. In stopping the sale of chance tickets the blow had shied off, but if Father Brophy’s fair was struck he could say he had nothing to do with it, though he would not have regretted it if he had done something to prevent the erection of a parochial school. He denounced such schools as nurseries of treason to American thought and American ideas, and as the occasion for laying a useless burden on poor Catholics to give their children a poorer education than the state offers them free.
Mr. Croasdale also dwelt on the outrageous attempt to deprive the united labor party of the labor inspectors given to it by the law. He then introduced Mr. George as “the man but for whose clearness of insight and profundity of intellect the movement in which we are now engaged would have been postponed for a generation.”
MR. GEORGE’S ADDRESS
Let me begin by disclaiming what our chairman has just said. The anti-poverty movement would have come anyhow. (Applause.) In the providence of God, the time has arrived for it; and no matter whether through this man, that man or the other man, it would have forced its way to the front, and no matter who may fall back, who pass on, the movement must go on. (Applause.)
And our chairman must also allow me to say that I, for one, would not have thought less of him if he had had something to do with stopping the sale of chances in the other fairs. What is sauce for the goose ought to be sauce for the gander, and our worthy mayor (hisses), who acted so promptly on an anonymous letter, would doubtless have been much more prompt to act upon a letter signed by the chairman of the executive committee of the Anti-poverty society. (Applause.) And if all the fairs that are yet to be held — and we are now approaching the season of fairs — are subjected in precisely the same restrictions that were imposed upon the Anti-poverty fair in its last days, I think it would be a good lesson. I think, too, there is a lesson in the opposition, to which Mr. Croasdale has alluded, of the democratic police commissioners to the carrying out of a law intended only to give fair play. What is the reason of that opposition? (A voice: “Robbery.”) That and nothing else. (Applause.) They are accessories before the fact to the greatest of crimes. The opposition to the appointment of these inspectors is intended only to make the commission of election frauds easier. (A voice: “That is it!”) As Fatty Walsh — now Mr. Warden Walsh (a voice: “The Chatham street faro bank man!”) — said at the beginning of the last campaign: “What are them labor fellows thinking about? Do they suppose they can carry anything? Why, they ain’t got no judges of election or inspectors.” (Laughter.)
And there is a lesson, too, in the fact that a man of the education and social prominence of General Fitz-John Porter (hisses) is willing to lend himself to such a scheme. (A voice: “Send him back to Jersey.”) You might send him back to Jersey and fare no better. (Applause.) The fault lies in a demoralized and debauched public opinion (“Hear, hear!”); a public opinion so demoralized and so debauched that men can even commit crime, and provided they keep out of the penitentiary and the crime is successful, will not meet social reprobation. Our whole political system is rotten to the core. (Applause.) We all know that bribery and fraud and false counting carried the last election in this city (A voice: “Hear, hear!”); we know that such things have been common, and that preparations are even now being made for their repetition at the next election. The colonizing of the wards has commenced. (A voice: “The lodging houses.”) Yes, the lodging house business. But it is not merely New York city that is corrupt. I have been astonished while going through the state to see how far the corruption reaches.
I said something to you from this platform last Sunday night about what I had heard of the buying and selling of votes at Elmira, the home of Governor Hill. Up in the northern part of the state this week a gentleman told me that he had happened to hear incidentally from a. well informed man that in the little town of Rouse’s Point, just on your frontier, there are 980 votes. if I remember the exact figures, and that 500 of them are regularly sold. In some of those beautiful little towns they have told me of respectable men — men who own their houses and well to do farmers — who regularly sell their votes on election day. I was told of a farmer and his three sons walking in and selling their votes in a lot. When voters are bought on election day like cattle, is there not real danger to the republic? (A voice: “Hear, hear!”) The steel-clad cruisers that we are building, the iron-clad forts that some people say are neccssary to line our coasts — they never will and never can defend our republic against our most deadly enemies. Her enemies come from within. This rottenness that is eating into our body politic; and to which people are becoming habituated, is demoralizing the public conscience; there is the real danger to the republic.
This is the movement on which the hope of the republic hangs today. (Applause.) Here arises the true democracy to do battle with the sham democracy. (Applause.) Ours is the party that holds to the principles on which this republic was founded and really aims at carrying them into effect. (Applause.) Already wherever this movement goes it is arousing the consciences of men; wherever it goes it is bringing forth a public spirit unknown for a long time before in politics. We shall get this year all through this state an enormous quiet vote, largely the vote of men who for some time past have seen no hope in politics, have seen no use of voting, but who in this great principle that we are advocating (applause) at last see something worth working for with all their ability and all their strength.
The great fair which has just been concluded has been to my mind a most significant demonstration of the power of this movement: the devotion that it called for, the willingness of the ladies to work, their eagerness each to contribute something, show an interest that no other political party within any time has ever succeeded in arousing (cries of “Hear! hear!” and applause); an interest that heretofore has only been brought out by the churches, and which, coming out here and now, is another of the indications that this movement is laying hold on the hearts of men; that it is at the bottom not merely a political, but a religious movement. (Applause.)
We have on the platform with us the senior member of the firm of Atkinson Bros. of Philadelphia, a firm of young men who have been on every occasion active and urgent and generous in their efforts to spread the light; who, besides their contributions to the Anti-poverty fair and a generous check to the campaign fund have had printed at their own expense, for use in this campaign, one million tracts. (Great applause.) They represent one class who are becoming interested in this movement, and they show how strongly it arouses men, how much it leads them to do. But there are others, too. One of the most touching contributions to that fair was sent by a widow who sews for a living. It was the widow’s mite — two little childs’ frocks and two little caps. In the letter that she wrote she told something of her history — how being left a widow she had attempted to make a living. She got herself a little place on 125th street — a little store — a place about nine feet square, and she agreed to pay for that forty dollars a month — or forty dollars a quarter, it may have been, I don’t know which. But this is the essential point, that she started her little business, and managed by hard work to get along. But by and by her landlord came and told her that the rent would be forty-five dollars. (Cries of “Name him!”) Still she managed to get along until her rent was raised to fifty dollars, and then she had to leave her store, sell off her little stock and go to work sewing for a living. And she said in her letter that she had learned to see the light on this great question, and that she wanted to add to the funds of the Anti-poverty society the widow’s mite. (Great applause.)
Thus from the widow sewing for a living to the prosperous business man, those who get into this movement, those to whom the consciousness of the truths for which we are battling are ready to stand for us, ready to work for us, ready to do what they can to carry to others the light they have received. And against the forces of corruption, against the prejudices that interested men seek to arouse we oppose the forces of truth and of conscience, and in the long run we must be victorious. (Applause.)
Every where I have been through the state I have met earnest, active men who have only come into this movement within the last few months or the last few weeks. The gentleman who introduced me to a magnificent audience last Monday night at Cohoes said, in introducing me: “A year ago I thought Henry George was a crank and a demagogue (laughter); I supposed I knew all about him. I had never read his books, but I had read what the newspapers had said of him, and that was enough for me. But when 68,000 votes were counted for him in New York (applause) I made up my mind that this was something that I ought to look into; that a doctrine capable of arousing as much enthusiasm, of drawing such a following, no matter how bad or how foolish it might seem, at least needed examination. I examined it, and I at once fell in with the movement, and I am here tonight to introduce Henry George to you.”
And his case is that of thousands of men throughout this state and all over the country. The main thing is not the vote. That which determines everything, after all, is public opinion, is thought. And the chief reason why we want to poll a big vote is for the purpose of compelling people to think. (Applause.) And just as this vote in the city of New York last year did compel people to think, so will the vote this year in the state of New York have even a greater and a stronger influence in that direction.
When I spoke here last a gentleman who met me afterward said: “I went to the Academy to hear something about the anti-poverty doctrines, and I didn’t hear much. You ought to explain them every Sunday night (A voice: ‘Hear, hear!’) because there are always strangers there.” For my part, when I get before this audience on Sunday night after speaking during the week through the state, it seems to me as though I had got home; and that instead of being among people to whom I have to explain any thing, I am among my friends who knew it all before. (Applause.) But nevertheless, there may be some truth in my friend’s criticism, so let me say what we aim at is the abolition of poverty. We propose to accomplish this by abolishing injustice, and our particular aim is to abolish that fundamental injustice which deprives so many human creatures — we, in cities like this, the majority of the population — of their natural right to the land which the Lord their God has given them. The relation between man and the planet he inhabits is fundamental, and the laws which affect the tenure of land, the relation between man and the land on which all must live, are the most important of all laws. We do not mean to say that there are not many other wrongs to be righted, that there are not many other things to do, but we do say that the fundamental injustice which deprives men of their natural rights to the element from which and on which all must live is most important and the one with which we ought to begin. Until we do away with that injustice we cannot abolish minor wrongs or make minor improvements that will affect any permanent good. (Applause.) We do not say that this is the only thing to do, but we say this is the first thing to do. (Applause.) We propose to establish equality between men with relation to the element on which and from which they must live; not by dividing the land up into equal pieces; not by taking land as the formal property of the state and renting it out; not by taking from anybody any land that he now has, but simply by so changing our system of taxation as to abolish all taxes now levied upon labor and the products of labor and taking by taxation for public purposes that value which attaches to land by reason of the growth of the community. (Applause.) We do not propose to interfere with the rights of property. On the contrary, we are sticklers for the rights of property. (Applause.) What a man makes by his own exertion, whether of hand or of brain, that we hold to be his as against all the world. (Applause.) If a man plows a field and plants a crop, we say that he alone is entitled to reap it. If a man builds a house he ought to have it and all of it (applause); and we say that it is unjust and a violation of the sacred rights of property when our tax gatherers come down and say to a man because he has cultivated his soil, because he has built a house, because he has produced or accumulated wealth, therefore the state demands a certain portion of it from him. We say that such a system is unjust and that not one penny should be taken from a man because he has been industrious and thrifty. We propose to leave to labor its entire product; we propose to take for the use of the community that value that is produced by no individual, that value which attaches to land not by reason of what its owner does, but by reason of the growth and improvement of the whole community. (Applause.) We say that that is just, that it will give to the community what belongs to the community and leave entirely to the individual what rightfully belongs to the individual (applause); and being just, we say that it is wise. We say that it is bad policy to tax men for what they add to the common stock of wealth; that he is a benefactor who makes two blades of grass grow where one grew before; that the man who builds a house is doing something not merely for himself, but for the whole community; and that it is stupid to tax men for building houses, or cultivating fields, or erecting factories, or building ships, or doing any thing whatever that adds to the common stock of wealth; that the state should encourage industry, not discourage it; that no tax should be laid upon the industry that produces or the thrift that accumulates; that in this great fund that comes from nothing that the individual does hes the proper, the intended means of supplying all public wants (Applause.) That fund we propose to take by abolishing our present taxes and laying a single tax upon the value of land irrespective of improvements, increasing it as far and as fast as we can until it shall take as nearly as may be the whole value of the land.
Look in whatever direction you choose and see what benefits will spring from this simple change, how much fraud it will prevent, what temptation to bribery and corruption it will avoid. Look at our present system of taxation, piling up an enormous surplus in the vaults of the general government that there is really no need for; taking money by the most onerous forms of taxation that cost the consumers, the real tax payers, certainly more than two dollars, and probably more than three dollars, for every dollar that is put in the public treasury; piling it up there, and then, to prevent the stringency of money, lending it out to bankers and bondholders at no interest at all. (Applause.) Where does this money that is lent in that way come from? It comes from men to whom the use of money is worth six, ten, twenty percent, aye, in some cases one hundred percent per annum. And it is put into the hands of the banks without interest by being used to anticipate the coupons of the national debt or to buy bonds at a heavy premium. And what is the reason for the accumulation of this surplus? Why, simply the pressure of people who are interested in certain taxes, and who lobby and log roll and spend money and go into politics in order to prevent those taxes being taken off the shoulders of the people. (Applause.) Look at the personal property tax throughout this state, where, with personal property increasing enormously every year, the assessment has fallen over $100,000,000 within some thirteen years. Now the enormous advantage of the system of taxation that we propose is that the tax can be certainly assessed, easily collected, will give no room for much of the fraud that is now carried on, and will not offer the inducement to evasion that now exists. Land can’t run away; it can’t be hidden: it lies out of doors; its value can be estimated with more certainty than any other value. And in putting taxes upon that single item we shall get rid of a horde of officials; we shall get rid of all these oaths that people in every direction are now required to take, of all the temptations to perjury that our present tax laws give, and shall raise our revenue without imposing any restriction upon production or diminishing it in the least. On the contrary, by imposing our taxes in this way we shall prevent that monopolization of natural opportunities which everywhere restricts production, and in this broad and rich country is already producing the tramp and the pauper (applause); that monopolization of natural opportunities that makes us, in the midst of abundance and plenty, think of work as something good in itself; which forces upon us even in the best of times the spectacle of thousands and hundreds of thousands of men willing to work, anxious to work, but unable to find the opportunity to work. (Applause.) There, we hold, is the cause of all labor difficulties; there, we believe, is the cause of poverty. It is not the fault of the Almighty, this horrid, bitter struggle for existence that is the lot of so many thousands today; it is not caused by the niggardliness of the Creator. He has placed here enough, and to spare, for all of us. All we have to do is to prevent monopolization; all we have to do is to secure to each one his natural right.
This simple plan of ours will utterly stop the monopolization of land by making it unprofitable. What is the temptation to the monopolization of land? Commissioner Sparks in his last report paints in very vivid colors the manner in which the public land has been appropriated by speculators and grabbers, by stretching grants, by making false entries, by every where getting hold of the land ahead of the settler. Why? In order to profit by the value that will begin to attach to the land as soon as there is a prospect of settlement coming. The moment it is made certain that whenever a value shall attach itself to the land irrespective of the value produced by the labor upon it, it be taken for the use of the community, then the temptation to all this land grabbing would be utterly gone — (applause) — and not merely will the temptation to land grabbing in the future be destroyed, but all the land that has been grabbed in the past will be released. (Applause.) Once tax the speculator who holds 100 acres of agricultural land vacant as heavily as the farmer who has plowed his land, has cultivated a farm and made improvements; once tax the holder of a valuable building lot as much when it is vacant as a lot of like quality with a splendid house upon it; once make sure that as the value of land increases the tax upon it shall increase likewise, and the monopolizers who all over this land are holding vacant city lots, untilled agricultural lands and unworked mines from the man who would be glad to use them, will be forced to let them go. (Applause.)
See how the system would operate herein New York. Our vast population is crowded together, yet one-half the area of this city is not built upon! Why? Not because there is not need for more houses; not because there are not plenty of sites for houses; but that the building sites are held by men who will not, or cannot use them themselves, and will not allow those who want to use them to have access to them unless they first pay an enormous price. The simple effect of the change in taxation which we propose would be to compel those men either to build upon those lots themselves or to sell them to somebody else who would. (Applause.) The moment the men who are holding land without using it are compelled to use it or give it up there will be an abundance of land for all who want to use it. (Applause.) I don’t mean to say that under those circumstances every man would go and build himself a house, or that all of these unemployed men throughout the country would take up farms and open mines, but this I do say, that enough could and would make use of these natural opportunities for employment to relieve the glut in the labor market (applause); taking themselves out of the fierce competition for the wages of an employer, they would not only employ themselves, but in doing so — in producing wealth of some kind — they would be creating a demand for the labor of others in production. (Applause.) In that way it would be possible that any man willing to work should be able to find abundant opportunity to work; and the setting this vast force of unemployed men at productive labor would create a demand for commodities that would give new vigor to every branch of business. (Applause.)
These, in very brief outline, are the doctrines for which we stand. I present them in that brief form for those who may happen to be here to whom they are new; and although on the first statement objections may arise, yet I know tbat if these things are considered, that if the objections raised are fairly stated, they will disappear; and I know furthermore that without regard to the hope that the reform we seek may be brought about in our lifetime, there is a deep satisfaction to the man or woman who once clearly sees that the poverty and the wrong and the sufferings so common today among the great masses of the people, even of the most advanced civilized countries, are not due to the injustice of the Creator, but arise solely from the injustice of man; and that in itself is something that will compensate for every effort that may be required to gain a clear perception of those duties. (Applause.)
I met last week in one of the interior towns Master Workman Fitzgerald of the axemakers assembly of the Knights of Labor at Cohoes, who said to me: “I am a poor man and twenty thousand dollars would be a fortune to me, but I would not for that amount exchange the satisfaction that these views have given me.” And I think that every man who has clearly seen these truths will understand and appreciate that sentiment. (Great applause.) When a man once sees that there is enough here for all, that it is not because of any niggardliness or shortcoming of the Creator that poverty and the vice and the want and suffering that spring out of it exist today, then there rises in his mind an idea of the divine order, a perception of the beneficence of the Almighty that enables him to really say, as he never said before, “Our Father which art in heaven.” (Applause.) And as there rises in his mind a faith that the recognition of justice in the constitution of human society would really bring heaven upon earth, there arises also within him a faith in a heaven beyond — (applause) — and he feels that while it is his duty here to do the best he can, to stand for the right and to fight for the right, to endeavor by all means in his power to hasten the triumph of justice, yet that the results are not his business and that even though in this life he may see success, and close his eyes upon what may seem at the moment a failing cause, yet beyond this life there is another life in which those who have stood for the good and the true will have their exceeding great reward. (Great and prolonged applause.)
A SPEECH BY MR. ATKINSON.
At the conclusion of Mr. George’s speech the chairman introduced Mr. Atkinson, president of the Philadelphia anti-poverty society and a zealous worker of the cause. Mr. Atkinson said:
A gentleman with whom I have very intimate business relations said to me a few weeks ago that he had been talked to about having business dealings with a firm that had sympathy with anarchy. I then asked him if he understood what the doctrines I was advocating were. He said yes, and that he didn’t think there could be any possible objection to them, but that he thought it was not exactly right for me to advocate them in this public way. I said, “Doctor, I believe that the united labor party will poll over 300,000 votes in New York state the coming election, and if that is done it will be a fashionable thing to be an advocate of their doctrines.”
I had the pleasure of meeting last Wednesday evening another of the gentlemen that has been censuring us for taking part in this movement and I spent the evening with him. Naturally the talk was mostly on this subject, and I was much surprised after an hour’s talk to find him bringing up instances in his own city of Lancaster which showed the necessity of the very reform he was opposing. He told me one thing that may be of interest to you all. He said that there was a judge of one the courts there who purchased a farm a few years ago for $6,000. The farm was in a quarter of the city that was not then being settled up rapidly. A few years after the Reading railroad company wished to come into that town and in coming in it cut into the farm and thus the owner was in a position to compel the road to pay him $8,000 for the small piece of land which they needed, and this in spite of the fact that the value of his land adjoining has been greatly enhanced in price by the running of the road through it.
Shortly after the Reading road had come into the town the Pennsylvania road wished to do likewise, and the only eligible spot of land for their purpose was the same farm. But as there was a demand for it the judge raised the price. The offers finally reached the sum of $55,000 for a small section of the farm, which he refused; and yet while the judge was being offered that amount, he only paid taxes on the property as farm land, at the same valuation of $6,000 that he had paid for it. The result of his selfishness, to call it nothing worse, has been that the Pennsylvania company did not go to Lancaster, and the advantage Lancaster would have derived therefrom was lost; for my friend told me of a number of other establishments that would have gone there. Thus, strange to say, while my friend was censuring me for advocating the views I do, he was at the same time giving me valuable points from his own knowledge as to the evils of the present system; and within my limited experience I have found it the same everywhere. The fact is that no sane, unprejudiced man can hear these doctrines properly presented without inevitably assenting to them and working for them heartily. (Great applause.)
I noticed in this week’s Standard what seemed to me an exceedingly good idea. It was a letter suggesting that young men who have no family ties to confine them to one spot should go out as the disciples of our Master did eighteen hundred years ago, and spread these doctrines in every town and every hamlet throughout this country. (Applause.) I trust that this suggestion will not be permitted to drop. Young men have a grand opportunity. The doctrines that were preached eighteen hundred years ago are equally powerful now. What we are called upon to do is but to repeat now what was so successful then; and if our missionaries will go forth in the same spirit, with the same unselfishness, they will meet inevitably with the same success. I hope that some more powerful voices than mine will be lifted in the endeavor to impress this idea upon you of having volunteers go into every portion of the country to preach the doctrines of the new crusade. (Great applause.)
A QUESTION FOR MR. GEORGE.
The chairman then announced that Mr. George would answer any questions that might be proposed by individuals among the audience.
A gentleman present asked: “How are you to determine the value of land in dollars and cents under the new system — that is, when the state owns the land? We know the value of of land now by what it will bring in open market; but will not the state be obliged to lease it to the highest bidder under the new system?
Mr. George — No; the state will not be obliged to lease it at all. We don’t propose to make the state the owner of the land (applause) in the sense that the state shall take the land and lease it out; we propose to let everything remain as it is now; to let men buy and sell and give away land just as they do now and pass legal title from one to another. What we propose to do is to take by taxation the value of land as distinguished from the improvements, the value which attaches to land by the growth of the community, the value which political economists call the unearned increment because it is not earned by the owner or the improver, but is the result of the growth of the community. (Applause.)
A real value attaches to land by reason of the growth of the community. Land here, for instance, in New York is worth far more than it was a hundred years ago. It affords more facilities, more opportunities, by reason of the great population centered here. This real value which comes with the growth of population leads to speculative value in anticipation of the growth of population, and on that account the best way to begin this system will be to tax land according to its selling value. As will readily be seen, land in the outskirts of our cities held for speculative purposes has a much higher selling value than rental value, and for the purpose of getting at that it would be best, in the first place, to put our tax upon the seiling value. But as we tax the value of land the selling value will diminish. Here is a lot that is worth, let us say, $10,000 a year. Under present conditions it would have a selling value of about $200,000. If our tax were to be $5;000, then the selling value would drop to $100,000 at least; as a matter of fact, it would drop further, because of the anticipation that the people having taken to themselves $5,000 of the yearly rental value would go on and take the other $5,000 also. But without that anticipation it would drop to $100,000. Now, then, if the people did go on and take the whole $10,000, the selling value of that land would be nothing but the using value; the annual value would be the same. Under our system the renter would pay the $10,000, and then the community would come down upon the owner for $10,000 in taxes on the land. The land would have no selling value, but its annual value could be determined just as certainly as could the selling value of the present machinery. I am supposing, of course, theoretical perfection. If we could get to theoretical perfection, land up at 148th street would have no more selling value than land on Wall street. Land on Wall street would have a much higher using or rental value, but no higher selling value; and by and by it may be necessary to shift the assessment from the selling value to the rental value of land; but in the beginning, while these speculative values exist in all parts of the country, it will be better for us to begin by assessing the selling value. (Applause.) I speak of theoretical perfection; practically, of course, it is impossible for us to attain that; and it may be well — I am inclined to think it will be — not to take the last penny of land values, but to leave a little bit of it — just enough to give a margin, as it were, for transfers. But whether we do that or not, the taking of the value of the land will eliminate the mere land owner, but it will leave the land user. The practical result will be that men will be the owners of the land they use. The user won’t be one man and the owner another, for land will then become useful only to the man who wants to use it. And see how speedily this will give homes to the families of such communities as this. The mere beginning of this reform would destroy speculative values and everywhere make it easy for a man who wanted to build a home to get a site for a home; and when he wanted a house upon it he would have no taxes to pay upon the house. Even such a vote as I believe we are going to get in the city of New York this year will tend to produce that effect; it will be to the land monopolists the hand writing on the wall. It will show them that this system is coming very soon, and they, if they are wise, will make haste to get rid of the land they are not using. A big vote this fall will make it easier for every man to get a home, and by opening up natural opportunities for labor, by striking down, to some extent, this barrier that is now raised against the investment of capital and the employment of labor, it will do something to avert the disasters and the commercial prostration that are certainly going to come upon this country as the result of booming land values. (Great applause.)
DR. M’GLYNN’S ADDRESS.
As Mr. George concluded his answer a whirlwind of applause announced the entrance of Dr. McGlynn, who had just arrived from a meeting at Williamsburg, which he addressed after speaking at two previous meetings at College Point and Flushing during the afternoon. When the applause had somewhat subsided the doctor spoke as follows:
I have to report something of what I have been doing since I saw you last, and I am glad to be able to say that I am extremely pleased with the results of our labors. Wherever we go we receive the most cordial greeting; we find it is the rule that the largest halls that can be procured are inadequate to accommodate the multitudes who desire admission. We find everywhere that men who a very little while ago were hostile because of their ignorance, have begun at last to have sense enough to doubt, and therefore desire to know more; they have become eager to learn, and everywhere we are comforted by the assurance that the seed that we are sowing is failing upon good ground with every reason to hope that it bring forth speedily fruit a hundred fold. (Applause.) And while thus we are receiving more than a sufficient reward for our labor in the doing of this good work, we are also everywhere gathering the strongest evidence of the need of the work that we are trying to do. We are everywhere stumbling upon all sorts of arguments, new illustrations of the need for speedily abolishing the horrid social injustice that is the cause of poverty.
We go into alleged prosperous manufacturing communities and we hear something like this: “Oh! there is very little poverty here; everybody is employed; there are manufacturers here that employ the whole population,” and this is offered by way of an argument to show that the place is prosperous, because everybody is employed — not merely the fathers, but the mothers and all of the children; that is actually given as an evidence of prosperity, that the mother and the children are compelled to work in order to help out the earnings of him who, in the order of God, should be the one bread winner, to keep the wretched roof over their heads and to put enough into their stomachs and on their backs to enable them to live somehow. This brought home to me with peculiar force a fact of terrific import. In one of these towns there is a physician well known by name to not a few of the readers of The Standard and to not a few of the leaders in this movement for his ability and his extraordinary devotion to this cause; and he told me that in the prosperous town in which he lives, where the people are all employed, that certain nameless crimes are terribly prevalent, for the reason that the people cannot afford to have any more children; for the reason that the mothers who have to work in the factories can’t afford to be mothers again. They can’t afford the time to be mothers. They have to work like slaves in that eternal turmoil in order to feed and clothe and shelter the children of misfortune that they have had the unhappiness already to bring into the world. (Applause.) So those fathers and mothers are compelled, as it were, to curse and to revile that primal law of God who, when he ereated man and woman, saw that His work was good and bade them increase and multiply and replenish the earth. (Applause.)
