Volume 1 February 26, 1887
Land and Labor
A Great Demonstration in Cincinnati
Music Hall Crowded by Cheering Thousands—Speech by Henry George—The Land Doctrine Warmly Applauded—Inquirers Answered
Following immediately on the New York election of last November, the labor leaders of Cincinnati determined on independent political action in that city. Correspondence was opened with the central committee, 28 Cooper union, of which John McMackin is chairman, and as a result an earnest agitation and propaganda was entered upon. An initiatory meeting was held at the residence of Frank Moore, at which members of the Cincinnati Central labor union and leading Knights of Labor were present, and it was there determined to bring the subject of separate political action before the respective organizations represented. A few days later the first Henry George club of Cincinnati was organized by a group of labor reformers, among them Dr. Alfred S. Houghton, Frank Moore, Dr. David DeBeck and Mr. E. A. Weier of the Cincinnati Zeitung.
Acting in unison, the club thus formed, together with the Central labor union and the Knights of Labor,entered promptly on the work of detailed organization, which resulted in a labor convention held in Workmen's hall, at which the Clarendon hall platform was unanimously adopted, word for word. It was decided to form land and labor clubs by wards, each member joining to sign a pledge that he thereby severed his connection with all existing political parties, and gave in his adhesion to the united labor party. Some of the ward clubs then formed rolled up a membership running from 100 to 700, the largest. Active spirits in this work were C. S. Walker, O. A. Scusser, R. Doischler, P. Burkhardt, P. R. Farley, J . Lugovsky, J. Nolan, A. Donnelly, Henry Thoebe, F. Hayslip, Perry Holland, Fr auk Young, Secretary Ramsey, John Wynn, E. A. Weier, Harry Ogden, Wynn, T. Ogden, P. F. Fitzpatrick, and D. H. Drake- The party thus established, was strong in numbers and earnest in purpose, and at once challenged the attention of people and politicians. It is safe to say that in no city in the Union is there a more perfect organization of the labor element—of those who work with hand and brain—than in Cincinnati.
At the invitation of the executive committee Henry George lectured on Monday evening in the great Music hall, a charge of ten and twenty-five cents being made for admission. The Cincinnati Enquirer of Tuesday gives the following account of it:
A cheer that was renewed again and again resounded through Music hall at eight o'clock last evening and then rolled out of the vast building and spread away for squares on every side.
It was such a cheer as Music hall hasn't known since it held the national democratic convention and thrilled with wave after wave of applause on the nomination of the superb Hancock nearly seven years ago.
The cause of this tumultuous outburst was the appearance on the platform of a small, square- shouldered, compactly built man with it pair of keen. gray eves. a full sandy beard, and a bald head. Ho wore a lay-down collar, with a black bow, and a neat-fitting dark suit of the Prince Albert order.
That man was Henry George. He came in escorted by a committee of four, headed by Dr. De Beck. The committee escorted him to a chair directly behind the speakers stand, with the usual equipment of a pitcher of ice-water and a goblet.
The front of the platform was decorated withAmerican flags, while across the front of the great organ at the rear of the stage was suspended a banner bearing this inscription:
“The heavens, even the heavens, are the Lord's, but the earth hath He given to the children of men.”
As the land reformer sat there where the committee placed him, awaiting the opening of the exercises, he looked upon a remarkable audience.
It was a great, a monster, audience. It filled every seat inthe body of the house, every seat in the first gallery, half the seats in the upper gallery, and crowded every aisle. It was as enthusiastic, appreciative and earnest an audience as ever greeted a public speaker in Cincinnati. Mechanics and workmen in their Sunday clothes, looking sleek and spruce from the refreshing effects of the soap and water that had just removed the grime and dust of the shop and factory, predominated: but there were many among these also w-hose finer attire and softer hands marked them as business and professional men. There were many ladies in the audience.
Rarely has a speaker received closer attention. Rarely have a speakers words been more eagerly drunk in.
Clustered about George on the platform mere many of the prominent delegates to the labor convention and others identified with the labor movement, among them Leo Miller of Chicago, Joe! J . Hoyt of Jamestown, N. Y.; J. B. Carrol, Kiehburg, N. Y.; Dr. Munson, Indianapolis: B. F. Fitzpatrick, Harry Ogden, W. T. Ogden. W. H. Foote, W. Frank Smith, A.C. Cosner, T. F. Fitzpatrick, Henry Hilliard, F. F, Verg. John McGeeney of Xenia, Ohio; C. S. Walker. D- H. Drake. Chas. F. Peckiney, Ed. W. Harris. J . F. McDonald of Springfield, Samuel Crocker, R. E. Kiss. Medicine Lodge, Kan.; D. J. Cole, Hutchinson, Kan.; W. M. Smith, Ed. Hitchens, Charles W. Coleman, John Frederick, H. C. Petterson and D. J. Rowan. The following members of the Henry George club of Cincinnati also occupied seats on the platform: President Houghton, Secretary Ramsey, C. S. Walker, Frank Moore, John Wynn, F. Hayslip, Perry Holland, Henry Thoche. Dr.DeBeck, J. Lugovsky, J. Nolan and A. Donnelly. Dr.DeBeck made a few initiatory remarks, which were received with warmest demonstrations of endorsement. Mr. C S. Walker, chairman of the meeting, then introduced Mr. George. The audience went wild again. For over live minutes billow after billow of applause rolled and roared through the vast ball.
Mr. George began his remarks in a low, conversational tone of voice, but before he had reached the end of his second sentence he warmed up to his subject, and his voice filled the great house. He is a pleasing speaker, clear, distinct and deliberate. As he spoke he paced the platform to and fro, sometimes with his hands clasped before him, sometimes with them folded behind his back! His gestures were few, but graceful.
He spoke as follows:
“Dr. DeBeck, in opening the meeting, addressed himself to ladies and fellow citizens. Let me say what I know he intended by addressing myself to my fellow citizens, whether they be women or whether they be men. [Applause.] As Dr. DeBeck has said, we do know what we want; we want the earth! [Great laughter and applause.] We want the earth, not for ourselves alone, but we want the earth for all men. What this movement aims at is the assertion of the great truth that the earth was created for all the children of men. [Applause.] Our chairman is right; we are beginning a struggle greater and broader than those that went before, and I congratulate you, men of the land and labor clubs of Cincinnati, who, in the west, have been first to unfurl the banner of the new and greater struggle for human rights. [Applause.] When the last long, bitter contest was over, and chattel slavery was gone in the United States forever, some one said to James Redpath: ‘Now that you have abolished slavery, what next do you propose to abolish?’ Quick as a flash Redpath answered: ‘The next thing we propose to abolish is poverty.’ [Applause.] 'I did not then know,' said Redpath, 'how poverty was to be abolished; but I did know that it ought to be abolished.' But now James Redpath does know not only that poverty ought to be abolished, but how it can be abolished, and he stands with us on this platform of the land for the people, demanding with us that equality of human rights to the use of the earth that, once gained, will end poverty.
“In proclaiming this central truth we set our feet upon a rock. No matter what today or tomorrow may bring forth, no matter how the next campaign or the campaign after that goes, they who stand on the side of truth are sure of ultimate victory. The stars in their courses fight for them. [Applause.] All the high impulses of the human heart, all the great deeds and names of the past, all the throbbing aspirations for the future are on their side, and succeed they must. When a great truth fairly comes into discussion, that which is opposed to it is doomed. And the great truth which we assert is now so well to the front that it cannot be ignored. In the great campaign that we are beginning we clasp hands with our brethren of Ireland, of England, of Scotland, and of continental Europe, taking our part in a world-wide struggle that can end only in victory. [Applause.] Let politicians make platforms to catch votes. For us there is but one thing to do., and that is to proclaim the truth and to stand for the right, never fearing that in God's own time the truth will triumph.
“All over the country, all over the world, there is a deep and deepening dissatisfaction with social conditions—a vague groping after something that will put an end to the injustice which the masses feel. This movement of ours must go on gathering strength, for we have set our faces in the right road. As our chairman has said, we know what we want and how to get it. We in New York and you here in Cincinnati, in proclaiming that the great end for which the working masses must struggle is the resumption of natural rights in the land—strike at the heart of all the perplexing social difficulties of our day.” Not that there are not today in society many other things that are wrong besides the tenure of land, but that this is the fundamental wrong from which these minor wrongs proceed, which must be righted before those can be righted.
“Throughout the civilized world we see today phenomena of the same kind. In spite of the great advance in the power of producing wealth; in spite of a production of wealth unprecedented in all ages gone before, there is want and suffering, and the great mass of mankind, in spite of all that invention and discovery have done to increase the power of human hands to satisfy human wants, are compelled to work for a bare living, and to consider themselves, in many cases, favored when they get the opportunity to earn only that. What is the cause? It can not be anything peculiar to one country. It must be something common to them all. And in the great broad fact that in all our civilized countries the majority of men and women who come into the world are denied all rights whatever to the use of that world is a sufficient explanation. In the very kingdom of heaven such a system would produce the same phenomena that we see here. Man is a land animal. It is only on land and from land that he can live at all. All his production consists in working up the raw material that we call land. We often say that labor is the creator of wealth. When we say that, it is only true in a metaphorical sense. Labor creates nothing. Man is not a creator; he is a producer—that is, a bringerforth. What labor does is to bring forth from the reservoirs of nature; and all human production is but the change in form or in place of what we find already in existence—of the raw material that nature placed here. Man is a land animal- He is a product of land himself. Our very bodies are drawn from the earth. From the soil we come and to the soil we return again, children of the land just as much as the flower is of the tree. Labor is the producer of wealth in the sense of being the active factor that brings forth the wealth. But labor is perfectly helpless unless it has the raw material to act upon; and therefore, deprived of access to the land, no matter what his power to labor may be, a man is utterly helpless.
“This is the explanation of what we see today—great masses of men endowed with the power to labor, but utterly helpless to employ themselves, because they have nothing to employ that labor on, and thus driven to a cut-throat competition with each other to sell their power of labor to some one else.
“Here is the explanation of those perplexing questions of right and wrong that arise in our labor struggles. It is true that no man has a right to forbid others from seeking employment, but each man has a God-given right to employ his own labor, and it is the denial of this right that leads to combinations, boycotts and strikes. When there exists in any community a great class of men who cannot employ themselves, then they have to compete with each other for the wages of some employer. They have to bid against each other. They have to beg and strain and even fight, for the consequence of that competition is that wages inevitably go down to the lowest point on which men will consent to live. And that is the minimum to which wages tend all over the civilized world today in spite of all our advances in labor-saving machinery, a minimum to which wages in the organized trades are only prevented from falling by the efforts of the labor associations.
“Take those great strikes in New York. What is it that the strikers have had to contend against? It is against the rush of unemployed men anxious to go to work on any terms. So it is with all strikes and devices by which organized workmen attempt to carry their point; they consist in the main of shoving back this competition, in keeping off the pressure of men who are ready to take any wages rather than starve.
“The weakness of organized labor, the difficulty of all attempts to increase wages arises from the fact that even in the best of times there are many, and in what we call bad times there are a vast number of men all over the country willing and anxious to work, ready to work hard for a poor pittance, and yet unable to find an opportunity to do so. And the cause of this fact is evidently that labor is denied access to the natural opportunities of employment; that the land, with out which labor is helpless, is monopolized.
“The workingmen of New York are beginning to realize that if they would improve the condition of the mechanic and the artisan they must take into account somebody else; that if they would permanently raise the wages of skilled labor they must do some thing for the unskilled laborer. [Applause.] That if they would permanently improve the condition of the men of the city they must make a common fight with the farmers of the country. [Applause] And seeing that, they have come to the land question, the fundamental question of all, and they propose to make opportunities for labor to obtain employment by opening to labor the natural opportunities that the Creator intended for the employment of men.
“Why, think of it! We are gradually getting to look upon employment of any kind as a boon. We maintain a stupid tariff wall around our country—what for? The popular idea is to keep work in the country, to keep foreigners from doing our work. And we really look upon the fact that men imprisoned for crime are put to work as an injury to workingmen, in taking work from them. Imagine a bird that could think flying over this country! Do you think it could understand how it was, in a country like this, that work was scarce? Ought there be any scarcity of work as long as people want the things that work produces? Ought there be any scarcity of work when the natural opportunities for work are so abundant?
“How is it there is not work enough in a country with a vast extent of untilled land; in a country where mines are yet hardly opened; in a country where the natural resources are for our present population multiplied by tens and hundreds? If there is any scarcity of work, is it not an artificial scarcity, born of the monopoly of the natural elements necessary to productive work:
“Consider the absurdity of the cry of overproduction which we hear so often. Too many of the things that thousands and millions of people want! An overproduction of dry goods, when certainly nine-tenths of the women in this country would like two or three new dresses! [Laughter.] An overproduction of food when people have to stint themselves! An overproduction of clothing when men have to wear their old clothes! There can be no overproduction in the true sense of the word until everybody has enough. [Applause.] Overproduction! I remember reading a year or two ago in one of our eastern papers about a Massachusetts boot and shoe manufacturer. He called his girls together and said that owing to an overproduction he must reduce the number of hands and wages; but he was a good, kind employer, and he knew they were good, deserving girls, and in order to make it up to them he would allow them to work two hours overtime. [Great laughter.]
“So in this case the net result of what was called overproduction was that these poor girls had to work two hours longer for the same wages. And so it is generally. While we talk of overproduction the streets of the cities and roads of the country are filled with men who cannot obtain employment, and our factories are filled with little children and young girls. In nearly all our states it has been found necessary to pass prohibitory laws to prevent parents putting their children to work when they ought to be at play. [Applause.] It is not overproduction; it is unjust distribution. [Applause.] There is not production enough. If the men who would like to be at work could be at work earning honest wages, how long do you think trade would be dull in this country? Let the artisans and the mechanics and the builders and other trades all be employed, and how long would the farmers have to complain of hard times? The cause of this disease is simply that men who would like to expend their labor in producing wealth for themselves find themselves deprived of the opportunity, and in our system of the division of labor, when one man who would like to be at work finds no opportunity, some other man is compelled to stand idle. So the stagnation runs all through, one industry after another.
“There are unquestionably many things that are wrong in our society to-day, but this great fundamental wrong is in itself sufficient to account for the existence of poverty in the midst of abundant wealth. Under any state of things, in any condition of society where a great class of people were deprived of the natural opportunities for the exertion of labor, where they had no right whatever to the land on which they lived, where they were compelled from day to day and week to week to purchase the right of living, there must be poverty, there must be that unjust distribution of wealth which piles up wealth in the hands of men who do not labor and compels those who do labor to take the very smallest remuneration.
“If you have any difficulty as to what is the trouble in the United States with our railroads and complex machinery of production, go over into Ireland. Go into Connemara or the Scottish islands. There you will see society in the most primitive conditions; women using the spinning-wheel and the hand-loom, and men working yet with the same agricultural instruments that our forefathers used centuries ago. They work hard, yet why are they poor? There can be no question about the reason there. Those people are poor because all they can make, save a bare living in the best of times, is taken from them by the. landlords. The workers live in hovels. And it is not because their neighbor won't produce more than enough to enable them to live in the hovels. Every once in a while you will come upon a magnificent mansion and splendid grounds. The man who lives in that house when he is in the country—for the best part of his time he lives in London or in Paris—does no work at all. He prides himself upon the fact that his ancestors for generations never did a stroke of work. The people who do the work have a bare living, having to pay to him all the surplus for the right to work on the land, for the right to make nature produce upon the call of labor.
“Yet he, the idler, lives in luxury, because as owner of the land he has power to compel the people who do the work to give up to him all their work produces, save the barest living, for the privilege of working on his land—for the privilege of living in his world.
“And this fundamental injustice, which in the simplest industria1 conditions operates to divide men into the rich and the poor, to give wealth to those who do nothing to produce it, and to rob the producer of the just fruits of his toil, operates in the same way in more complex industrial conditions. No matter how complex those conditions, man is yet a land animal, who can only live on land and from land, and all his production is yet the changing in place or form of natural elements—the union of labor with land. And in the primary inequality resulting from the fact that some men are compelled to pay other men for the privilege of living and working is the source of that monstrous inequality which has already in our new country brought forth the millionaire on the one side and the tramp on the other, and which makes every addition to the power of production widen the gulf between rich and poor.
“Wealth is produced by work. When a man enjoys a great income, when he can get a line house and clothes and carriages, and all that human labor can produce, without doing anything himself, it must be at the expense of those who do work. Look at the enormous incomes in Now York that are drawn by the owners of the soil. Where do they come from? They come from the laborer. Look at these English dukes and lords that are coming over here and buying great tracts of our western land. Do you suppose they want that land? They don't want to come over here and tall it, nor do they want to carry it away. They do not really want the land. They want the revenue; that is the produce of labor, that the ownership of that land will give them when American citizens have to pay them a price for the privilege of using it. Mere land has no value. It is not land we are selling them. It is the power to appropriate the produce of American laborers yet to be. [Applause.]
“Look in which direction you may and you will see the evil effects of attaching to land the same individual rights of property that justly attach to things produced by human labor. Go into the city of New York, the greatest of American cities, and see how people are crowded together there under conditions which deny light and air sufficient to maintain bodily health, crowded together under conditions which inevitably degrade the health of the soul. And what is the reason of that? People are crowded so in New York that little children die like flies in summer. It is not because there is not land enough. Half the area of New York is yet unbuilt upon. Why do people not go upon that vacant land and build houses? Simply because the land is held by dogs in the manger, who have no use for it at the present time and are simply holding it in order to get a high price for it. There is plenty of land around New York on which men who cannot find employment from an employer might find work for themselves. But if they were to attempt to thus go to work for themselves, they would at once be warned off. And though they might travel a thousand miles, they would find the same difficulty. Every where unused natural opportunities for the employment of labor, but everywhere the dog-in-the-manger who will not let them use what he is making no use of, unless they can pay him a blackmail price or mortgage their labor for years. And so they turn back to swell the crowds that fill the cities, competing with each other for opportunities to get the wages of some employer; so they became beggars, paupers, tramps.
“This is the cause that is bringing on this new republic, on this virgin continent, all the curses that afflict Europe. The canker that ate out the heart of Italy is beginning to eat out the heart of the great republic of the west. Labor saving machinery and all discoveries and inventions that have so increased the power of men to labor seem, instead of improving the condition of the mere laborer and raising wages, to have made these conditions harder; for labor saving machinery, no matter how far it can go, cannot do anything for the mere laborer in a country where the land is all monopolized. Take such a country as Ireland. Let the sun be more genial, the climate more favorable, who would reap the benefit? The landlord. Given a country in which one class of people own all the land, and you may imagine labor saving invention and discovery to go so far that labor would be entirely unnecessary—no matter if wealth could be produced without labor we can not imagine it possible to be produced without land until we can imagine something to be produced out of nothing. Land would still be necessary, and the result would be that owners of land could obtain all the wealth the land was able to produce without giving anything to the mere laborer, and the man who was simply a laborer would simply become a pauper. And under these conditions, no matter if wealth rained down from Heaven, it could not benefit the laborer.
“Our friend Dr. DeBeck has spoken of the torch that was lit in New York—no, not in New York. It is the old fire. It is the torch that was raised here in America in the Declaration of Independence! [Applause.] What we stand for is the equal and inalienable rights of men. The truth we proclaim is the truth proclaimed by our forefathers; the truth that God has created men free and equal, and has endowed them with certain inalienable rights. It is the equal right to live and the equal right to labor that we contend for. [Applause.]
“We contend that every child that comes into the world become seized with the right to an equal right to the use of this world while he lives. We counted, as Thomas Jefferson said, that the land belongs in usufruct to the living, and not to the dead.
“We hold in full to the right of property—aye, to the sacred right of property. That which a man makes, that which his labor produces, is his against all the world, to use and sell, to give, to bequeath, to do whatsoever he pleases with it, so long as with it he does no injure to any one else. And as necessary to secure this just right of property we contend that no one can secure such right to the earth that he shall be enabled to compel others to give up to him the produce of their labor for the privilege of living and working. [Applause.]
“Now, how do we propose to carry out this principle? If it is a moral truth—and I think no one will deny that it is a moral truth that all men are the creatures of the common Creator, and have an equal right to the materials of this earth during their continuance upon it—if that be a truth, then there must be a way to carry it out that will accord with every dictate of justice. That will injure no one, and that will be entirely practical. Don't believe them when any body says to you a thing is right or just, but it is impracticable. This is not that kind of a world. That which is just, that which is right, always is practicable. [Applause.]
“Let me declare plainly and distinctly, for this is a point on which there is much misapprehension and misrepresentation, that we do not propose to have the state take the land from its present owners and divide it up or rent it out; we simply propose to make such a change in our fiscal system as will shift the burden of taxation from labor and the products of labor to land values—the value attaching to land, irrespective of the improvements upon it; the value attaching to land, not by reason of what the occupier has done, but by reason of the growth of the community. We propose to reach by this easy and gradual change the end at which we aim, and that end is that the man who enjoys the privilege of holding a piece of land that the growth of the community has made valuable, shall pay to the community what the special privilege is worth, and thus all citizens be placed upon an equal footing. When this is done, or even as we approach it, it will become unprofitable for anybody to hold land without using it, in the expectation of growing rich by the value which attaches to it from the growth of the community. Land will become profitable only to those who want to use it. Thus the dog-in-the-manger will be choked off, and from the vacant lots of our eastern cities to the great tracts held on speculation in the far west, opportunities for employment will be thrown open to labor and forestalling be prevented.” [Great applause.]
Mr. George went on at length to show the stupidity of our present mode of taxation in repressing the production of wealth and putting a line upon thrift and industry, and pointed out the fraud and corruption to which this inevitably leads. He showed that a tax on land values could be collected more easily, more certainly, and with less evasion and corruption than any other tax, and would in no wise repress industry or lessen the value of land to the user. He ridiculed the idea that this was a scheme for exempting the rich from taxation, asking, if that were so, why the rich so bitterly opposed it, and why it was that when the organized workingmen of New York made this the main plank in their platform the cry went up from the rich that society was in danger, and nothing that money could do was left undone to beat them at the polls. The men who profited, or imagined they profited, by the present unjust distribution of wealth knew, he said, that this simple measure struck at the very heart of great fortunes, and that it was revolutionary in the best sense, since it would revolutionize the system that made labor a drug in the market and forced men to beg for employment.
He then went at some length into a discussion of the charge made that the concentration of all taxation upon land values would injure the farmers, declaring on the contrary that there was no class of the community that would profit more by it than the working farmers. “Is the condition of the American farmer now so good,” asked Mr. George, "that he should fear to examine any proposition for a radical change in the present system? On the contrary? he is the man on whom, under our system, taxation falls with unsparing severity. A farmer goes upon a piece of land, and by his labor makes himself a home. Although it may never have been used before, and there are around it thousands of acres still unused, he is forced to pay for it a price which involves the labor of years, and in many cases to give a mortgage upon his labor which it will take him years to pay off, if he ever does succeed in paying it off. In the mean time our system of indirect taxation adds to the cost of everything he consumes without adding to the price of anything he has to sell. He breaks up the land and sows a crop; he builds a house and a barn, plants an orchard and produces wealth by his labor where none was produced before. Down comes a tax-gatherer and taxes him for all this, and not merely this, but as is universal throughout the United States, he is taxed on the value of his land far more than the mere speculator is taxed on land just as good in every respect but which he is holding unused. The man who tills his own fields is a laborer rather than a landowner, and it is to his interest that the burden of taxation should be taken off of labor and put upon land values. The effect of this would be to relieve farmers from taxation. It would be to take the weight of taxation off the country districts and to place it upon the great land values of the towns and of those mineral districts to which the demands of an increasing population give great value. And since the result would be to destroy the speculative value of land, where land of the same quality was yet unused, the farmer, under the system which we propose, would have no tax whatever to pay, whether direct or indirect.
“And the general effect upon the distribution of population would be most important and most beneficent. Our present system, which allows a man to grow rich by merely appropriating land and holding it, crowds people together in the cities and unduly separates them in the country. Men aim not at getting what land they want to use, but at getting all they can hold. Under a system of taxation which did away with all temptation to hold land idle for the sake of its increase in value there would be more elbow-room in the cities and better settled neighborhoods in the country. One of the terrible facts which show the direction in- which we are drifting under our present system is the rapid increase of insanity, and it is among the f arming population that the increase in insanity is most marked. This is due to the hard and dreary life of the farmer and the farmer's wife, to the absence of the society and social enjoyments which a better distribution of population would secure. And, further, the fact is that the American farmer, of whom so much has been said, is, under the pressure of the present system, already beginning to disappear. The last census showed that one-quarter of the farmers were already tenants, and this proportion is steadily increasing. A great part of those who are the nominal owners of their farms were only the nominal owners. They are being eaten out with mortgages. The history of the world shows that where private property in land exists the ownership of soil must concentrate, and the farming class become mere tenants and laborers with a rapidity proportioned to the material progress of the country and the introduction of labor saving machinery. At the accession of James II, it is stated by Macaulay, the majority of English farmers were the owners of the acres they tilled; but for a long time past the farmer who owned his own farm has been a curiosity in England, and the degraded English agricultural laborer represents the class whom we have been accustomed to boast of as the independent American farmer. A movement to assert the rights of all men to their native soil cannot harm the working farmer. It can only benefit him, as it will all classes of laborers. The only men who can be injured by it are those whose interests as landowners pure and simple are greater than all their other interests; and while such men, and they are yet few in the United States, might relatively be losers, they, too, would absolutely gain; for the destruction of monopoly, which now prevents men from employing their own labor and brings about the one-sided competition which constantly tends to force wages to the starvation point, would abolish poverty and the fear of poverty, and would so enormously increase the production of wealth and so equalize its distribution, that the humblest and poorest could feel sure of securing all that was necessary to a comfortable and independent existence, without hard toil, and would exempt them from the anxieties which now beset all classes. The men who are now striving and straining to heap up wealth in order to ward off the danger of poverty from themselves and their children, would be far more secure in a state of society in which no one need fear poverty, and could well afford to buy entrance to it, if that were necessary, by giving up all their present possessions.”
Mr. George closed by declaring that while it was impossible in an hour or two to answer all the objections that would arise in the minds of those who had not thought much upon the subject, he was certain that, as they did think upon it, the proposition to concentrate all taxation upon land values would more and more commend itself, and he then invited questions from the audience.
The opportunity afforded was eagerly taken advantage of, and one question after another was promptly answered by Mr. George to the great satisfaction of the audience until the lateness of the hour compelled the chairman to bring the meeting to a close.
The Foundation Principle
Meriden, Conn., Feb. 15.—To take all the taxes, direct or indirect, that now lie like a heavy weight upon agriculture and manufactures and put them on the value of land is the only real remedy of the labor troubles. With but this one plank the labor platform would, in my opinion, be complete. The more a man studies the land question the more convinced will he be that this must be the foundation principle. The other things which we now are struggling so hard for, such as shorter hours, higher wages and the abolition of child labor will come as a matter of course if we once assert the common right to land. For will it not give employment to all who are willing to work? Will it not make present owners of land use it themselves or give it up to those who will use it? Will it not give a boom to business all over the country? Labor organizations would then be able to help themselves in many other ways. The labor club here is “spreading the light.”
