Volume 1 April 30, 1887
Andrew Carnegie, the great Pittsburg iron millionaire, got married last week and sailed for Europe. Before getting married he settled $20,000 a year on his bride, who was already in her own bride, who was already in her own right a rich woman. Andrew Carnegie is a “self made man” as the phrase goes. A poor Scotch boy, he commenced life as a telegraph messenger and is now worth at least $10,000,000 – a matter which shows, according to the philosophy of some of our contemporaries, that any poor Scotch boy, who is industrious and energetic, can come to this country, commence life as a telegraph messenger, and get $10,000,000 by the time he is fifty-four years old. Mr. Carnegie is not, however, one of those self made men who worship their maker, but, in spite of his wealth, has [text missing] many noble and generous qualities. [text missing] to his employees, has made large donations for public purposes to the city of Pittsburg and has adorned his native Scottish town with a fine public bath and a good library, besides purchasing for himself a castle and estate in Scotland and making a beautiful summer resort in the mountains of Pennsylvania. He has, moreover, written some entertaining books, among them one called “Triumphant Democracy,” in which he views the institutions and life of his adopted country through such rose-colored spectacles as a genial and generous gentleman who has made ten million dollars might naturally wear. We wish him much happiness in his new relation, and have no envy that he is able to settle on his bride an income of twenty thousand dollars as long as she may live. Nevertheless, that one citizen of the republic, and he by no means the richest, is able to settle twenty thousand dollars a year upon his bride and think no more of it than an ordinary citizen of the republic would of presenting his bride with a rolled-gold breastpin, is well worthy of consideration.
Andrew Carnegie’s wealth comes in large part from what we call “protection to American industry;” that beneficent system of taxation which we are told is imposed for the benefit of the American laborer, and which is supposed to keep the “poor American workingman” from being crowded to the wall by competition with the “pauper labor” of Europe. But whatever this system of “protecting” American labor may do for men like Andrew Carnegie, who are so fortunate as to become iron masters and get possession of iron mines, it certainly does not enable the men who do the actual labor to settle twenty thousand dollars a year on their wives.
Year before last – the last year for which we have any statistics – the wages paid to miners in the Center county mine of Carnegie Brothers & Co. were $1.15 a day for inside miners, and $1.10 for outside miners, and the number of days’ work that the men got in the year at these wages was 119. Thus, Mrs. Carnegie gets as a wedding present as much as the aggregate earnings of one hundred and forty-five of these protected American laborers, working at this rate, for all the years of her life.
Shall we say, then, that Mr. Carnegie has presented his wife with the equivalent of one hundred and fifty protected Pennsylvania laborers? By no means. These protected Pennsylvania iron miners have to eat in order that they may work, and must have some sort of clothing and some kind of lodging, and, moreover, they likewise are men and are called on by nature to wed so many women – their sexual complements – whom nature, in Pennsylvania as elsewhere, brings into the world in due proportion to men. And if the race is to be perpetuated, they also must have children, just as, we trust, Andrew Carnegie will be blessed with children. Now, if Mr. Andrew Carnegie had presented his bride with so many Pennsylvania miners, just as a southern gentleman in the days preceding the war might have presented his bride with so many negro field hands, how many would it take to give her twenty thousand dollars a year? One hundred and nineteen days’ work at an average of $1.12½ per day would amount to $134 per year. But after providing with some sort of shelter, the man, his wife and their due allowance of children, how much could a slave owner retain for himself out of $134 per year? With prices as they are in Pennsylvania, the answer would be – nothing. But let us say that a man, woman and three or four children could somehow be fed, clothed and lodged in Pennsylvania for $124 per year. On this supposition $10 would remain. So, therefore, at this rate, what Mr. Carnegie has really presented to his wife is as good as the absolute ownership of two thousand protected American laborers!
We repeat, we have no envy of Mr. Carnegie, and hope he and his bride will enjoy to the fullest their European trip. But what sort of a social system, and what sort of a republic is it, in which one man, and he by no means one of the richest, can give his wife a bridal present equivalent to all that could be got by the hardest taskmaster from the ownership of two thousand American citizens? It is but fair to add that the wages paid by Carnegie Brothers & Co. are about the highest paid in the iron mines of Pennsylvania, an industry which has been the pampered pet of our “protective system.”
A still more notable “wedding in high life” took place this week in San Francisco, and the gorgeous details, even to the name of the man who played the organ, and the sorts of costly roses that formed the pyramids of flowers, are telegraphed across the continent; for the great mass of our people whose life is a constant struggle to pay their rent have much the same instinct that makes an Englishman “love a lord,” and delight to revel, in imagination, in the luxury of their “betters.” Citizen Charles Crocker, the bride’s father, is in all but the title indeed a lord. In wealth and in power there are few English dukes who could claim precedence of him. He gives to his daughter, by way of wedding present, a check for a million and a magnificent house in New York. So far as brains go, Mr. Crocker is hardly the peer of Mr. Carnegie, but he is a much richer man. He is one of a syndicate who own thousands of miles of railway, millions of acres of land, town sites, hotels, steamship lines, senators, representative and state legislature. Twenty-six years ago Mr. Crocker kept a little dry goods store in Sacramento, just such a dry goods store as one of the one-horse dry goods stores that are to be found in the poorer parts of Third avenue. How did he get so rich? By energy, thrift and conscientious honesty? Bah! If Mr. Crocker had been a strictly conscientious man, [text missing] things as bribery, jobbery, and what could be called downright theft if it was in dollars instead of millions, he would still be keeping a little dry goods store, or more probably would be by this time run out of business by some larger house, and be keeping books or clerking it.
Mr. Crocker is worth nobody knows how many millions of dollars. Perhaps thirty or forty; it may be fifty. He has not, of course, so many actual dollars in his possession, but he has the power of obtaining the produce of labor, in whatever form he may choose to call for it, to that amount. He certainly by no labor of hand or head, could have got a million dollars’ worth of wealth, or the hundredth part of a million dollars’ worth of wealth. When men like Mr. Crocker can get the produce of labor without honestly laboring for it, is it not therefore clear that the men who do honestly labor must get less than they fairly earn?
In the meantime Jacob Sharp is being brought to trial, and sits in court with the state prison staring him in the face. Mr. Sharp is an energetic and persistent man, who takes the world as he finds it, and who saw that New York needed a great public convenience, a railroad on Broadway. The land owners along Broadway had been for years suffered to prevent the building of a railroad, and with things as they are Mr. Sharp saw that the only way to get a Broadway railroad was to bribe the board of aldermen. This he did, and thanks to him and his bribery the means of transportation along Broadway are now a great deal better than when the public were confined to the lumbering old omnibuses.
But another syndicate envied Mr. Sharp and his spoils, and after being harassed half to death he is now on trial, with a good [text missing] the state prison. Yet in reality he has only done on a comparatively small scale what Mr. Crocker and his associates have done on a large scale. In reality he has only done what in the code of morals that prevails among the richer classes of New York and the country generally it is considered perfectly legitimate to do. Jacob Sharp’s real crime is in being legally found out. If this had not occurred he would be today one of New York’s most respected citizens, in spite of the fact that everybody knew that he had bribed the board of aldermen. And in what is he worse than the “saviors of society” who give thousands and thousands of dollars for the corruption of politics and the buying of voters whenever it suits their purposes? In what is he worse than the officials who try him? Jacob Sharp, the prisoner, and “Fatty” Walsh, the prison keeper! is there not something incongruous in that? It may be refreshing to see a boodler sent to prison and a boodle put on trial, but rare spectacles of this sort cannot much affect boodleism.
Mr. Charles A. Dana, in the Sun, prints one of those logical articles that are so well calculated to assure men who can afford to pay their cooks five thousand dollars a year, that the people who, by the hardest work, can only get a dollar or two a day, and think themselves fortunate when they get that, are kicking against the pricks of the inevitable when they complain of their lot. Mr. Dana figures it out that if all the wealth of the country were divided per capita, the individual American, man, woman or child, would only have two hundred and seventy-two dollars and forty-five cents’ worth.
If this be true, it certainly does appear that there is something monstrous in the conditions which enable a single man to get possession of wealth amounting to millions and scores of millions. Some men are bigger, some stronger, some brighter and some wiser than the average man; but there are no such differences between the average man and the superior man as there are between the wealth of the average citizen of the republic and the wealth of the wealthy classes of the republic.
Mr. Dana’s notion, however, seems to be that two hundred and seventy-two dollars and forty-five cents is so little that there is not much temptation to an equal division. And to still further do away with even this temptation, he goes on to explain, by a process apparently satisfactory to himself, that if an equal division were attempted, nothing would have any money value, and therefore it would be necessary “to parcel out the land into fifty million shares, to separate the wheat, molasses, rum and calico into fifty million equal lots, to break up the peachblow vase into fifty million fragments, and so on to the end of the schedule.”
This is dreadful, and will, no doubt, convince men who are bent upon an equal division of all things that such an attempt would be fatal – at least to the peachblow vase. But if Mr. Dana will attend the next meeting of the united labor party in his district he will there find people able to tell him how a much more equitable distribution of the wealth of this country than now obtains can be had, and that without any danger to the peachblow vase either.
In the meantime, as appears from a quiet item in a subsequent issue of the Sun, he seems to have discovered that his arithmetic was somewhat at fault, and that an equal division, instead of giving only $272.45 per capita, would, according to the census figures, give each man, woman and child something over $850, which to the family of five would be what the majority of our people would consider the little fortune of $4,250.
Let us hope the editor of the Sun will push his investigations further. If he does he will see that the present wealth of the country is as nothing compared with the wealth that existing powers of production are competent to produce, and that to utterly abolish poverty, and to make our whole population rich – in the sense of securing to the poorest all that would satisfy every reasonable desire – it is only necessary to abolish the monopolies that make “the leave to toil” a boon, and rob the producer of the fruits of his labor.
An associated press dispatch from Chicago, published in all the daily papers, declares that the red internationals, the black internationals and the socialistic labor party have united to form a secret association which looks to a violent outbreak in the principal cities of the country in 1889. The anarchists, it is declared, look to 1889 as the time of a widespread depression of industry, accompanied by closing factories, starving workers, rioting and the use of military force, and they propose to get ready for this by secretly organizing throughout the country, and instructing their members in what is called scientific warfare, by which is meant the use of fire and explosives.
What the red internationals, the black internationals or the green internationals, if such there be, may be doing or may be looking forward to I do not know, but beneath all the cock and bull stories of anarchistical combinations that are telegraphed to the press there is a substratum of actual facts which it is the part of prudent men to look in the face.
It is just as certain as that night follows day that we are ere long to enter a period of industrial depression more widespread and more intense than any the country has yet known. We are now in a period of comparative prosperity, and that unfailing index, the stream of immigration, promises to be larger this year than ever before. As a consequence land speculation is rampant all over the country. The price of land is advancing in New York and its vicinity by leaps and bounds, while the “real estate booms” that are raging in fever through the west have had no parallel since the days that preceded the panic of 1837. The height of this speculative fever is the measure of the depth of depression that will follow it.
The philosophy of those periodical alternatives of what we call “good times” and “hard times” is simply this:
By virtue of a natural law, increase of population, improvements in the arts of production, the opening of richer natural resources – all the things that go to increase the material progress of society, tend to increase the value of land – the element indispensable to all life and all labor. The indent of this provision in the natural scheme is clear. Were land treated as justice between man and man dictates that it should be treated, the advance in civilization would be an advance in civilization would be an advance toward equality, by the constant increase of that fund due to social growth and social improvement, which can be taken for common uses without hampering production or lessening the legitimate reward of the individual producers. But by making land private property, by permitting its appropriation, and extending to its ownership the same rights which we justly accord to things produced by human labor, we permit the owners of land to take for their own benefit the enormous increment of wealth which comes from social growth and social improvement.
This inevitably leads to speculation – to the appropriation of land in advance of the need for its use, and to the holding of it at prices based, not upon what labor and capital can be forced to give fore its use in the present, but on the prospect of what in the future they may be forced to give. Thus a check is imposed upon production, for labor and capital, the active factors in the production of wealth, are utterly useless unless they can obtain access to the passive factor – land.
This condition of things is chronic in an advancing society like ours, and even in the best of times there is, owing to the appropriation of land in advance of actual needs, and the holding of it at prices that discount the future, a “surplus” of capital seeking investment and a “surplus” of labor seeking employment. But when from any cause there comes a season of comparative prosperity, then the tendency of land values to advance gives a fresh impulse to speculation, which finally so checks production as to bring about a dislocation or paralysis of the interlaced network of production and exchange, and we have a “panic” or “commercial crisis,” followed by a season of industrial depression, during which there seems to be an “overproduction” of all the things needed for the satisfaction of material desires while human beings suffer for the want of them. For, though the prices of land go readily up under the stimulus of speculation, they do not go as readily down when the fever of speculation is over. The man who has bought land at a high price and the man who holds lands he might have sold for a high price, are naturally disposed to “hang on” as long as they can, rather than sell, for they know that the general tendency of social growth is to add to the value of land, and that if they only hold on they may yet grasp fortune.
The present fever of speculation in land must, under present conditions, have, therefore, for its inevitable consequence another season of depression, bitterer than any we have yet experienced, for even in these alternations of what we call “good times” and “bad times” the general condition of the mere laborer has been growing harder and more helpless, and the tendency has been to the eating up the the smaller capitalists by the greater, and to the crowding of a larger and larger proportion of the self-employing middle class into the class of dependent workers. With this a bitter and largely a blind discontent has been growing. And while anything like anarchistic organizations may be ridiculously small in numbers, there can be no question that a considerable element among the bitterly dissatisfied classes have been becoming familiarized with the idea of a resort to physical force and to destructive agents. The bursting of a bomb in the Haymarket of Chicago, the explosion of an infernal machine on a steamer that left New York during the late freight handlers’ strike, and the increasing number of cases in which during labor disputes in other parts of the country similar methods have been attempted are deeply ominous, for they both show and promote a dangerous habit of thought. And while the tendency of the great organizations of labor, such as the trades unions and the Knights of Labor, has been, by increasing responsibility and introducing a certain discipline to hold in check the disposition to resort to any other than peaceable methods, a season of deep depression, accompanied, as it is likely to be, with a greater or less disintegration of these organizations, furnishes just the conditions in which such ideas may take shape. There are times when a single fool or a single fanatic may start a conflagration that a thousand men cannot stop.
Whether they belong to any organization or not, there are today, as everyone acquainted with the labor movement knows, a considerable number of men who have come to believe that the readiest, if not the only, means by which existing unjust social conditions can be changed for the better, is through violence of some sort. Few of these men are avowed anarchists; most of them have no more definite idea than that there is some deep wrong in the constitution of society which can never get redress until the propertied classes find their own comfort and safety imperiled.
This is a dangerous element, but it is only the correlative of a still more dangerous element, that influential class, controlling most of the organs of public opinion and education, who exert all their power to suppress any honest inquiry into the causes of the injustice which the masses so bitterly feel. Violence is the method of ignorance and despair. Men who see the possibility of a peaceful remedy for their wrongs do not turn to it.
The real conservatives of today are those who, having traced social injustice to its real root, the fundamental wrong which disinherits the masses and causes material progress itself to make harder the lot of the mere laborer, are endeavoring to popularize the simple yet efficient remedy involved in freeing production from the taxes now levied upon it, and taking for social uses the values created by social growth and improvement.
“This thing is absolutely certain: Private property in land blocks the way of advancing civilization. The two cannot long coexist. Either private property in land must be abolished, or, as has happened again and again in the history of mankind, civilization must again turn back in anarchy and bloodshed. Let the remaining years of the nineteenth century bear me witness. Even now, I believe, the inevitable struggle has begun. It is not conservatism which would ignore such a tremendous fact. It is the blindness that invites destruction. He that is truly conservative let him look the facts in the face; let him speak frankly and dispassionately. This is the duty of the hour. For, when a great social question presses for settlement, it is only for a little while that the voice of Reason can be heard. The masses of men hardly think at any time. It is difficult even in sober moments to get them to calmly reason. But when passion is roused, then they are like a herd of stampeded bulls. I do not fear that present social adjustments can continue. That is impossible. What I fear is that the dams may hold till the flood rises to fury. What I fear is that dogged resistance on the one side may kindle a passionate sense of wrong on the other. What I fear are the demagogues and the accidents.
“The present condition of all civilized countries is that of increasing unstable equilibrium. In steam and electricity, and all the countless inventions which they typify, mighty forces have entered the world. If rightly used, they are our servants, more potent to do our bidding than the genii of Arabian story. If wrongly used, they, too, must turn to monsters of destruction. They require and will compel great social changes. That we may already see. Operating under social institutions which are based on natural justice, which acknowledge the equal rights of all to the material and opportunities of nature, their elevating power will be equally exerted, and industrial organization will pass naturally into that of a vast co-operative society. Operating under social institutions which deny natural justice by treating land as private property, their power is unequally exerted, and tends, by producing inequality, to engender forces that will tear and rend and shatter. The old bottles cannot hold the new wine. This is the ferment which throughout the civilized world is everywhere beginning.”
It is now five years since I wrote these words. What has happened since and is now happening, has all the more convinced me of their truth.
Finley Bell, secretary of the Scottish land restoration league, 65 Bath street, Glasglow, writes to me to ask if some money cannot be raised in the United States for the purpose of propagating radical land ideas in Scotland, and especially in the highlands.
John Ferguson of the publishing firm of Cameron & Ferguson, Glasglow, a man who, though living in Scotland, was one of the six originators of the Irish land league, and one of the most active promoters of the movement, writes to me to the same effect. Mr. Ferguson says:
“The time has come for a bold effort in the highlands. Can you raise some money for the good work. Irish, Scotch, Germans – all ‘humanitarians’ – should aid in this cause. We have now a good cause. We shall do our best. A few hundred pounds will enable us to take high ground. We can now carry mining and crofter consistencies upon the bottom principle. Would you try if your readers will help the crofters and committee?”
The Irish World of this week also publishes a letter from Mr. Ferguson to the same effect. He recalls, what is indeed true, that the land movement in Skye was kindled by Irish aid. Patrick Egan advanced £200 from the Irish land league funds, subsequently repaid from Glasglow, and Mr. Ferguson sent Edward McHugh, an Irish Scotchman, whose soul was in the cause, up to Skye to sow the seed on ready ground. Mr. Ferguson now asks for more aid for the same purpose, promising that not a cent shall go in payment of rent, as unfortunately much of the American fund expended in Ireland went.
Are there not among us some Scottish Americans with love enough for the old land to do for Scotland what Patrick Ford and his associates did for Ireland, and who will take charge of this matter, and begin the raising of a Scottish land league fund? The Irish land movement never could have made the headway it has but for the funds contributed on the side, especially in the beginning. The people were too far down. Very much the same condition of things exists in Scotland. The crofters and cottiers of the highlands, especially of Skye, have, as I personally know, a firm hold of the truth that “God made Scotland for Scotchmen,” but they are desperately poor, and the money that has been raised for them has been put in the hands of respectabilities whose endeavor it is to let the movement get no further than some picayune demand for “tenant right” or reduced rents. The Caledonian club of this city donated some months ago a handsome sum to aid the crofter agitation, but it was unfortunately sent to “whiggish” hands. The men who can make money tell are the radicals, such as compose the Scottish land restoration league, and whose aim is not to reduce rents, but to appropriate them.
Cannot our Scottish clubs get up a committee to aid in the matter? In the meantime, if anyone desires to send pecuniary aid to the good cause in Scotland let them remit to Finley Bell or to John Ferguson. Or if they chose they can send the money to The Standard and it will be acknowledged and forwarded.
Dr. M’Glynn In Brooklyn
He Delivers His Lecture on the Cross of the New Crusade to an Immense Audience
On last Wednesday evening it was Brooklyn’s turn to do honor to Rev. Dr. McGlynn. A big audience collected in the Academy of Music to hear the famous divine deliver his lecture on “The Cross of the New Crusade,” a full report of which The Standard published at the time of its first delivery a few weeks ago here in New York. Among those present were Thomas G. Shearman, John P. Crawford, John McMackin, General Benjamin F. Tracy, Supervisor-at-large Quintard, William C. De Witt, the Rev. Dr. Justin D. Fulton, Supervisor James Waters, ex-Assessor Howard Breen, ex-Judge William Watson, Lawyers Place, Gaynor and Patterson, Ralph Robb, Postmaster Joseph C. Hendrix, H.K. Sheldon, Dr. Gray, Franklyn Allen, John V. Brown, Dr. Menniger, John T. Casey, Judah B. Voorhees, Henry J. Gildersleeve, John F. Malone, James Ball, John P. Campbell and Charles F. Wingate.
From the moment that Dr. McGlynn came upon the stage with Henry George, Victor A. Wilder, chairman of the general committee of Kings county united labor party, and John McMackin of New York, great enthusiasm prevailed. Dr. McGlynn’s address was listened to with intense interest, and the hands of the clock pointed to almost 11 when the lecturer ceased speaking. Henry George presided.
Eager to Read “The Standard.”
Spokane Falls, W.T., April 20 – Right here in Washington territory, the battle cry of “the land for the people” does not find general acceptance. One reason is that there is a class of gentry here known as real estate brokers that send out their dodgers to the east, where hundreds of unthinking individual fall into the trap. Then there are mortgage companies which advance money to the needy pioneer, who is fortunate enough to have got 160 acres from Uncle Sam. In the course of ten or twelve years Mr. Pioneer’s farm will be absorbed, and he, with his family, must look to the town as a place of better possibilities, competing for work with those who are already there. Nevertheless, there are thinkers here, and so eager are they to get The Standard that it is actually stolen at times. Money is scarce or they would buy it. Yours for justice,
W.R. Van Dolahr
A Manly Protest
Rev. Dr. Curran Refuses to Sign the Archbishop’s Address
The following correspondence explains itself:
New York, April 21
Rev. James T. Curran – Rev. and Dear Sir: As Wednesday, May 4, will be the anniversary of the consecration of the most reverend archbishop, we, the undersigned, in common with a number of the clergy whom we have consulted in the matter, think that it would be a fitting occasion on which to present to him the appended address.
Already it has been signed by over two hundred of the secular priests of the diocese, and by a large number of the regular clergy.
If the address has not been brought to your notice, or if you have not yet signed it and desire to do so, we respectfully ask you to subscribe to the accompanying copy, and return it at your earliest convenience to Rev. John F. Kearney, No. 263 Mulberry street, New York city.
James H. McGean, St. Peter’s church
Gabriel A. Healy, St. Bernard’s church
John J. Murphy, S.J., St. Xavier’s church
Fred Wm. Wayrich, C.SS.R., St. Alphonsus’ church
John F. Kearney, St. Patrick’s church
John Edwards, Church of the Immaculate Conception
Nicholas J. Hughes, St. Mary’s church
Thomas Lynch, Transfiguration church
Martin J. Brophy, Church of the Sacred Heart
Anacletus Da Roccagorga, O.S.F., St. Anthony’s church
Joseph F. Mooney, St. Patrick’s church
Most Rev. Archbishop – We, the priests of the archdiocese of New York, come before you to express our sincere attachment to you and our unfeigned and cheerful loyalty to your authority.
We recognize in you our ecclesiastical superior, who, being in full communion with the head of the Catholic church, the successor of St. Peter, lawfully rule, teach and judge this portion of the flock of Christ – the archdiocese of New York.
Conformably to the exhortation of St. Paul, we look up to you as our “prelate who speaks to us the word of God, whose faith we follow.” And, pondering the grave injunction of the same apostle: “Obey your prelates and be subject to them; for they watch as being to render an account of your souls, that they may do this with joy, and not with grief: for this is not expedient for you.” Hebrews xiii, 17. We desire also, on this occasion to record our emphatic disapproval and reprobation of the act of disobedience and disloyalty to your authority of which a certain member of our body has made himself guilty – an act of disloyalty aggravated by his subsequent course.
We have been patiently hoping and praying that our dear brother would change his mind and return to his father’s house. But, observing that our charitable silence is construed into acquiescence in, and approval of, disobedience, and that it causes some surprise both here and abroad – learning, moreover, that it is publicly asserted that he is believed to uphold the cause of the clergy in general, we feel it our duty to make this solemn declaration to you, that the clergy of the archdiocese of New York utterly condemn all disobedience to lawfully constituted authority of the church, and can have no sympathy with the efforts of those who in any way set that authority aside. Our motto shall always be: “An obedient man shall speak of victory.” — Prov. xxi, 28.
New York, April 28, 1887
To Rev. James H. McGean, Rev. Gabriel A. Healy, Rev. John J. Murphy, Rev. Fred Wm. Wayrich, Rev. John F. Kearney, Rev. John Edwards, Rev. Nicholas J. Hughes, Rev. Thomas Lynch, Rev. Martin J. Brophy, Rev. Anacletus da Roccagorga, Rev. Joseph F. Mooney and Rev. James Dougherty: – Rev. and Dear Sirs: I have received from you a circular letter requesting my signature to a printed address to our archbishop. I cannot conscientiously comply with your request.
I regret that you and other priests of this diocese find it necessary to express in a public document your loyalty to authority. I should feel guilty of a calumny if I should sign the paper sent to me, containing, as it does, these words: “We desire, on this occasion, to record our emphatic disapproval and reprobation of the act of disobedience and disloyalty to your authority, of which a certain member of our body has made himself guilty; an act of disloyalty aggravated by his subsequent course.” It is not disloyalty to act according to admitted principles of Catholic theology. These principles teach us that every Catholic is free to adhere to an opinion until it shall have been condemned by the one legitimate authority.
You speak of a “certain member of our body” as disobedient and disloyal. I know of none such. The priest to whom I am told you refer in your address has declared again and again that if the doctrine, for refusing to abandon which he is still suspended from his pastoral office, should be condemned by the only authority we all recognize in such matters, he would, as a Catholic, repudiate it. And I know with certainty that that authority, so far from condemning, has never even examined the doctrine. I am entirely at a loss to know what “aggravation” of his alleged disloyalty you are able to find in what you call “his subsequent course.” It is not true, on the contrary, that Dr. McGlynn has maintained a discreet silence, broken only by a statement made necessary to supplement the incomplete presentation of his case in an authoritative published document? Moreover, I should feel guilty of a pharisaic hypocrisy if, after seeming by my signature to approve that portion of your address which I have just said I could not sign without feeling guilty of calumny, I should join with you in saying: “We have been patiently hoping and praying that our dear brother would change his mind and return to his father’s house. It would seem to me a mockery to call one my “dear brother” to his Father’s house. I should be conscious that I was calumniating him by implying that he had ever abandoned his Father’s house. This calumny would be all the more unpardonable since the “dear brother” has several times publicly asseverated with the great emphasis and solemnity that he never has and never will abandon what you must mean by “his Father’s house,” the holy Catholic church.
If, by his return to his Father’s house, you mean his resumption of the pastoral ministry from which he did not voluntarily retire, but from which he was suspended by a higher authority, I could not conscientiously join you in imputing blame to him for not resuming that ministry to which he has dedicated his life, and to which it is the dearest wish of his heart to return. If, when you say that you have been praying that your “dear brother would change his mind,” you mean that he should retract certain economic doctrines, as the one sufficient condition to induce the authority that suspended him to remove the suspension, I must acknowledge that you have for this assumption the authority of the archbishop himself. Yet much as I should like to see Dr. McGlynn restored to his ministry, I could not be so cruel as to wish it on a condition that would make him unworthy of it – the sinning against his conscience, and therefore against the Holy Ghost, by condemning a doctrine he believes to be true and of the greatest importance, not only to the material but to the moral and spiritual well being of the masses of God’s children, and which I and many others of his brethren in common with eminent cardinals, archbishops and other prelates of the church believe he is entirely free to hold.
Besides withholding my signature from this address, I would in the most fraternal spirit give a word of advice – that you should reconsider your apparently hasty and ill-advised action and withdraw the document, which is not only uncalled for, but which, if presented, will stand a perpetual stigma upon the clergy of this diocese. I have excellent reason to believe that the majority of those who have been or may be induced to sign this address will have done so with the greatest reluctance and regret. I am sure that they cannot fail to see in it the gravely objectionable features that I have pointed out, for it is not only an imputation on our fidelity to our sacred obligations to ask us to put our names to such a paper, but it is also a cruel thing to seem to coerce us into a condemnation of one whom we love and respect, by the fear of the “suspicion” which would be supposed to rest on those who, having the courage of their conscientious convictions, will have refused their signatures. In time, will it be wise, by persisting in the presentation of this address, from which will certainly be wanting the signatures of some of the very best and most eminent priests of the diocese, to permit the impression to go abroad that these worthy priests are disloyal to the authority of the church? I am, Rev. and dear sirs, yours, very respectfully,
James T. Curran
Priests Who Refuse To Sign
A General Stiffening of Backbones Among the Heretofore Weak Brethren
The document which several priests have been sending around the diocese for signatures indorsing Archbishop Corrigan’s recent actions has not, it would seem, met with universal approval. The following letter from a priest in reply to a request for his signature has been addressed to one of the promoters of the paper. The name, however, is withheld for obvious reasons:
April 21, 1887
Rev. and Dear Fr –: As your name is at the lead of a list of solicitors to a petition to the most reverend archbishop, I beg to state my reasons for refusing to sign it. I call it a petition purposely.
First – It is inordinate and officious. I have more respect for my archbishop than to consider him in need of this exceptional and irregular manner to persuade him that I am faithful to my oath of obedience. It belittles and casts a reflection upon his character.