That is prosperity, is it? And is not that in keeping with other things that we have been seeing and saying in this movement! Is not that in keeping with the horrid doctrine of the Rev. Mr. Malthus, that there is not enough room in the world for all of the children that would naturally come into it, and that there must be checks imposed upon population. There is a check for you! Since in the present condition of things in this country we have not many earthquakes and have managed to minimize the bad effect of yellow fever and smallpox, we must have other checks, and as we haven’t the good fortune to have neighbors with whom we may have destroying wars every few years, there would be danger of the population increasing too rapidly every year if we did not put such a check as this upon population! But we have here a man on this platform who has the unique glory although he is not a clergyman, of having taken that blasphemous minister of Christ by the throat, and bade him not dare to say that God, the father of us all, is not able to provide enough food and clothing and shelter for all of the children that his natural laws may bring into the world for a million years to come. (Applause.)
The Rev. Mr. Malthus, as most of you know by this time — since you have all become learned in political economy, thanks chiefly to the teachings of Mr. Henry George — the Rev. Malthus blasphemously dared to say that God’s law of popuiation was a mistake; that if popuiation were left to the natural instincts of humanity there would soon be a lack of subsistence for the human family; that popuiation increased in the proportion of 1, 2, 4, 8, 16, 32, and subsistence only in the proportion of 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6; so that the time would come when sixteen people would be compelled to live on what would only suffice for six, and as they could not do it, they would have, as a necessary consequence, to starve. Among the most beautiful of the divine arrangements, according to Mr. Malthus, are constant wars and pestilences, by which means when people get married God Almighty steps in and cuts off the children from them as often as they come into the world. And Mr. George was the one man that rose up to overthrow that blasphemous theory and show how the simple law of God, if carried out, would make it actually true for each human family and for the whole of God’s family, that “the more the merrier.” (Applause.)
I remember when my sainted mother moved to what was then the outskirts of the city — to what is now Third Avenue, near Twenty-third street — there came in one afternoon a priest, a gentleman, a man whom it was a delight to see and to hear, and he informed her that he had been sent by Archbishop Hughes of the old cathedral to establish a new parish in that outlying distriet of the city. This priest’s name was Dr. Cummings, and the parish of which he was making this humble beginning was then and has since been known as St. Stephens, and he told her that he was collecting money to purchase the ground upon which to build his modest little church, and by and by the ground was selected at the southeast corner of Madison Avenue and Twenty-seventh street, upon the very site on which last evening you terminated your Anti-poverty fair. And then Dr. Cummings engaged in the religious duty of taking up a collection — which religious duty I hope has been fruitfully followed out here this evening (great applause) — and my dear good mother went to her stocking or her desk, or wherever it was that she kept her little treasure, and gave him what he considered an extremely generous contribution. He was amazed. He said, “What, madam, you give so much assistance?” “Yes,” she said, “there it is.” “Oh,” he said, “I am extremely thankful. I didn’t expect anything like this.” “And why not, sir?” she asked. “I was told that you were a poor widow, with eleven children, and were left a widow at an early day, and I didn’t expect any such contribution as this from you.” My mother, who had a great deal of Irish wit in her, affected to be very indignant. “I will have you to understand that I am rich, sir.” “Oh, madam, I beg your pardon,” said the poor, bashful priest, “but I am more than delighted, for I understood that you were not blessed with any extravagant amount of this world’s wealth.” “Dr. Cummings, I will have you to understand that I consider myself a millionaire, Yes,” said she, “I have eleven children, and I consider every one of them worth at least one hundred thousand dollars.” (Great and prolonged applause.)
That is the kind of a school of political economy that I was brought up in, and you need not wonder any longer that I take as naturally to the inspired political economy of Mr. Henry George as a duck does to water. Now, it is high time for us to demand the abolition of poverty; it is high time for us, in the name of the children unborn, to appeal to high heaven to send out, if necessary, its thunderbolts to destroy the iniquity that is preventing the birth of God’s children, to destroy this whole rule of modern progress that compels civilization to crush the souls as well as the hearts of men. It is high time for us to become enthusiastic in our endeavors — to give ourselves no rest until the horrid thing shall have been rooted out; till this libel upon God’s fair work, this monstrous blasphemy against His beautiful work, shall have been abolished forever. You did well to take the name for your society of Anti-poverty, to do what you can to give the lie to the brutal political economy that blasphemes the power, the goodness, the wisdom and the love of God our Father, that dares to tell the man that God had not the power and the wisdom and the goodness to make His table broad enough for all His children, and still have room to spare.
Let us then be stimulated by the encouragement that we receive to feel that the benediction of God our Father rests upon our work. Let us do what we can to hasten the day when women can afford to confine themselves to womanly tasks, when the children may remain at play or at school, when human nature shall be permitted to come out and bask in the sunlight of the Father’s universe, to enjoy the fresh air of the Father’s magnificent domain — when nature shall be permitted to develop itself according to the beautiful and perfect laws of God, and when the thousand pains, and bonds, and impediments, and hindrances that have been placed upon the growth of society by the stupidity of some and the avarice of others shall be removed once and forever.
Let us do what we can toward the assertion of the simple law of justice, the perfect law of brotherhood, the doing of the golden rule; to make possible among men a civilization of which we have hitherto scarcely dared to dream, to enforce that beautiful and simple law of perfect progress, perfect association on the one hand and perfect equality and liberty upon the other; an association that will give us all the magnificent advantages of the co-operation of man and an enormous increase in productive enercy and in the facilities of exchange, with that perfect equality and perfect liberty that allows free and perfect play to the countless varieties that God has ordained in tastes and talents and vocations, so that out of this multifarious character of the things of God in perfect equality and brotherhood we shall have that magnificent harmony that comes from the co-ordination of the wondrous powers of the human mind and heart. Let us insist upon perfect association with perfect liberty. Association without liberty would give us a certain amount of progress, but would necessarily [EOP] end in decay. Association without liberty would be the stagnation that is the necessary forerunner of dissolution. Liberty without association would be the freedom of the savage — a semi-barbarous condition of man left to himself. We need society, we need association, and the one object of statesmanship and of political economy should be — in the midst of a constantly increasing association — to maintain forever throughout the world perfect liberty and perfect equality. That is the law of God. We are made for society. We were made with the absolute necessity and tendency to come together more and more, and by co-operation to produce wonders of civilization, of which we have hitherto seen but little. But while this association is so necessary, equally necessary is liberty and equality, and if we have to choose between them, if men shall compel us to the terrible alternative of separating what God has bound together, then I for one would prefer the isolation of semi-barbarism with liberty rather than association at the expense of despotism.
The progress and the civilization that is purchased by the poverty and consequent vice and crime of today are not worth the terrible price; and therefore it is that, by a natural instinct that does justice to the better plan of God, men have been singing that God made the country and man made the town. It is because when civilization becomes complex, as it does with the growth of a dense population, men forgetful of the essential equality of man and the rule of justice have permitted the appropriation of God’s bounties by individuals, and thus made necessary that horrible poverty which is the fruitful source of vice and the canker worm of civilization. If then we had to choose, we should choose the semi-barbarism of isolation, of liberty, rather than a civilized despotism. But we are not bound to any such alternative. God’s law requires the two things, association and liberty; and the simple law of justice that is propounded in the principles of the Anti-poverty society is the one adequate and only means of accomplishing the union of perfect association and perfect liberty.
We are following a path marked out by the very hand of God, since we are following a path trodden by the Son of God Himself, and by the saints and sages of every age and every clime. Fighting in such a cause we are sure of the victory. This truth can never perish from off the face of the earth, and those who base their hopes and their convictions and their work for society upon these great truths can never be defeated. Truth must prevail; it is powerful; it has all the power of God and his children; saints have died for it, and the very efforts to stifle it will but propagate it. Then let us with perfect confidence go on to the end, stimulated alike by the prospect of success and by the horrors that we witness as the consequence of the violation of the law of God.
Our work will be fraught with blessings even to the persecuters, for it will give help to the preachers of God’s truth and those who are waging war against injustice, and those who today are persecuting them for righteousness sake will themselves become preachers of the truth to another generation. The Saul of yesterday will become the Paul of tomorrow, and the conversion of the Saul into the Paul will have been, perhaps, the result of the martyrdom of the Stephen stoned to death. (Great applause.)
Peoria Will Nominate a City Ticket This Fall.
Peoria, Ill.—At the meeting of the union labor party in this city Oct. 11 the following resolution was adopted with but one dissentient vote:
We, workingmen of Peoria, in convention assembled, give greeting to all lovers of justice, and ask their co-operation in the great work of promoting such legislation as will secure to the producer the fruits of his toil. We hold with Thomas Jefferson that the earth belongs to the living, and that one generation cannot grant away the equal rights of succeeding generations to its use. The system which compels human beings to buy with bloody sweat the privilege of living on God’s earth is a fundamental wrong, which reduces wages to starvation rates. We are upholders of social order and advocates of the true rights of property, and consequently we hold that the value which attaches to the earth’s surface by reason of the growth of population, belongs to society at large, and we propose therefore to abolish all taxation upon buildings, improvements, and all other things of human production, and by taxation on the value of land alone to provide for purposes of common benefit. In this way we propose to make it unprofitable for monopolizers to hold lands or city lots which they are not using, and thus throw open to citizens who want to employ themselves the abundant opportunities which our common Father has provided for all His children.
It was also decided to nominate a full city ticket, and a convention for that purpose will be held the latter part of this month. We hope this signal proof of the progress made in this part of the benighted west will encourage you. Every Sunday afternoon large audience assemble [sic] to hear the new gospel discussed, and it is conceded by the opposition papers that a strong effort must be made to find a champion able to expose the fallacies of the anti-poverty doctrines.
J. W. Burton,
Sec’y L. and L. Club No. 2.
A Bank President Who Apparently Wishes He Were a Day Laborer
Pittsburg, Pa., Oct. 15.—At the convention of bankers held here during the past week the presiding officer, Mr. L. C. Murray, president of the United States national bank of New York, made the following assertions in his address:
Twenty-five years ago laborers received $1 a day wages; now they are receiving an average of $2 a day, and these $2 will buy more of the necessities of life than $5 would twenty-five years ago. A banker gets a lower rate of interest for his money than he did twenty-five years ago, yet his living is more expensive and his wants are increasing; the demands upon him for charities increase in untold amount, and his happiness is not augmented in a relative proportion. Unquestionably the last twenty-five years have given the race for happiness, contentment and profit in this country to the laboring class.
I call attention to this utterance, because from the high position Mr. Murray holds in the financial world his utterances may be supposed to carry great weight.
According to Mr. Murray, the laborer is today five times better off than he was twenty-five years ago. Yet the demands on Mr. Murray for charity are increasing in untold amount.
Why, a schoolboy could do better than that and not half try.
Think of it! Twenty-five years ago the laborer earned $1 a day, and tramps were unheard of; and today, when the demands for charity have increased in untold amount, we are told we are better off! J. A .
Weaves the Doctrine into His Sermons.
Norway, Ia.—I know there are many New church people enlisted in the anti-poverty movement, but am sorry to see that the greater number still hold aloof. How they can close their hearts to this genuine light of God is more than I can imagine. I myself distribute as many of the anti-poverty tracts as possible, and also weave the doctrine into my sermons.
Rev. J. J. Lehnen.
WHAT WILL THE CITY VOTE BE?
The mathematicians on the campaign committees of the old parties and the experts of the daily press have already been placing before the public their estimates of the labor vote at the approaching election. They lay great stress on the factors that, in their belief, are to cause a loss to the united labor party. They subtract from the 68,000 votes that Henry George received last November good solid blocks of figures representing the vote of the socialists, the vote to be coerced through the ecclesiastical machine, the indifferent vote, the vote that is to return to fealty to the party it deserted last year, and the vote influenced by considerations affecting the presidential election next year. In the sum of these losses they profess to find great comfort, and proceed to classify the united labor party with the mushroom political growths at whose funerals the republican and democratic parties have so often assisted.
Have these figure workers really taken no account of the influences that are drawing voters to the united labor party? Are they politically deaf and blind, or are they shamming, as men do in a game of bluff? If they know no better than they speak let them go down among the assembly district workers of either of the old parties and make inquiries. Among them they will discover no confidence in their published figures, but they will find general alarm among republicans and democrats a like at the stream of desertions from the ranks of both the old parties.
Why are the people leaving us? they may ask. They will get their answers in the words of disapproval and warning heard in every quarter — murmurs concerning the bad political records, low public morals and broken promises of leaders and indignant protests against the perversion of the principles of American government by which the laws are employed not to carry out the will of the people, but to defeat it. But beyond these are deeper causes of discontent which the people are fast learning to discern, and which would remain even though office holding rogues should repent and the machinery of the law be honestly administered. The refusal to call a constitutional convention, the deprivation of the united labor party of their inspectors, the petty persecution of the Anti-poverty fair, these may awaken the indignation of the masses of honest men and incite them to rebuke by the ballot the authors of such acts, but the united labor party quickly leads its adherents to see the deeper wrongs that give rise to disparities of condition and entail misery to the mass of mankind. The factor that the arithmeticians of the New York pro-poverty press overlook in their calculations is the spirit of revolt at glaring injustice which is rousing itself in every election district in the city.
The facts in relation to this revolt are easily to be found. Interviews have been obtained by a Standard representative with united labor men of every one of the twenty-four assembly districts of New York. There is a unanimity in their testimony that is striking, and that can only be due to the facts being as they are represented to be. Nowhere in the city, all alike say, is there the slightest fear of a falling off in the vote from last year. From every district comes tidings of a rising enthusiasm for the principles of the new party, and of large accessions to the membership of the organizations. If the cautious estimates which the men interviewed were asked to make of the vote in their respective districts approximate the mark, the united labor party would poll in this city, if the election were to be held today, at least 80,000 votes. And the tide is still rising and rising faster every day. Jeremiah Murphy of the First assembly district smiled when spoken to about the “independent” labor organization of that district, lately boomed by the Star. He said a few of the dependents of Senator Michael C. Murphy had hired a room, held a meeting, written down the names of about sixty men of their acquaintance, and induced Senator Murphy to take financial interest in their “organization.” The meeting room is in the same building where Jeremiah Murphy lives, and not more than five men attend the “gatherings.” Mr. Murphy is confident of a largely increased labor party vote in the First, which had hardly the framework of an organization last year, yet roiled up 2,031 votes. There are no socialists in the First.
Half a dozen members of the Second district stated with equal positiveness that the vote this fall in the Second would be between 3,000 and 3,500. Last year it was 1,082. The Second has no socialists. The organization has had permanent headquarters during most of the year, and the feeling of the members is most hopeful, owing to the large numbers of men constantly withdrawing from the old parties.
Patrick Doody, speaking of the Third, said he looked forward to an increased vote for the labor party, which was 1,619 last year. The socialistic vote would be very small.
B. J. Hawkes described the Fourth district as well organized, every election district being in charge of competent and honest men. Last year many of the polling places in this district were not manned until late in the morning. The vote then was 3,131. Mr. Hawkes felt sure it would be increased to 4,000. Few socialists are in the Fourth.
John J. Joyce, who has had long experience in the Fifth, is calculating on a larger vote than last year by 300. It was then 1,705. No socialists.
John J. Crossen, chairman of the Sixth, believes that the figures of last year, 3,197, will be equaled this year in spite of the defection in the local organization. The socialist vote he puts at 300 in the district.
J. D. Ducker estimated an increase in the Seventh of 800 votes. The labor party will poll about 2,000, it having been 1,374 at the last election. Since the ejection of the socialists many young Americans have entered the organization. There has been substantial work done right along in the district. A large vote will come from men not active in the party, but whose sympathy has been plainly shown in many ways, especially during the past few months. Few, if any socialists.
The Eighth polled 2,671 labor votes last year. J. F. Clancy puts the loss through the socialists in his district at 500 votes. But he said enough would be transferred to the labor party from Tammany alone to make up the decrease. The Germans were by no means flocking to the socialists.
H. Oscar Cole said that the labor vote of the Ninth last fall, 2,410, would be close on 4,000 in November. He based his estimate of the increase on the testimony that reached him from all sides. The district organization was growing and working smoothly, and its members, as they look forward to the counting of the vote to be polled at the coming election, grow enthusiastic. Mr. Cole said that the men of all conditions coming into the organization refuted the false impression that this was purely a class movement. The Ninth is an American district. It has no socialists. It will elect its assemblyman.
August W. Mayer, chairman of the Tenth, declared emphatically that he did not believe the socialists would poll more than 500 votes in that district, which has been regarded as their stronghold. The united labor party, it did not, he was making the greatest mistake of his life in his calculations. The state ticket would likely fall slightly short of the local ticket. A united labor party alderman and assemblyman would be elected. Last year’s labor vote was 8,695.
Frank J. Ferrell, spoken to in company with many members of his district, said that the 707 labor votes polled last fall in the Eleventh would be doubled this year. There were no socialists in the district. Another member said that the republicans would be injured more than the democrats in the Eleventh. The organization had a large ex-republican membership. The education of the people in the Eleventh with respect to the principles of the new party had been rapid throughout the year.
M. J. Kelly, chairman of the Twelfth, said the district had been canvassed thoroughly. The socialists will not, according to the canvass, take away more than 300 votes. Simon Gompers said the district polled 2,702 labor votes last year. It will this fall have 3,500. The active members of the organization increased 158 in two weeks lately, and the new members were all voters. The socialists had hardly a corporal’s guard at their political meetings, and many attending were not yet citizens. He knew this as a fact, for he knew the men.
August Olson of the Thirteenth said that some of its election districts had promised to double the labor vote. The Thirteenth’s vote for George last year was 2,158.
The Fourteenth is completing and strengthening election district organizations. Committees are visiting voters open to conviction, trying to make opponents doubtful, making a house to house canvass, and distributing tracts. Headquarters are open every evening for enrollment. The Fourteenth will cast fully 8,000 votes for the ticket, having given 2,807 last year, when it carried the district. It will elect an alderman and assemblyman. The opening meeting of the campaign will be held on Saturday evening at Avenue A and Twelfth street.
Ed. Conklin, speaking of the prospects in the Fifteenth, said the labor vote in 1886 was 4,207. A good increase is certain this year. The district has a splendid organization and has never had any dissension of any kind. A quiet house to house canvass is being made, and there is an organization in every district. The socialistic vote on the state ticket might be 200.
The Sixteenth opened its campaign on Tuesday night of last week with a mass meeting, at which mere than 100 names were handed in of men joining the campaign clubs. To advertise this meeting 10,000 envelopes, each containing a circular, a copy of the Syracuse platform and a land and labor tract were distributed in the houses of the district. A committee has arranged for nine meetings to be held in various parts of the district before election day. The labor vote of last year, 3,218, if all signs are to be believed, will be materially enlarged. The socialists may get
150 votes. There is a good show for the election of labor assemblyman and alderman, the Hewitt plurality last year in the district being only 162.
Robert Hamilton of the Seventeenth said that the organization has enrolled many new members that would not join while the socialists were in the party. In one election district it was promised that the labor vote would be more than doubled. The socialists could poll at the highest 200 votes. James H. Magee thought that as 4,620 votes had been given labor last year, 5,000 would be a perfectly safe estimate for this year.
John McMackin counts on an increase of 2,000 labor votes in the Eighteenth district. Nowhere in the city is there a stronger feeling against the influences that have backed Tammany, and the result will be that the labor vote will sweep the district by a large majority. Last fall George polled 3,024 in the Eighteenth.
The Nineteenth district, William J. O’Meara believes, will gain fully 1,000 votes for the labor party over its figures of a year ago, 3,635 for George.
Hugh Whoriskey asserted with confidence that there would be great gains in the labor vote of the Twentieth, saying some members estimated it at 4,500. Before the separation from the socialists there was some indifference among the members of the organization as to attending meetings, but now crowds are always present, and the active membership is largely increasing. The very first meeting after the socialists left sixty men joined the organization, and at every subsequent meeting from thirty to forty-five have put their names on the roll. There are now 700 active members of the Twentieth. The labor vote was 3,304 a year ago.
The Twenty-first district polled exactly 850 labor votes last year. John J. O’Brien expects the returns to show 1,200 this fall. He says that Nicodemus — who says nothing and does much — will cast a heavy vote. He asserts that the honest citizens of the district find it difficult to argue for the old parties which deprived the people of the constitutional convention, robbed the labor party of its inspectors and carried on a petty war against the Anti-poverty society’s fair. Dr. W. S. Gottheil also expects a vote of 1,200. He said that last year the Twenty-first had no organization whatever until the very eve of the election, and then did not have men enough to cover the polling places. Now there is a very good organization and new members are entering at every meeting.
D. J. O’Dair said he believed he stated a common opinion in the Twenty-second when he put the labor vote to be polled on the 8th of November in that district at 8,000. It was 5,970 last November. A few socialists might scratch the state ticket, but would likely not go against the local tickets.
A. W. Eastlake joined with several other members of the Twenty-third in placing a high estimate on the increase of the labor party’s strength in that district. It was the general belief that the figures would be between 7,500 and 8,000. There were last fall 4,992. The district has been kept alive all the year round by the Progress and Poverty club and other labor societies, besides the regular district organization.
W. B. Ahrens of the Twenty-fourth said that it was absurd to think that the old parties had any where in the city been strengthened in the least since last year. In his district the socialists would take 200 votes from the united labor party, but despite that fact he expected an increase of 300 to 500 over last year, when the labor vote was 2,105. Quiet but effective work is going on in the big district.
This Settles It.
Erie, Pa.—There are two (and more) weak points in your arguments.
First—You assume the payment of any and all taxes to be an evil, whereas to pay taxes willingly is the highest form of charity, for thereby the community is benefited as a whole.
Second—Tax on land alone could not raise sufficient revenue, for if so it would oppress the farmer, as the census values of land will show.
Furthermore, if land be taxed high enough to make holding it for speculation undesirable, it would inevitably oppress the farmer, whose heaviest tax now is on his land. And if it does not oppress the farmer — as Mr. George says it shall not — then the figures of land value show that such taxes will not deter speculators. Edward Crauch, M. D.
THE PHYSICIANS AND THE SINGLE LAND TAX.
All statements to the contrary notwithstanding, the annual income of physicians in New York city is probably not over $600. A few receive as much as $50,000 or more, and there are probably two dozen who receive as much as $10,000. Those who receive large incomes have either been fortunately situated, or have by fierce struggle and over work obtained hospital and college appointments which carry prestige. The competition is great, and it is often by tenacity, influence or wealth, rather than by superior talent and skill, that the one wins and the other remains in comparative oblivion. The fancy consultation fees received by the few cannot be the rule. Like the unearned wealth of the Wall street broker, they are the result of chance, a kind of lottery which implies the losses of hundreds of unfortunates. Every man has a chance to become president of the United States, but we know that only one can hold that office at a given time. The ability of Dr. Unna, great as he is, to collect a fee of $6,000 for a single consultation, as he is stated to have done, is due to the fact that that patient had by reason of an unjust social system exploited many laborers of their hire.
In this city the condition of the young doctor is rapidly becoming one of dependence and servility. He is required to give his time without remuneration to assist professors at their clinics, to attend the sick at dispensaries, so act as interne at hospitals; he must labor patiently for years to gain experience and a name, and the experience which he thus obtains is at the expense of the general practitioner, who would gladly attend those thus driven to hospital and dispensary for a modest fee such as would enable him to earn a respectable living.
We hear at our medical societies even professors and others most distinguished in the profession giving expression to fears that they may lose through no error of their own some of their best paying patients, the reasons for such fears being not the welfare of the patients, but the welfare of their own pocketbooks. Even those physicians who have the elite among their clientele seem practically their hirelings, to be looked upon in a degree as are the liveryman, chambermaid and cook, and in just as much fear of being discharged and losing their income. Doctors seem never to think in their fierce competition for hospital appointments, appointments to professorships in colleges, to the board of health and other public positions, that he who succeeds and thereby is enabled to obtain a well paying practice, gains such practice on the basis of a special privilege, a franchise, as it were, of which his fellow practitioners are deprived.
Under present conditions medical and other charities are increasing in proportion to the increase of the population, not decreasing. Physicians talk of seeking only the good of their patients, of the noble work they are engaged in, that of preventing disease and healing the sick; but how gladly would their rivals accept their burdens and the fees if they were only permitted.
The medical press cries out from time to time against the abuse of the dispensary system, which is often only a blind to enable certain physicians to gain a practice which they could not in the ordinary way. The opinion of one who can not boast a hospital appointment and special opportunities having for their basis the degradation of a large class of people who are compelled to seek medical charity, has come to pass for naught, among medical men and in literature. To stamp a writer’s contribution with the seal of experience it is modestly stated in capitals beneath his name, professor of _____, in the medical college of ______, visiting physician to ______ hospital, consulting physician to _____ dispensary, member of ______ societies, etc., etc., etc. All this vulgarity to become known, to get patients, to make money, to avoid poverty!
The physician must live respectably and maintain his family in respectable circumstances, and he usually finds his income, however large it may be, melted away at the end of the year. How often do we hear physicians, and those, too, who have been more than ordinarily successful, say they would not for anything have their sons study medicine, believing that with a like amount of energy expended in other pursuits they would make a much greater success in life. Thus while knowing their own ranks are crowded they show their ignorance of a similar, perhaps a worse, condition in other walks of life.