Gambling Houses Openly Conducted—Frequented By Legislators
No Probability That Any Bills in the Interest of Labor Will be Passed—A Laborer's Life Not Worth More Than $5,000—Inadequate Factory Inspection
Albany, Feb. 24.—This is one of the best towns for easy and accessible gambling in the state, though if it were not for the legislators and the crowd that follow in their train three-fourths of the gambling houses would have to close for lack of customers. The influence of the assembly on the gambling houses is shown by their location. Most of the assemblymen who come up here for boodle live in the Delavan house, and in going to or coming from the capitol they go straight up the hill. On that street there are four gambling houses within a minute of the hotel, two of them occupying prominent corners; and on the side streets, a few steps out of the direct line, there are as many more. These places are not run as in New York, with barred doors, guards, peepholes and elaborate preparations to secure secrecy and safety. They are as open as a restaurant or a saloon. “You have only to open the door and walk in. A stranger with a trained ear would note from the street the sound of clicking chips and the clattering of the balls around the roulette tables. It is does not take long for the New York assemblymen to find them out, and that is one reason why the assemblymen need so much money to run on during the session; why so many Delavan house board bills are unpaid, and why the opinion that a new assemblyman usually has of the dullness of Albany is changed the first time he is let in to a game more open than anything in New York. Perhaps the fact that the winnings of the gambling- house keepers come chiefly from outsiders reconciles the Albany authorities to allowing the games to continue in their present open condition. It is certain that tens of thousands of dollars which otherwise would be scattered over the state from Brooklyn to Buffalo are retained in this city through these few faro banks.
Most of the legislators have the gambling Instinct. Those who are too bright to play in an open gambling house start poker rooms for the benefit of their fellow members. Several inhabitants of the Delavan house play poker for recreation, and make more out of it in the course of the session than they do from their salaries. Orders for advance pay, for stationery and for mileage are all receivable. It is hard on the new country members who may have been poker experts in their rural towns to run against a New York professional assemblyman, but country members must be taught that New York city would just as lief have a professional gambler to represent it at Albany as any other professional savior of society. One of the best poker players in the delegation is Charles Smith of the Eighth New York district. It is said of him that he would accumulate wealth should he stick to poker and leave faro alone.
As the session goes on the improbability of anything being done fer the interest of the workingman is changing to certainty. The general appropriation bill is in, and the usual sums are parceled out to favored officials and institutions. About $11,000 are offered for factory inspectors, about one-tenth enough ta provide for the proper doing of the work, while six lawyers have just been hired for a political investigation, whose fees would be more than sufficient for the paying of the needed inspectors.
The difference is that it is only the workingmen who are interested in having the factory laws enforced, while there's “politics” in a big investigation. It is a repetition of the coal pool Hogeboom investigation, which has become a by-word. The agents of the corporations had to do something about the coal strike, so they sent a packed committee to investigate. They feel that a sop to labor will be a fine thing, so they provide for a handful of factory inspectors, just enough to make a pretense of doing something.
Another bill is the one to increase from $5,000 to $10,000 the sum a man's family can recover from a railroad or other corporation, if he is killed through the company's fault. There is no reason in the world why the sum should be limited at all. Is the value of a man's life limited? Are the love his family have for him and his support of them objects of commerce and traffic, to prevent the high valuation of which wise legislators have set the limit of $5,000? Yet even the effort to raise the limit to $10,000 has failed. A bill was offered, reported, favorably considered, and might have passed, but railroad specialist Cole seized it, and chiding the Assembly for even thinking to pass such a bill, had it sent back to committee.
There have been so many cases of corporations forcibly annihilating useful and needed measures that an eight page paper set in solid nonpareil would not contain the language of the proposed bills. The railroad commissioners prepared a set of bills which they sent to the legislature. These bills were as mild and soft as they could be made, yet the railroads would allow no interference, and complacent railroad committees have put the grave clothes on the anti-discrimination and other bills. While legislators limit the value of a man's life, they ref use to limit the issue of a company's watered stock, and a bill to prevent it offered by a country member, was sneered off the floor of the assembly, never even coming to a vote. On the other hand, a bill to allow railroads to charge extra fare is being whooped through, while the same assembly refuses to put a workman on an equality with a horse or piece of machinery by allowing him damages if he is injured through the carelessness or negligence of the foreman of the man for whom he works.
The New York papers have been printing voluminous reports about Senator Vedder's taxation and retrenchment committee and their scheme to 'tax brokers' transactions. The committee is simply “on the strike,” with Chairman Vedder in command. Last year he went on a striking trip to New York, and when the brokers had been “seen” he rested. This year he is harassing all the exchanges again for a like purpose. His bill proposes to tax the sales in amounts of over one hundred dollars of everything except real estate. Of course the consumer would pay it in the end, and an extra burden would be taken from the landlord to lay it on the laborer. The majority of the committee are Vedder, Cable Road Truphagen and Snowball Plunkitt. Taxation and retrenchment is a name that fits them. Amasa J. Parker, Jr., an honest senator,-resigned from the committee when he found what Vedder and his associates were up to, so that he might not be smirched by their transactions.
Doubts of Labor's Success
Pittsburgh Commercial Gazette.
All the indications point to the organization of a national labor party in time to take part in the next presidential election, but whether the party will ever become an important factor in politics is another matter.
About Three Hundred Delegates In Attendance
A Two Days' Session—The Officers Chosen—A Platform Adopted Recommending Numerous Reforms in the Laws
Cincinnati, Feb. 23.—The committee of thirteen organizers of the National industrial conference, after a session yesterday morning at the Burnet house, issued tickets of admission to the floor of Music hall to the chairmen of delegations. The states represented by the tickets issued on these credentials were as follows: Alabama 1, Arkansas 8, Colorado 1, Dakota 3, Illinois 65, Iowa 35, Indian territory 1, Kansas 30, Massachusetts 4, Michigan 30, Mississippi 4, 3Iissouri 47, Nebraska 10, New Hampshire 1, New Jersey 1, New York 13. North Carolina 1, Ohio 73, Pennsylvania 20, Tennessee 2, Texas 10, West Virginia 10, Wisconsin 12, Rhode Island 2, Indiana 77. Total, 429.
At 2 o'clock Chairman B. S. Heath of the national committee called the conference to order. There were about 350 persons in a hall having a capacity of 5,000. A score of persons looked down from the gallery, but before the close of the session this number had swelled to 200. The roll call showed that there were present about 300 delegates. The largest delegations were from the tier of northern states nearest Cincinnati—Pennsylvania. Ohio. Indiana, Illinois, Michigan, Iowa and Missouri.
There were ten ladies in the delegation, among whom were Miss Marion Todd of Battle Creek. Mich.; Mrs. Heath of Chicago and Mrs. Severance of Milwaukee.
Richard Trevellick was elected temporary chairman, and on taking the chair he introduced Rev. M. C Lockwood of the First Baptist church of Cincinnati, who, after a brief prayer, welcomed the delegates on behalf of the committee of arrangements. The rest of the afternoon's session was taken up in the selection of committees on credentials, organization, rules and order of business and platform.
When the convention reassembled at 7 o'clock there were not more than two hundred delegates in the hall, and about an equal number of spectators were in the gallery. A letter was read from Goa. J . B. Weaver, Iowa, the greenback leader, declaring that the platform should be brief and unmistakable, and relate chiefly to land, labor and transportation. Mr. L. H. Haaf of Henry county, Illinois, took the floor, and said he came as a delegate from a conference of prohibitionists, and proposed a temperance plank for the platform.
Mr. L. B. Weller, chairman of the committee on permanent organization, reported the following permanent, officers:
President—A. J. Streator of Illinois.
Vice-Presidents—R. V. Trevellick, Michigan; J . J. Woodard, Alabama; C. Cunningham, Arkansas; R. R. Buchanan, Colorado; A. J. Martin, Connecticut; E. J. Curtis, Idaho. M. J . Kane, Iowa; N. M. Lorin, Indian Territory; J . II. Allen. Indiana; P. P. Elder, Kansas; S. Seay, Kentucky; Wm. Murray, Massachusetts; M. B. Ely, Mississippi; D. X. Thompson, Missouri; J. T. Chamberlin, Nebraska; W. G. Brown, New Hampshire; O. Preston, New York; John R. Winston, North Carolina; John Seitz, Ohio; E. W. Pike, Oregon; J. P. Lane, Pennsylvania; J. R. Miles, Tennessee; Holmes W. Merton, Rhode Island; R-J. Sledge, Texas; James N. Laidley, West Virginia; Dr. Juliet Severance, Wisconsin; Geo. V. Smith, Wyoming Territory; Lee Crandall, District of Columbia; J . O. Dean, Dakota Territory.
Secretary—M. D. Shaw, Missouri.
Assistant secretary—D. P. Bliss, Massachusetts.
Reading clerk—Geo. D. Lennon, New York.
Mr. Power of Indiana, asked permission to read a memorial from two thousand Union soldiers of his state asking the convention to pass a resolution favoring the pensioning of every honorably discharged Union soldier of the late war. Referred.
After addresses by Mrs. Marion Todd of Michigan and several other delegates the convention adjourned at 10:45 o'clock.
This morning the time of the conference was taken up by general speech making, the committee on platform not having its report ready.
Mr. Samuel Crocker of Kansas explained the Oklahoma movement, and presented a resolution censuring the national administration for its course in relation to this question, and asking congress for the immediate passage of the Oklahoma bill now before it. George L. Jones of Wisconsin spoke in favor of a graduated income tax. Speeches were also made by Dr. Juliet Severance of Wisconsin, ex- Congressman B. S. Taylor of Pennsylvania, Moses Smyth of Indiana, who opposed the Oklahoma resolution, and thought that the convention had been called for broader purposes; and Jesse Harper of Illinois, who dwelt upon the wrongs caused by the stock watering of railroad and telegraph monopolies.
In the afternoon the platform was adopted, as follows:
The delegates of various industrial and reform political organizations have assembled from thirty-one states and territories on this anniversary of the birth of “The Father of his Country,” to view the situation of public affairs and advise proper action. A general discontent prevails on the part of the wealth producers. Farmers are suffering from a poverty which has forced must of them to mortgage their estates, and prices of products are so low as to offer no relief except through bankruptcy. Laborers are sinking into greater and greater dependence, strikes are resorted to without bringing relief, because of the inability of employers in many cases to pay living wages while more and more are driven into the streets. Business men find collections almost impossible. Meantime, hundreds of millions of idle public money which is needed for relief is locked up in the United States treasury in grim mockery of the distress. Land monopoly flourishes as never before, and more and more owners of the soil are daily becoming tenants. Great transportation corporations still succeed in extorting their profits upon watered stock through unjust charges. The United States Senate has become an open scandal, its seats being purchased by the rich in defiance of the popular will. A trifling fisheries dispute is seized upon as an excuse for squandering public money upon unnecessary military preparations, which are designed to breed a spirit of war, to ape European despotism and to empty the treasury without paying the public debt. Under these and other alarming conditions, we appeal to the people of this w hole country to come out of old party organizations whose indifference to the public welfare is responsible for this distress, and help us to organize a new political party, not sectional but national, whose numbers shall be cal led commoners; whose object shall be to repeal all class laws in favor of the rich and to relieve the distress of our industries by establishing the following principles:
Every human being possesses a natural, inalienable right to sufficient land for self support, and we desire to secure to every industrious citizen a home, as the highest result of free institutions. To this end we demand a graduated land tax on all large estates, especially those held for speculative or tenant purposes; the reclamation of all unearned land grants; the immediate opening of Oklahoma to homestead settlement; the purchase of all unoccupied Indian lands and the settlement of the various tribes upon lands in severalty; also, laws preventing corporations from acquiring real estate beyond the requirements of their business and alien ownership of land. The systems of irrigation in states and territories where necessary shall be under such public control as shall secure the free and equitable use of the waters and franchise to the people.
The means of communication and transportation should be owned and controlled by the people, as is the United States postal system, and equitable rates everywhere established. A national monetary system should be established in the interest of the producer instead of the speculator and usurer, by which a circulating medium in necessary quantities and full legal tender shall be issued directly to the people without the intervention of banks, or loaned to citizens upon ample security at a low rate of interest to relieve them from the extortions of usury and enable them to control the money supply. Postal savings banks should be established. While we have free coinage of gold, we should have free coinage of silver. We demand the prompt payment of the national debt and condemn the further issue of interest-bearing bonds, either by the national government, or by states, territories, counties or municipalities.
Arbitration should take the place of strikes and other injurious methods of settling labor disputes; the letting of convict labor to contractors be prohibited; the contract be abolished in public works; the hours of labor in industrial establishments be reduced, commensurate with the increase of production in labor of labor saving machinery; employes be protected from bodily injury; equal pay be given for equal work for both sexes, and labor, agricultural and co-operative associations be fostered and incorporated by law. The foundation of a republic is the intelligence of its citizens, and children who are driven into workshops, mines and factories are deprived of education, which should be secured to all by proper legislation. We desire to see labor organization extend throughout the civilized countries, until it shall be impossible for despots to array the workingmen of one country in war against their brothers of another country.
In appreciation of the services of United States soldiers and sailors, we demand for them justice before charity. The purposely depreciated money paid them during the war should be made equal in value to the gold paid the bondholder. The soldier was promised coin or its equivalent, and paid in depreciated paper. The bondholder loaned the government depreciated paper and contracted to take it back, but was paid in gold. A graduated income tax is the most equitable system of taxation, placing the burden of government on those who can best afford to pay, instead of laying it on the farmers and producers and exempting millionaire bondholders and corporations.
The capture of the United States senate by millionaires and tools of corporations, who have no sympathy with free institutions, threatens the very existence of the republic. We demand a constitutional amendment making United States senators elective by a direct vote of the people.
State and national laws should be passed as shall effectually exclude from America the Mongolian slave and Asiatic competition.
The employment of bodies of armed men by private corporations should be prohibited.
The right to vote is inherent- in citizenship irrespective of sex.
Excessive wealth resulting in luxury and idleness on the one hand, and excessive toil and poverty on the other, lead to intemperance and vice. The measures of reform here demanded will prove to be the scientific solution of the temperance question. The committee on platform proposed as the tame of the new party “The Commoners,” This was amended as “The Union party,” but after decided opposition and considerable debate it was again amended as “The Union labor party.”
When the land plank came up for discussion Mr. Williams of Missouri moved to amend by striking out the section relating to the Indian lands, but the amendment was lost. Leo Miller of Illinois moved to amend by adding “that those land values which result from the growth of the community belong of right to the people and should by them be appropriated and applied for purposes of general benefit.” The amendment was voted down. Mr. Betz of Cincinnati moved to reconsider, and the motion was carried. Mr. Miller asked for two minutes to defend his amendment, and was almost howled down. The chairman decided that under the rules he must be allowed to speak. Mr. Miller spoke in favor of taking the “unearned increment by means of land taxation.” The amendment was again lost, the majority against it being very large.
Seniskin Sacques for Workingman's Wives
Charles E. Wheeler in the Toledo Blade.
There is, it seems to me, a mine of truth in the observation of Buckle, that no men ever yet exercised power for any considerable time but exercised it to the injury of the powerless. It means much, and all history emphasizes its truth. In our own day the natural play of competitive forces is substantially lost, and combinations, pools, syndicates, etc.,'rule so harshly that it would seem there is a line to which workmen are forced by unfeeling employers, a subsistence line it may be cal led, passing over which discontent so deep is created in the breast of the workman that strikes and riots ensue; and while the abolition of drink might- for a time work an increase in the savings of thousands, yet I see nothing to prevent the exercise of this power of money and combination, and a removal of the subsistence line a little farther back. In other words, cunning and cupidity would seize upon the advantage, and the seal sacques, which Mr. Murphy says that workingmen might buy for their wives with their share of the $700,000,000 now spent annually for drink, would be quite as rare as ever.
Farmers and the Land Tax
The Ludington (Mich.) Democrat quotes with pleasure a recent editorial article in the New York Sun, declaring that “the one subject of taxation about which there cannot be any deception is the land,” and urging that taxation be concentrated in land. The Democrat declares that this is the George doctrine, and says:
The farmer will at first thought believe that such a system of taxation would bear unjustly on his already overburdened shoulders. A moment's reflection, however, will convince him that such is not the case. Under such a system he would not be compelled to pay indirectly an average tax of about forty- two per cent on all that he bought in the market. If by extraordinary energy and prudence he possessed good buildings, he would not be taxed for those qualifications. If he chose to have good stock he wouldn't be compelled to pay tribute for the privilege. In a word, he would only be compelled to pay taxes on natural resources and not on the creation of his labor. So in reality he wouldn't be taxed as much as he now is directly and indirectly.
Correspondence Wilkesbarre, Pa., Sunday Leader.
I can say from actual knowledge that the average earnings of first-class out side men at one of the largest mines in the entire valley was not quite $5.20 per week during 1886. There were just lii) days worked last year at the mine, and this at $1.50 per day made $268.50. Deduct therefrom $75 for house rent and fuel (a very small allowance) and the remainder will be found to be for the 52 weeks of the year $193.50, or less than $3.75 per week to feed and clothe a family. And yet these are the first- lass outside men, loaders, platform hands, bank men, etc. The others get $1.25 and $1, and some as low as 90 cents per day worked. How such men manage to live at all on 179 days' work—and that is all the work they could get to do last year—passes compensation.
The Movement in England
Rapid Spread of New Ideas in the Old World—Landlordism Doomed
London, Feb. 5.—English newspapers which represent the feeling of a large majority of the intelligent community show the cause of all the trouble in Ireland to be exactions and oppressions of the landlords. The Irish are blamed for being a troublesome people to govern, but any people would have a perfect right to trouble their governors if they were oppressed as the Irish have been for generations. A dog would be excused for stealing butchers' meat if he were starved, or for biting the man that kicked him; but the Irish only get hard names when they object to the perpetuity of a system of legalized oppression and robbery devised by landlord parliaments.
Landlordism is severely criticized on all hands and “vested rights” closely inquired into. I am every day surprised to see the growth of radical opinion on the land question and the natural rights of man. Until recently all Englishmen accepted the word “law” as being synonymous with justice and right; but now they are clamoring on all sides for a repeal of laws which were evidently made in the grossest and most inexcusable ignorance, or else by a lot of knaves who wished to get rich without work at the public expense, and enacted laws to that end. It has been the custom of English statesmen to sneer at the “corruption of American legislators” and the venality of those men who accept a salary as members of our American congress. While there may be exceptional cases of a betrayal of trust on the part of American congressmen, the annals of history can show no parallel to the class legislation of England. The neglect to compensate members of parliament for time given to the public business makes it impossible for any but rich men to accept such offices; therefore, parliament is mostly composed of landlords, capitalists, railroad men and lawyers, who object to the taxation of land values, who vote for all sorts of monopolies, and who make the the laws so intricate that the simplest business a ff airs constantly require the intervention of a solicitor with heavy bill of costs. Legal expenses in this country are much higher than in the states and thus the rights of the poor may be defied by the rich.
We are much surprised that the machinery of the Roman Catholic church should be set in motion against the interests of the very great majority of its members, whom we all know to be mostly among the laboring classes of America. Most of the Roman Catholics there are engaged in individual occupations, and would, therefore, find it greatly to their interest to have taxation removed from the results of their industry, which is seriously burdened thereby. Comparatively few of them are land owners, and most of those who own land work upon it and put improvements upon it, for which latter they are heavily taxed; while at the same time capitalist landowners hold great tracts of unimproved land upon which they will not work nor allow any one else to work, because the annual increase in value greatly exceeds the animal taxation. Catholic emigrants in America have paid millions upon millions of pounds to landlords of America in the shape of ground rents or capital, sums of money representing ground values, and it will certainly be to the interest of every industrious Catholic to cease paying tribute to a class of persons who charge as much for God's works as if they had made the earth, air, water and themselves.
It is becoming obvious to the thinking people of all countries that payments made for land or for the use of land are of the nature of a tribute and not for a value received, as is the case when any product of human industry is exchanged for money. Landlords receive ground rents, payments for land and royalties upon the output of mines, not for any services they render, but only because lawmakers have neglected to take state-earned increment, or ground rent, for public purposes, which should be done, as such values are created solely by the growth of prosperity of the public. Although such payments to individuals are essentially of the nature of a tribute, they would cease to be a tribute if paid to the public treasury for public expenses, because they justly belong to the public, being caused by the necessities of humanity for earth, air and water, without which the human race must perish.
The chiefest enemies of the human race are selfishness and ignorance. the Standard is doing a good work in appealing to the sense of justice of the American people and of all people, and by the exposure of sophistry in connection with the land and free trade questions. God will prosper you in the good work, which is on scripture lines, and in accordance with pure justice and equity.
Land Monopoly Must Go
Rome, Ga., Feb. 21.—In this country the principles advocated by the Standard have come to stay, and the progress of the nineteenth century will compel their solution. The old question of Israel's prophet, “What doth the Lord, thy God, require of thee but to do justice, love mercy, and walk humbly?” has come round to be settled—settled by mind and, if need be, maintained by force. Land monopoly must go. Land by the thousands of acres, where freemen ought to dwell, must no longer be withheld from cultivation. Sixty-five children in every one hundred under five years of age must not be permitted to die. Room must be made for air and sunshine, millionaires to the contrary, notwithstanding.
Augustus R. Wright.
Good Work in Indiana
Vincennes, Ind., Feb. 21.—An auspicious beginning was yesterday made in the land and labor movement in this section by the formation of a land and labor club in this city. About twenty-three signed the declaration yesterday, and it is believed that within the next three months at least 300 members will be upon the rolls. The following officers were elected: President, Wm. D. Robinson; vice-president, Daniel M. Lynch; secretary, Dr. J. A. Randolph; corresponding secretary, Warren W. Bailey; treasurer, C. F. Schultz; representative, Hon. Samuel W. Williams. Three or four ringing land reform speeches were made, eliciting hearty applause. A land and labor reform candidate will probably be put in the field in the May election.
Warren Worth Bailey.
The Monopoly of Boston's Streets
Boston Correspondence Springfield Republican.
The movements toward consolidation of the street car system which have advanced considerably during the progress of these strikes have caused more comment, perhaps, and attracted more attention than the strikes themselves. It is evident that this season new street railroad schemes which have been for some time developing will be considerably advanced, and that before long new systems will be introduced which will revolutionize the street car service of the city and suburbs, and it is in anticipation of these possible changes that these movements toward consolidation of the existing companies are making. The present are to be regarded as preliminary skirmishes, to be followed by the real battle for street rights. It is apparent now that the cable surface systems, or possibly the electric, are nearer adoption than any of the elevated road projects which have been started, and it is possible that the former will first be introduced on Beacon street, the one great avenue now left uncovered by tracks, the proposition to put a line here to lead to the western suburbs being this year very strongly backed, and having support which last year it lacked.
Nothing But Appropriation Bills Can Be Passed
The Fortification Folly-No Chance of Land Reform—Wall Street and the Treasury—No General Dissolution of the Cabinet Probable
Washington, Feb. 23.—As the session draws to a close it becomes more and more apparent that little can be done beyond passing the necessary appropriation bills. Only eight days more of the session remain, and practically little more than six working days. Only one or two of the general appropriation bills have become a law, and three important bills—the legislative and executive, the army bill and the general deficiency—had not been acted on, as the house adjourns at 1 o'clock to-day. In the construction of- these bills in committee, changes in form and substance have been contemplated, and after being discussed and adopted by the house have to be sent for consideration to the senate. To do so thoroughly or intelligently is, of course, out of the question, but they will be hurried through before the adjournment in some shape. Today the fisheries bill was before the house, and some measure may possibly be agreed on. It was rumored that a report had been agreed on with regard to the fortifications bill. The senate bills for the manufacture of large guns, ironclads and marine defenses do not appear to be reaching a stage in the house that would be likely to secure their passage. All measures for land reform, or to secure a correction of the abuses of the present system even, are relegated to the next year and the next congress. A thorough overhauling of the accounts of the great Pacific railway corporations is not very imminent, for, although both houses and both parties profess to be zealous in that direction, they take good care not to agree upon any measures that are likely to be searching and conclusive. While the thousand and more bills on the calendar may be considered as practically dead, a few measures outside the appropriation bills are likely to consume some of the little time left to either house. The question as to passing the dependent pension bill, the president's objections to the contrary notwithstanding, will come up. In the house, where it must first be voted on, the result is considered close and uncertain. Efforts will also be made to force or drag in after some fashion the defense bills, but on these the result is quite as doubtful. No tariff or revenue changes will be made, and no financial measure of any importance. This may be considered a correct summary of the forty-ninth congress.
It is greatly to be regretted that the lines of parties and of public men in this congress should not have teen more clearly marked. On hardly any of the great practical questions before the country do the two great parties which have divided the country take issue. There is not a great question in finance which has been agitated before congress or the committees which has been an issue between republicans and democrats. Wall street seems to have the grateful deference of the prominent men of both parties. So completely have the banking and stock jobbing interests been in the habit of shaping all money questions in their own interests, that ambitious public men can hardly be found to lift their voices against them. The present administration has been as completely in their hands as those that have preceded it. No prominent candidate in either party dares to wag his tongue against it. It is openly talked and thoroughly understood here that on a presidential issue Wall street will control the state of New York, and that with the present political divisions, or divisions of sentiment, real or imaginary, between the northern and southern states, no man can be elected president who cannot carry the state of New York. Whether this general supposition be a truth or a fallacy, its influence over politicians cannot be denied. All through the west, and in many parts of the east, this truckling spirit to the moneyed interests of the country arouses a deep feeling of indignation. The action, or rather non-action, of this congress will hardly tend to soothe this ruffled spirit. Both parties seem instinctively to shrink from important measures. Some little side bill, or temporary expedient, that may seem to offer the means to one party to make the other appear in the wrong, is eagerly grasped at. The chief aim seems to be to make capital out of one another, and that, too, when both parties shrink from committing themselves to any thing. They resemble two armies overrunning and devastating a country, and only taking care to keep out of each other's way.
The resignation of Secretary Manning brings up the old story of a cabinet crisis. The president is certainly in a quandary about his secretary of the treasury. .He certainly ought to be a man whose national character and marked ability would give strength and dignity to an otherwise rather weak cabinet. Mr. Cleveland dared not appoint Mr. Thurman. The philosopher with the bandanna would throw Wall street into convulsions. Mr. Carlisle has been talked of, and his appointment would, in some respects, not be so objectionable to New York interests. He is a free trader, but then he was a member of the silver league, and favored the retention of the legal tender notes already a float. It is possible that he may have repudiated these heresies, but Wall street would probably prefer to have him bleached in chloride of lime for a while. Morrison would probably be more acceptable to Wall street, but he is hardly the man they want, and, although he is likely to be out of a job on the 4th of March, is hardly likely to get this one. Frank Hurd is as bad, or even worse than Carlisle. In this dilemma the president has hardly any recourse save to appoint a pliant subordinate like Fairchild, who would no doubt like to get the place, and would just suit Wall street; or Mr. Cleveland might select some of his own political friends from the state of New York, whose appointment would strengthen. him at home, and who would be entirely satisfactory to the varied interests.
As to the report that several other members of the cabinet were going out, that is hardly likely. They certainly will not if they can help it. The two weakest specimens are certainly Vilas and Garland. The latter survived all the pan electric scandals, and is even likely to survive the fact that every judicial opinion he has delivered has been incontinently rejected by the department to which it has been sent. Not that they were very judicial, but a cabinet that can get along without a legal adviser is happily circumstanced.