Second – It implies an insult to the clergy of the diocese, inasmuch as it supposes them capable of perjury. Were they insincere in taking their oath of obedience lately? Or have they already broken their oath?
Third – It is calumnious, and probably in civil and ecclesiastical law libcious in its ill concealed and malignant interference. It is highly injurious to our archbishop, and an insidious attack upon faith and morals.
Another pastor who was asked for his signature, but did not give it, says:
“I see that Fathers Dougherty and Brady patronizingly interpret Archbishop Corrigan as having been always a warm friend of the Knights of Labor, even though “he folded his arms and said nothing.” That is what one would expect. Everybody is now in favor of them. How we have been misinterpreting those champions of freedom all along!
“The next thing I expect to hear is that he has been the best friend of Henry George. We have been misunderstanding him all the time. The land theory being now admittedly a free one for Catholics, there will be a rush for place among the foremost advocates of the system as maintained in The Standard. Archbishop Elder now publicly admit that the pope has never judged it at all. Tardy admission though it be, and forced when no longer capable of denial, it adds something to prepare the ground for Cardinal Gibbons’ final decision. This decision will simply leave it where we have always placed and kept it, on the platform of free discussion. There is where it belongs, and that is all it claims at present; but that is very much, and quite sufficient for justice.”
More Determined Than Ever
St. Stephen’s Parishioners Will Keep Up the Agitation, and Will Not Contribute to the Support of the Church Until Dr. McGlynn is Restored to Them
Friday Evening, April 22 – The St. Stephen’s parishioners held their second meeting since Easter at International hall, East Twenty-seventh street. The attendance was as large as at any meeting yet held. It seemed as if everybody in the hall had possessed themselves of the copy of The Standard containing the letter from the archbishop to the editor of the Catholic Herald, and the comments on the conduct of the “prince of the church” in this diocese were, to put it mildly, emphatic. One indignant woman said that “this priestly little bulldozer would, if he were not soon checked, alienate a large and true hearted clement from the Catholic church.” Another said that “Corrigan was only trying to carry out a pet idea of his, in which he was supported by the aristocratic members of the church, and that was to drive out of the church the Irish Catholics. They had been good enough,” she said, “to pay in money for the support of the parishes and diocese as long as they made no attempt to have a say in the conduct of church affairs; but now that the Irish Catholics were criticizing the church government, the Corrigans, O’Donoghues, Prestons, Lynches, Donnelys and Edwardses would try to kick them out.” “We’ll see who’ll have the last kick,” said another.
Mr. Feeny opened the meeting at precisely 8 o’clock, and after the usual introductory remarks as to the object of the meeting, introduced a young parishioner named James Hackett, son of a lady member of the committee of thirty-five.
Mr. Hackett made a very eloquent address in support of Dr. McGlynn, who he said had been made the first martyr of the new crusade of the poor against the wrongs and injustices inflicted upon them. He pointed out to the audience a coincidence: St. Stephen was the first martyr to Christianity, and the priest of the church reared in honor of him the victim of tyranny because he advocated justice to the poor. Mr. Hackett’s criticism of the action of the hierarchy was very severe. He counseled all the Catholics to stand by their pastor as steadfastly as he had stood by them.
William McCube was the next speaker. He reviewed the events that had occurred since he last appeared before the parishioners. Dr. McGlynn had delivered his now famous lecture at the Academy of Music; Dr. Curran, who had attended, had been sent up by the archbishop for ten days as punishment, and had served his time; he had as a second punishment been fired out of St. Patrick’s, for fear that Father Kearney would be contaminated, and ordered back to Ellenville; but he had been rewarded by the women of St. Stephen’s who had presented him with a golden chalice. Other priests of the diocese had been disciplined for attending Dr. McGlynn’s lecture, despite the fact that his utterances had breathed into his auditors the purest and sweetest truths of the Catholic church. In Ireland two priests of the people had been imprisoned for refusing to reveal the secrets of the confessional. The speaker thought that the Catholics of this diocese would have been glad to have the two Irish priests here, even if they had to give in exchange Fathers Corrigan and Preston, who would be more acceptable to the British government than Fathers Kellar and Ryan. [A voice – “Yes, and Donnelly, too.”] “Aye, and Donnelly, too!” We would be willing to throw in an extra priest of the same herd.” The first letter sent among the priests for signatures, by the archbishop, had failed of its purpose and had been withdrawn. Then about fifty German monks had signed a letter endorsing the bishop’s conduct, some of the most notable German signatures being Fathers Maguire and Daly. A third letter was now being circulated among the priests, which would also be a failure. But in the meantime the hierarchy had received a staggering blow from Rome. The Knights of Labor had been upheld, and one of the strongest points made by Cardinal Gibbons in his letter to the pope, which was not published by any of the city papers, was the case of Dr. McGlynn. The cardinal, speaking of the injury likely to be inflicted on the church by a determination to array her forces in opposition to popular rights, said: “We have lately seen the sorrowful and menacing confusion which was caused by the condemnation inflicted, for the maintenance of discipline, by an archbishop upon a single priest… who was regarded as a friend of the people. Now, if the consequences to the interests of the church from the condemnation of a single priest was regarded as the friend of the people, what will not be the consequences to fear from a condemnation which shall strike directly at the people themselves in the exercise of what they believe to be their legitimate rights?” “In absolute monarchies,” said Mr. McCabe, “it is an axiom that ‘the king can do no wrong.’ Does the archbishop presume to place himself in the position of a king? If so, he must be shown the error of his way. In matters of dogma and faith he is supreme; in secular matters or matters involving a priest’s rights as a citizen he has no more to say than the humblest parishioner in his diocese.” The speaker then referred to the latest scandalous action of the archbishop, in which he attempted to bulldoze the editor of the Catholic Herald, who had criticized his action in the case of the suspended priest. This latest action had convinced the speaker that the archbishop was now in a most unpriestly rage, or else had gone mad. In conclusion Mr. McCabe advised the women of St. Stephens to visit Catholic women throughout the diocese and appeal to them to stop all contributions for the support of the churches they attend until justice had been done in St. Stephens’ parish.
Dr. Jeremiah Coughlin made a most eloquent address, which was enthusiastically received.
Mr. Ryan, the secretary of the meeting, then read from The Standard the letter of the archbishop to the editor of the Catholic Herald. When he came to the signature of the archbishop the audience broke forth in a storm of hisses. “This letter of the archbishop of New York,” said Mr. Ryan, “addressed to an American newspaper, is an outrage upon the press. Yes, ladies and gentlemen, it is an unwarrantable interference with the freedom of the press of free America. The comments of the Catholic Heraldupon Archbishop Corrigan in his punishment of his priests have not contained anything disrespectful toward the bishop of this diocese, nothing more than a fair criticism of his grace’s misconduct. And because he is so criticized the archbishop threatens the editor and proprietor with excommunication and dares them to repeat the comments ‘at their peril.’ Are we living in Russia or in some despotic country where our lives and our opinions are not our own, or is this the America we boast of as the freest country and the most prosperous country in the world? What is the next step? Shall we have the daily papers also threatened if they do not suppress the news if the news is unfavorable to the archbishop? (A voice – “Perhaps he thinks he can buy them.” Laughter) I denounce this letter as a blow at one of the greatest bulwarks of our liberty, a free press. The archbishop has antagonized our public schools; he is now antagonizing the Irish national league, so it is said, in ordering his priests to refuse the basements of their churches for league meetings, and now he is antagonizing the press of the country. We love our religion – (applause) – and we love our country, and we would also love our bishop if he were one with us in sympathy. But he can have no sympathy with the people in doing as he has done.” Mr. Ryan went on to say that his grace was imprudently raising a storm he could not control, and regretted that they had not a man like the bold, patriotic and Catholic Archbishop Hughes to sit in his place.
Mr. Feeny spoke next. He said the Catholic Herald has been singled out to make a “terrible example of.” The audience at this point rose in a body, and while cheer after cheer was given for that paper, it was unanimously resolved to support it in spite of the “thunders from the Madison avenue palace.”
Before the meeting adjourned Mr. Hackett read the boycott resolutions which were adopted at the beginning of the trouble in the basement of the St. Stephen’s. The points contained in it were reaffirmed by the meeting amid the wildest enthusiasm. The resolutions are as follows:
Whereas, Our beloved pastor, Rev. Edward McGlynn, has been deprived of the exercise of his priestly functions, and has been removed from the parish where he has endeared himself to the people by his charity and devotion to our religion; and,
Whereas, We, his faithful flock, having been insulted and outraged by the manner of his removal from St. Stephen’s church, his own home for twenty-one years and the refuge of the poor and afflicted; and,
Whereas, Knowing that no fault or offense on the part of our dearly beloved pastor, Dr. McGlynn, was such as should incur the displeasure or punishment of his superiors in the diocese; be it
Resolved, That we, the parishioners of St. Stephen’s church, abstain from any further support, pecuniary or otherwise, for the church of St. Stephen’s while the Rev. Arthur J. Donnelly remains in the church; and,
Resolved, That we pledge ourselves to refuse to contribute to the maintenance of the church while we are deprived of the administration of the Rev. Dr. Edward McGlynn.
Resolved, That a committee be appointed to wait upon his grace, Archbishop Corrigan, to inform him of the action taken by the parishioners of St. Stephen’s and respectfully request that he give the reasons for which Dr. McGlynn has been deprived of the pastorate he has held so long and with such honor to himself and benefit to the church.
With a renewed determination to stand with their pastor, even though it became necessary to carry the warfare to the gates of the Vatican, the meeting adjourned until next Friday evening at the same place.
At St. Stephen’s
The Assistant Pastor Finds it Hard to Raise Money
Father Colton, assistant pastor of St. Stephen’s (Father Donnelly being the titular pastor, despite all reports to the contrary), commenced a week ago a personal visitation to all the members of the immense parish built up by Dr. McGlynn, and which contained at the time of his suspension a Catholic population of over 25,000 souls. The object of Father Colton’s visitation is to raise the money with which to pay the regular semi-annual interest on the debt of the church, the principal of which has increased $10,000 since the removal of Dr. McGlynn. This house canvass has been ordered by Bishop Corrigan, because, without considering the amount of indebtedness added to the principal, the contribution toward the actual cost of keeping the church open has fallen short over $700 a month. While the fees received by the bishop from interments would make this shortage good almost three times over, he does not appear to have any intention of cutting down his $40,000 annual income, even for the good of the church.
Last Sunday the church was only about half filled and the collections were small – how small could not be ascertained.
As a portion of the congregation left the church at the close of the first part of the services, a man with a muffler around his neck said to a gentleman who was waiting for a car on the corner of Twenty-eighth street and Third avenue, “I’ll make a prediction right here that Father McGlynn will be backed at the head of that church before this thing is ended. That is his place, and he’ll get there yet; mark my word.”
A reporter visited some of Dr. McGlynn’s parishioners and was assured that it was a fact that the church finances had fallen behind $3,000 since January, and that to make good the deficit the bishop had ordered a “house to house” canvass of the parish to be made by Father Colton and the priests now assisting him in ministering to the church.
The other day one of the priests spent three-quarters of an hour laboring with a wealthy lady member of the parish who lives opposite the Park avenue hotel. She was outspoken in her criticism of the way in which Dr. McGlynn had been treated by Archbishop Corrigan. But it was explained to her that Dr. McGlynn was guilty of insubordination, and had made a great mistake in opposing his superiors. “Very well,” said the lady, “I’ll wait until he comes back to his church again before I give any money.”
A general impression prevails throughout the parish that on the return of Cardinal Gibbons there will be a charge in the state of affairs. One parishioner said: “Dr. McGlynn will come back. You need have no fear about that. He is too great a man to be kicked into a corner. This is a free country, and so long as a man does right no one can harm him. Dr. McGlynn has done no wrong. He is not that kind of man. And unless he is restored to his church there will be trouble for a generation to come. This thing will not die out in a day or a year. We have great hopes of Cardinal Gibbons. He is a man who knows what he is about, and we are anxiously awaiting his arrival from Rome.”
A lady who had been listening to the conversation said that she did not know that anything could be done. “A real gentleman” had told her that the archbishop would come out ahead. “Don’t you believe it,” was the reply. She drew a long breath, and said: “There is no noble music, no grandeur, gentlemen, that would do my heart so much good as to see Dr. McGlynn back in his church. It will be a happy day when he becomes our pastor again.”
The Archiepiscopal Boomerang
His Letter Has the Opposite Effect to That Intended by Him
The publication by The Standard of Archbishop Corrigan’s threatening letter to the editor of the Catholic Herald has been the sensation among Catholics during the past week. Nearly all the daily papers have made sensations of the letter, in most cases without giving credit to this paper for furnishing them the material. The most gratifying thing coming out of its publication has been its effect on a large number of devout Catholics, who up to the present time had asserted that the suspension of Dr. McGlynn had been a disciplinary measure, to which all good Catholics should bow; but now that they see the archbishop attempting to jump on everybody and everything that opposes his will, in the church and out of it, they are thinking it is about time to remind his eminence that the head of the church is in heaven, and not in New York city. So they are now moving in the matter, especially in St. Ann’s and the Immaculate Conception parishes. A movement is on foot to join in with the McGlynn meeting which has been called by the Sixteenth assembly district club of the united labor party at Clarendon hall on Wednesday evening, May 4.
Mr. D. O’Loughlin, managing editor of the Catholic Herald, is reported as saying: “I got it (the letter) on the 14th inst., and was convinced at once that it came from the archbishop. How its contents have become public I do not know, as a copy of it was not given to anyone for publication with my consent. In regard to the letter itself, all I have to say is that I am not willing to submit in all things to any authority. For example, I recognize no authority as to the manner in which I shall transact my business. TheCatholic Herald is a newspaper, and does not profess to give instruction on matters of faith and dogma. It tells Catholics what is going on in the church and its editors make such comments as they see fit.”
“Do you think this letter is at all the result of your advocacy of Dr. McGlynn?”
“Probably. I have been and always shall be a staunch advocate of Dr. McGlynn. I consider him a ‘shining light’ of the church, and I am ready to follow him to whatever length he may go. The church authorities never took any interest in my paper, and yet the moment I offend them I am called to account. I have a great respect for lawful authority, but I will not change my course for anyone.”
“Does not the decree referred to by the archbishop compel you to be obedient?”
“A decree, sir, like any other law, should have due regard for the interests of all parties concerned. Otherwise it cannot be just. Now, decrees, as you know, are passed by a council of bishops, and those who may be affected by them have not a word to say in the matter.
“I do not know what the archbishop means by saying that the utterances of the Catholic Herald have for some time been ‘shockingly scandalous.’ He must refer, I imagine, to what I have written about Dr. McGlynn. I would certainly not publish any matter that would cause scandal to Catholics or any one else.
“In conclusion, I would say that I am not to be turned aside from my course by any threat, and that I am unwilling to be quoted as saying anything disrespectful to the archbishop personally. I respect him and his office, but I can distinguish between episcopal policy and church doctrine, and for that reason I intend to uphold Dr. McGlynn, no matter what the result may be.”
Mr. O’Loughlin declined to express an opinion as to what punishment might be inflicted upon him for his contumacy, but it was learned from other sources that the most likely weapon, if any, which the archbishop would use would be a decree warning Catholics not to read the Catholic Herald.
Mr. O’Loughlin has not answered the archbishop’s letter, which, by the way, is an autographed one. He intended to acknowledge its receipt, but failed to do so.
At the marble palace on Murray hill, no information could be obtained, the authorities there preferring to say the usual statesmanlike “nothing” to seekers of information.
One Of The “German Priests”
He Calls Ladies of St. Stephen’s Parish Tramps – “Dat is Yust Like a Vomans”
A correspondent in Brooklyn sends us the following:
The supporters of Archbishop Corrigan in his attack on Dr. McGlynn have received an addition in the person of Father Nicholas Ballies, pastor of the little German Catholic church of St. Francis of Brooklyn. On Sunday last amazement was plainly discernible on the countenance of the members of the small congregation who attended the services. The little church is capable of seating one hundred persons, and was built for the convenience of the few Germans who inhabit that portion of the city. The Rev. Father Ballies is an energetic old gentleman of seventy-five years, who makes himself understood in a language of his own, half German and half English.
On Sunday last, according to his custom, he paid his respects to The Standard, the Catholic Herald, Henry George, Dr. McGlynn, Dr. Curran and a host of others in anything but a flattering manner. His remarks were something like this:
“Dere is some tings dot I vant very much to say today. Now I vant all of you peeples to hear me. See? hey! I see dot dose vomans in St. Shteeven’s shurch haf gifen a cold shalice to dot Fader Curran. Vat you tink now? You tink, hey! No, it vas sphide. Yust for sphide; for sphide; vat you tink? hey! Can you tole me? See?
“Now dot is like all dose vomans, all de dime dey vas making foolishness, from de first dime vhen dot ole voman tramp Efe, she goes pehind her huspand’s back, und she has tousands of tings to eat. She goes tramp, trampery around dot Garten of Eten and look for somedings mischief to do. See? Vot you dink, hey? Den she leesten to dot fine shentleman (pointing below) who tole her, mit a vink, dot God vas only fooling her. Dot is a voman; and dot is what dose tramp vomans haf done mit Henry Chorch and Fader McGlynn and Fader Curran.”
“Fader Curran is a friend mit Fader McGlynn und Henry Chorch, und he tink dat de archbishop vas wrong. Vat you tink, hey? See dot, now, eh! eh! (with a beaming smile); but he vas punished yust so much as von schmall paby boy. Vat you tink, hey? See!” and the old clergyman rubbed his hands with ardent delight.
Now dere is some odder tings I vant to say. I haf eight minutes more, and I vas going to shpeak now, for ven de hot vedder comes you vill not leesten to me; you vill go to shleep. Dot Catlic paper, dot Catlic Heralt, vat you tink? dot editor got a letter from de archbishop, telling him it vas better he vas careful vat he wrote in his papers, and he ask dot man to say noddings aboud de letter, to keep it private; and vat does he do, hey? Vat you tink? He says dot he may show dot letter to doo of his friends, and dey puplish it in De Standurt. He says dot he may show dot secret like dose old tramp vomans vat is all de dime dalking. Dey put dot letter in De Standurt baper. Vat you tink now? See, hey? Now dot is yust like all dose frends. I tink like St. Gregory, dat ve ought to haf in de litany of te Saints, ‘From our frends, goot Lort deliver us, amen.’ Vat you tink? Hah, hah! See dot now?
“Dot editor says dat he vill not stop; dot it vas his own brivate peesiness. Vot you tink, hey? See! see! Dat is nice. Aind de papers everypody’s peesiness? Humph. Brivate! Vot you tink? (disgustedly). Now, I vas not going to shtop right avay. I vant to say somedings about dot bapers, De Standurt and de Catlic Heralt. Now, I von’t forbit you to read dem. I von’t say don’t read dem, for ven I say dot, den you vill go right avay off und tell your vifes vot I say. Den yust so soon as I say dose ting, den you go home and tell your vife dot, and she go right avay und puy dem yust for sphide, to see vat I don’t vant you to read. See? Vot you tink now!
“Dot is yust like a vomans, and don’t you forgit it. See?”
On looking at his watch for the sixth time, the old gentleman found he had just five minutes more, which he utilized with many grimaces and contortions in a repetition of his denunciation of Henry George and the rest, laying particular stress on the unfortunate part played by Eve in the history of the human race, when she partook of the apple in the Garden of Eden.
Is It A Similar Case?
Is Archbishop Corrigan as Crazy as Bishop Duggin Was?
When the Rev. Dr. McGlynn, the deposed Catholic priest, comes to Chicago he can, if he pleases, recall some very interesting memories. He can, for instance, bring with him an eloquent sermon that he preached here a few years ago upon the consecration of a bishop who, like himself, had been suspended from his priestly functions and summoned to Rome. It will undoubtedly be a comfort to Dr. McGlynn, if he has not altogether cast out from his mind any thought of peace with Rome, to remember that the Chicago priest who was suspended by his bishop for insubordination afterward became a bishop himself. People who are familiar with the church history of the city know very well the instance referred to. It was the suspension of the learned Father McMullin by the unfortunate Bishop Duggin.
The diocese of Chicago, during Bishop Duggin’s control, was rent with bitter quarrels. The bishop’s partisans claim now that there was a clique among the priests which did all that it could to vex their ecclesiastical chief, and that this wing of wily clericals was so bitter and relentless that it finally harassed the bishop out of his reason. The clerical party has always declared that Bishop Duggin was crazy long before it was known at Rome, and that the fact that he is now stark, staring mad is proof that all the troubles in this diocese during his bishopric were due to that fact. At St. Louis, where the mad bishop is now confined, the sisters in whose charge he is have the utmost compassion for him. They say it is significant that the name of any of the old clergy who were in arms against him throws him into a terrible paroxysm of rage – an evidence of the suffering he endured from their recalcitrancy. The leader of the opposition to Bishop Duggin was the Rev. Father McMullin of St. Mary’s cathedral. The open break between him and his bishop was over a transfer of some of the church property. McMullin was promptly suspended, just as McGlynn was, from his priestly functions. Then followed the call from Rome, just as happened in the case of the refractory New York priest. McMullin obeyed. The result is well known. It was inevitable – a fact that probably determined McGlynn to take that unhappy step which finally separated him from his church. McMullin was ordered by the pope to return to Chicago, humble himself before his bishop, and obey orders. He did it, and was reinstated. The years rolled by. Poor Bishop Duggin’s malady had grown so serious that the see could no longer shut its eyes or insist on the fiction being sustained. The bishop was removed by the decree of the pope, confirmed by the consistory. McMullin, the recalcitrant priest, was himself made a bishop. McGlynn, the then eloquent and powerful New York priest, preached the sermon at Bishop McMullin’s consecration over at St. Mary’s.
(The Mail is wrong as to two points. In the first place Dr. McGlynn has not separated himself from his church, and has not declined to obey any order binding upon him. In the second place, Dr. (afterward Bishop) McMullin was not called to Rome, but went to Rome of his own accord at the request of the leading priests of the diocese, men who, like Dr. McMullin himself, had held high position in the government of the diocese. They desired to save the church in Chicago from the ruinous consequence of the maladministration of Bishop Duggin, whom they then believed to be insane, although the general public did not know it. Dr. McMullin, so far from getting any satisfaction in Rome, was ordered off to do penance in a kind of ecclesiastical prison, a passionist monastery, and when he finally did get audience with the cardinal prefect of the propaganda he was simply insulted, being told in language too forcible and vulgar to bear translation into English that he had come on a fool’s errand. The reason for this treatment of the Chicago priests was the overweening desire of Rome to support episcopal authority, right or wrong, because they find in episcopal authority the strongest support for their political and pecuniary schemes, and their most efficient instruments in crushing the independence of the clergy and the laity.
“Is This A Catholic Utterance?”
A Secret Circular From Over the Border
A secret circular, issued by Bishop McIntyre of Prince Edward’s island to the clergy of his diocese, has just been given to the world.
After advising all the clergymen of the diocese to maintain a strict watch over the many dangers which abound on all sides, and mentioning several dangerous forms of literature recently circulated, Bishop McIntyre says:
Scandals have lately arisen which are a source of regret to every true Catholic heart, and these scandals are materially increased by the approbation and praise of a certain press, styled Catholic, which openly professes its total disregard for legitimate authority, and boldly proclaims its adherence to the perverse doctrine of a new socialism.
We call your attention to a paper styled the Catholic Herald, published in New York, which has a large circulation among the Catholics of this province.
We earnestly exhort you to discountenance the doctrine and aims of this production, and to stop the diffusion thereof among your faithful parishioners. Our reasons are cogent and pressing. Catholics who are loyal to their church should cheerfully submit to her authority when legitimately exercised.
In a late issue (Feb. 12, 1887) of the above mentioned paper, is contained the following declaration: “We protest most emphatically against any attempt to extend any ecclesiastical authority into the sphere of politics, and while cheerfully yielding full obedience to the authorities of the church in matters of religion, we emphatically deny the right of the pope, or propaganda, or archbishop to prescribe for American Catholics, lay or cleric.”
Is this a Catholic utterance? ARE WE TO BELIEVE THAT THE CHURCH CANNOT EXERCISE HER INFLUENCE IN POLITICS when the highest interests of morality are involved? We should then circumscribe her power and deny her mission.
Again, this paper advocates doctrines anent private ownership of land, which are opposed to truth and sanctioned by no Catholic theologian. The teachings of great minds are falsely interpreted to suit these vain theories. St. Thomas, to the great surprise of all those who have read and understood him, is shown to have been the precursor of Henry George.
Finally, this paper treats high ecclesiastical officials without a shadow of respect; publishes effusions in which princes of the church are spoken of as if they were ward politicians, and thereby excites the prejudices and passions of a misguided public. These reasons, we think, are sufficient to move you to prompt action.
Advise your people to abandon this publication, the pernicious influence of which cannot but be injurious to them. I remain, reverend dear sir, faithfully yours in Christ,
Bishop of Charlottetown
An Utterance From the Knights
At a meeting of District assembly No. 3, Pittsburg, Pa., on Saturday last, the following resolutions were unanimously adopted:
Whereas, It is the intention of Dr. Edward McGlynn of New York, to lecture in Old City hall, Pittsburg, on Thursday evening, May 12, on the land question;
Resolved, That D.A. 3, K. of L., representing 12,000 toilers, extend our heartfelt greetings to Dr. Edward McGlynn of New York, and wish him God speed in the noble and self-sacrificing course he has taken, believing that we stand on common ground; that we fully appreciate the impetus he has given to and the wide dissemination of the principles embodied in the preamble to the constitution, article 4, which says that all land held for speculative purposes shall be taxed to their full value, and that we welcome him as a valuable auxiliary to the toiling millions; and further,
Resolved, That we believe him to be a true example of Him who spake as never man spake, saying, “Come unto me all ye that are weary and heavy laden and I will give you rest.”
Resolved, That D.A. 3, K. of L., hereby approve of the lecture and will lend their full assistance to make it a success.
The Archbishop Should be Called to Rome
The Pittsburg Times of April 25 prefaces its publication of the archbishop’s letter to the Catholic Herald as follows:
The following, strange as it may seem, is abundantly vouched for by the New York press as genuine. American citizens who read it will be inclined to ask, in what age do we live? It will occur to most readers that it is Archbishop Corrigan and not Dr. McGlynn who should be first called to Rome.
A Voice from Oregon
Portland, Ore., New Northwest
Dr. McGlynn’s flock love him and will follow him, and if the church excommunicate him the same act will cut off his flock, for they will go with him. Two hundred years ago men might have been driven, by the fear of excommunication, to yield their manhood, their independence, their political rights; but such a thing cannot be done in enlightened America in this age. And the outcome eventually must be that the church, if it persists in its efforts to force Americans into any one way of thinking, either on political or religious matters, will fail in the attempt. It cannot be done. There are wise, educated, thinking Catholics who are with Father McGlynn in the matter, and who will allow no priest, preacher or potentate to think for them. This is America, and the pope and Archbishop Corrigan ought to remember it.
A Hard Working Western Woman
New York Herald
There is an upright and downright business woman in Minneapolis. She saw a little boom in Ashland real estate pecking its way through the egg shell like a young chicken. She kept her sharp eyes on it until at last she came to the conclusion that the time for action had arrived.
With a few hundred dollars in her satchel – all she had – she strayed through Ashland in a nonchalant way, picked out some choice corner lots here and there, and then sat down and waited.
The boom arrived on time. It was a large sized and vigorous boom, one of the real wild western sort. She kept cool until the popular excitement got up into the nineties, and speculators offered any price, however unreasonable. Then with a delicious sangfroid she began to unload. When the popular pulse grew quiet and normal again a large number of men discovered that they had a great quantity of unsalable real estate on hand. But this shrewd woman counted her cash and found that she had made just fifty thousand dollars by knowing when to jump in and especially when to jump out.
That was very handsomely done.
He Owns His Own House And Lot
And Yet He Says That Shifting All Taxes to Land Values Would Benefit Him
St. Louis, Mo., April 23 – The doctrine of “the land for the people” is receiving considerable attention here. Any one except a hopeless maniac, who has this question properly presented, sees instantly that there is a vast difference between the ownership of land and the ownership of things which are the result of human labor, though it may require study and reflection for him to understand how this land ownership deprives him of his rights when he personally owns no land.
I am a land owner myself, though a small one. I own the house in which I live and the lot under it. I am one of those who are constantly told that placing all taxation of land values and the consequent abolition of private land ownership will particularly injure us. I have been advocating this doctrine for four years, which I certainly would not do if I thought it could hurt me. The lot on which my house stands would be as useful as ever, and would practically be as much mine as ever.
I might have to pay a slightly heavier tax on it than now, but there would be none whatsoever on the house, furniture and personal property, and I would be rid of taxes that I now pay indirectly to monopolies by reason of the protective tariff. I could then, if I wanted to go to some other locality, sell my improvements to much better advantage than I can now sell a leasehold; and though I would not get anything for my lot, I could get another lot by simply agreeing to pay its annual rental value, if it had any. Land where I live would then have but little or no value. What value it now has is all speculative. It is a price which the owners have the power of exacting for the privilege of using it. Vacant lots predominate. Still land values have gone up and will continue to go up, not because of anything the lot owners have done, but, on the contrary, in spite of all they are doing to check improvements by holding their empty lots at a higher price than any one willing and anxious to use them can afford to pay. The natural growth of the city daily adds to the value of these lots, and this increased value goes to the empty lot owners. If the owners of the lots on each side of me and all around me had to pay as much as I do, who have added something to the wealth and beauty of the city, these lots would not be empty long; the present owners, if they could not use them themselves, would dispose of them to those who could for what they could get, and I, instead of being injured, would be benefited not only materially by a desirable improvement of my surroundings and less taxes to pay, but in the satisfaction of knowing that it was no longer impossible for my fellow beings to own homes of their own.