The only efficient remedy is to open up natural opportunities and give all men, the hod carrier as well as the master workman in any department, a chance ever to labor and to enjoy the full fruits of his labor. When this shall be done the law of supply and demand will justly regulate the number entering the profession of medicine and make restrictive legislation further than demanding suitable education, unnecessary; and then talent and the power to heal and prevent disease will be in the highest degree the factors of success. Such a social state will be far better than a paid up life insurance policy of ten thousand dollars; for our children, our families, will then be assured as long as the government stands of being able — although thrown upon the world without a cent — to make a respectable living and to lay up sufficient against sickness and old age. Then there will be no excuse for patients to refuse to pay the doctor for his services; nor is it likely they will do so, knowing that should they lose their little they will ever be able to make more, and will not come to want. Place a tax upon land to its full rental value, open up our coal mines, our gold mines, our iron mines, our oil wells, our building lots, our farm land, and the wheels of industry will be set in motion, the laborer will be sought after, and will obtain such a reward for his services that he will be able and willing to pay the doctor’s bill, instead of having to go, as so many now do, to dispensaries and hospitals. Other fields offering a better reward for industry, young men would cease to enter upon the study of medicine until the relative number of physicians and laity had fallen to a just ratio.
No half way measures will do: a radical cure is demanded, and I appeal to my fellow practitioners, both those of high and those of low degree, those with hospital or other appointments and those without, to vote for Henry George, help establish the political economy he teaches. and thus relieve an overcrowded profession and abolish the necessity for medical charity.
Brightening Prospects in Iowa.
Mr. James Hagerty of Burlington, Iowa, writes hopefully of the prospects of the united labor party in that city and state. He says:
The thousands who voted with us at the last election are reinforced by many converts; but prudence prevented the attendance of any great crowd at the convention. The boycott, the “grand bounce” and the blacklist are formidable enemies, and no man should be blamed under present circumstances for acting like Nicodemus. In some cases a man’s home is in jeopardy and in many the support of his family. The main object is to get the people to understand our principles. The republican convention was held in the same building, at the same time as ours, and I distributed quite a number of tracts where representative republicans got hold of them, who will at least read them, and many a Saul will get the scales rubbed from his eyes when they come in contact with the suppressed truths for the first time. In this respect the republican convention was as much a success for the labor cause as our own. I have obtained some tracts from a frlend of the cause, and planted them in the most receptive and productive soil.
THE RATIONALE OF TAXATION.
There is only one way to understand any subject properly, and that is to consider it in its logical connections. Accordingly the nature and principles of taxation can be clearly comprehended only in connection with a sound analysis of of the nature and objects of government, of which it is a necessary function. The question of taxation is a specific one, to which the question of government is generic. Hence a definite idea of taxation without an analysis of government is as impossible as the definition of any other species without reference to its genus. The most fundamental questions must be considered first, or else we “fight as one that beateth the air.” It is of no use to puzzle our brains with such secondary questions as what kinds of property should be taxed, etc., until the great primary question is answered why people pay taxes at all.
The simplest answer to this latter question is that taxes are paid as the price of government. Society is impossible without government. “Governments are formed,” says Sir William Blackstone, “for the preservation of society, and society exists for the protection of individuals.” But let us not mistake. It is not for this protection or this society that the individual pays taxes. It is for the maintenance of government. It is at this point that confusion has arisen, and this confusion has mystified the whole subject of taxation and made of it the miserable hotch-potch of our present system.
The common assumption that people are taxed for the privilege of protection as members of society, or for the privilege of following this, that or the other pursuit, is wholly erroneous and mischievously false. It is not for privileges of any kind that the citizen is (or can be justly) taxed. He is a member of society, as he is an inhabitant of the earth, not as of privilege, but of divine right. Man is born into society under the same auspices that he is born into the world; and just as the one entitles him to a place to live on the earth, so the other entitles him to the privileges and immunities of human society, not as a conventionality, but an inherent right. But it is not surprising that these natural rights of “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness” should be held as matters of purchase by taxation under an economic system which requires one human being to purchase from another the privilege of standing room on the surface of the earth. In a false system one lie props another.
Let it be remembered that the whole theory of taxing people for the privilege of living under civil government, and for the privilege of pursuing a livelihood for the necessary support of themselves and their children, or for any other natural right, privilege or immunity, is false and iniquitous from its very inception and throughout its entire extent. The one true and only ground and reason for the taxation of a citizen is the simple necessity of running the machinery of government and paying for its utilities. If this proposition is true, then the whole muddle and scramble about taxing this, that or the other article, or industry, or import, or any other specific thing as such, is nonsense and bosh. For the citizen and true patriot there are but three questions to be asked, in order to settle the question of taxation: (1) To what extent shall the government take charge of the interests and utilities of the people? (2) What is each citizen’s just share in the cost of running the government machinery? (3) What is the simplest and best method of running this machinery and collecting the taxes? The united labor movement is answering these questions as no other political party can answer them.
THE CAMPAIGN FUND.
Still the contributions come. From east and west and north and south the people are testifying to the keen interest, the longing hope with which they are watching the battle now waging in New York.
The united labor party is indeed the people’s party. It offers no office for sale, collects no assessments from its candidates, but struggling to restore to American citizenship its glory of equal rights, it calls upon American citizens throughout the whole country to supply the funds for its unavoidable expenses. The letters and statement printed below show the manner of res-ponse it is receiving. They will be read with pride and hope by the friends of freedom, and with dismay by its enemies.
Toronto, Oct. 14.—I remit $45 raised by the Anti-poverty society of this city to aid you in your political campaign.
You must not measure our sympathies by the smallness of our contributions. We feel that on the result of your contest depends most important issues; for your success would give to the movement a momentum that would be felt through the whole civihzed world. Of the ultimate triumph, however, we feel no fear.
W. A. Douglass,
Treasurer Anti-poverty society.
Washington, D. C., Oct. 15.—I herewith inclose cheek, payable to your order, for $10, as my contribution to the campaign fund of the united labor party, whose platform meets with my most hearty indorsement.
While I have no doubt as to the ultimate universal acceptance and adoption of land reform on substantially the same lines as laid down in the platform of the party, still I have the fullest appreciation of the importance of this year’s campaign, and look forward with confidence to the casting of such a vote that eventual victory will not be long delayed. With best wishes for your success, I am, Arthur S. Browne.
An assistant engineer on board one of the United States men-of-war in the Mediterranean sea writes:
Please find inclosed my cheek for $5. A stray copy of The Standard enlightened myself and a messmate as to the real objects of the united labor party, and convinced us that there is a practical solution of problems which our reading and observation in many lands showed us were pressing in our country as well as abroad. I observe very little difference between the condition of the masses in the great cities of the United States and Europe, nor in protection or free trade countries; there is little to choose between London and Naples or Marseilles. Please send me a copy of “Progress and Poverty” to the accompanying address and apply the balance to campaign fund. We will do what we can at home and here.
Brooklyn, Oct, 15.—Inclosed please find $2. If every one of the 68,000 men who cast their vote for Henry George last fall would contribute a like sum, success would be speedy. I am in full sympathy with the great movement Henry George heads. It is doing God’s work.
An Aged Minister.
Wilmington, Del.—I inclose post office money order for $16.25. This is the contribution of united labor club No. 1 of Wilmington, Del. Let me urge the readers of The Standard everywhere to forward at once what they can spare for their emancipation. There are not many but what can spare one dollar at least. The readers of this paper, or the majority at least, know what we are battling for. To them I say: “You must not stand idle.” How can you stand idle? Strike now, contribute now, if it is only a trifle. Strike for your country, for your wife, your children, yourselves. Geo. W. Kreer,
Treasurer U. L. Club No. 1.
Topeka, Kan., Oct. 14.—Find enclosed postal order for $1.50 for campaign fund. Should you succeed in polling 200,000 votes in New York state in November, the doctrine of the single tax will spread in the west like wildfire. H. I. and J. F. B.,
Elgin, Ia., Oct. 7.—I inclose check for $5 for use of united labor party of New York. I cannot tell whether you take much interest in the growth of the gospel so far away as this point, but I assure you that its spread out here is very rapid. I know many who are ardent believers in that gospel, and if our friends in New York do what we expect this fall, the great anti-poverty movement will sweep everything before it. God speed you all. A. H. Vorhis.
Received this week:
Boston Post Chapel
By O. C. Henpel, Allegheny, PA
O. C. Henpel
H. H. Henpel
W. A. Scandrett
No. 1326 Anti-poverty society, Greenpoint, Brooklyn
C. H. Vorhes, Elgin, Ia.
George W. Spencer, Chicago, Ill.
Louis Lesaultder, Red Bud, Ill.
H. P. Stahmer
James Dalgarno, Detroit
T. E. Wilson
A reader of “The Standard,” Beaver Falls, Pa.
A friend in Brattleboro, Vt.
A Baltimore cigarmaker
B. Duv. Reeve, Pueblo, Col.
B. E. Bloom
J. H. Wood
An Aged Minister
A. R. Sear
D. L. Monroe, R. Poser, and R. Powett, Altoona, Penn.
Olof Engelbreks, New Rochelle
Minneapolis Printers’ Henry George legion
Alex George, San Francisco, Cal.
Arthur S. Browne, Washington, D. C.
Toronto Anti-poverty society
Friends in Boston Post chapel
A Member of the A. P. S.
E. Fridenberg, New York city
Boston Anti-poverty society
Dr. William Barker, Providence
H. J. And J. F. B., Printers, Topeka, Kan.
United labor club No. 1, Wilmington, Del.
W. E. E. Louisville, Ky.
E. R. Crowley, Boston
Robert and James Lennox, Newark, N. J.
By Louis B. Perry, Minneapolis, Minn.:
E. C. Perry
J. M. Rudd
M. J. Rudd
C. D. Berg
T. S. Johnson
Fr. A. Koehler
A. C. Brenchley
L. B. Perry
Joseph and Daniel Cornell, two Danbury, Conn., hatters
J. C. Butner, San Jose, Cal.
M. Dodsworth, Cincinnati, O.
Billy Radcliffe, Youngstown, O.
Chas. R. McGinnis, Paterson, N. J.
By A. Vinnette, Los Angeles, Cal.:
W. A. Cole
Wm. B. Deschler
By George Holmes, Augusta, Ga.:
A. J. Davis
A. D. Rozier
Friends in Boston Herald chapel
J. M. McGregor, Detroit, Mich.
W. D. Q., Richmond, Ind.
C. S. Hopkins, Wilkesbarre, Pa.
By John G. Keiber, for employees of Hatch Lithographing Co., New York city:
Benj. Van Buskirk
B. A. Littman
John G. Keiber
M. C., Allegheny City
Total contribution for week
Total to date
A Union Labor Club Reorganizes and Adopts the Syracuse Platform.
Bayonne, N. J.—The union labor club of this city held a meeting at Hendrickson’s hall Oct. 13, and voted to dissolve. The meeting then reorganized itself into the Bayonne land and labor club and adopted the Syracuse platform. William B. DuBois was elected chairman and Thomas Ward secretary. Messrs. J. W. Neeley and William B. DuBois were chosen as delegates to attend the Sixth assembly district convention, to be held at the Globe hotel, Greenville, the following Saturday evening.
The convention accordingly met at Greenville, Saturday, Oct. 15, and nominated William J. Ritter for member of assembly.
Spreading the Light in Ellenville.
Ellenville, Oct. 17.—We hold a meeting every Friday and are “spreading the light” in a way that is sure to tell on election day. Our land and labor club is keeping the principles of our party well before the people, and there is every indication that we will draw out a large silent vote. Quiet, conservative people, who never take an active part in politics, are asking questions and show much interest.
Pres., L. And L. club, No. 1
The Pine Tree State Will be on the Side of Justice and Equal Rights
Lewiston, Me.—Land and labor club No. 2 of Auburn, Me., held an interesting meeting on the l0th inst., with President Dunning in the chair. It was a very enthusiastic gathering. When the cry goes through the land for us to decide between right and wrong I am more than sure you will find the Pine Tree state on the side of justice and equal rights to “God’s bounties” for all.
C. W. Shaw, A. P. S.
United Labor Party vs. Progressive Labor Party.
The debate between Messrs. Sergius E. Schevitch and Henry George will take place tomorrow (Sunday) evening at Miner’s theater, Eighth Avenue, near Twenty-sixth street. One thousand tickets have been issued to members of each of the two labor parties. A few reserved seats are on sale at 25 cents each.
Going to Vote With the Men Whose Rights Have Been Denied
New York City.—When I see an attempt made to deny the rights of 68,000 citizens, I feel that it is time for every man who loves his country to cast his vote for the party whose rights are thus denied. William Sutcliff
Prospects Improving in Elmira
Elmira, Oct. 17.—We expect to have a very large meeting for Judge Maguire on Wednesday. Our party will east a much larger vote here than we anticipated a month ago.
H. M. Bergman, Secretary
Page 4 – Editorial
HENRY GEORGE, Editor and Proprietor.
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SATURDAY, OCTOBER 22, 1887
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PLATFORM OF THE UNITED LABOR PARTY
Adopted at Syracuse August 19, 1887.
We, the delegates of the united labor party of New York, in state convention assembled, hereby reassert, as the fundamental platform of the party, and the basis on which we ask the co-operation of citizens of other states, the following declaration of principles adopted on September 23, 1886, by the convention of trade and labor associations of the city of New York, that resulted in the formation of the united labor party.
“Holding that the corruptions of government and the impoverishment of labor result from neglect of the self-evident truths proclaimed by the founders of this republic that all men are created equal and are endowed by their Creator with unalienable rights, we aim at the abolition of a system which compels men to pay their fellow creatures for the use of God’s gifts to all, and permits monopolizers to deprive labor of natural opportunities for employment, thus filling the land with tramps and paupers and bringing about an unnatural competition which tends to reduce wages to starvation rates and to make the wealth producer the industrial slave of those who grow rich by his toil.
“Holding, moreover, that the advantages arising from social growth and improvement belong to society at large, we aim at the abolition of the system which makes such beneficent inventions as the railroad and telegraph a means for the oppression of the people and the aggrandizement of an aristocracy of wealth and power. We declare the true purpose of government to be the maintenance of that sacred right of property which gives to everyone opportunity to employ his labor, and security that he shall enjoy its fruits; to prevent the strong from oppressing the weak, and the unscrupulous from robbing the honest; and to do for the equal benefit of all such things as can be better done by organized society than by individuals; and we aim at the abolition of all laws which give to any class of citizens advantages, either judicial, financial, industrial, or political, that are not equally shared by all others.”
We call upon all who seek the emancipation of labor, and who would make the American union and its component states democratic commonwealths of really free and independent citizens, to ignore all minor differences and join with us in organizing a great national party on this broad platform of natural rights and equal justice. We do not aim at securing any forced equality in the distribution of wealth. We do not propose that the state shall attempt to control production, conduct distribution, or in any wise interfere with the freedom of the individual to use his labor or capital in any way that may seem proper to him and that will not interfere with the equal rights of others. Nor do we propose that the state shall take possession of land and either work it or rent it out. What we propose is not the disturbing of any man in his holding or title, but by abolishing all taxes on industry or its products, to leave to the producer the full fruits of his exertion and by the taxation of land values, exclusive of improvements, to devote to the common use and benefit those values, which, arising not from the exertion of the individual, but from the growth of society, belong justly to the community as a whole. This increased taxation of land, not according to its area, but according to its value, must, while relieving the working farmer and small homestead owner of the undue burden now imposed upon them, make it unprofitable to hold land for speculation, and thus throw open abundant opportunities for the employment of labor and the building up of homes.
While thus simplifying government by doing away with the horde of officials required by the present system of taxation and with its incentives to fraud and corruption, we would further promote the common weal and further secure the equal rights of all, by placing under public control such agencies as are in their nature monopolies. We would have our municipalities supply their inhabitants with water, light and heat; we would have the general government issue all money, without the intervention of banks; we would add a postal telegraph system and postal savings banks to the postal service, and would assume public control and ownership of those iron roads which have become the highways of modern commerce.
While declaring the foregoing to be the fundamental principles and aims of the united labor party, and while conscious that no reform can give effectual and permanent relief to labor that does not involve the legal recognition of equal rights to natural opportunities, we nevertheless, as measures of relief from some of the evil effects of ignoring those rights, favor such legislation as may tend to reduce the hours of labor, to prevent the employment of children of tender years, to avoid the competition of convict labor with honest industry, to secure the sanitary inspection of tenements, factories and mines, and to put an end to the abuse of conspiracy laws.
We desire also to so simplify the procedure of our courts and diminish the expense of legal proceedings, that the poor may be placed on an equality with the rich and the long delays which now result in scandalous miscarriages of justice may be prevented.
And since the ballot is the only means by which in our republic the redress of political and social grievances is to be sought, we especially and emphatically declare for the adoption of what is known as the “Australian system of voting,” in order that the effectual secrecy of the ballot and the relief of candidates for public office from the heavy expenses now imposed upon them, may prevent bribery and intimidation, do away with practical discriminations in favor of the rich and unscrupulous, and lessen the pernicious influence of money in politics.
In support of these aims we solicit the co-operation of all patriotic citizens who, sick of the degradation of politics, desire by constitutional methods to establish justice, to preserve liberty, to extend the spirit of fraternity, and to elevate humanity.
United Labor Party of the State of New York.
Headquarters State Executive Committee,
28 Cooper Union,
New York City, Sept. 1,1887.
To all Members and Friends of the United Labor Party throughout the United States: By its platform, adopted at Syracuse on the 19th of August last, the united labor party of the state of New York has brought into state politics the principles on which the memorable municipal campaign of a year ago was fought, and thus taken a great stride in the forward movement which must not know retreat. Within the next twelvemonth the advance must be made upon the national field. To this end a national conference will at an early day be called in conformity with a resolution adopted by the New York state convention. To all throughout the state and the union who desire the emancipation of labor, the destruction of monopoly, the doing of even justice, the simplification and purification of government, with the abolition of privilege on one hand and of poverty on the other, the united labor party of New York sends greeting and it solicits their help. Every such contest as the one we are now entering upon must be a costly one. We need money to send speakers through the state, to distribute literature in every city, town and village, and to print and distribute our ballots. The last item alone, owing to unjust electoral laws which we are striving to reform, and which throw upon private generosity what should be a public burden, will cost us several thousands of dollars. Contributions, small or great, to aid in this work will be gratefully received and promptly acknowledged by this committee.
Chairman and Treasurer.
Gaybert Barnes, Secretary.
Splendid work has been done throughout the state during the present week; and now that the city ticket is in the field a short but vigorous campaign will be made in the city of New York.
Enough has already been accomplished to fill well informed politicians of the old parties with terror, and we hear no more of the boast that the united labor party’s votes will be confined to New York, Brooklyn and a few other cities. The pro-poverty prophets have changed the style of their predictions. They now admit that the united labor party will poll a large vote in the state, but pin their hopes on a great falling off in this city.
Perhaps these people really believe their own statements, for this new movement is so different in every respect from the politics with which they are familiar that they have no means whereby they can form even an approximate estimate of its strength and staying power. Accustomed as the machine politicians are to obedient conventions that merely ratify slates made up by a few bosses, they think they see signs of the disruption of the united labor party in a hot contest for nominations in a free convention of self-respecting, independent delegates. They forget that men do not contest for nominations that have no chance of winning, and that the very eagerness of the contest is a sign of the confidence of the party in its own success.
It is doubtful, however, if the machine politicians really do believe that they can defeat the labor party. A year ago not one among them estimated its vote at more than thirty thousand, and yet it reached such figures that more than sixty-eight thousand were counted. This year they have figured it down to fifty thousand, with no better knowledge of the facts than that on which they based their ridiculous underestimate of last year. A year ago they denounced the party as socialistic. Today they are patting the socialists on the back and looking eagerly for them to poll a large vote. Again, though both of the main wings of the democratic party have joined in pitching the predatory organization known as Irving hall out of doors they nevertheless pretend to believe that it contributed from ten to twelve thousand to the George vote last year. Is there a man in New York foolish enough to believe that the united democracy would throw out of the party any organization that its leaders really believed could poll over five thousand votes?
Again, if the politicians of the old parties really believe that the vote of the united labor party will fall off why do they defy law and outrage decent public opinion by entering into a criminal conspiracy to deprive our party of its inspectors? They are certainly not afraid that the one man to whose services the united labor party is legally entitled will override the other four and count in the united labor candidates. The only conceivable explanation of the conduct of Commissioners Yoorhis and Porter is that the politicians who have persuaded them to commit this infamy really fear that the united labor party will win and that it may be necessary to count it out, if the democratic copartnership is to continue in the business of plundering this city.
The united labor party has no fear that its vote will fall off. Its organization is ten times as strong as it was a year ago, and though a few socialists have withdrawn from its ranks, the great body of last year’s workers are at their old places filled with hope and enthusiasm; and in every assembly district are to be found hundreds of new men who confess that owing to their lack of confidence in the movement a year ago they voted with one or the other of the old parties. No defections other than those of the socialists are reported, and those will not be sufficient to reduce the vote in a single district, while in most districts their influence will not even be felt. The fact that a few leaders of the socialistic faction are openly fighting the labor party in the interest of the boodle parties will weaken their hold on the votes of workingmen from now on till election day.
The united labor party will poll over 90,000 votes in the city of New York, and elect its candidates. Our friends out of town need not trouble themselves about the city. The important question is what can they do to swell the vote. With so many tickets in the field 300,000 votes will elect. We can give half of that number in this end of the state. Can all of the remaining counties put together do as much? If so, we shall elect our ticket. This contest is now between the republican and united labor parties only. The democratic candidates are out of the race. The leaders of that party know this, and they cannot much longer keep the truth from their rank and file. Why should the latter prefer a republican success to a triumph for the united labor party? Let the democrats now rally to the support of the only ticket that can possibly beat the republican candidates, and they will at least have the pleasure of defeating their old-time foes. To vote for their own party’s candidates is merely to throw away their votes.
If the rank and file of the democrats have not lost all capacity to learn anything they will adopt this course; but if they refuse to do so there is no longer a question that our vote in the state this year will be such that next year the democrats must come to us, join the republicans, or go out of politics. We have no doubt as to where they will go when that break up comes.
The Sussex Independent of Deckertown, N. J., expresses its astonishment that such a stanch democrat as ex-Congressman A. J . Rogers, now judge of the Tenth district court of New York, should have joined the Anti-poverty society and the united labor party. There is no matter for astonishment in this. Judge Rogers is a democrat of the old school, when democracy had some regard for principle and had not degenerated into a mere struggle for spoils. As a man who adheres to the teachings of Thomas Jefferson, his proper place is with the united labor party.
In this issue of The Standard we print the conclusion of Thomas G. Shearman’s essay on “the distribution of wealth.” The essay will be immediately reprinted in the Land and labor library, and will be one of the most valuable tracts of the series.
Taking as a basis for his argument the facts and figures relied upon by the advocates of “things as they are” in their efforts to prove the needlessness of any radical reform, Mr. Shearman demonstrates with mathematical certainty that under our present social system the gulf which separates rich from poor is widening with portentous rapidity, and with a logic that admits of no reply he shows that this condition of increasing inequality results inevitably from the unequal incidence of taxation, and can only be remedied by a reform which, concentrating all taxes upon land values, shall at once liberate production from the fetters which now oppress it and distribute the burden of public expenses among the members of the community in proportion to their use of those natural opportunities of production which are rightfully the common property of all. Mr. Shearman discusses the question from a purely economical standpoint, leaving all ethical considerations aside, and the moral of his essay is that in political economy as in all other affairs of human life, that which is right is not only the best thing to be done, but the only thing that can be done with safety.
One of the most amusing arguments against the single tax, and one which shows how little real thought the opponents of industrial emancipation bestow upon the subject, is the assertion now making the rounds of the pro-poverty press that instead of concentrating taxes upon land values the proper policy would be to lay them most heavily upon corporations of all kinds. The truth is, it would be impossible to devise a system under which the corporations thus complained of could less easily evade their share of taxation than that of taxing land values. And the corporations against which public sentiment is most bitter, the mining and transportation companies, are precisely those whose power for evil would be effectually crippled by the reforms to which the united labor party is pledged.
In no way is the distinction between the old and new kinds of politics more clearly illustrated than in the methods of raising the necessary funds for campaign expenses. While the old parties levy gigantic assessments upon their candidates as a condition precedent of nomination, the party of the people fearlessly appeals to the people it represents and receives a prompt and cheerful response.
A democratic candidate for comptroller is invited to pay an assessment of $40,000 because the plunder of his office is amply worth this amount. A district court judge is charged but $5,000 because his opportunities for pelf and patronage are proportionately less; while the office of alderman, shorn as it has been of its power, is now worth but a miserable thousand dollars, and is even considered dear at that.
The simple truth is that in the united labor party, as in the pro-poverty parties, the men to whom the rewards of success will accrue are contributing the money necessary to achieve success. The party of united labor offers the rewards of success to the voters who support it, in the triumph of the principles of justice and equal rights, and confidently calls upon the men who will profit by its victory to pay the expenses of its campaign.
The story of the standard’s campaign fund, as told from week to week, is an interesting bit of political history. To those who can read between the lines it gives a sure prophecy of triumph for our cause.
The New Daily Paper.
The first issue of the Argus, the daily newspaper started under the auspices of the New York county general committee of the united labor party, was made on Thursday last. It is a neat four-page sheet and makes its first appearance in attractive style. The managing editor is John Foley, late of the Leader; the city editor, W. G. F. Price, master workman local assembly 9,490, Knights of Labor, and the telegraph editor, Joseph W. Parker, late of the Leader. The paper will support the Syracuse platform and the nominees of the united labor party. It enters the field at an opportune time, and it has the good wishes and congratulations of The Standard.