A democratic paper here, discussing the rumor of the postmaster general's retirement, says: “Mr. Vilas is going to be a power in the democratic party for a good while. and he is going to be an important person in the contest in many ways. One reason why he is not likely to be snuffed out so very early is that presently he is going to be one of the wealthiest men in the northwest. Mr. Vilas is an owner of a huge 'stake' in the great Gogebie iron range in Wisconsin. The most remarkable mineral development in the country is going on in that locality. Mr. Vilas and his law partner were the owners of a very large tract of this property, which has been placed in the hands of a syndicate with millions of capital. Mr. Vilas is to receive a royalty on every ton of ore that is ever taken out of the numerous mines that are rapidly being started there. His income from this source is likely to make him many times a millionaire.”
This is rather funny Democratic doctrine but may possibly be true. It is, indeed, hardly likely that this administration intends to call in the aid of great statesmen to cheer or enliven the closing portion of its term.
W. P. A.
“The Fight In The Dark”
Lecture by Henry George at Newburg, New York
Newburg, N. Y., Feb. 23.—Henry George lectured at the Columbia rink Friday night on “The Fight in the Dark.” For two hours before the meeting and for some time after it commenced a terrific storm of wind and rain passed over the town, but more than three hundred people, including clergymen, lawyers, bank and municipal officers, merchants and mechanics, came out to hear the lecture. of which the Newburg News, our vigorous labor paper, publishes a fine report. Mr. George spoke of strikes as a fight in the dark, which hurt friends as well as foes. He agreed with the capitalist press that every man has a right to work or not as he pleases, and that no organization or set of men has a right to prevent other men from working if they want to; but under present conditions it is only by organizations of workingmen under discipline like that of an army that anything can be gained for laborers. In the recent strikes in New York the employers drew men from the country to take the place of the strikers. There is a constant pressure for employment, and every strike is like going against the tide. Why is it, Le asked. That in a country like this there is surplus labor? It is monopolization of the land by the few. An unemployed man in New York who attempted to erect a house for himself on a vacant lot would be driven off. If he attempted to employ himself on unused land in agricultural districts he would not have to go far to find the unused land, but would be warned off by some one who would say: “That is my land; you cannot go to work unless you buy it of me!” and the man would have to mortgage his labor for a long time for the privilege of employing himself.
The lecturer spoke of inventions as not having benefited workers. The condition of the lower class was better in ruder times. Then there was no fear about getting a living, unless there was an actual famine: but even when granaries are filled to bursting men and women are dying of starvation. The reason for this is that men have been disinherited. If wealth rained down from Heaven like manna workingmen would not be benefited. It would go to the landlords, except a little for gathering it up and storing it. The earth spouts oil, but it belongs to the owner of the land. There are great bodies of coal, but according to present theories Providence intended them for Frank B. Gowen and the Reading railroad company. This coal and oil belongs to the whole people. Those who claim it do not work and take it out of the earth; they do nothing, while other people have to pay them for the privilege of getting it out.
Mr. George concluded by saying that he would turn the fight in the dark into a fight in the light. He would strike at the great central wrong.
J. J. Mullen, Joseph Martin and others asked questions, which were answered by the lecture.
Protecting A Monopoly
News That Does Not Reach the Public, but Which Should Interest It Deeply
There is hardly a word nowadays in the newspapers about the bills before congress relating to government, telegraphy or putting an end to the monopoly of the Western Union company. There seems to be only the feeblest interest in the subject. There is silence in regard to it so far as nearly every great daily newspaper is concerned.
Six weeks ago the organ of the operating telegraphers, the Electric Age, called attention to “the most important measure relating to the telegraphic service that congress has ever had before it.” The bill was reported in the house on Dec. 22 by Mr. Warner of Ohio, from the committee on post offices and post roads. It provides that all subsidized railroads shall “construct and operate for railroad, government, commercial and all other purposes., telegraph lines, and exercise by themselves alone all the telegraph franchises conferred upon and obligations assumed by them under the granting acts,” and that whenever any telegraph company shall extend its line to the eastern terminus, or to any station or office belonging to any one of the said railroad companies, it shall have the right to connect with the telegraph line of the railroad company for the prompt exchange of telegraphic communication between the two companies. So well known an authority in telegraph matters as Mr. J. C. Hueston, commenting on this bill in the Electric Age says that even the daily newspapers that briefly mentioned the bill entirely missed its real purpose, which is to break down the Western Union's monopoly of the telegraph. lines on the subsidized Pacific railroads. These lines are now practically surrendered to the Western Union. If all the larger companies are put in connection with them on equal terms, the Western Union's monopoly in the west will be at an end, the supreme advantage it now holds over its competitors will be set aside and its collapse as a monopoly will be certain.
Why is not the country rejoicing over such a prospect?Why has not this news been quickly conveyed to every paper in the land? The answer is that the Western Union company, the Associated press and the great dailies of the cities have interests in common that are closer to each of them than are the interests of the people. The organization of the telegraphers has asked the management of each of the daily papers of New York to give prominent mention of the bill in question, knowing that the newspapers of the rest of the country would follow the example of the metropolitan press. Only two New York papers, however—the Evening Post and the Herald—have deemed it worth while to respond. “Close con tracts and cheap special rates with the Western Union,”' says the Electric Age, “have closed the mouths of some of the ardent anti-monopolist and anti-Gould professors of journalism.” Mr. Warner's bill has been smothered by a “conspiracy of silence.”
Goats and Such
Mr. Luxton's goat parable is intended as “a deadener of my timber. However, he unfortunately translated it from the wrong language. My understanding is that Bob Clive's white billies are still butting the piebalds and blacks into the river. Nor do I know any language that would have; suited better than the Hindoo; certainly not those spoken on the Bosporus and the Nile, nor yet those heard along the Mississippi and the Amazon. Benevolent theories may be blown large and luminous; but, like soap bubbles, they generally burst at the point when their producer gapes widest at their beauty, their inside gases mingling with the kindred air, and their gaudy envelope resolving into its invisible elements.
Waco, Tex., Feb. 18.
The best thing said about the extravagance of congress was said yesterday by Senator Vest of Missouri, who declared that if the session were to last two weeks longer "the forty-ninth congress would put Aladdin's lamp in the hands of a receiver.”
The New Party
The Organization Spreading Through The Country
The Movement in New York State—Action in Chicago—Sound Doctrine in Pittsburg—Correspondence of the Central Committee
A land and labor club has been formed at Middletown, N. Y. It has a large membership, and holds weekly meetings. Charles H. Fuller of the Olnev & Fuller drug company, is president, and John Rogers, a shoemaker, is secretary. A large meeting was held in the place recently under the auspices of the Knights of Labor, and James P. Kohler of this city made an able address on the land question, which was attentively listened to.
At a recent mass meeting of the labor party in Chicago resolutions were adopted amid great enthusiasm, declaring that labor can hope for no relief from either the republican or the democratic party; denouncing those parties as hopelessly corrupt, and maintaining that trades unions must unite for independent political action if workingmen hope to better their condition and enforce respect for the demands. Two speakers denounced Mayor Harrison as the enemy of the workingmen, and charged him with laying- wires to capture the labor vote.
The workingmen of Pittsburg recently organized “the commoners party” and sent delegates to the Cincinnati convention. They adopted the following platform to be presented to that convention: “The shifting of taxation until land values bear alt taxes, and then an increase of taxation until all economic rent is appropriated to public use; control by the general government, of railroads and telegraphs; laws to prevent all speculation on margins; the abolition of internal revenues; a tax on all incomes over $5,000; shortening the hours of labor.”
Below are given a few short extracts from the correspondence of the central committee, 26 Cooper Union:
Frank Horton, Burlington, Kan.—The tracts you publish are the very best things of the kind I ever saw, and certainly there could not be a much better kind than that which, if put in execution, would secure real freedom for the laboring millions. I guess I have come by the principles I uphold naturally enough. Peter Cooper was a relative of mine. Our assembly here is growing very rapidly.
O. S. W. Frineke, Denver, Col.—Local Carpenters' union No. 55 have resolved to procure a quantity of your tracts. Please give us the Clarendon hall platform in both English and German. Our next- election will occur in April, and the land and labor club here will call a meeting of delegates from all workingmen some time this week. We propose to nominate a ticket of our own, independently of both the old parties.
Chas. F. Kipp, Columbus. O-—We shall perhaps send a delegate to the Cincinnati conference, but we shall never indorse the platform they formulate if it is a whit less radical on the land question than the Clarendon hall platform, which, for the precision of its statement of social and political evils and of the remedies therefor, stands without a rival.
J. J. Sullivan, New Orleans.—The good work is progressing finely here. We shall, in a few weeks, have clubs organized m every precinct of this city.
John A. Roost, Holland, Mich.—At last we are organized here, and there is complete harmony in the ranks. The universal feeling is that we have no further use for either of the “grand old parties.” “By the grace of God” we have in this country no king or queen masquerading under these very words, yet hitherto we have had, through the blindness of partisan feeling, something nearly as bad. The old parties have been kept together, one of them by raising the "bloody shirt'' in place of the flag of our country, and the other through the cohesive power of appetite for public plunder. Under present conditions one poor man is driven by necessity into undermining another. “A poor man that oppresseth the poor is like the sweeping rain that leaveth no food.” We must abolish the many vested wrongs, and this can only be done through political action.
Judge James C. Maguire, San Francisco, Cal.—Our movement in this state is meeting with a most favorable reception. I have appoint ed thirteen members of a state central committee, under whose management the organization of the state will practically commence about March 1, at which time we expect to hold a mass meeting in this city for the purpose of formally launching the movement. Immediately thereafter we shall hold similar meetings in Oakland, Sacramento and San Jose, and afterwards we shall bring together the land reformers of the smaller towns. Our land and labor club meets every Thursday evening for public discussion, and for the reading each night of a chapter from “Progress and Poverty.” The general and growing desire among the people to hear the land question discussed gives promise of great results from our contemplated propaganda.
The New Party's Name
Brooklyn, Feb. 21.—I believe, and I speak from practical observation acquired as a warm adherent of the new party, that changing its name from the labor party to some more comprehensive one would be immediately followed by large numbers of additional followers. What name more suitable for us then than “anti-monopolists,” since the purpose of our organization is to overthrow monopoly? It is all well enough to say that the word “laborer” is used in its higher and scientific sense. and comprises “all who work with hand or brain.” I can assure you that most men whom I have met (outside of “organized labor” and trades unions) speak and think of the constituents of the new party as “they,” and feel as if they never could say “we.” The nu me gives them this impression: They read between the words; instead of labor party they see it as the (central) labor ('union)party. It implies a class movement to those not immediately connected with organized labor, whereas the name anti- monopolist party really implies a party or movement of the whole people waging war against all monopoly of the people's privileges and rights.
C. E. R.
Another Party Name
St. Paul, Minn., Feb. 15.—The new party will be truly national in principle, and why should it not, be national in name? As an humble member of the rank and file of that party, I protest against the name, progressive democracy. Let democrats continue voting for Andrew Jackson; let republicans go on voting to abolish slavery and paralyze the somewhat elastic spinal column of the wicked rebellion: but in my judgment the time has come when every man who believes that the hewers of wood and drawers of water—the vulgar, common herd — have some rights which law makers are bound to respect, should cut loose from both these parties at once and forever. Let us repudiate the methods and principles—or, rather, the utter lack of principle—of both, and every vestige of the name of each. Let us organize a new party; one that shall be fully abreast of the times in which we live, and yet thoroughly loyal to first principles of natural, eternal justice, in their application to the science of civil government. I move that we call ourselves nationalists and our party the national party.
G. W. Grth.
Indignation Concerning His Treatment Gradually Spreading
The Parishioners Faithful in Attendance at Church, but Careful to Leave Their Money at Home—A Traitor to the Cause Has No Rest—Exhibiting the Boycott Resolutions
The services at St. Stephen's were quietly conducted last Sunday, and substitutes were on hand to take the pieces of the altar boys and singers-who left when Dr. McGlynn was so unceremoniously removed. Collections were taken up by the new ushers and charges often and fifteen cents for seats were made. Patrick Harris, who had gone out when Dr. McGlynn was removed, but who subsequently made his pence with Father Colton, undertook to manage this business. He had tried this on the previous Sunday and been soundly berated for his treachery. He changed his position last. Sunday from the Twenty-ninth street entrance to that in Twenty-eight street.
As the members of the congregation filed into the church Mr. Harris, with a number of seat checks held firmly in his hand, persisted in calling in a loud voice: “Tickets, ten cents each for the church; ten cents a ticket.” He was soon surrounded by a number of ladies, who became furiously indignant.
“Oh, look at him now. How much are you getting, Paddy dear, for turning traitor?”
“How dare you make a show of the church in that way,” exclaimed a third party, while one questionable friend ejaculated consolingly: “Oh, never mind the poor man; he thinks he is hustling for a dime museum.”
In the midst of this Mr. Harris retreated inside and peace was restored.
The confessional of Dr. McGlynn has not been forgotten, and willing hands took down the old flowers and redecorated it on last Saturday night.
The collections were quite meager, and groups of people stood around the windows of Third avenue stores near the church reading framed copies of the resolutions pledging the congregation to cease contributing to the church until Dr. McGlynn is restored.
The Parishioners' Meeting
A Large Attendance on a Stormy Night—Stirring Speech by Mr. Gahan
Despite the driving storm on Friday of last week the meeting of the St. Stephen's parishioners in the International Assembly hall was large and enthusiastic, every inch of standing room being occupied.
Chairman Feeney, in calling the meeting to order, denounced the rumors that the movement in favor of bringing Dr McGlynn back was conducted by the “rough and rebellious” element of the parish. “Neither is it true,” he added, “that Dr. McGlynn was brought into his present trouble through Henry George. Mr. George had nothing to do with the case. Where was George when our pastor took his Stand in favor of the public schools fifteen years ago. that brought upon him censure and rebuke? Where was George in 1882, when Dr. McGlynn was threatened with suspension for making land league speeches? Thousands of miles from here.” Mr. Feeney said that some well meaning people were coming to him and lamenting because Dr. McGlynn ever fell in with Henry George. “I tell you,” he said, “Dr. McGlynn has got a better head on his shoulders than any other Catholic in this country. He knows what is right. I'm not sorry he met Henry George. I would admire him if he out-Georged George's theories.”
James J. Gahan, editor of the Catholic Herald, was the principal speaker of the evening. He made an elaborate review of the doctor's case, and defended his course and that of the parishioners in refusing to contribute to the support of St. Stephen's. The doctrine of the land for the people, he argued, was us old as the race and had long been held by the church. “How,” he asked, “can a doctrine be culled un-Catholic in the nineteenth century which prevailed from the fifth to the twelfth centuries in Ireland by the approval of the church?” Then he explained how Dr. McGlynn was led into the campaign last fall, saying: “The doctor, like the workingmen of the city, was tired out and disgusted with these political trimmers—such as now take up the collections in St. Stephen's. [Loud cheering and laughter.] Those trimmers, I say, who have one eye on the cross and another on the ‘boodle’ [great applause], wretched associates of convicts now in Sing Sing. (Laughter.) Dr. McGlynn took up arms with the honest laboring men of the city and the tremendous effects of his efforts have frightened the ‘halls’ that now they are bent on crushing him. To this end the help of Mgr. Preston was secured, a man without a drop of Celtic blood in his body and m heart like a stone. [Hisses.] But Dr. McGlynn is only down for a short time, my friends. Keep your ranks firm and he is sure to come back to you.” [Great applause.] Mr. Gahan further said: “I can understand how that Scotch-Irish hater out- in Cleveland, Bishop Gilmour, thought to strike down the Irish cause by striking down Dr. McGlynn. We will stand by Dr. McGlynn just so long as We know he is innocent.”
The Country Appealed To
Address of the New York Dr. McGlynn Fund Committee to the Workingmen of the United States and Canada
Fellow Workingmen: Your brothers in New York are just now engaged in a great conflict, in which issues of momentous consequence to the whole people are involved. In the name and with the authority of a mass meeting of Catholics at which our committee was formed, we appeal to you for your sympathy and support. We ask you to stand by us and help to sustain the position we have taken up and thereby enable us to win in a fight which we think is yours as much as it is ours. It is a struggle for the assertion of principles which are of vital concern to every wage worker in the country. We contend for rights which are essential to the well being of the people. We claim that the land of America belongs to the whole body of its citizens, and we claim that in their relations to the political affairs of their country all our citizens, of every religious creed, are entitled to absolute independence of ecclesiastical authority, either in or out of America. We believe that God made theland for the use and benefit of the whole people, and that it is God's will that the people should freely exercise their own intelligence and judgment in tile ordering of their secular affairs.
That the land belongs to the people is no new doctrine. It is as old as the first code of laws given to man. It is a self-evident truth founded on our natural right to the means necessary for the maintenance of life. It was not only recognized in theory but established in fact in many European countries centuries ago. It is proclaimed to day by Christian bishops, by clergymen of all de- denominations; by learned men, able writers and by politicians and statesmen in different part of the world. To say that it is opposed to the teaching of the Catholic church is to say that, Archbishop Croke and Bishop Nulty are heretics. These and other eminent prelates of the Catholic church have repeatedly and emphatically indorsed the proposition that private ownership inland is an injustice to the people. It is hardly necessary for us, even if it were possible in a form of address such as this, to point out the numerous evils to society and the injury to every man and woman who lives by toil which result from a system under which individuals and [text missing] are permitted to monopolize the property of the nation. We know that we who work have not the just reward of our labor. We know that many of our brethren, willing to work for the pittance that would give them bread, have not the opportunity to work, though the land in which we are citizens presents an inexhaustible field for the industry of all. Under the system against which we fight, we see that poverty increases in the midst of plenty, and that the lot of the poor becomes harder in the midst of natural bounties, capable of limitless development.
How and why those evils exist and in what way they are to be remedied we have learned from the writings of a man—a fellow citizen of our own—who has consecrated his life and genius to the work of opening to all the opportunities of labor and securing to labor the possession and enjoyment of all that it produces. The great and beneficent principles associated with the name of Henry George are sufficiently familiar to make further recital of them here unnecessary. By the recent mayoralty election contest in New York they have been forced upon the attention, not merely of the American public, but of politicians and statesmen throughout the world. That contest was undertaken by the labor organizations of New York, and Henry George was chosen as the labor candidate mainly for the purpose of bringing the land question to the front and forming a party to adopt national ownership of land as the fundamental principle of its programme.
For supporting this principle and for supporting the candidature of Henry George, Dr. Edward McGlynn the most distinguished priest of New York—we might venture to say the most distinguished priest on the American continent—has been suspended, deposed from his pastorate and ordered to retract and go to Rome to submit himself to discipline. What manner of man Dr. McGlynn is and has been is in some measure known to all the country. His eloquent voice has been heard in many an American city championing the cause of justice to Ireland and justice to the workers of America. To convey in words an adequate idea of the great qualities of head and heart which have endeared him to his own people and won the admiration of citizens of all creeds in New York would be an impossible task. In all the relations of life his record for a quarter of a Century stands out as a bright example for the Christian minister and the patriot citizen. The soggarth aroon, the priest of the poor, the friend of the distressed, the father of the orphan, are among the loving designations which have been made familiar in connection with his name in the pa risk and city in which he has lived and labored.
It is suggested by some that Dr. McGlynn has been suspended not for his teachings on the land question and his support of Henry George, but for disobeying his ecclesiastical superiors. This is a wretched quibble which will not bear a moment's examination. The true explanation of the persecution to which he is subjected is presented to us in the letters and telegrams from Cardinal Simeoni to Cardinal McClosky and Archbishop Corrigan, which have been published inthe American papers. In 1882 Cardinal Simeoni wrote to Cardinal McClosky, ordering him to “suspend the priest McGlynn from his sacred ministry,” unless he “should judge such measure excessive, considering the various circumstances.” The reason assigned for this order was “the scandal caused by the priest Edward McGlynn by his violent speeches in 1883. Cardinal Simeoni addressed the New York cardinal in these terms: “Last year I had occasion to write to your eminence about the priest McGlynn, who in certain meetings held to favor and aid the Irish land league, had uttered propositions contrary to the doctrine of the Catholic church. . . I therefore beg you to again forbid to the Rev. McGlynn this kind of life and declamations.”
On the 16th of January of the present year Simeoni telegraphed to Archbishop Corrigan as follows: “Give orders to have Dr. McGlynn again invited to proceed to Rome, and also to condemn in writing the doctrines to which he has given utterance in public meetings, or which have been attributed to him in the press. Should he disobey, use your own authority in dealing with him.”
The doctrine, a which Dr. McGlynn was here ordered to “condemn in writing” are the doctrines that private ownership in land is unjust, and that the land belongs to the people. Because Dr. McGlynn refuses to condemn these doctrines—doctrines which his judgment and conscience approve, doctrines which several Irish bishops proclaim and touch,doctrines upon which the church has never pronounced censure; because Dr. McGlynn will not condemn them he is suspended from the priesthood, driven from his pastorate, torn from the service of the people who love and revere him, roughly ejected from his home, and left houseless and penniless upon the streets. Against this outrage the workingmen of New York are up in energetic protest, and they invite their brethren of the United States and Canada to join in their shout of indignation. We protest against the claim of the ecclesiastical authorities in Rome to interfere in any way whatever in our political affairs. We protest against any attempt to restrict the freedom of American Catholics, lay or cleric, in the exercise of their rights as citizens. We cordially and emphatically endorse the vitally important principle embodied in the following extract from Dr. McGlynn's able and crushing reply to the statement of Archbishop Corrigan: “I deny the right of bishop, propaganda or pope to punish me for my actions as a man and a citizen in the late municipal canvass or in other political movements. I deny their right to censure me or to punish me for my opinions in political economy, unless they can show that these opinions are clearly contrary to the teachings of the Christian religion.” We also deny the existence of any such right. Following the example of the Irish people and in the spirit of American liberty, we declare that “we shall brook no intermeddling by Rome in our national concerns.”
We ask you, fellow workingmen, to help us in this great fight. We ask you to call mass meetings in your towns and cities, to pass resolutions of protest and to form fund committees. We ask the labor organizations to take action in their unions. We ask all associations of workingmen to aid us in the duty of rousing the whole country to a proper sense of the danger to its liberties and its rights threatened by the claim of Roman ecclesiastics to authority in American politics. Let the voice of the people ring out over the whole continent, from the Atlantic to the Pacific, and thunder into the cars of archbishop and cardinals the resolve of American workingmen to have no politics from Rome. If Dr. McGlynn is to win for himself and for the principles he represents he will be strengthened in the effort to do so by having the people in solid phalanx at his back. Let the people then start to their feet andtake their places resolutely behind him, and victory will beassured.
As a demonstration of our earnestness we propose raising a fund for Dr. McGlynn. With characteristic unselfishness the reverend gentleman consents to receive it only as a trustee and to be used in the people's cause. Let us make him our trustee and stand by him with the same unswerving devotion with which he has stood by us.
We hope to sec fund committees formed immediately in every town in the country, Dr. De Leon, lot East Eighty-ninth street, New York, is our treasurer. Subscriptions may be sent to him, to the editor of the Standard, 25 Ann street, New York, or the editor of the Leader, 184William street, New York.
We respectfully request labor papers to print this ad dress in full, and we suggest to committees and labor organizations to get it printed in the papers of their localities and have it otherwise circulated as widely as possible.
Signed, Jeremiah Coughlin, M.D., chairman; Daniel De Leon, Ph.D., treasurer; Michael Clarke, secretary: J. M. Fox, M.D.; John McMuckin. Patrick Doody, James P. Archibald, Wm. J. O'Dair, Hugh Whoriskey, Robert Crowe, James J. Gahan, editor Catholic Herald; James C. Fleming, A. J. Steers, Thomas F- Kenny, James McKim, Martin J. Cummings, Wm. P. O'Meara, Thomas Moran, members of committee.
New York, Feb. 19, 1887.
Corry, Pa., Feb. 16.—The manly course of Dr. McGlynn, backed up by the noble men and women of St. Stephen's, has awakened profound sympathy all over the country. The hearts of millions of Puritan stock has been lukewarm toward Ireland on account of what you call castle Catholics and we call Jesuitism. No generous man likes to see a big bully like England abuse and rob a smaller man. But we had believed that if Ireland were free the hierarchy would rule her from Rome and humiliate and oppress the people still worse. Now that we see a Catholic priest enduring persecution for freedom, great numbers of Catholics voting outside of their church for freedom, the women fighting for freedom like heroines and telling the tools of ecclesiastical tyranny to their faces they are hypocrites, as brave little Maggie Cregan did, our hearts melt with sympathy and our votes are with them.
G. F. Lewis.
Only One Opponent
New York, Feb. 19.—I have just returned from a two weeks' trip in New England. In all the hotels where I stopped I found only one man who opposed the Standard's attitude with regard to Dr. McGlynn. He was a hotel proprietor, a rumseller and an earth grabber.
W. W. Foster.
Dr. McGlynn Wanted West
Chicago, Feb. 14.—Dr. McGlynn would do the cause great good by an evangelizing trip. He should come out west. The ball is moving.
S. R. Evans
The Press on Dr. McGlynn
It is amusing as well as encouraging to observe the squirming of the champions of land monopoly, and their wild attempts to defend an untenable position. The ringing defiance of Dr. McGlynn irritates them, and they search the Scriptures as the Scriptures never were searched before from Genesis to the Apocalypse, to prove the right of a few individuals to own God's earth.—[Burlington, Ia., Justice.]
The friends of Ireland should never forget Father McGlynn's services to Ireland during the early days of the Irish land war. He was loyal to the land of his fathers when skulking cowards were maligning and calumniating the faithful nationalists of Ireland.—[St. Louis American Celt.]
When a man as ardently admired and widely supported as Dr. McGlynn announce? a well considered opinion, it is not to be “whistled down the wind” because it stands in the way of a far deeper current of general opinion. It cannot resist, but it can make troublesome eddies and turbulent whirlpools. So we accept his recent declaration against private property in land us a matter to be carefully and rationally treated.—[Indianapolis News.]
As for Rev. Dr. McGlynn, the good, benevolent man, the friend and brother of all in sorrow or distress, we respect and love him, as we love all who have, in pure innocence, given time, talents, labor and wealth to the service of the poor and miserable. There is a certain passage (“'Inasmuch as ye have done it,” etc.) which ought to comfort such men.—[Hayes Valley, Cal., Advertiser.]
“The Devil's Gospel”
Hartford, Conn., Examiner.
The Springfield Republican of this week says, in speaking of Dr. McGlynn's case: “One thing is plain—that while if he chooses he can become an influential man and useful 1aborer among the people for good causes, he is sure to be wrecked himself and drag down others if he continues this close alliance with Henry George, and becomes a promulgator of the devil's gospel of socialism.” Well, well, we had always been led to believe that the Bible was the inspired work of the Lord, but how prone to ignorance and mistakes are the great bulk of poor humanity outside the sages who sit in sanctums of monopolistic journalism. So it seems after all that it was not the Lord who proclaimed “The land is mine and shall not be sold forever,” but the monarch of the rival kingdom. We trust old Beelzebub will not forget the honor bestowed on him by the editor of the Republican, when his time comes for a bestowal of his warmest favors.