The Yeast At Work
Extract from a Speech of Student W.E. Brokaw in Debate at Hamline University, Minnesota
Where does the idea of ownership originate? It comes from the consciousness of self possession. Then my right to myself is self evident. This naturally leads to the conclusion that all the exertion I put forth is mine; and, consequently, the result of such exertion is mine. Thus we see that the product of a man’s labor, whether mental or physical, belongs to him because of his right to himself. A man may exchange the products of his labor for those of another man’s, but this is equivalent to producing them himself. There remain, then, but three ways of securing wealth; first, by producing it; second, by receiving it as a gift; and third, by stealing it… Mr. Perry, in his “Political Economy,” says that land value arises the same as other values. Upon this statement he defends private property in land. But does it? Here is what I saw in the Minneapolis Tribune Annual for 1887: “The choice corner lots held in the winter at $1,500 a front foot bring up, up, up, as the signs of growth become apparent; the inside lot owners notifying agents to “stick on another thousand.” The “owners” “stick on another thousand” dollars, not because they have put on another thousand dollars’ worth of improvements, but, as the editor correctly said, because they expect an increase of population. Again he said: “Real estate values, it is true, have risen with enormous rapidity year by year and month by month. But, it must be remembered, the population has almost quadrupled in six years. Why should not real estate values double and quadruple too?” Sure enough the editor easily saw the connection between the population and the land value. And he that cannot must be blind. An illustration came to my notice quite recently. Parties living in the east “owned” land near the suburbs of Minneapolis. A real estate sharper went east and induced them to sell cheap, under the impression that it was worthless. Soon afterward they heard that it was valuable, being needed for city lots. They immediately instituted suit against the purchaser. Will some one kindly inform me what those eastern “owners” did to make that land valuable? They had never seen it, and knew nothing of its value; and, had it proved to have been in the midst of a swamp (as represented) instead of being in the suburbs of a large city, they would have been satisfied with the price received.
The Private Ownership of Water
Sharon, Conn – A writer in the Albany Cultivator and Country Gentleman says that the most important thing in connection with a ranch in Arizona is a supply of water, and goes on to relate how B.J. McGrew, who owns the “Whetstone mountain ranch,” distant twenty-seven miles from Tombstone, in southern Arizona, has three “water rights.” A man buys a water right, as it is termed, and with it he can control a large part of the surrounding country. The writer says: “There are only a few of these natural water rights in all the region, and of course the persons who hold them can prevent all others from either ‘proving up’ or pasturing cattle upon the surrounding government land. The land cannot be taken up, because the requirements for so doing cannot be complied with, from a lack of water. Mr. McGrew frequently has opportunities to sell water to stockmen. The Mexicans who cut and haul wood from the mountains are anxious to water their horses at the living spring, but the owner does not wish to have the mountain sides denuded of trees, and therefore refuses to let the wood teams drink at his spring. Of course much water is stolen, especially at night, but it still remains a fact that the man who owns a spring on the arid plains of Arizona is truly a land as well as a water king. A man owning this water right practically owns all the land within grazing distance round about.”
It seems to me that this case shows some of the evil features of land monopoly in as strong a light as anything in New York city.
The Light in New South Wales
Mumbil, New South Wales, Australia, March 19 – The doctrine of appropriating land values for public purposes is spreading in New South Wales, and may become a political power at the next election. My friend, Mr. Plummer, is starting a land tax association in Dubb, which we hope to see imitated in other towns of the colony, and finally through the length and breadth of Australia. We intend, by holding public meetings, to “spread the light.”
Queries And Answers
An Impossible Instance
New York, April 5 – Will you please set me aright on the following: Suppose, under the new system, I had saved an amount of money sufficient to build a house, and that, immediately after having completed it, an enemy of mine should signify his willingness to pay for the use of the ground which I occupied a tax which I could not afford (and which he had not the slightest idea of continuing to pay – his sole object being to annoy me), and I were compelled to quit, would my house be confiscated, or would my successor be compelled to pay me an amount equal to the value of the house?
The case could not arise. The value of your land would not be affected by the malicious bid of an enemy, but only by general land values in your neighborhood. If the land value tax were in practical operation your enemy would not offer to pay a higher tax than you were paying. There would be no one to whom he could make the offer. If he wanted your land he would have have to go to you and make you a buying offer, not for the land, but for the land and the house together. If that were not a bona fide offer, or even if it were but was high because the place had a sentimental value to him, and whether you accepted or declined, the basis of taxation would not be affected. But if the offer was an index to the value of land in that neighborhood, and was higher than the existing basis of taxation, then and only then would your tax be raised if you refused to sell, or his be higher than yours if you did sell.
Suppose you took up a vacant lot, which, on account of the land value tax, was thrown open, and built a house upon it costing $2,000. Then the whole would be worth $2,000, and your basis of taxation would be nothing. Suppose, then, that “immediately after having completed” your house your enemy offered you $2,500 for it, and it appeared that similar properties in the same location were also commanding $2,500, what would be the inevitable inference? Would it not be a matter of simple arithmetic?
Value of the real estate
Value of the improvements
Value of the land
Present basis of taxation
Additional basis of taxation
At what point in this transaction would you be wronged? and how could your enemy, to use a vulgarism, “get the bulge on you?”
How the People Would be Benefited
Beaumont, Tex – Your theory of taking all land rent as taxes is a puzzling innovation to me; not so much because I resist the idea as because I cannot understand how you will adjust the proposed change to a just apportionment of benefit to all without creating just as oppressive a system of favoritism as we now endure. To make my meaning clearer I will quote from Father McGlynn’s great speech of March 29. He says:
“What is the law of rent? Where there is competition for a larger of choicer portion of the common bounties, for a portion of land that is nearer a river, that is next to the junction of two great rivers, that is near to a great city, or a corner lot, say Broadway and Wall streets, or at Broadway and Twenty-third, there rent exists. And how is the competition for the use of such land to be decided? Simply by allowing it to go to the highest bidder.”
Now this illustrates the difficulty in a nutshell. By substituting the government as a landlord for an individual, how have you benefited the people? If competition is to adjust the rate of rents under the new regime then the one who commands the largest amount of ready cash will secure the use of the property, or land, most desired; hence, the river front, the landing at the ocean port, the corner lot, indeed, all desirable land will be rented by the monopolist as now, and the state will be the only beneficiary.
At least, this is the way your proposition impresses me; but I declare myself open to conviction and would like to see these difficulties removed.
Hal W. Greer
Land now goes to the highest bidder. Whoever will pay the most annual rent for any particular land gets it. It is not proposed to change this. What is proposed is to make the beneficiary of the rent pay all taxes. There would be no substitution of the government as a landlord. But if there were, who is the government? Is it not the people themselves?
It is not the one who can command the largest amount of ready cash that will get the best places when this tax is in vogue, any more than it is now. It will be then, as it is now, the one who can use it to best advantage. Remember, we are speaking of users, not of idle owners. A.T. Stewart was able to make the best use of the corner of Tenth street and Broadway, and he got it, paying his rent to Sailor’s Snug Harbor out of the income he derived from the use of the land. If the land value tax had been in force, he would have got that land all the same, and paid the rent all the same, and Sailor’s Snug Harbor would have received it all the same; the difference would have been this, that Sailor’s Snug Harbor, instead of pocketing all the rent, would have been compelled to pay a greater or less proportion of it, according to the rate of tax, over to the people, they being untaxed on all they produced and all they consumed, would that not have been a benefit to the people?
The Man with a Covetous Eye
Boise City – We are situated here in a choice portion of the country, both as regards climate and produce. In the issue of The Standard of the 2d inst., containing Rev. Father McGlynn’s speech, he uses the figures of the “painting or the race horse” to illustrate how the land will be disposed of under the new regime. Now, I want to ask what is to hinder or prevent the capitalist or the man of means from running me off my portion of the common land? In other words, I have an acquaintance who is industrious and persevering, and these qualities, coupled with his good taste and “innate sense of the beautiful,” enables him to reclaim from the desert (all lands here being desert until reclaimed by irrigation, which entails much toil and expense), a farm which, under the circumstances mentioned, he has rendered an earthly paradise – a poet’s ideal of a rural home. I have “barrels of money,” and casting a covetous eye over the farm aforesaid, I proceed to the constituted authorities and offer a rental double or treble the figures my neighbor can possibly afford to pay. He, by his industry and abounding talent, has rendered the place beautiful and it captivates my senses. I, by my “spot cash,” can drive him again into the desert to again become the prey of another ogre like myself.
We trust you are an earnest seeker, for anyone in such utter darkness must indeed be an earnest seeker to be able ever to see light. In the figure to which you refer, Dr. McGlynn did not undertake to illustrate “how the land will be disposed of under the new regime.” He used the figure to meet the objections of people who pretend to believe that we want to divide land up in little bits and to give every man a bit.
The capitalist could not run you off of your portion of the common land against your will, because your tax would be based on the market value of the land, and not on some isolated offer for a particular piece. When your friend with the “innate sense of the beautiful” had reclaimed a farm from the desert and rendered it “an earthly paradise, a poet’s ideal of a rural home,” the earthly paradise and poet’s ideal would be land improvement, and not land; its value would be an improvement value and not a land value. That you could see by comparing its value with the value of the desert land around it. And when you, with your “barrels of money” and your “covetous eye” proceed to the constituted authorities would tell you that they had nothing to do with the matter, and if you wanted your neighbor’s farm you must proceed with your barrels of money and your covetous eye to your neighbor and bargain for it with him. And when the local assessors made their annual rounds, whether they found you or your neighbor in possession of the earthly paradise and poet’s ideal, they would fix its value at what it would bring unimproved, and would tax accordingly.
The “ogre” business will not be profitable when land values alone are taxed; and if you really have “barrels of money” and “a covetous eye,” you had better give them free rein now, for you won’t have a chance when that system of taxation comes in vogue.
Brooklyn, NY – The writer is a believer in your doctrine of land ownership, but is puzzled to know how it can be put in effect without depriving innocent people of the fruits of honest labor now invested under the protection of the state.
How would your plan for the resumption of land ownership by the state affect money deposited in savings banks on real estate security?
Does it contemplate the assumption of liability by the state for money so lent?
Fred P. Morgan
The plan of shifting all taxes from products of labor to land values does not contemplate the assumption of liability by the state for money lent on real estate security. It does not require the resumption of land ownership by the state at all.
Even though carried at once to the point of taxing rent to the full limit, the land value tax would not deprive “innocent people of the fruits of honest labor,” except as all recoveries of human liberty involve loss of investments in human slavery. But as the shifting of taxes, even in slight degree, must be preceded by agitation, and the increase of taxes must be gradual, a sufficient period of time will elapse while land values are falling, for investments to be so shifted that such small loss as there is will be widely distributed among investors.
Your savings banks would have their improvements free of taxes. To that extent their security would be better than now; but their land values would, in course of time, be nothing. Such a condition, brought about gradually, would not endanger legitimate capital; but, as it is as certain to come as tomorrow’s sun, and that before many years, you had better, if you fear the result to savings banks, do what you can to substitute a department of the post office for savings institutions. That would be a good thing to do anyhow.
That Everlasting Cure All
New York, April – I am a firm believer in the justice of land nationalization, but I differ where you claim it to be a “cure all” of every disease which inflicts humanity. There are other evils to combat which must be remedied to completely solve the labor problem. Capital will still contrive to lord of all creation and force labor to the wall if it be only equipped with its natural muscle and brains. The big fish will swallow the small fry.
Suppose two men were to settle each on a piece of land – one possessing the necessary capital to procure the latest and best instruments and machinery, and to employ the best skilled labor; the other, the less favored, to be dependent on his labor and perhaps a little capital. The first move of the poorer neighbor would be for a house, and to be assisted with a mortgage. With his inferior instruments of production he would be unable to compete with his neighbor, but would still be able to produce enough for his own maintenance. Here is the rub. He would be unable to pay the interest on the mortgage or unable to meet the taxes.
Those who had not the wherewithal to compete with the advantages afforded to capital would be compelled to give up the idea of being independent and self-supporting, and search for employment, as they are compelled to do at present. In case of necessity, they could not fall back on natural opportunities. Capital would still be the lard and master of all it surveys.
We do not agree with The Standard in its notions that the land value tax will cure everything. We insist upon excepting whooping cough and measles; and are not disposed to make any greater concession that that the tax may have a tendency to keep smallpox and diptheria in check. That there are evils other than land monopoly to combat is true. In navigation it is necessary to do something besides building a ship; but it would be a stupid sort of navigation that did not begin with building a ship. So it is a stupid sort of economic reform that does not begin with equal opportunities of access to land. If capital, a mere creature of labor, is such an oppressive thing, its creator, when free, can strangle it by refusing to reproduce it. But so long as land monopoly holds labor in bondage, the capital owner compels the laborer to reproduce capital perennially under penalty of death.
Capital cannot oppress when land is free, any more than the upper millstone can crush when the under millstone is gone. When land is free labor will be equipped, not only “with its natural muscle and brains,” but also with natural opportunities and materials for the exercise of its muscle and brains.
To make your illustration as strong as possible, let us suppose that one of your settlers is a millionaire and the other a penniless tramp. The millionaire with all his capital would be helpless without men to serve him. But men to serve would not be easy to find, and when found would be very particular about such trifles as wages and treatment. It would be so easy to get a home and so easy to scratch a living that men would no longer be afraid to lose a job, but employers would be very much afraid of losing men. That being the case, your penniless tramp might be willing to accommodate the millionaire and at the same time to learn the business by way of temporary apprenticeship in return for wages that would soon enable him to build a house without a mortgage. And the millionaire would have to be reasonably deferential, or the tramp would take up with some one of the numerous other applications for his service. But suppose the tramp preferred to be his own employer, and was too impatient to wait until he could earn sufficient capital by working for others. He would not have to go far to find free land. That he with his own hands could build a comfortable temporary shelter is proved by the shanties to be seen any where up town erected by their occupants. Then there would be a thousand things that he could work at in the city on his own account and for good wages until he had improved his condition. Meanwhile he would pay neither taxes nor rent. Or if he chose to go a few miles further he would be able to farm, under difficulties for the first year, it is true, owing to lack of capital, but nevertheless under circumstances that would put him further ahead every year. He could not run a big factory or store, or farm without capital; nobody can. But if he worked in a factory or store or on a farm his wages would be just as much for the same work as if he owned it, less only the value of the capital.
Capital may be lord and master of all it surveys; but it can’t survey a free man.
No One Would Be Wronged
Lewiston, Me – Suppose a corporation owning a large amount of land in a city or town, the greater part being vacant, “but valuable from its surroundings,” and taxed as “wild land,” while a small portion is occupied by house owners, who have not been able to purchase the lots they occupy on account of the “monopoly price” at which they are held. Now, in taxing the value of all this land, how will you protect these tenants (who are to all practical purposes in the power of this company or corporation) from the heavy rents which will be placed upon them to keep the treasury of these “lords of the earth?”
While I realize that if in such a case it should prove an injury, it would be but to a few in comparison to the many benefited by owning natural resources and by placing God’s earth at the disposal of His people, I also believe that for the few who would be wronged there should be a remedy. Will you please state how the wrong can be righted?
There would be no wrong. The house owners are now paying a ground rental to your imaginary corporation. They cannot be made to pay any more, for the landlord already charges, “all the traffic will bear.” They would pay less, since the opening up of so much non-valuable land would make them independent of landlords.
But, for simplicity, let us suppose that they continue to pay the same rent. As soon as they had paid it, the corporation would have to pay over to the town, county or state a greater or less proportion of it, or even the whole, according to the rate of taxation. The house owners would not be affected except in exemption from taxes on their houses.
And as to the adjacent vacant land, it would no longer be taxed as “wild land,” but at its full value. Then the corporation would be compelled to improve it, or drop it. If they dropped it, everybody that wanted to use a part of it would do so, paying a tax on the value of what he used. When every one who wanted a piece of that land had been satisfied, the remainder would have no value, because no one would want it, and consequently it would be untaxed. If anybody, seeing that this surplus land would be wanted in future, should fence it in and call it his, he would be at liberty to do so; but just as soon as another wanted it the price he would be willing to pay would indicate its value and afford a basis of taxation. Then the speculator would have to give the newcomer what he wanted for nothing, or pay the tax.
Brooklyn, March 29 – In your answer to E. Svensson you say, “Nor can they increase ground rents when taxes on land values are increased.” Please explain more fully. How are house owners who rent their houses to meet the increased taxation if they cannot increase their rent so as to pay the increase?
They will meet it out of the rent of their land. Tenants pay two rents – ground rent and house rent. Suppose, for illustration, that in a given case ground rent is 10 and house rent 10. Now, let the land value tax be 8. Then the tenant will pay 20 as before, and the house owner will get 10 as before for his house, on which he will pay no tax; but out of the other 10 he will have to pay 8 to the people, to whom it really belongs.
A Few Often-Answered Questions
Matteawan, NY – The following questions have been suggested to me by way of objections to your views: (1) How would taxing land values tend to increase employment? (2) How would it reduce involuntary idleness? (3) How would it reduce pauperism? (4) How would it increase wages? (5) When a house increases in value, is not the increase due to land value and not to the value of brick, mortar and stone?
(1) By opening up vacant land to use, and inducing the occupiers of improved land to still further improve it. Also, by making it possible for the unemployed to go upon the nearest vacant land and work for themselves at any occupation to which the land was adapted. The only limit to employment then would be natural opportunities; now the limit is fixed by the interests or caprice of those who control natural opportunities.
(2) There can be no involuntary idleness when natural opportunities are freely open to use, as would be the case under such a tax. Besides this, everyone who occupied land would want help. Two jobs would be after one man, whereas now two men are after one job.
(3) Every one willing and able to work could get renumerative work to do. That most paupers are willing and able to work is proved by the fact that in good times paupers are few, though in hard times they are many. Paupers who are able but not willing to work were willing once, but having learned in some period of hard times that they live about as well and respectably in idleness as by industry, have turned philosophers. This class might not disappear at once, but it would not be recruited from future generations. As to paupers who are not able to work, the community owes them a decent living.
(4) By making and keeping the demand for labor greater than the supply.
(5) Of course.
Read “Progress and Poverty” carefully and you will be able to meet such elementary questions without difficulty.
A Dubious Benefit
New York – If twenty-five men are working for one dollar and fifty cents a day, wouldn’t it be a benefit to the workingmen generally if the employer would take on twenty-five additional men and have them all work a half day for seventy-five cents each? I think if the above plan was carried out many honest men that are now idle would get something to do.
James B. Atwater
What would you propose when the number of idle honest men still further increased? Would you have the employer take on say fifty more for a quarter of a day each and pay them thirty-seven and a half cents?
Answering your question, we suppose that it would be a temporary benefit to workingmen generally, but it would be a benefit that those already at work would find exceedingly difficult to appreciate.
In the Dark About Detail
Portland, Me – (1) Yours answers to my inquiries in The Standard of April 9 are not quite satisfactory. The point in question is this: Do you propose to return to the rightful owners the vast accumulations of wealth which has been transferred from the hands of producers into the hands of non-producers by false and unjust laws, and if so, how? (2) You say that if a person increases his wealth by using his wealth, the increase hurts nobody. If he increases his wealth by producing more wealth, then it hurts nobody, but if he uses it to transfer what others produce into his own hands, then it hurts nobody. You undoubtedly well know that the money power of this country is using the wealth which they have stolen from the people to bribe and buy congressmen to enact laws which will enable them to keep up this robbery and protect them in it. Money is making the laws, making presidents, making governors and dictating the decisions of courts. (3) While I would not be understood as opposing the principle of land for the people or taxing land values, yet I believe there must be some means of fixing a limitation beyond which the fortunes of individuals and corporations shall not extend, because these great fortunes are acquired by robbery, and experience has shown that they are dangerous to the liberties of the people.
(1) We do not propose to return to the people the accumulations of wealth that have been stolen from them. If there were to be compensation for land values, we believe it should be from those who have enjoyed these values so long to those who have been robbed of them. But it is not necessary. It will be a big enough job to put a stop to future robbery without troubling ourselves about the past, and that done, the people will soon be as well off as if they had never been robbed, and the monopolists no better off than if they had never been robbed. If some one has accumulated great quantities of oil from an unfailing oil well, let us be satisfied to get access to the well, without bothering about the oil that has been taken from it, and which, in the order of events, must soon be consumed. On this subject read chapter seven of Henry George’s “Land Question.”
(2) When we said that a man who increased his wealth by using his wealth hurt nobody, we of course meant one who increased his wealth by producing more wealth. That is what happens when capital is used in production. By investing capital in a herd of cattle, we get calves; or in a flock of sheep, we get lambs, the value of which includes compensation for labor, but also something more, which is a product of capital. Or, to take a simpler illustration: Suppose you buy a field of growing wheat in April; if you sold it again in June, you would justly expect more than you paid for it. It would be worth more. What is that difference in value? It is not wages, for you have done no work. It is interest on capital. It is value added to a labor product by the natural increase of that product in process of time. It does not hurt the buyer, for he gets value for all he pays. If he paid less, the only effect would be that he, instead of you, would get the interest.
We agree in substance to what you say of the money power. The money question raises an issue which must be met. But if all that were reformed and land treated as it is now, we should be no better off, for the benefits would naturally inure to landlords. But if we first shift taxes to land values we shall be better able with a nation of free citizens to throttle the money power; and having throttled it “the robber that takes all that is left,” will not be on hand to profit by the operation.
(3) Great fortunes are dangerous to the liberties of the people, when they are found side by side with great poverty. And that there must be a means of fixing a limitation must in justice as well as good policy be natural, not artificial. Such a limitation is offered by the land value tax. When that reaches the point of taking all land values for public use, and even long before that point is reached, fortunes will be limited by earnings – the natural limitation. When no one can appropriate land values, which are created by all the people, and every man has free access to land, no one can take what he does not produce, unless the law gives him some monopoly privilege similar to that which landlords now enjoy. But such privileges are necessarily few, and when the great privilege is destroyed, can be easily disposed of.
Finally, believing that your heart is right on this question, and that your doubts arise from an imperfect understanding of some details, we earnestly urge you to read “Progress and Poverty” with care, and to follow it with “Social Problems” and “Protection, or Free Trade?”
The Equity of It
Auburn, April 8 – In defending the proposed plan of collecting all taxes from land values, the greatest objection I meet is that it would not be fair. To illustrate, suppose I own a lot (which I don’t), and Jones owns a lot the same size adjoining mine. I build a $2,000 house on mine; Jones builds a $25,000 house on his. Anything that is produced by labor not being taxed, our taxes would, of course, be the same, mine just as much as Jones’, while I am worth only $2,000 and Jones is worth $25,000. Please explain in the columns of The Standard where the equity would come in.
Although Jones is worth $25,000 and you only $2,000, yet both of you are appropriating the same value of common property. Therefore each ought, in equity, to pay the same sum into the common treasury. If you and Jones each bought the same kind of a purse at the store, and Jones carried $25,000 in his while you carried only $2,000 in yours, is that any reason in equity, good conscience or business principle, why you should pay the storekeeper any less for your purse than Jones pays for his? If Jones is worth more than you are, it is because he has earned the difference, unless he stole it. If he stole it, prosecute him; if he earned it why should he be fined for that? You would have the same opportunity to earn as much if land values were taxed so as to make vacant land free. Then, if you didn’t care to be as rich as Jones, you would be at perfect liberty to amuse yourself while he worked, but you would have no cause to complain if you were charged the same for the land value appropriated by you as he was for what he appropriated. “The equity would come in” in the principle of taxing a man for the common values he appropriated, and securing to his own use whatever he produced.
New Application of a Thief’s Metaphor
New York – I do not find in any of Henry George’s works, which I have carefully read, any reason or explanation of the fact that in the sea, where the land question is not agitated, the big fishes eat the little ones every time, the same as on the land. It seems to be an immutable law of animal nature.
The big fishes on land do not eat the little ones quite the same as in the sea. Even in those parts of the world where cannibalism still flourishes the big fishes cook the little ones before eating them. That is in itself an advance beyond the civilization of the seas, for there the little fishes are bolted raw. In the rest of the world civilization has wiped out physical cannibalism entirely, which is a still further advance. And the time will come when social cannibalism will disappear too; but it must be preceded by laws that secure to every man his natural inheritance.
Your metaphor is not original. It was invented by a footpad to excuse his robbery of a widow.
Progress – The newspaper clipping from a Newburg paper signed “Laborer,” to which you call our attention, contains so many misstatements and is so comprehensive in its ignorance that we cannot spare space for a reply. Evidently the writer is not what is commonly known as a laborer; if he were, he would be better informed on some at least of the elements of political economy. If his objections seem to you likely to mislead, we shall be glad to answer any that you will put in your own language.
The New York Letter Carriers
A Day’s Work Described by One of Them – A Substitute’s Earnings
New York – The substitute letter carrier who wrote you a description of his experience told what was correct in every particular. What can we say of a government which permits such a state of affairs to exist? What of the government that limits the amount a substitute can earn by carrying these “special delivery letters” to $30 a month. If he should carry one month only $10 worth (at 8 cents apiece), he must do the best he can to make both ends meet; but if on the following month he should carry $40 or $50 worth, instead of receiving the above amount he has earned by his labor, the government confiscates every cent over $30.
Previous to being assigned as a regular carrier, he must pay $1 to a post office official (who is already drawing a large salary from the government) to be sworn in, notwithstanding the fact that he has paid the affidavit fee previous to being appointed a substitute. After being made a “regular” (if he should be given a carrying route) he will work as follows: Early day – report 6 am get mail set up and leave on first trip at 7:30, taking a very small portion of the entire route to enable him to get back in time to leave again at 9:30 on his second trip; gets in on his second trip about 11:30. If there should be a letter with a “special delivery” stamp on it, and no substitutes available to deliver it, he is sent out with it, for which service he receives nothing, except threats and abuse should he remonstrate. If there should be nothing of this kind, then he can go to his dinner. He must be back by 12:45 to get his mail ready for his 1:30 trip, at which time he leaves the office, getting back about 3:45. He will then set to and get ready for his 4:30 trip, leaving at that time and getting back about 6 or 6:30. If he has any letters then that he has failed to deliver on account of mistakes in directing, etc., he must look in the directory, and if the correct addresses are found must forward them, or if not he must enter them in a book provided for that purpose. Then if there is nothing else to do he may go home. The following day is his late day. He will work as follows (with variations in the way of extra work as mentioned previously): Reports at 6 am; leaves at 7:30, taking the main portion of the route, getting back at 11; gets mail ready and leaves at 11:30, returning about 1:30 pm; goes to dinner, getting back at 2:45; sets up his mail and leaves at 3:30; gets back about 5:45; sets up his mail and leaves on his last trip at 6:30, returning all the way from 8:30 to 9:30 pm. Now, how can the government consistently appoint arbitration boards and committees to inquire into the business of corporations and capitalists, looking to the amelioration of the wage worker, and at the same time work its own employees like slaves and refuse to investigate their wrongs? How can it expect corporations to make concessions to their employees in the face of such an example? Why does not the government begin at home and show by the way it treats its employees (who, by the way, are neither “workmen, mechanics, or laborers”) how it expects corporations, etc., to treat theirs. Verily it is, “Do as I say and not as I do.” God help the wage worker whose employer takes the government for a guide.
The Standard has filled a long felt want. It is a medium through which the oppressed and down-trodden may make their condition and wrongs public. It is also the educator of the masses. I believe I only echo the sentiments of each and every reader when I wish The Standard long life and great success.
A Letter Carrier
The President of the Boston Labor Union on the True Platform
John Swinton lectured in Faneuil hall, Boston, last week, to a large audience, and made one of his striking speeches. In introducing him, Daniel H. Diggs, president of the Central Labor union, declared himself in favor of putting all taxes on land values, and alluded thus ironically to those who declare that to do this would be to relieve the rich from taxation and to increase the burdens of the workingman and the farmer.
“There is a class of corporations that say they are taxed to death. But when the people say “let us abolish all taxes except on land values,” they all oppose it with might and main. Tonight we say to them: “We are going to relieve you of this burden, or a part of it, at least, by taking taxes off of personal property and improvements and putting them on the value of land. But instead of thanking us, the rich men who say we are going to exempt the rich, bitterly object. Who would object to having his salary raised? Why do these monopolies find fault when we wish to relieve them (applause) of a part of their burden? Why do they insist that we shall not help them? The truth is that they know that this measure will help those they say it would hurt. When they antagonize a measure we may be sure that it is one which will benefit the whole working people of this country.”
A Dakota County Superintendent of Schools Gets to Thinking About It
Madison, Dak., March 7 – During the year 1886 the revenue from customs amounted to $192,905,023. This sum of money was advanced by the importers and added to the price of the goods. The consumer consequently paid both the original price and the duty. This is what we call indirect taxation.
Now I simply wish to show how indirect taxation operates, and what loss the people actually sustain by upholding such a system.