Rev. Mr. McCarthy’s Address.
Rev. Charles P. McCarthy will deliver an address on the spiritual, moral, national and religious characteristics of the new crusade on Sunday, October 23, in Spencer hall, 114 West Fourteenth street, near Sixth Avenue. The address will be delivered at 250 in the afternoon, and a discussion will follow. All who are interested are invited to attend.
THE ANTI-POVERTY FAIR.
The fair and festival of the Anti-poverty society for the benefit of the campaign fund of the united labor party closed on Monday evening with a grand promenade concert and ball.
The fair was in all respects a success, despite many obstacles. A four days’ rain storm interfered with sales and attendance during the first week, and the interference of the police to prevent the sale of the random purchase tickets at the close of the second week struck a hard blow at the enterprise. The popular indignation over this action, however, was such as to stimulate attendance, and it took practical shape in the voluntary surrender to the fair of the greater part of the tickets that had been sold, so that the number that remain to be redeemed out of the proceeds of the auction must be comparatively small.
The work of running the fair has been largely one series of tremendous rushes. It was first suggested on Sept. 1, the first announcement was made on Sept. 4, and the preliminary meeting of ladies to consider the project was held on Sept. 6. The second meeting of ladies to map out the work was held Sept. 13, and it was then determined to open the fair on Sept. 26 — less than two weeks being thus allowed for preparation. Madison square garden was not secured until the latter part of that same week, and possession of the building could not be had until Friday, Sept. 23, and the fair was opened on the following Monday, Sept. 20.
Out of town readers of The Standard can hardly form a conception of the magnitude of the work accomplished in this brief time. Madison square garden is the 1argest building in New York. It covers the whole block between Twenty-sixth and Twenty-seventh streets and Fourth and Madison Avenues. The promenade, that was lined with well filled tables, is a sixth of a mile in length. One-half of the great central space was railed off for dancing and the other half filled with beautifully decorated booths. To fill so vast a building with every conceivable article of use or fancy in less than two weeks was a herculean task, yet it was accomplished chiefly through the zeal and enthusiasm of the ladies of the Anti-poverty society.
The fair ended with an auction on Saturday evening and then followed the task of clearing out the fair to prepare the whole floor for dancing by Monday evening. A large force of men worked day and night at this gigantic house cleaning, but they accomplished their task and at 7 o’clock on Monday evening the hall was a beautiful ball room decorated with flags and banners and colored lights and brilliantly lighted with gas and electricity. By noon on Tuesday it was once more a bare and empty hall, and at 5 o’clock that evening every article belonging to the fair had been carried away.
This tremendous work was happily not done for nothing. The profits on the enterprise, despite the police interference, are certainly over ten thousand dollars. The exact figures cannot be given until the few remaining bills are in and the unsold goods disposed of. It is certain, however, that the profits will not fall below $10,000 and improbable that they will reach $11,000.
But the swelling of the campaign fund has not been the only grand work accomplished. No other political party ever had such work done for it as has been done in Madison square garden during the past three weeks. The hundreds of ladies were as eager for votes as they were for sales. Strangers dropping in were surprised at the beauty of the scene, and profoundly impressed with the good order and high respectability of the affair. Of course, those who really know the united labor party will be amused at any one expressing surprise at the respectability and intelligence of the men and women in its ranks, but it was none the less a good thing that those who did not know the party should have false impressions to the contrary thus removed.
But the work of propaganda was not merely carried on by indirection. Women, young and old, talked anti-poverty doctrine to all who came near them. A reporter for one of the daily papers has printed his experience. He declared to a young lady at the fair that he had written it up handsomely. “Yes,” she replied, “but that is your business; how is it with you personally? Do you understand our doctrines? Do you intend to vote our ticket?” This was by no means an isolated case, and there is no doubt that hundreds of eagerly sought promises to vote the ticket were given, and that most of them will be kept. The impression made by the fair on all who became interested in it was highly favorable to the party, and its results will be felt in November.
The mere fact that a fair was held affords evidence that the present movement goes deeper than any other political movement ever did in this country. This is probably the first time in American political history that women ever took so keen an interest in a political movement that they were willing to undergo the drudgery and anxiety of conducting a fair to raise a campaign fund. Certainly never before were so many women eagerly engaged in political propaganda as at Madison square garden for the past three weeks.
The politician who fails to sce the significance of this may as well prepare to abandon politics. There is no place for him in the great battle in which the American people are now entering. The whelming flood of discontent has at last found a channel through which it will flow with irresistible force, and men who oppose it will simply be swept away. The united labor party is the one party in America with conscientious convictions and a definite policy, and unless a new party is organized that holds opposing convictions and honestly purposes to overthrow monopoly and satisfy discontent, the united labor party will sweep all before its ever increasing strength. There is no place in the politics of the future for such meaningless aggregations of men as the republican and democratic parties now are. Imagine a thousand women holding a fair and working day and night for either of them! W. T. Croasdale.
Harlem’s Anti-Poverty Meetings.
Rev. Charles P. McCarthy has secured Arthur hall, Sixth Avenue and 126th street, for Sunday evening meetings of supporters of the cross of the new crusade. At the opening meeting on last Sunday every seat was occupied. Dr. McCarthy and Messrs. Edelman and Doody addressed the gathering, Miss McCarthy sang “Cleansing Fires,” and the audience joined in singing “The Cross of the New Crusade.” Sunday evening Dr. McGlynn will deliver the opening address, beginning at 7.30 sharp. He will be followed by Howard H. Morse, who has recently, through force of conviction, been impelled to uphold the crusade to abolish poverty.
WHY THE BARN WASN’T BUILT.
“I say, Uncle Ben,” said Frank, “why don’t you build a new barn? You need one, and you must have money enough laid by from the sale of your crops the past few years to pay for new buildings and fences and make your home look a hundred percent better, to say nothing of the saving. Why! that old, tumble down barn doesn’t hold more than one-half of your hay and grain, and the loss from stacking out of doors must be far more than the interest on the cost of a new barn. Besides, that old rookery is a disgrace on such fine land as you have here, and then there must be some danger of its blowing down in one of these heavy gales and killing some of your stock.”
“Well, Frank,” answered his uncle, “all you say is true enough, but I guess you don’t just understand the situation. You see, in the first place, I haven’t quite enough saved up to build such a barn as I want, and so would have to hire some money and pay interest on it; but then I wouldn’t think of building at present if I had more than enough.”
“Why, Uncle Ben, don’t you want better buildings?”
“Of course I do, my boy; but then you see just as soon as I put up a new barn the assessor would come along and raise the valuation of my farm, and the taxes would be so heavy that it would take about all I could raise to pay them. Only last year I cleared up and drained that bit of swamp land down beside the road there and built a few rods of highway fence alongside of it, where the brush and weeds used to grow; and the assessors raised the valuation five hundred dollars, and that added about twelve dollars to my tax, besides the increase of highway and school taxes, and all that on account of clearing up less than an acre of land.”
“Well, uncle, it made your farm look ever so much better. That brush patch was always an eye sore to me, at least.”
“Yes, Frank, it did look bad enough right there beside the highway, and I’ll admit that it made at least five hundred dollars difference in the appearance of the farm. But then I could not afford to make many such improvements and be compelled to pay the increased tax on them.”
“But, uncle, why are the taxes so high here? It seems to me as if they were outrageous.”
“Oh! you see the town is bonded for $143,000 to aid in building the Midland railroad, and we are payng the interest on the bonds now, and shall have to begin payment of the principal in two or three years. The bonds were made payable in twenty years and we have been paying the interest ever since.”
“Well, Uncle Ben, I would like to talk over this bonding business some other time; but now we will talk about this tax on improvements. Now, uncle, you have about one hundred and fifty acres of land here. How much were your taxes last year?”
“Let me see; there was $140 for town, county and state tax; then there was $11 school tax, and I worked out $19 highway tax, making in all about $170.”
“Well, uncle, that is about $1.13 per acre for your whole farm. Now, how much does Smith pay on that fifteen acre swamp pasture of his down there adjoining your field?”
“Oh! he doesn’t pay much on that. Why, his school tax on that was only a few cents when I was collector last year, and I asked him how much he paid in all on it, and he said about three dollars.”
“But it is good land if it was brought into cultivation, is it not, uncle?”
“Yes, of course, it is; and I tell you, Smith makes a pretty good thing off of it now. You see he pastures his young stock there, and it is good pasture, too, as the scattering bushes on it don’t injure it much for that purpose, and it is just wet enough to raise an abundance of green grass the summer through. Why, he has nine or ten head of cattle in there, and then it’s increasing in value every year as the land is cleared up and improved around it. I suppose when I cleared up that acre adjoining it that it added as much or more in proportion to the value of that field as it did to the value of my farm.”
“But, uncle, did these assessors add to his valuation on that account?”
“Oh, no; of course not; he had not made any improvements on it.”
“Oh, I see. They don’t tax the value of the land, it is only the improvements that are taxed.”
“Well, I guess it amounts to about that, after all.”
“But, Uncle, don’t you think it would be nearer a fair thing if the land were taxed according to its value, without regard to the improvements, so that Smith would have to pay as much on those fifteen acres as you pay on fifteen acres of your land?”
“Well, l don’t know but it would. I never thought much about that before, but I guess, come to think of it, Smith would be likely to cut the bushes off and improve it in that case, for he don’t get quite as much value off it now as I do from the same number of acres.”
“But, uncle, if you didn’t have to pay any tax on improvements your tax would be no more to the acre than his is now, would it? and then you could build a new barn.”
“Oh, yes, of course it would, for there is just about so much to be raised. But taking the tax off of improvements would serve to equalize it, and would consequently raise Smith’s tax per acre to meet the fall in my own. I shouldn’t have nearly so much to pay as now, and I guess I should build a new barn mighty quick, and make a great many other improvements; and Smith would be mighty likely to clear up and drain his lot, so as to get as much as possible from the use of it. And in that way it would make times lively around here, and make plenty of work for every man that wanted to work.”
“But, uncle, you are a Henry George man, are you not?”
“Well! well! Frank! You must take me for a fool if you think I want to divide up my land with every lazy scalawag. Not much am I a Henry George land confiscator. Why, I would go hang myself first!”
“But, uncle, Henry George doesn’t propose to confiscate land.”
“Oh, yes he does. Don’t I read my papers? The Tribune and the Dispatch both say that
he wants to contiscate the land and rent it out.”
“But that is all wrong, uncle. He only proposes to place all taxes on land values, and you have been voicing his sentiments exactly and I supposed you had been reading some of his writings.”
“I guess you are mistaken, Frank. That is not confiscation, and the papers say that he wants to take our land from us and divide it up.”
“Well, uncle, I have a copy of ‘Progress and Poverty’ and I will convince you by letting you read it, and here is a copy of his paper, The Standard. Read those and you will learn that the whole of the theory in a nutshell is the placing of all tax on land values and exempting all improvements from taxation.”
“If I find that what you say is true then I am with Henry George and the united labor party first, last and all the time.” F. S. Hammond.
STRAWS WHICH SHOW THE WIND.
The intelligent man only asks for room for a chance to come into contact with nature, and he has no doubt of her generous reward. —[Providence Journal.
The fact that nobody has refuted Mr. George’s arguments, and that most of his opponents find it necessary to misrepresent him, has naturally led a great many to conclude that his conclusions are sound. —[Toronto Grip.
Henry George’s dream about railways will doubtless some day, and not far distant either, be realized. The time will come when railways will be run like elevators, without charge and without conductors with bell punches around their necks. —[Paterson Labor Standard.
We do not deny that speculation ought to be regulated; and the right of regulation by especial taxation is abstractly clear. No one should be permitted to absorb a useful thing and cut off society from its enjoyment or attach peculiar hardships to the obtaining of it. —[Syracuse Standard.
Henry George challenged Governor Hill to a joint debate on the new system of taxation, but the latter refused to aecept. It is as well for George one way as the other. Hill would have to admit finally that George is right, and it is as well to have it in this way as in any other. —[West Superior (Wis.) Inter-Ocean.
Whatever may be his success in this country, Henry George has evidently made a convert across the border in our esteemed contemporary, the Hamilton Times. That journal speaks of him as “committed to a reform that would abolish monopolies in the soil and the products of the earth.” —[Buffalo News.
If Maguire comes back here with the prestige of success in the Empire state, then in 1888 California will register the same way. The democracy must hoist the flag of land reform or take a back seat. No state on earth is so cursed by land monopoly as this, and nowhere will the tempest be more sweeping and destructive. —[San Francisco Public Opinion.
The repubiican press is trying to convince the country that the followers and supporters of the George state ticket are almost entirely democratic. This is done in face of the fact that four of the five nominees on the ticket are of republican antecedents, and that most of the strongest advocates and a large proportion of the supporters of that ticket have been active republicans. —[Poughkeepsie News-Press.
There is but one way to meet this question, and that is by sober, intelligent argument. It cannot be thrown aside or disposed of in one paragraph or an occasional denial of the benefits its leaders claim would be realized by the triumph of its principles. And this is just exactly what we want. When these people stop their ridicule and get down to argument, we’ve got ’em. —Correspondence Taylorsville (Ky.) Courier.
Who are the patrons of the saloons, if not the poor? Why is it that the poor frequent them and the rich do not, except that poverty deprives its subjects of the creature comforts and surroundings which the rich find in their homes. The society and companionship which the rich find in their parlors, too many of the poor seek in front of the bar. This, of course, does not show that intemperance does not produce poverty and misery, but it does show that were the poor prosperous, the saloons would suffer. —[Auburn Bulletin.
The admirable ticket put in nomination by the workingmen of this county is meeting with encouragement from sources never dreamed of by its friends. Conceding the worth of the candidates who, before the working men had decided upon independent political action, had affiliated with the committee of three hundred, that influential organization unanimously and enthusiastically indorsed the ticket last Monday evening, and there is now no doubt but that with a fair election and an honest count the whole ticket will be elected by an overwhelming majority. —[Albany Independent.
The George system is a mighty bid — we do not say a dishonest one — for the votes of the discontented, and, in these days of strikes and lockouts, millionaires and paupers, increasing wealth and pinching poverty, low prices for farmers and millions in dividends on watered railway stock, the discontented are an enormous force. Moreover, he has at his back a body, not of ordinary politicians, but of religious enthusiasts, and such a following, whether that of a Mahomet, a Cromwell or a Fox, is a power before which the machine and the finely adjusted organizations are as the grass before the prairie fire. —[Huron Expositor.
The Utica Observer remarks that people go to hear Henry George as if he were a natural curiosity. “Then George pockets his $100 and everybody is satisfied. But the arrangement doesn’t make votes for George.” We trust that the Observer does not intend to deny that Henry George is an exceedingly forcible speaker. We dare say that his speeches are as convincing as those of most other stump orators, and with due deference to the opinion of our esteemed contemporary, we suspect that Mr. George is going to poll an uncomfortably large number of votes this fall. Mr. George is a man who cannot be ridiculed or bullied out of politics. He must be met with arguments. —[Syracuse Standard.
The republican press endeavors to convey the impression that the followers and supporters of the Henry George state ticket are almost entirely democrats. That this statement is grossly incorrect can be easily disproved. Not only are four of the five nominees upon the George ticket of republican antecedents, but many of the strongest advocates and a large proportion of the supporters of that ticket have been active republicans heretofore. We need only mention as a case in point, says the Albany Argus, that Dr. William C. Wood of Gloversville, a son of Colonel Anson S. Wood, the republican nominee for secretary of state in l885, addressed a Henry George meeting at the City hall in Troy, on Sunday evening, Sept. 25, and that Robert A. Wood, esq., the popular young lawyer and litterateur of Albany, another son of Colonel Wood, is an active supporter and advocate of Henry George and his ticket, and it is reported will soon take the stump in its behalf. — [Newburg Register.
Texans of the Next Generation Will Have to Work Pretty Hard to Satisfy These Englishmen.
Senator Charles V. Farwell of Illinois and his partners, his brother and Abner Taylor of Chicago, will make from $15,000,000 to $20,000,000 in their Texas land speculation. It is said that the state of Texas has given to the Farwell company 3,000,000 acres of the land of Texas. The land today is worth $5 an acre, and the state buildings did not cost more than $1,000,000. The land is all fenced in. Seventy-five thousand cattle are now on it, and more are to follow. It comprises enough territory to form a principality. The Farwell company have their headquarters in London. English capitalists own about one quarter of the stock. This real and successful venture was brought to the Farwells by an impecunious and visionary man, who obtained the contracts which he sold to the Farwell company The story goes that the man happened to be in Austin, and hearing that the state was offering the land to any one who would put up state buildings, he calmly walked up and took the contract, when he had barely enough money in his pocket to pay his fare to Chicago. The same men who gave away such a block of land rather than raise the money necessary by taxation, of course never dreamed of questioning the contractor’s financial ability. He had some trouble in convincing the Farwells of the value of the land, owing to their distrust of the visionary contractors judgment, but investigation showed the value, and so the contract was purchased for a few thousand dollars, and a property was obtained which will net its owners many millions.
The Tariff in a Nutshell.
Hempstead, Tex., Advance Guard
THE PROTECTIVE TARIFF.
The higher you are taxed, the better you are off.
THE FREE TRADE IDEA.
The lower you are taxed, the more money you will have left.
AMONG THE WORKERS.
LETTERS THAT SHOW THE PROGRESS OF THE MOVEMENT.
Increasing Organization and Crowded Meetings — Farmers Coming Ten Miles to Hear the Principles of the Land and Labor Party Explained — The Land Question the Common Talk in the Streets — Cheering Progress Everywhere
The following brief extracts taken at random from a mass of correspondence received by the state executive committee during the week indicate the kind of work being done in various sections of the state, the temper of the people and the progress of the movement:
John Fink, writing from Averill Park, Rensselaer county, says: “A meeting was held on Wednesday, Oct. 12. at J. H. Weed’s hall, Sand Lake, in this county, and a club of the united labor party was formed. James Wheatcroft was elected president, John Fink recording secretary and Wm. C. Barnum treasurer. The meeting was addressed by T. J. Sanford of Troy and Charles Hennessy of Brooklyn.”
H. C. Romaine of Green Island, the same county, writes: “Judge Maguire was received by a house full of our citizens on the 12th. He spoke for over two hours. Rennselaer county will put a full ticket in the field. Albany county is well organized and will also have a full ticket.”
C C. Platt, Ithaca.—The Ithaca Journal pronounced our last meeting, which Henry George addressed, as the largest one held in this place in eleven years — since Blaine and Conkling were here in 1876. It has made a great many votes for us. We want Louis F. Post here again. He made such a magnificent and effective address for us a few weeks ago, and there is such a very general interest in the land taxation doctrine here, that we want to arrange to have him speak before a big meeting on the 31st.
B. S. Warner, Roscoe, Rockland Co.—We formed an organization here last evening. William Cochran was elected chairman and Dr. F. T. Wheeler, secretary. Dr. Wheeler is a sound man and active in politics.
F. S. Hammond, Hoosick Falls.—Constant advices give encouraging reports regarding organization in this congressional district. You may rest assured that from now until election we will do our utmost to receive a large vote. Judge Maguire created a profound impression here. He had an audience of seven or eight hundred persons, and after his discourse names were handed in for membership in our club at a rate that spoke volumes in his praise. Even those most violently opposed to our movement spoke of him in complimentary terms. Back numbers of The Standard go off like hot cakes. The supply has fallen short of the demand. We want more.
Thomas Fassett, Plattsburg.—On the 12th Henry George addressed the largest audience of leading Citizens that ever assembled in this town. Music hall, our largest place of amusement, was packed, and hundreds were turned away. Farmers living ten miles off attended. Mr. George delivered a masterly speech and answered numbers of questions in a way that called forth vigorous applause. The meeting has had a marked effect upon all classes of people, and has been the chief topic of conversation since. The supporters of the movement have been greatly increased. The lithographic portraits of Henry George are in conspicuous places in the main streets. They were much sought after, and we can use more.
H. B. Hawkins, Oneonta.—I am putting tracts out by mail as fast as I can. The results are satisfactory. New names are coming in daily.
H. M. Davidson, Ogdensburg.—Dr. McGlynn spoke to a crowded house last Wednesday evening and gave universal satisfaction. He is doing a great work for the united labor party. Papers and tracts were distributed in the meeting. We are pushing organization.
B. S. Warner, Livingston Manor, Sullivan Co.—I organized a club here on the 11th. Daniel Van Fleet was made chairman and Peter B. Aikin, secretary. The chairman and four of the members have up to quite a recent date been very strong democrats, but they came over as soon as they came to understand the land plank in our platform. People in Hurleyville and Liberty, as well as in this place, are active and wish to hold some meetings at an early date. The greenbackers are strong in this section and want to hear Louis F. Post particularly.
A. J. Rose, Caledonia, Livingston Co.—My experience in organizing this section of the state is that the people are getting anxious to know more about the principles of the united labor party and are glad to get tracts or other literature.
J. A. Ronayne, Buffalo.—Victor A. Wilder spoke to a very intelligent audience in Liedertafel hall in this city on Saturday night and gave great satisfaction. We will hold another big meeting in this hall in a short time, besides several large meetings in outlying districts . We are progressing rapidly. The brave spirit that actuated the handful of workers — all there were of us — a short time ago now animates a large and fast increasing organization, which has extended its ramifications into the various wards. We have rented apartments for headquarters, and are pressing the work with vigor. The rest of Erie county is not being neglected.
F. E. Wilcox, Hudson.—Louis F. Post spoke to an audience of about five hundred persons on Friday evening. The night was cold and the janitor had neglected to make a fire, so that people shivered. But nevertheless they became so interested that they stayed to hear all the speaker had to say. His speech lasted about two hours. Our progress is very cheering.
A correspondent at Seneca Falls.—A meeting numbering three hundred persons was held here last week. Louis F. Post was the chief speaker and made an address full of telling points. We have a good club and the land question is the common talk in the streets.
A correspondent in Medina.—About four hundred people gave Louis F. Post a hearty reception in Medina last week. His speech has started many to thinking. The farmers in this section are getting interested.
John H. Blakeney, State Committeeman, Binghamton.—Despite a dark night, steady rain and muddy roads, we held a telling meeting in Lisle last week. I spoke for an hour and a half, and then answered questions for half an hour. The audience was very intelligent and attentive, and at the close of the proceedings gave me a very hearty vote of thanks. I also spoke during the week at Windsor. A heavy rain storm prevented a large attendance, but several influential men were in the audience, among them the pastors of the Methodist and Episcopal churches, respectively. Much interest was manifested in what I said, and after the meeting was dismissed a number of men stayed to have some difficult points explained to them. Of course, tracts were distributed. Rain likewise interfered with a meeting at Union, but the results, notwithstanding, were encouraging. I can send good reports from Whitney’s Point and Chenango Falls. The farmers are taking much interest in the discussion of our principles. They quickly grasp the theory, and at once see the justice and benefit of no tax on improvements. At a meeting in Oxford, in Chemung county, on Friday, Oct. 15, Rev. Ure Mitcbell, a Universalist minister, presided, and will take an important part in the movement.
B. S. Warner, Organizer, Liberty.—A club has been formed in Liberty. Dr. Thomas Grant is chairman and Colonel A. J. Clements is secretary. Work has just begun, but the members of the club are active, and will work energetically.
______, Cohoes—Henry George received an ovation in this town last week, and the movement has been shot forward. A simple but practical proof of the earnestness of the big audience was the liberal collection which was taken up — a considerable surplus being left after paying all the expenses of the meeting. Dr. Ross, J. S. Crane, Master Workman Fitzpatrick of the Ax makers’ assembly, and many others are doing admirable work.
Charles P. Vedder, Medina.—The men in the work shops here were delighted to get the lithographic portraits of Henry George, and have put them up in prominent places. As soon as I get more I shall send them to good men in the towns about. All goes well.
James A. Clary, Jamestown.—The united labor party is thriving well in this section. You may count on five hundred votes from Jamestown for the candidates of our ticket.
ANTI-POVERTY IN BALTIMORE.
What an Episcopal Clergyman Says of His Reasons for Enlisting in the New Crusade.
Rev. Samuel R. Bailey of the Reformed Episcopal church, Baltimore, who has taken a prominent part in the meetings of the Anti-poverty society of that city, has been interviewed by a reporter of the Baltimore American. In response to a question Mr. Bailey said:
“As to the religion of the movement, we think that the land question is intimately connected with our religion. Christ came not to destroy, but to fulfil the law and the prophets; and the law he came to fulfil — the law of Moses, the law of the ancient Hebrew commonwealth, from which we derive really all the traditions of religious and secular liberty — provided the year of jubilee, when all forfeited land was restored. That law, however, also was strict in regard to paying debts, but mercifully to the debtor. No deed for land could be given at any time for a larger period than to the year of the jubilee.
“In the psalms we read that the fields of the earth belong to the Lord, and that the earth was given to the children of men. We think that, as the Bible says the righteous are to possess the earth, we should have laws to give them a chance to do so, the poor as well as the more highly favored. In Ecclesiastes we read “the profit of the earth is for all.” The Anti-poverty society looks at the land question from a Christian and sanitary standpoint, as a means of doing away, for instance, with the horrors of the tenement house system in New York, where the monopoly of land creates immense tenement houses. There the unscrupulous landlord does not care how many tenants die so he gets his rent.