Wait and See What It Amounts To
Columbus, O., State Journal.
Blanton Duncan and Donn Piatt are among the prominent Catholics, or sympathizers with Catholicism, who have sent words of encouragement to Dr. McGlynn. The Catholic Herald espouses his cause with vigor and fervent zeal. The most of the parishioners of St. Stephen's still hold out in their attitude of declining to contribute to the church until McGlynn is restored. All Catholics who went into the Henry George movement in New York, or favored it if residing elsewhere, are in a white heat of indignation over the treatment of McGlynn. A persistent and ingenious effort, apparently countenanced by Michael Davitt, is being made to identify the McGlynn cause with that of the Irish reform leaders in America and Ireland. The air is still full of the fight. But what will it amount to?
Thanked for Political Action
Galveston, Tex., News.
It appears from the Corrigan-McGlynn correspondence that the prelate thanked the rector for taking a trip to Washington to work for Gen. Newton. What interest has the archbishop in Gen. Newton? McGlynn in politics, it would seem, was all right so long as he was working to the order of Archbishop Corrigan. It is not political activity in a priest that hurts, but the mugwump principle of going on his own idea in politics. The archbishop is the boss, and McGlynn's offense is that he considers the archbishop the boss only in religion, the politics to be an outside matter.
A Radical Christian
Royalston, Minn., Banner.
A radical has heretofore had no right to be a Christian, hence the persecution of Christian McGlynn for being a radical. A radical must appeal to Cæsar—to class—or be condemned. But the condemnation of a McGlynn, whose aim is universal betterment, by the church whose title is that of “universal,” is more heinous, if once accomplished, than the execution of a land or a Crammer.
The Priest in Politics
St. Louis American Celt.
The rights and privileges of the priest in politics in Ireland are many and very powerful. But in America it is a crime for a priest to be anything but a Tammany hall back. Ecclesiastical tyranny must go!
Christians Who Kill and Steal
New York, Feb. 13.—The Irish World of Feb. 13 said: “Here is the way in which one of our Irish exchanges speaks of the Glenbeigh evictions: 'Dying women dragged out to die; sick children flung out on dung-heaps: old men tottering into the grave, sheltered from the pitiless blast in the snow- clad ditches; half-naked children shivering and starving, driven out. with cries and lamentations from the shelter of a miserable roof and the poor comfort of a turf fire. As each family or occupant was unhoused the obscene birds that hovered in the track of the agent and sheriff, began their work. Paraffin oil was strewn over the thatch, the spark was applied, and soon the roof was a roaring sheet of flame.'”
Who are they that do these things? Wild men of the forest? No. Pagans? No. Anarchists? No. Communists? No. Socialists? No. Workingmen? No. Christians? Yes. Catholics and Protestants. Saviors of society and saviors of souls. And they are leaders in their respective churches, the Christians who do these things—more savage than the savage, more barbarous than the barbarian, more pagan than the pagan. Ignoring the command to have no “strange gods before Me,” they set up the god of property—property gotten no matter how—and worship it. Commanded not to kill, they hire assassins to kill for them. Commanded not to steal, they steal nevertheless in the sacred name of law and order.
The Dog in the Manger
Burlington, Ia., Truth.
The hands are here and the work is here for these hands to do, but every spot has a landlord, every waste and vacant lot is appropriated by somebody who expects to compel somebody to pay him for the privilege of using it. He has no use for it himself and probably never will have, but plays dog-in- the-manger against all who would use it.
Its Soil To Belong To The Irish People In Common
Attitude of the Irish Bishops—Significant Reception of Michael Davitt—The Irish Land Leaguers and Dr. McGlynn
To a careful observer of events in Ireland it must be evident that what is called “peasant proprietary” is not the ultimate settlement of the land question to which the efforts of the Irish leaders and people are directed. One of the most notable features of the agitation the fact that at the big meetings there is hardly any reference made to settlement by purchase, which would confer absolute ownership on the farmers to the exclusion of the laborers, artisans, and every other section of the population. Five or six years' rental is now the extent of the rate mentioned whenever the idea of purchase is alluded to, both at these meetings and in the national press. Practically this means clearing out the landlords without any compensation. It means, too, that the people have no notion of consenting to any arrangement of such a nature as would entitle the farmers to claim the land as their own, which they would think themselves entitled to do if they paid a large sum to the landlords by way of purchase. The only people in Ireland now who are eager to hurry on schemes of purchase are the landlords. They know that the time is rapidly approaching when their position will be untenable. The plan of campaign is reducing the rents about 25 per cent on an average all round. In March, when the next half year's gain is due, the plan will be brought into requisition for a further reduction. It is sufficiently apparent that the farmers will never be satisfied to pay, in the form of rent, to landlords anything more than what Tim Healy referred to in his famous “clause,” and what is popularly called the “prairie value.” To this point the rent agitation in Ireland must come if landlordism is to exist much longer.
But there is very little probability that the system can hold out for any lengthened period against the tremendous assaults that are being made upon it. All the queen's horses and all the queen's men, as the league orators are fond of putting it, cannot set Irish landlordism upon its legs again. As well might Lord Salisbury's cabinet hope to revive Cromwell's policy of transporting Irish children to the slave plantations of the West Indies. Landlordism is doomed to speedy extinction in Ireland, and its place will not be occupied by a system that would make a landlord of every farmer and deprive every laborer and every artisan of his rightful share of the land, for possession of which the Irish people have been bravely struggling for the past seven years. In that struggle the wage workers of the towns and the landless toilers who digged and sowed at pauper pay for the farmers have had their share of the risks and sacrifices. Without their kelp the monster meetings of land league days would have been impossible. Without them the boycotting—I shall not say moonlighting—would never have been heard of; and let rigid moralists say what they will, if there had been no boycotting there would have been no land bills or home rule bills in the British house of commons. I might go the length of saying that if there had been no moonlighting the Irish demand would not now have the support of the liberal party in England. If I should say so I would only be repeating what the conservative New York Times said a week ago. In the issue of that paper of Feb. 9 the advantages gained in Ireland by extra parliamentary methods are set forth in an editorial. from which I make the following extract:
While Irishmen have endeavored to state their grievances with tranquility and moderation, England has paid no attention to thorn whatever. When they explode in the various forms of outrage so sadly familiar to renders of Irish history, from hamstringing cattle to netting off dynamite, the attention of England is effectually summoned to their situation. It is then for the first time looked into, and some remedy for it is proposed. The murder of Lord Frederick Cavendish and of Mr. Burke in Phoenix park was a most atrocious crime, so far as the immediate victims of it were concerned. They had done no harm to Ireland and meant none. Yet, as “Mr. Parnell set forth, those murders were more effectual in compelling attention to the Irish situation than all the speeches of the Irish members would have been. They proceeded from a spirit of revenge because the government of that day had attempted to give an additional turn to the screw of coercion. The immediate effect of them was another turn of the screw, which produced the explosion of dynamite in England, a crime even more wanton and malignant to all appearance than the murder of the Phoenix park. Yet it was these out rages that forced England to the conclusion that the recipe for Irish disorder was nut coercion. It is a hard saying that but for the murders and but for the explosions Mr. Gladstone's home rule bill would not have been introduced, or, if it had been introduced, would have received no English support worth mentioning, instead of coming so near passing as to encourage the Irish people with a confidence in its ultimate enactment. Yet is not this the conclusion which the facts warrant?
I am far from suggesting that the methods here referred to are justifiable or defensible. I only say that the laborers and artisans of Ireland have done a large share of spreading the light and convincing England in one way or another that landlordism is a curse and a nuisance which cannot be permitted to exist in Ireland.
The unfairness of allowing the farmers to carry off all the spoils of war is manifest enough, and that such an issue of the fight is not seriously contemplated is also evident. In recent speeches and writings of the Irish leaders, lay and cleric, national ownership of the land has been the only form of settlement suggested. What the archbishop of Cashel wants he made known in his declaration last autumn, that “the land of Ireland belongs to the Irish nation for the Irish people.” It is no secret that the other nationalist bishops and nine-tenths of the priests hold the sumo view. Speaking at a great meeting ten days ago, in county Clare, Mr. William Abraham, M. P., of the Parnellite party declared that “Notwithstanding all the power of those who opposed them, the people of Ireland would never desist in the struggle until they were made the owners of the soil.”
Mr. Labouchere, M. P-, who is known to be in thorough sympathy with the Parnellites, made some remarks the other night in the house of commons on the subject of individual ownership of land, which I find reported as follows:
He believed that gentlemen on the government side of the house, and some gentlemen on the opposition side of the house, had an entire misconception of individual ownership in land. No individual had any ownership in land. (Irish and opposition cheers). What an individual had was the right to use the land, and he only had that right of the condition that he made a proper use of it—that was to say, rendered it productive for the common good.
The principle here enunciated and cheered by the Irish party in the house of commons is undoubtedly the principle believed in by the bulk of the Irish people. In this connection it is worthy of note that within a week after Michael Davitt's arrival in Ireland he was the guest of Bishop Duggan, one of the staunchest land nationalizers alive. The bishop evidently saw nothing “against the church” in Davitt's denunciation of Cardinal Simeon's intermeddling in New York politics. It is also worthy of note that the Irish national papers have not a word of disapproval of the statements of Dr. McGlynn or Henry George in the controversy provoked by Archbishop Corrigan. The cry of “attacking the church” raised against Henry George by a portion of the Catholic press in America has not been taken up by the Catholic press or people in Ireland. The Irish people have long since learned to differentiate properly between attacking the church and offering resolute resistance to papal interference in national and secular affairs. I have good reason to believe that Dr. McGlynn's course from beginning to end is thoroughly approved by the popular bishops and priests in Ireland, and that Henry George's statements in the Standard are regarded by the Irish clergy and leaders as not a bit too strong under the circumstances that called them forth.
Society As It Might Be
Rev. Mr. Pentecost's Sermons on the Unequal Distribution of Wealth
On last Sunday evening at the Belleville avenue Congregational church at Newark, Rev. Mr. Pentecost preached a sermon on “A more equal distribution of wealth; society as it might be." The church was crowded to overflowing. Chairs were placed in all the aisles, and many were compelled to stand the entire evening.
Mr. Pentecost took for his text Proverbs 35:1-8: “Give me neither poverty nor riches, lest I be full and deny Thee, or lest I be poor and steal.” He said: “Whether Solomon was the wisest of men or not, he was wise enough to see that extreme riches or extreme poverty ave unfavorable to the development of virtue and religion. The most irreligious and immoral persons are the very rich and the very poor. The multiplication of millionaires on the one hand and of tramps on the other, tends to erect conditions of the greatest possible unhappiness—conditions which tend to ruin. We are rapidly becoming a people of those who are too rich and those who are too poor, a state of filings that indicates that society is grounded on injustice.”
Mr. Pentecost. spoke of the greed for wealth and the fear all have of becoming poor, and said that ministers are of ten blamed for not expressing their real opinions more freely. He said they did not do so for the same reason that makes merchants afraid to offend their customers and editors afraid to offend their subscribers. They know that truth which conflicts with the interests of the hearer is not acceptable to the class which holds the most power in the community, and that if they persist in speaking it poverty may overtake them. The few who are rich are able to control legislation. It lies in the power of the men who are tricked and wronged to shake off this oppression; but this will never be done until those who have the voice to speak do speak for the voiceless. The poor are voiceless. If the slaves of the south had waited until they worked out their own freedom they won't have been in bondage today. What John Brown,Garrison, Phillips and Lincoln were to the slave Henry George is to the poor of all nations.
Mr. Pentecost then spoke of monopoly privileges and their ends, and said wherever such a privilege is accorded the possessor of it acquires wealth which he does not fairly earn. A man has a right to himself and to what he can produce. Any monopoly privilege interferes with that right and tends to give to the few what they do not earn. The destruction of monopoly privileges would prevent the accumulation of enormous fortunes which share with poverty the distinction of being the two-sided curse of modern civilization. These millionaires control railroads, telegraphs, street-car lines, gas companies, mining, oil fields, national banks and the like, and the land. All of these are necessaries of life, and we cannot get on without them, and yet we have to pay a monopoly price for them to enrich the few. Mr. Pentecost said that the most shameful inequality in the distribution of wealth is due to monopoly privileges, the most tyrannical of which is the private ownership of land. The destruction of that is to strike at the root of the tree.
Mr. Pentecost said that many persons think that the present labor troubles are a light between capital and labor. Capital and labor are really friends. The capitalist who is not a land owner is just as much oppressed by the present system as the laborer. Suppose a capitalist wants to start a shoe factory, and rents a piece of ground and puts up a factory and begins business. He finds that after paying himself fair wages for his labor and a fair interest on his capital he still has a large surplus; and as his men created it by their labor in conjunction with his labor and capital, he calls them together and distributes it among them in rightful proportions. Around the factory grows up a happy and prosperous community: the capitalist is happy and prosperous, and capital and labor are working harmoniously together. By and by the ground rent expires, and the man who owns the land comes to the factory with a bland smile upon his face and says: “Good morning Mr. Capital, you seem to be prospering in your business: you are getting along comfortably, and your workingmen seem to be living well and laying up money. I understand you distribute among them from six to ten per cent of your profits every year.” Capital replies he is happy to say this is all true, and that since Mr. Landowner has called he would like to renew the lease for another term of years. Landowner tells Capital that the ground rent will be double what it has been.
“Why,” says Capital, “have I not been paying a fair rent?”
“Oh, yes,” says Landowner, “but the land is more valuable now.”
“But, it is my factory that has made it so,” says Capital, “and it is not valuable for anything else than for my factory.”
“True enough,” says Landowner, “and because it is valuable for your factory you must pay more rent.”
“But,” says Capital, “if I pay you more rent I shall not only have to pay myself less interest and less wages, but I shall not be able to divide up anything at the end of the year to the laborers.”
Landowner gets up, buttons up his coat and says: “Mr. Capital, all this is nothing to me. Business is business; you will pay the increased rent or move out. In that case your building becomes mine, and I can easily find a tenant for it.”
Of course, the capitalist must pay the increased rent, and the monopolist, who owns the land reaps the harvest which capital and labor produce. A similar increase in rent will be forced upon the workingmen for their residences and the capitalist for his residence, and the man who does nothing to enrich the community is he who gets the lion's share of the wealth. In addition to the rent. the capitalist pays a tax on his building and machinery, and labor pays a tax on most of its articles of consumption. Anyone ought to be able to see that if ground rent went to the government and all other taxes were abolished, society would be better off. Government would have more than enough for all common expenses by a revenue raised in a very simple manner from the use of what is the common property of all. In a community in which all ground rents went to the government, and in which there was no other form of taxation, any one can see how much evener the opportunities of getting wealth more freely distributed would be. Mr. Pentecost said he would take up the subject again next Sunday morning and show why he considered the new political economy as embodying principles more in conformity with the gospel of Christ than any which have been promulgated since the teaching of Jesus himself.
His Only Hope
Murrayville, Ill., Feb. 14.—I am gratified to notice the progress of radical ideas on the land question made of late and have just filled two invitations to address the Knights of Labor and citizens in general on tax reform, where I had huge and attentive audiences. I am one of the small farmers fighting a mortgage on my house, and my only hope for self and children is in the speedy success of our cause,
Governor Of Ohio
Some Pertinent Inquiries That He Fails To Answer
A Brooklyn Republican Wants to Know What Position His Party Proposes to Take on the Issue of Today—He Does Not Find Out
At the Republican club's banquet at Delmonico's, two weeks ago, Governor J. B. Foraker of Ohio made a speech glorifying the republican party, and he declared that its duty in the future will be to solve the labor question. the liquor question, the silver question, the Chinese question, the Canadian fisheries question and the all-important question of reform in municipal government.
The speeches made at that meeting were carefully read by thousands of republicans who are thinking on the real issues of today, with a view to learning what action their party leaders proposed that their party should take on living questions. Many such were disappointed and one of the number wrote to Gov. Foraker as follows:
New York, Feb. 13,1886.
Hon. J. B. Foraker—Dear Sir: I am a republican; I cast my first vote for Abraham Lincoln, whose memory so many strong men of our party met at Delmonico's last evening to honor. I have never voted other than the republican ticket. I do not esteem that fact alone as of any special merit; but I am glad to assert that I have been a persistent republican because of the firm conviction that the principles of my party, more nearly than any other, tended to effect the establishment of the “birthright” or American citizenship. Within “a government of the people” the first, the overshadowing issue should always be the invincibility of human rights.
In the course of your timely and eloquent remarks last evening you stat ed the undeniable fact that “In 1852 the death of the whig party cleared the way for a new party and for better issues. Human rights had at last attracted attention, intensified to the highest degree, because there was also involved the vital question of our governmental existence. Then for the first time in American politics it meant something morally to be on the one side or the other.”
Thus, the republican party hail its birth. Was not that hopeful and comforting evidence that justice and right are fixed principles In the American heart? The republican party succeeded because, in large degree, it came close to the heart of mankind, and so brought about “the conscientious outburst of an inspiration of human liberty.” The results accomplished by that inspiration, grand and beneficent as they were, were trifles, if thoughtfully compared with what may be accomplished if our part y will but once more open its eyes to existing and approaching dangerous conditions, will again come close to the popular heart and take anew the inspirations of justice. If born again to the spirit of our Declaration or Independence it will declare boldly for the right or all American citizens “to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness,” which rights are today either denied or threatened with denial to a very large portion of our citizens.
You alone last evening referred to the labor question, and though you gave it but three words, you incidentally or (let me hope) intentionally named it first or the six questions that the republican party must answer. Should it be first? If you doubt it, a day is near at hand when your and my party will know that this is the greatest, the most vital question that concerns the American people.
The settlement of the question of colored, slavery delayed, but did not prevent the issue. History testifies to the truth of the statement Hon. Chauncey M. Depew made in your presence that “there are crises in the history of every great people when conservatism is treason; when old lines are the walls of a dungeon; when fidelity to ancient orthodoxy and ancient axioms commits a man to the processes of the inquisition that grind out his spirit.”
I am convinced that the methods of the past can only intensify and not better the sad conditions that those methods have produced. Have you, as an Individual whom we honor and respect, or has the republican party, which I so justly revere, the courage to coma boldly to the front?
In this magnificent country of boundless resources, where nature has spread a bounty beyond our possible need; where opportunities for thrift should never be lacking, millions of industrious, honest, earnest American citizens are battling with each other for the opportunity to work for wages less than is necessary to enable them to comfortably live; wages which offer no leisure for culture, study, recreation or intelligent thought; no provision for sickness or old age. Feeling their need and helplessness, the keen sense of injustice will inevitably develop bitterness among such people with no knowledge of how to right their wrongs; they will be ready to grasp at anything that seems to offer relief, and thus readily become the prey of the unscrupulous and the evil-disposed. This is a threatening and dangerous condition. Something is wrong. At whose door does it lie? Surely not at the door of the producer, the earnest toiler.
Twenty years of combination and of persistent centralization of invested financial and business powers has rendered it no longer possible for the moneyless man to make for himself a place and a supporting business. It is simply absurd to say that he can. A few hundred dollars, or a few thousand even, if industry and economy can save so much, cannot enter the field or competition again a million dollars, but with certainty of defeat and total loss. The moneyless man by this social coalition is absolutely shut out from the bounty our country offers. His only opportunity is as a wage worker. The excess of wage workers brings about the competition for opportunities to work. Capital taking advantage of this competition, buys labor at the lowest obtainable price—this price of the most needy, the most suffering applicant, and all others are forced down to that standard.
The wages of a colored slave in ante-bellum times were sufficient food and clothing to keep him in good physical condition and medical attendance if sick. The wages of the unfortunate slave, white or black, of our present social condition are often much less than that, being insufficient food and clothing and making no provision for sickness or old age.
It it is a fact that a few thousand men own or control our railroads, our telegraphs, our iron industries, our oil product, our coal product, grain, beef, etc., is it not because of the advancing power of large aggregations of capital to crowd out individuals and smaller aggregations of capital? Logically, by the same law, as the weaker are crowded out by the stronger, is it not certain that the few thousands will soon be reduced to a few hundreds, the few hundred to a few individuals, and in the extreme to one individual or family or corporation, with a few of the vanquished retained as aids and lieutenants.
In any condition approaching this, of what value is the empty mockery political liberty, when the very means of existence of any millions of people are in the possession or control if a few thousands or even a few hundred thousands of their fellows?
Are “inalienable rights” alienated? Are they belong farther alienated? Is there for such manifest injustice no remedy, no o:re? Is there for human rights no protection, no hope?
While I do not see how this social revolution is to be accomplished, you who are wiser and others of our party may see. I am neither statesman nor politician. Like the mass of my fellows I have had no time for such matters. I am one of the “common people.” I know and feel their unfortunate condition, and though I cannot see the way out of this threatening ruin, I believe injustice. I believe in God, and hence I still believe in the certain triumph of light. I don't believe any wrong ever existed that could not be righted. There is a way out of this. Will my party, born to meet the issue of human rights, be true to its birthright and take the lead? Will it appeal directly to the heart and sympathy of thirty millions of laboring citizens, for their support in establishing for every American citizen his rightful share of the bounty the Creator has spread and intended for all the people of this land of great resources? Or will our party “potter” this vital issue in the spirit of conservatism and political policy while the throb of popular sympathy for the oppressed grows stronger until the throes of travail bring forth a party of principle that will sweep all obstacles before it to the establishment of the fundamental truths of our national creed. Respectfully yours,
K. Stillman Doubleday,
Gov. J. B. Foraker, Columbus, Ohio.
Governor Foraker has replied to Mr. Doubleday, expressing appreciation of his “important suggestions in regard to the great question now pressing upon us, and the duty of the republican party with respect to it.” The governor thinks the issue has its own peculiar features in each locality, and that Ohio has passed through the worst of her labor troubles, and that good feeling now exists between the laborers and their employers. He alludes to a recent conference between coal operators and miners in Ohio, which reached conclusions satisfactory to both parties, and says it has been the aim there “so to quiet thought and sentiment as to bring about such results.” He thinks that arbitration and cooperation offer the most satisfactory way of dealing with this question. He thinks that there will be no more trouble in Ohio, as the “laboring class” there are thinking, reading and intelligent men, “who understand the right of a question as quickly as anyone else. I do not pretend,” he candidly continues, “to be acquainted with the question as it may arise in different localities,” but he does not think it possible “that the republican party, that made it honorable to labor, will fall in the high duty of preserving the rights of labor.”
The letter is simply a string of platitudes, and does not contain a single explicit answer to Mr. Doubleday's inquiries. It is chiefly remarkable for its amusing claim that the labor question is a local one, and for its declaration that the republican party first made it honorable to labor.
The Coming Party
The conference which met at Cincinnati this week for the purpose of forming a new party was a sort of omnium gatherumof all shades of “reformers,” deriving what little representative character ithad from the delegates of western greenbackers' and farmers' associations. There were some few representatives of isolated assemblies of the Knights of Labor, but the great bodies of organized workingmen, the central labor unions of the large cities and, with one or two local exceptions, the branches of the united labor party and the land and labor clubs now forming throughout the country refused to have anything to do with it. Some idea of what the conference included is indicated by the fact that the representatives of New York consisted of W. A. A. Carsey, Dr. Ferdinand Seeger and George D. Lennon. In New York these three names would not be taken as representing three votes.
Even if the positively repellent “labor politicians” were kept out, any such attempt to make a political party by calling together all sorts of incongruous elements and endeavoring out of their diverse opinions to arrive at some common basis on which they can all stand, is doomed in advance tofailure. Each endeavors to get its own views into the platform, and each in order to do so has to submit to some compromises. The consequence is a platform which embraces pretty much everything and means nothing, which neither provokes opposition nor arouses support. Political parties are not manufactured in this way. They grow out of some widely felt demand, the progress of some definite opinion; and they present, for the time being at least, some one definite issue which men, whatever their other opinions, are impelled either to support or to oppose. There has been for some time past in the United States enough discontent with existing parties to give rise to a new party; but the difficulty has been that the discontent has been vague, and those who felt it have not been united either as to the cause of the evils they felt or as to the method to be adopted for their cure. The Knights of Labor alone are strong enough in numbers to give birth toa political party which would soon compel the reconstruction of political lines; but as shown by the platforms adopted at the conventions, the Knights or Labor have not known what they wanted politically, and a congress or a legislature selected by the order would at once have Split into opposing factions when confronted with any of the vital questions of legislation.
But through all the chaos of conflicting opinions an idea has been making its way, around which it is possible for a great party to crystallize, and the nucleus of that party, at least, has already begun to form. At the last municipal election the workingmen of New York, instead of presenting, as had former labor parties, a platform embracing everything in general and nothing in particular, had the good sense to bring the land question to the front, and subordinate everything else to the demand that the monopoly of natural opportunities should be broken up by concentrating taxation on the value of land. The opposition that this at once aroused showed that they had struck the keynote, and in spite of stronger efforts to defeat them than had ever been aroused by a labor party before, they evolved a strength and polled a vote which at once rescued their movement from the contempt with which politicians had learned toregard labor movements. Movements of the same kind have already begun in other cities, and the general discussion of the land question now goingon all over the country indicates that it is the issue upon which the next real political battle is to be fought When a great fundamental question like this comes to the front minor questions must for the time sink out of sight. Many of them are in reality involved in the larger question, and from the position a man takes on the greater, his position on the lesser may be implied, but it is on the single issue that the battle is joined.
In striking contrast with this conference of men who as a body “wanted to find out what they wanted,” was the great audience of over five thousand that filled the Cincinnati Music Hall on the night before the conference met to listen to a n exposition of the aims of the Cincinnati land and labor clubs. As Dr. De Beck said in his opening address, “We know what we want, and we know how we want to get it.” It is the men who “know what they want” who make parties.
How rapidly the land question is coming to the front is, however, shown by the platform of the conference itself, where it isgiven the place of importance in the first resolution, and where something more than a shimmer of the great truth over which our political contests are soon to rage is shown by the declaration that “every human being possesses a natural, inalienable right to sufficient land for self-support.”
What the conference proposes as means “to this end” are ridiculously inadequate, but the mere acceptance in any form of the truth that all men have rights to land will lead in time to the acceptance of adequate measures for giving it practical effect.
The time has now come for an active propaganda on behalf of the doctrine of equal rights in land. Mr. John McMackin, chairman of the central committee appointed by the Cooper Union mass meeting of November 6th, and who is also chairman of the general committee of the united labor party of New York, purposes from now on to devote such time as he can spare from his local duties to the work of organizing clubs throughout the state of New York. and will begin the work next week.
As a further means of assisting the propaganda. the Standard will next week begin the issue of a series of tracts, which will be furnished in quantities at nominal prices.
A Dangerous Conspiracy
There is grave reason to suspect that there is a disposition to prevent the assembling of a constitutional convention this year. Gov. Hill, in his speech at the Brooklyn dinner on Tuesday evening, declared that the republican majority in the legislature had attempted to force on him for acceptance a bill which provides that in republican constituencies the representation shall be two for the majority and one for the minority, while in democratic districts the representation of the majority and minority shall be equal. He plainly intimated that he would sign no such measure. Of course public opinion would condemn the attempt of the legislature to force such a bill as he describes upon him, but both the governor and the legislature should understand that this is not a matter about which they can afford to disagree in the present state of public feeling.