In the first place, it costs from $6,000,000 to $8,000,000 to collect this revenue; and, in the second place, it enhances the prices of the goods. It is this second part that I wish to make clear, as a great many do not have the faintest idea of what it amounts to.
The average duty on imported goods, according to Secretary Manning’s report, is somewhat more than forty-six per cent.
Let us take a unit, one dollar’s worth of imported goods, and suppose that it goes through the hands of three wholesale dealers and one retail dealer before it reaches the consumer, and that the profit on capital invested is ten per cent to each wholesale dealer and twenty-five per cent to the retailer. We shall then have the following progression of costs:
Value of the goods
Profit, 10 per cent
Profit, 10 per cent
Profit, 10 per cent
Profit, 25 per cent
Cost to the consumer
Now, let us suppose this same dollar’s worth of goods imported free of duty, and that it passes through the same number of hands at the same rate of profit to each, as in the former case. The progression of costs will then be as follows:
Profit, 10 per cent
Profit, 10 per cent
Profit, 10 per cent
Profit, 25 per cent
Cost to the consumer
The difference between the two costs is, of course, 76½ cents, of which the government gets 46 cents, minus the cost of collecting it. The extra cost, however, is more than 30 cents above what goes into the treasury, and by examining the two examples we see that those 30 cents go to the different merchants who handle the goods as a legitimate profit on the extra capital invested on account of the tariff. As far as the consumer is concerned, he might just as well have lost that much money on his way to town as to be beaten out of it by an indirect method of taxation. Of course the merchant, as such, does not care much whether there is a duty or not as long as he is in a position to charge a legitimate profit on the extra outlay and to transfer the whole burden to somebody else. But how are the farmers and the day laborers to transfer it?
Why do we uphold such a system of indirect taxation? If we must pay the 46 cents tax any way, why not pay it directly and at once before it has increased over sixty-seven per cent? Farmers and day laborers complain of hard times. But are they not needlessly making beasts of burden of themselves?
This 30 cents’ waste is on one single dollar’s worth! And as forty-six per cent is an average duty, so is 30 cents’ loss to the consumer only an average loss. On the common necessaries of life, which the farmer and day laborer need, the duty is much higher and the loss greater; while on luxuries and costly goods the duty is much lower and the loss smaller.
If we divide $192,905,028 by .46 and multiply by 30 we get $126,000,000 as the actual loss for the past year! Not as a tax, remember; that must be paid besides; nor as the price paid for “protection,” but as the unavoidable waste connected with our tariff. It is a dead loss of $2 for every man, woman and child in the country. A total loss of $10 for every family of live persons and $20 for every family of ten. In twenty years it is a loss of over three and a half billions of dollars.
But the greater part of this enormous waste, as well as the greater part of the tax, is paid by the rich consumer, it may be said. I deny it. The duty on luxuries is a great deal lower than the duty on the necessaries of life. Then, again, the families of the rich are generally small, while the families of the farmers and the day laborers and workingmen in general are large. And it takes just as much salt to preserve a pound of meat for a poor man as it does for a rich man, and just as much sugar to sweeten a cup of tea for a working girl as it does for the richest daughter in the land. Moreover, the farmers and day laborers constitute at least five-sixths of the whole population. And there are hundreds of thousands of day laborers without any worldly possessions who ought not to pay any taxes at all. Now they help to pay all indirect taxes more than the rich, for they pay according to the size of their families.
This enormous loss of three and one half billions of dollars for the last twenty years has been computed in the most conservative manner on the “duty for revenue only.” The goods were supposed to have passed through four hands only at a moderate profit, leaving out the commission of drummers entirely, while a great many things, according to good authority, pass through twenty or thirty hands before they reach the consumer. And at every hand there is additional loss, growing in the same way as compound interest.
These three and one-half billions represent the loss from only one single kind of indirect taxation out of many.
If you tax the merchants in a city they simply add the tax to the price of the goods and charge a good round profit on it. If you tax the warehouses, the owners will pay the less for what you sell them; if you tax the railroads and telegraphs they will roll it back again with crushing force by adding to the charges of freight on all the thousand articles that they transport.
Thus it goes all around, indirect taxes and compound profit, and “the devil take the hindmost,” who, under present methods of taxation, are mainly farmers and day laborers, who finally have to foot the whole bill.
Thus we continually live in a network of compound interest. We are forced to borrow money in paying all these indirect taxes long before we get the use of the goods; and we are forced to pay compound profit whenever the goods change hands. Even if we have the cash in our pockets to pay with, this internal system prevents us until the tax has increased, on an average, seventy-six per cent!
Under such a system there is not even fighting grounds for justice. We are absolutely helpless. And, of course, that is the reason why so many of the wealthy and powerful desire its continuance.
It is not the tariff tax alone we ought to abolish. All indirect taxes are essentially the same; they all bear the stamp of theft; they are all hatched from the egg of deceit in the secret closet of the few, conspiring against the masses, who thereby unknowingly are made to pay taxes they otherwise never would consent to.
Well, what shall we adopt in the place of our present system?
My opinion, belief, and conviction is that there is but one single just and equitable method of raising money for public expenses, and that is the method so ably advocated by The Standard, to take out of the public fund which already exists in the “unearned increment” in land, what may be needed. There is no way but this, because “Thou shalt not steal.”
Ecclesiasticism And Politics
An interesting document has been added to the literature called forth by the attempt to crush Dr. McGlynn, in the secret circular of the bishop of Prince Edward’s Island against the Catholic Herald, which we print in another column, in which, without any equivocation, he denounces the doctrine that the church cannot command the political action of the faithful.
The same slavish and anti-American doctrine is avowed in the address which the German clergy have been coerced into signing, and which was published in The Standard of last week, and is involved in the address which the English-speaking clergy are now being forced to sign, which is to be presented to the archbishop on Wednesday next. It is, in fact, the vital issue in the whole case.
All the reiterated assertions that Dr. McGlynn has disobeyed his archbishop and has avowed doctrines contrary to those of his church have, as a basis of fact, simply this, that in his political action as a man and a citizen. Dr. McGlynn has refused to be governed by the wishes of his archbishop. No other act of his, savoring in the slightest of disobedience, can be pointed to, while as for the pretense that there is anything in the doctrines he has avowed contrary to the teachings of the church, that has been denied not merely by such prelates as Bishop Nulty, Cardinal Manning and Bishops Keane and Ireland, but even through Cardinal Gibbons by the pope himself.
Archbishop Corrigan, who, as bishop of Newark, presumed by a secret circular to instruct Catholic citizens how they should vote, represents that wing of Catholics who are determined to make the church in this country a political machine, while what Dr. McGlynn stands for is the political independence of clergy and laity.
Dr. McGlynn has long been looked upon askance by that small section of the Catholic clergy of New York who pride themselves on being more papal than the pope and more orthodox than the church itself – that section which is at heart opposed to freedom and progress, and has always regarded an alliance with a corrupt political party as the means whereby they were to obtain the virtual establishment of a state church by filling public offices by men they could control and obtaining appropriations for parochial schools and religious institutions. This wing found its best journalistic representative in a blackguard sheet called the Freeman’s Journal, long conducted by the notorious McMaster, and now in charge of one of his apt pupils.
In the early days of his pastorate Dr. McGlynn incurred the bitter hostility of this wing – with whom the present Archbishop Corrigan, at that time a teacher in Seton hall college, New Jersey, was even then known to sympathize – as being one of a number of priests who, instead of intriguing to conform the church in the United States to the ideal begotten of European despotism, aspired to bring it into harmony with American ideas and American institutions. These liberal minded priests, of whom the venerated Father Farrell of St. Joseph’s church was the central figure, compromised such men as Father Malone of Brooklyn, Father Thomas McLaughlin of New Rochelle, Rev. Dr. Birdnell, now pastor of the Church of the Epiphany, and Father James Niland, now of Poughkeepsie. They were intense haters of slavery when the retrograde clique were apologists of the peculiar institution; they were ardent supporters of the union cause when the reactionaries were sympathizing with those who plotted its destruction; they were in favor of the American system of public schools when their opponents were abusing the public schools, often in the vilest language, and were straining every nerve to force upon Catholics a system of parochial schools; they were scandalized by the robbery and jobbery of the municipal government of New York while the ultra-orthodox were in actual offensive and defensive alliance with the Tweed ring, the party of the one part agreeing to support the Tammany candidates, and actually doing so, even from the altar, while the party of the second part agreed to see, whether by fair or foul means, that large appropriations of public money were secured for Catholic institutions. They were even more than suspected of sympathizing with the aspiration of Italian patriots for the unification of their country and of looking on the temporal power of the pope as an injury and impediment to the spiritual mission of the church.
They were, in fact, ardent, earnest men, who believed that Catholicism had in it nothing inconsistent with the truest and fullest liberty.
It was Father Malone who, when the flag of the Union was fired on at Sumter, scandalized the ultra-orthodox by flinging it to the breeze from the spire of his church; it was Father Farrell who brought from Richmond the remains of his brother, who had lived and died a Catholic priest, and placed above them in Calvary cemetery a slab bearing an extract from one of his brother’s letters, expressing his utter detestation of the crime of human slavery; and who in his will, of which he made Dr. McGlynn, Dr. Birdsell and Father McLaughlin executors, directed that his body should be laid beside that of his brother, and that on a similar slab over his own grave should be inscribed an exhortation to universal education as the necessary foundation of universal liberty. In this will Father Farrell expressed his sense of the wrongs that had been inflicted on the black race, and as showing his desire, as a white man and a Catholic, to do what he could in reparation of the injustice to which the blacks had been subjected, left $5,000 to form the nucleus of a fund for the establishment in the city of New York of a church for colored people – a project which had always been frowned down by the reactionary wing. After Father Farrell’s death this bequest was sneeringly alluded to by the late “Monsignor” Quinn as a waste of good money, and the clerical confidant of the archbishop who supplies inside information from the “palace” to the Times of this city has within a few days referred to this desire to do something for the colored people as “one of the hobbies of this liberal clique of priests,” who are further accused of the heinous offense of wishing to have the Catholic service rendered in the English tongue to English speaking people instead of in the dead Latin.
After much opposition form the ultra-orthodox wing, in the late “Monsignor” Quinn was especially active, a reluctant consent was finally obtained from the ecclesiastical authorities. Father Farrell so well understood the opposition his purpose would meet from the retrogrades that he annexed to his bequest a condition that if some step should not be taken to establish a colored church within three years after his death, the money should go to a protestant colored orphan asylum.
It was only within the last twenty-four hours of the allotted time that his executors were able to get ecclesiastical consent, and then, through the persistent energy of Dr. Birdsell, the bequest was so far added to as to enable the establishment of the Church of St. Benedict the Moor, Dr. Birdsell at first adding the duties of its pastorate to those of his charge of the Epiphany, and afterward resigning it into the hands of his principal assistant, Father Burke.
Father Farrell came to have $5,000 to leave in this way, not because he had improved his opportunities for money getting, for that is not characteristic of the school of Catholic priests to which he belonged, but because when, a few years before his death, he was suspended on account of liberal utterances in relation to the unification of Italy by the abolition of the temporal power of the pope, a few liberal Catholic laymen, who loved and admired the man, raised a fund for him, which they invested in bonds.
As a representative of the progressive American spirit among the clergy Dr. McGlynn was from an early period in his ministrations distrusted and hated by the retrogrades, and in their organs, such as the Freeman’s Journal, was constantly abused and villified in the most shameless way. In 1870 the first effort to degrade him was made, the occasion being the publication by the Sun of an interview, which we reprint in another column, in which the pastor of St. Stephen’s freely expressed his warm approval of the public schools, and his conviction that the establishment of parochial schools was utterly unnecessary. This was to the retrogrades, bent on obtaining priestly control of education, a species of high treason worse than heresy, and in the absence of Archbishop McCloskey, then at the Vatican council, the reactionaries, under the leadership of “My Lord” Preston, at that time chancellor of the diocese, obtained by the same tactics which have recently been resorted to in support of Archbishop Corrigan, the signatures of fifty-four parish priests of New York to a formal complaint against Dr. McGlynn – a complaint which Archbishop McCloskey, to the disgust of the reactionaries, had the good sense to put in his pocket, with the expression of a pious wish that differences of opinion should not be allowed to disturb the harmony of the diocese.
How Archbishop McCloskey’s successor is bent on carrying out the rule-or-ruin policy, and reducing the priests of his diocese to mere political puppets recent occurrences show. Whether he will succeed or not time will determine.
The conduct of the republicans in the legislature relative to the constitutional convention is anarchy in the worst sense of that much abused term. Whether the democrats would have acted differently had they been in the majority, is questionable; but it is due to them to say that they have at least made pretense of obedience to their oaths of office.
At the late election the people, by a decisive vote, pursuant to the organic law of the state, ordered a convention for revising the constitution. It thereupon became the duty of the legislature to provide promptly for the calling and sessions of such a convention, but this simple duty, though the legislature convened nearly four months ago, is still unperformed. Certain interests have all along been opposed to a constitutional revision. These interests trusted at first to the difficulties of getting out a vote on an abstract question, but, disappointed in that, are bending their energies to defeat the convention in the legislature or make it a farce, in which they are encouraged and aided by the republican majority.
After long delay the assembly passed a bill that is plainly intended to defeat the popular will. It provides for an election of delegates at the regular fall election, when politics will be in an excited state, and for the holding of the convention more than a year after it was ordered by the people; and is meant to excite democratic opposition whereby the measure may be defeated and the blame shifted to the democrats. The bill is so drawn as to secure a republican convention or none. Besides this, that public sentiment which is represented by the prohibitionists, and that which is represented by the labor party, are deliberately denied representation, except as they may be able to carry districts by a plurality vote. Here is a palpable evasion if not a defiance of law. It is a course of conduct which inevitably tends to discredit the law. If legislators may with impunity disregard the popular will formally expressed, who can complain if all law is spurned by what we are learning to call the “proletariat?” It is of the essence of law and order in a democratic community that all the people shall make the law and all the people shall obey it.
But whom the gods would destroy they first make mad. It needs only a few such instances to expose the hypocrisy of the society saviors’ cry about disorder and anarchy, on which so many changes have been rung. It is not indifference with their profitable privileges. They do not hesitate to evade or defy the law if it conflicts with their selfish purposes and they can escape its penalties. But they cannot escape. It is, of course, impossible to punish them as vulgar law breakers are punished; but their Nemesis is near, nevertheless, and such disregard of the highest law, to which they are bound, not only as citizens, but also by their oaths, invites her to hasten. The working masses who have shown a disposition to submit even to oppressive laws demand the same obedience of law makers.
The way in which the people’s order for a constitutional convention has been treated by the legislature and the party press cannot but promote the drift of democrats of both parties away from the aristocrats of both parties, and may, after all, better serve the interests of true democracy than a constitutional convention could.
The Leader one day last week made a remarkable statement about the International boatmen’s union, from which it appears that the 700 men composing that organization own their own boats, worth nearly two million dollars, and yet make but about $1,000 a year. Here is a well defined case of the union of labor and capital in production unaided by any special privilege. And how does it result? Leaving wholly out of the question all forms of capital other than boats, and all risk and expense of replacement, and computing interest at savings bank rates, the boatman has less than $900 for his year’s labor. How liable this small sum is to depletion by fluctuations in business and loss of capital the boatman too well knows. The Leader remarks that it is doubtful if there is for the money invested so little returned in any other business. But there it is mistaken. Two million dollars would not remain long in any business if there were other occupations which on the whole paid better. The truth is that the experience of the boatmen is the experience of all capitalists who unite their own labor with capital and have no peculiar privilege.
The old-fashioned bibliolatry still survives in Canada, in religious prejudices of all sorts, is about a century behind the rest of the world, and a cute publisher has taken advantage of it to get up a lottery in which a brick house, a piano, and lots of smaller prizes are to be divided among those who correctly answer such questions as, When are the words “snow,” “wind” and “rain” first mentioned in the Bible? This sort of gambling, which is an extension of the plan of giving children prizes for reading so many chapters, or committing so many verses to heart, seems to be tolerated from the notion that a sort of mechanical virtue attaches to the sacred books, so that “searching the scriptures,” even for a brick house or a rolled gold breastpin, is an edifying exercise.
Sir Robert Stout, the present premier of New Zealand, and who has been for years an ardent believer in equal rights to land, has announced that at the next session of the New Zealand parliament the government will introduce a bill “to prevent crown lands from becoming private property, and to provide that the state shall retain control of all land.”
The Washington Post says:
No democrat can be nominated for president unless he is stoutly in favor of theoretical and ultimate free trade and incidental temporary protection through a tariff adjusted for revenue.
To which it may as well be as well be added that no democrat can be elected unless he is in favor of free trade, absolute and immediate. If a protectionist must be elected, better the simon pure republican article than a fence-straddling, incidental, temporary protection democrat.
Readers of The Standard who are in earnest in the desire to propagate the principles of true economic reform, should lose no time in supplying themselves with a sufficient number of the tracts issued under the general title of the “Land and Labor Library” for distribution among their friends and correspondents. The good effect of these pithy little treatises is already noticeable, and a widespread demand has sprung up for them, even among those who are yet unconvinced of the necessity of the reforms they advocate. A full list of the tracts will be found in our advertising columns.
Columbia college has just celebrated its centennial anniversary. A number of its undergraduates paraded in fantastic costumes, and several prominent citizens, to whose names the college has attached various initial letters, made speeches. The majority of New Yorkers, however, knew nothing of the event until they saw their newspapers the morning after, and the number who read these reports with any interest is insignificant. Yet Columbia is commonly regarded as the great seat of learning in the country’s metropolis, and its continued existence for a century ought to be a matter of general public interest. The institution might in fact claim an existence of more than a century. In 1746 the legislature of this state displayed an old fashioned liberality by authorizing certain individuals to raise £2,250 by lottery for founding a college. The lottery appears to have been profitable to its conductors, for we find that by 1751 £3,444 had been raised, and two years afterward Dr. Samuel Johnson of Stratford, Conn., was elected president. It was called King’s college, and in recognition of the compliment, perhaps, King George II granted the college its charter in 1754. Shortly afterward Trinity church presented to it a tract of land between Barclay and Murray streets and extending from Church street to North river. On this land the cornerstone of the college building was laid Aug. 23, 1756. This building had a cupola surmounted with an iron crown in honor of the king. The crown was sawed off during the revolution and it is still preserved as a curiosity in the college library.
Dr. Myles Cooper, an English clergyman, succeeded Dr. Johnson as president in 1763, but his lot was not an entirely happy one. In the stormy days preceding the actual hostilities of the revolutionary war, Dr. Cooper strongly espoused the cause of the king and the other saviors of society of that day, and the result was that a mob of disorderly persons, usually spoken of in our history as patriots, started for the college one flight bent on mischief, and the doctor, getting wind of their approach, jumped the fence and made tracks for the North river. He was taken aboard an English gunboat, and ultimately sailed for England, never to set foot on the soil of the new republic. At the beginning of this excitement Alexander Hamilton was a student in the college, and without waiting to be graduated, he appeared on the hustings and espoused the cause of the people. For some years he was too busy with other things to attend to his studies, and so he had to get through what remained of his life, without the moral support of the diploma of the college. Despite this deprivation, he appears to have been very much of a man, and his friend, George Washington, who never even attended a college, did not allow the lack of a diploma to stand in the way of young Hamilton’s promotion.
After Dr. Cooper ran away Dr. Moore took temporary charge of the college as president; but in May, 1776, his position became a sinecure through the conversation of the college into a military hospital. In 1784 the new state government placed the college under the control of the newly created regents of the university, but beyond fooling away some of its property the regents do not appear to have done anything for it, and in 1787 the old character, with necessary alterations, was revived and the institution became Columbia college. This is the event that has just been celebrated. The outlines of the history of the institution thenceforward may be found in any cyclopedia or handbook, though many of the more interesting details of that history are not thus preserved.
The college has manifestly never had the benefit of the best business management. The lands given to it by Trinity church and the state have been unwisely leased or imprudently alienated, and it has only been during the past twenty-five or thirty years that the college has begun to enjoy the full income from what remains of its magnificent estate. Meanwhile the conditions of the grant created prejudices against the institution, while its supposed wealth made its friends lukewarm when it was really reduced to pecuniary straits.
The down-town property given to the college by Trinity church was granted with a proviso that the president of the institution should always be a man in full communion with the Church of England, and that the morning and evening service at the college chapel should be the liturgy of that church. The fact that the Dutch Reformed church, which is Presbyterian in its form of government, was the first established here, made New York, from the beginning, jealous of the English church, and this feeling became intensified as efforts were made by the aristocratic party in the later years of colonial existence, to secure the establishment of a state church here. As the prominent members of that communion sided with the king at the time of the revolution, this feeling was greatly embittered. It was owing to the fear that the scheme was in the interest of the English church that there was a delay of two years in getting the act authorizing the formation of the college through the colonial legislature, and it is owing to the conditions attached by Trinity to its gift of land that the impression that it is a sectarian school has clung to Columbia during its existence. It is but just to say that no discrimination is made against any other sect in its management, and that the history of its board of trustees is stained by but one act of religious intolerance, which was, by the way, a direct defiance of the charter of the institution. In this, however, members of various sects participated, and it was from a member of the Episcopal communion that there came a public and vigorous rebuke to the bigotry of the trustees.
Its land was at first unproductive, and the original buildings of the college were erected by means of voluntary contributions made in England and in this state. In 1802 certain lands near Ticonderoga and Crown Point were granted to the college by the legislature, but the formation of the state of Vermont invalidated this grant, as the lands mentioned were within the territory of the new state. This is made the subject of lamentation in more than one president’s address. The state, however, gave the institution money from time to time, and in 1814 granted to it the land that now makes Columbia probably the richest educational institution in America.
In the earlier years of the present century Dr. Hosack was professor of botany at the college, and he established a botanical garden at a place called Elgin, just southwest of the present site of St. Patrick’s cathedral on Fifth avenue. In the American Registerfor 1810 this garden is thus described:
“Dr. Hosack’s botanical garden is distant three and a half miles from the city of New York, and consists of about twenty acres of land. The ground was purchased by Dr. Hosack in 1801 with a patriotic view of supplying his native city with what had long been a desideratum in a course of medical education, a botanical garden. At the time of the purchase the land was exceedingly rough and broken, but by its present possessor it has been brought to a state of the highest cultivation and embellishment.”
It was announced that the doctor had offered this land to the state on liberal terms. By an act of legislature passed March 12, 1810, the commissioners of the land office were authorized to purchase the garden, the money for the purpose to be raised by lottery. The state reserved the right to sell the land at any future time. The preamble to this act declared that the medical society society of New York and others were “deeply impressed with an opinion that the botanic garden established and owned by David Hosack at a place called Elgin, near the said city, may become a public benefit by being applied to promote medical science in this state.” This will be amusing to the physicians of today. This land was given to Columbia college by the state on condition that the institution should be moved to that neighborhood within twelve years, but in 1819 this proviso was rescinded, and the legislature granted the college $10,000 in cash.
For a long time this land was a burden rather than a source of revenue to the college. Soon after the election of President King in 1849 the trustees began to consider what they seriously thought of selling it. From a memorial addressed to the legislature it appears that they had offered to sell it in 1825 for $18,000, but found no bidders. In 1850 they valued it at $150,000.
Before anything definite was done in the matter of the Botanic garden property the act of bigotry by the trustees already referred to, brought the college into notoriety and caused a widespread discussion of its affairs that finally resulted in a legislative investigation. In 1854 the self-perpetuating board of trustees appears to have had its dignity greatly ruffled by an earnest effort to give the alumni of the college the right to fill vacancies in the board. In that same year the chair of chemistry became vacant and Mr. Walcott Gibbs made formal application for the professorship. His application appears to have been endorsed by nearly every scientific man of prominence in the country, by a large number of the alumni, and by the entire press of the city. For some reason the trustees appeared disinclined to elect him, and it finally appeared disinclined to elect him, and it finally cropped out that the objection was that Mr. Gibbs was a Unitarian. There was a general protest against the bigotry and narrowness of the trustees, but they persisted in their defiance of public opinion, and refused to elect Mr. Gibbs. The late Samuel B. Ruggles wrote a pamphlet calling his fellow trustees to account, and to this a reply was made by another trustee, Gouverneur M. Ogden, who resented any outside interference in a matter that concerned the trustees only.
The result of the controversy was an investigation by the state senate in 1854, which ended in nothing. The committee declared that the individual trustees had evidently allowed considerations, forbidden by law, to affect their judgment, but that no act of the board, as such, had been discovered that would warrant the forfeiture of the charter of the corporation. The committee went out of its way to lug in a particularly bald and monstrous reassertion of the doctrine underlying the false and dishonorably procured decision of the United States supreme court in the Dartmouth college case. It did, however, do some service by bringing out facts as to the value of the property then held by the college. Its report estimated that the property, then worth £3,000, given to the college by Trinity church in 1755, had by 1855 become worth $1,000,000. Half of that property was, however, at that time occupied by the college, the remainder under lease yielding an annual income of $19,494. The Botanical garden property, though then valued at $400,000, yielded no revenue. The state had given the college, from time to time, sums amounting in the aggregate to $50,000. The college was at that $77,500 in debt. For fifteen years at its expenditures, aside from rents, taxes and improvements had been about $22,000 a year, $9,000 of which had been collected from students. The college at that time held about $1,000,000 of property that was yielding it no revenue.
This appears to have been a time when this wealthy institution was quite seriously considering questions of ways and means, and bound up with the college reports and pamphlets in the Astor library is a curious letter addressed to the trustees by a citizen in 1856. He urged them to purchase 1,000 acres of land in Westchester county at $150 an acre, and showed them how they could get college buildings for nothing and make a fortune at the same time. The letter is a curious description of a deliberate plan for securing the unearned increment in land values. The writer proposed that of the 1,000 acres to be purchased the college should set aside 100 acres for its own use. The location of the college there would, he thought, secure the growth of a town around it, causing a large increase in the value of the 900 acres not needed for collegiate purposes. These 900 acres would cut up into 10,800 lots, twelve to the acre, each of which would command at village prices $250, bringing in $2,700,000. All of them need lot be sold, however, for as soon as the town was started lots could be leased, thus assuring the college a steady income. His proposal, therefore, was that the land should be purchased for $150,000 and that building worth $700,000 should be erected. Meanwhile 300 acres, cut up into 3,600 lots, could be sold for $900,000, thus meeting all expenses, including interest and cost of grading. The calculation is carefully worked out as to interest, etc., and is very plausible. It shows that at the end of seven years the college would, as the result of the transaction, own the following property:
College building at cost
College site, 100 acres or 1,200 lots, at $250 a lot
Six hundred acres unsold, or 7,200 lots, at $250 a lot
This would be the net result after paying back the $150,000 originality borrowed, together with all interest and other charges. The author of the scheme proved, by the selling price of lots in numerous villages in Westchester county, that $250 was a fair average, and could he have made sure that the proposed town would grow up around the college, his calculation would have been an entirely safe one. He remarked in the course of the letter that of course the increase in values would in any event follow the growth of a town around the college, but he reminded the trustees that they could only secure that increase to the the institution by buying the land in advance. Had the author felt as much interest in the public as he did in the college, he might have seen advantage of securing such increase to the community, which would then have been able to build as many colleges as it might need.
This calculation is well worth the careful consideration of those who have never clearly comprehended the demand for the appropriation of land values to the benefit of the community. If there could have been any assurance that the proposed town would grow up around the college the estimate is a very moderate one. It applied, moreover, to a thousand acres of land. Manhattan island embraces 14,000 acres and the whole city 26,500 acres. Throughout this whole region such an increase of population has taken place, and on the island the increase is so great that few if any lots could now be found worth less than ten times $250, while single lots on the Botanical garden property are held today at $70,000, and lots of the same size down town sell for hundreds of thousands each. Let the reader study what would have followed the occupation of 1,000 acres by a town, and then try to imagine what has happened in the increase of values through the growth of New York over the 26,500 acres including in its territory. But this is not the only thought suggested by these figures. Suppose the trustees had believed that the proposed town could have been called into existence. They might then, as individuals, have bought the 1,000 acres, acquired much reputation for benevolence in giving the 100 acres to the college, building thereon, by the sale of the Botanic garden, all of the necessary buildings, and then have divided among themselves a property of $2,500,000. That is just what has been done hundreds of times in this country by syndicates of individuals who used their power as railway directors to encourage the growth of towns where it was to the interest of the syndicates that towns should grow.
The college did not go to Westchester county, however, and the growth in value of its city property exempts it from any necessity for openly engaging in land speculation. It became quite clear, by 1856, that the land on Fifth avenue was too valuable to be used as a site for the college buildings, and this was, of course, equally true of the down-town land. The Deaf and Dumb institution was about to move to its new buildings at Fanwood, and had sold to private parties its lands between Fourth and Fifth avenues and Forty-ninth and Fiftieth streets. The legislature, in 1855, authorized Columbia college to purchase these lands, and it accordingly did purchase from private owners, into whose possession it had passed, the block now occupied by the college buildings, between Fourth and Madison avenues and Forty-ninth and Fiftieth streets, and the institution was moved to that site in 1857. The purchase price appears to have been about $132,000. A portion of the botanical garden was sold to the Dutch Reformed church and others, and the downtown property was made available for business purposes by the opening of Park place through what had been the college grounds. The financial difficulties of the college were thus surmounted, and it was able to build handsome buildings for the school of mines and other departments. In 1856 the law department was established, and in 1860 the college of physicians and surgeons became the medical department of Columbia college. These two departments and the school of mines have been much more prosperous than the college proper, owing to the fact that they trained men directly for obtaining a livelihood.