“As Dr. McGlynn in a late speech said, ‘I am intensely conscious that any one who may do anything good and great for the glory of God and for his fellow creatures must first become intensely conscious that all things are from God.’ This is one of the peculiarities of this movement, that men who have been agnostics and unbelievers gladly wear the cross of the new crusade. I find this to be the case here in Baltimore. It gives a new meaning to the cross of Christ and to Christianity. It invigorates Christianity with new life and new ideas. In fact, it goes back to the cause of Christ’s crucifixion, and does away with the insane idea, which too long has existed in the Christian mind, that the Jew was to be blamed for Christ’s crucifixion, and places the blame where it belongs — not on the Jew because he is a Jew, for the masses of the Jews were in favor of Christ. The people of Jerusalem filled the streets, strewed palm branches in His way, and cried, ‘Hosanna to the son of David.’ It was not the Jewish people, but the wealthy moneychangers of the temple whom Christ drove out, telling them, ‘It is written, My house shall be called a house of prayer, but ye have made it a den of thieves,’ that crucified Him, backed up by the wealth of the priesthood.
“I am in the movement because I believe I can do something for the religion of Christ by uniting with it, for what is wanted in the churches is something that will attract the poor people to them instead of driving them away by ostentation and pride. Christ said that one of the proofs of His divine mission was that the poor had the gospel preached to them.”
Mr. Garner Spoke for Himself Only.
Petersburg, Va.—In your issue of the 8th inst., under the caption of “News From Florida,” Mr. H. R. Garner says, “I for one was tutored from childhood to regard the north as our enemy, and Catholics and their doctrines I looked upon as intolerable.” Now I hope that your readers will not infer that all southern children were taught the same thing. It is the first time I ever heard of a southern child being taught to hate the north, as Mr. G. writes. I do not wish to stir Mr. G. to a controversy, but simply to set the people of our section right in the eyes of the north.
There will be a mass meeting of K. of L. in this city this week, which will be addressed by the Hon. John Jarrett of Pennsylvania.
I am doing all I can for our cause, and will try and effect an organization here. “Cockade.”
Plattsburg, N. Y.—I have had an experience of forty years in political life, and have attended many a meeting in that time, but I never before saw so enthusiastic a gathering as welcomed Henry George on the 12th inst. at Music hall. Over eight hundred were present, and numbers had to go away disappointed. The meeting has ever since been the general topic of conversation here, and will unquestionably result in a large increase in our vote. A feature of the meeting was the music furnished by our city band, of which a number are members of our Knights of Labor assemblies. Thomas Fassett.
Getting Stronger Than Ever in Troy.
Troy, Oct. 17.—During the past week we have held meetings at Millville and Sand Lake, in this county, both of which were addressed by T. J. Sanford, who explained the principles of the united labor party. Both meetings were largely attended by farmers, who are evincing an increased curiosity about our party.
Our organizations are getting stronger. We are making converts fast, and altogether I feel that our prospects are most encouraging. F. W. Morgan
Will He Please Call?
Mr. David Rorty is requested to call at or send his address to The Standard office.
After two years of prosperity another check has come to the tide of trade; and the ominous symptom of monetary stringency has reappeared with its invariable accompaniment of failures among the merchants who have been skating on thin ice.
In spite of the improvement in our industries of which we have been boasting the sensitiveness of the mercantile community is so great that when a single outsider like Mr. Chauncey Depew is said to have prophesied disaster it suffices to create almost a panic in what is looked upon as the pulse of trade, the stock market; and though Mr. Depew has been prompt to state that the famous interview with him was not correct as published, he cannot fully allay the disturbance he has created in the public mind. He does not deny that he did express some fear as to the evil results of land speculation, and the promptness with which the public responded to his fears shows how fully they share them. That subtle thing called commercial confidence has received a rude shock, and though it may have sufficient vitality to recover for a while, the momentary crisis has vividly illustrated a fact that business men are strangely slow to learn — the fact, namely, that they are all only workers for wages, as absolutely at the mercy of the monopolizers of natural opportunities as the veriest laborer in the land. We sail cheerfully along while the men who control the right to use land allow their fellow beings to exert their labor without paying an immoderate rental; but when the advancing forces of civilization, the increased powers of production, have awakened the greed of land speculators and tempted them to bid up the price of land to figures that are hardly justified even by its future earning capacity, then comes the certain reaction. Men buy land by promising to furnish the proceeds of the labor which they hope the possession of the land will enable them to control; in other words, by paying for it in part with a mortgage. And when the time comes for payment they cannot fulfill the contract because the labor which should have met the obligation has not yet been able to find profitable employment upon the land. The speculation itself has made it harder to do so, for the demand which it creates has placed a fictitious value on the land that serves to shut out the men who might be willing to labor upon it, but cannot afford to use it on exorbitant terms.
Even where the payment is in cash, it simply means that a title to the use of so much labor that is already possessed by the purchaser is transferred to some one else for the right to hold a certain amount of land until population has made a demand for its use. Such a purchase at best does nothing to facilitate production, as would the use of the same money in the exchange of commodities. But the commonest form of these real estate booms involves the mortgaging of future labor and the eventual failure to satisfy the mortgage when due. And the man who has given his promise, which he cannot meet, with the other men who are cut off from employment because the land is held out of their reach, can no longer perform his part in the reciprocal consumption which constitutes commerce, and the mischief spreading, distrust is created and the phenomenon occurs which we call the withdrawal of money.
It is the old story of financial disaster, painted distinctly years ago in “Progress and Poverty;” yet the men who are most concerned with its immediate results are painfully blind to the nature of the disease.
Year after year the growth of land monopoly reduces the profits of the merchant, both in the wages which his brain labor should command and the interest which his capital should produce, yet it is hard for him to see that he is suffering from the same cause that oppresses his neighbor who works with his hands. Even the real development of the country creates but little additional return for either capital or labor. Each coal mine that is opened, each oil well that is struck, may afford its pittance to the labor that is employed upon it or the capital that is used to handle the product, but the lion’s share is absorbed by the men who have appropriated the land. Tighter every year are bound the fetters that hold both capital and labor the servants of the land holder, and turn each new addition to the nation’s wealth into his coffers alone. Men are overtrading on every hand because they can make their business pay in no other manner. Here and there one misses his footing while he strives to extend or transfer some of the loans of borrowed capital, by means of which alone he can earn a living. He fails; and too often it is found that he has resorted to even less legitimate means to keep afloat, like the poor man who resorts to common theft for the food that he is forbidden to earn by his labor. When the crash comes, or the money squeeze that so often precedes the crash, the nostrum most eagerly sought for is some way to make it easier to borrow the means to keep the balloon afloat, and such fanciful notions appear as that the capital which has so mysteriously disappeared has been buried in the earth by the building of railroads.
Commercial capital is not money, or currency, rather, whether of gold or silver or paper; it is credit. It is the world’s promise to give labor to the capitalist when called upon, the evidence of which exists in bonds and notes and bank balances, the mere circulating medium being the smallest fraction of all capital in existence. So much of these evidences of indebtedness as represent the fact that some men have consumed less than their share of the general product, and therefore have the right to call upon their fellows to labor for their benefit at some future time, is what is called savings. But there is another and less legitimate source of commercial credit besides this; the fact that one class of men hold title to the natural opportunities which all must use, and yearly collect from the community, through their tenants, fresh promises to perform labor at the call of the landlord. A merchant, by his services in exchange, helps to produce the food that is annually grown, and if he consumes less than his services have created, he has a just right to claim that the men who have consumed the balance of his share shall repay him in some form; if not at once, then at some future time. And so he gets a credit for so much labor, translated into the dollars that make up his bank account. But first must be deducted the landlord’s share, taken as toll by a man who has done none of the work. It may be a direct rent, as when the labor of stock brokers who make land valuable near the stock exchange, results chiefly in higher rents for their offices; or it may be collected indirectly through the taxes on everything that the merchant uses; but whichever road it takes, it reaches the landlord’s pocket just as surely.
A bank credit does not grow of itself; it can be made profitable to its possessor in only one legitimate way — when it is made useful to mankind by investment in productive enterprise and consequent employment of labor. So if there were no other way to lay up savings we would never hear of the withdrawal of capital, because commercial capital could not afford to lie idle. But under existing conditions there is one form of investment where commercial capital can lie idle and yet make great prollts. It is when the capitalist says to the world, “’Instead of taking your simple promise to give me your labor in the future I will take some of our common land and hold that until the increasing numbers of men shall make a demand for it that will cause them to pay me a great toll for its use.” And until that time comes the portion of the earth thus monopolized is not used to satisfy the wants of mankind; but when the demand has become sufficiently urgent the men who use the land must be content with only a part of what they produce upon it, while the rest is enjoyed by the other men whom we call its owners. And this is what makes wages fall and the percentage of profits grow less, even while the powers of production steadily increase with the progress of civilization. When business men, in the effort to compensate for a reduced rate of profit by a larger gross business, stretch to the utmost their ability to borrow — in other words, to mortgage their own labor — the whole system finally snaps under the strain. Or when commerce in its natural growth has reached the limits of the land that it is allowed to use, some part of the machinery must stop, and clog or disarrange the whole.
It is not mere coin or paper money that is wanting in such a case. The New York banks transfer six hundred millions of credits in a week, the banks throughout the country half as much more again; yet all the actual money they keep on hand is less than a hundred millions, and most of this is held as a sort of insurance to their depositors, and not for actual use in making exchanges. If all the fourteen millions of bonds that the treasury recently offered to take had been tendered for in one day, they would have added less than one-fifth to the circulating medium in the city banks alone, and have formed not two percent of the “money” needed by the country for the transaction of a week’s business.
Nor have we sunk a hoard of wealth in the 12,000 miles of railroad that Mr. Poor tells us have been built within a year. Part of the country has been supplying food, clothing and shelter to the men who were building embankments, or digging cuts, or laying rails and ties, receiving in return evidences of indebtedness on which they hope to collect an equivalent from the new wealth that the railroads are expected to produce. Nothing has been destroyed, and even if the roads should absolutely fail in their purpose, it would simply compel the whole country to work harder in the future; it should result in increased employment, not stagnation.
But the real trouble is that although men wish to work, whether in the office or shop or on the farm, they are not allowed to by other men who control the land on which the work must be done. Or if they are given the use of necessary land, it is only at a price that leaves but little return for their labor. Set the land free by taxing its value so that no one can hold it in idleness, and so that each man will get the full return of his individual labor, and all men together will enjoy the fruits of the joint effort that produces rent, and we shall no longer find young men seeking in vain for an opening by which to support themselves and benefit mankind. We shall no longer see merchants struggling in an almost hopeless endeavor to carry on business at a fair profit, or tied hand and foot by a periodical dullness of trade, the causes of which they have never been able to fathom. For all men, whether they work with hand or brain, will have access to the land, without which none can labor; the few can no longer live at the expense of the many, or shut out the many from the land which God gave to all. Edward J. Shriver.
Tide Rising in Montgomery County
Amsterdam, Oct. 18.—Following close after Dr. McGlynn’s rousing reception of a week ago came a good meeting, addressed by Louis F. Post of New York and P. H. Cummins of this place, the candidate for state treasurer The audience was composed chiefly of mechanics, who showed by their frequent applause that they fully understood the doctrines enunciated by the speakers and gave them hearty support. We are getting into very satisfactory condition in Amsterdam. Our organization is day by day growing stronger. We are now planning a systematic method for distributing ballots and conducting all the incidental work. Our party and its principles have suddenly acquired much importance in the town, and the newspapers are compelled to give considerable space to the discussion of our principles. As the Evening Recorder said, “Dr. McGlynn and the subject upon which he lectured at the Opera house the other evening, is the all absorbing topic of conversation.” The tide of public opinion is fast turning in our favor.
The Only Way to be a Good Democrat is to Vote the United Labor Party Ticket.
New York, Oct. 12.—“Unnecessary taxation is unjust taxation,” says the democratic platform of 1887. This is sound doctrine, and citizens who believe in it can indorse it at the coming election only by voting the united labor ticket. The taxation of land values is absolutely necessary to secure to capital and labor their just returns and to the community the revenue belonging to it. All other taxes are unnecessary, because the taxation of land values will amply cover all legitimate public expenditures, and they are unjust because they are unnecessary.
Wm. E. McKenna.
Cornell Students Studying “Progress and Poverty.”
Ithaca, N. Y.—A permanent organization of Cornell university students has been effected for the purpose of studying the single tax theory. Many students are interested, and it is believed that “Progress and Poverty” will be pretty well sifted by them. Tracts are going like hot cakes.
The following are the officers of the organization: B. W. Holt, president; Frank Curnmings, vice president; T. D. Davis. secretary; E. B. Shuster, treasurer. B. W. Holt.
Good Seed Sown in Suffolk County.
Amityville, Suffolk Co., Oct. 18.—We had a grand meeting in this village last Saturday evening, which was addressed by Messrs. J. P. Kohler and A. G. Sullivan of the Brooklyn Henry George club. Most of our prominent business men were present, and evinced great interest. After the addresses were over numerous questions were asked of the speakers and satisfactorily answered. In short, good seed has been sown. H. F.
Getting Stronger in Whitehall.
Whitehall, Washington Co., Oct. 18.—Our meeting of the 11th, at which Mr. George spoke, was a grand one. Fully 500 were present, including ministers, merchants, farmers, mechanics and laborers. People are beginning to think, and our organization is getting stronger.
W. E. Collins.
Encouraging Progress in Amsterdam.
Amsterdam, N. Y.—We are making things hum here. Dr. McGlynn is still the talk of the town, and our land and labor club is making encouraging progress. Ray D. Chapman.
NEW YORK COUNTY CONVENTION.
A Strong Ticket Nominated in a Business-like Manner.
Of the 695 delegates to the New York county convention, there were few absentees from the session at Cooper union, on last Monday night. The large platform, decorated with silk assembly district banners and handsome national flags, was crowded with well-known workers of the party who were not delegates.
William J. O’Dair was elected permanent chairman, and the temporary secretaries were given the similar permanent positions. Nominations for all the offices were made in the order of assembly districts, and votes taken in the same manner.
The nominations for the candidacy to the supreme court were Abner C. Thomas, Henry A. Braun, Thomas G. Shearman, Louis F. Post, Robert M. Waite and F. C. Leubuscher. Friends of Messrs. Shearman and Post withdrew their names. Messrs. Waite and Leubuscher declined. Mr. Thomas was nominated by acclamation. In response to a general call, he appeared before the convention. He said he considered the nomination the greatest compliment ever paid him. To be nominated for such an office by men who live by their own labor, and not by speculating upon the labor of others, was indeed a great honor. He accepted the nomination and he expected to be elected.
For second place on the supreme court ticket, John R. Vincent’ received 530 votes, Henry A. Braun, 129, and Wm. Delahanty, 35. The nominee, Mr. Vincent, was not present.
For nomination to the city court bench Maurice W. Hart received 567 votes, George W. Dease, 373; E. W. Chamberlain, 309, and John B. Goff, 130. Messrs. Hart and Dease were therefore declared the nominees for the two seats.
Frederick C. Leubuscher and E. W. Chamberlain were named for judge of the court of general sessions, but Mr. Chamberlain declined and Mr. Leubuscher was nominated by acclamation.
The chair then announced that nominations for district attorney were in order. Mr. Post was put in nomination by acclamation. Gideon J. Tucker was nominated for surrogate by acclamation.
Three ballots were taken by the convention for the nomination for comptroller. On the first Paul Maver had 218 votes, Michael J. Breslin 197, Patrick J. Dowdy 152, William H. Hotchkiss 77, Reuben K. Silverbrandt 44, Alden H. Spencer 17. On the second, the names receiving the three lowest votes having been dropped, Mayer received 257 votes, Doody 231, Breslin 199. On the third, Breslin’s name having been dropped, Doody’s vote was 352 and Mayer’s 342.
The first ballot for the nomination for coroner was: Dr. W. S. Gottheil, 201: William P. O’Meara, 171; Paul Mayer, 108; Dr. Jeremiah Coughlin, 94; F. Chazza, 46; J. Ernst, 14; G. H. Swain, 11; P. Duffy, 4. The second ballot was: Gottheil, 263; Mayer, 197: O’Meara, 175; Coughlin, 61. The third ballot gave Mayer 307 and Gottheil 291.
For president of the board of aldermen, William McCabe received 385 votes and Joseph Wilkinson 310.
While the record of the voting indicates that the convention in every instance freely made its own choice of candidates, it imparts but a faint impression of the spirit of aggresive independence shown by the delegates.
In no case was there any inquiry as to what candidate was the favorite of any man or faction in the party, either with the intention of promoting him or putting him down in consequence. In fact there was no mention of lea er to follow or faction to be arrayed with or against. Every candidate was tested by his merits, so far as they were known to the delegates. The questions chiefly asked concerned the duration of the candidate’s membership in the party, the nature of the services he had rendered, his integrity of character, his sincerity in support of the platform, and the grade of his ability with respect to the office for which he was named. The spirit of the convention from early evening until the adjournment at two o’clock next morning was business like while voting for candidates, congratulatory after ballots had been taken, and enthusiastic when the unopposed candidates had been put up by acclamation. Mr. Thomas was the first to receive the hearty tribute of applause offered to a candidate getting a unanimous nomination. His few words were chosen happily and delivered well. When he retired from the stage the delegates were impressed that he would be a safe judge. The nominations to the other judicial positions, the convention felt, had been given to honest men who had every one of them bravely espoused the cause when it was unpopular and who had thus exhibited traits that would redound to their honor if elected.
Though the proceedings were carried on harmoniously and occasionally enthusiastically, it was not until the nomination for district attorney came up that the members allowed their feelings full play. Hardly had the chairman announced that order of business when from every part of the great hall arose cries of “Post! Post! Post!” followed by an outburst of hurrahs, which presently became rythmical in three cheers and three more and three more, while hands and feet contributed in a long and loud demonstration of approval. The climax was reached when every man in the body of the house and on the platform rose and swung his hat in the air and cheered with all his power.
The name of Gideon J. Tucker was greeted with an enthusiasm that fell short only of that which Mr. Post’s received. As the nominations were proceeded with it was evident that the delegates felt as each name was put on the list that a ticket was being formed that would prove irresistible in its strength. To the offices that could be filled with non-professional men were nominated members of labor organizations who have long beeu prominent, because of their activity and proved integrity.
Of Patrick J. Doody, all who know him say there is not money enough in New York to swerve him a single step from the path of rectitude. Paul Mayer’s popularity is that of a modest, earnest, sensible man, long connected with the labor movement. William McCabe’s prominence in the support of the principles of the Syracuse platforms was gained years before that platform was made. Largely through his efforts the Central labor union was organized, and it adopted at its formation as its basic principle the plank that the land belongs to the people. Mr. McCabe as a worker for labor has been untiring, capable, bold and unselfish. The result of his efforts for various organizations, especially for the Typographical union and the Anti-poverty society, have been impressed upon every ward in the city of New York.
The convention of Monday night last, although a large one, knew its nominees, and, accepting them for their worth, adjourned convinced that its work had been cleanly and intelligently done.
Cheering Results in Yonkers.
Yonkers.—Our club now has fifty members. It enrolls new ones every week, and this, together
with the results which have followed the work of the tract committee who have been distributing tracts every evening, encourage us in believing that we will do well in November. The general feeling in our town toward the united labor party and its principles is favorable, and many who before were opposed are now disposed to listen to what we have to say. There is a good deal of talk about the speech which Henry George is to deliver here on Oct. 21. A good many people who are not yet with us will go to hear him. George T. Bedder.
The Anti-Poverty Society of Paterson Needs Your Support — An Earnest Appeal.
Paterson, N. J.—We want by this means to ask the Paterson readers of The Standard to visit our anti-poverty society. We have been successful so far in our undertaking of making people think, and we know that not more than one-quarter of your readers in this city attend our meetings. We want them all to turn in and help us and feel assured that the results will be more than gratifying. The society meets on Friday evening for business at 185 Main street. Sunday evenings we have regular public meetings at the same place and they are very well attended, but not so well that they might not be better. Let each Standard reader consider this a personal invitation to meet with us and help along the good cause. There is plenty of work to do, enough for each and all of those interested.
We have sent a little money to the New York campaign fund and a little to Newark, which latter was supplemented by the presence and hard work at the polls of six of our members. Let each one do his share of the work. The harvest is ready and workers not so numerous as to crowd each other. Jump in and help. E. W. Nellis.
That Poor Widow Again.
Ladue, Mo.—From a sentimental point of view one of the strongest illustrations against the justice of the single tax is the case of the poor widow who lives on the rental value of her farm land. She owns, say, eighty acres, and gets a rental of one-third the crop. Under the single tax system her rental value would be taxed away from her (or the greater part of it, at all events), and she would have to be supported by the state. This, of course, is, in our opponent’s opinion, enough to knock the whole single tax scheme sky high.
But hold on, my friend; you do not seem to recognize the renter as a factor in the case. Under the present system the renter is burdened with the support of the widow and her children, and is thus fulfilling the functions of the state without any recompense other than the privilege to work. If he is a married man, he has to divide equally between himself, his wife and another man’s relict the fruits of his labor. If he has children, his own and his wife’s share are greatly reduced, he becomes involved in debt, his capital (tools) confiscated, and he is no longer enabled to follow the only occupation for which he is fitted, except as a hired man. Now, I ask if a system by which the state shifts its burdens on to the shoulders of an individual till it crushes him to the earth can be just and right?
Spreading the Light in England.
West Dulwich, London, Sept. 26.—In rooting among some old papers I found a letter from an old Welsh friend, W. Peppleton, a very good political economist, who believes in the doctrine of “the land for the people.” He writes: “Many thanks for the copy of The Standard which you sent me. I have read it with great pleasure. I never had so clear a conception of the work of Henry George and the party he represents. I entirely agree with you that land should bear all taxation.”
I have many friends like this one. I am sending them sample copies of The Standard, and endeavoring in other ways to extend the circulation of your admirable paper. I place a copy each week on the reading table of the National liberal club, sending it away to some friend when the following week’s issue arrives. My whole beart is in your glorious crusade. Thomas Briggs.
Steadily Growing in Buffalo.
Buffalo, Oct. 17.—The party in this city has held a number of important meetings during the week, the chief one of which took place in Liedertafel hall on Friday night. Victor A. Wilder, candidate for state treasurer, was the principal speaker, and was accorded a hearty reception. The east side clubs will hold a big rally in the Fifth ward on Saturday night, Oct. 22 to receive Rev. W. E. Lincoln of Painesville, O., and Hon. Samuel W. Williams of Vincennes, Ind. They are to engage actively in the canvass and will make their first speeches here on Saturday. We are pushing organization in the wards, and have several clubs formed. There is a continuous demand for tracts, and our stock has constantly to be replenished. We are in need of a German speaker, as there are many voters of that nationality in our population. J. W. Neil.
The Richmond County Convention.
The united labor party held its county convention in Tynan’s hall, Stapleton, on Saturday evening, Oct. 15. The convention organized with Lester W. Clark, chairman; Chas. Koffer and A. B. Stoddard, vice-chairmen; John H. Shilling, secretary; Wm. J. Corey, sergeant-at-arms. The following nominations were made: For assembly, John De Morgan; school commissioner, Alex. Driscoll; county clerk, Wm. E. Simkins; coroner, Dr. F. E. Martindale; superintendent of the poor, C. O. Dilg. An executive committee consisting of Wm. J. Corey, chairman; John H. Schilling, secretary; M. W. Curry, treasurer; Michael Oates, John Costello, John Brown, A. B. Stoddard, James Millen, John De Morgan, John S. Cogan and Wm. Blum, was elected and will
commence work at once. John H. Schilling, Secretary.
Well, Are Not Sharp and Gould Conspicuous Examples of the Evils of the Dread of Poverty?
Denver, Col.—Please find inclosed money order for $1 and filled up blank of Anti-poverty society; but allow me to say that, while thus manifesting my confidence, that the society’s aims, if successful, will abolish an immense amount of poverty and consequent suffering, yet I cannot hope that all poverty will be banished from the earth till all vice is. I know that, the former is the fruitful source of a great deal of the latter, but I see many people who are not poor who are very wicked — Jake Sharp and Jay Gould, for instance.
At Work on Long Island.
Jamaica, L. I.—This town has a land and labor club now, and is going to make a good showing next month. Our first meeting, held last week, was attended by a large number of intelligent people, among them some of the leading men of the town. The speakers were John Filmer and James P. Kohler. Some democratic partisans present attempted to disconcert the first speaker, but so far from doing so, aroused his enthusiasm and increased the general interest in the doctrine of the single tax. F. J.
THE DISTRIBUTION OF WEALTH.
Having reached the conclusion that indirect, or as the writer first called it five years ago, “crooked” taxation is certain to produce enormous inequality of wealth, that it is palpably and indisputably unjust, and that it inevitably leads to that worst form of inequality which involves the perpetual ownership of more than half of the wealth of a country by less than the one-hundredth part of its inhabitants, we are prepared to take up the next and final question in our series.
What can be done to effect a more equal distribution of wealth, without diminishing its production?
Again let us waive the discussion of rent. Having purposely avoided all consideration of that tender subject, we will not take it up just now. Assuming that rent can rightfully be private property, and that the community is not to claim it, simply as rent — conceding all that the champions of private property in land claim — let us inquire what, nevertheless, remains to be done and ought to be done, in order to prevent the unjust use of government to the injury of the poor, and to check the artificial tendency toward the monopoly of wealth by a hundredth part of the population.
Neither let us enter into dispute with the believers in co-operation or state interference in the interest of labor. All that need be said just now is that no advocate of any of these theories can prove, by actual facts and figures, that the average laborer would be any better off for the adoption of his theory. He believes that all laborers would be benefited, of course, by the adoption of his favorite scheme; but he cannot prove it to the amount of one dollar. Why should not such friends or the laborer agree to make a beginning with a reform which they and every one else must admit is just and necessary, and which is easily proved, beyond all doubt, to benefit the laboring class? Why should not all unite first to let the laborer keep the money which he now earns before insisting upon schemes which may enable him to earn more, but which certainly cannot enable him to keep it without a reform in taxation? Why insist upon putting more money into a purse full of holes before stopping up the holes?