The people of New York have demanded this convention, and there is no mistaking the emphasis of their demand. Certainly the politicians did not urge the people to such action. The simple duty enjoined by the constitution of providing for a vote on the question was performed by the legislature with manifest reluctance, and it is more than probable that the failure to make any provision for printing ballots was intentional. Nevertheless the people found ballots—Mr. Joseph Pulitzer, of the World, being public spirited enough to be at the expense of printing them—and 574,093 votes were east for the convention, giving in its favor a majority of 395,450 of the whole vote polled for judge of the court of appeals, and a majority of 544,227 of the votes east for or against a convention. There is nothing left for the governor and legislature to do but to obey this mandate, and any failure on their part will be a lawless and revolutionary defiance of the people's will, tending to destroy the very foundations of society and civil order. Should those who make and execute the law become willful law breakers. with what reason can we expect the obedience of others to law? The governor and legislature can and will light for political advantage, but any final failure to agree on a reasonable measure will involve them both in a common condemnation from which they can never escape.
Nor will a pretense of inability to agree and an attempt by each to throw the blame on the other avail them. There is a strong suspicion of a deliberate conspiracy to defeat the people's expressed will. The Albany correspondent of the Evening Telegram distinctly charges that; such a conspiracy exists. He declares that it includes both democrats and republicans, and that it is backed by the railroad lobby the street railway ring and the gas monopoly. He further intimates that prominent newspapers are aiding the desperate scheme. These are serious charges. If those implicated are guilty they are simply anarchists, defying the supreme authority and breaking down all respect for law and all claim of authority to obedience or recognition. Are they true? So far as they include the governor and the legislature there can be but one effective denial, and that is agreement on a bill. Failure to do this will arouse the wrath of an outraged and insulted people whose lawful mandate will have been criminally defied and disobeyed.
If there is a conspiracy to defeat the will of the people in the matter of a constitutional convention, there is every probability that, besides the corporations, there is in it the fine Roman hand of Archbishop Corrigan, and it may be that it is his influence with the managers of the corrupt democratic rings to which the inception of this bold attempt is due. That he did secretly exert himself to defeat at the polls the call for the convention we have several times specifically charged, and this he has not ventured authoritatively to deny. It would be quite consistent with the character of the man and the methods of the school of clerical politicians to which he belongs that, having failed to defeat the constitutional convention before the people, he should now be scheming to defeat it in the legislature.
A correspondent in New Jersey sends us a copy of the marked ballots which were in 1875 given out in the Catholic churches of Bishop Corrigan's New Jersey diocese, and a Catholic priest in the interior of New York, who as a Catholic declares himself deeply indignant at the manner in which the ecclesiastical authorities are attempting to interfere in politics, asks us to reprint the secret circular which Archbishop Corrigan, then bishop of Newark. sent to the clergy of his diocese, and which was brought to light in the manner we have already detailed by some of his indignant priests, who though not daring openly to express their feelings were deeply outraged by what they deemed the prostitution of religious authority. We comply with our reverend friend's request, and republish the letter:
Newark, Sept. 3, 1875.
Reverend and Dear Sir—Having taken legal advice, I am informed that by the new constitutional amendments clerical property is liable to taxation. This would involve so heavy an additional burden to the diocese that I feel it my duty to recommend you to INSTRUCT your people to strike out the objectionable clause, or,better stilt, to make assurance doubly sure, let them strike out the whole ballot.
It is not enough to abstain from voting; let them vote, and vote against the amendment.
Very truly yours,
Michael, Bishop of Newark.
P. S.—Remember that our people must cancel by pen or pencil the whole ballot and then vote it thus canceled, in order to protest against injustice.
Remember also that the special election in regard to these constitutional amendments will take place next Tuesday, Sept. 7.
Observe the phraseology. The bishop, with the absolute power of removal and promotion in his hands, recommends to his priests to INSTRUCT their people how they must vote on a most important constitutional amendment. This is the power which Archbishop Corrigan uses, as he claims, at the behest of Italian cardinals.
A Wail From Renters
A Pittsburgh paper prints “A wail from the renters,” because of the extortionate advance in house hire in that city. It declared that “rents have been increased in all directions, upon the theory that property owners want a share in the prosperity that is hovering over Pittsburgh,” and says that “houses costing not more than $3,000 are held at rents averaging $50 per month.”
This is simply what might have been expected. The utilization of natural gas has not made bricks and mortar any more valuable in Pittsburg, but it has made land more valuable. The confident expectation of the future growth of Pittsburg, the knowledge that this will enable the owners of land to get higher prices for its use, causes the land holders of Pittsburg to unite, since by combination in marking up the prices of their lots they can compel the payment of higher rents.
But there is an easy way out of the difficulty if the people of Pittsburg would but see it. There are thousands of vacant lots in Pittsburg, many of them owned by people who have done nothing whatever toward building up the great industries to which the city owes its growth and wealth. There are plenty of men who would be glad to erect needed dwellings on these lots for the use of themselves and others, could they but gain access to the land. Suppose the people of Pittsburg should exempt from taxation all buildings and improvements and collect what revenue they need from a tax on the value of land, irrespective of improvements—what would be the result?
First, it would cease to be so profitable to hold vacant lots, and owners would have to build upon them or sell to those who would do so. Second, the exemption of buildings from taxation would stimulate building and reduce house rents. Third, the city treasury would receive a substantial increase of revenue that would enable it to extend its streets, thereby widening the area of accessible ground for residential purposes, and thus prevent future growth of population from causing a recurrence of the crowding process that has produced this “wail from the renters.” Fourth, the people of Pittsburg, as a whole, would receive some benefit from the liberal bounty of nature in furnishing a cheap and good fuel.
Some of the Pittsburg papers profess to be greatly alarmed at the growth of the land doctrine in their city. Is there anything dreadful in a policy of taxation that would put money in the city treasury, insure comfortable homes at fair house hire to the busy men whose labor makes the city's prosperity, and be opposed by no one except those who fatten on the labor and enterprise of others while doing nothing themselves? Are the drones of more account than the workers in the eves of the Pittsburg editors? Now that the smoke that once enveloped their city has cleared away, they ought to be able to see more clearly. There are few places where the transfer of all taxation to land values would have so prompt an effect in promoting enterprise and relieving labor as in Pittsburg, and there are few parts of the world where the unlocking of natural resources would stimulate such a marvelous growth as in the wonderfully favored state of Pennsylvania. If the people of the Keystone state would only consider what freedom would do for them they would quickly gives up their devotion to their miserable fetish of “protection.”
Our Prison System
The torturing of convicts in the Southern prison of Indiana is an illustration of the extent to which brutality in prison management may go with impunity. Less than three months ago the prison directors, in their report to the governor of Indiana, complimented the warden “for the efficient manner” in which he had performed his duties, the deputy and his assistants for “maintaining order and discipline” among the prisoners, and the chaplains for their vigilance “in watching over the spiritual as well as the temporal welfare of the inmates.” And now it comes out that the warden was frequently so drunk when convicts were reported to him for discipline that he left their punishment to the discretion of the guards; that excruciating tortures were inflicted for trivial infractions of the rules, and of ten for none at all, and that the prison was so filthy that a member of the investigating committee declared the Black hole of Calcutta a pleasant resort in comparison.
The inhuman management of this prison might never have been exposed but for a heavy shortage in the prison accounts. Investigation of this led to the discovery that convicts with accumulated earnings were frequently punished by deductions. and from this led to disclosure of the tortures. That similar barbarities are practiced in prisons where defalcations have not occurred to expose them is something more than an inference. The constant complaints of prisoners that fall on a deaf public ear are not always prompted by malice; they are of ten the pleas of helpless, friendless men, who have been cruelly and wantonly tortured by officials within whose almost irresponsible power they were placed. In this state corporal punishment is forbidden by law, yet there is good reason to suspect that it is secretly administered, and the warden at Sing Sing confessedly uses and openly recommends what he calls “the weighing machine,” an instrument of bodily torture for which he claims the attorney general's approval. From other prisons and other states complaints which demand more careful investigation than a wining-and-dining board of prison directors are apt to give are frequent. These complaints do not relate to punishments alone, but to bribery, favoritism and subtle modes of oppression as well.
The truth is that the whole prison system is wrong. Save the momentary pang, a man might better be hung than buried alive in oneof our prisons under the penal system that now prevails. It works not for reform but for revenge, and embodies all the inhumanities of slavery without its responsibilities or interests.
The German Election
By the unscrupulous exercise of the utmost power of the “strongest” government in the world, by the influence of a war scare and the aid of the pope, Bismarck has carried his septennate. But the victory is one that indicates the certain doom of the empire. The great fact which the election brings out is the growth of socialism in Germany. Although owing to the distribution of seats, or, as we should call it, to the gerrymandering of representation, the socialists do not get their full proportion of members, they have won, in spite of the repressive measures of the government, a most tremendous moral victory. In 1884 they polled 700,000 votes; in the recent election this total was increased to 1,200,000. How long will it be at this rate of increase before Germany will be overwhelmingly socialistic, and the German emperors and princes will be forced to seek the retirement of foreign shores?
Whatever he may think of socialistic theories every true lover of peace and freedom throughout the world will rejoice at the steady march of German socialism. Its triumph means the dethronement of kings, the disbandment of armies, the healing of national feuds, and the turning of energies now devoted to repression and destruction to the improvement of the condition of mankind.
Another thing of good augury that the German election shows is the manly way in which a great body of the Catholic electors have resented the interference of Rome. The more these German Catholics reflect upon the manner in which the papal authorities have endeavored to sell them out to their persecutor, the man of blood and iron, in return for his proposed “mediation” in Italy the clearer are they likely to see the danger of permitting foreign ecclesiastical interference in politics, and the firmer will they plant themselves upon the Irish platform, “As much religion as you like from Rome, but no politics.”
Mr. Hewitt is evidently determined to keep on “saving society” even if the size of the job compels him to leave official duties to Mayor Beekman. He has taken the opportunity of an invitation to dine with a social society of southern men to send them a letter, in which the skeleton of southern slavery is trotted out into their feast, for the purpose of affording him an excuse to denounce the labor associations of the north; and in response to another invitation to dine with a company of Brooklyn democrats he sent them a letter on the same subject, which they deemed in such bad taste that they would not read it.
Mr. Hewitt is a queer example of intellectual topsy-turviness. He is not without intelligence, and some of his utterances even suggest the possibility that he might become a statesman were it not for his faculty of seeing things upside down. In his southern letter he says: “Where labor is free, and the citizen may dispose of his time and effort as he sees tit, progress, even where natural resources are few, is inevitable.” Again, he attributes the former prosperity of the north to “the personal right of each man to employ himself according to his own will,” and declares that “when men who are seeking work find that there is only one condition upon which they can get it, they must surrender their private views and personal independence to the necessities of the case.” “The sacrifice having been made,” he continues, “the power of the leaders becomes absolute.” Here is a curious example of how Mr. Hewitt, intellectually speaking, stands on his head to take a survey of the world, and mistakes the branches of trees for their roots. Himself a great monopolizer of the opportunities which nature offers to labor, he talks, and with evident sincerity, as though the only obstacle to the freedom of the citizen to employ himself came from labor societies and “walking delegates.”
It is quite true, as Mr. Hewitt says, that where labor is free and each citizen may dispose of his time and effort as he sees lit progress is inevitable, “even where natural resources are few;” but progress is not possible where all natural resources are in the hands of others, and the laborer cannot employ his time and effort without the consent of those who monopolize such resources. This it is that compels men tosurrender their private views and their personal independence. This is the sacrifice that being once made gives absolute power, not to the leaders of the workingmen in their struggle against it, but to the corporations and individuals who control that without which men can neither labor nor live.
Unfortunately Mr. Hewitt's case is probably hopeless, but he can rest assured that the great masses of his fellow citizens are at last waking up to the fact that the first essential of all freedom is the freedom to make a living, and that they intend in a better way than his to “save society” from the real dangers which he in topsy-turvy fashion perceives. They propose breaking up the monopolies which are the real cause of labor troubles, by so using the real power of taxation as to make such appropriators of nature's bounties as he is let go their hold.
In the meantime, Mr. Hewitt's notion : that it is the mission of the democratic party to suppress labor movements is suggestively characteristic of the sort of democracy of which he has been so long a bright, particular star. But the true democracy is even now beginning to muster its forces. That is what is the matter with Mr. Hewitt.
Lillie Devereux Blake, president of the New York State “Woman Suffrage association, in an address to the legislature, asking that women citizens be admitted to vote for delegates to the constitutional convention, shows that there is abundant precedent for granting the petition. The legislature of 1801, in calling the convention of that year, disregarded the freehold qualification for voters under the old constitution, and called on all free male citizens of the state of the age of twenty- one years and upward to join in choosing delegates to the convention. The convention thus chosen re- established the former qualification for voters, but the legislature of 1821 again disregarded the restriction, and called those not interested in it to participate in the choice of delegates, and the convention widened the franchise so as to permanently include in the body of legal voters all of the classes that had participated in electing its members. Thus we see that in each case the legislature took the initiative in extending the suffrage.
Similar action does not appear to have been taken in 1846 and 1867, but the conventions themselves took even more radical action. That of 1846 extended the suffrage to all white men and to colored men possessed of $250 freehold, while that of 1867 established manhood suffrage. These precedents would warrant the coming convention in submitting the new constitution to all of the citizens of the state without regard to sex; but the earlier precedents would justify this legislature in calling on the men and women of the state to join in choosing delegates to the convention.
It is difficult to see how even the enemies of woman suffrage could object to this. We all claim that governments derive their only just powers from the consent of the governed. The women are among the governed, and their assent is therefore essential under our theory. It is assumed that they do assist, but it can do no harm to ask them to say so for themselves once in twenty years. If, as many say, the great majority of women do not want to vote, all they need do to assist having that duty thrust upon them will be to assist in electing delegates opposed to woman suffrage. If, on the other hand, they really wish to vote, the opportunity will be afforded them to make that fact manifest.
The treasury is overflowing with silver dollars and new vaults must be built for storage. Miners on the Pacific slope are digging holes in the ground to get raw silver out, while the government is digging holes in the ground at Washington to put coined silver in. The metal might as well, for all the good it does, be left where nature placed it. It might better be molded into a monument for Grant or a statue of liberty. But, say the financial schemers, silver certificates would have to be withdrawn. No. They would not be silver certificates, it is true; but let them be called “rag baby” certificates, or faith certificates, or not certificates at all. So long as the law gave to them the power of canceling they would be just as good money as they are now. As it is, they do not represent a dollar intrinsically, for a silver dollar does not contain a dollar's worth of silver. But the silver dollar will by force of law cancel a dollars worth of debt, and therefore the silver certificate is good money—an effective medium of exchange and convenient measure of value. If the law can turn three-quarters of a dollar of silver into a dollar of money by making it a legal tender for debt, it can by the same token turn a piece of paper into whatever sum. of money it may stamp upon its face. Then let the silver loose. Melt it into teapots. Work it up into match cases. Send it back to the mines and bury it, where the holes are already dug. Make social ballast of it, to keep society from gel ting top heavy. Do anything with it that will make it useful ornamental, or if useless, then inexpensive; and give us legal tender certificates. If these certificates must have a silver basis, let them be based on the mines instead of the vaults.
Mr. Lee, the president of the Brooklyn democratic club, which entertained Governor Hill the other evening, speaking to a Sun reporter about Mr. Hewitt's suppressed letter, said: “I did not think the letter would be well received by those who were present. It contained allusions to Henry George, who, it stated, had fallen from the ladder he had climbed. It also stated that Dr. McGlynn's boom had become paralyzed.” Mr. Hewitt's letters suggest, for all the world, Dickens' pathetic picture of Mr. Dick. Try as he would, poor Mr. Dick couldn't keep King Charles' head out of his numerous memorials.
Smaltey's brief visit to this country did not cure him of his toryism. He sneers at the Scotch members who air their country's grievances in parliament, and is especially severe on Peter Essleman, “an ambitious Aberdeenian dry goods merchant,” who champions the cause of the Scotch lease holders, and wants the agricultural leases revised because the prices of produce have fallen. “This,” says Mr. Smalley, with undisguised contempt, “is a good illustration of the extent to which men's business conscience a have been debauched by the doctrines lately preached.” The correspondent rejoices because parliament sat heavily on “this naïve proposal for allowing poor people to break the law because they are poor.” This anglicized American manifestly thinks that if men cannot get enough out of the land to enable them to live and pay their landlords they ought to surrender it to deer or grouse. This is not an uncommon opinion among those Englishmen with whom Mr. Smalley most delights to associate.
Public sentiment is at last awakened to the danger of an organization like Pinkerton's hireling army. and over the country there is a demand for its suppression, which promises to result in stringent laws against it in at least some of the states. It is astounding that the presence and development of this private military organization should have been so long tolerated. Last summer it murdered unoffending citizens in St. Louis, and nothing was done about it. A few weeks ago it murdered a child in Jersey City, and a class press characterized the event as—“unfortunate.” Such indifference to outrages like these is significant. It means that the Pinkerton troops, ready for hire to whoever will buy, supplies a want of the privileged classes. Pinkerton is a private detective. His services are to be had for money. For that he will track a fugitive, set a decoy, invade the privacy of homes and associations, or organize and discipline an army. His price is so much per man. The men he provides are necessarily gathered from a mercenary and conscienceless element. Indifference to human suffering and even to human life, seems an essential qualification for service under him. His army is uniformen1, equipped, drilled and officered as if for public service. Its members, when “on duty,” are commissioned as peace officers, and appear in the character of public servants. Yet they are at all times private retainers. The men obey their officers, the officers obey Pinkerton, and Pinkerton obeys his client. This is the worse than medieval institution that is taking root now and here. The privileged classes, not satisfied with a police force manipulated by their favored dependents and parasites, an obedient regular army, with officers trained from youth in the prejudices of caste as well as in the arts of war, laws flavored with the class despotism of England's most barbarous period, and courts organized to prevent justice, must make a living by civil warfare. This want of theirs Pinkerton supplies. Stamp it out!
If there were any sincerity in the clamor for coast defenses a halt would be called by the recent letter of Admiral Porter to a member of congress. The admiral declares that there are European ironclads which could today anchor off Coney Island and shell all of Staten Island, Brooklyn and New York city for a quarter of a mile above the City Hall. This being the case money spent in fortifying the lower bay and Sandy Hook would simply be wasted. Such an argument would be conclusive but for the fact that the coast defense shriekers are anxious for the expenditure of the money, whether the government obtains anything for it or not, and want a big military establishment, not to defend us against foreign enemies, but to help secure “strong government” at home.
The New York Sun quotes with triumph Diedrich Knickerbocker's account of Governor Peter Stuyvesant's preparations for the defense of New York nearly two centuries ago. “Peter,” says Knickerbocker, “was strongly bigoted to certain obsolete maxims of the old school; among which he firmly believed that to render a country respected abroad it was necessary to make it formidable at home, and that a nation should place its reliance for peace and security more upon its own strength than on the justice or good will of its neighbors.” This is rather a remarkable confession for the Sun. Here at the close of the nineteenth century that paper is the loud exponent of an idea that had begun to be obsolete and antiquated in the early part of the eighteenth century. Stuvesant put up his defenses. Why not rebuild them? They would be just as useful five years hence against the projectiles of that time as would those that the iron ring now desires to erect at the expense of the American people.
The Star has reached the sage conclusion that the Philadelphia workingmen failed to give Mr. Phillips a larger vote for mayor because they take no interest in abstractions and are “interested only about getting fair wages to support their families through this winter.” Their indifference as to all future winters is not explained. Now that the Philadelphia workingmen have continued one of the old parties in power, does the Star think that they have thereby made it sure that they will get “fair wages to support their families through this winter?”
It is said that a Kentucky farmer has trained seven large monkeys to work in his hemp fields, and to break and prepare hemp for the market. He says they do more work than negroes. and it only costs a fourth as much to maintain them. The monkeys come from South Africa, and other farmers are preparing to import the animals. The negroes, who are thus put into a position in which they must choose between monkey diet and starvation, are reported to have held a meeting at which they resolved to boycott the beasts with shotguns. We give this story for what it is worth, merely remarking that if it be true, this Kentucky farmer has found the solution of the labor question from the standpoint of many employers, who will insist that the first duty of the state is to protect the monkeys from assault, and preserve their right to labor where they please.
Assemblyman Kruse has introduced a bill at Albany to punish all persons who bore for and find natural gas by fining them $500 for every ten days they allow the gas to be wasted. Where are the “saviors of society?” If the man who bores owns the ground, and the hole in the ground, he owns the natural gas; and what right has the legislature to punish .him for wasting his own property! Mr. Kruse menaces society. Next we shall hear of his introducing a bill to make natural gas, hole, ground and all, public property.
One of the republican members of the New Jersey legislature who has refused to vote for the return of Mr. Se well to the United States senate is spoken of by the New York Sun as “Mr. Corbin, who is an able man with an idea that he has a special mission to smash 'corporate domination in the politics of the state.'” In the days when the Sun was gaining instead of losing circulation it did not thus sneer at men who took the part of the people against corporations.
Where Speculators Are Putting Their Money
The speculative interest in the great money centers of the country has largely withdrawn from transactions in stocks and bonds, and gone into real estate in the south and west, notably the former.
Gov. Hill made his speech at Brooklyn on Tuesday evening, and it was chiefly a severe arraignment of the republican party in Chicago for attempting to hold power in defiance of the will of the people. He spoke kindly of President Cleveland, but intimated pretty broadly that he had not gone far enough nor fast enough in removing republicans because they are republicans.
The recent death of Boss Tweed's daughter, news of which came on the day that his former private secretary was buried, has recalled memories of the time when judges, merchants, city officers and journalists were eager to ingratiate themselves in the favor of a man who ended his career clad in the striped suit of a convict. All of the liberal contributors to Miss Tweed's wedding out lit who are still living, were numbered among the saviors of society during the last municipal canvass.
That eminent republican politician, society savior and dive keeper. Tom Gould, is for some reason undergoing persecution. His dive has been shut up, his barkeepers have been sent to prison, and Tom himself has fled to Canada, or gone into hiding to escape being hauled before the courts on a bench warrant. What it means the uninitiated cannot tell, for it would have been just as easy at any time for several years past. as it is now to convict Gould, if the police had desired his conviction.
William A. and Robert Pinkerton, proprietors of the private army recently leased to certain equal companies in New Jersey, have taken umbrage at some remarks by Mayor Cleveland, who declared over his own signature that their vile army was organized by a British convict. They have accordingly sued Mr. Cleveland for $25,000 damages for libel. The mayor should see to it that he is not tried by a jury of capitalists.
To the surprise of everybody a bill authorizing women to vote at municipal elections has passed the New York senate and reached a third reading in the house. Each house expected the other to kill the measure, and neither cared to lake the responsibility itself. A recent editorial in the Elmira Gazette denouncing the measure is believed to represent Gov. Hill's views, and this being the case, the house may perhaps pass a measure to which it is opposed, and depend on the veto to kill it.
The coroners investigation into the terrible disastrous the Baltimore and Ohio railroad at Tiffin, Ohio, has resulted in a verdict that puts a face on the matter very different from that given to it by the Associated press dispatches. The jury declares that the locomotive of the freight train was in a dangerous condition and that, though the officials of the company had due notice of this, they ref used to withdraw it. It also says the engineer was not drunk, as was stated by the officials of the company, but worn out, having been in continuous service for sixteen hours and fifty minutes with a green fireman and an unserviceable locomotive. The whole accident was due to the parsimony and neglect of the railroad company. The verdict concludes with the statement that while such negligence must be criminal, there are no laws in the state of Ohio making such intelligence a crime.
Resolutions have been introduced in the Connecticut legislature declaring that “we have greatly prospered both as a state and a nation under our beneficent protective tariff laws.” If we have prospered so greatly, it is remarkable that we are not happier.
Senator Rutan's anti-discrimination bill pending in the Pennsylvania legislature, is not satisfactory to the earnest opponents of railway monopoly. The measure follows the general lines of the interstate commerce bill passed by congress, but, of course, only applies to transportation within the state. Its weak points are that it permits the commissioners to suspend the operation of the “long and short haul” clause at their discretion, and leaves largely to the judgment of the commissioners the nature of the information to be published.
The gang of scoundrels that has for some time past ruled and robbed Chicago is in a light place. State's Attorney Grinnell has obtained important evidence implicating a number of them in criminal transactions. It was known up the thieves and the detectives in their employ that the district attorney was waiting at an office in the Opera house block and that he had there much of the important documentary evidence in the case. While Mr. Grinnell and his assistants were temporarily absent, and the office was in charge of a clerk and a telegraph operator, a lawyer stained McKeogh with a gang of ruffians at his heels marched into the place. McKeogh claimed to have a warrant for the arrest of Nick Schneider, one of the accused, who has fled. He was assured that Schneider was not there, but he pretended to believe he was concealed in the safe, where most of the documentary evidence was stored. The clerk hastily shut the door and sprung the combination lock, the operator meanwhile holding McKeogh at bay with a revolver. The gang went for a crowbar to open the safe, but the states attorney and the others arrived on the scene at this juncture, and Mr. Grinnell actually kicked McKeogh into the elevator. Singularly enough, McKeogh sullenly muttered that Pinkerton would get even with the state's attorney for this. This indicates that that notorious agency is doing the detective work for the boodlers. It ought to advertise itself as ready to contract for the commission of any crime or villainy.
Over fifty arrests were made in St. Louis last week of persons charged with repeating and other election frauds. The light was between two wings of the “saviors of society,” and they used the weapons to which both are accustomed.
A Missouri court has just rendered a decision that, owing to the omission of a formality, all sales of property for non-payment of taxes made in St. Louis for years are void, and that former owners can therefore regain possession at any time. The present owners will be ousted without compensation. Such is the sacredness of “real estate” titles under existing law.
Up to Thursday the deadlock in the Nev Jersey legislature remained unbroken, and the bitter speech of one of Abbett's supporters had widened the breach between the Abbett and anti-Abbett democrats.
The deadlock in West Virginia continues, and there was at the time this summary closed an apparent intention to prevent any choice of senator until the term of the legislature shall expire. In that event Gov. Wilson will appoint some other democrat than Camden to fill the vacancy.
By his ingenuity, called forth in a moment of distress, a Chicago man has suggested to an anxious nation a means oi getting rid of the national debt. He was in the room at a at the hour of the night examining a thousand-dollar bond. He heard a noise outside his room door, and believing he was about to be robbed by burglars, he chewed and swallowed his thousand dollars; but though he has thus contributed a new idea to the various devices consuming wealth, he is unwilling to lose bond. He has petitioned the government comptroller of the treasury has the claim under consideration.
The house of representatives, during the first session of the present congress, passed a bill repealing the present timber culture and desert land laws, a repeal absolutely necessary to overthrow a vast system of fraud. The senate did not dare throw the bill out. but it has persistently sought to so amend it as to render it practically valueless. The result is an irreconcilable difference between the two houses that will cause the bill to fail and give a new lease to land grabbing and timber stealing.