The development of the institution in this direction has been the occasion for severe criticism. Dr. Edward I Sears, in the National Quarterly Review for March, 1869 gave the college what a newspaper publisher would call a “magnificent puff,” but in the same publication in September, 1876, he severely attacked the management. He declared that apart from her inherited wealth, which makes her the richest educational institution in America, Columbia’s “manufactories of lawyers and physicians and surveyors… render her entirely independent of the trouble and drudgery of learning.” Dr. Sears said he was impelled to his attack by the pressure of private correspondents’ extracts, from whose letters he printed. One man wrote “Although I am an alumnus of Columbia I am disgusted with its exactions. In my time this trafficking spirit was utterly unknown.” Another wrote: “Is it the wealth of Columbia that affords this immunity from criticism? Is it hope or fear that keeps the press of New York so wonderfully reticent?… Is it its millions or its bailiffs and tax gatherers that possess the spell? Still another correspondent contemptuously alluded to the trustees as “a party of grandmothers who, under the pretense of managing Columbia college, oppress its vitals like a nightmare.” Thus prodded on to attack, Dr. Sears criticized the close connection of the management with local politics, and made fun of the titles attached to the names of professors in its catalogue. It cites that of “Charles F. Chandler, Ph. D., M.D., LL. D., professor of analytical and applied chemistry and dean of the faculty of the school of mines and adjunct professor of chemistry in the school of medicine” as an example, and proposed to add to them “president of the board of health, head scientist of the Croton water department, analyzer in chief of meat extracts and broths, etc., honorary champion of metaline as the great lubricator of the age, etc., etc.” We have here a broad hint at an abuse of professional reputation that has continued down to our own day.
However, Columbia has survived all criticism, and quite a number of its alumni have made it bequests to found free scholarships, award prizes, etc. A school of political science has been established, and on June 8, 1883, the trustees ordered that a course of collegiate study equivalent to the course give to young men in the college should be offered to women. A school of library economy was also established in the same year. Thus in many ways Columbia shows an active and progressive spirit, but the fact remains that its rank among American colleges is far below that of other institutions less richly endowed and situated in smaller cities. The reason for this failure is a question that may be considered from many standpoints, but the fact remains, and no reasoning can either obscure it or make it palatable to those who take any pride in the metropolis. In the next number of The Standard an effort will be made to show how far the possession and management of Columbia’s land estate is responsible for the failure of the college to realize its opportunities, and to point out how vastly better results might have been achieved under a system that left the power to tax land values (now exercised by the trustees) in the hands of the people. Under a proper system New York might easily have had a university worthy of the city, where instruction might be free as air, and wher professors should be teachers of truth and sound thinking to the thoughtfully inclined, receiving themselves wholesome correction of the tendency to dogmatism through that rude but often effective criticism which brings every theory to the practical test of its ability to promote the welfare and happiness of man. The glory of such a college would be the influence it directly exerted in molding public opinion, and though it might mark by diplomas the arrival at this or that stage of learning, its parchments would cease to be badges of class distinction or milestones marking an uphill journey to nowhere prescribed by tradition and sanctioned by usage. High scholarship would still be within its gift. The future university of the people will lack no facility for shaking any man’s thirst for knowledge, but it will concern itself with men and women, as well as with boys and girls, and lead the community that supports it in the acquisition of knowledge and the habit of thinking. Such a college Columbia may yet be, attracting to this city the young manhood of America, as Florence once drew to her seats of learning the flower of Europe’s youth. In the new renascence of applied democracy, when people shall at last enjoy the fruits of liberty and labor receive the benefit of our progress in civilization and the arts, uninstructed men will once more have leisure to indulge thought and fancy, and multitudes may eagerly gather for instruction in public places as the people gathered to listen to Socrates and to Plato in the groves of Athens, and “academy” reacquire its original meaning.
Are the People of Pittsburg the Richer or Poorer for it?
Pittsburg, pa, Chronicle-Telegraph
Few people have any idea of how great the increase in value of real estate has been in our two cities in the past hundred years.
The sale for the Irwin estate by Wm. A. Herron & Sons of the homestead on Irwin avenue, Allegheny, a week or two ago, to Mr. A.E. Painter for $80,000 gives an opportunity to make a comparison of values now and in 1787. In the year last named, on the 9th of May, Capt. John Irwin bought twenty acres of land in Allegheny City at $17.50 an acre, and ten acres at $8 per acre. The homestead just sold was located in the first or larger tract, and as it embraced only about half an acre, those fond of figuring can cipher out the percentage of advance is the century.
The ten acre tract was located along what is now Bidwell street, and included the residence and property of Dr. D. Hostetter. Competent judges state that the bare land of this tract is now worth not less than $120,000 per acre, or $1,200,000 for the whole, while the seventeen acres are worth probably as much, if not more.
The action of the president in saving Guilford Miller’s farm in Washington territory from the clutch of the Northern Pacific railroad company is in every way commendable, but its chief significance is the indication it gives of a disposition to interpret the laws in favor of the actual settler rather than in the interests of the great corporate land grabbers. Of course the president’s declaration that “our public domain is our national wealth, the earnest of our growth and the heritage of our people,” if logically followed up until forbid the transfer of that heritage to any private individuals, but it is better that this land shall be in the hands of those who will use it than that it should be held by speculators whose purpose to profit by the pressure of population. Looked at from any standpoint other than that of the monopolists themselves, it is simply monstrous themselves, it is simply monstrous that thousands and perhaps millions of acres should be for years withheld from actual settlement on the mere dictum of a secretary of the interior, because perhaps a land-grabbing railroad company may have some claim to seize portions of it for its own use. If the present administration desires to offer any justification for the transfer of power from the republican to the democratic party it must make many more reversals of the policy of the past, and the interior department under Lamar should show a wide departure in sympathy and disposition from the interior department under Teller, the friend and ally of the land grabbing monopolists.
Land grabbing is no new thing in the United States, but the land grabbing of which we are accustomed to hear, and over which our newspapers moralize and express their wonder that men should be found wicked enough to do such things, is principally conducted at a distance. It has generally been supposed that the days of land grabbing within the limits of New York city were over, not by reason of any special virtuousness in these parts, but simply because all the grabbing possible had been done generations ago. This, however, was a mistake.
Thirty or forty years since, while yet the owners of the upper part of Manhattan island were contemplating their fences and wondering how long it be before the growth of population would enable them to levy remunerative taxes on their fellow men, a certain Mr. Carleton put up a shanty on 121st street near Third avenue. Mr. Carleton didn’t bother about any titles; his shanty wasn’t worth much anyhow, and he just put it up with a modest confidence that he could keep possession of it long enough to pay him for his trouble; in short, he took his chances, and the chances turned in his favor, for no landlord showed himself and no rent bill was presented. Soon another gentleman appeared, desiring to erect a second shanty. Mr. Carleton, feeling that land without a landlord would disturb the universal fitness of things, demanded rent from the newcomer, and got it, too. Then a third man came, and a fourth, and a constant succession of men, until by degrees the entire block was occupied. And still Mr. Carleton collected his rents, granted leases, erected small buildings for his tenants’ use, and generally acted the part of a landlord with a skill and diligence worthy of the Marquis of Lansdowne himself. From a humble blacksmith Mr. Carleton expanded into an imitation landed proprietor, and if he could have kept it up a few years longer would doubtless have founded the Carleton family and raised his descendants to a place among the aristocracy of New York.
But alas! one unlucky day some intermeddling official stumbled across the fact that Mr. Carleton’s block was city property, and Mr. Carleton’s career as a tax gatherer was brought to an ignominous close. His tenants have ceased to pay him rent; his various buildings are no longer his, and only the savings of past rent collections remain to comfort him.
Take it all in all, however, Mr. Carleton hasn’t done so badly. If, on the one hand, he is less fortunate than those privileged New Yorkers whose land grabbing was done for them by their ancestors a century or so ago, he is, on the other hand, vastly better off than the immense multitude whom a cruel fate has forbidden to do any land grabbing at all. Mr. Carleton will do well to contemplate his bank account, and rest contented.
Mr. Baker’s proposed amendment to the constitution of this state recognizes an evil, but provides an altogether inadequate cure for it. The amendment confers authority upon the governor, under certain circumstances, to assign seven supreme court judges to act as associate justices of the court of appeals, with a view to the quicker dispatch of appellate business. A very possible effect of such a measure would be a heavy increase in the number of appeals. What our judicial system needs is not tinkering, but radical reform.
The political tinker is already at work on the recently enacted tenement house law. The law provides that a small open space shall be left at the rear of each tenement. Senator Plunkitt’s amendment removes this restriction in the case of corner lots, regardless of the fact that houses on next to corner lots will thus be deprived of a very considerable amount of light and air. In one way or another, here a little and there a little, the tenement house proprietor is pretty certain to regain the few privileges of which the present law deprives him.
Mr. Chamberlain Ivins, whose recent expose of the pecuniary side of city politics attracted so much attention, has been giving his opinion about the relation of the democratic party to the “labor question.” Mr. Ivins’ statement of the case would be conclusive if it were not slightly incoherent. Beginning by expressing his delight at the discontent of wage workers with the “existing order of political affairs,” he proceeds to demonstrate that the present state of things is really all that could reasonably be desired. “We are not,” says Mr. Ivins, “staring any great social problem in the face. We are not disturbed in this country by the land question. They are in Ireland, where a few men own all the land. The entire population of the world could stand on Manhattan island were it as broad as it is long, while the state of Texas is capable of producing supplies enough to feed the entire race.”
In short, there really is nothing the matter with us, according to Mr. Ivins, except the assessment system in politics. The millennium will come when the state bears all the expenses of elections. There is a very general feeling of discontent which finds expression in outbreakings against private land monopoly and other foolishness of that kind; but the real reason for it all is that it costs $80,000 to be chosen mayor of New York, and proportionately for other offices.
Mr. Ivins said these pretty things to the county democracy of the Fifteenth assembly district. He probably believes them himself, or he wouldn’t have said them, but we take the liberty of doubting that the rank and file of the Fifteenth assembly district democrats have any very abiding faith in them.
There is trouble in Paulding county, O., and the governor of that state has ordered out the military to persuade rioters into the paths of peace by means of Gattling guns. The enemies of public order in this case are not foreign anarchists, however, but American farmers. Near the town of Antwerp, in the county named, is a great reservoir, covering two thousand acres, which feeds a branch of the Wabash and Erie canal system. A determined effort was made by the people at the last session of the legislature to induce the state to abandon that part of the canal system. It failed, and there was much excitement among the people who think that the canal is useless and that the reservoir makes the country thereabouts unhealthy. On Monday night of this week two hundred residents of the county captured the guards who had been stationed there to preserve the work. The mob then proceeded deliberately to blow up locks and a bulkhead with dynamite, and they worked all night with pick and spade in making way for the outflow of the water. There is some question, however, as to the spontaneity of this remarkable outbreak. It appears that the land covered by the reservoir was granted for the purpose by the general government, to which it would revert in case it is abandoned. An examination of the maps of Paulding county shows that the land at the bottom of the reservoir is covered by land warrants which have been gobbled up by speculators at merely nominal prices. A dispatch to the Times says that if the reservoir had been abandoned by the state “the land sharks would have had a bonanza.” There is room at least for suspicion that these land sharks had quite as much to do with this outbreak as had the people’s hatred of mosquitoes and malaria. Saviors of society become anarchists very quickly when the prize in view is 2,000 acres of the people’s soil.
The city of Nashville, in the state of Tennessee, is going to improve its waterworks with a new reservoir, and it has been halting between two opinions as to where to put it. Curry’s hill was first selected, and a full set of estimates made and almost voted on by the city council. Then some occult influence was exerted in favor of Kirkpatrick’s hill, and that eminence was discovered to be, more than any other, suited for the purpose. Finally, economy, and good government, and civil service reform, and other virtues, have triumphed, and Curry’s hill has once more been chosen.
But now a new complication has arisen. The estimates originally made for the Curry’s hill reservoir must be amended; the reservoir is going to cost some $40,000 more than was originally intended. It isn’t the wicked trades union or unscrupulous Knights of Labor that have done it this time. If they had, the Nashville press and other presses would probably have pointed out to them how wrong it was to take advantage of the Nashvillians’ need of pure water to extort money. It is simply that the “owner” of Curry’s hill has raised his price. This is an altogether different matter, and the good people of Nashville are congratulating themselves on the growing wealth of their city. Nashville is $40,000 richer today than she was a little while ago, and if the boom keeps up her prosperity will increase so marvelously that some of her citizens will have to move away, or go to live in the poor house.
The daily papers record a case of ejectment in Newark, NJ, which, had it occurred in Ireland, would have called forth vigorous editorial denunciation. Mrs. Mary Friedman, a poor but hard working woman, who has a family of five children, got behindhand with her rent. A constable put her furniture in the street, and locked her out of the house. A driving rain storm came on, and the woman and her children sat weeping among their scanty household goods until a kind hearted baker took them in and gave them temporary shelter. A system that reduces a hard working woman to beggary, and then turns her and her babes into the street is defended in the name of morality and righteousness.
It does not appear that the tories will have perfectly plain sailing in guiding the new crimes bill through the debate in committee. If the government’s majority were composed exclusively of tories the case might have been different, but the fact is that the liberal deserters who piece out the tory party were once accustomed to think for themselves and are not yet thoroughly drilled in obedience to the tory leaders. Some of them have manifested a disposition to criticize certain details of the bill attributed to the brash young Balfour, and the cabinet must either weaken its position by thus admitting the imperfection of its great measure or run the risk of alienating the critics. Not a few of them are under strong personal temptation to crawl back into the party that manifestly has the majority in their constituencies. The danger to the ministry is increased by the sharp criticism of Mr. Goschen’s financial program by two of the government’s supporters, Lord Randolph Churchill and Sir John Lubbock. A successful attack on the budget is instantly fatal to an English ministry.
At an auction sale in Baltimore last week some fifty parcels of “ground rents,” aggregating $2,043, were sold for $49,355. The sale was well attended, the bidding was lively and the prices realized were considered very satisfactory.
This system of “ground rents” is peculiar to Baltimore, and affords a profitable object lesson for those who find a difficulty in realizing the fact that private ownership of land, as distinguished from private possession, is purely and simply the ownership of a privilege of levying taxes. The purchaser of a Baltimore “ground rent” doesn’t buy any land. What he gets for his money is purely and simply the privilege of collecting a certain sum yearly from whomsoever may happen to be using a particular plot of land – an absolute tax franchise.
At the same sale the houses standing on three lots whose “ground rents” were included in the above sale, were disposed of. The houses sold for $300 each. The “ground rents” of the three lots, amounting to $30 a year on each lot, sold for $640 each.
The Schnaebeles incident is the cloud like a man’s hand rising upon the European horizon, and while it remains unsettled there is no security that the whole continent will not be plunged into war within a week or month. Will Germany give the man up? Will France acknowledge his detention just? These are the apparent questions; the real ones are, is Bismarck ready? and does Boulanger want war? If either of these deserve an affirmative answer, the struggle is at hand.
A New Magazine
Dr. Robert A. Green of New York has begun the publication of a monthly magazine called Home Knowledge. It is intended to furnish the home circle with reading matter of a scientific cast, but free from the technicalities which make scientific magazines interesting only to the student. Among the principal contributions in the May number are a review of Henry George’s theory of wages, the experience of a bold-hearted man, and a very interesting criticism, by Don Piatt, of the life of Henry Ward Beecher. The price of the magazine is twenty cents a number, or $2 a year.
A Burglar Explains
The Athens Banner-Watchman publishes a letter from a burglar, who says:
Perhaps you would like to know why there are so many burglars in the land, and I being one of that profession will enlighten you. Most all of us are mechanics who are out of work and cannot get work to do. It is easy for the man who is doing well to talk and say we could get work if we wanted to, but let him try it and he will find he is mistaken. It is steal or starve, and I, like the rest of mankind, prefer to steal. When God made this earth he made man to inhabit it, and one man has as much right to the land as any other. It was intended as common property, and unless this great government does something for our relief, and that soon, you will see much trouble in this land of the free.
The Week In Wall Street
The long talked of lease of the Oregon railway and navigation company by the Union Pacific has at last been signed. This lease will give the Union Pacific a route of its own to the Pacific Coast at Portland, and will bring the lumber regions of the great northwest much nearer the timberless tracts of our southern and central sections. With the connection of the Central Pacific and the Oregon and California roads and the completion of the Northern Pacific to the Pacific coast the far western and northwestern portions of the United States will have the skeleton of a railroad system that in time will serve to populate that comparatively youthful region. The filling up will come with future extensions of the great railroad systems, now stretching from the great lakes to the Rockies, notably the St. Paul and the Northwestern. Already Pacific coast extensions are talked of for these roads, and though it may be some years before they cross the Rockies, eventually, as population increases and all sorts of business interests expand, these roads will reach out to grasp their share of the resulting traffic. With these changes and extensions in the northwest come further extensions in the south and southwest. The Atchison is reported to be preparing to build to San Francisco on the western end and to Chicago on the eastern. Some 45,000 tons of steel rails were landed at San Francisco lately, said to be consigned to the Atchison road. The officials of the road, however, disclaim any intention of building to San Francisco at present, though they do not deny that they intend, as soon as possible, to reach Chicago. The present year will undoubtedly show the largest increase in railroad mileage yet scored, though nearly 9,000 miles were built in 1886.
Following the revival in trade and in anticipation of the extensive railroad building, real estate has throughout the country been in strong demand. Bradstreet’s for last week cities twenty-three cities in which the real estate boom has been felt, and the reports given contain the reasons of the boom. Whether it be on the Atlantic coast, in the Ohio or Mississippi valley, along the lakes, in the northwest or on the great stretches of country between the Mississippi and the Rocky mountains, the causes given are invariably the industrial revival, increased population and anticipated extensions and buildings of railroads. In some cases land has in six months increased over a hundred per cent, while from twenty to sixty per cent increase is shown to be be common. Bradstreet’s likewise records dullness in some of our markets, less inquiry, lower prices, a tendency to inactivity and stagnation, etc. In the same issue it records a cause and an effect and fails to see the relation between the two, a relation so plain that he who runs may read it. The industrial revival brought the real estate boom, the real estate boom kills the industrial revival. The money that should be going into the pockets of manufacturers, middlemen and consumers – in other words, into the hands of those whose energy and skill produce the wealth, of which money is but a measure – is going into the pockets of the real estate boomers and land speculators, going from the wage worker and storekeepers to the idlers and gamblers; and in such tremendous and disproportionate quantities as to perceptibly lessen the purchasing power of the multitude, weaken and throw on her knees again the already overburdened, overtaxed and rent-ridden American industry. As yet, Bradstreet’s does not see it, American industry does not understand it, the farmer is partially blindfolded, and the wage workers are just beginning to see the light; but the day is not far off when a real estate boom will be regarded with greater horror than a small-pox epidemic or siege of cholera.
The maritime exchange is much exercised over the present low ocean freights, and, as usual, blames the railroads for not allowing the steamship lines a fair share of tolls on through business. Previous to the interstate law the rates were proportionately lower on through business. Previous to the interstate law the rates were proportionately lower on grain or flour from Chicago to Liverpool than from Chicago to New York or Boston. But under the long and short haul clause the same rate must be charged from Chicago to New York or Boston whether the grain be for export or not. The Boston elevator men and the representatives of the steamship lines see in this clause a great hardship, hence their efforts to have it suspended and their complaints that the railroads have always taken the lion’s share of the tolls. But it is easily shown that the railroads, like the steamships, have been obliged to reduce their charges. In 1865 the rate on twenty-one of the leading railroads of the country was 2.95 cents for carrying one ton of freight one mile, while in 1885 it was only 0.77 of a cent, a reduction in twenty-one years of 2.18 cents per ton. The tonnage on these roads had, in the same time, increased from 22,250,000 to 150,972,000 tons and the receipts from $69,825,000 to $144,562,000. Ocean freights have also been reduced and the tonnage has increased. But the tremendous increase in tonnage, whether on the land or on the water, does not account for the still greater decrease in rates and freights. Improved machinery and reduced wages have enabled the railroads and steamships to carry cheaper, but the increased cost of land, the heavy storage charges, the strangled markets, both at home and abroad, and the competition of India wheat have compelled both to carry wheat for almost nothing, or not carry it at all. Rent is absorbing, in ever increasing quantity, the wages of the laborer and the earnings of the railroads and steamships, and the heavy elevator charges in our large cities are throwing into the hands of our competitors the foreign markets of which we were once so sure.
The stock market is dull again and somewhat shaky. War rumors, London selling, the interstate law and reported idleness of cars on some of the railroads are used by the bears to depress prices; and though the bulls are in strong force and feel confident of a still higher level, there seems to be more incredulity abroad than there was a week ago. The splendid increase in the bank reserve has been accompanied with reports of dullness, and those that looked forward to a better market, under lower rates for money, are beginning to see that scarcity in the money market is one of the very best signs of commercial activity, and that idle railroad cars and poorer earnings go hand in hand with idle dollars and low rates of interest.
What Can Their Average Wages Be?
The late report of the Illinois bureau of labor statistics contains the result of an investigation at to the time in which labor is employed in that state. The figures are to the effect that only twenty per cent of the working men there are employed full time, and thirty-five per cent work less than half time. These comments are added: “Whatever value may be attached to the ultimate percentage of time lost, as deduced for all classes, the specific facts remain as to a great number of men and of occupations which may be applied at will to any deduction sought. No interpretation of them can obscure the important fact that out of 85,329 working men organized to promote their material interests, and presumably able to secure a greater share of them than the unorganized, only about one-fifth of them can obtain continuous work for a full year of working time. This would not be so serious were the remainder able to approximate full time; but this does not appear to be their experience. As the last table shows, those who get less than forty weeks’ work are sixty-five per cent of the whole; and those who get only from thirteen to thirty weeks’ wages in the year are thirty-five per cent of the whole or 30,451 in number.
Values Increased One Hundred Fold
A resident of Harlem has shown to a Standard reporter an instance of the increase of land values in that part of New York.
The area bounded by 120th and 125th streets, Seventh avenue and Mount Morris avenue (which runs for half a dozen blocks midway between Fifth and Sixth avenues, and parallel with them), was years ago a racing park, the track measuring forty yards short of a mile. This land was sold in 1843 for $40,000. In 1855 one of the Delmonicos bought the block lying between 120th and 121st streets, Mount Morris and Sixth avenues, for $18,000. Three years later he sold it for $15,000, its speculative value, at that period, having been overestimated. Two months ago the same block was sold for $425,000, the land having been lying vacant all these years. Builders are now at work erecting a row of brownstone houses on that part of the block facing 120th street. An adjoining block, a part of the estate of the late Mrs. Oswald Ottendorfer, was also lately sold at about the same figures. A syndicate of well-known business men bought it, and will build upon it. Those blocks of the original tract lying between Sixth and Seventh avenues, command even higher prices than those mentioned. A bit of land worth $40,000 in 1843 is now worth about $4,000,000.
What Does the Archbishop Do With His $40,000?
Providence, P.I., April 19 – Under the heading of “Justice to the Archbishop,” I see that you say that this salary is $40,000 a year. I would like to know whether he uses it for the support of schools, convents, churches, etc? Yours respectfully,
He gets it for his own use. The schools, convents, churches, etc., are supported by the contributions of the Catholic laity – mostly poor people.
All Should Study This Doctrine
Streator, Ill., April 18 – I have read The Standard from an early issue, and it suits me to a jot. I take a greater delight in reading it than any other paper, because it handles the land and labor question so ably. And when I am through with it I loan it to others. I have read some of your books, and am reading others. They have an untold value in them.
Where Franklin Caught the Lightning
Camden, N.J., April 22 – I am in full accord with the teachings of The Standard, and I have taken special pleasure in reading the articles relating to the Reformed Dutch church in New York city, as I have known something of its history from my youth.
A Club in Louisville
Louisville, Ky., April 20 – Mr. Wiffles, proprietor of the Labor Record, has started the ball rolling here. He is arranging for the organization of a Henry George club, and has called a meeting of the friends of the cause to commence things.
The True Program
Albany Independent Citizen
We will make it hard for a man to own land which he does not use, by taxing the land value and letting the improvements go free. Therefore the more the owner improves, the more buildings he erects, the more he plows and sows and reaps, the better the use he makes of his land, the less proportionately will be his taxes, and at the same time the greater will be his need for the workingman. Make it unprofitable for a man to own land in Albany unless he uses it, and how many masons, bricklayers, carpenters, day laborers – how many architects, builders, and dollars would be to work on the space of ground lying between Hudson avenue and Lancaster street, above Swan?
With the increased demand for workmen, there would of course come an increase in wages: a greater surplus of production, and consequently lower rents, while that which now goes to pay the rent, based upon speculative land values, would be used to purchase better food for mind and body, better clothes and better homes.
All men, so far as they are laborers, would be benefited by this method of taxation. It would be a just measure, too, for it exempts a man from taxation on whatever he does that is of use or benefit to the community, while for whatever he does that is a drag upon its progress, whatever he receives that he did not earn, for all dog-in-the-manger policy, he is taxed.
A Land Owner Who Can Figure
Judge James G. Maguire of San Francisco
I am myself an occupying owner of a very comfortable home; if the taxes on my land were doubled, improvements, furniture, library, etc., being exempt, I would still pay much less tribute to the government than I now pay; but the speculator who owns the vacant lots adjoining mine would pay twice as much tribute upon those lots as is now taxed against them, and he would be compelled to either improve them, and assist in building up our neighborhood, or sell them to people who would.
The rental value of my land would decrease by reason of the increase in the supply of houses and consequent increase in competition for tenants, but the improvement and settlement of the neighborhood would make it a more desirable home.
The activity and prosperity thus promoted and accomplished would distribute itself through every branch of industry, through every artery of social life, and would vastly promote the general happiness of every community affected by the principle.
Land Values in California
The San Francisco Bulletin says the following illustration of the land speculation in Los Angeles county is authentic in every way: In 1876 a lady bought forty-three acres of land in Pasadena for $40 per acre. A portion was set out with orange trees. The first sale of land from the tract was at the rate of $1000 per acre for five acres, this occurring about eighteen months ago. About six months ago one acre was sold for $13,000. On February 12 last there remained in the tract thirty-three acres, for which an offer of $100,000 was made. The lady would not sell at this figure. Last week she was offered $250,000 for the thirty-three acres, or over $7,500 per acre. She again refused to sell. The tract is on a hill overlooking the town of Pasadena, and commands a handsome view. It is wanted for residence sites.
Landlordism Is Landlordism
The national cause in Ireland is supported, to a large extent, by remittances from America, but perhaps ten times as much is sent from the states, and used to support the upas tree of landlordism as finds its way to the national league. Our American brethren should discover some plan of campaign which will enable them to assist their relatives without supporting Irish landlords. In Ulster, where there is no plan of campaign, and, therefore, no protection for the people, men have pawned their wives’ and children’s clothes to raise the rent. Aye, and if rent could only be raised by pawning their souls landlords would still demand it.
A Tremendous Aggregation
It must be remembered that the labor party of today is not limited to the ancient definition. It is not solely a combination of manual laborers. It is rather a tremendous aggregating of all the forces of the republic that live by the wages which head or hands can earn. It comprises within its folds the bright young men who form the alert figures in our business world, journalists, clerks, clergymen, artists, professors, teachers, as well as the delver in the earth with pick and shovel, or the brawny heaver of coal or handler of freight. The bright intellects of the day are becoming less attached to the old parties, and are flocking to the new order of things.
The Debate on the Necessity for a Distinct Labor Party
Tuesday Evening, April 26 – The Young Men’s Christian association hall, Twenty-third street and Fourth avenue, wins well filled by an audience assembled to listen to a much advertised “debate” by the Lyceum society of Philadelphia and the Y.M.C.A. literary society of this city. The subject to be discussed, and which drew the audience into the hall, was, “Would the existence of a distinctive labor party be of benefit to the country?” The Philadelphia society’s representatives – Messrs. John A. MacNamara, F. Norman Dixon and John D. McIlhenny – were to try to show that it would; the New Yorkers – Messrs. William Wishusen, G.M. Cassatt and T.D. Kenneson – proposed to prove that it would not; and Justice Brady of the supreme court was to decide which of them had the best of the argument.
Mr. MacNamara made the opening address, speaking in the affirmative. In a sometimes clear, but generally vague, sort of way he pointed out the necessity for the new party. Finding, before he had said twenty words, that the sympathies of the audience were with him, he entered upon a declamation which, while it was loudly applauded, contained nothing of an argumentative character. Mr. Wishusen followed in the negative, and, although he felt the opposition of the audience more than once, bravely filled out his time and retired amid the mingled applause and hisses of the listeners. At this the chairman of the meeting stepped to the feelings of those present, told the audience that order must and would be maintained. Both sides had a right to be heard and they would be heard. He then introduced Mr. Nixon(affirmative). That gentleman very foolishly commenced by saying that he would stand by the words and sentiments he expressed from that platform “forever.” He slammed and banged around for a while, and after making the assertion that the whole mission of and necessity for the labor party was to check the corrupt effects of railroad monopoly and the bribery of the judiciary – which it isn’t – he sat down.