Some good men, especially among the clergy, insist strenuously upon the necessity of a moral reform among the people themselves as the only method by which they can be elevated. We agree that without a good foundation of moral principle no man can attain to any real good. But what is so helpful to this end as a good example in society and the state? And is not the first and best step toward such an example to be taken by ceasing to oppress and rob the poor?
Where there is a plain duty at hand it is worse than useless to postpone its performance for the sake of finding something else to be done which is not at all plain. “Let him that stole steal no more.” That is a duty which he can and must perform instantly. Shall he say, “I will go on stealing until I am able to make restitution for all that I ever stolen?” That is the way in which many people deal with public duties. They admit that grievous wrongs exist which could be removed at once; but they refuse to raise a finger for their removal, because they think that they see other wrongs which cannot be so easily disposed of.
Here is a plain duty — to put an end to an obvious wrong. The answer to our great question is simple and indisputable. Abolish crooked taxation, and the current which now flows irresistibly toward inequality will instantly begin to flow toward equality. Put an end to a system under which a poor washerwoman pays more than 80% of all her savings, under the pretense of taxation, while a Stanford, a Mackay or a Carnegie pays only 3%. Substitute straight taxation for crooked; make every one pay in proportion to what he has, or ought to have, and not in proportion to what he never could have, and you will at least put an end to one influence which now inevitably and irresistibly tends to “make men poor, keep them poor, and drive them into pauperism.”
A system of absolutely direct taxation under which each taxpayer should pay only his fair share, should pay it himself and should pay it only to the state and not to any private person, would do more to enrich the poor without impoverishing the rich than any other reform which has ever been taken on by any political party or benevolent society.
Practically, this is admitted by all who have studied the subject. No one has ever denied the justice of the demand for this reform. There has never been any answer to it, except that it is impossible to be attained. Of course, we must all admit that perfection cannot be attained in this or in anything else. Taxes cannot be laid in the precise proportion to a cent which absolute justice would require. But that is not the meaning of the objection. Protectionists like Mr. Ellis H. Roberts, and anti-protectionists like Mr. Atkinson, insist that every kind of tax distributes itself among consumers in proportion to their expenses in precisely the same manner as tariff and excise taxes.
But in this these gentlemen are entirely mistaken. The illustrations which they use only prove that many forms of taxation do distribute themselves in this way. It is true that all taxes upon production do so. A so-called “direct tax” on goods and chattels, on mortgages, debts and personal property of any kind, will distribute itself; as they correctly claim; and it will be paid in the proportion of eighty cents by the washerwoman and three cents by the railway king. But there are taxes which cannot be thus shifted. Every economic writer who has studied the question agrees upon these; but they need no authority to make the matter clear. Common sense shows that they cannot be collected by the first taxpayer from anybody else.
Only two such taxes, however, are known, which could possibly be made to produce sufficient revenue for the support of government. These are the income tax and the tax on land alone, excluding all improvements. We will not waste time in explaining why all other available taxes, even though usually called direct, are really indirect, and distribute themselves among consumers, because everybody concedes the fact. But we will consider the two taxes mentioned.
The income tax cannot be shifted by the taxpayer. No economic writer pretends that it can be; but it has suited the purposes of those who have a selfish interest in maintaining the present system to assert of late years that it is shifted, like most other taxes. If the income of any one class of producers should be taxed, while leaving others untaxed, it is true that such a tax would be partly shifted; because if, for instance, the income of all bakers should be taxed, while grocers’ incomes were not taxed, many bakers would quit the business and become grocers, and the bread buyers would have fewer bakers from whom to buy, so that the bakers who remained in the business, having less competition, could and would raise their prices sufficiently to give them an extra profit, sufficient to pay their income tax. But if grocers and every one else should pay income tax, no one could gain anything by changing his occupation; and if any one attempted to raise his prices, so as to recover his income tax, his neighbors would undersell him, and he would lose his whole trade.
Be this as it may, a fatal objection to the income tax is that no means have ever been devised by which it can be justly assessed and honestly collected. After many years’ experience in detecting frauds and perfecting the machinery of collection, with the aid of arbitrary powers of examination and assessment, with the immense advantage of a compact population, in which inquiry into each man’s business is comparatively easy, and with many other facilities which American officials can never have, it is nevertheless universally admitted that European officials fail to collect the income tax in full, or to assess it fairly. It is a tax which is paid in full by strictly honest men, but by no one else. It offers, therefore, a premium to fraud and perjury; and the experience of all nations and of all history shows that taxes which can be thus evaded are an infallible source of fraud and demoralization.
A progressive income tax has long been a favorite plan of the German socialists, and it has been taken up by shallow politicians in England as well as by still shallower ones in America. No doubt, if it could be honestly collected, it would furnish an instrument by which all inequalities of wealth could be entirely done away with. But then the same end could be reached by converting the whole world into monks and nuns. And it would be rather easier to do that than to secure the honest payment of each man’s share under a progressive income tax. Any income tax is difficult enough to collect, but a progressive income tax is ten times more easily evaded and more impracticable of enforcement. A uniform income tax can be to a large extent collected by requiring all corporations to deduct it from their payments of dividends and interest, and such payments are among the most important contributions under that tax. But if the tax is to be 5% on the first $5,000, 10% on the next, 15% on the next, and so on until it reaches 50% or 75%, as some propose, it would be impossible to collect anything through corporations, because no one would allow more stock or bonds to stand in his name than would produce an income of $5,000; and so the treasury would never collect more than 5% from any one. If, on the other hand, the highest tax should be collected from dividends and interest, say 50%, leaving those who ought to pay less to apply for a refund, either the whole must be kept by the state, which would simply extinguish corporations, or all the excess over 5% would be applied for by persons who would claim to be owners of the stock and bonds, and to have no income in excess of $5,000. In short, in one way or the other the state would lose all the advantages which it now gains by collecting through the medium of corporations, and would be thrown back upon the old method of catechising each taxpayer separately and taxing him for so much as he could not swear out of. Meantime, the taxpayer whose conscience would not allow him to swear to a point blank lie would divide his income among his relations and friends, so as to bring his own income within the lowest limit, trusting in their good faith to return him the money when he had sworn off for the year. But, supposing that all these resources failed, how long would the man whose income was a million a year and who under this plan would be taxed $500,000, have to wait before he could find an official open to a bribe of $100,000 a year to let him escape? The whole scheme is one of those wild theories, impossible in practice, which moonstruck minds occupy themselves in spinning.
A succession tax — that is, a tax upon property passing from a dead man to a living person — is a strictly direct tax, which cannot be shifted; and, if moderate in amount, it can be collected through probate courts with tolerable ease and certainty. If raised to an oppressive figure it will be evaded by death bed transfers. But if kept down to such proportion as is collectable it will not produce a quarter of the amount needed for governmental purposes. It need not, therefore, be considered except as a supplementary tax in case of urgent necessity.
We come round, therefore, to the tax on land values as the only tax which, while producing enough to supply the public need, is incapable of being shifted upon the consumer, and so transferred from property to labor. We have reached this conclusion by a course of reasoning which has never involved any disputed question as to the right of private property in land, the justice of rent or the right of private owners to collect and keep all the rent which they can get. We have seen that the present system of taxation is a wholesale robbery of the poor, which, nevertheless, does not materially benefit the rich; its final effect being to leave the rich in about the same condition as they would be under an impartial system of taxation, while it crushes the poor into the earth. Unless, therefore, the more wealthy classes take a positive satisfaction in seeing the mass of men miserable, there is no reason why they should oppose a system of fair and equal taxation. The poor man might truly say to his rich neighbor that this system “not enriches him, but leaves me poor indeed.” We have seen that, by the general consent of all who have studied the subject, there are practically only two methods of taxation sufficient for the public needs which are not open to at least half the objections which apply to the existing system, and no others which are not open to all the objections which apply to our state and local systems. We have seen that one of these two methods substitutes a tax on honesty for a tax on poverty. What objections can be raised to the only remaining alternative — a tax on land values?
These objections have been somewhat fully considered in another paper. It is not necessary now to go into them in detail; but it is necessary to meet a few of them sufficiently to show that, in any event, the faults which are alleged to lie in this mode of taxation are not so great as those which make all others so injurious and unjust.
The first objection is that the land tax could be shifted just as readily as any other tax, and therefore that it would finally fall upon the consumer, exactly as the tax on whisky, tobacco or woolen cloth does.
If this were true, it would still be an excellent thing to adopt this tax, for it could only be true in case the same fact were true of all other forms of taxation; and this tax is so easily collected and so much more easy to assess fairly than any other tax which has ever been tried that its adoption would save the people a hundred millions every year in the immediate reduction of needless taxes, six or seven hundred millions in the abolition of the system of private profit which is maintained under the tariff and internal revenue taxes, and several millions in the abolition of many thousand superfluous federal tax collecting offices. It would also release so many branches of industry from the restraints which now hamper them as to increase the productive power of the nation at the very least 20%, which means an addition of two thousand millions to the wealth of the whole people every year. All this we could demonstrate if it were worth while to take up the space. But it is all conceded by the most resolute opponents of the land tax, other than the protectionists. And even they will concede that an immense part of these advantages could be gained through a land tax, provided it were accompanied by a system of bounties to domestic mine owners, wool growers, ship owners and steel makers. We do not dwell upon these points, however, because the question now at issue relates to the distribution of wealth, rather than to its production. If the land tax can be distributed among consumers like other taxes, its adoption would have comparatively small effect in changing the distribution of wealth, certainly no more than would the adoption of any other form of nominally direct taxation.
But there is no truth in this objection. If it were well founded, no one would be more in favor of this form of taxation than the very persons who are most fiercely opposed to it; for they generally belong to a class which would gain by the adoption of any such tax, provided it could be shifted off the shoulders of the wealthy taxpayer. It is precisely because they know that it cannot be shifted, that the land owner must pay it, and that he cannot add it to his rent or to the price of the produce of his land, that they are so bitterly opposed to it. Every writer upon economic subjects, since the days of Ricardo, and even before him, agrees with John Stuart Mill that a tax upon the value or rent of land cannot be shifted. Every one who will study the subject for himself, with an unprejudiced mind, must come to the same conclusion. Land is something which cannot be made by man. Even Holland does not contain a speck of land which is man-made, although it consists largely of that which has been made habitable by man. Men gathered earth from the dry land and piled up dikes against the sea, and then, drawing off the water from the soil, made it fertile and useful; but no man really made an inch of land. By taxing the land and its natural contents at their value in the state in which they were left by nature, it is clear that no discouragement can be put upon the production of land, because land is not produced. If the landlord is thus taxed, he cannot increase his rent, because he is already getting all the rent which any one can afford to pay for the land. If he demands more than this in order to pay his taxes, the tenant will be forced to quit the land, and then it will bring the landlord no rent whatever, while he will be obliged to pay the tax all the same. Thus his only resource for the payment of the tax is to continue to rent the land at the same price as before, and so he cannot collect the tax from anybody. If he works the land himself he cannot add the tax to the price of its productions, for he is already getting as high a price as competition will allow. If he refuses to produce because of the tax he would be still forced to pay the tax without getting any compensation for it. If he refuses to pay, the state will forthwith seize his land and hire it out to some one who will pay the tax and will use the land in such manner as to make it produce the tax and something more. If he wants to raise more money out of the land in order to meet the tax, there is but one way in which he can do it. He must produce more, not less, and in doing so he will make the things produced more plentiful, and, therefore, cheaper. Thus he will be driven to employ more labor, thus raising wages, while he will increase production, thus lowering prices. The laborer who owns no land will thus gain at both ends; his wages will be increased, while his expenses will be lessened.
The absurdity of supposing that the land tax can be shifted may be easily illustrated. Take a piece of land from which only 20 bushels of wheat per acre can be extracted. Suppose this wheat to sell, as it does now, for less than $14 on the farm. Suppose that the owner gets a rent of $5 an acre, which he cannot do; but still, suppose he does. Then imagine him taxed $4 an acre on this land. He raises his rent to $9. Suppose he gets even this. The state, the next year, raises his tax to $9. Can he raise his rent to $14? What inducement would any farmer have to work the land at that price? Would not the landlord have either to pay the tax out of his own pocket or else to give up the land entirely? And, in the latter case, would not his tenant hire it from the state and pay to the state what he used to pay to the landlord?
There is not then the slightest doubt that a pure land tax would fall solely upon land owners, and could not in any way be recovered by them from any other class. If, then, all the people were land owners to an equal amount this would be unquestionably the best tax and one which would most effectually produce the good results which we have seen would follow the laying of a perfectly uniform tax. But the people are not all land owners, and hardly two of them own precisely the same amount or value in land. The bulk of the value of land is held by the classes whose income exceeds $1,000. Few indeed of the class whose income is less than this hold any considerable amount of land free from debt, and if they are in debt their creditors are the real owners of the land to the amount of their debts. Consequently, the land tax would not at present fall to any appreciable extent upon 12,000,000 of the 17,000,000 persons engaged in work of all kinds, while the larger share of it would fall upon less than 500,000 persons. As to the 12,000,000, the effect of a single land tax would at first be exactly as beneficial as the total abolition of all taxes, for that is what it would amount to in their case. As we shall see presently, they would gradually become taxpayers as their prosperity increased. As to at least 4,000,000 more, their share of the land tax would be always much smaller than the taxes which, directly or indirectly, they now pay. The burden of the change would fall mainly upon 100,000 or at most 200,000 persons.
Let us make a rough estimate of probable results. In doing this it must never be forgotten that more than half the present burden of taxation is wholly unnecessary, and would be entirely done away with under a land tax. That fact alone explains why it would be possible to take the burden entirely off the shoulders of the majority, without increasing the burden which would be imposed upon the minority under an equal distribution of the present taxes. If Smith and Jones are each paying $100 a year in taxes and the government concludes to be content with half the amount, Smith is really no worse off than he was before, if he has to pay all the tax, and Jones is allowed to go free. In the next place, it must be remembered that, under a single land tax, the production of the country would rapidly increase, and therefore that the wealthy classes themselves would have a much larger income. We have estimated this increase at 20% for the whole country, and there is no reason to suppose that the richer classes would not have their full share of this increase.
Now, referring to table No. 3, we have estimated the present income of the 107,000 wealthy persons at $1,550,000,000. Add 20% to this and it would be $l,860,000,000. Now suppose that all the taxes were collected from these classes alone, which is not a possible thing; still, let us suppose it. The taxes would be reduced to $600,000,000, and they still have $1,260,000,000 left. In table No. 7 it is shown that the same classes ought at the very least to pay, even under reduced taxation, assessed on all kinds of property, $191,355,000. But, the present tax burden being more than double that upon which this computation is made, these classes ought now to pay over $400,000,000. This would leave them only $1,150,000,000, so that, collectively, they would actually be far better off under a system of taxation which nominally threw the whole burden upon them than they are now.
To be quite fair, however, we must point out that we are only dealing with these classes collectively. If they were subdivided into two classes, one holding land for speculation, and the other using it for practical purposes, it would then appear that the former class would be deprived of seven-eighths of its income, while the latter class would gain all the advantage. It is not necessary or proper, however, to make any such division. Comparatively few belong to the class who have no other source of income than ground rents or speculative land values. The large majority, even of rich men, have interests on both sides; and, under the land tax system, they would gain on the one hand all that they would lose on the other.
The number of persons who would sustain any real loss, therefore, by the abolition of all taxes except on land values is so small as to be unworthy of consideration. The question of compensation is not, in the individual judgment of the writer, an important one, provided it were possible to establish a tribunal capable of dealing with it on the basis of exact justice. Assessed upon the same principles which usually govern assessments for local improvements — deducting from the award of damages the value of the probable benefits, and confining the award to the actual loss sustained by the present generation, which is all or nearly all that ought to be allowed — and making no allowance for more than the actual cost of the land to the particular owner who claims compensation — it is probable that the award could not exceed the benefit which the community would gain within the next five or ten years, at the very outside. The real difficulty is the practical impossibility of securing such a tribunal and of making an honest assessment.
But there is no precedent in history for granting such compensation. The classes which now insist upon it are the very ones who have scoffed at the idea when changing the tax laws to suit their own interests. They have unhesitatingly ruined thousands of merchants and destroyed vast industries which furnished bread to hundreds of thousands. If millions, indeed, have not been starved in consequence of the selfish changes in taxation effected by these classes, no thanks are due to them. The protective tariffs which they have befooled the country into accepting were intended to destroy the mercantile business, the shipping and the foreign trade of American citizens, and to starve foreign workmen at their forges and looms. Let them drink a little of their own medicine. It is yet quite within their power by offering a fair compromise to secure compensation; but, like the Irish landlords, they will undoubtedly resist to the last, and so be ultimately compelled to submit without any compensation whatever.
Moreover, how could compensation be given, and for what? What is the ground upon which compensation is asked? For taking away the title to land? Under the proposed system, the last thing which the state would want to do would be to deprive any owner of his title to land. For changing the methods of taxation? It cannot be denied that the existing methods are grossly unjust, and ought to be changed. For abolishing a method which takes from the poor ten times as much as from the rich, and substituting a method which takes from the rich five times as much as from the poor? If compensation is to be allowed to the rich for doing this in the future, compensation must certainly be allowed to the poor for doing a worse thing to them in the past and the present. As those who have been first wronged are entitled to the first compensation, and as it would absorb all the surplus taxes which could be collected in the next century, it is a rather dangerous thing to open the question at all. If there is to be a statute of limitations as to the past, there must be a similar limitation as to the future. But the whole question of compensation is not a practical one, and is never likely to be. And its introduction here is a digression indulged in to meet the objections which would be raised in the minds of many readers.
Having considered the case of the rich and found that, upon the whole, they would not be at all injured by an exclusive land tax, let us consider the case of the poor. Table No. 6 shows that if all taxes were removed the vast mass of 16,000,000 workers, constituting more than nine-tenths of the community, and earning on an average less than $400 a year, would have it in their power, with no greater economy than they now use, to save about twelve hundred millions every year. Supposing that, as they gradually increased their ownership of land, they paid one-third of the whole land tax, which is quite probable, this would still leave them one thousand millions untouched. Table No. 7 shows that if it were possible to tax the actual property of rich and poor alike, including personal as well as real, the tax upon the same classes would amount to $260,000,000, and their net savings to $837,000,000. The land tax would, therefore, work more beneficially for the poor than an absolutely equal tax upon all property, if that could possibly be collected.
It will be naturally asked, “Why should not taxation be exactly equal, and the poor pay precisely as much in proportion to their actual possessions as the rich? Why should a system of taxation which is unfair to the poor be replaced by one which is unfair to the rich?”
To answer this reasonable question by showing that this apparently unequal tax is not really unequal, and that it does not bear more severely upon any one class than upon all others, would require us to enter into the great controversy concerning rent, which has thus far been rigorously excluded from the field of inquiry. Adhering to this resolution, let us submit for the present to the erroneous assumption that the question is based upon fact. Supposing then that the land tax would be unfair to the rich, what tax can be put in its place which will not be either still more unfair to them or else far more unfair to the poor? And if one or the other class must suffer some injustice, shall it be the rich or the poor? Shall we, in order to prevent the rich from being taxed one dollar too much, tax the poor five dollars too much? Shall we, rather than take from the rich one-tenth of their surplus in excess of what is strictly just, strip the poor of their last dollar and take the bread out of their mouths? That is all the choice which is left to us.
It has already been shown that, by the consent of all who have studied the subject, there are only three or four methods of taxation which are not really indirect, and that all indirect taxes bear with tremendous hardship and injustice upon the poor. Among strictly direct forms of taxation none are worth mentioning except the land tax, the income tax and the succession tax. Now the succession tax could only be collected in cases where the intervention of a court was required to appoint an executor or administrator or to enable an heir to enforce his title to land. Such intervention is never required in cases of poverty. It is often quite needless, even where the person who has died has left considerable property. Estates worth several thousand dollars are constantly settled by agreement among all parties interested, without any appeal to the probate court. Not one-tenth, probably not one-twentieth of the estates of deceased persons belonging to the laboring classes are brought into court. But the estates of wealthy persons almost invariably are, and it would be easy to enforce a law compelling all to be thus settled. Consequently a succession tax would be effectually collected from the rich and could not be collected at all from the poor. The income tax never has been collected from the very poor; and in this country it would be impossible to collect it from any one whose income was less than $600, if indeed it could be enforced so far as that. If adopted, there can be no doubt that all incomes below $1,000 would be exempted. Under the income tax of war times the exemption was at first $600 and house rent, and was soon raised to $2,000 and house rent. Either exemption would concentrate the tax upon the rich in a degree far exceeding the effect of the land tax.
The question is, therefore, sufficiently answered even upon the unfounded assumption that the land tax is some what unfair to the rich. It is far less unfair than any other direct tax which any nation has ever tried. And in this world, as our practical friends are always reminding us, we must be content with practical results. It would never do to shock the delicate nerves of our protectionist friends by proposing an ideally perfect system.
But still, without touching the question of rent, it can be shown that the land tax would steadily work toward that ideal of perfectly equal taxation in precise proportion to the wealth of rich and poor alike which has been so impossible of attainment under other methods. While at first such a tax would fall somewhat disproportionately upon the richer classes who are now practically the owners of the soil, either directly or by mortgage, a great change would rapidly take place. The poorer classes would save wealth at an unprecedented rate, and must invest these savings. What investment is so tempting to the laboring man as a house and home? Almost unlimited quantities of land would under the operation of the land tax be thrown open for settlement, with no price to be paid except the annual tax. Not less than three-fourths of the laborers would take a little land and build themselves homes out of their savings. Instead of paying interest to a mortgagee as at present they would pay the same amount in taxes to the state. Indeed, how is it possible to make investments suited to the wants of the laboring class without including land? Houses, mortgages, railroad shares, mining and manufacturing shares all represent land as well as improvements on the land or personal property. The man who saves anything must become a holder of land. And this virtual ownership of land runs in pretty equal proportions through all kinds of investments and through all classes of investors. Under the present system multitudes of nominal land owners are not such in reality, because their land is mortgaged. But under a heavy land tax there could be no mortgages on the mere land as the security would be undermined. The vast majority of those who are now mere tenants or mortgagors would become real land holders, paying direct taxes to the state in a wonderfully exact proportion to their savings.
Let us now briefly review the whole case as here presented:
There are many causes at work to produce an unequal distribution of wealth among individuals. Most of these causes could not be removed without destroying the motives which now stimulate men to the production of wealth. Socialists assert that other motives could be substituted which would be equally effectual; but, while this may be true, it is certain that it has never been proved upon any scale large enough to make the experiment of turning society upside down safe enough to meet with favor for many years to come if ever.
But there is a cause at work which could be removed without any such consequences, which not only tends to produce inequality of wealth between individuals, but also tends irresistibly to concentrate the greater part of the national wealth in the hands of less than the one-hundredth part of the population. All the other causes now at work could not produce this result, as is proved by the fact that if this one cause were removed the tendency toward the wider diffusion of wealth would make it certain that a vast majority of the national wealth would be speedily owned by a majority of the people if they continued to be as economical as they now are.
This perennial source of inequality is indirect taxation.
While much may be said and has been said in favor of inequality of wealth as between individuals, especially on the ground that wealth is used as a tool for the creation of new wealth, and thus for the advancement of civilization in the whole community, and that it is necessary that such a tool should be placed in the hands of men who can use it effectually, nothing sensible has ever been said in favor of a system under which two-thirds of the property of a nation is placed in the hands of a hundredth part of the people. On the contrary, all wise men appreciate the importance of having a majority of the country’s wealth in the hands of a majority of its people.
Nobody has a word to say in favor of indirect taxation except that it is more easily collected than direct taxes. That is no recommendation at all, except to those who want to deceive and defraud the people. Indirect taxes are easy to collect because the mass of the people do not know what they are paying, and therefore are not particular as to what becomes of the money. Under direct taxation the people know what they pay, and insist upon knowing what is done with it.
Indirect taxation then should be absolutely abolished; and it must be before it can be possible to change the tendency of wealth to concentrate itself into a few hands. All other schemes for the redress of the condition of the poor must fail so long as this chief source of oppression and pauperization remains untouched.
But indirect taxation can only be abolished by substituting direct taxation; and there are but three forms of direct taxation which could be made to produce the necessary revenue — the income tax, the succession tax and the land tax on the annual rental value of the bare land, irrespective of improvements. The income tax is impracticable, because it is impossible in a free country to enforce the stringent inquisition into private affairs which would be necessary in order to ascertain the truth about incomes and because, even under despotic rule, it has always been and must always be impossible to ascertain that truth accurately. This tax must, therefore, always bear twice or thrice as heavily upon the honest as upon the dishonest and unscrupulous. Moreover, this tax unfairly makes the man whose labor gains a thousand dollars pay just as much as the man who draws a thousand dollars from invested wealth. It is, therefore, unjust as well as impracticable; although it is much less unjust than indirect taxation of any kind.
The succession tax would have to be made so heavy, in order to supply the needs of the state, that it would offer an enormous temptation to evasion, and it could largely be evaded by deathbed transfers. If these, too, were taxed, there would have to be a general tax on transfers, and this would lead us back to another form of indirect taxation, as it would amount to a tax on sales, one of the very worst taxes which human perversity ever devised.
The land tax is practicable, simple, direct, easy to assess with equality and easy to collect with less than one-quarter of the present official machinery. The rental value of land in its unimproved condition is usually one of the easiest things to learn. It may be difficult to ascertain in some cases, but it will not present a hundredth part of the difficulties attendant upon any other system. This tax cannot be evaded; it cannot be shifted upon the shoulders of the poor; it will not interfere in the slightest degree with the production of wealth; on the contrary, it will powerfully tend to encourage such production.