Mr. Payson, a republican member of the house from Illinois, made a strong speech on Monday in behalf of the house bill, and gave a summary of the iniquitous legislation by which the public domain had been wasted. He referred to numerous instances, among them the Estes park entry in Colorado, the title of which was by fraud invested in the Earl of Dunraven. In his verdancy, he said, when he first came to Washington, he had supposed that when a thing of this kind was brought to the attention of government officials something could be done to cause a reversal. He had gone to the department of justice four different times, trying to get Mr. Brewster to file a bill to set aside the title. He had not succeeded. He had tried it twice during this administration, and now he was done. Mr. Payson said he yielded to none in his desire to stand by the man who was seeking to make a home for himself upon the western prairies. He said he would not lay a straw in the way of such a man, but at the same time he stood here today as he had stood here for six years in the way of the torrent of robbery, per jury and crime that was sweeping the land, despoiling the government of that which it should reserve, and reserve to the latest generation, for the benefit of the landless and homeless poor.
The house committee on Indian affairs has agreed to report favorably bills granting several railroads the right of way through Indian reservations. If such bills pass, the previous legislation breaking up the tribal ownership of lands will become useful to railway and land speculators.
Both houses have accepted and passed the anti-polygamy bill, as agreed on in conference committee. The Mormons are disposed to regard the measure finally passed as less objectionable than they feared that it would be.
On the 18th of January the house passed a joint resolution creating a commission to investigate the books, accounts and methods of the Pacific land grant railroads. The bill was sent to the senate, and on Feb. 4 Senator Hoar reported a substitute, which vent to the senate table and appears likely to remain there indefinitely. This inquiry must precede any attempt to effect a settlement between the Pacific railroads and the government. On Tuesday Senator McPherson moved that the bill to create a department of agriculture be laid aside in order to take up this resolution, but his motion was defeated by a vote of 23 yeas to 33 nays. The bill may yet be called up, but it is hardly likely to pass in time for action by the house at this session.
The Tehuantepec canal bill passed the senate last week. It recites that the government of Mexico has granted to Capt. Eads a concession for the construction and operation of a ship railway across the isthmus of Tehauntepec, and has authorized him and his associates to obtain a charter either in Mexico or elsewhere. It therefore incorporates Jas. B. Eads and some eighty other persons named as a body politic under the name and title of the Atlantic and Pacific Ship Railway company. The stock is not to exceed $100,000,000, and when ten per cent of stock is subscribed for and ten per cent thereon paid in cash a meeting of stockholders is to be held in Washington or Nev York for the election of directors. If ten millions of stock is not subscribed for, and ten per cent in cash paid thereon within two years, the charter is to expire by limitation. Mr. Van Wyck offered a sensible amendment, which was adopted, that no certificate of stock shall be issued until it shall have been fully paid for in money at par value, and that no bonds in excess of the amount of capital actually paid in shall be issued, and that no bonds shall be issued or disposed of at less than their par value.
The Nicaragua ship canal bill was also passed. It prov ides for the incorporation of the Maritime canal company of Nicaragua, with a capital stock not less than fifty nor more than one hundred millions. The principal office is to be in Nev York city. “The aggregate of all charges, dues and tonnage is not to exceed $2.50 per ton weight of the total of all cargo (fuel and supplies included) on board any vessel in transit, or not exceeding $1.25 per ton actual displacement of any steam vessel, and $1.73 per ton actual displacement of any sailing vessel. The United States is to exercise such control over the canal as provided for by treaty with Nicaragua, and not inconsistent with any treaty obligations of the United States with any power, and is to enjoy its unobstructed use (at half rates) for troops, munitions of war and mails. If stock to the amount of $100,000,000 be not subscribed and ten per cent thereof actually paid in within two years, or if the work of construction shall not have actually commenced and been in progress within four years, the corporation shall be deemed to have expired by limitation, and all its franchises to have ceased and determined.”
The house of representatives, by a vote of 83 yeas to 160 nays, refused to pass over the president-s veto the bill appropriating $10,000 for the distribution of seeds in the drouth-stricken region in Texas. The objection to the appropriation was that congress has no constitutional right to appropriate money for such purposes.
Congressmen are busily preparing for their summer excursions at public expense. Numerous committees will be authorized to investigate many things during the few remaining days of the session.
In the senate on Tuesday the Beck bill, to provide for the retirement of legal tender and national bank notes of small denominations and the issue of coin certificates, was reported adversely. It was placed on the calendar. Mr. Beck said that the ad verse report was by bare majority of the committee, and he gave notice that he would call up the bill at an early day.
John Sherman has resigned the position of president pro tem of the senate, as his term expires with the present session. and it will be more convenient to have a senator holding over in the position. Mr. Sherman begins a new term when the senate next meets. It is suggested that Mr. Sherman wishes also to devote himself exclusively to the work of securing the Republican nomination for the presidency next year.
The German reichstag at the time of its dissolution consisted of 397 members, of whom 100 belonged to the Catholic center, 80 to the conservative (Bismarck) party, and the remainder were divided among eight other parties, among which were the national liberals (corresponding to the English liberals), the German liberals (corresponding to the English radicals), the socialists and the parties from various provinces, such as the Poles, Alsatians, etc. When Bismarck was defeated on the senate bill it was mainly by the Catholics and the radicals. During the campaign just finished, one of the most exciting and important of any which have latterly taken place in Europe, two influences were brought to bear upon the voters which have done much toward changing the whole character of the reichstag. These two influences were—first, the implied assertion of Bismarck that he would plunge the country at once into a war with France if the people did not elect a parliament which would give him the control of the army for seven years more, and, second, the open attempt of Pope Leo to force the Catholics to support Bismarck. Under the first influence the radicals and free conservatives gave way and joined strength with the conservatives and the national liberals. Under the second influence the Catholics split and part (about 30 out of 100) went over to Bismarck. As is well known, every member must have the absolute majority, not merely the plurality of votes in his district, so that final supplementary votes have generally to be taken, and in this case 50 such votes will be necessary; but the probability is that the government will have in the end 220 supporters against 177 opponents. The septennate bill is safe, and perhaps the danger of immediate war is averted. The increase in the socialist vote is 500,000, yet they probably will not have their old number of members, 25, on account of the unfortunate way in which their votes were distributed. The “unholy alliance” of liberal and conservative has the momentary victory, but the increase of the vote in the most radical wing shows that the victory is but temporary.
The English government is preparing a coercion bill drastic in its nature, but it wishes before presenting it to put through the closure measure that will enable it to prevent debate.
It would seem, however, that no such measure is needed, in view of the action of the speaker last week in arbitrarily refusing to put a motion made by Mr. Dillwyn or to permit debate on it. Speaker Peers action has aroused intense indignation among liberals and Irish, and it may lead to a curtailment of the arbitrary powers now lodged in his hands.
The Plea Of The Rich
It is no Excuse for Them that the Poor Would Do the Same Thing
Lakeland, Fla., Feb. 1.—The common reply to complaints against the injustices of the present condition of society is that the motive of the complaint is jealousy, and that the complainant would commit the same wrongs if he but had the opportunity. If we assume that this is true, it does not follow that because the rich man was once poor he now has the right to oppress and rob. The question is not w hat the poor man would do should he become rich, but whether any man or class of men, be they rich or poor, shall be permitted to infringe upon the rights of their fellows. Morals aside, according to what code of conduct is it that the rich man has the right to prey upon society, “if he can,” or “if he has the chance,” while society has no right to defend itself against the imposition, “if it can?” If the former stands upon the platform that “might makes right,” as seems to be the case, then the people have not only the right to defend themselves against the trespasses of the rich, but they “also have the right to trespass on them, for they certainly have the power to do so if they but put forth the effort. If the practices of the monopolist are right, the teachings of the communist are right also, because the essence of both is robbery, the only conflict between them being upon the point as to who shall be robber. The logical result of the practices of the monopolist would be the enforcement of the teachings of the communist, because the principle that “might makes right” once generally recognized there is no doubt that the confiscation of the rightful property of the rich would soon ensue. But this is the principle that the great body of the people, who are neither monopolists nor communists, are preparing to challenge, while the people are smarting under the outrageous wrongs being daily put upon them, and are conscious of the fact that, under the present order of things, their very lives are under a perpetual mortgage to a class of their fellows, for whom they must first labor before they are permitted to labor for themselves. Nevertheless, they do not demand a requital of the wrongs they have suffered. In their great magnanimity they simply declare that the present system of plunder shall be abolished. It is not proposed by the new party to confiscate the ill—gotten gains of the rich, but to stop the further vicious use of wealth, viz.: To prevent the further arbitrary and wrongful appropriation of the belongings of the laborer—the fruits of his labor.
P. V. Jones.
Flagrant Tyranny of Landlords
The London Democrat for February says: “The reductions made in the rents of Highland estates by the crofters' commission show how Highland landlords have plundered their tenants for many years past. Out of six estates gone over by the commission the reductions on live are 17½, 29½, 32½, 37½ and, 51 per cent. Even from the point of view of those who believe in the justice of rent, the landlords have been robbing and oppressing their tenants, and if common justice were done they would be compelled to make full restitution.
Destitution in Ottawa
Last Sunday evening Father Bowdall, in his sermon at the Basilica in Ottawa, said: “There are many families in Ottawa at the present time on the brink of destitution who are unable to obtain work. I also know of widowed mothers with families in this city who go to bed at night cold and hungry, and who have no idea how they are going to obtain their breakfasts. The demands upon the charitable institutions of this city to relieve the sufferings of the unemployed and destitute were never greater.”
Senator Gorman, himself a Catholic, has introduced a bill in the Michigan legislature to take the tenure of Catholic church property out of the hands of the bishops, and to vest in trustees representing each congregation. The Michigan Catholic protests against this measure.
History Repeats Itself
Laborers of Our Day Take the Place of Slaves Before the War
New York, Feb. 15.—I have long wondered where the dailies of this city got their material for editorials upon the labor question, and I find the mine they have been working is page 577, volume I., of Benton's “Thirty Years in the United States Senate.” It consists of an address by Mr. Buchanan in presenting a memorial from the Society of Friends of Pennsylvania requesting congress to abolish slave trade and slavery in the District of Columbia and Mr. Benton's reply.
The passage read: “Mr. Buchanan, in presenting it, said it was entitled to respect from the character of the memorialists, but he dissented from the opinion which they expressed and the request which they made. The constitution recognized slavery; it existed here; was found here when the district was ceded to the United States; the slaves were the property of the inhabitants, and he was opposed to the disturbance of their rights.”
For slaves and slave owners substitute laborers and land owners, and it is seen that Mr.. Buchanan's remarks have furnished the great dailies with material for several campaigns.
Further along is this: “Mr. Benton rose to express his concurrence. . . . With respect to the petitioners and those with whom they acted he had no doubt but that many of them were good people, aiming at benevolent objects, and endeavoring to ameliorate the condition of one part of the human race without inflicting calamities on another part; but they were mistaken in their mode of proceeding, and so far from accomplishing any part of their object the whole effect of their interposition was to aggravate the condition of those in whose behalf they were interfering.” There were others, the abolitionists, whom he qualified as “incendiaries and agitators, with diabolical objects in view, to be accomplished by wicked and deplorable means.”
For abolitionists substitute land reformers, and we get the fountain that inspired the “saviors of society” in the last campaign. Benton then describes the insurrection of the slaves at Pointe Coupee, La. How they dared to “dream of liberty,” and how they were punished for it. “The militia of the parish immediately took arms, and the Baron de Carondelet caused them to be supported by the troops of the line. It was resolved to arrest and to punish the principal conspirators. The slaves opposed it, but were quickly dispersed, with the loss of twenty of their number killed on the spot. Fifty of the insurgents were condemned to death. Sixteen were executed in different parts of the parish; the rest were put on board a galley and hung at intervals all along the river as far as New Orleans, a distance of one hundred and fifty miles.” He then traced all the mischief to “societies;” and said “they had already perpetrated more mischief than the joint remainder of all their lives spent in prayers of contrition and in works of retribution could ever atone for.” It all reads just as the great dailies to-day do, and shows how history repeats itself.
E. W. Nellis.
Attacking the Standard Oil Co.
A Serious Effort to Re-establish Independent Refineries in Pennsylvania
The Bellingsly pipe-line bill, now pending in the Pennsylvania legislature, has for its professed object the revival in the western part of that state of the independent oil refining industry which was crushed out years ago by the Standard oil company. Dr. W. B. Roberts of Titusville declares that if the bill is passed a company will at once be formed with a capital of $500,000 to build a large refinery in each of the four great oil districts. He further says that the object of this effort to secure legislative regulation of pipeline rates is not so much to make charges lover as it is to make them uniform, and thus put a stop to the discrimination by which the Standard monopoly crushes every enterprise that dares oppose it.
The advocates of the bill and the agents of the Standard oil company, who are opposing it, have both been heard by the joint committee that is considering the measure. One witness declared that the oil producers had suffered so long from corporate abuse that they were electrified and astonished by the introduction of this bill. He described the beginning and growth of the oil industry, and shoved how within a period of fifteen years the cost of production had fallen from $4 a barrel to sixty cents, while the cost of transportation had vastly increased.
Mr. Heydrick, on behalf of the producers, made a legal argument in favor of the bill. He declared that it does not violate the national or state constitution. “Precedents without number,” he said, “had established the right of the state to interfere with private business where that business interferes with the liberties of the people, and the only question here was one of expediency.”
Gambling in Necessaries of Life
Brooklyn, Feb. 10.—Every now and then some rich merchant or speculator who wants to be richer succeeds in making “a corner” by which the price of pork, beef, corn or breadstuffs is forced up a cent or two. Then goes up a roar of protest, and we learn how sinful a thing it is to “gamble in the necessaries of life.” But, bless the innocent hearts oi" the moralists, don't they know that gambling in the prime necessary of life is going on every day in every nation, every state, city, town and village? What is an extra penny for a bushel of wheat to thousands of dollars demanded by one man of another who desires the use of a piece of ground upon which the wheat may be grown? One cannot put- his toot on a vacant piece of God's earth without permission of the “owner,” nor can one use and live on it if the “owner” desires to keep it vacant, in the belief that its value, which is determined by the need that other men have of it, will rise. Gambling in wheat, forsooth! Why, is there the amount of moral wrong in all the sales of “futures” that ever were effected that there is in the denial of one human being's birthright?
Horizoned leagues of land,
Grasped in a dead man's hand—
go down to those who have not won by their efforts the right to live on them, while needful, intelligent beings, born into the world under ban of false conditions, pay tribute all their lives to “owners” of the earth. What grinds the working man the hardest—a rise in breadstuffs that may cost him a couple of dollars in a year, or the hundred dollars, above the amount of taxes, that he pays as bonus to his landlord? Gambling in the miner necessaries of life is an undoubted evil, but gambling in the prime necessary of life, in other phrase, speculation in land, is an iniquity that cries to heaven for redress. Give the land to the people.
Charles M. Skinner.
A Rod for Their Own Backs
San Diego, Cal., Feb. 9.—What a rod the deluded people of San Diego are preparing for their own backs! By their insane competition land has risen to such a price that hardly any honest business pays, and strangers intending to settle are driven away. A late arrival, not yet hardened to the present state of things, shows up in a very ridiculous light the evils of our system in laying out a town. “Here,” he says, “for miles along the bay you have isolated houses up on bills and down in holes, many of them mere shanties; for, after paying for their land many people have very little money for any thing else. There are no roads, no lights at night, and the stores are far away.”
Evac. A. Phibech.
Dr. De Beck Of Cincinnati On The Land Question
“What We Want and How We Propose to Get It”
To the Editor of the Commercial Gazette:
In you r issue of to-day, in reply to a correspondent inquiring in regard to Henry George's theories, you give a fairly just answer; but considering the very marked interest Mr. George's views are attracting throughout the entire country, I think you r journal can afford to devote more than twelve lines to their explanation. The proposition that “the land of every country belongs to the people of that country” is a proposition which, considered from the standpoint of reason, is perfectly self-evident. It is recognized legally in the principle of “eminent domain,” and is tacitly recognized in all such legislative acts as “homestead laws,” “preemption acts,” etc. It is an “airy” theory that has been held by such “airy” political thinkers as Thomas Jefferson, John Stuart Mill and Herbert Spencer.
Important as is the principle, to the average citizen the question of the method of practically applying these principles is of still more immediate interest. It is at this point that much misunderstanding arises, and 1 fear that this is the point where willful misrepresentation creeps in.
It is thought by many that Mr. George proposes to have the state step in, forcibly take possession of all land, and then rent out the land to whoever might desire it. So very widely spread is this view that even so intelligent and well read a man as Judge Yapie presented it as Mr. George's plan, in his letter to the Evening Post some time since. In Mr. George's works he has had occasion to deny, in so many words, that this is his method.
What Mr. George proposes to do is not to alter a single existing condition directly; not to change the title to a square inch of land; not to add a single function to governmental machinery, as regards land management.
With our present municipal and state methods of taxation unchanged, he proposes simply to shift taxation. He proposes a single tax on land values, assessed as at present, but to full value. He proposes then to do away with all other taxes, direct or indirect.
He merely proposes that the holders of land, holding something to their exclusive use which is a gift of the Creator, and not a product of labor, should pay for this privilege a tax into the treasury. He proposes that all taxes upon labor and capital, taking away a portion of their product, should be abolished. This land tax should be raised until it reaches the animal ground rent of the land.
Mr. George is in harmony with all leading economists in holding that a tax upon land values cannot be shifted to other shoulders—it must be paid by the owner. It is equally true that all other taxes, direct or indirect—taxes which are levied upon the products of labor and capital—can be, and are, shifted from the owner to the user.
Mr. George's theory, as so stated, seems very innocent—merely another way of levying taxes; but it is from those who see the immediate and far-reaching effect of his theory that the bitter opposition comes.
The first effect would be upon the distribution of land. Land now in use would remain just as it is; the tax taken off of the improvements rad the tax upon the land slightly raised, not, however, equal to the previous amount of both taxes together, except in those cases of city shanties, rookeries, etc., where the land is worth more than the improvements. But it is upon unused land, land held by monopolies and for speculative purposes, that the disintegrating blow would fall. That such land, unproductive but taxed to its value, would not long, be held is axiomatic. The result would be the throwing upon the market, at any figure obtainable, of vast aggregates of tillable land. To this land surplus labor would overflow, and labor remaining in industrial pursuits would naturally obtain the proper proportion of the products of industry.
This distribution of land would gradually make us a nation of independent freeholders, instead, as we are rapidly drifting, a nation of landlords and tenants. Then would disappear that most curious paradox of our civilization. a “tramp” hunting for the opportunity to make a living, and trudging along western roads past hundreds and thousands of acres of virgin soil.
This method of taxation would have its most marked effect upon vent. land which was taxed up to, or nearly to, its annual value, would cease to have a rental value. What is rent? It is a value added to land, not in virtue of any labor expended by the owner, but as a result of the growth of the community. But rent. the representative of this value, goes now not to the community, but to an individual. Thus results that anomalous state of affairs that, with the increased productive power of labor and capital, land increases m value, rents go up, and the factor that takes no part in producing wealth (the land owner) takes a greater and greater proportionate share of the produce, while labor and capital, the active factors in producing wealth, receive a less and less relative proportion. This is represented by wages tending to a bare subsistence, and the market rate of interest (the measure of the average return to capital) reaching a lower and lover figure.
This is the history of the change of every country from a new to an old settled community and runs a directly parallel course with the rise in land values. Where land is cheap, wages and interest are high; where land is dear, wages and interest are low. This is so well known as hardly to warrant the time and space in printing it.
This, then, is a fight of labor and capital against land monopoly. Labor and capital must have access to the bounties of nature, and must be allowed to properly divide between themselves what they produce. No third factor, having no share in the production of wealth, must have the power to take the lion's share of the wealth.
Mr. George's other reforms, viz., that the state should legally acquire all large businesses that are necessarily monopolistic'—for example, the railroads, telegraph, telephone, gas-works, etc.—need not be here discussed. These social functions are now performed by other countries, and performed more economically, more to public benefit and very much less to legislative corruption.
New York Herald, Feb. 24.
Mr. A. S. Hewitt is may or of New York. That is about as much as one until can attend to and do it moderately well. He has not begin his reform mayoralty yet.
Mr. Hewitt opened his canvass for the mayoralty with a cry that Mr. Henry George and his followers were anarchists. That folly was forgiven him by a good many democratic voters. who kindly attributed it to his dyspepsia.
Now he wants the democratic party to break up labor organizations.
It is a pity that Mr. Hewitt does not have to saw wood for a living. In that case he would have a better digestion and more sense.
Letting the Greater Criminal Loose
In the course of a recent speech in East Toronto Alfred Jury, the parliamentary candidate of the labor party, said:
If you allow any class to monopolize either the land, which is the source of all natural wealth, or the carrying trade of the country, by which that wealth is carried to the consumers of the country, you put it within the reach of that class to tax the labor of the people to the utmost degree. There is an old verse that we have often heard in the old country that to my mind well suits the occasion. They say there that
The law locks up the man or woman
That steals the goose from all the common,
But lets the greater criminal loose
That steals the common from the goose.
(Loud cheers.) That is true. If there is any criminal class it is that class in all countries who by monopolizing the legislation of the country, by making the laws of the country, as they have in the British isles, rob the people of their birthright, the soil. I think they are the greatest criminals in the proper sense of the word that there can possibly be in any country.
The Values of London Land
From the Court Journal.
It has been ascertained, with regard to the Imperial institute, that the site of about live acres recently secured for the new admiralty and war offices is valued at £820,000, or rather over £l60,000 per acre; that now vacant in Charles street,opposite the India office. is less than an acre, and would cost at least £125,000; probably another acre might be secured. by private contract, so that the value of a limited site in this position would not be less than £250,000.
The McGlynn Testimonial
The publisher of the Standard edges the receipt of the following the fund for Dr. McGlynn:
Two Irish Protestants, San Louis Obispo, Cal.
H. W. Miller, Kansas City, Mo.
T. M. N.
Patrick Bradley, New York
W. B., Germantown, Pa.
William Noonan, Hartford City, Ind.
P. O'Lard, San Francisco, Cal.
R. C. S., New York
An Admirer, New York
J. J. Payne, Springfield, Ill.
James Walsh, Newark, N. J.
Paul Donovan, Newark, N. J.
Richard Ryan, Newark, N. J.
Daniel Regan, Newark, N. J.
A Shoemaker, Newark, N. J.
Robert J. Jackson, Newark, N. J.
James Walsh, Newark, N. J.
Timothy Foley, Newark, N. J.
Michael Sullivan, Newark, N. J.
James Walsh, Newark, N. J.
John Murphy, Newark, N. J.
James Bullivant, Newark, N. J.
Thomas Leary, East Aurora, N. Y.
Allen Tucker, New York
Hugh Whoriskey, New York
Samuel Keller, New York
Joseph Doelger, New York
St. W. Cowen, New York
Michael Carew, New York
A Mission of Humanity
Germantown, Pa., Feb.21.—Inclosed find $l for the Dr. McGlynn fund as a slight token of my hearty sympathy for him in his mission of humanity. I wish you God speed in your work.
Truth Will Rise Again
Hartford City, Ind., Feb. 22.—the Standard suits me to a lot. Your defense of Dr. McGlynn is the best thing that has ever been published in an American newspaper. I am a Catholic myself and detest bossism in all its forms. I remember a few years ago when the Irish World was proscribed by the most of the Catholic clergy; how it pursued the even tenor of its way, and its fearless editor looked neither to the left nor the right, and triumphed over every foe. I regret that some of our Catholic journals have attempted to belittle Dr. McGlynn after the fashion of common politicians. But it won't do. “Truth crushed to earth will rise again.” In the language of Father O'Reilly of Detroit, “I hope Dr. McGlynn will triumph over all of his enemies.” Inclosed find $1 for the fund.
A Beautiful Coincidence
San Luis Obispo, Cal., Feb. 10.—My mother halves a subscription or $2 to the Dr. McGlynn fund with myself. We are only sorry that we are limited to so small a sum. It is surely a singular and beautiful coincidence that the church of which he was in the truest sense pastor should name the temple of its worship St. Stephen's—the memory of Christianity's earliest martyr linking itself thus with the first martyr to truth's new crusade.
An Irish Protestant.
Among the Rocky Mountains
Aspen, Col., Feb. 10.—We have got up a subscription for Father McGlynn in Aspen, and we are doing well. It will let his enemies see that he has friends at his back in the wilds of the Rocky mountains.
For Human Rights
New York, Feb. 22.—Hen-with please find $1 for the McGlynn fund. It is not intended to measure my sympathy for a man persecuted because he dared stand up for human rights and the rights of an American citizen.
R. C. S.
No Dictation from Rome
Newark, N. J., Feb. 21.—Inclosed find post office order for ten dollars to be added to the McGlynn fund. The twelve subscribers heartily endorse the stand taken by that eminent and liberty- loving priest, and hope that Rome shall not be permitted to dictate in our free republic.
From the Twentieth Assembly District
The admirers or Rev. Dr. McGlynn in the Twentieth assembly district have formed a McGlynn club: M. Carew, president; James Barrett, secretary; Tora O'Neil, treasurer. Active measures are promised to add to the tribute to the people's noble champion, and the first receipt is acknowledged herewith: Allen Tucker, $1.00; Hugh Whoriskey, $5.00; Samuel Keller, 50 cents; Jos. Doelger, $5.00; St. W. Cowen, $10.00; Michael Carew, $5.00.
San Francisco, Feb, 11.—I have often heard of a man crying enough when he was down and being beaten; but for the first time in my life have I heard of a man crying enough when it concerned the receiving of money, as I learn from today's dispatches that the Rev. Dr. McGlynn has done. Though lie may cry enough. It is not “ex-cathedra,” and the people, who are anxious and willing to contribute their mite to the good man, to place him in an independent position arid enable him to teach the old doctrine of Catholicism, may still contribute. I think it your duty, above all things, to use all your powers to keep Dr. McGlynn from going to Rome. There is nothing grander than Catholicism; but that a man in this nineteenth century should go from New York to Rome to state a proposition so simple as that all taxation should be on land, or that land should be taxed to its rental value, or that the land of a country belongs to the people of the country, when pen and ink and postage are so much better and cheaper, is ludicrous. This is especially so when a man, by writing;, puts himself on record in black and white that cannot be rubbed out. If the propaganda, or the pope put themselves on record to the contrary doctrine—that God made the world for individual ownership—then the Roman church would cease to be Catholic, and the church would have to print a new Christian doctrine or catechism, that after God made the world fur his own honor and glory he did not make it for all men's use and benefit, but only for those who could steal it from the rest of mankind. Please add the inclosed dollar to the fund.
Hopes for a Stunning Rebuke
Tarrytown, N. Y.—Only a short time ago the whole world of wealth and privilege stood aghast, and in breathless anxiety waited the result of labor's first attempt to demand a hearing for its admitted grievances. The laborer's response inthis appeal spread consternation in the ranks of monopoly, elevated labor to a dignity that it never before attained, and marked the beginning of a new era in the social and political history of the world. At once privilege and monopoly call to their aid the machinery that has ever protected their interests and spread confusion and ruin in the labor camp. That machinery is now in full panoply, particularly aiming at the suppression of labor through the brutal and effective blow it has delivered on labor's champion. He, to whose disinterested advocacy labor owes a debt that it can never hope to be able to adequately repay, is prostrated from the effect of that cruel, because undeserved, blow. In this emergency what is labor going to do? Is it going to repeat its sad history, allow itself to be driven on the barren pasture, pent up, while its beloved shepherd is mercilessly strangled? Has labor's intellect not yet sufficiently developed to enable it to arise and resent this most un-Christian and insulting challenge as its malignant venom and labor's future welfare demand? Your humble servant, an observing laborer, who, though he differs with his fellows as to some of the methods employed for the elevation of labor, fully appreciates the attempt now being made to silence labor's voice and postpone for another decade, that measure of justice which, it is admitted on all hands, it ought now in receive. As the most effective method of silencing enemies is the—what the enemy never fails to do—rewarding of friend-, I subscribe one dollar to the testimonial to be presented to the Rev. Dr. McGlynn, a testimonial which I hope will reach proportions that will administer a stunning rebuke to meddlesome pretenders. It may be well to say that I am an Irishman by birth, a Catholic by breeding, and an American citizen first, last and all the time.