Mr. Cassatt (negative) then went to the rostrum. The gentleman has a good voice and fine delivery, and though his argument was weak, he accompanied it with such classic gestures and fine drawn phrases that when he closed he received as much applause as his predecessor.
The last speaker for the affirmative was Mr. McIlhenny, a weak-voiced, thin, awkward young man, and who, beyond complimenting T.V. Powderly, grand master workman of the Knights of Labor, for the speech in which he said that he was glad the labor party had been defeated in Chicago, and that the socialists, anarchists and so forth must be crushed out, said nothing that interested the audience. The only strong point about the gentleman’s address was that he did not consume all the time allowed to him.
The position of the argument up to this time was this: The affirmative favored the existence of a distinctive labor party, but were unable to give any good reasons. Their arguments were purely superficial, rhetorical and declamatory, their aim evidently being to exhibit oratorical power rather than familiarity with the politico-economic question under discussion. They evidently did not have the faintest idea why the present great political labor movement had come into being. The gentlemen speaking in the negative, while asserting that the other side had given them no proposition to combat – which was true – still hinted darkly at what the united labor party wanted – the land – and insinuated broadly that hidden behind the beneficent spoken intentions of the new party was the unspoken and unwritten intention to gobble up all the property of the rich people of the country, and divide it among those who had nothing. Of course this is untrue, but the affirmative side not contradict it, so it stood.
The last speaker, and the speaker of the evening, was Mr. Kenneson, a fluent talker and a good debater. He was the most candid speaker of the evening. He began by saying that he would not stand by his argument “forever,” unless time should prove that he was right. He would follow whither the light led him. He was ready to be converted to the idea that a labor party was necessary, but nothing had been said from that platform that evening which would convert him just yet. He regarded the appearance of Henry George upon the field at this time as the greatest blessing that had been bestowed upon the laboring people of this age. Mr. George was a great thinker, and one in whom all men had confidence, though they might differ from him in opinion. The speaker had skimmed over one or two of Mr. George’s idea is; I shall examine closely; and if what Mr. George proposes to do is for the benefit of humanity, I shall fall into the ranks of his friends and fight for the accomplishment of their desires!” [Tremendous cheering] We have not learned tonight what the desires of the men of the new party are; certainly nothing has been said here that would make me to favor the proposition before us. The democratic party was in the beginning a labor party. The laboring people stood by it, and it had control of the government for over sixty years. Then came the republican party, and in the beginning it was the labor party – it could never have succeeded in getting into power but for the votes of the laboring people. After controlling the government for twenty-five years – [“I am a republican,” said the speaker] – during which time it grew rich and “respectable,” the laboring men left it and again placed the democratic party in power.
“If the republican party,” said Mr. Kenneson, “wishes to be restored to power again, it must again become the laboring man’s party – that is, it must look out for the interests of the common people, if you will allow the term. Now, these two parties have all the necessary machinery to carry on the political work of this country. What the laboring man must do is, get control of this machinery, and the thing is done. If you offer the propositions that embody your highest aspirations, and those parties refuse to accept them, then will be time enough to think of bringing into existence a new party. When I am convinced that the two existing political organizations refuse to try to better the condition of laboring men – which includes more than those who work with their hands – then I will be ready to take a part in a new political movement; but I am satisfied that before the third party movement can succeed, one of the other parties must die. But I submit, Mr. Referee, that the other side has given us no good reason why the existence of a distinctive labor party would be of benefit to this country.”
And the referee agreed with him.
Dr. Charles P. McCarthy will review in detail the discussion reported above, Sunday evening at 8 o’clock at Arcanum hall, 54 Union square, and he takes this method of inviting Mr. Kenneson to attend, not knowing how to address him personally. The doctor promises to furnish Mr. Kenneson on this subject with foemen more worthy of his steel. Dr. McCarthy’s meetings are held every Sunday evening, and are for instruction on the labor question and for the dissemination of the principles upon which the united labor party has been founded.
Dr. McGlynn in Philadelphia
Dr. McGlynn will deliver a lecture at the Academy of Music, Philadelphia, on Wednesday, May 4, under the auspices of the Henry George club of that city.
The Bible War in 1870
The Catholic View of the School Question as Expressed by the Rev. Dr. McGlynn, of St. Stephen’s Church
From the New York Sun, April 15, 1870
There seems to be a marked difference of opinion on the school question among the Roman Catholic clergy. The Rev. Father Preston’s views, as expressed in a lecture delivered at Cooper institute, are not endorsed by the Rev. Dr. McGlynn and the other clergymen of St. Stephen’s parish.
In a late conversation with a member of the Sun staff, the reverend doctor expressed himself emphatically on the subject. He said:
“I am opposed to Catholics making application for appropriations from the state for separate schools. I am sure Mr. Preston did not express the Catholic wish and sentiment on the subject. I assert that we do not wish to unite secular and religious education. Our public schools are the pride and glory of Americans, and should be made institutions where Christians and infidels, Jews and Gentiles may alike send their children to be educated, without any fear that they would be subjected to any religious or sectarian bias. An infidel, Jew or Mohammedan has the same rights in our government that you or I have; and the rights of all should be respected. The business or public education should be in the hands of seculars, and not entrusted to our religious orders. Let them confide themselves to their legitimate vocations, the active works of charity and education of the very poor. If they wish to devote themselves to education, let them have their select pay schools. Let them have Sunday schools, and devote themselves to the religious education of youth.”
Much more to the same effect was said by Dr. McGlynn, but as he will in the course of a few weeks deliver a lecture at St. Stephen’s church we will not give his views further publicity, but permit him to speak for himself. He is considered one of the profoundest and ablest priests in New York.
An Irish Landlord’s Testimony
The Pall Mall Gazette publishes the following account of the experience of a trustee under the “plan of campaign” with Irish tenants:
“I am trustee for an Irish property. Six tenants demanded fifty per cent reduction; not in perpetuity, but during the season of depression. The agent refused and threatened eviction. The tenants retorted by threatening to adopt ‘the plan of campaign,’ and the rest of the tenants joined them. I was appealed to, and an interview with the agent was the result. The following conversation took place between us, I beginning:
“How long have those six tenants had their holdings?” “About twenty years.” “What was the land worth when they took it?” “Nothing; it was all bog.” “What rent did you let it to them for?” “Two shillings an acre.” “And what is it let at now?” “Twenty shillings.” “Did the landlord do anything for the land?” “No.” “The tenants have done everything?” “Yes.” “And what would the value of the land be to the landlord if he had put into the land the value which the tenants have put into it?” “About seven shillings an acre.” “That means that you have been robbing the tenants to the amount of thirteen shillings an acre?” “I don’t see that, sir: the land is ours.”
Somebody has Gained $300,000 – Who Earned It?
New York Herald Real Estate Article
Barring the ideas of a few cranks, it was generally agreed on the exchange that the value of the land and the houses on Fifth avenue near Fifty eighth street ought to be considered worth at least a half million. This sum would have been easily realized if the sale had not been handicapped by the extraordinary terms and conditions imposed by the supreme court, as reported in the Herald the next day. So when the total realized was only $415,000, owing to the circumstances now well known to everybody in the market, and when general surprise was expressed that this property brought so little, there was but a single person on the floor who astonishingly looked at the growlers and readily silenced them. He said: “Gentlemen, I was present not quite forty years ago when that identical land was sold in all for $2,500. Of course,” he continued, “the buyer erected the houses thereon, but they did not cost him $100,000. I don’t see that you have any reason to complain about such valuations at a sale under such unfavorable circumstances.” The growlers subsided, and were satisfied that New York property increases after all more rapidly in value than a man’s number of years.
Developing Mexico’s Resources – But Not for Mexico’s Benefit
New York Tribune
St. Louis, April 17 – Advices from Mexico state that the following notable American investments in Mexican real estate have been closed recently. A syndicate composed of Chicago capitalists and United States army officers has purchased a tract of 5,000,000 acres lying in the states of Coahuila, Durango and Chihuahua in northern Mexico. The tract is traversed by the Mexican Central and also by the International road, which Huntington is building from Eagle pass to Laredo. Of this tract 1,000,000 acres is the finest cotton land in the country. It is in the famous Laguna district.
A company composed chiefly of Hartford, Conn., capitalists has bought 500,000 acres, lying in Sonora and Chihuahua, all grazing and agricultural land.
A purchase of 235,000 acres has been made in the western part of Chihuahua by Utah men. As this tract is adjoining the Mormon colony the purpose of the purchase can be readily guessed.
Clay Mann, the Colorado cattle man, who bought 360,000 acres in Chihuahua about two years ago, has sold his tract at an advance of 100 per cent.
The Sort of Security Farmers Have Under the Present System
Correspondence Pittsburg, Pa., Commercial-Gazette
Buffalo, April 11 – The suit of the Seneca nation of Indians against Harrison B. Christee of Brant, Erie county, was before Judge Childs in the supreme court today. The Indians claim title to about 150,000 acres of land in Erie and adjoining counties on the ground that the treaty of 1826 was not ratified by the United States senate in accordance with the provisions of the constitution, and that, therefore, the present owners of the land have not good title to that which they hold. Further, that inasmuch as they are treated as wards of the nation, the time which has elapsed is no bar to action.
Judge Childs said he recognized the great importance of the suit, and that, inasmuch as it would have to be taken to the highest court in the land for final determination, he thought it best to save time by directing a judgment in favor of the defendant.
General Strong, for plaintiffs, conceded that a speedy course through the courts would be best, as the farmers are very much agitated over the suit.
Even Washington Territory Sees the Need of It
Whatcom, W.T., Reveille
No man should hold more land than he can utilize and improve is a doctrine that is coming rapidly to the front, and the theory of making real estate – not the improvements thereon, but the naked real estate of itself – bear the entire burden of taxation, is the one, the practical application of which will solve the problem now agitating the millions. Air, land and water, in their natural conditions, are the gifts of God, and so long as they remain in their first or natural conditions should not be speculated upon by syndicates, corporations or private individuals for private or individual gain.
This is arbor day, and the hardy farmer who has ground may plant as many trees as he wants. But the lodger up two floors back doesn’t feel much interested in arbor day.
Historic Land Grabs
When the white man first set foot on the territory now known as the state of New York, he found it a wilderness inhabited or controlled by the most powerful confederacy of Indian tribes that ever existed within the present limits of the United States. These people were called the Iroquois by the French, the Five Nations by the English, and they called themselves “The People of the Long House,” and sometimes, when oratorically inclined, “Ongwe-Honwe” – men surpassing all others. Though they dominated a wide area, the land that they called their home extended from the eastern valley of the Mohawk to the falls of Niagara. Here they built their return from their numerous war expeditions, which extended from Canada on the north to the Chesapeake or even further southward, and westward to the Mississippi. Though savages, they possessed many of the rudiments of civilization. They had a rude religion and some skill in agriculture and manufactures. They had established a system of representative government, each tribe sending a prescribed number of sachems to the great council. Their women took part in public matters, and appear to have had a council of their own, which formally communicated their wishes to the sachems and chiefs. In matters relating to land and property their voice is said to have been potent. Minor local councils discussed local affairs. All decisions required a unanimous vote, and if this was not secured through argument and deliberation, the matter was postponed until another council. The Jesuit priest, Latitau, speaks of their great council as a senate, and describes the sachems as “discussing affairs of state with as much coolness and gravity as the Spanish junta or the grand council and gravity as the Spanish junta or the grand council of Venice.” Hon. Ellis H. Roberts, in his history of New York,1 from which these facts are extracted, speaking of the Five Nations (who became known as the Six Nations after the Tuscaroras joined them in 1715), says:
The annals of mankind do not afford in the same grade of general civilization any parallel to the political system which existed among the Iroquois as a confederacy, or among the tribes composing it.
Again, speaking of the Indians of the Five Nations as a body, he says:
They believed in a Great Spirit, and in immortality in happy hunting grounds. In their “keepers of the faith” a priestly order may be discovered, and in their festivals and form of burial are ceremonies not without sacrificial and spiritual significance. Their religion lifts them above brute barbarism to a semi-civilization, which separates them from the tribes surrounding them. They respected woman and honored matrimony, and inheritance was from the female. Chivalry did not accord woman so much as did these red men, for they gave her a part in their councils and their governments, and made her voice potent in the choice of chiefs. The family was a sacred institution, and children were carefully trained. For the aged high regard was exhibited, and the rites of hospitality were honored with chivalric strictness.
These Indians were savage in war and remorseless in avenging wrongs, but they were, according to the picture drawn by Mr. Roberts, a people who deserved high consideration at the hands of a more civilized race migrating to the land that these tribes called their own. How frequently this was forgotten by the whites is shown in the earlier pages of this interesting work. Like all of the series of “American Commonwealths” Mr. Roberts’ history of New York is a careful summary of known historical facts rather than a work of original research, but it brings the story of the commonwealth down to our own times, and though traces of bias are visible, the political struggles in which the author himself was a prominent participant are treated with commendable fairness. Take it as a whole this work is a valuable addition to a most useful series.
It has a special value to the student of the politics of the future, because it incidentally brings out, without apparent design, the vital part that the land question has ever played in the stormy history of this commonwealth, from the day in 1609, when Samuel de Champlain first crossed the St. Lawrence to assist his red Canadian allies in their battle with the Iroquois, down to the present hour. Among the Dutch, who were the first white people to actually settle in New York, the idea appears at first to have been trade rather than colonization, but nevertheless the Dutch West India company was given the land of the Iroquois by the states general of Holland and commanded to advance the peopling of its unsettled parts. Indian rights were, however, in a measure recognized, and the Dutch, the French and the English became in turn eager to take advantage of the readiness of the red men, to whom the very idea of private ownership in land was inconceivable, to grant large tracts for the use of individuals or colonies.
The first of the great land grabbers to take advantage of this ignorance of the Indians appears to have been a Dutch lapidary named Killaen van Renssalaer, a director of the West India company, who had grown rich by cutting and polishing diamonds and pearls in Amsterdam. This purchase was made in 1630, under a charter of privileges and exemptions creating patroons, a system that became the cause of serious disturbances many years later. Van Renssalaer became in this way the owner of the greater part of the land now constituting the counties of Albany, Renssalaer and Columbia. Michael Pauw, another director of the company, bought the whole of Staten island from the Indians in 1631, the consideration being “certain parcels of goods.” The company itself bought Manhattan island for $24. The success of these land-grabbing directors excited the jealousy of their fellow members, and in course of time they were compelled to share the booty with the other directors.
This process became general, but so long as unclaimed land was abundant it caused no serious trouble, except such as arose among the land-grabbers themselves or between the patroons and the West India company.
Immigrants settling on the land of these patroons were allowed as much ground as they could cultivate, but were required to pay one-tenth of the produce as rent. Aside from the Indian war, brought about by the greed and pugnacity of Director-General Kieft, about 1637, most of the troubles with the Indians appear to have grown out of land claims. Governor Peter Stuyvesant had trouble with the patroons because of the refusal of the land grabbers to pay taxes for the maintenance of the forts on which they depended for protection. Old Peter took a high hand in 1648, and sent troops to enforce his decrees, finally releasing from the control of the patroons much of the land on which the city of Albany now stands. Stuyvesant got into trouble with the people, as well as the patroons, and when he was called to Amsterdam to give an account of himself, the chamber of commerce there censured him for, among other things, the purchase of lands on Manhattan island for private use.
The first public remonstrance we hear of against land grabbing was made by the convention that met on this island in 1653 to devise means for the defense of the colony against a threatened attack by the English colonists of New England and the Indians whom they were supposed to have investigated to massacre the Dutch. This convention protested “against the course of the director and council in enacting laws and appointing officers without the consent of the people, and against the granting of large tracts of land to favored individuals. Thus early in the history of New York were land granting and the oppression of the people joined as objects for denunciation. In course of time the agitation caused the West India company to secure all patroon rights in Staten island and to give grants there to the Waldenses, Huguenots and other actual settlers.
After the English obtained possession of the earl of Bellamont as governor, from April 1698 to March 1701, there was much stirring up of this land business. Among the charges against Nicholas Bayard, suspended at this time from the council, was one that he had taken to himself a grant of land belonging to the Mohawks as large as one of the middle counties of England without a reasonable quit rent. Though Dayard denied the other charges, he attempted to justify the land transaction. Mr. Roberts, on page 224, vol. 1, says:
His case was only one of many. Land began to promise large returns, and speculation reached out for vast tracts. Robert Livingstone, who had begun his career in Albany, on a visit to England secured grants for many thousand acres on the Hudson, which became known as Livingstone’s manor. Transactions with the red men led more and more to purchases of land, or acquisitions less regular. Clergymen were members of combinations, such as would now be known as “Indian rings and land rings.” Dominic Godfrey Dellius, the Dutch pastor at Albany, was a zealous politician, bitter in his hostility to Leisler, and yet appointed by Leisler a commissioner of Indian affairs. He was charged with fraudulently securing deeds from the red men for vast tracts. Pinhorne, a member of the council, with associates, obtained patents for the Mohawk valley, two miles on each side of the river, for fifty miles along its banks. Peter Schuyler was one of several who, at first interested in buying these lands, had withdrawn from the association on account of the frauds practiced. The courts vacated the patents, Dellius was suspected from the ministry, and a temporary check was given to the greed of the land jobbers. But the vast domain of the Iroquois continued to offer temptations, and governors and officials of various grades and capitalists, small and large, grasped for a share of it, until only scanty reservations remained to the original owners.
The influence of this monopoly appears to have been clearly perceived, for in 1716 Governor Hunter declared, “I cannot say that the inhabitants increase as in the neighboring provinces, where the purchase of land is easier.” This governor devised a novel scheme, frequently imitated since, for increasing the population. He obtained a grant from the British government of £10,000 to enable him to transport to this country nearly three thousand impoverished laborers from the Palatinate in Germany. These people, called Palatines, were brought over under a contract to work for Governor Hunter at a fixed rate until the cost of their transportation was defrayed, and they were settled on both sides of the Hudson “about a hundred miles up.” They were expected to produce tar and turpentine. The governor contracted with Livingstone, on whose land some of them were located, to furnish them all with bread and beer. The men soon began to complain that money promised them was not paid and that the land was so barren that it would not afford them a living. They refused to do the work and demanded the right to move to other land. Their demands were refused, whereupon they organized a strike, which the governor put down with troops. This was in 1712. Eventually the Palatines escaped from the governor’s personal rule. The Indians offered them fertile lands in Schoharie on easy terms, and many of them settled in the Mohawk valley, where Palatine bridge, German flats and Stone Arabia still preserve the memory of the original immigrants, who, having gained access to good land, became thrifty. Many of their descendants have since become conspicuous in the history of the state, among them being General Herkimer of revolutionary fame.
Governor Cosby, who arrived in 1732 seems to have promptly deeds which fell into his hands for land in Albany, and made a grab for lands on Long island. The Mohawks came to him with a complaint that a valuable part of their domain which they had deeded to be held in trust for them had been granted to private persons, in defiance of this trust. They submitted the deed to the governor in proof of their assertion. He obtained possession of the paper by deceit, and threw it into the fire. The advantage the scoundrel gained by this act of violence is seen in a vast tract of land in the upper Mohawk valley, still known as Cosby’s manor, and held by people who trace their title deeds back to this thief. Cosby’s secretary, Clarke, in time became governor, and of him Mr. Roberts says: “When he reached the executive chair he took every means to gather in fees and to increase his fortunes by operations in lands.” The process continued under Gov. Clinton. Speaking of this time, Mr. Roberts says:
The greed of the land speculators was bearing its natural fruit. Hendrick, a Mohawk chief adopted by the Mohawks, to appeals for his aid retorted: “You have taken the land of the Mohicans (in New England) and driven us away,” and he predicted the same result with the Mohawks.
As the troubles with the French grew more threatening, this feeling among the Indians began to be alarming. The author says, “the Iroquois were growing restive under the pressure of the greed and fraud of the land speculators,” and in 1753 they carried their reproaches to the governor and assembly, receiving but little satisfaction. When the struggle with the French came it was found difficult to hold the Iroquois to their alliance with the English because “they always had grievance over the seizure of their lands by speculators and the breach of treatises.” Again, after that war was over, we are told that “controversies over the claims to lands threatened more than once to lead to appeals to arms on the part of the original owners, and apprehension of outbreaks was constant.”
The troubles continued, and a dispute over the great patent of Kayadcrosseras, covering about 700,000 acres between the Hudson and the Mohawk, became the occasion for a congress in 1768, which was attended by representatives of New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Virginia and 3,200 Indians, at which £2,000 in money and goods were awarded to the red men in satisfaction of their claims. Throughout the colonial period land grabbing continued, and there was little if any change for the better after the colony became a state. Mr. Roberts says:
The commonwealth treated its vast domain with reckless prodigality. In 1791 a law was passed with a view to draw in settlers, authorizing the commissioners of the land office to sell any of the public lands at their discretion. These commissioners were Governor Clinton, Louis A. Scott, Aaron Burr, Girard Bancker and Peter T. Cartenius, and they sold 5,542,173 acres of land for $1,030,433; and of this vast domain Alexander McComb secured 3,635,200 acres, for much of which only eight pence an acre was paid.
The transaction caused a scandal that led to an official investigation, but the legislature sustained the land commissioners by a vote of 35 to 20. Nothing occurred to stop the process until the whole unoccupied land of the state had passed into the hands of speculators, who held it in anticipation of the demands of the increasing population.
Meanwhile, trouble had come in the already thickly-settled districts through the tenure of land under the patroons, who attempted, under the republic, to exercise the feudal powers granted them by Holland. This agitation led largely to the calling of the constitutional convention of 1846, which abolished feudal tenures and forbade leases of agricultural lands for a period longer than twelve years. The relief was not adequate, however. Mr. Robert says:
The vast estates secured by the patroons under the Dutch were so located as to become very valuable as population grew. The grants by the English royal governors to themselves and their favorites took up much more of the choice lands. Speculation by these large land owners and by others seized, for small consideration but under the name of purchase, vast tracts, which the Indians gave up without knowing the consequences… Foreign capitalists, like the Holland land company, acquired title to thousands of acres in various parts of the commonwealth. At the close of the revolution the commonwealth owned more than seven million acres of its own soil. The waste and folly that had prevailed from the beginning culminated in the sale of 1791, when, in tracts so large as to exclude fair competition, and in total quantity so much as to glut the demand, over five and a half million acres of these lands were given away, at prices merely nominal, to speculators who sought only their own gain.
This is the just and strong indictment with which the author opens his chapter giving the history of the anti-rent war, waged with such violence by the oppressed and outraged tenants, probably the most formidable insurrection against the constituted authorities that has ever occurred in any one state of the Union. Court houses were broken open, records burned and sheriffs’ posses put to flight by organized bands of men disguised as Indians, and fully armed. Mobs were suppressed by military companies, but the agitation was carried into politics, and in October, 1852, the court of appeals rendered a decision against the more extravagant claims of the landlords, after which the anti-rent movement ceased to seek its ends through organized resistance to the laws. It took this display of force, however, to compel the courts to look into the law and the facts and interpret both in the spirit of free constitutions. “Since the claims for service or payment in kind, or in shares of the products on alienation have been abandoned,” says Mr. Roberts, “land tenure has become simple, and conflict over it has ceased to be threatening to society.” If the author will consult some of the professional society of New York city, he will find that they do not concur in this opinion.
The fact that the author of this new history of New York is not identified in any way with the movement that aims to reopen the question of land tenure and to keep it open until society is relieved from the effect of the wrong and folly so clearly described in his work, adds force to the evidence given in its pages that the titles to land in New York are founded on manifest fraud and injustice and without any claim to an equitable beginning. A more important or timely service to the cause of land restoration could not well have been rendered. The well known facts of British and Irish history have caused thousands of Americans to sympathize with the growing movement for land restoration in Ireland, Scotland, and even in England, who oppose any movement of the kind in the United States as unnecessary and communistic. Such people have always insisted that there was vastly more of natural justice in the original acquisition of lands by private owners in this country than there was in such acquisition in the British islands. Let them read in these volumes the narrative by an unprejudiced writer of the manner in which the lands of New York were filched from the “People of the Long House,” and then declare if they can that existing land tenures in New York rest on more honorable or more equitable foundations than the land tenures in New York rest on more honorable or more equitable foundations than the land tenures in New York rest on more honorable or more equitable foundations than the land tenures of England have in the conquering swords of the Norman bastard and his fellow robbers.
The history of landlordism in New York as it is found in Mr. Roberts’ pages, is simply the story of a crime. From the coming of our race to these shores down to the present time the land grabber has been a ruthless oppressor of the poor, a dangerous disturber of the public peace and absolutely useless to society. In the early days his greed corrupted public officials, disgraced Christian ministers and imperiled the very existence of the state by robbing, cheating and exasperating the natives of the soil. The blazing cabins of peaceful settlers, the war cry and scalping knife of the savage marked the advance of the land thief into the wilderness. Fifty years ago the heirs to the profits of these crimes put forth claims to baronial powers that provoked the oppressed to rebellion and precipitated civil war and anarchy in parts of this state. Yet these claims were upheld by the “saviors of society” in that day as among the most sacred and inviolable rights of property, and they were only overthrown by the fear occasioned by armed force. Today the power of individuals, through titles traced directly back to these initial crimes, is exercised remorselessly to strangle enterprise by taxing both labor and capital for exercising of the right to add to the riches of the commonwealth. Landlordism is today essentially the same that it was in the times of the early Dutch governors. It seizes natural opportunities, not to use them, but to demand blackmail from those who would use them. It thus checks enterprise and natural growth today just as it did in the time of Governor Hunter. Now, as then, an unwise policy brings into our state poor men from abroad, and by withholding from them access to natural opportunities makes them a burden instead of a help to society. Today landlordism is as unpatriotic in its greed as it was two centuries ago. Then it denounced the Indian while provoking him by constant wrongs to that wholesale massacre which threatened the colony with extinction. Today it is eager to denounce the anarchist and the revolutionist, while, by its greed, it forces families into the crowded portions of great cities, and actually breeds the modern vandals who fill its coward heart with terror. Nor does the parallel stop here. After the murder of Leisler the aristocratic party of New York sided with the land thieves, and branded as seditions the demands of the people who sought by peaceful means to overthrow a system that curtailed their liberties and threatened the state with destruction. When the common people of New York now seek by peaceful means to right the wrongs under which they suffer, and to put a stop to the breeding of the only savages who can destroy a modern state, those same cries of sedition and lawlessness are raised against them by the landlords and their senseless allies.
Yet the history under review shows that the march of the people to power has, on the whole, been peaceful; that the tendency of the privileged classes to violence has been impotent to stay the slow, but sure, sapping of their privileges, and hence, that there is good ground to hope that the last and greatest struggle for freedom, that for the emancipation of industry from the grasp of that modern “robber baron,” the landlord, will be a peaceful one. That the power thus exercised springs from law made by English aristocrats and Dutch burghers no one denies. No particle of that power was better fortified or more sacred in the eyes of its possessors than that granted to the patroons. The law conferring that power was set aside by the people, and those unjust and improvidently granted privileges were extinguished. No law made by Englishman or Dutchman, or by any dead generation of men can hold good for a moment in this state against a later law “enacted by the people of the state of New York represented in senate and assembly.” That which the law has given, the law can take away.
Mr. Roberts has contributed something by this work toward the peaceable righting of the wrong he describes so well. He is gravely mistaken, however, in supposing that the dispute concerning land tenures was settled by a decision of the courts of appeals in 1852. That decision was no more final than were numerous other legal decisions made about that time sustaining the right of the white man to hold the black man in bondage. The dispute concerning the tenure of land is entering on that stage which precedes action. It will go on until the system that makes paupers of industrious freemen in a fertile land is overthrown. It will go on until the impudent claim of private individuals to exclusive ownership in the free bounty of their Creator to all men is effectually denied by law. It will never end until we cease to make a mockery of the charter of our liberties by denying to men that most fundamental of all rights – the right to the earth – without which not merely liberty and the pursuit of happiness, but life itself, cannot be accounted as among man’s inalienable rights.
The Saturday Half Holiday
The President of the Association Tells the Story of the Movement
New York, April 25 – The Saturday half holiday movement was inaugurated in the spring of 1885 by the formation of a committee of representative men from the retail stores throughout the city, having in view the single object of obtaining a half holiday on each Saturday throughout the entire year for all clerks and salespeople. The committee waited on the proprietors of the principal stores for the purpose of obtaining an expression of opinion as to the feasibility of securing this half holiday. The idea was generally received with favor, many of the merchants expressing themselves as being perfectly willing to close their stores at noon on Saturdays provided the custom became general and that it caused no inconvenience to their customers. There were a number, however, who emphatically refused to entertain the proposition, because Saturday, being the regular pay day, it is convenient for working people to make their purchases on the day they receive their wages. Finding it impossible to gain the unanimous consent of the storekeepers, the committee decided to appeal to the public and urge them to make all purchases on the first five days of the week or on Saturday morning.
Circulars containing this appeal were sent to all the clergymen of New York and Brooklyn, and to all the prominent clergymen in the leading cities of the Union, asking for cooperation and for an address from the pulpit in support of the half holiday. An immediate and most gratifying response was the result. The chairman received assurances from over three hundred clergymen of their hearty endorsement of the movement and promises to do as requested. Twenty bishops pledged themselves to give the movement in their dioceses an unqualified support. All denominations without exception engaged in the work, and several in their corporate capacity endorsed the reform, promising continuous support until the desired object be secured. The press was equally zealous in the cause, and with a singular unanimity used its influence to educate public opinion and bring it into harmony with the new movement.