Under a land tax the rich would pay no more than they would now pay if taxes on the present basis could be fairly divided according to property; the middling classes, earning from $1,000 to $5,000, would pay much less than they do now, and nine-tenths of the people would at first pay nothing or next to nothing. As the condition of the poorer classes improved, they would rise into the tax paying class; they would possess land having some value, instead of renting it from private landlords, and they would begin to pay taxes to the state, instead of paying rent or mortgage interest. But they would pay no more in taxes than they now do in rent; so they would be no worse off for paying taxes, and soon the great body of the people would become small taxpayers. Then they would look sharply after public expenses, and insist upon honesty and economy in the expenditure of every dollar.
Whereas, under the present system the annual savings of all the unskilled laborers of the country, including the small farmers, do not probably amount to $140,000,000, and would not amount in 30 years to one-tenth of the estimated wealth of the nation, their savings under the single tax upon land values would amount to over $300,000,000 a year, and would in 30 years equal six-tenths of the present national wealth, even if their actual money income did not increase. But, as the abolition of all taxes on production would certainly lead to an increase of not less than 20% in the annual production, of which the laborers would gain, at the very least, their full share, this tax reform would imply an addition to their earnings of over $900,000,000 a year, and thus would enable them to live 20% more comfortably than they now do, and yet to save fully $1,000,000,000 every year. If they were thus economical, they would own half the national wealth within one generation and three-fourths of it within two generations. No special skill would be required to bring this about; nothing but ordinary industry and moderate economy.
Thus, without having said one word upon the abstract theory of rent, and without questioning the right of private property in land, we arrive at the conclusion that no other tax is so fair, so just, so equal, so honestly collectable and so beneficial to the poor without doing any wrong to the rich, as a tax on the rental value of land without assessing its improvements. We find that the adoption of this method of taxation offers a surer prospect for the relief of the poor from excessive burdens than any other scheme yet proposed which can be verified by figures, and that it opens the way to a wider diffusion and more equal distribution of wealth than is possible under any other plan of social reform which does not involve the destruction of society as it exists, and the tearing up of our existing civilization by the roots.
THE STANDARD, SATURDAY OCTOBER 22, 1887.
PARTNERS IN POLITICS.
I helped bury an intimate friend a month ago, and I find myself this evening musing upon his career. And while I think of him and of many of the events of his life in which I was connected with him, another form flits before my view — that of a man who passed over to the silent majority about five years ago. These two and myself formed a trio that for years pulled together in city politics, and analyzed the composition of society as only politicians can.
I suppose I may regard myself now as a stranded statesman — a stranded ward statesman. At any rate, death has broken up the little circle, my critics might say ring, of which I was so long a member, and I have no ambition to form another. I have enough of this world’s goods, and have had enough of the excitements, to say nothing of the dangers since the courts have waked up, of practical politics. At present I am laid up at a seaside cottage, fighting off an attack of rheumatism. This evening the weather is chilly; I have an open hearth fire to sit beside, and, as I have said, the thoughts of my two old-time friends and of bygone days crowd upon my mind as I gaze at the embers and as I glance about the room here, where we spent many a pleasant hour in company with one another.
How well I remember the very beginning of the long intimacy of us three. It dated from the time we arrived at an understanding by which we agreed to adopt politics as a profession, to tie to one another, and to be honest. It took place in this very room, that understanding, for this little seaside cottage has long been a retreat of mine. The place was my father’s; here I was brought up, and here I have often come to spend my summers during my life in the city.
I can see the little group as it sat by the table here — just to think, it was fifteen years ago. How time does fly! Beyond the lamp there sat Sharkey, short, broad, square-built, round-headed, red-faced, sandy-haired. He was a picture of animal force, yet his gray eves had humor in them always, and how quick of repartee he was, and how comfortable was his wonted look. At the end of the table was Mortimer, who was a tall, dark, slender man, with curly hair and large blue eyes. They were a good team; for with men it is not as with horses — those most unlike are often matched best for work.
We had been reviewing the political situation in the city — the state of practical politics. There had just been what the good public called a great reform. A very able practical politician had been jailed, and the multitude who had clamored against him felt satiated with virtue and was taking a rest after its effort. We three talked over the great reform. It was evident that many of the lieutenants of the man in jail had seen the last of their usefulness to their party. They carried now the stigma of their leaders conviction; they might have comfortably borne with the burden of his guilt, or supposed guilt, had he been able to retain office and escape the clutches of the law, but when he was arrested, tried and convicted they fell with him. Why? Because they were known to be thieves? Not wholly so. Because, as a matter of fact, no party could afford, by maintaining them in office, to defy another party’s power for name calling. Party managers are not influenced by such abstractions as right or wrong. They fear the club that their opponents wield. So, many good workers were being let go by the board by the party’s new leaders.
There were profitable inferences for us three in the great reform. We saw, for example, that the enterprises of practical politicians could be carried too far, but we also saw in the outlook much promise for revenue under a modified form of practical politics. The old order of things had been carried on by men acting too much in the spirit of highwaymen. That could be done no longer, but there was abundance of profit in the business short of barefaced plunder and jobbery. We thought there was a fine opening for a new school of politicians — for honest men like us three.
We all saw clearly the field for a career for each of us. We could do much together, having each our own features of strength in view of public life. Mortimer could make a fine, showy formal address. He had an elocutionist’s voice, and could string out and spout sounding sentences. His somewhat solemn demeanor, we believed, ought to make the solid taxpayers believe in him. Sharkey needed only to be seen in any gathering of the boys to make upon them a favorable impression. And then his songs, his stories, his extemporaneous gags! Sharkey was by nature one of the boys.
These two chums of mine were each about twenty-five years of age at that time. Their fathers had grown a little tired of paying their way. They felt like doing something for a living themselves — something not too hard, you know. Now, was it not natural that, during their visit to me, while talking over what they might go into, and while we reviewed the political situation, it seemed as if fortune were driving their barks in the direction of politics. The arena had just been cleared of many of the time-worn gladiators; here was fresh blood. The men who had been managing our party had gone too deep into corrupt practices; we saw enough to satisfy ordinary men in the usual sources of revenue open to wide-awake party leaders.
As for myself, I was by fifteen years the senior of the two “boys.” Moreover, I was of a moderate temper, and slow to take a step until I knew where it led. My young friends believed I was the man they needed as anchor, if they were to venture into politics.
So our compact was made there and then. We were to go into business politics as sensible men. Politics as a game could not be played, we were well aware, without bosses, cliques, “circles,” assessments, spoils and management. We would take the whole dose. But we made up our minds to play honestly.
We outlined, in our ensuing conversation, the character of a politician. Did you ever know a narrow, small-souled man to be a successful politician? Never. Did you ever know a coward, a slow, stupid man, a goody-goody Nancy, a talkative feather head, to be a power among his fellows? Did you ever know a man eaten up with egotism, or a victim to pigheadedness, or a small tyrant, to run along in harmony with a heterogeneous crowd for any length of time? No. Leaders must be men with varied and manly qualities. We three pitched our ideals high. The knot of politicians — statesmen ought to be the word used — that we intended to be were cosmopolitan in spirit, broad-minded citizens knowing no prejudices against any man or any class of men. It would be a pleasure, we thought, to cultivate the graces of speech and manner that would attract men. To be generous, to speak up for the public good (and mean a great deal of what we said), to listen sympathetically to the plaint of the taxpayer, to put our names on the subscription list for the poor widow — this programme would all be in harmony with our notions of doing the politician successfully. Moreover, we would shout for reform and be just as honest as the American political system would permit us to be.
We decided to go actively to work for each other, our party, and our country, in the political club of which we were already members. We laid plans by which we were to take the first steps toward acquiring power; we named aids from among our active fellow members; we set up combinations on the spot; we settled it that certain ambitious heads were to go into the basket. The serious business mapped out, we grew mirthful. Sharkey humorously said we were going to start a school and be students ourselves. Our lessons in geography would be found in studying our districts; the last few years’ election returns would be our problems in arithmetic; the history most interesting to us would be that of the parties and cliques opposed to us, and we would practice writing the politicians hand — that is, how to write without saying anything, promising much in general and nothing in particular. Before we returned to the city everything was arranged for the beginning of our political life.
We set to work as soon as the political pot began to boil the next fall. We soon succeeded; we were faithful to one another, and our combinations won the prizes.
The years rolled away. Sharkey and Mortimer became famous among ward politicians as a powerful team. I seldom went to the front, but I was known where I wished to be and on hand when needed. I made less money than my two partners, but I was subjected to less outlay.
Now it comes to my mind that it was five years after we had formed our political partnership when my two friends were out here at the seaside visiting me again. Sharkey had been married and had his wife and child with him. He had grown very stout, and his red cheeks had put on big jowls. His manner had become aggressive, his talk ran more to rough words than when he was younger, and now he always wore either a black or white high hat, clothes in which colors were strongly contrasted, and heavy gold rings and a gold log watch chain. He had a big income, from politics, but he spent more than he made.
Mortimer had developed in a different way. He attired himself quite as richly as did Sharkey, but not so showily. He did not seem so much set up, either, by his luck. He told me one day the reason of this. The fact was that there was a fly in his wine, so to speak. He had soared high in social life, had fallen in love — and had been rejected in plain terms by the girl’s father on the score of being a politician and a boon companion of “the notorious Sharkey.” He seemed at times to be turning over in his mind this view of things, and he talked occasionally of “studying law and becoming respectable.”
This question of respectability and all that it ought to involve — fair dealing, uprightness of character, high-mindedness — was the subject of a long talk one night with us three. Sharkey sat quiet for awhile and let Mortimer and me have our say. Neither of us had any too high an estimate of man as he is seen where the dollar is concerned — for the whole world of practical affairs is a horse trading market, with its attendant concealments, prevarications and frauds innumerable. Sharkey grew interested and presently preached us a little parlor sermon on the subject. His text was sundry entries in his note book.
He said he could give both of us points, even if we were veteran politicians. This is about how his talk ran: The patriotic people of these United States were taking care of themselves as individuals and voters. This great country was a democracy in a truer sense than the superficial observer could perceive. Each class — men being classified by incomes or occupations — was watching out for its own interests, and as often as possible reached those interests through the ballot. Besides being boss in his district, he was a member of a legislative body. Was any one nowadays green enough to suppose that a legislator could perform his public duties faithfully, and then, resting on his laurels, expect the dear people, in their gratitude, to sing his praises and send him back to keep up his spotless record? No. Men were sent to legislative bodies because somebody, some class, corporation or interest wanted something from the body politic, that is, from other people, and sent their agent as legislator to get a grant of that something or to tax it away from those that had it. And those respectable paragons of society, who thought it vulgar to mix in the dirty pool of politics, were they above endeavoring to secure to themselves a goodly share of the wealth of this great democracy? Who was it that knocked at the door of the legislature and begged for franchises that represented solid dollars? Who snapped up the right to run railroads in the city streets, or from town to town, whenever there was money in it? Who employed the “third house”’ at the legislature? Every lobbyist was in the pay of men who regarded themselves as the mainstays of business, and whose wives and daughters took upon themselves the task of carrying on society’s shows. The money that went for their fine houses, their fashionable clothes, their elegant receptions — why, they never could have got it save for grants from the state, secured through well paid lobbyists from more or less venal legislators. Let a man go to the legislature, and he would learn the art of high-toned, strictly legal plundering. The fact was, legislators might be honorable were it not that they saw that the chief business of their body was the giving of something belonging to the state to somebody; and that somebody, it turned out generally, was the man offering the biggest “divide” to the legislators.
The dollar was potent everywhere, Sharkey went on. One day a sanctimonious man called on him with a purpose. He introduced himself to Sharkey, and proceeded to “sweeten” him, saying that he had heard that he was big hearted, good to the poor, and so on. He knew that so well disposed a man must have a religious nature, undeveloped possibly, but it was in him. He would therefore ask him to assist in destroying the demon that was impoverishing his constituents — drink. Sharkey asked what he could do. The good man went on to say that every liquor store was a depository of horrid snakes, devils and insanity. There it was, day by day, the blazoned, illuminated store of the corner, beguiling men from their families and degrading them from man’s estate to that of the beasts, or even worse. A single drink changed a man from one being to another. Poor weak men go into the liquor store sane and sober, and come out with brain excited and blood heated. It was as if we had in our midst ten thousand dens of serpents, sending out their poison to pollute society through the medium of the men who drink in saloons. When he saw a man coming out of a store decorated with enticing beer and whisky signs he saw, not the man, but a serpent going forth to lay its coils in some home that ought to be a happy one. Oh, to think of the stream of serpents issuing hourly from the ten thousand dens, poisoning the very air of the city, making homes hideous, debasing manhood, and carrying death and disease to society! Sharkey told the wordy philanthropist in quiet tones that this was bad — what could he do? There was a liquor store near where the good brother lived, kept by a foreigner, which ought to be closed. It was an eyesore to him and his neighbors. That foreigner was growing rich off the hard-earned wages of the poor of the neighborhood. His dreadful place ought to be closed. Sharkey promised, without a moment’s hesitation, to try to close the place. He would inform his religious friend, however, that the objectionable foreigner did not own the corner in question. It was a part of the Van B—— estate. Now, Mr. Van B—— was a member of the good brother’s church, and if the good brother would only speak to Mr. Van B—— , whose cushioned pew was near his pulpit, no doubt he would abolish the liquor store on that corner, reduce the rent, and let it out to a grocer, or a shoemaker, perhaps. The fact was, Sharkey said, the foreigner found it hard to make money by dealing in liquor on that corner, since his rent increased in proportion with his custom. The good saver of souls received this information with an inscrutable expression of countenance. He talked about the weather awhile, walked meekly down the street, and Sharkey never heard anything more about closing up the saloon.
Another religious man, Sharkey said, had once told him where heaven was. He had read thick books, in which learned men had tried to answer the query, Where is heaven? He had found it. Some one had given him a ten dollar bill to bestow in charity. He had gone down near the river, sought out a poor widow who was suffering for want of the necessaries of life, and gave her ten dollars’ worth of food and clothing. He then read sweet religious books to her, and, oh, there was heaven. Sharkey advised him to keep it up. The house in which the widow lived, and many of the houses thereabout, belonged to the magnificent church where the seeker after heaven was preaching. Forgive all these poor people their rents, suggested Sharkey, and heaven would be turned loose in the streets of the city. If so much heaven could be had for only ten dollars, just think of the amount of heaven that might be permanently distributed by giving thousands of the poor their barracks rent free.
There were the so-called taxpayers, said Sharkey. What were they forever doing but whining for more? They actually paid no more taxes than any other class; the poor paid the bulk of the taxes without knowing it, but the taxpayers who acted as the agents for the rest of society in transferring the money to the treasury wanted to shift the full burdens of taxation on other men, and keep the gold in their own pockets. The cry of the taxpayers was a selfish one; the resolutions passed by self-styled taxpayers’ associations, demanding lower taxes, were commonly petitions that the legislative power should put dollars in the pockets of the petitioners. How much that was genuine, he would ask, was in the attacks of the press and the self-elected virtuous voters upon the machine in politics? He had observed that the most immaculate citizen, when a candidate, was not above coquetting with the engineer of the machine in his district. Why did he (Sharkey) keep greasing the wheels of the machine the year round? Could he of himself supply the oil? No, nor could the regular assessment payers of the party. Why did he subscribe handsomely to the “F. X. Sharkey association,” the, “Clarendon social circle,” the “Oconomowoc cowboys,” the “White Plug Hat chowder sharpshooters?” It was in order to deliver on election day to this incorruptible citizen, the people’s own pure candidate, enough votes to put him in office. And the gentleman who wanted to mount that pedestal knew he could buy the ladder that led to its top from Sharkey for so many thousand dollars and the promise of such and such a number of petty official appointments during his term of office. The people understood all the thimble rigging. That was why they sold their votes, made their little combinations, demanded their little bits of patronage, and looked to him as their boss. And where did honor come in? Was it not a fact that a successful boss must keep his engagements? He did himself. If there was an honest man in his district it was he, Sharkey. He made no pretensions to be what he was not; there was no hypocrisy in him. He swung the majority his way and kept it there, because the boys had faith in him. They had recognized long ago that their rights in the solid things of this country might be made as tangible as those of the better-to-do classes. They wanted bread and the circus, and so they asserted their demands for the clerkships, the jobs in the departments, and the fun of chowder parties in summer and balls in winter, for which the working politicians took so many tickets. Was it not amusing to hear the cry of anti-paternalism in our government raised when the workingmen demanded an eight hour law, or something of the kind, while tariffs, franchises and all sorts of special legislation were being asked for by the wealthier class?
Sharkey said he liked to read the homilies on the subject of machine politics. He liked to digest the remedies suggested, and where one machine was broken, he was always on the alert to see another run right into its place. He had the raw materials in hand for a newspaper article, magazine treatise, sermon or lecture on the subject, and he would accord free access to them to any writer or talker. He liked to see the system described — how the liquor dealer, or some such semi-public character in each block of the city, was the backbone officer of the election district organization; how the purchaseable or “influenceable” vote in every house was ascertained; how the election district rootlet joined the bigger root of the assembly district; how these roots ramified into larger districts, until altogether they supported the big trunk of the party that sent out its office-bearing branches. Well, he knew that such trees might be cut down, but they only made room for the growth of others in the same old soil. There was a cure for it all. Machine politics would end when legislative bodies could no longer vote wealth into the pockets of any man or set of men, and when the people would no longer witness a game of gouge and grab in public affairs, in which they naturally wanted their share. But in the meantime, he would be content to hold the most honorable public position in the community — that of non-office holding boss.
Somehow, all the time I have been ruminating over that sermon of Sharkey’s, I have been seeing, in my mind’s eve, his funeral. It was his that I mentioned as having taken place five years ago. Poor fellow; he went quick, with pneumonia — caught it coming away from the Peter Garrity association’s New Year’s reception. He was overheated and stood for half an hour on a street corner fixing things in the thirty-fifth election district with some of the active workers there. Next day he was laid up, and before the people of the district knew he was sick they heard of his death.
He had the largest funeral that ever moved along the streets of his ward. The flowers sent filled the hearse and two carriages coming after it. Every well known man in district politics in any party turned out. The dead man’s praises were on every lip. He had lived like a prince, but he left nothing. His wife and three children, who had been living away from him — he kept late hours and was seldom at home — attended the funeral in a closed coach.
Everybody said he had no enemy, unless it was himself; he was so generous that he saved nothing for his family, and he once in a while took a drop too much. Of course, being a politician, he had to go to all the saloons in his district, and while in them he royally stood treat for everybody. His wife used to tell him that if he would only give up politics she would manage to keep house herself on two dollars a day, if he could earn no more. But he would not let go; every year brought new contests and fresh triumphs for him, and she had gone to her father’s house up town for the sake of company and to have the children under good example, while he had been obliged to remain in the district.
There was a great deal of sympathy shown for him at his funeral. He was yet young. He had been everybody’s friend in the ward. He had had such popular ways. The boys felt blue when they asked who could take his place. and there were present hundreds of the poor whom he had helped. Many spoke of his kindly acts — how he had got permits for newsdealers’ stands and licenses for peddlers who had unfortunately been under a cloud; how he was always ready to go before the police court judge and vouch for the character of any poor fellow in hard luck through drink or bad company. When Widow McPherson’s boy fell off the string piece at the long dock, he offered a reward for the body, and when it was recovered the whole ward knew he paid the
funeral bill. And that was only one case in hundreds where he had been a benefactor. People would never know how many tons of coal he had sent by the scuttleful to poor washerwomen, or how many subscription papers he had gone down on. And his free animal excursions were the finest that ever went up the river. He saw to it that the poor had their share of pleasure, and he gave them a show at the public treasury.
Mortimer and I were never able to fill Sharkey’s vacant place in our partnership, and our battles in the district since his demise have not always been crowned with victory. Mortimer preferred the company of club men to that of the workers, and, though he was a fine figure on state occasions, when a set speech was to be made, he could not muster the crowd that Sharkey could on election day. I must confess that neither did I like to go around during a campaign hiring men to work for me on election day. Why, Sharkey used to have twenty to thirty men in line at every election polling place in our district as soon as the polls opened, all hired by the day, and all with tickets in their hands that he had given them. Twenty men in forty districts — how many? Enough to change the result at any election, was it not? Sharkey never troubled himself with the strict, true blue party voter on either side. When he found a man settled in his party principles he let him alone. It was the independent voter he did business with.
Well, well; Mortimer is gone, too. A politician’s life is a fast one. Mortimer was always going out to dine, making speeches, attending conventions and meetings, cultivating mens acquaintanceship and being cultivated. He had to drink, smoke, talk and play with everybody and go everywhere. He never married. He thought — after his girl had rejected him — that a working statesman ought not to marry. It is just as well he did not. He wore himself out, a deep-seated cough hanging on to him for years, and at last getting the best of him. He was buried quietly in a fashionable cemetery.
Ah! those two partners of mine were fine fellows. They rose to the crest of the topmost wave as city politicians. They saw all that was in it. I do not know whether, if I had to do it over again, I would advise them to go into the profession or not. Perhaps they would have done better if they had taken their chances at hard work in a regular occupation. As for myself, I am a moderate man, and have cared for my health and my pocket, yet I would suspect, if another politician had this rheumatism of mine, that it had been superinduced in some way by the manner of his living. I hardly believe that I shall go into public life again, but if I do it will be for honest reform.
ASSEMBLY DISTRICT ORGANIZATIONS.
Where They Meet and When.
The following is a directory of the various assembly district organizations of the united labor party of New York city, showing times and places of meeting, names of chairmen, etc.:
First.—International hall, corner Albany and West streets; every Tuesday evening. Jeremiah Murphy, chairman.
Second.— 32 New Bowery; second and fourth Tuesdays for business; first and third Tuesdays for entertainments and debates. William Russell, chairman.
Third.—185 Grand street; every Tuesday evening. G. H. Robinson. 18 Spring street, chairman.
Fourth.—66 East Broadway; Saturday evening, Philip J. Scannell, 35 Rutgers street, chairman.
Fifth.—Warren hall, corner Spring and Clarke streets; business meeting every Thursday evening; entertainments and debates every second Thursday evening after transaction of routine business. William Anderson, chairman.
Sixth.—412 Grand street; every Wednesday evening. James J. Crosson, chairman.
Seventh.—Fifteenth street and Sixth avenue; Thursday evening. Henry F. Reed, chairman.
Eighth.—235 Broome street; Tuesday evening. Patrick McMahon, 107 Essex street, chairman.
Ninth.—584 Hudson street, corner of Bank: general meeting second and fourth Tuesday evenings; debates first and third Tuesday evenings. H. Oscar Cole, chairman.
Tenth.—Breacht’s hall, 197 East Fourth street; second and fourth Wednesdays. August Mayer, 354 East Houston, chairman.
Eleventh—510 Sixth avenue; second and fourth Monday evenings. Frank Shiller, 133 West Twenty-eighth street, chairman.
Twelfth—Schmidt hall, 85 Avenue D; Tuesday evening. Nathan Rosenstein, 114 Columbia street, chairman.
Thirteenth—363 Eighth avenue, corner Twenty-eighth street: Wednesday evening. Wm. A. O’Connor, 304 West Twenty-Ninth street, chairman.
Fourteenth—178 First avenue; first and third Tuesday and second and fourth Monday. M. J. Murray, 651 East Thirteenth street, chairman.
Fifteenth—475 Ninth avenue, Tuesday night. Edward Conklin,437 West Twenty-eighth street, chairman.
Sixteenth.—Gaswiller’s hall, First avenue, between Twentieth and Twenty-first streets; every Tuesday night. John J. McGrath, chairman.
Seventeenth.—747 Ninth avenue; second and fourth Thursdays. James H. Magee, chairman, 313 West Forty-seventh street.
Eighteenth.—161 East Thirty-second street; every Thursday evening. Philip Kelly, chairman.
Nineteenth.—Deubert’s hall, 122d street and Eighth avenue; every Thursday, and twice a month at 832 Ninth avenue. William P. O’Meara, chairman. Communications should be addressed to the Secretary, Charles Fring, 151st street and Western boulevard
Twentieth.—Forty-ninth street and Third avenue: every Thursday. T. Berliner, chairman.
Twenty-first.—161 West Fifty-first street; every Monday for general business and every Wednesday and Friday for enrollment of members. William Cummings, chairman. Communications should be addressed to the secretary, John J. O’Brien, 103 East Eighty-fourth street.
Twenty-second.—1438 Third avenue; every Tuesday evening. William J. O’Dair, chairman.
Twenty-third.—1897 Third avenue, corner 105th street; business meeting every Monday evening; Progress and Poverty club readings and debates Thursday and Saturday evenings. C. F. Doody, chairman.
Twenty-fourth.—Karl’s park, 148th street and Willis avenue; every Tuesday night. William B. Ahrens, chairman.
THE LAND AND LABOR LIBRARY.—
We are now publishing under the title of “The Land and Labor Library” a series of short tracts on various phases of the social problem. These pamphlets contain facts, figures and arguments expressed in concise, vigorous language easily understood. As a means of propaganda we recommend them to all who desire to help on the movement for social reform. Those who wish to have these tracts placed where they will do good but who are unable personally to attend to their distribution. can remit the price to us, as we have every facility for sending them where they are needed and will be read.
The following have already appeared:
No. 1. “First Principles.” By Henry George. 4 pages.
No. 2. “Land and Taxation.” A conversation between David Dudley Field and Henry George. 4 pages.
No. 3. “The Right to the Use of the Earth.” By Herbert Spencer. 4 pages.