Inviting the Storm
A ton of coal which sells today sit $8 in Chicago represents an average cost of all the labor engaged in mining and making it ready for shipment of $l.06 to $l.10. The remaining $6.90 to $6.94 is the profit of the coal companies, shippers and middlemen. By a conspiracy among the ten coal companies of the anthracite regions the output is controlled so that the miners are compelled to lie idle 110 working days in each year, or more than one-third of their time, while their wages are being steadily reduced—amounting to a gross reduction of over 60 per cent in six years; coal freights are maintained at the high rates of sixteen years ago, although competition, the fall of prices, and economics of transportation have reduced the rates on other freights fully 50 per cent in the same period; and $15,000,000 a year more is extorted from coal consumers for the same quantity, with a loss of $10,000,000 in wages to the miners, and a general crippling of till business compelled to use anthracite coal. There is no justification, of course, for anarchy and its advocates. But if two wrongs ever made a right, anarchy would be the fitting and only complement of this monstrous wrong of the coal barons. They are setting at defiance the common law which is the basis of social order, the constitution of the United States and of every individual state, the repeated decisions of the highest courts, and the moral principles upon which all these are founded. They are sowing the wind. Will they only reap the whirlwind.
A Hit at the Coal Competition
St. Paul Dispatch.
The foolish sporadic attacks of violence which characterize the dissing strike at New York afford another demonstration of the criminal folly of the conduct of those who are responsible for such abortive risings.
Queries And Answers
Shall Foreign Immigration be Prohibited?
Lansingburg, N. Y., Feb. 14.—It is well known that immigration from abroad is enormous and that 90 per cent of the immigrants have not a dollar. Last year the average was over 1,000 per day. Just think of 1,000 people coining from foreign countries looking for work in our already overstocked country! It is estimated that there are 1,000,000 idle men in the United States now. What do we want of any more? An immigrant landing here without friends jumps at any wages he can get, even if he undermines a citizen. There ought to be laws to prohibit such immigration. A restriction of some kind, for instance the possession of a stipulated sum of money, say $500, should be imposed. Not $500 as a fee for entrance, but the immigrant should possess that amount as a condition of entrance. By this method we should bring money into the country.
I have noticed that at the time our country was entering a prosperous era immigration was greatest. It is impossible for the United States to furnish employment for the whole world, but that is just what we are doing. Organizer! labor will never be able to accomplish anything so long as corporations can open the flood gates and let in pauper foreign labor to lake the place of our own workers.
George B. Goewey.
Your proposition is good protection doctrine, and should find earnest. advocates in the Tribune and the Sun. But think a moment. Is our country overstocked with workers? That cannot truthfully be said while building lots are vacant and people used houses; while coal beds are unopened and people shiver for want of fuel: while millions of acres are untilled and people are in want of food. It is not our country that is over-stocked with workers, but the people who own our country.
It is quite possible for the United States to furnish employment for the whole world. Tear down the parchment wall of title deeds that towers between the workers and the idle land of our country, and see what work, and what profitable work, there will be for everybody.
You are right in saying that immigrants without funds jump at any wages they can get and undermine citizens. But it is not the fault of the immigrant: it is the fault of the law that enables men with money in their pocket and speculation in their eye to wall in opportunities to work. This limits the demand for workers to the wants of an employing class, and keeps up a supply of men without work who, by bidding against those that have it, drag wages down. Penniless immigrants reinforce the army of the unemployed, and make the competition keener.
To keep them out of the country would slightly and temporarily modify competition, but nothing more. It would make organized labor stronger in a strike, but not much. With over a million men in the country looking for a job, employers have a labor supply to draw from. which is effectual enough in the process of beating down wages. A million laborers more than employers need will reduce wages to the minimum, land being held as private property, just as certainly, though not so soon, as twenty millions.
The idea of interfering with the freedom of laborers, either by such a restriction as you propose, or by a tariff on foreign products, or by taxing products of any kind, is all wrong. What is needed is a removal—not a multiplication—of restrictions. Make foreign products free by abolishing the tariff; make domestic products free by abolishing the taxes on them; and, above all, make raw material free by taxing land values until no one will appropriate land that he does not use, and all seeming necessity for keeping people out of the country or bringing money in will vanish.
Trying to Solve the Problem
Baltimore, Feb. 11.—In the reading room of one of our hotels a party of gentlemen were discussing the New York strike, Dr. McGlynn and the Standard. “The way to solve this question of 'The Land for the People,'” said one, “is for every state to tax vacant land owned by individuals living within the state at three or four times the rate paid by those who use their land. This would force owners to sell to those desiring homes. Taxes on non-resident owners should be fully double those on resident owners, and vacant lands owned by corporations in or out of the state should be taxed in a similar manner. Agricultural lauds should be divided into plots of eighty acres each, and no individual or corporation should be permitted to own in fee simple over one such plot, unless willing to pay the rate fixed on non-resident property. This would at once compel the owners of large estates to sell and force millions of acres upon the market. There would be no wrong done to any man; millions of happy homes would be planted everywhere; tramps and strikes would be unknown; the land would belong to the people.”
The ideas expressed seemed novel to me, and I record them for the Standard.
The gentleman you quote hears the ringing of the Neil, but doesn't know where the steeple is. There is no reason for taxing vacant land more than improved land of the same value. nor for taxing non-resident more than resident land-holders, or corporations more than individuals, except as there is a difference in the value of their holdings. A uniform ad valorem land tax would force unused lands into market more surely than would a tax that discriminated against corporations and non-residents. Nor is the plan of dividing agricultural lands into small holdings a good one. It would interfere with farming on a large scale. The gentleman you quote evidently intended by this, however, to secure a homestead to the farmer, for he would allow large holdings, provided the owner paid full tax on all in excess of eighty acres. But no real necessity for homestead privileges would exist if all land were taxed its full rental value. There would been be all around us land substantially free for occupancy and use.
The Rest of Houses
Buffalo, N. Y., Jan. 34.—When all taxation is thrown on land values, how is house rent to be prevented from rising accordingly.
This question, which is frequently asked, is due to ignoring an elementary distinction—that between monopoly prices and competitive prices.
Land commands a monopoly price because it cannot be supplied by labor. Its owner can and does demand for it all the occupier will give rather than take up with a poorer situation. But houses command only a competitive price, because labor can reproduce them at will.
Now a tax upon a monopoly price comes out of the price, while a tax upon a competitive price is added to it. Land value taxes, therefore, are taken from land rents, while house taxes are added to house rents, the former being paid by the landlord and the latter by the tenant. If all taxes were placed on land values ground rents would not rise in consequence. They could not. They are already as high as “the traffic will bear.” But house rents would be less, at least to the extent of the tax removed from the house. If a piece of land is worth $100 a year, its value will not be increased by an additional tax. The landlord will have to be satisfied with $100 or leave it vacant; nor will he be obliged to take less than $100 if his tax be reduced. But a tax on a house increases its value because labor will not reproduce houses unless the consumer pay the tax. Houses might be taxed so high that few more houses would be built, but you cannot tax land values high enough to lessen in the least the supply of land. The effect of exclusively taxing land values would be to reduce ground rents by making a glut in the land market. The effect of removing taxes from houses would be to decrease house rent by encouraging house building. In no way could this tendency be overcome. Hence, it would be impossible for house rent to rise with the tax on land values. It would fall.
Two Cases of Possible Hardship
New York, Feb. 12.—I own a frame house and lot I worked hard to clear off the mortgage. Now I am old and cannot work much. The property, when fully rented, brings in $900 a year. If I paid eight per cent taxes on the value of the land, which is $9,000 on my block, my tax would be $720, and I would have but little loft to live on in 'y old days. I have a neighbor, a poor widow, with two children, who owns a frame house on which there is a mortgage. She manages to make a living out of it and bring her children up well. But suppose all taxes were placed on land values, what would become of this sickly woman?
Your case and that of the widow are the same. You are dependent on account of your age, and she on account of her health and sex and the children she is rearing, and both of you are mainly supported by ground rents, paid by tenants to whom you give no equivalent, the ground they occupy being by gift of the Creator as much theirs as yours. To tax you $720 would leave you but $180, which probably is a fair return as things go now for your capital—the house and for your work and expense, caring for it and collecting rents. What right have you to more from the people who live in your house? You plead dependence, but why should these people be burdened with your support? Is it because you in the past exchanged your labor for a title deed to that lot, whereby you are able now to force them to work for you? That reasoning, if valid, would justify slavery if the master were a poor man who worked until he had enough to buy a “likely nigger” to work for him. It is precisely the kind of reasoning that was used against abolition thirty years ago. Cases like yours are always invoked by privileged classes when their privilege is assailed. Such cases, by exciting emotion, make reason blind and tip the scales of justice. Great general wrongs are of late forgotten, if sympathy can be aroused for forcible instances of hardship.
But there need be no hardship in either case you mention. Both you and the widow should. Not as a charity, but as a right, be well supported out of that fund which belongs to all—the rental value of land. You are now supported by a few people upon whom you have no special claim; you would then be supported by all the people, upon whom you have a just claim, as an equal owner with them of the land out of which they produce. Such support would not be humiliating. It would not be alms. If superannuated judges can, without loss of self-respect, enjoy pensions on account of services for which they have been already paid, superannuated laborers and helpless widows ought to feel no shame in taking dividends from common property to the value of which their services in the past and their very presence now contribute.
Do not be misled by the cavilings of the selfish that are echoed in your letter. Small land owners are to the privileged classes what the horse in Aesop's fable was to the man. Without their support, and they really suffer rather than profit from the system, the great monopolists who in idleness themselves fatten upon the industry of others would soon go to the wall.
Security of Private Property
Detroit, Mich., Feb. 11.—In advocating the gospel of the land for the people I am frequently met with the notion, especially in farming communities, that it is proposed to make the products of labor public property and deprive a man of his earnings. This is an ignorant notion, to be sure, but for that reason it should be constantly refuted.
S. G. Howell.
Instead of making labor products public property, it is proposed to make them more secure as private property than they are now. We would not only recognize individual ownership in every product of labor, from a sheaf of grain to a farm house and from a flatboat to a steamship, but we would also remove from it every form of tax. In principle there is no difference between taking part of a product for public use, as by our system of taxation we do now, and taking the whole. The right to do one involves a right to do the other. But we deny both the right and the expediency of doing either.
By shifting all taxes to land values we make taxes a compensation to the public for appropriating public property. No man can produce land—it is a creation of nature; therefore no man can claim ownership of land. Nor does any one man create land values; they are created by the demand of the community. Both land and land values then are public property, and when an individual converts them to his own use, he should pay the public for his privilege. Such payments would make a revenue fund that would lift the whole burden of taxation from the producer; he would pay ground rent only, whereas now he must pay ground rent and taxes too. It would do more. It would bring vacant land into use and make it easy for any man wanting work to find it ready at hand at wages measured by his earnings instead of by competition among laborers for a job.
Any man who uses his land can well afford to have land values made the sole basis of taxation. The extent that his direct tax was thereby increased would be more than offset by the abolition of other taxes, the increase of his wages if he worked, and the improved state of society in which he lived. The farmer would be especially benefited; for besides his higher wages and the removal of tariff taxes, he would pay less direct taxes than now. This would be so with every farmer whose land was worth less than his improvements, stock and produce; and how many farmers are there whose land is worth more?
Music In Schools
False Methods Due to Evil Influences in Politics
Brooklyn, Jan. 10.—No one who is at all familiar with the politics of New York and Brooklyn will wonder at the strong statements made by Prof. Jerome Hopkins in the Standard upon the method of teaching music prevalent in our common schools. The appointment of teachers is but a part of the ring system that has dominated these cities under the two great parties for many years, and until that rule can be broken no great improvement may be looked for. The situation here recalls that which obtained in England until within the last few years, and the vast change for the better that has taken place in musical education may well inspire every reformer with the hope that the coming change in American politics may reach the public schools and deliver them from ring rule. The history of the great musical reform in England is especially interesting to all who sympathize with the labor movement here. That reform had its rise and achieved its first triumphs in the ranks of the workingmen. Its early days were marked by incessant struggle against caste, professional opposition, aristocratic patronage and government official authority. I had the honor of taking part in that struggle, and have lived to see results successful far beyond my wildest anticipations. Fostered in the homes of the poor, in the ragged schools, in the bands of hope and in classes connected with schools, lyceums, mechanics' institutes and other popular institutions, reform grew until it reached the aristocracy itself, compelling the recognition that was denied to its earlier and more modest achievements.
Then the labor of building up a true and simple system of music teaching went on until the structure was completed and was recognized by eminent musicians and educators as the best method of teaching music that the world has seen. This could never have been possible under such a system as governs our common schools in New York and Brooklyn. It is notorious that very little is accomplished in teaching the pupils to read music at sight. Well may Professor Hopkins say: 'The way in which notation singing is taught in most public schools is a delusion to the public, a fraud on the taxpayers, and a snare to the pupils. Everybody conversant with our established politics knows well that political influence lies at the bottom of all that makes such an alarming statement true, and the labor party should not lose sight of this fact when the time for reckoning comes. We need to carry reform into every part of the body politic, for the republican and democratic quacks who have pretended to treat it for its health have so poisoned its life blood that “from the crown of its head to the sole of its foot it is covered with wounds and bruises and putrefying sores!” The question with the mere politician is now who is the best teacher, nor what is the best method of teaching. The great problem is, how he shall gel his friends into positions that will make them his willing tools. As to method, that is of no moment. The old methods will do very well while he is in office.
Our children should be taught to sing and read music in the way that is most consonant with the true principles of education, and if that be not possible under the present political system let us demand a change and agitate until our demand is satisfied. I am truly yours,
The Holy Bull
Why the Fruiterers of Nagpour Ceased to Pay Tribute
From the Hindoo.
In a little street in Nagpoor a small company of fruiterers earned a meager subsistence by disposing of their wares to pedestrians.
Contrary to the general rule, these fruit sellers gave the place of prominence to the poorest fruit, and many intending purchasers passed on without buying on account of this peculiarity.
Now, the reason why the good fruit was thus kept in the background was that an exceedingly white and glossy bull, pronounced by the Brahmins particularly holy and an especial favorite of Deity, daily wended his way among the fruit stalls and quietly devoured such fruits thereon as caught his fancy.
When the poor fruit venders counted up their earnings at eventide, they always found that the sacred animal herd lessened their gains by his levyings at least one-tenth, and sometimes as much as one-half.
But they had never interfered with the holy bull in the exercise of his divine rights. One day, however, a poor man, who had been notified that he must pay his rent that day or his family would be houseless, and who was happy in the consciousness that a large bunch of bananas which lav on his stand, and which was ordered for a wealthy European, would bring enough to pay his indebtedness, was horrified to see the holy bull approaching.
Frenzied with anger, he forgot the divine character of the animal, and. as the bull stretched out his neck to appropriate the cherished bananas, the fruiterer dealt him a heavy blow with a stick on the nose. Amazed beyond all manner of things at this reception, the bull wheeled around and rushed like the wind toward the outskirts of Nagpoor.
The other fruit sellers were horrified at the sacrilege. They expected to see their comrade stricken dead for the insult to the favorite of Deity.
But when night came and the fruiterer, instead of being a corpse, was not only in robust health, but also in the best of spirits at having sold all his stock, and they found themselves wealthier by the bull's omitted exactions. they came to the conclusion that the bull was no more an especial protege of Deity than they.
And when the next day's sun illumined the fruiterers' quarter in Nagpoor, it revealed an extra ornament on every stand in the shape of a stout and lengthy truncheon.
W. L. Luxton.
The senate has no time to order an investigation of the Pacific railroad companies, but it has abundance of time to amuse the jingoes with magnificent schemes of appropriations for war cruisers and coast fortifications.—[Philadelphia Record.]
Iron making in the south flourishes in spite of the tariff, and it would have flourished long ago if the tariff had not built up Pennsylvania at the expense of the south.—[Louisville Courier-Journal.]
Simply because the Scottish tenants have borne injustice quietly and patiently, and no strong public opinion has been formed in their favor, parliament thinks it can safely ignore them and study nothing but its own pocket interest. The crofters should imitate their Irish brethren, form a national league and agitate, agitate, agitate.—[Brooklyn Standard.]
Nominating as their candidate for mayor a proved corruptionist, and a republican at that, the democrats of Philadelphia marched under his lead to certain defeat and to undoubted dishonor. It would be interesting to know how far the influence of the Randall crowd of mercenaries went toward giving the democratic party in Philadelphia a notorious republican office trafficker as its candidate for mayor.—[Chicago Herald.]
“A small-sized gunboat could steam up to within firing distance of Chicago and do immense damage.” That is the kind of nonsense the New York Herald is daily publishing in order to create a panic. As a matter of fact, no “small-sized gunboat” could do anything of the kind. A gunboat has a long and tortuous route to travel before getting in front of Chicago, and she would be torpedoed before she got into Lake Michigan.—[St. Paul Pioneer Press.]
Land Held In Common
A Tribe of Iroquois Indians Who Do Not Know What Starvation Means
Meriden, Conn., Feb. 19.—Not quite three years ago I was employed as a surveyor on an Indian reservation, distant about nine miles from Montreal, Canada. Caughnawagna, the name of the reservation village, is situated on the south bank of the River St. Lawrence, and directly opposite “'Lachine,” a place well known to many thousands of American tourists, who arrive from Montreal to take steamboat to run the “Lachine rapids,” an excitement which very few pleasure seekers to this part of Canada neglect. The River St. Lawrence forms the north boundary of the reserve, and the village is almost 200 acres in extent, inclosed by a fence. About one-quarter of the area of the village is taken up by houses and gardens attached, and the other three-quarters is held in “common,” whereon whoever of the inhabitants chooses to erect a house may do so. Outside the village fence was the land held by the community for agricultural purposes. This also was fenced in, and the reserve contained about 80,000 acres, the whole of which was held as common property.
Several who devoted their time principally to agriculture lived outside the village, on the land which they had improved, and were in all respects similar to American farmers. When. a man came of age and thought he would like to cultivate a piece of land, he went outside the village, selected a piece, which he improved, and these improvements he called his farm. Whether he fenced these improvements in or not, they were his, and he was allowed to enjoy the fruits of his labor by the remainder of the community. The total population was about 1,800, engaged in different pursuits, such as agriculture, fishing, rafting, lumber storing, etc., or they hire themselves to whomsoever should require their services. The women, how ever, employed themselves principally in bead work. Now, the difference between the thrifty and unthrifty was plainly distinguishable, for every man having an equal chance, and other things being equal, if every one worked no one would be better off than another. The former were better housed and clothed, though the latter were by no means poor, for each head of family owned his house and garden, a pig or two, and perhaps a cow and ahorse. Still, these were called poor by those who, through their energy and perseverance, were better off. They had no such word as tramp in their vocabulary. I never once during my stay among them saw or heard of a person begging. Why should they? Every family might have a house and garden of their own, and if through laziness they would not earn sufficient to sustain life they would have to starve. But I never heard of a death by starvation, and such a thing as begging was never thought of by either sex. They, however, had a fund for their old and infirm, which was supplemented yearly by the government in money and a few necessaries, such as blankets, etc., but this was in accordance with their treaty rights. I never heard of crime, and the only disorderliness I saw was four or five cases of drunkenness. A policeman was kept in the village, and the chief duties he had to perform were to prevent liquor from being brought in and to protect the community from being robbed by those who Jived just outside of the reserve.
It must be borne in mind that, although these people are called Indians, there was in fact but one real Indian in the reserve, and when going to and from chapel on Sunday they would be taken for French Canadians; for having for about 100 years lived only nine miles from a large city, owing to intermarriage and the mingling of the male portion of the population with their white brethren, there is at the present time scarcely a shade difference in civilization: in fact, the poorest class of these people is far above the poorest class in our big cities, who well might wish they had been borne Iroquois Indians. The cost to the state of New York for 1880 was $3,065,826 to afford relief for 127,480 paupers and temporary relief to 57,888 in addition. In the several county poorhouses there were 10,057 males and 9,350 females on December 1, 1886.
Give Men Their Birthright
Then There Will Be No Strikes, and Peace and Plenty Will Reign
Brooklyn, Feb. 14.—There is no man with a spark of humanity in him who does not heartily sympathize with the efforts of the coal handlers to wring a tithe of justice from the rapacious coal kings, or whose admiration is not excited by the generous sympathy and heroic self-denial exhibited by workingmen employed in other industries in their endeavor to further the cause of their struggling brothers.
Strikes are a tax on production, and, in a normal condition of society, how such things could occur is inconceivable. Even in the existing state of society, that so much of all that is good and noble in human nature should be thus expended in efforts to gain what, at most, must be only a temporary amelioration of the toilers' condition might seem deplorable but for the extenuating fact that, aside from being a health curbing upon the greed of grasping employers, strikes are the most potent teachers of the truth that they are not a remedy, but a palliative for the evils that prey on the workingman. Besides this, they keep the indolent, self-sufficient well-to-does awake to the fact that something is wrong, and they put workingmen in fighting trim for the great battle that sooner or later must be fought at the polls. The toilers are well aware of the fact that they can get no permanent relief from strikes, but they are also cognizant of the fact that to sit still and peaceably submit to be trampled under foot would be just what their taskmasters want. It would be amusing, were it not so tiresome, to hear editors of so-called progressive newspapers seriously prattling about boards of arbitration and similar nostrums. Surely these men are blind or will not see. A serious organic derangement of the human system cannot be cured by the application of a bit of court plaster; neither can you eradicate a deadly disease from the body politic by temporizing. By drastic medicines and heroic treatment only can you expect to effect a cure. The disease that is preying on the body politic is the out come of a false and unjust system of taxation sanctioned by pernicious and inequitable laws. Abolish this system root and branch, place the burden of taxation where it of right belongs, and just and impartial laws that will recognize each man's right to enjoy his just share of the material means of subsistence which the Almighty gave in common to us all, and the unnatural spectacle of poor starving toilers scrambling for a chance to work from daylight till dark for what their taskmasters think is enough to barely keep body and soul together will at once disappear.
Brothers, all this can be done through the ballot box, and done it must be if you desire to free your children from the galling yoke of servitude that you are now compel led to wear: but you must not expect any assistance from the old political parties, union with either of which would be suicide. Your number is legion, your organization is good, and there is nothing within the bounds of reason that you cannot do if you address yourselves properly to the task.
Stand together, men, and be counted. If you manfully put your shoulders to the wheel, the result will be a surprise even to yourself.
Little Martin Craghan
By Zadel Barnes Gustafson.
The brave boy, only ton years old, whose fate is the subject of the following verses, was murdered by the mining system. He was employed in one of the Pittston mines. When the shaft caught fire he,with a comrade, sought to escape. Suddenly he remembered that some men, who were busy in a farther chamber of the mine, must be unaware of their danger. There was but one outlet, but one chance. He left both to his little mate, and darted back into the mine. He hoped for time to warn the men, and yet make good his own escape; but he knew well his frightful risk and accepted it. He reached the men, warned them, and fled back to the shaft to find that hope, only too slender before, was now absolutely gone. He turned and hurried through the galleries once more, that he might die with them for whom he gave his life. They had builded with desperate haste a wall between them and the deadly gases and vapors which rolled thickening toward them. Even then their chance of surviving was a slight one. To let him in was to admit certain death; so they refused his prayer. They heard him sob and walk falteringly away. He was afterward found quite dead, a little board beside him, on which with a piece of chalk he had, in dying, feebly written the names of loved ones.
A child looks up the ragged shaft—
A boy whose meager frame
Shrinks as he hears the roaring draught
That feeds the eager flame.
He has a single chance; the stakes
Of life show death at bay
One moment; then his comrade takes
The hope he casts away.
For while his trembling hand is raised,
And while his sweet eyes shine,
There swells above the love of life
The rush of love divine—
The thought of those unwarned, to whom
Death steals along the mine.
The while he speeds the darksome way,
Hope paints upon his fears
Soft visions of the light of day;
Faint songs of birds he hears;
In summer breeze his tangled curls
Are blown about his ears.
He sees the men; he warns, and now,
His duty bravely done,
Sweet hope may paint the fairest scene
That spreads beneath the sun.
Back to the burning shaft he flies;
There bounding pulses fail;
The light forsakes his lifted eyes;
The glowing cheek is pale.
With wheeling, whirling, hungry flame,
The seething shaft is rife:
Where solid chains drip liquid fire,
What chance for human life?
To die with those he hoped to save,
Back, back, through heat and gloom,
To find a wall, and death and he
Shut in the larger tomb.
He pleaded to be taken in
As closer rolled the smoke;
In deathful vapors they could hear
His piteous accents choke.
And they, with shaking voice, refused,
And then the young heart broke.
Oh love of life! God made it strong,
And knows how close it pressed,
And death to those who love life least
Is scarce a welcome guest.
One thought of the poor wife, whose head
Last night lav on his breast—
A quiver runs through lips that morn
By children's lips caressed.
These things the sweet, strong thoughts of home,
Though but a wretched place,
To which the sad-eyed miners come,
With Labor's laggard pace—
Remembered in the cavern gloom,
Illume the haggard face.
Illumed their faces, steeled each heart;
O God, what mysteries
Of brave and base make sum and part
Of human histories.'
What will not thy poor creatures do
To buy an hour of breath
Well for us all some souls are true
Above the fear of death!
He wept a little—for they heard
The sound of sobs, the sighs
That breathed of martyrdom complete
Unseen of mortal eyes—
And then, no longer swift, his feet
Passed down the galleries.
He crept and crouched beside his mule,
Led by its dying moan;
He touched it feebly with a hand
That shook like palsy's own.
God grant the touch had power to make
The child feel less alone!
Who knoweth every heart, He knows
What moved the boyish mind;
What- longings grew to passion throes
For clear ones left behind;
How hardly youth and youth's desires
Their hold of life resigned.
Death leaned upon him heavily;
But love, more mighty still,
She lent him slender lease of life
To work her tender will.
He felt with sight less, sentient hand
Along the wall and ground.
And there the rude and simple page
For his sweet purpose found,
O’erwritten with the names he loved,
Clasped to his little side.
Dim eyes the wooden record read
Hours after he had died.
Thus, from all knowledge of his kind,
In darkness lone and vast,
From life to death, from death to life,
The little hero passed.
And, while they listened for the feet
That would return no more,
Far off they fell in music sweet
Upon another shore.