The result was satisfactory beyond expectation. According to a careful census made by the New York Herald and published on July 19, 1885, over 115,000 persons in New York and Brooklyn obtained the half holiday for some portion of the summer of that year.
A difficulty arose, however, which presented an insurmountable obstacle to the continuance of the half holiday. Merchants complained that so long as the banks remained open it would not be safe to close their stores. Many had their notes protested and others had to keep their finance department open while the remainder of the house was closed. Suggestions came from many quarters that we should secure the passage of a law making Saturday from 12m a legal half holiday. In 1886 this was attempted. Mr. Husted introduced a a bill in the assembly with this object, but it was met by the powerful and determined opposition of the clearing house committee, and was finally defeated by the country members.
The association, however, grew in numbers and strength every hour, and with a fixed determination never to relax its efforts till the half holiday should be accomplished, proceeded with its work.
In the early part of the present session Senator Reilly introduced a bill into the senate similar to Gen. Husted’s bill of last year, and this bill, after a three months’ struggle with the banks in the judiciary committee, was, through the untiring efforts of Mr. Reilly, passed by the senate and immediately presented to the assembly by Mr. McKenna. Through the personal exertions of Speaker Husted it was passed in the assembly by a two-thirds vote, and with the governor’s signature becomes a law. With the assistance of this law the association will go forward with renewed energy to complete its work, and in doing so it calls for the support of every man and woman interested in the cause of humanity. The association intends to make a systematic effort to influence the public to make no purchases on Saturday afternoons, and to persuade employers and contractors to change the pay day to some other day of the week than Saturday. To secure this end we expect the support and cooperation of all labor organizations, as the principle on which we stand is this: that any movement which has for its object the shortening of the hours of work without reduction in wages is a movement in the interests of labor.
Cardinal Manning on Labor
What is the cause of all this enormous development of wealth? Some may say it is capital. I say there is something before capital – there is skill. Some then may say it is skill. I say there is something before skill – there is labor; and we trace it to labor strictly. The first agency and factor of this great commercial wealth, and therefore of the greatness of our country in this respect, is labor.
“In the dim morning of society labor was up and stirring before capital was awake.” There is no doubt of this, and therefore I may affirm that labor is the origin of all our greatness.
I am speaking, as you will remember, strictly upon that one point. I am not now speaking on the moral condition of labor, though I may touch that hereafter slightly, but I speak of labor as a political economist would speak. I will not try to define labor, but I will describe it to be the honest exertions of the powers of our mind and our body for our own good and for the good of our neighbor. I say honest, for I do not account any labor which is not honest – which is superficial, tricky and untrustworthy – as worthy of the name of labor. I call it exertion, because unless a man puts forth his powers, and puts them forth to the full, it is not worthy of the name of labor. Unless he puts forth his powers honestly for his own good, I call it his destruction; and if he does not put forth those powers for his own good, and also for the good of his neighbor, I call it selfishness. I thin, therefore, that my description is a just one; it is the honest exertion of the powers of body and mind for our own good and the good of our neighbor. And here I must put in a plea in passing for the exertions of the powers of the mind, and I feel confident that in the Mechanics’ institute of Leeds I shall be safe in saying that those who exert the powers of the mind and of the brain are true laborers. They may never have wielded an ax, they may never have guided a locomotive, and they may never have guided a locomotive, and they may never have driven a spade into the ground; but I will maintain they are true laborers, worthy of the name.
God Speed the Anti-Poverty Society
The Rev. C.M. Morse telegraphs from Newcastle, Pa: “God speed the Anti Poverty association. Count me in. Proverbs iii, 27, 28.”
H.M. Hyndman On The Course Of Events
The Division of Political Forces – Shams and Humbug Above and Social Democracy Below – Preparations for the Great Social Drama – Tyranny in Ireland and Agitation in England
Special to the Standard
London, April 12 – The storm which I spoke of in my last letter has gathered and broken even sooner than I expected. We are now in the full blast of an anti-coercion agitation, and I am happy to say it seems likely to be more formidable than I anticipated. Of all the meetings and the protests and the debates you will have heard, but the main issue is of permanent interest. We are learning the lesson – which, by all accounts, you in America will have to learn, too – that with genuinely democratic institutions it is impossible that the dominant wealthy class, be they landlords or capitalists, should long be allowed to use the public forces and the public power to put down combinations against them. That the difficulty with Ireland is primarily economical has been shown time after time, and is admitted freely now even by the agents of the tory government. But the landlords and big capitalists in Great Britain see clearly that the success of the National league in Ireland, quite apart from the mere nationality question, means an overwhelming victory for the masses over the classes, and betokens an early repetition of a similar struggle, with the same result to the monopolists of land and capital of St. George’s channel. That is why Lord Hartington, Mr. Goschen and Mr. Joseph Chamberlain are now, practically, all in the coercionist – that is, the tory, camp. How hardly shall they that have riches stick to any real revolutionary movement! Just think, Mr. Editor, of friend Joseph of Birmingham – him of the doctrine of “reason,” he who held up Toulon’s head, so to say, as a warning to the unscrupulous landlords – just imagine, I say, the man Joseph Chamberlain humbly repeating his creed of coercion after the marquis of Salisbury and the marquis of Hartington! Verily, verily, it is as if Johann Most, of dagger and dynamite fame, turned lobbyist-in-chief to the Standard oil company. However, so it is, and now Irish, English and Scotch liberals and radicals and social democrats of both islands are making common cause against as unholy an alliance as any that has ever disgraced our political annals.
Of course, as one who fought vigorously against Mr. Gladstone’s own coercive and crimes acts, I know that there is a vast deal of humbug in all this outcry. There are plenty of men today on the anti-coercionist platforms who would support tyranny tomorrow if that were the party ruse. Lord Spencer, Lord Roseberry, Lord Kimberly, Lord Granville, Lord Wolverton, Sir William Harcourt, Mr. Campbell Bannerman, Mr. Mundella, etc. – it is absurd to suppose that these men relish being placed in the same array with Parnell, T.P. O’Connor and Healy, to say nothing of the real fanatics and chiefs of the movement, Davitt, Dillon and O’Brien. No, no; remove Mr. Gladstone and the party ties, and you would see all those worthies over in the enemy’s camp tomorrow. For my part, I wish it were so. Office seeking whigs of the meanest type, like those mentioned above, are clogs and hindrances to any popular movement, whether in favor of Ireland or of Great Britain. Lord Granville, for instance, is a a large colliery’ owner, who has suffered a great deal in his income owing to the depression. On the formation of Mr. Gladstone’s last short-lived administration he said plainly that he must be a secretary of state of some sort – he didn’t care a d—n which it was; £5,000 a year he must have, £2,000 wouldn’t do. And these £5,000 a year men still cling on in the hope that Mr. Gladstone, who is assuredly no radical in home politics, whatever he may be in relation to Ireland, will waft them into office and power again on the top of a fine popular agitation, as he did before. But for the moment all differences are sunk, and radicals combine once more with whigs and liberals to put an end once for all to this monstrous coercion system.
And yet the present bill will pass. But even so, the agitation and the effects of the agitation will remain. Nay, the passing of such an act, depriving Irishmen of the admitted rights of citizenship and putting them at the mercy of soldiers, armed police and corrupt stipendiary magistrates would of itself do much to secure Ireland self-government and rouse Englishmen and Scotchmen to consider their own business.
Few of the workers can now understand fully what is being done in the name of England in Ireland any more than they comprehend the full economical infamy of our rule in India. That is the great good which Gladstone has done by turning round upon his own old policy of force suppression. Whatever mistakes he may have made, he has compelled a great faction to abandon domination in the mere interest of a class. That is a great service to his country and the world. Formerly I never was one of his admirers, and I am not one of them now. There is too much of the commercial statesman and rhetorical manipulator about him to influence me. But that a man of nearly eighty should deliberately abandon the policy of a lifetime and drive fully half the whigs, of all people, before him with the phrase of the masses against the classes, is a feat altogether unprecedented in history. Old men have done great things in literature and art, but this marvelous adaptability, this extraordinary capacity for grasping a situation and turning the facts to account has never been exhibited by one of his years in politics before.
And the result is very curious. Here is Lord Randolph Churchill, with all his American experience and so-called democratic tendencies, making a complete fool of himself and injuring his party by hopeless reactionary balderdash; while, on the other hand, the hope of the tory party ten years before Lord Randolph was born, is showing the way to the men of progress in the liberal ranks. The contrast is curious – the notion that Lord Randolph thinks himself the man of the immediate future and has no scruples whatever in throwing over old tory notions or indeed, any notions which happen to be inconvenient to him at the moment. But there is another contrast not less singular, arising out of the events themselves. The liberal party has not only broken up into two sections, but the greater section which follows Gladstone is itself between two stools. The liberals and radicals who are now working so vigorously against coercion throughout Great Britain have adopted for Ireland a genuine revolutionary programme and are in league with an out-and-out revolutionary party in that country. But in this island they have literally no program at all. Afraid of losing the support of their moneyed men if they were to adopt genuinely advanced proposals, they potter on with their silly, worn out twaddle until the workers are getting heartily sick of the whole political business. It is almost incredible, but it is the fact, that there is not a single motion or resolution on the notice book of the house or commons at this moment which, if put in practice, would benefit the mass of working Englishmen. No liberal or radical M.P., however energetic he may be as an anti-coercionist, ever says a word about the sufferings of the unemployed; not a syllable is uttered in parliament about nationalization or municipalization of land; no restrictions upon the great railways or other monopolies are so much as suggested to say nothing of their expropriation. The report of successive royal commissions and committees on the hearing of the law remain unconsidered and their recommendations are utterly neglected; nay, even such a small boon as free education finds no parliamentary champion, while the abolition of the house of lords – to pass from social to political proposals – and manhood suffrage has not yet come within the range of “practical politics” for our middle class tribunes of the people. Thus it is that if “Ireland for the Irish” is the only liberal cry, there is great likelihood that, notwithstanding the growing feeling against coercion, the home rule party will lose at the next general election. No doubt it is short-sighted, foolish and wrong of the voters to be indifferent to this issue. But, after all, politics are for the mass of mankind a matter of mere selfishness or prejudice. Only in periods of serious excitement such as that we are now entering upon do high ideals influence the people at large. If it were possible, and I for one believe it is, to combine the fullest justice to Ireland with a complete outlet for the aspirations of the democracy of Great Britain we should witness, and that soon, an outburst of enthusiasm which would make a clean sweep of oppression, economical, social and political, in every form.
It is another singular fact that at this very time, when home rule for Ireland is the question of the day, a conference of our home ruled colonies should be sitting and the whole capitalist press should be talking with pride of the wealth of these communities which contribute so largely to the income of the rich here in England, and still are rich themselves. Strange, isn’t it, that even from their own point of view, which certainly is not mine, the tories don’t try the same policy with Ireland?
As I was writing my friend, Mr. Dadatha Naoroji came in from India. He, too, was full of home rule for that unlucky country, and gave me a most interesting account of the great congress of which he was president at Calcutta. There 400 delegates met from all parts of India, of many and divers races, languages and creeds, all, however, speaking and discussing in English. Such a congress had never been seen in India before. This congress practically asked for home rule, too. No wonder. As we have ruined India by capitalism. On all sides we are reaping the fruits of our miserable economical mismanagement in the steady impoverished of the peoples under our control.
And meanwhile, what with brutes at fisticuffs on the terrace, constant use of bad language in the lobbies, half drunken tory rough in evening dress making their appearance late to carry on organized interruption, and persistent imputations on the speaker’s good faith, the mother of parliament is descending to the level of a disputatious mob at the door of a gin palace. “Parliament is played out” is now quite a common expression, even among those who formerly refused to imagine the slightest deterioration in the nobility. So we may hope that the new forms will spring up from below. Government by groups consisting of sections of the privileged classes can never be good government, and the classes antagonism manifests itself beneath them all. The apathy of the workers is being stirred as it has never been since 1848, and England, which then was a conservative, will now be like Russia, which then showed her conservatism a revolutionary force. Social democracy in one form or another makes way so fast among the people that you may almost trace its progress in the articles of our magazines and the plots of our novels. That things should move so fast we are indebted to the Irish, who, stirred by economic and social injustice, and helped by their friends across the Atlantic, have given impetus to a movement which will take even themselves further than they think.
Joseph Stubbs was a sturdy man
Though his wits were somewhat slow,
And neighbors laughed in kindly way
As they called him “Simple Joe.”
They said that howe’er weak of head,
He was ever sound of heart,
And for a comrade in distress
He’d take a manly part.
Not lazy bone, his neighbors said,
Could in the man be found,
And all rejoiced when Joe saved up
And bought a bit of ground.
He built a little shanty there,
And whistled o’er his toil,
And daily delved to make more rich
The hard and barren soil.
The town into a city grew,
As towns are apt to do,
And Peter Pride cast hungry eyes
On land of Simple Joe.
For Peter Pride had bought a farm
Surrounding Joseph’s lot,
And great additions to the town
Were promised in his plot.
Then all men said it was a shame
That one half-witted man,
Should with his shanty block the way
Of Peter’s noble plan.
So when at last the courts declared
Poor Joe no title had.
And Peter Pride had got the land
Then all the town was glad.
When Joe asked men what it all meant
They told him of “a flaw;”
He said the house, at least, was his,
But they said it was not law.
The old man wandered slowly forth,
A homeless beggar man,
While Peter Pride was daily praised
Front Beersheba to Dan.
One day a bleeding, dying man
Was to a station brought,
Wounded beyond physician’s aid,
A preacher’s help was sought.
Before the suicide he stood.
With stern, unyielding face, Telling poor Joe his only hope
Was God’s amazing grace.
“Against the laws of God and man
You’ve raised your wicked hand;
Pray God for mercy on your soul
E’er you before Him stand.”
With look of trouble on his face,
And dazed look in his eyes—
“I didn’t know ’twas ‘gin the law,”
The dying man replies.
“You see since Pride tore down my house
I had nowhere to go,
And there didn’t seem to be no place
On earth for Simple Joe;
And so I thought I’d best get out,
Not knowin’ ’twas a sin,
Nor doubtin’ that the God above
Would let a fellow in.
There was no place for me on earth,”
Murmured poor old Joe,
“And now if heaven shuts its gates,
Where, then, can I go?
There must be some place for a man,”
And glancing ’round the cell.
Joe gasped out, “Preacher do you think
They’ll let me into hell?”
Propagating His Faith in Scotland
There flourishes in Glasglow, Scotland, an association known as “The Henry George Institute,” organized to “spread the principles of political economy as taught by Henry George and others of that school,” by means of a free public meeting every Sunday evening, a weekly class for the study of political economy, the establishment of a library and reading room, the establishment of a library and reading room, the dissemination of literature, and by such other means as from time to time present themselves. The association is composed of a lot of bright young men who are working hard to propagate the faith.
The March of Man
Give voice to the Hymn of Progress!
To the Hymn of the March of Man;
Let the song ring clear from the van to the rear
And resound from the rear to the van.
Let its cadence aid our legions
Keep step with the tramp of Time,
As, long though the way and rugged,
We charge to the goal sublime.
Then forwards! O battalions!
Invincible in our might,
Inflexible in our purpose,
Invulnerable in our right!
Our flanks as a flood of the mountain,
Our front as a living wall,
And the feet of a thousand thousand
As the foot of a man shall fall.
While onward, onward, onward,
To the swing of our marching song—
Right onward, onward, onward,
We sweep to the goal along.
Then forwards! O battalions!
Invincible in our might,
Inflexible in our purpose,
Invulnerable in our right!
From vict’ry on to vict’ry,
From the won, to the still to win,
From the old march vict’ry crowned,
From thence shall the new begin!
And the tale of yester’s triumph
Shall be as a tale of yore
While lies tomorrow’s battle
In the path to the goal before.
Then forwards! O battalions!
Invincible in our might,
Inflexible in our purpose,
Invulnerable in our right!
Give voice to the Hymn of Progress!
Let it ring from the rear to the van,
To the swing of its measured rhythm,
Let the million march as a man,
From the van to the rear, from the rear to the van,
Let it ring like a clarion’s blast
Till the kings of today on their scats of sway
Hear the tramp of the marching past
Then forwards! O battalions!
Invincible in our might,
Inflexible in our purpose,
Invulnerable in our right!
While onward, onward, onward,
To the swing of our marching song,
Right onward, onward, onward,
We sweep to the goal along.
Not so fast there, Jeremiah; can’t you see by the bare ribs sticking out of that strange dog that he needs that bone more than you do? Look at the hungry expression on his countenance, and see him bow down to you as though he acknowledged your superiority and was hardly worthy himself to live in the same state with you. He is nobody’s dog, and every hand seems to be raised against him. There are thousands of men, women and little children in a similar condition. Uncared for, unloved, and homeless in a land where there is room for millions more, they are forced by their poverty and the cruelty of the petted dogs of society to live a life of humiliation.
Perhaps you think he comes from an inferior family; but I could swear, judging by the cut of his nose, that he is half Alderney, part Chesterwhite and a little Plymouth Rock blood in his veins. And he is gentle, too. Poverty will inspire gentility in almost any dog. In this respect a dog is a little different from a man. It takes wealth to make man a gentleman. Man without wealth, though, is nowhere. Then let him lose family and friends, and how much better off is he than nobody’s dog?
Bring one of the shallow-crowned pates from a European throne and send him traveling incog. through this land of the free and home of those who own the surface, without a cent in his royal pockets. He would get kicked out of the back doors of our brown stone fronts with as little compunction displayed as though he was a penniless youth who had come to ask the hand of a soap millionaire’s daughter.
Do you suppose, Jeremiah, any one would detect a royal wrinkle on his countenance? or recognize the Poland-China dialect in his grunt or see the Norman short-horn blood displayed in his withers?
Far from it, Jeremiah! He would make just as good a subject for nobody’s dog as any other unfortunate beggar. He could lay in the fence corner with as much freedom dangling around him as a strange dog could expect, and watch the stars blinking overhead like weeping eyes in the countenance of heaven.
But if such things could happen, Jeremiah, and happen often, and very frequently plenty, and transpire at short intervals and often in the lives of royal snobs, they would get a new idea of this world’s religion.
They would often, often wonder how that blessed command, “Love one another,” had dropped out of daily use. They would be shocked to see Christians so eager to get to heaven that they forget all about the misery of this world, and lay on their downy pillows and dream of the golden streets, while some of those whom they are commanded to love are lying in filthy hovels with hunger gnawing at their vitals like a mouse in a box-trap. I have been studying the Christian spirit in all its dealings with men, and I see that “love one another” has been rubbed out of all creeds, and “gouge one another” has been put in to fill up the vacuum.
Christianity and tyranny cannot exist in the laws of any government. The presence of one is proof that the other is not there.
The religion of the New Testament is not practiced where there is human slavery. Where men can become nobody’s dog and die of hunger and neglect, it is mockery to claim the protection of a kind providence. It is an insult thrown in the face of the Almighty to ask a blessing on your daily meals while your neighbor is suffering hunger and you have done nothing to relieve him from his distress. The religion of this world, Jeremiah, has been patched up and remodeled so often that, like the laboring man’s trousers, very little of the original cloth remains to prove its originality.
Christianity has come down to a money basis, and the men who sell doves in the temple are as plenty as green flies around the margin of a collar boil on a pale dun mule. Your race, Jeremiah, has always been stigmatized as a quarrelsome, snarling, greedy set. How much better is man under the present system? Men situated like I am are growling at the hoggishness of those who own the land, but if the land was turned over to us, and the system and laws governing land ownership was not altered, we would become as hoggish as anybody, and the growling and snarling would go on without taking time to breathe. If we can’t live peaceable together, and share earth’s blessings, how much are we elevated above your race? If those who own the earth expect those who have nothing to live on and be satisfied with the condition of things, how much wiser are they than you are?
When you pitch on to this poor homeless dog and abuse him because you know he has no friends, it is similar to those instances where men grind down the laborer because they know he must bow to their commands or starve.
I don’t want you to act this way any more. It should be our business to protect the weak and unfortunate, and help to improve this government till it becomes the brightest and happiest spot on earth. Every improvement we make to the condition of the poor man’s life in this country has its influence in the governments across the ocean. Every law established to protect the weak and establish justice toward all our people pulls a stone from the royal thrones of European powers, and the happy condition of this country will indirectly cause the kingdoms and empires of the old world to crumble to dust, and republics will flourish on the ruins of oligarchy.
The time for improving this government cannot be put off much longer, or it will be forever too late. An aristocracy is growing up among us, and we are drifting toward the rule of other countries. High collars and soft hands are becoming a mark of distinction, and overalls and blistered palms are a mark of degradation, and the poor laborer who goes off in search of a job is kicked and abused by those who occupy high places in the church, and his condition is little better than nobody’s dog.
I didn’t intend to grow serious, Jeremiah, but wondering where the next sack of flour is to come from makes a man have inward feelings.
Then And Now
The Sort of Encouragement Given in 1861 by the Saviors of Society to the Agitation Against Chattel Slavery
On Sunday evening last the Rev. Charles P. McCarthy, in lower hall, 52 Union square, gave an account of his brief lecture tour among the coal mines of Mauch Chunk and Summit Hill. In course of his address he drew a parallel between the chattel slavery of the south and the present condition of industrial slavery, directing particular attention to the fact that when the old slavery was on the eve of destruction, and emancipation was at hand, abolition was denounced as a twin sister of free love by the saviors of society, and as a dream supported by cunning demagogues, whose evil teachings should be boldly and firmly confronted, not by the antagonism of doubtful and perishable weapons, but by “the word of God, which liveth and abideth forever, as expounded by a broad and faithful recognition of His moral and providential government over the world.” Thus “these saviors” dogmatically asserted that God Himself was the “providential” author of the institution of negro slavery!
The reverend preacher produced the official pamphlet, from which he quoted the following sentiments, which he designated foregleams of the assured triumph of the “land and labor party,” and the title of which was the “American Society for Promoting National Unity,” printed by John P. Trow, 50 Green street, New York, 1861. Mr. McCarthy quoted a long list of presidents, vice-presidents, honorary members and officers of the society, among whom were the following: Five ex-presidents of the United States; thirty-three bishops of the American Episcopal church, headed by the Right Rev. Horatio Potter, D.D., LL.D., N.Y.; a large number of Catholic bishops, headed by the late Archbishop Hughes, and a number of governors, judges, lawyers, merchants and millionaires of highest standing, as well as clergymen, scientists and politicians, including such names as S.F.B. Morse, Lewis Cass, Edward Everett, John A. Dix, J.R. Roosevelt, A.T. Stewart, Charles O’Connor, Erastus Corning, August Belmont, Moses Taylor, W.B. Astor, James A. Bayard, John Kelly and even Peter Cooper. All these believed then in the delusion that God Almighty had designed slavery as the best earthly condition of the negro race.
“This curious combine,” continued the preacher, “held a public meeting on March 6, 1861, in this city, and in their official statement, which I hold in my hand, gave most solemn acceptance to the following principles:
“Four millions of immortal beings, incapable of self-care and indisposed to industry and foresight, are providentially committed to the hands of our southern friends. This stupendous trust they cannot put from them if they would. Emancipation, were it possible, would be rebellion against providence, and destruction to the colored race in our land. We at the north rid ourselves of no responsibility by assuming an attitude of hostility to slavery, and thus sundering the bonds of state fellowship; we only put it out of our power to do the good which both humanity and religion demand. Should we not rather recognize the providence of God in placing such a vast multitude of the degraded and dependent sons of Africa in this favored land; and cheerfully co-operate, by all needful labors and sacrifices, with His benevolent design to save, and not to destroy them? Under a providential dispensation, exacting of them due and needful labor, they can certainly be trained and nurtured, as many have been, for the services and joys of heaven; and if the climate and institutions of the south are such that our fellow citizens there can afford to take the onerous care of them in return for their services, should we not gladly consent?…
In accordance with these sentiments the constitution of this society (Article II) declares that its object ‘shall be to promote the union and welfare of our common country, by addresses, publications and all other suitable means adapted to elucidate and inculcate, in accordance with the word of God, the duties of American citizens, especially in relation to slavery.’”
The Land-Liga in Germany
Concerning the formation of the German land league, which was mentioned in an early number of The Standard, the following notes have been received:
The publication of “Progress and Poverty” gave occasion for the writing of several books and papers in Germany, among others a work by Mr. Flurscheim of Baden, “The Peaceful Method,” and another by Mr. Max F. Sebald of Berlin, “Starvation’s End,” (Der Noth Ende). The latter, coming out in 1885, gave to Mr. Martin Hildebrand of Berlin, the idea of founding a society for the promoting of land reform in Germany. But his efforts to gain Mr. Flurscheim and Mr. von Helldorf, another prominent land reformer, were without success, these men being desirous of joining the projected land party with the democratic party. The latter party refused this combination. Mr. Hildebrand, with Mr. Sebald, then founded the “Land-Liga,” on the fourth of July, 1886, Dr. A. Theodore Stamm of Weisbaden being chosen honorary president. The celebration of the first anniversary of the league will held in Berlin of Pfingsten, and the views and strength of the leaguers will be made public at a large meeting. A strong fight will be made to win several seats in the next reichstag election in 1890.
A Christian Clergyman’s Queer Faith
Rev. Edward Everett Hale says that poverty can never be prevented; it must be relieved.
How a Local Business Has Expanded Into One of National Scope
No student of real estate movements in New York can afford to neglect the admirable series of atlases issued by E. Robinson, at Nos. 82 and 84 Nassau street (the old Low building). On these maps not only are all the occupied and unoccupied ground of the city indicated, but by a system of coloring it is shown whether the buildings are of stone, brick or frame.
The publication of these maps has grown into a great business, which overshadows the surveying and conveyancing with which Mr. Robinson started, and which he still continues. He has made similar atlases for Brooklyn, Chicago, New Orleans, Cincinnati and numerous other cities. It will surprise a New Yorker looking over the maps of western cities, to see how largely the color indicating wooden structures prevails. In New York this color is disappearing from the maps, though, strangely enough, patches of it appear here and there in maps of the most thickly populated districts marking some old wooden building that has stood for many years, imperiling the lives of its inmates and the safety of surrounding property.
Mr. Robinson does not, however, confine his operations to city property. He has made a large number of county and town maps, and has a large force of surveyors engaged constantly in his work. The men who attempt to study the future growth of New York and its suburbs will have no difficulty in marking the growth or in calculating the increase in values.
Labor in Germany
According to the report of Commercial Agent Smith of Mayence, strikes for higher wages, lesser hours and against reduction of wages have been frequent. The introduction of improved machinery, causing a reduction of molders’ wages, started a strike involving nearly all the metal trades of Leipsie. Something in the nature of a “sympathetic strike” appears to have been projected and failed. Labor conditions in some cities are stated to be nearly unendurable. A strike took place in a linen spinning mill in the Breslau-Lieguitz district, having for its object the reduction of one-half hour in the working time per day. The operatives worked from half-past 5am to 7pm per day, and struck for a change of the time from half-past 5 to 6am. The strike was unsuccessful. The workingmen consoled themselves, however, by the knowledge that they were better off in the matter of working time than in other neighboring mills. In several districts distinct advances in wages are reported. Taking the German empire as a whole, while trade has been depressed and profits next to nothing, workingmen’s wages have remained unchanged. Wages are paid either weekly or fornightly. Employers must give fourteen days’ notice to their workmen before they can discharge them. A similar rule exists touching the workmen, who must notify their employers. The rule is said to work only one way. The employer, being responsible, is fined; the workman escapes punishment. Eleven to twelve hours is the average working day. The factory operative in the Berlin district works less hours than the hand worker or people employed in commercial pursuits.
Stifling Co-operative Competition
The Pittsburg Labor Tribune thus describes the experience of co-operators who sought to compete with a monopoly: “It will be remembered that during the nailers’ strike a few of the locked out nailers started a co-operative nail factory at Steubenville, Ohio. The plant was successfully run double turn for a few months, the iron being purchased from an eastern firm. The new firm was refused iron by every western firm, or the iron was held at a figure that put it beyond the reach of the new beginners. All connected with the enterprise were intelligent, capable and thoroughly practical workmen, such as are feared by large corporations, hence the desire and aim to strangle them in their infancy or ‘starve them out.’ As above stated, the plant ran successfully for several months, when, to the surprise of the owners, the firm east from whom they were buying nail plate raised the price to such an exorbidant figure as to make it impossible for them to buy it and cut it into nails at a profit. The result was the final closing down of the mill on Jan. 6, 1886. It was claimed that those firms who compose the Western nail association were instrumental in having the price of nail plate raised on the new concern. Since the plant shut down finally it has been offered for sale, but no one seemed to care to buy the property until last Monday, when the Jefferson nail company of Steubenville purchased the nail machines and shears for $4,000, which is about one half of the original cost.”
A Farmer Who Thinks
Bristol, Conn., April 21 – A writer in the America Rural Home quotes from the Chicago Inter-Ocean to the effect that of the improved farms in Nebraska and Kansas, from one-half to seven-eighths, according to the counties, are mortgaged, and that money at high interest is obtained on from forty to ninety per cent of the present value of the land. There are some agents, he says, who consider “that if the loan does not exceed in value what the land will sell for five years hence, it is a safe loan.”