No. 4. “A Christian Minister on the Remedy for Poverty.” A sermon by the Rev. Hugh O. Pentecost of Newark, N. J. 2 pages.
No. 5. “A Sum in Proportion.” By T. L. McCready. 2 pages.
No. 6. “The Settler’s Nightmare.” By Louis F. Post. 4 pages.
No. 7. “New York’s Docks. The True Mode of Raising Revenue.” By. J. W. Sullivan. 4 pages.
No. 8. “Unemployed Labor.” By Henry George. 4 pages.
No. 9. “Voices for Reform.” 2 pages.
No. 10. “A Mysterious Disappearance.” By Lewis Freeland. 6 pages.
No. 1l. “How to Increase Profits.” By A. J. Steers. 2 pages.
No. 12. “The American Farmer.” By Henry George. 4 pages.
No. 13. “Sailors’ Snug Harbor and the Randall Farm.” By W. T. Croasdale. 12 pages.
No. 14. “The Collegiate Church and the Shoemaker’s Field.” By W. T. Croasdale. 12 pages.
No. 15. “Only A Dream.” By Abner C. Thomas. 4 pages.
No. 16. “The Anti-Poverty Society.” Dr. McGlynn’s address at the first meeting. 8 pages.
No. 17. “The Cross of the New Crusade.” A poem by David Rorty. 2 pages.
No. 18. “It Is the Law of Christ.” By Rev. S. H. Spencer of Henry, Ill. 4 pages.
No. 19. “My Landlord.” By John Jones. 4 pages.
No. 20. “Thou Shalt Not Steal.” An address by Henry George before the Anti-Poverty Society. 8 pages.
No. 21. “Christianity and Poverty An address by Father Huntington before the Anti-poverty society.” 4 pages.
No. 22. “Poverty and Christianity.” An address by Rev. Hugh O. Pentecost before the Anti-poverty society. 8 pages.
No. 23. “The Single Tax.” By Thomas G. Shearman. 8 pages.
No. 24. “Hymns of the New Crusade”—No. 1. 4 pages
No. 25. “Hymns of the New Crusade”— No. 2. 4 pages.
No. 26. “Religion vs. Robbery.” Address by Rev. Dr McGlynn before the New York Anti-poverty society June 12,1887. 8 pages.
No. 27. “Back to the Land.” Bishop Nulty’s letter to the clergy and laity of his diocese. 16 pages. Price 5 cents.
No. 28. “Anti-Slavery and Anti-Poverty.” An address by the Rev. Hugh O. Pentecost before the New York Anti-Poverty Society, June 19. 3 pages.
No. 29. “Tenement House Morality,” Rev. J. O. S. Huntington in the Forum. 4 pages.
No. 30. “The Case Plainly Stated.” A speech by H. F. Ring before the Knights of Labor at Houston, Texas. 8 pages.
No. 31. “Questions and Answers” Questions by Rev. Howard Henderson of the Sixty-first street M. E. church of New York; with answers by Henry George. 2 pages.
No. 32. “Objections to the Land Tax.” By Thomas G. Shearman. 4 pages.
No. 33. “Socialism—Its Truth and Its Error.” Henry George. 4 pages.
No. 34. “Horse Sense.” W. C. Woods. 2 pages.
No. 35. The Syracuse Platform. 2 pages.
No. 36. “Citycus and Rusticus.” Tudor S. Jenks. 4 pages.
No. 37. “Taxing Land Values.” Henry George. 8 pages
No. 38. “God Wills It.” Henry George. 4 pages.
No. 39. “What We Want.” Everett Glackin, president, Typographical Union No. 6. 2 pages.
No. 40. “Protection or Free Trade.” Henry George. Price 25 cents.
No. 41. The Syracuse Platform. (German.) 2 pages.
No. 42. “First Principles.” (German.) Henry George. 4 pages
No. 43. ‘‘Socialism—Its Truth and Its Error. (German:) Henry George. 4 pages.
No. 44. “How John’s Father Saw the Light.” W. C. Woods, M. D., 2 pages.
No. 45. Platform of the United Labor Party. 2 pages.
No. 46. “Taxing Land Values.” (German.) Henry George. 8 pages.
No. 47. “It is the Law of Christ.” (German.) Rev. S. H. Spencer. 4 pages.
No. 48. “The Case Plainly Stated.” (German) H. Ring. 8 pages.
prices, free by mail:
2-page tracts — 50 copies, 10 cents; 100 copies, 15 cents; 1,000 copies $1; 5,000 copies $4.25
four-page tracts — 25 copies, 10 cents; 100 copies, 25 cents; 1,000 copies $2; 5,000 copies $8.50
six-page tracts — 25 copies, 15 cents; 100 copies, 37 cents; 1,000 copies $3; 5,000 copies $12.75
eight-page tracts — 25 copies, 20 cents; 100 copies, 50 cents; 1,000 copies $4; 5,000 copies $17
twelve-page tracts — 25 copies, 30 cents; 100 copies, 75 cents; 1,000 copies $6; 5,000 copies $22.50
sixteen-page tracts — 25 copies, 40 cents; 100 copies, $1; 1,000 copies $8; 5,000 copies $34
Other numbers in preparation.
Address HENRY GEORGE,
25 Ann st., New York City.
Here are two letters from the same place, between which there may possibly be some connection. The first is from an active worker — one of the men who just pitches in and does the work that lies close at hand without wasting time in vain speculations on what he would do if things were only a little different or he were somewhere else.
Los Angeles, Cal.—Your earnest and honest appeal in The Standard of Sept. 24 has
fairly started me to help spread the light. I send you a list of nineteen subscribers, each for three months, beginning with the issue of Sept. 24. Will try my hand again soon. Ellis Knight.
And right on top of this comes a letter from a gentleman who asks us not to print his name:
Los Angeles, Cal.—I have been handed a copy of your paper of Sept. 24; and after reading it I am so impressed with the many truths it contains that I feel compelled to subscribe, and inclose you postal note herewith.
I am the owner of $5,000 worth of land in this city; but nevertheless I say boldly that your theory of taxing land values is right and proper. Suppose I own a thousand acres of good land outside Los Angeles city without any improvements on it. I am assessed at $5 an acre. Well, I sell you ten acres at $10, and you go to work and plant it with oranges, pears, peaches, vines, etc. Along comes the assessor next year, and raises your assessment to $100 an acre besides the improvements while my assessment remains at $5. Is that right or just?
If you have any sample copies of The Standard to spare please send them. I can put them to a good use.
Now, seeing that both Mr. Knight and our other correspondent refer to The Standard of the same date, doesn’t it seem at least probable that there is some connection between the two letters, and that some of the seed friend Knight has dropped has sprung up and is bearing fruit without his knowledge or expectation? And that is just the beauty of working for a cause which has truth behind it — that is truth — that sooner or later your work is bound to tell. You may talk to a man, beg him to read and think, find him unwilling to do either, and go away sorrowfully thinking you have wasted your time.
Wasted time! Not a bit of it! In spite of himself you have dropped a thought germ into his mind, and it lies there in spite of him until some accident quickens it into growth. He sees some foolish argument in a pro-poverty paper, or his landlord comes down on him for an increase of rent, something happens — any one of a million things — and in spite of himself the remembrance of what you have been saying flashes across his mind. The seed of truth is germinating within him, and when that seed begins to sprout it’s got to be pretty barren soil that can prevent it from growing to maturity.
Friends, keep on sowing seed. Sow it unceasingly. Sow it in every kind of soil, good, bad and indifferent. For God giveth the increase, and the seed shall surely sprout.
Omaha, Neb..—Will you please send my paper here instead of to River Falls, Wis. I expect to be here three months or more, and must have The Standard. It has become part of my life.
Send me some samples for distribution. The gospel it preaches has not yet reached this part of the world, and I want to spread it.
“Part of my life” Not The Standard, but the truth which brought The Standard into being. It is part of many lives. For whose once lays firm hold on truth can never let it go.
Work, friends. Sow the seed. The harvest will surely come.
Our good friends, Atkinson Bros., are always earnest in the cause. Here is a letter from them with a valuable suggestion in it:
Philadelphia, Pa.—Possibly there may be a hint in this for your interesting “Publishers Notes.”
Our outgoing mail averages about five hundred or more letters a week, and goes to nearly every state; and every letter, except those where we know positiveiy it is not needed, contains one or more of the effective “land and labor” tracts. We hear from them frequently and favorably, and feel sure that the movement has taken root and thriven in very many unexpected and out of the way places, and that our full triumph cannot long be delayed.
It is idle to say that we cannot succeed this year and next with all of the multiplied power of press, telegraph and telephone at our service because it took longer years ago for other ideas to develop. We are living faster now, and have but to use earnestly every means at our command to insure instant success. It may be that the use of Uncle Sam’s mail facilities as suggested has not occurred to all of us. June 20, 2015patricAtkinson Bros.
Pittsburg, Southside, Pa.—Our numbers are rolling up. At the second meeting of the Henry George land and labor club No. 1 of Allegheny county we enrolled many new names, and have brought in quite a number of workers for the cause.
There are many readers of The Standard here. I offered to buy up all that were not sold at several news stands, but they all sell out, and I am urging them to order more. Please send me a dozen display cards, and I will have them put where they will be noticed. I send remittance for a year’s subscription to inclosed addresses and 500 platforms with notice of meeting on back (tract No. 45). Mark Francis Roberts.
This letter reminds us to say a word once more about the newsdealers. Don’t neglect them. They can do more than any other class of men to extend The Standard’s circulation, and they will do it. too, if you’ll only go to work at them. See your newsdealer at once. If he isn’t keeping The Standard on sale, get him to order three copies at once and see that he displays them well, with the understanding that you will take whatever he may be unable to find customers for. If he is already handling it, get him to increase his order, on the same understanding, and see that his order keeps always a little ahead of his sales. Work on your newsdealers earnestly and determinedly, and you will be astonished to see how converts will spring up in your neighborhood. Others are doing it. Why don’t you?
Newcastle, Pa.—Inclosed find remittance for recruit subscriptions as per list here with. I find a class of men who grasp the truth as soon as it is presented; others seem determined not to accept it under any consideration. I think the younger men among our ministers are open to conviction, and generally the men who occupy the poor charges do the hard work. I think it hardly worth while to approach the men who fill the pulpits of the wealthy congregations.
The toughest struggle I have had was with the man who said: “You would take away the right of a poor minister to own a piece of land and accumulate the rents for his support in his old age.” It was the old argument in favor of slavery put in different terms: “Would you take away from the poor widow the two slaves upon whom she depends for a subsistence?” The man to whom I refer could see no application to the subject under discussion of the injunction, “Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth.”
What the people need is information. Every man I approach thinks that we would cut the land into little pieces and distribute them around. I think that three out of four accept the doctrine after it is fully explained.
I am doing what I can, but I long to be with the standard bearers at the front. I have delivered some lectures, and have engagements for more, but one man working alone makes little impression. I trust that the seed dropped by the wayside may bear fruit in due season.
(Rev.) C. M. Morse.
Let our friend take comfort. He has his wish, if he will but realize the fact. He is at the front, and fighting manfully, like the true Christian soldier that he is.
Wherever a man may be, there, for him, is the forefront of the battle. Right before him, close at his side, all around him, are the men to be attacked. He can wage war fiercely if he will, provoking against himself the heaviest blows of the enemy, winning recruits to his side, awakening thought, compelling discussion, forcing his opponents to defend themselves and turning their arguments and misstatements into deadly weapons against themselves. All this any man or woman can do, in any city, town or hamlet in the country. Hundreds are doing it already, and our good friend, the reverend C M. Morse, is not the least among them. Ah! if only the thousands and the tens of thousands who know the truth and long to see its triumph, and are wishing with all their hearts that they had but the chance to do the same sort of work that somebody else is doing, would but turn to and do the work that lies ready to their hands, how speedy would our triumph be! Straight before every reader of The Standard lies the plain path of duty. It may look thorny, it may seem muddy, it may lead away from pleasant companionships and lifelong friendships, it may be beset with pitfalls of worldly disaster. But it is there! and only they who put their feet in it and resolutely pursue it know the peace and joy that comes from treading it.
Friend Morse longs for a wider field of action; he would like to be fighting somewhere where he could better see the immediate effects of his work. But the truth is that the success of this movement for industrial emancipation depends on just such quiet seed dropping — just such steady, persistent, every day work — as Mr. Morse himself is doing. This is a soldiers’ battle we are fighting; a contest that must be decided, not by political maneuvering or strategy, but by the steady, constant work of individuals, each making himself a center of local propaganda, and encouraging his converts, as he wins them, to do the same.
Here is a letter from a man who has made up his mind that the work before him is the work he ought to do:
Philadelphia, Pa.—Having been for some time a constant reader of The Standard, I am thoroughly imbued with the principles it advocates. Yet, like a bather who knows full well the joys of a bath in the stream, yet shivers and trembles on the bank, and fears to take the plunge, I have been in such dread of the ridicule heaped upon “Henry George cranks” by people whose ignorance teaches them nothing better, that I did not dare to advocate the principles I held, except among a few of my most intimate friends. But at last comes one of the telling blows which The Standard delivers through its “Publishers Notes,” and I am compelled to make the plunge.
Inclosed find $1, for which send The Standard for six weeks to the following addresses, beginning if possible with the issue containing Judge Maguire’s speech before the Anti-poverty society.
I joined the Anti-poverty society of Philadelphia last Thursday evening. You will hear from me again when I come to the surface after my plunge.
J. R. W.,
R. S. of L. A. 57, K. of L.
And here is another that illustrates the necessity of such men as J. R. W. taking the plunge and openly vowing their adherence to the anti-poverty doctrine.
Passaic, N. J.—Inclosed find list of twelve recruit subscriptions, with remittance. So far as I know, the single tax idea is best understood by the poor of Passaic; the so-called well informed have not yet got beyond the idea of some labor strike and that your paper aims to dictate terms to employers! In some of the mills it is understood that men will be discharged if it is known that they belong to any labor society or club, or even sympathize with the labor party. However, we are making better progress than I had dared to hope for, and I, for one, feel sure of victory in the near future. It is only a question of time and labor. O. D. WOOD.
Can’t you see, John Smith, that such a condition of affairs as Mr. Wood describes in Passaic exists mainly because you don’t come out boldly and champion the cause you believe in. Think of a lot of American citizens being coerced into concealing their religious and political beliefs by the fear of being refused permission to work. Stand out, John Smith! Stand out! and let the men who laugh at the idea of abolishing poverty see how numerous you really are.
Plainfield, N. J.—Again I inclose $5 for the recruiting fund, in the firm conviction that no other application of mere money could be so richly freighted with blessing.
Land for the people! To one who grasps its meaning fully, what cheer is in that simple phrase! Here is reform unquestionable — radical, genuine, thorough. No single measure approaches it in far-reaching beneficence. Let any doubter choose out of the various fields in which men’s powers find practical exercise a single one, and, fixing his attention within its limits, try to follow out in all its ramifications the working of this salutary change. He will then appreciate how the fundamental justice of it antedates and underlies all effort for the bettering of our kind, and how its triumph would be peculiarly the triumph of humanity the world over.
The central idea of the single land tax is, in the widest, fullest sense religious; its introduction
into the affairs of daily life is surely applied Christianity. S. H. R.
Johnstown, Pa., Oct. 17.—Inclosed find check for $12.50, which use for campaign purposes in the way you see fit. Respectfully yours, Several Contributors.
Baltimore, Oct. 17.—Inclosed find postal note for $3 from three Ks. of L., to be used where it will do the most good, and may God speed you on with the good work.
Two Catholics and One Protestant.
Galveston, Tex.—Inclosed please find $1 to be used in whatever way you deem best in the New York campaign.
It is misery to be unable to strike a bitter blow in such a glorious fight as this, but it is a shade better than striking no blow at all. T. Flavin.
The subscriptions to the recruiting fund for the week are:
N. V. Watson
L. B. Nois
G. A. McFarland
P. A. J. Tulp
A small Nicodemus
L. L. Peltier
Messrs. Turner, Frazer, Clifford
S. H. R.
A. S. Eldridge
F. G. D.
G. A. Black
‘ammer, ‘ammer, ‘ammer
E. C. Rogers
Total for the week
Total to date 75
Seventeen days from the date of this issue of The Standard the great battle at the polls will be fought for which this campaign is but a preparation.
Think of the issues that are to be then decided. Think of the poverty that must be endured, of the lives that must be lost, of the women that must be crowded into sin, of the babies that must be smothered out of life, if our party shall be ingloriously defeated. Think, too, of the millions of hearts that will leap with joy and hope if we are successful, and the voice of New York’s people proclaims in tones that none can mistake, that the crime of monopolizing God’s free gifts to all must cease.
Think. Lay down your Standard for a space and consider. Is there no responsibility rests on you in this matter?
Seventeen days! Standard readers, let them be seventeen days of such work as you never did before; seventeen days of earnest, persistent effort: seventeen days of determination; and the victory can be won.
See that your neighbors get The Standard for the rest of the campaign. Broadcast the paper among your fellow voters. It may decide many a man, still halting between two opinions, to cast his vote for truth and freedom.
We send The Standard from now till the end of the campaign to any fifteen addresses for $1.
It is Not in the Large Cities Only that the Steady Pressure of Poverty Drives Women into Sin.
Akron, O., letter to Toledo News.
We here in Akron have often discussed in our assemblies the evil influences and surroundings that go hand in hand with the present wage system; and to make the facts stand out more prominent we would bring up as illustrations the shops and factories where girls were compelled to work from ten to fourteen hours for just enough to sustain life, and in many cases hardly that. We would mention New York, Boston, Philadelphia, Cleveland, where the system of working in such factories had been exposed, little thinking that we could find worse conditions existing in our own town. A few days ago a young lady came to my house and asked me if I would write an article for her to the News of Toledo. After I signified my willingness to do so, she told the following facts for publication: “In answer to an advertisement in the paper for girls at steady employment and good wages, I went to a shirt factory here and asked for work; which was given me. The proprietor told me that in a short time, after becoming accustomed to the work, I could make from $1 to $1.50 per day, easily. He also gave me the prices that he paid for the different kinds of work; here they are: Shirt fronts, 35 cents per dozen; backs, 25 cents per dozen; sleeves, 20 cents per dozen pairs; collars and cuffs, 15 cents per dozen; neck bands, 11 cents per dozen; felling shirts, 25 cents per dozen; button holes, 50 cents per dozen shirts; colored shirts, complete, 50 cents per dozen; night shirts, $1 per dozen; custom shirts, $2.50 per dozen. She said the proprietor told her that in a short time she could make one dozen custom shirts in a day, and it was on the strength of this that she went to work. But after working a short time she found out that the best any girls were able to do was to make between two and three per day, or about eight shirts in three days, or about fifty-five cents per day. That was on the custom work, the best paying in the shop. On the other work, the best they could do was about thirty-five cents per day. The average earnings for the week are about $2.” She said that when they complained to the proprietor about the prices he told them that the prices were good, but they did not work fast enough. She said the girls would not stay long after finding out what they were able to make.
The above shows just where the present wage system is leading to — girls thrown upon their own resources, compelled to work for less than enough to pay their board. The deficiency has got to be met and the other necessaries of life have to be supplied. And how? You all know. And yet the people ask, why this terrible increase of crime? The churches and the good people of the land stand back in astonishment as these tales of crime and want and poverty, brought about by the fierce competition for existence under our present wage system, are revealed to them, and yet they never lift a finger to remove the cause. O. J. Sutton.
Made a Heap of Difference.
Stranger (to Kansas City Citizen)—Those three corner lots of yours are fine property, captain.
Citizen (enthusiastically)—Fine property? Why, great Scott, man, there ain’t nothing like ’em west of the Illinoy river! Two year from now they’ll be in the heart of the city, an’ people will fairly howl for ’em. They ought to come under the head of jewelry, not real estate. If you want to buy that property, stranger, you’ve got to buy it by the inch.
Stranger—I’m not buying property this morning. I’m the new tax assessor.
The citizen falls in a fit.
Notice – Voters of the State of New York who desire to give their suffrages to the candidates of the united labor party can procure ballots on application to
Charles Koffer, 157 Broad street, Stapleton, S. I., for Richmond county.
A G. Sutherland, 51 Hernott street, Yonkers, for Westchester county.
J. J. Mullen, 197 South street, Newburg, for Orange and Sullivan counties.
Robert Halliday, Nyack for Rockland county
William Sweeny, Poughkeepsie, for Putnam and Dutchess counties.
F. E. Wilcox, 95 Warren street, Hudson, for Columbia county.
Herman Shader, Kingston, for Ulster, Greene and Delaware couuties.
Timothy McDonald, Hoosick Falls, for Washington county.
A. J. Nugent, 22 Watkyns’s block, Troy, for Rensselaer county.
C. H. Barrett, 816 Broadway, Albany, for Albany county.
Patrick H. Cummins, Amsterdam, for Saratoga, Schenectady, Montgomery, Fulton and Hamilton counties.
J. H. Quinlan, Glens Falls, for Warren and Essex counties.
Thomas Fassett, Plattsburg, for Clinton county.
James E. Murphy, Malone, for Franklin county.
H. M. Davidson, 12 Main street, Ogdensburg, for St. Lawrence county.
J. W. Jones, 5 Cadwell street, Watertown, for Jefferson county.
Daniel M. Buckley, 20 First street, Utica, for Oneida and Lewis counties.
George E. Bedell, Herkimer, for Schoharie, Otsego and Herkimer counties.
William H. Joyce, 43 North Geddes street, Syracuse, for Onondaga and Cortland counties.
J. H. Blakeney, Binghamton, for Madison, Chenango, Broome and Tioga counties.
James Bonan, 86 Frazy street, Auburn, for Oswego, Cayuga and Wayne counties.
C. C. Platt, Ithaca, for Tompktns, Chemung, Schuyler and Seneca counties.
Dwight M. DeSilva, Corning, for Ontario, Steuben and Yates caunties.
Peter McKittrick, 103 Court street, Rochester, for Monroe county.
A. J. Rose, Batavia, for Livingston, Genesee, Orleans and Wyoming counties.
J. A. Ronayne, 188 Main street, Buffalo, for the First, Second and Third assembly districts of Erie county.
Lawrence J. McParlin, Lockport, for the Fourth and Fifth assembly districts of Erie county, and for Niagara county.
E. D. Nothrup, Ellicottville, for Chautauqua, Cattaraugus and Allegany counties.
UNITED LABOR PARTY.
Appointments for Speakers in State .
Dr. Edward McGlynn will speak as follows:
Oct. 23, (afternoon)
(evening) Bartholdi hall and Grand Army
East New York;
Academy of Music, New York Oct. 24,
Oct. 29, Dunkirk
Jamestown hall, Brooklyn, E.D.
L. I. City
Henry George will speak:
Oct. 26, Utica
Watertown Oct. 27,
Oct. 28, Oswego
Rev. W. E. Lincoln of Painesville, O., and Hon. Samuel W. Williams of Vincennes, Ind., will speak:
Oct. 29, Buffalo
Geneva Oct. 31,
Nov. 5, Ithaca
Victor A. Wilder of Brooklyn will speak:
Oct. 22, Pt. Richmond Oct. 29, Little Falls
Judge James G. Maguire of San Francisco will speak:
Oct. 29, Oneonta
Binghamton. Oct 31,
Nov. 5, Rochester
Rev. Hugh O. Pentecost will speak:
Oct 28, Rochester
Peekskill Oct. 31,
Nov. 2, Yonkers
Dr. Alfred S. Houghton of Cincinnati will speak:
Oct. 29, Plattsburg
Sing Sing Oct. 31
Nov 5, Yonkers
Mr. James P. Kohler of Brooklyn will speak:
Oct, 22, Pt Richmond Nov. 2, Stapleton
Mr. Robert Crowe of New York will speak:
Oct. 29, Plattsburg
Little Falls Nov. 1,
Nov. 5, Utica
Rev. W. D. P. Bliss will speak:
Oct. 26, Albany
Hudson Nov. 4, Amsterdam
Secretary State Committee United Labor Party,
Room 28. Cooper Union, New York.
LAND AND LABOR—The Central Committee has been organized for the purpose of carrying into national politics, by means of circulars, correspondence, lectures, etc., the principles of the United Labor Party of New York, as set forth in the platform adopted at Syracuse, Aug. 19, 1887.
Members of trade and labor organizations, and all citizens in favor of independent political action who are desirous of taking part in the formation of land and labor clubs are requested to address
Chairman Central Committee,
28 Cooper Union. N. Y. City.
Citizens of the following named states who indorse the principles of the United Labor Party and desire to lend active aid in the great movement, now beginning for the emancipation of labor, are requested to communicate with the State Organizers of their respective states, as follows:
California—Judge James O. Maguire, San Francisco.
Connecticut—Robert Pyne, 284 Asylum st., Hartford.
Indiana—Warren Worth Bailey, Vincennes.
Kentucky—Henry George Club, 258 Vine st., Cincinnati.
Louisiana—John J. Sullivan, 705 Fulton street, New Orleans.
Massachusetts (Berkshire county)—F. Harvey Lincoln, box 115, Zylonite.
Massachusetts (Boston and vicinity) — Daniel H. Biggs, 61 Clarendon street, Boston.
Maryland—S. H. Garside, 1507 West Lexington street, Baltimore.
Minnesota—Central Committee. United Labor Party, 42 Third St, south Minneapolis
New York—John McMackin, 28 Cooper Union, New York city.
Ohio—Henry George Club, 258 Vine st:, Cincinnati.
South Carolina—Benjamin Adams, Charleston.
West Tennessee, Eastern Arkansas and Northern Mississippi – Land and Labor Club No. 2, Rooms, 9 and 10, Cotton Exchange, Memphis, Tenn.