This is, indeed, farming under difficulties. In the first place, the land is given a fictitious value by speculation, and then, in order to get a little capital with which to work the land, the farmer must involve himself in debt. In most cases the land will not produce enough to feed and clothe him and his family and leave sufficient to pay principal and interest on his mortgage, and so he is ruined and goes out. And yet there are those who say that farmers will not see their interest in killing speculation in land by lifting all taxation from capital and labor and putting it on land values. Every one of these ruined western farmers, to say nothing of those who fear failure, is a dissatisfied man, and he will clutch at a straw. He will, and he is, fast finding out the truth.
One Who Thinks
No Work for Him
Gath in Cincinnati Enquirer
A bright-eyed boy was standing at the country station when I drove to it, and, supposing him to be the son of a neighbor, I spoke to him. After the train left this boy came to me and said: “I had a great mind to ask you to give me some work.” He was a Virginia boy, with that undismayed address the native Virginians all have. They are seldom timid before strangers. I now looked at the boy again, and observed his fine eyes, his manly bearing, and something altogether superior to him to the general son of common field laborers. Said I: “My son, where do you belong?”
“I come from Harrisonburg, down in the valley of Virginia,” said he, “about a hundred miles from here.”
“What brings you up this way in this cold March weather?”
“I came up here to get work. I hired out last winter to a man up here for $6 a month. ‘He got another man before I came without telling me, and he won’t keep me.”
“If you can do about anything on a farm, you certainly can get work.”
“No, I can’t,” said the boy, an American boy at that, of many generations. “I can’t get any work now when I get home, because all the men down there that can be hired have already hired themselves out for this summer. The places are filled. I won’t be able to get any work to do all summer.”
“You don’t tell me that there is not some work for you to do at $6 a month?”
“No, there ain’t any,” said the boy, “work goes almost by favor in our country. Not half the able-bodied hands are employed, because there is not work enough. I shall go to a trade, however, now. I won’t fool any more with the farmers after the way I have been treated.”
Commonalities Where No One Pays Taxes and Everybody Has a Pension
Prof. de Laveleye in Contemporary Review, April, 1885
In the course of last summer, while in Switzerland and Baden, I visited several villages where each family is supplied from forests belonging to the commune with wood for building purposes and for fuel; also with pasturage for their cattle and with a small plot of ground on which to grow potatoes, fruit and vegetables. In addition to this, the wages of all public servants are paid for from the communal revenue, so that there is no local taxation whatever.
I may mention, as an example, the township of Trendenstadt, at the foot of the Kniebis, in Baden. Not a single farthing of taxation has been paid since its foundation in 1557. The commune possesses about 5,000 acres of pine forest and meadow land, worth about £10,000 sterling. The 1,420 inhabitants have each as much wood for their building purposes and firing as they wish for, and each one can send out to pasture, during the summer, his cattle which he feeds during the winter months. The schools, church, thoroughfares and fountains are all well cared for, and every year considerable improvements are made. One hundred thousand marks were employed in 1883 for the establishment in the village of a distribution of water with iron pipes. A hospital has been built and a pavilion in the market place, where a band plays on fete days. Each year a distribution of the surplus revenue is made among the families and they each obtain from fifty to sixty marks, or shillings, and more still when an extraordinary quantity of timber has been sold. In 1882 80,000 marks were distributed among the 1,420 villagers. What a favored country, is it not?
Suppose that these woods and meadows and this land all belonged to a landed proprietor instead of the commune, he would go and lavish the revenue in large capitals or in traveling. What an immense difference this would make to the inhabitants! To appreciate this it suffices merely to compare the condition of the richest countries of the world, and whose race has ever been laborious, with that of the population of these villages, hidden away in the Alpine cantons of Switzerland rentals had been as in these happy communes of Switzerland and Baden, partly reserved for the inhabitants and partly employed in objects of general utility, how very different would have been the lot of these poor people! Had they but been allowed to keep for themselves the sea weed and the help which the sea brings them, how far better off would they have been than they now are, as is admirably proved in Mr. Blackie’s interesting book, “The Scottish Highlanders.”
The English Cure-of-Souis Monopoly
It must be a bad sort of monopoly indeed that won’t find defenders. Here, for instance, is what the Church Times, one of the organs of the English established church, has to say about the way in which English church clergymen are appointed:
If, for instance, family livings are a source of scandal – as at times they undoubtedly are – they are also a source of untold benefit in many ways. They often enlist the interest of the patron in the welfare of the parish to an extent of which persons outside have little idea. Indeed, the annual gifts of patrons and their friends, if they could be ascertained and added together, would bear no inconsiderable proportion to the net annual value of the ancient endowments of the country. The sale of next presentations is occasionally another grave evil, but it acts as a safety-valve, and delivers the church from many a “hard bargain” which she would have on her hands if such sales were forbidden; for many a “hard bargain” which she would have on her hands if such sales were forbidden; for many a young gentleman is thereby delivered from the temptation to take holy orders who, it may be feared, would otherwise enter the ministry to the detriment of religion. At the same time, the sons of many families of wealth outside the territorial aristocracy are attracted to holy orders and bring to the service of the church material and moral aid, which is often of no small importance. Other incidental advantages of the present system might be mentioned.
This is something on a par with the oft quoted argument for land monopoly, that it benefits the poor, by creating a wealthy class who spend money freely and “make work” for their less fortunate fellow beings.
Too Many Popes
Under this heading the Catholic Examiner of this week says there is a disposition on the part of many Catholics to elevate their own personal beliefs into a dogma of their own religion… To the terrible damage of true religion and to the hindrance of church progress, however, there are many pious and devout men, and even a few prelates in the church, who have fallen into this error of placing their own opinions before the people as Catholic doctrine. There is no excuse for this. They know just what has been defined as Catholic truth and just what forms the body of Catholic tradition. They have no right whatever on account of personal preferences or feelings to exaggerate their own ideas into the importance of dogma and constitute themselves popes. We have too many popes in this country.
The narrow conservative course of opposing everything new as being “un-Catholic” has been especially noticeable since the spread of the land and labor movement. Some clergymen have fallen into the error of denouncing the great uprising of the workers of the world. And little editors, taking their cue from them, not discerning between matters of faith and those of free discussion, go piping the same tune.
All the clergymen who went to hear what Dr. McGlynn had to say have been stigmatized as “Protestants” by the bigoted sheet ironically called the New York Freeman’s Journal, whose only right to the title is the sarcastic one arising from the fact that, during its long course, it has always been a consistent opponent of the cause of human freedom in every phase, an upholder of slavery in America, a denouncer of liberty for Ireland, and lately a most rabid opponent of the labor movement.
For ourselves we have never endeavored to force our own views upon anyone. Where we speak of matters outside of the domain of faith, for instance, questions of political economy like the land question, or questions of civil rights like the Irish question, we have never claimed infallibility, we have never denounced those who think differently as un-Catholic. Much less would we openly denounce a large body of priests – the majority, in fact, of the diocese – as Protestants. We do not think such a course conductive either to harmony in the church or to the advance of religion or to the progress of truth.
American Farmers Doomed
The owner and worker of a farm and the tenant farmers are two very different and distinct individuals. One is, in fact, a capitalist, and the other is a laborer in every sense of the word, usually at the bottom rung of the ladder. Hon. B.F. Shively of Indiana estimated recently that twenty per cent decrease of owning farmers may now safely be added to the tenant class, which I consider too low, from what I know of mortgaged farms in this state – Ohio.
The estimate of Mr. Shively’s would reduce the number of actual owners and workers of farmers to 2,387,445. Let me illustrate the grip the mortgages had on the farmers of Ohio in 1884 and 1885; the year 1886 is not at hand. For 1884, 33,000, to secure $50,000,000: for 1885, 26,821, to secure $30,905,262; for 1886, it is thought to be larger. In addition to this, the cities, villages and towns had nearly the same for these years. In 1884, 31,382, to secure $35,204,782; for 1885, 24,452, to secure $20,904,439. Without absolute and exact figures at hand for this date, it has been estimated that not over 150,000 farms are farmed by the owners in this state. In 1860 official reports show 277,000. Thus it will be seen that the “American farmer,” as we have known and boasted of him, is doomed.
A “Tenant’s Graveyard”
Ramshackle Tenement Stores in Harlem and Their Rack-Rented Occupants
The block lying between Third and Lexington avenues and 124th and 125th streets is a part of the Copper estate – a Harlem principality – which awaits the time when certain minors shall come of age before it can be partitioned among the heirs. Meantime the has become the scene for the exploits of speculators, who have leased it for a few years. As the passer by stands on the north side of 125th street, Harlem’s main cross town thoroughfare, and looks over at the block mentioned he sees a strange collection of incongruous structures sadly out of keeping with the general character out of keeping with the general character of the street. The building on the corner of Third avenue, the first story of which is occupied as a retail liquor store, is an old-fashioned frame house, painted a dull color, which saw its best days many years ago. Next along the block eastward is a row of one story frame stalls, a little larger than fair ground booths, and perhaps somewhat than Coney island photograph galleries. A row of rather dingy low two story brick houses fills in the space until the lot on the corner of Lexington avenue is reached, on which stands a building once a frame church, but now the Ninth judicial district court house. It is said that the church formerly stood on a lot several blocks distant, was bought for a few hundred dollars, and moved to its present site to be transformed into whatever would bring rent. To the rear of the little one story structures facing on the street, in what would ordinarily be their back yards, stands a brick building used as a theater. Evidently the possible yield in rent per square yard in that block has been closely calculated upon.
A man named Martin, keeper of a livery stable at Thirty-ninth street and Broadway, holds a lease of about one-half of the full block. His lease includes the one-story stalls on 125th street, excepting the two or three next the liquor store, and runs around a short distance on Lexington avenue. Many branches of retail business are represented on his leasehold. In the store nearest Third avenue that is rented from him is an oyster saloon. Then follow a grocery, the main entrance to the theater, two real estate offices, an umbrella store, a barber shop, a carpet store, another entrance to the theater, a fruit store, a candy store, a picture frame and artists’ materials’ store, a hat store, a shoe store, the court house entrance, a butcher’s shop, a bird store, a telegraph office and insurance offices and a gents’ furnishing goods store. Here the corner of Lexington avenue is reached. On Lexington avenue are entrances to an upstairs temperance hall and a synagogue in the old church building, while on the ground floor are three small stores.
Within a decade the rents of all these stores were $20 to $25. Today the range of rents is from $60 to $85, and not a dollar in improvements has been put upon them in the meantime.
The rent of the courthouse is $3,500 a year; that of the theater is not known to the tenants of the stores; the telegraph office, it is said, is rented at $95 a month.
Several of the tenants in the block were talked with by a Standard reporter. One of them said that, beginning with the time of Mr. Martin’s lease, rents had been put up $5 or $10 a month at the beginning of each year. He thought that most of the tenants in business in the block were hardly clearing expenses, yet this year there had been another increase of $10 a month for nearly every one of them. He had known the block for years. In seven years he had seen thirty small business men move away, ruined by the high rents. This spring several were going out, as they either could not stay on would not. He had seen the rent of a store he pointed out going up from $25 to $35 and next to $45, and so on yearly until with the first of May it would be $85 a month. He said that his experience with landlords was that they generally consulted nothing but the tenant’s ability to pay the rent demanded. Here was a case in which the landlord seemed indifferent to his tenant’s ability to get the rent together, for he depended upon new men coming to what was in public estimation a good stand. As a matter of fact, however, since the reduction of fares on the elevated roads to five cents 125th street had gone down as a business center. But rents were going up. He himself had made nothing while doing business in the block. He had known the time when a retail storekeeper lived comfortably in one part of the city and did business in another. The time had now come when, in order to make ends meet, the retailer must live in stuffy little dark rooms in the rear of his store, and even then it was a question of getting along and not of getting ahead.
Another storekeeper in the block said, when questioned on the subject, that the rise of land values, and especially the onerous rents of Harlem, were making battalions of voters for George doctrines every month of the year. The leasehold of Mr. Martin was a standing argument for the land value system of taxation. If Martin put up better buildings he would have to pay, under the present system, higher taxes, and they would be added to the price of his lease. Under the land value tax system he could have four or five story houses there without extra taxes. The tenants could also have their choice between paying him the rent he would ask and building business houses for themselves. With any increment in value to his land by reason of business men wanting it, Martin would pay a higher tax. If there should be a decrement, Martin’s tax would go down. The spectacle of men being driven out of this block by high rents was a common one. In No. 158 there was the fourth tenant in four years; in No. 154 the third.
That’s What’s The Matter
Professor Thomas Davidson in April Forum
A man may be skilled as he pleases, his skill will be of small value to him so long as he has not free access to the necessary correlates of labor – the earth and its products. If all the men and women in the world were skilled mechanics tomorrow, but were dependent upon land owners and capitalists for access to labor’s correlate, all their skill would do little more than help to fill the coffers of the self-appointed captains of industry – the condottieri of our time.
Gathering As It Rolls
The Labor Party’s Steady Growth Astonishes The Politicians
Organizing Politically and Socially – Even Forming Baseball Clubs – Fifteen Clubs With Permanent Headquarters – The “Sun” Admits a Probability of Future Success
For the last five weeks The Standard has been visiting the various district organizations of the united labor party, to see for itself how the party was progressing. The result is highly satisfactory. As a rule the clubs are in a flourishing condition, and fifteen of them have permanent headquarters, which are open every evening, where members and friends can meet to talk or read the papers and standard labor literature. The movement partakes more of the character of a crusade against a wrong of which the members of the old parties do not seem to be able to understand it. They cannot understand how it is, with no election pending, with – in their opinion – nothing going on out of the ordinary, that men can be brought together night after night to talk “politics.” These men who lead in the old political organizations have not yet discovered that the politics they mean and the politics the united labor party men are discussing are two different kinds of politics. And the probabilities are that they will not discover the difference until it is too late – for them. But, briefly stated, the difference is this: The old politics is politics for revenue and place, and the new politics is politics for principle.
The united labor party organization of the county, as stated above, is in a highly satisfactory condition. There is more to confirm this statement than the mere word of The Standard. The city papers are discovering it. The World is noticing it; the Herald has considerable to say about it, even going to the extent of appealing to the members of the new party to be what that paper calls “true to themselves” and to strengthen the hands of the president whom the democrats elected to the White house. The Sun of last Sunday has a column article pointing out what the future of the united labor party will probably be in this county, and showing, even from its own biased standpoint, that the party is becoming stronger every day. The only consolation it has for its old friend, Tammany hall – and it is a consolation that will need extra blankets to keep it warm – is the “McGlynn episode,” which the Sun thinks “has stampeded, for the most part, the Irish and Irish-Americans back to the Tammany fold, where they will stay,”… “whatever the allurements of the labor people might be.” But, in considering the Sun article as a whole, one will conclude that its editor would not bet many dollars on the “stampede.” It is not necessary to bring the case of the doctor into this article further than to say that he has more friends in the party now than when the “episode” occurred.
The following district clubs have permanent headquarters: The Second, 32 New Bowery; Third, 42 Great Jones street (in partnership with the Toilers’ league, whose members also belong to the united labor party); Fourth, 68 East Broadway; Sixth, 412 Grand (to open May 1); Seventh, South Fifth avenue and West Fourth street; Tenth, 197 East Fourth street; Twelfth, 642 East Fifth street; Fourteenth, 187 First avenue; Fifteenth, 475 Ninth avenue; Seventeenth, 747 Ninth avenue; Eighteenth, 161 East Thirty-first street; Nineteenth, Deubert’s hall, corner St. Nicholas and Eight avenues; Twentieth, 1058 Second avenue; Twenty-third, 1897 Third avenue; Twenty-fourth, 151st street and Third avenue.
The state of organization of the districts may be summarized as follows: First, fair; Second, good; Third, fair; Fourth, good; Fifth, needs help; Sixth, fair, but needs a little oil on the troubled waters; Seventh, good, but has a disturbing element in it; Eighth, good, but needs work below Grand street; Ninth, good; Tenth, No. 1; Eleventh, needs looking after; Twelfth, good; Thirteenth, good; Fourteenth, No. 1; Fifteenth, No. 1; Sixteenth, good; Seventeenth, No. 1 (will lead all the united labor party majorities in the districts in the next election); Eighteenth, No. 1 (will be carried next November if proper work is done); Nineteenth, good; Twentieth, No. 1 (can be carried); Twenty-first (brownstone district), can not expect much, but has a fair organization; Twenty-second, No. 1 (will be carried); Twenty-third, good (the members are exerting themselves to the utmost in organizing, and will endeavor to overcome the majority against them last fall); Twenty-fourth, fair.
A thing which has been a tower of strength to the new party has been the social feature. It appears strange to our practical political opponents to see a man going to a meeting of a political club in company with his wife and family, or, if he has no family, with his sweetheart. It has not been the custom in the old parties for the members of clubs to take their families with them; in fact, quite the reverse, even to the point of not taking along any decent person, male and female. Some politicians sneer at this new idea, and some are alarmed. But it is a point in favor of the new party that wife and sweetheart take enough interest in it to go to the meetings.
From outside the city the reports are very encouraging. No estimate can be made of what the strength of the party is in the state, further than random remark of an alleged experienced politician that of the votes cast in the last election in favor of calling a constitutional convention, over three-fifths would, when needed, wheel into line with the united labor party. That would mean that the new party has now, without complete state organization, over three hundred thousand voting friends. More will be known on that point, however, when the state convention of the party meets. It would be well to call the attention of our friends to one circumstance: With the exception of Philadelphia, since the election in New York, wherever the labor party has put up a ticket, it has won, or else has cast about one-third the total vote polled. If that can be repeated in this state we will cast about five hundred thousand votes in the next election for state officers.
The outlook for the success of the principles of the united labor party is very gratifying. All that is necessary is hard work and harmony. Let it be determined, once for all, that those who are not with the party are against it; that the first are wanted and the second are not.
Thursday, April 21 – The Fifth district club met at Warren hall. Routine business.
The Eighteenth held their second meeting at their new headquarters, 161 Thirty-first street. Though the only business was hearing reports from the election districts, the attendance was large, showing what an attractive feature a permanent headquarters is. Frank Daley was elected second vice-chairman and Thomas Doyle vice-chairman, in place of John P. Mitchell, resigned. Ten new members were enrolled. The membership is now nearly 800. Rooms open every night for friends and visitors.
Professor Molina’s class in political economy held their usual weekly meeting, and discussed the labor question scientifically. The professor is, without doubt, one of the ablest scientific debaters on political economy in the ranks of the united labor party.
Friday, April 22 – The Eighth held a business meeting at 153 Forsyth street. Satisfactory reports on organization in the election districts were heard. Charles Barnett was elected corresponding, and Charles Rayezesky financial, secretary. The Seventh’s proposed system of nominating candidates was read and laid on the table.
At the meeting of the Ninth the principal business was perfecting arrangements for the club’s picnic, which will take place August 8, at Atlantic garden, 155th street and Eighth avenue.
The Twelfth district club met at 642 East Fifth street. William P. O’Meara, of the general executive committee, was present and presented the charges preferred against the district organization at the last meeting of the general committee. The club appointed a committee to appear before the executive committee on organization when the case comes up. The signers of the charges will be cited to appear also. The difference, being only a matter as to where the club should hold its meetings, will be easily settled. The club is very strong, and the probabilities are that in the next election, if good generalship prevails and the stumbling blocks are pushed aside, it will overcome the united democratic vote by which they lost the district in the last election.
Saturday, April 23 – The Second district has changed its time of meeting. Hereafter it will meet on the second and fourth Tuesdays for business and on the first and third fer debates, lectures, etc. The headquarter of the club are open every evening, and the young men especially are working to take the district out of the hands of the corruptionists who have so long controlled it. This district has long been known as the most corrupt in the city, but the vote of the united labor party in the last election – 1,682 – astonished all good men and paralyzed the old party heelers. This was the banner district for the “saviors.” Shrewd calculators expect to see the united labor party of the district poll at least 2,500 votes next November.
The Fourth district met at their headquarters, 68 East Broadway. The committee’s report showed that the club had realized very handsomely from their lecture at the Windsor theater. Mr. George received a vote of thanks for his lecture; Mr. Frank B. Murtha for use of his theater; the Balfe musical club for volunteering their musical services, and E.D. Farrell for chairs loaned by him at the lecture. The agitation committee were instructed to call a mass meeting. The district is being thoroughly and successfully organized in the election districts. The members of the club talk about having a picnic during the summer. A pleasant feature of The Standard’s visit to the club was the meeting of the reporter with Hugh Greenan, one of the old wheelhorses of the labor movement in this city, but who appears to be now, whether voluntarily or not, occupying a back seat in the councils of the united labor party. It is to be hoped that he will forge to the front again, for his experience and advice are too valuable to be lost. Hugh glories in the fact that in the last election his election district was carried for the labor candidate – by a majority of one. And yet five years ago he stood at that same polling place during the whole day, and when the polls closed he took his position as watcher, and saw one vote – his own – recorded for the assembly. The change in public sentiment seems to please Hugh greatly.
The Twenty-third district Progress and Poverty club held their usual weekly meeting, with Mr. Lynch in the chair. Mr. Eastlake read the chapter on trade from “Protection or Free Trade,” and a debate followed. It has been the custom heretofore for an advocate of the “George” theory to close the debate, and an opponent to open. The order will in the future be reversed, giving the opponents of the “George” idea the last say. The meeting was very largely attended, the headquarters being taxed to their utmost for accommodation of members and their friends.
The social feature of the day was the ball of the Roslyn benevolent association at Harmony hall, Essex street. A large majority of those who of those who were present are active members of the united labor party in the Tenth, Twelfth and Fourteenth assembly districts; but among the visitors were prominent democratic and republican politicians. The result was there was as much political talk around the tables as there was dancing on the floor. The “po’ los’ sheep” that at present prefer to be penned up in the two party sheepfolds were informed that the lamp still held out to burn, even for the vilest sinner. The officers of the Roslyns are: P.C. Bamburger, president; Theo. Kollen, vice-president; Fred J. Etzel, financial secretary; Andrew Sieben, corresponding secretary; John Klackner, treasurer; Frank Gerner, sergeant-at-Arms. John Barkey was the floor manager, and led the grand march with his wife, assisted by Floor Manager John Scholl and wife. Among those who followed were P.C. Bamberger, wife and child; John Klackner, chairman of the reception committee, and wife; Mr. Herman and wife, Theo. Koller and wife, John Hemkeller and lady, Joseph McCloskey and lady, John Marion and lady and Wallace Norwacky and lady. A handsome horseshoe of flowers, presented by G. Mendel, was drawn for by the ladies present, and won by Annie Camp of Brooklyn. Among the non-dancers present were M.J. Murray, chairman, and William McCabe, secretary, of the Fourteenth district club of the united labor party; H. Griner, secretary of the Tenth; Henry Ancketill, the sweet poet of The Standard; Joseph A. Soder, of No. 6 and the Tenth district; Charles Steckler and George Francis Roesch and others of Tammany hall. It was a noticeable fact that a large proportion of the male dancers on the floor were among the most active workers of the united labor party around the polls in the last election, and as the vote polled in the Tenth, Twelfth and Fourteenth districts showed, they were as good political workers as they were dancers.
Sunday, April 24 – The Second district club gave a concert at their hall, 32 New Bowery, consisting of vocal and instrumental music. During the evening Prof. P.J. Nelson revealed some of the mysteries of mesmerism. “Doe, the Wizard,” performed some very interesting tricks with cards. Master Jeremiah O’Hara excellently rendered a beautiful song. Thomas Monahan recited “Spartacus the Gladiator.” Wm. O’Niell sang one of Moore’s melodies. James Degnan recited “The Irish Famine.”
Monday, April 25 – The Fourteenth district club met at 257 East Tenth street and heard reports from the election districts. The club has at last secured permanent headquarters. They are at 187 First avenue, immediately opposite the Tammany headquarters. The lease will be for one year from May 1, and a house warming will be had probably on the following Saturday. A large transparency will be painted and put up immediately. The picnic committee are actively at work and they prophecy that the affair, which comes off at Sulzer’s park on Saturday, July 30, will be a success. A resolution was adopted that “it is the sense of this club that the general executive committee of the party is the servant of the general county committee, and not of the assembly district clubs.” This was deemed necessary because of reports in circulation that, through the refusal of some of the members of the general executive committee to report their proceedings to the assembly district associations, the executive committee had become a star chamber body. The Fourteenth thinks that all information should come to them through the regular official channel – that is, from the delegates to the general committee.
The Twenty-first had their usual monthly meeting. The entertainment held the previous meeting had been a success. A special meeting to hear the final report of the committee who had charge of the entertainment will be held next Sunday at 4 o’clock at 705 Seventh avenue. Miss Lizzie Deady sold the most tickets for the affair, and received a gold watch; the second prize, an accordion, was carried off by Miss O’Donahoe. The second Monday in May has been set apart by the club for a McGlynn mass meeting.
The Twenty-second met at their rooms, 1422 Second avenue. The committee on permanent headquarters reported on several halls in the neighborhood which they had in view. The probabilities are the organization will locate on Third avenue. The election districts are being organized. The club has engaged Brommer’s union park for a picnic on July 9. It is likely that the baseball players of the Twenty-third will get a reply to their challenge from the Twenty-second, inasmuch as this district is organizing a nine.
A regular meeting of the Twenty-third assembly district was held at 105th street and Third avenue. C.F. Doody, chairman of the district presided. The organization of the sixty-six election districts, which is now being pushed, was discussed, and arrangements were made for perfecting the organization of eight of the districts this and next week. Ten thousand circulars in English and German have been ordered for distribution throughout the whole district. Mr. Battle reported that the Bulletin of the district had cleared, over all expenses, $10, which would go to the organization. As regards the picnic to be held in June, at Brommer’s place, Harlem, it was decided to sell tickets to outside organizations at forty per cent discount, so that these organizations could make a fair profit in selling them to members and friends. Four prizes of considerable value have been offered as premiums for the sale of the largest number of tickets. It was resolved that the district had full confidence in its member of the county executive committee, and would not require of him a “full detailed report” of all the proceedings of the committee, but would leave it to his judgment to “make a report of such portions of the proceedings as he may deem proper.” The land and labor base ball club of the district challenges the clubs of other districts to play them. One match will be played at the picnic, for which a medal will be given to the victorious club. During the summer the club is desirous of playing as often as possible.
Tuesday, April 26 – The Second district club met at 32 New Bowery, and the Third at 42 Great Jones street. Only routine business was transacted.
Paulus Thomas presided at the meeting of the Fifteenth district, at 475 Ninth avenue. Reports were heard from the election districts, and a number of new members were proposed and admitted. Some of the club’s best orators addressed the members on the principles of the party.
The Sixteenth district met at 350 First avenue. Arrangements were completed for the McGlynn mass meeting at Clarendon hall on May 4.
Wednesday, April 27 – The First district club met at 28 Beach street. The principal subject was to raise money to open a permanent headquarters. One of the methods adopted was a picnic. After the close of business, addresses on the state of the party were delivered by James Deguan of the Second and T.L. Murphy, Thomas Moran, Jeremiah Murphy and other members of the club. T.L. Murphy was elected corresponding secretary.
The Sixth met at 412 Grand. They will occupy their new headquarters next Monday. The election districts are doing well.
The Tenth held their regular meeting at 197 East Fourth. Routine business.
The meeting of the Thirteenth assembly district was very fully attended, many ladies being present. Messrs. Mullen, Frey, Lynch, Young and Swain were appointed a committee to arrange for a literary and musical entertainment in the near future. A sum sufficient to cover the entire expense was subscribed on the spot. The committee will report at the next meeting. Several new members were proposed. The new party is pretty firmly established in the Thirteenth, and will make a show of votes when the time comes that will astonish the regular politicians.
The meetings for the coming week are: Friday, April 29—Eighth, 153 Forsyth; Ninth, lecture by Erastus Potter at Cooper union. Saturday, April 30—Fourth, 68 East Broadway; Twenty-third, 1897 Third avenue, lecture. Monday May 2—Twentieth, 1058 second avenue; Twenty-third, 1897 Third avenue. Tuesday, May 3—Twenty-fourth, 151st street and Third avenue; Third, 42 Great Jones street; Second, 32 New Bowery. Wednesday, May 4—State committee, Cooper union; First, 26 Beach street; Sixth, 412 Grand. Thursday, May 5—General committee, Clarendon hall; Fifth, Warren hall, corner Spring and Clark streets; Eighteenth, 161 East Thirty-second.
A land and labor club has been organized at Buffalo, N.Y., under charter from the central committee, Mr. C.M. Kinski of 51 Delaware place having been chosen president, and Mr. J.W. Neil of 1304 Jefferson street secretary. The regular meetings of the club will be held fortnightly at the rooms of the Central labor union. Local clubs are forming for the different wards.
The full list of officers of the united labor club recently instituted at Binghamton by J.J. Bealin is: President, J.H. Blakency; vice-president, John Doyle; secretary, E.W. Dundon; treasurer, Thomas Byrnes; executive committee, Messrs. Blakeney, Doyle, Dundon, A.C. Bosselman, H.H. Freeman, Charles Evans and C. Sinnard. The members are earnest and active. The meeting this week will be open to the friends of members. Good results are anticipated.
1American Commonwealths, New York. The Planting and Growth of the Empire State. By Ellis H. Roberts. In two volumes. Boston and New York: Houghton, Mifflin & Co. 1887.