Men And Women
Rev. Dr. Taylor of Norma1 Park, Ill., in an interview recently published in the Chicago News, said: “I am not a socialist—far from it—but since reading this [‘Progress and Poverty’] I look on the ethics of the Bible in a different light. Christianity is responsible for this great labor movement, the rising of the people, which will soon sweep all in its way.”
The appointment of John J. Ridgway as sheriff of Philadelphia in place of Rowan, insane, was hailed by the Philadelphia people as a triumph of reform, yet the announcement is now made that his sureties will beGeorge D.. Widener and George Elkins, sons of two famous members of the tract ion ring. They have queer ideas of reform in Philadelphia.
Paul Carus, Ph.D., left New York last week to take charge of correspondence with European scientists and reproduce and review scientific productions for the Open Court, a new philosophical and scientific journal in Chicago. Dr. Carus is the author of a remarkable pamphlet entitled “Monism and Meliorism,” and several other philosophical works. He is a native of Germany, son of a Lutheran bishop, well known in science, and a pronounced advocate of land restoration.
One Who Saw the Light
Philadelphia, Feb. 17.—Some years ago, I think 1870, there came into my office a poor old man, filled with projects to relieve the economic distress which the nation had been for years suffering, and handed me some pages of printed matter on the subject. Being interested in economic questions the old man's visit made quite an impression on me and I preserved the sample pages which he left with the intention of some day more closely examining them. I have recently looked them over, and have found among a confusion of matter containing many wailings of distress and all sorts of projects and regulations for making right- what is wrong this blessed truth: “Picture,. 1: The unchristian commercial or gambling basis. A parent gives his children a country. He says: 'Each grab all the land you can get. When those brethren born too late to get a first chance come, make them pay as much as possible for every foot of land they need.'”
Truly He “hath hidden these things from the wise and prudent, and hath revealed them unto babes!”
Economy and Wealth
The “Over Production” and “Liquidation” Theories Examined
Speculation as to the causes of ups and downs in the movement of trade is at all times of interest to business men, but never more so than when, passing through a period. of great depression, the vast majority are looking eagerly for signs of improvement. Under such conditions the wildest theories meet with acceptance and the press is only too apt to show an ignorance of, or worse still, partial education in political science by advancing the most mistaken diagnosis of the disease. Perhaps the hobby that has been most ridden to death is the notion that over-production is the cause of all the trouble, a theory the best reason for the existence of which is that it is sufficiently indefinite and seems to explain without being itself susceptible of explanation. If we must have generalities, it would be nearer true to say that the trouble is industrial coma and too great economy. Over-production of everything is self-contradictory. Take the problem in its simplest terms—that A produces food and B produces clothing. Each may double his production without being able to either eat or wear more and yet neither would complain of “dull times.” Either they would both rest for a year and meanwhile live as comfortably on their mutual .surplus, or they would exchange the same quantity of goods as before, and throwing away the balance, be no worse off. It is true that A's surplus of food might be perishable and thus not be available for use in the second year, during which B might wish to rest because his accumulation of clothing seemed to justify him in so doing; and this would constitute an unbalanced production which would make B richer, but leave A no poorer than before.
As a matter of fact this simplest kind of surplus production never does occur in a widely ramified civilization. A universal surplus, as reckoned by former wants, with a uniform marking down of values, always brings out fresh consumptive demand: and although our protective tariff undoubtedly interferes with our powers of consumption by the restriction of purchasing power created, this would not account for waves of commercial depression that extend over the whole world alike.
If, instead of the conditions I have suggested, A and B both consume all their products during the first year, and then remain idle for all or even a portion of the second, they become poor at once: and this is just what happens when we feel what we call hard times. Instead of becoming excessive, production is more or less suddenly cheeked, owing usually to a curious timidity that periodically affects capitalists; and the whole commercial world stagnates and suffers, not because it has too much, but too little wealth. The popular description of the cause as a want of confidence is far more correct than the pseudo scientific explanations that are so generally accepted. It is true that many are willing to work and can find no market for their labor; but this is only part of the truth that other people are selfishly unwilling or unreasonably afraid to produce or reciprocally consume. It is also true that when demand partially causes the stock of manufactured goods to a certain extent accumulates, while food products do not: but this inequality operates to a much smaller degree than is generally supposed. As another generality the world may be said to destroy and recreate its wealth almost daily, and this is more than ever so since the establishment of steam and telegraphic: communication. About the only thing that can even approximately be called fixed capital is the kind of property that comes under the head of real estate, such as buildings or railroads; manufacturing plant deterioration so rapidly as to require constant renewal. We do not amass great stores of goods for future use, which finally press upon the markets and render unnecessary further production until they are all consumed. It is safe to say that not only could the world produce to its full capacity without ever choking any of the channels of trade, but that the only road to continued prosperity is universal, unceasing activity. But from time to time the owners of capital, which is nothing but the world's promise to pay a given amount of labor on demand, refuse to call for payment of the note, and, the steam shut off, the machinery stops. The evil is aggravated at these times by the false teaching that great bodies of men must be impoverished by what is called liquidation, before the revival can come. This other term of “liquidation” has lately become popular, perhaps largely because it is nearly as vague and inexplicable as “over production.” It is simply a process by which so great amount of wealth that might be enjoyed is entirely lost and a smaller amount transferred from the bulls to the bears. With liquidation comes general economy to make things worse. However praiseworthy economy may sometimes be in individuals, it is always the meanest of virtues, and in communities becomes criminal. Timid capitalists may perhaps avoid possible losses and so he justified personally in the economies they practice and enforce upon others, but it is the most pernicious folly to flatter them into the belief that they are thereby doing mankind a service. Individuals, by spending less than they earn, do obtain a draft on the future labor of their fellow men, and nations to a certain extent accomplish the same thing: though as balances between nations are always settled at comparatively brief periods, the saving is less important; but the world at large can practically save nothing from year to year, and can only advance by ext ending its ability to enjoy along with its capacity to produce.
The knowledge that must eventuality be reached — that universal economy and enforced idleness are not good, but bad, things—will not, of course, in itself alone bring about a reform, but it will go far toward it and help us to the time when men will have coinage to read a right the para Mo of the talents, and instead of putting forth their energies in waves of activity and depression, labor continually to increase their riches, with the confidence that their fellows are doing the same. No one will fear that he will make more than he can see if once convinced that, with activity universal, there will always be a market for every man's product; and if economy does not entirely disappear when there is no reason to fear the proverbial rainy day, it will at least be relegated to its proper place as a benefit only to the man who practices it, but a positive detriment to everyone else.
Edward J. Shriver.
The Great Altruistic Contest
Chicago, Ill., Feb. 19.—I have for some months past, in reading of these disturbing elements (labor movements), been often reminded of the closing sentence in Baring Gould's book, under the head of “Development,” in which he quotes from Le Maistre, who says: “I look for a memorable revolution, of which that which we have seen has been only the terrible and indisputable preliminary: a period which will be sacred in the annals of the human face, for every thing announces some grand unity, toward which we are advancing with mighty strides: . . . some great event which the world universally awaits; some immense event in the divine order; some third explosion of almighty goodness in behalf of the human race.” I am sure that the religions, political and social statutes of this country, if not the civilized world, is now under process of revision. I wish to God I was middle-aged and mentality endowed that I might be one of the wheel horses in this great altruistic contest.
La Fayette Cook.
Song of the English Lower Classes
By Ernest Jones.
We plow and sow—we've so very, very low,
That we delve in the dirty clay,
Till we bless the plain with the golden grain,
And the vale with the fragrant hay.
Our place we know—we're so very, very low—
'Tis down at the landlord's feet;
We're not too low the gram to sow,
But too low the bread to eat.
Down. down, we go—we're so very, very low,
To the hell of the deep sunk mines;
But we gather the proudest gems that glow,
When the crown of a despot shines:
And whenever he lacks, upon our backs
Fresh loads he deigns to lay;
We're far too low to vote the tax,
But not too low to pay.
We're low, we're low—mere rabbic we know.
But at our plastic power
The mold at the lordling's feet will grow
Into palace, and church, and tower.
Then prostrate fall in the rich man's hall,
And cringe at the rich man's door.
We're not too low to build the wall,
But too low to tread the floor.
We're low, we're low—we're very, very low,
Tet from our fingers glide
The silken flow and the robes that glow,
Round the limbs of the sons of pride.
And what we get, and what we give,
We know, and we know our snare;
We're not too low the cloth to weave,
But too low the tread to wear.
We're low, we're low—we're very, very low,
And yet when the trumpets ring,
The thrust of a poor man's a rm will go
Through the heart of the proudest king.
We're low, we're low—our place we know,
We're only the rank and file;
We're not too low to kill the foe,
But too low to touch the spoil.
Mollie Gordon's Story
We hadn't had any forewoman up at the factory for a month or more, an' Elam, he come to me that mornin' an' he says:
“Mollie, it's your turn to broom up the packin' room, so step out lively; an' don't sweep the square corners round, neither, for she'll be here tomorrow!”
Now, Elam he handn't any right to boss; he was only a packer himself; but it always did him a heap o' good to tantalize me, somehow; an' it did seem as if I had more talk with him than with any other man in the place, not exceptin' Nathan Jones, who run the big Corliss engine, an' who walked home with me every night. He wouldn't say as much in a month as Elam would in half a day; but then Elam couldn't hold a candle to him for quiet, manly ways.
I took my broom an' follered him to the packin' room, which was his room, an' I made the soap dust fly right an' left, for there wasn't a soul there but him an' me—the other men was all upstairs with Jesse, the foreman, makin' ready for the next lot of soap—an' while he was nailin' up boxes I says:
“How come you to be so wise? Who told you she'd be here to-morrow?”
“I heard young Barton tell Jesse that the firm was goin' to send her up from the down town office 'on account of her excellent executive abilities,' an ' of course 'her' means a new forewoman.”
“An' what does 'executive ability' mean? says I, restin' a minute on the broom. I mistrusted that it wasn't anythin' favorable to us girls, for we never had a forewoman that we didn't hate.”
“It means,” says Elam, a-laughin' hard, “that she's elder!y, an' wears specs, an' carries a very sharp lead pencil, an' is very bossy, an' is always a writin' notes to the firm. It means that she is very stiff in the back, an' has a 'what-do-you-know-about-it-anyhow- you-ignoramus' sort of a way o' speakin'. But that ain't all, neither!”
“What more?” says I, tryin' hard not to break out with my quick temper; “anythin' else!”
“I heard young Barton say it was merely an experiment, an' she was anxious to come, though she had never been in contact with girls like you'uns before, bein' of a different class; so Mollie, out o' kindness to you I'm preparin' you for a change, an' advise you to wear your Sunday clothes an' Sunday manners tomorrow.”
I tried hard not to mind, but I noticed one thing particular about Elam: he had the power to show you, if you didn't know before, just how much badness was in you: your temper might be as clear as a pond in the mornin' till he come along fishin' an' muddyin' the waters, an' he was sure to find somethin' dead or somethin' ugly in it which he held up in the sunshine to make it worse. I wiped my face, for sweepin' was warm work, an' I says:
“Then, bein' of a different class—one of them 'betters' what we are told 'to order ourselves lowly an' reverently' to—she'd do well to keep out of this!” an' I went on “broomin,” but Elam he was for what he called “remonstratin'”
“What can you do? She will sit on a high stool in the office with a silk dress on an' a watch an' chain. an' she'll look down on you 'uns film' in on Friday nights to be paid; an' a pretty set you are in your calico wrappers an' aprons an' sunbonnets; but what'll you do?”
“'She'd better not a' been born to no such vain expectations,” says I, an' I could hear my own eyes snap.
“If you disobey her openly you'll get bounced,” says he.
Now, I wasn't afraid of no bouncin' as he called tearin' open your envelope on pay-night an' findin' a notice that your services was no longer required, for it takes time to learn our business. The floors are slippery as dear ice, an' it takes slight of foot to walk on 'em an' carry soap all day from the stampin' machine to the wrappin' tables. The pounds are soft an' warm an' burn the skin off your fingers with caustic soda, an' it takes slight o' hand to wrap four pounds every five minutes an' do it right. It ain't easy to learn, an' it ain't nice when you have learned it; an' as for pastin' labels on thousands of wooden boxes, well, you ought to see me when I'm done. Paste's like molasses; it gets all over everywhere, try as you may to be careful. As for lickin' wafers all day, which we have to do when we wrap toilet soap, I never heard no one praise it as either healthy or desirable, though I was used to it. An' yet it wasn't so much skill as the endurance of horses that was wanted an' expected, an' Barton an' company wasn't a-bouncin' us for her, an' I told Elam so.
“That's true enough,” says he, “an' you girls can be mighty disagreeable in other ways them barefaced disobeyin.' I've seen you, my self, sweepin' soap-dust in a person's hair an' eyes, no matter which way the wind blows, an' it's worse than pepper or the influenzy, soap-dust is; an' it ain't nice to have you dabbin' up agen a body's good clothes with your dirty calicoes, if it is accidental; nor to have you starin', or makin' remarks, or growin' deaf all of a sudden, when it suits you not to hear. You may be a belle, Mollie, an' the beauty of the place, but I never did see anybody uglier than you can be in your manners when you try!”
I knew he was a-fishin' an' a-makin' waters none too clear muddier than ever: but I couldn't hold my tongue to save my life, an' I says:
“Land's sake, Elam Sanders! I believe you'd rather pick at me than eat!”
“An' yet I'm amazin' loud of a good dinner, too. I don't know of anything in life I like better unless, as you say, it might be you!” an' he went on nailin' in his cool, exasperatin' way, an' I couldn't tell no how, by his face, whether he was in fun or in earnest.' To think I had given him a chance to speak so, an' Nathan not twenty yards away. I looked, through the open door; but I was glad I didn't see him, so I cried as scornful as possible:
“It 's a big compliment to tell me you like me as much as you do your victuals—if you had to do without one or of other, though—”
“I'd do without you, Mollie,” says he, interruptin'; he was never much for politeness.
“I couldn't tell a lie, even for love, nor do without victuals neither.”
“In olden times there. was men who'd not only dow without victuals. but go through lire and water, too, for love's sake, but I guess you was made different,” says I.
“That was what was called chivalry, but tain't fash'nable any more, Mollie, an' fire an' water's gone out entirely. My! why milk an' water in a two foot stream would be too strong nowadays, an' girls is plenty!” and then he laughed.
“There's men an' men,” says I, looking toward the engine most expressively for him to understand, “an' you'll wait long before you'll have to scorch your boots or wet 'em, either, for me.” I couldn't bear to think women was held cheaper now than they used to be, an' yet I didn't know but it was the truth.
“Still,” says Elam, “I think a good bit of you, too, Mollie, though you are so fond of flirtin' an' foolin',' and I thought his voice was a trifle loud, an' his tone more aggravatin' than usual; but just then a bit of thistle-down float ed in at the door, an' I blew it off my hand for contempt, saying:
“Well, here's my love to you!” and away it flew past him an' out the window into the sunshine. He laughed long an' he laughed loud, but I didn't know why till I turned around and saw Nathan's face, stern as death's, behind his engine. It went through me like a knife that he was not only disapprovin', but misunderstandin', and thinkin'. I was blowin' kisses off my finger-tips to Elam. I wouldn't a' cared so much but the last forewoman, just before she left, charged me with flirtin' an' couldn't chose no better time than when he was by to hear, an' he undertook, in private, to speak to me of it as if he felt there was truth in it. It wasn't true. I had only laughed when other girls laughed, an' it didn't please me none to well to have Nathan talk to me about it; but I made up my mind secretly that I'd be more careful, an' now here he was lookin', like that! Tears rushed to my eyes, an' blood to my cheeks, I was so ashamed; and Elam he says:
“Thistle-down ain't as hard as a stone, but I think you've killed two birds with one blow, Mollie,” an' away he walks an' leaves me there to finish sweepin'.
I tossed my head to hide my hurt, an' I broomed away, an' when I was done at last an' went back to the wrappin' table where the other girls were I never felt the burn in' lye eatin' my finger into holes, though every pound was dotted with little blood spots, like I had pricked myself with a dozen needles.
When the twelve o'clock whistle blew I took my basket an' set down by an open window, which Nathan always had to pass on his way home to dinner, an' which he never did pass without lookin' up an' smilin' at me; but to-day he strode by frownin' an' stern an' took no notice of me, an' that minute the sun went under a cloud an' my bread tasted like dust an' ashes.' I was the only soul in the place who did not go home to dinner, for I lived too far to be back in time, an' I never felt the time so long an' lonesome before. What with Elan's talk an' taunts, an' Nathan's frown, an' my own discontent, I began to feel rougher, an' commoner, an' meaner than I ever felt before, though I hadn't lived eighteen years in the world yet. Life wouldn't be easier to-morrow neither with the forewoman who was comin' to teach me to look down on myself still more, an' I began to hate her before I laid eyes on her. Lookin' back an' recollectin' I never got good, nor help, nor kindness from any of “my betters,” an' I couldn't expect different from her. I lived an' worked in that part of the city where there's foundries, rope-walks, stocking-weaving. woolen mills an' our own soap factory, an' I was shut up from the seven o'clock whistle in the mornin' till the six o'clock whistle “at night, an' I didn't often meet the people who don't work, but when I did how did they act? Did they look indifferent an' pass on? Did they smile friendly an' keep still? No; but they turned their starin', haughty eyes on me as if I was a curiosity with horns, an' said:
“These are the mill girls an' factory hands—rough crowd, very: have a hard name!” An' so we not only do the diggin' and delvin', but are branded besides. We run out at nights, they say, that's one of their objections to us; an' we're free with the tongue an' loud of voice, that's another. An' yet it is themselves mostly that make the conditions of our factory life, an' is there a soul livin who wouldn't run out at night when hard fate claimed every hour of daylight? Breathe steam an' smoke an' poisoned air from sunrise to sunset, an' what will be so sweet as to get out. if it is dark, under the heavens, when the stars are shinin' and the cool air blowin'? We have our human side; our lovin' an' hatin' to do, an' there's no other time for it—somebody else layin' claim to our best hours—an' offenses come an' wrong doin'; but it does say too, woe unto him by whom the offense cometh: I've read that somewheres. We are loud in the voice, there's no denyin', but it's not so much bad manners as tryin' constant to be heard above the roar of machinery; an' if we're free with the tongue it is because we find out early that there's nobody to stand up an' fight for us but ourselves; an' if there ever was what Elam called chivalry in the world, it never battled for us, spoke for ifs, no, nor so much a s noticed us—not to my knowledge. I sat there a thinkin' til my thoughts grew so bitter that I couldn't bear 'em, so I leaned on my elbows out the window to be within speakin' distance of any one who came along, when who should I see but a slim, dark-eyed, pleasant-faced young lady lookin up an' down the streets; an' as five of them met on that one corner she seemed to be takin' her choice. She looked up at me an' said smilin':
“I think I must be lost!” She had a fresh pretty chintz dress on, an' her long brown curls was tied by a cherry colored ribbon; she was certainly a stranger in our neighborhood. I ask ed her who she was lookin' for, an' she said Jesse Black, Mr. Barton's foreman.
“Why, this is the place,” says I; “there's Barton's name on the tall chimbey, but Jesse he's gone to dinner an' the office door is locked,” an' I come to the conclusion that she was Jesse's sweetheart, he looked so disappointed. However, with that notion in my head, I asked her if she'd come in an' sit on a box to rest, an' she did, an' I don't know how it was, but one thing leads to another, an' before she'd been there ten minutes I was tellin' her all I knowed. She was very interested about soap-makin' an' the girls, air Elam, an' the engine, an' Nathan, an' presently she says:
“Of all these people I think I'd like Nathan the best, for from what you say he must have high ideas of duty and of honor.”
I had been praisin' him some, an' tellin' how he tended his engine an' never passed it without lookin', and say in' that if I'd a' been his girl I'd a' been jealous of it. though he himself called it “her.” Then, with her eyes rovin' around careless, she asked me if he was young an' good lookin'.
“Yes, he's young, an' the other girls say he's good lookin'; but I don't speak to him myself,” for I felt I couldn't get over the slight be gave me at noon.
“See how one can be mistaken,” she cried: “I thought he must be a very dear friend of yours!” an' then an' there I told her about the forewoman, an' Nathan's believin' her, an' Elam's tricks, an' my heart grew lighter, though she was a stranger, for she never took her eyes off me, nor spoke till I was done, then she said:
“Mollie, I believe you, and I'm sure it will be made right yet between you and Nathan if you are patient and don't talk too much to Elam. As for the new forewoman and her specs, don't you hate her till you've tried her; promise me that, Mollie?"—her bright eyes was a' dancin' and shinin' like two stars. “Her better advantages will have done but little for her if they have not taught her how to help a suffering sister!” an' she took my hand when the whistle blew, an' bid me goodby, an' Elam an' the girls all saw her do it, too, before she went into the office with Jesse, who seemed to know her.
For the rest of that day Elam he kept hangin' around, an' whenever he caught my eye he'd wink in the most abominable manner; but I kept on never min din', and feelin' better, I told the other girls all about the new tyrant who was comin' to-morrow, an' as the words passed along the room, some addin' an' some substractin', accordin' to fancy, she soon grew to be a regular Jezebel, an' we laid plans to pay torment for torment and torture for torture, an' could scarcely wait for the mornin'. When it did come I shall never forget my astonishment. for there, standin' by Jesse, with her big, dark eyes an' the cherry ribbons on her hair, was the girl I had opened my heart to, an' her name was Miss Lucy—Lucy Burton. The girls looked first at me an' then at her, an' the amazement on their faces beat all I ever did see; nor it wasn't lost on Elam, neither.
“So she stole a march on you?” laughed he, at my elbow, where he always seemed to be, somehow, “She's a beauty, too, with them curls; I saw Nathan admirin' them when Jesse was showin' her over the factory before you girls come this mornin'," ah' then he left.
I was angry with him for lyin’ to me, an’ there was only one thing to be done. I must gather up the stones I had prepared to fling at her to make her way harder, an’ as I had been loudest an’ bitterest agen her so I must try to undo the mischief I had done, an’ I succeeded so well that Elam, who loves to set people by the ears an’ laugh at their folly, was a disappointed man. Before the week was out Miss Lucy knew we was her friends, an’ every girl in the factory was a tyin’ her apron on the left side, an’ a wearin’ cherry ribbon on her hair, as she did, which was a delicate way we had of showin’ our approval, though it looked kind of funny, too, when you viewed the effect down a long room, as I saw it. We had quietness an’ peace, an’ order, brought about by a girl like ourselves, with different bringin’ up, of course, an’ more advantages, but still with grace to smile on us as a sister might, an’ tenderness enough to tie up our bleedin’ fingers in old linen, an’ think a rest was good for us sometimes. She come to me one day at dinner hour, for she brought her dinner, too, though she had to eat it in the office, an’ she had a bright roll of calico bits, an’ she says:
“Mollie, I'm going to divide these pieces between the girls, so that each one can have a quilt made for her wedding. When those wretched long 'waits' come they seem to get into noise and mischief, not because they are bad, but because they have nothing to do, so Jesse says they may sew in any idle half hour, and that any thing is preferable to singing and disorder. I want you to help me, Mollie, for you are my right hand; they'll sew if you do, and they'll be interested if you are, and patchwork is so easy to carry in your pocket. You shall have first choice too, Mollie, for I think I hear the bells ringing for you and—”
She didn't say who, but I understood, an' I could a' loved her for her tryin' to win us from our coarse, rude ways. The “waits” was when the soap didn't cool fast enough to be wrapped, which depended on the weather at times, an' when the girls sat around with nothin' to do. I say I could a' loved her—if it hadn't been for Elam. He did it with his pryin' eyes an' lyin' tongue. He came to me one day an' he says:
“This is a soapy old world, Mollie, an' so you'll find it. There's a s much difference between one class an' another as there is between washin' soap an' fine toilet. Take yourself now, for instance; you're common grease an' common lye, an' the lye in you, or the old Adam, is your strongest point. Take her; she's like our vi'let scented; she gets the purest oil, the richest perfume, all the honey an' the best marrow fat. Not only that, but where you're done up in common paper she gets the keerful handlin', the silver wrapper an' the laced-lined boxes. She stole a march on you once, an' she'll do it agen, for Nathan he never passes her winder without smilin', an' yesterday an' to-day he's been a-talkin' to her, an' her to him, an' I'd watch 'em if I was you.”
“Nebby nose,” says I, “why should I watch 'em? If Nathan finds her good an' sweet, Nathan an' I's of one opinion for once,” an' I turned away disgust ed with Elam, though I saw it now, in a flash, that she had liked Nathan from the first, an' some mysterious sympathy drawed him to her.
It had been weeks an' weeks since he had looked at me or I at him, an' though I laughed with the loudest an' worked till I almost dropped an' talked some to Elam too, to show anyone who might be lookin' that I wasn't breakin' my heart for love, yet I was so wretched that even blessed night brought no sleep nor no relief. Now I was punished; I made believe I didn't care, an' she thought I didn't, for in all my jealous hate of her I knew she wouldn't wrong me purposely, though that didn't make it any easier for me, an' Elam he was always there, jist at my car or at my elbow. We had each finished a patch of our quilts, an she was admirin' 'em, an' she whispers to me:
“The bells are ringing, Mollie, the bells are ringing,” an' I cried out in scorn and bitterness:
“For me an' Elam!” an' she looked at me as if I had struck her, but hurried away. The very next day Elam he come to me an' he says:
“Mollie, they are up to somethin', them two. I couldn't hear what Nathan said, but she answered clear an' unmistakable, “Why wait any longer? Come to me at noon to-day, an' I know I can make you happy.' I heard 'em with my own ears. You'd better watch 'em!”
I told him stern enough that I had somethin' more important to do, an' when he asked me very tauntin' what could be more important, I said:
“I'm a' goin' to the very top room at noon to get some cocoanut oil for my hair. Jesse said a month ago I might have it, and I've wanted some ever since 1 heard you say it would make hair grow on a pine board, for you don't never tell no lies, you don't!”
“In them old days you're so fond of quotin' they put oil on their heads when they was rejoicing; but oil don't suit your face, Mollie; you're growin' holler-eyed, too. Don't change your mind an' take to cryin' up there behind them hogsheads, for you don't shed no tears that I don't see, Mollie!” says he.
“Then you can remember that if I shed 'em by the bucketful, there's not one for you,” an' I worked till the whistle blew an' laughed louder, an' longer than ever: laughed till Miss Lucy looked at me in silent wonder, an' worked till my hands trembled, an' my head went round, an' I seemed to be losin' my senses.
But when noon came at last I didn't want no dinner. I wanted darkness, an' a quiet place to hide in. I took my basket an' I flew to the stairs, an' on the top landin' I turned and looked below. Sure enough, there was Nathan a pacin' up an' down, an' I saw him stop by the box where I sat, as if he was surprised I wasn't there, an' then he turned toward the office as if he was waitin' for her, and I didn't want to know more than that. I went on an' never stopped windin' my way between shafts, an1 belts, an' pulleys—all still now, an' between barrels, an' boxes. up to the highest story, an' then there was nothin's for me to do but to sit down on another box an' shed the tears that Elam had twitted me with, an' they were salt an' bitter. I don't know how long I was there, but a voice startled me, far off, an' clear an' sweet, callin':
“Mollie, Mollie, where are you, Mollie?” It was her, an' I heard her foot upon the stairs; I would not have her see me cryin' for all I owned hi the world, little as it was, an' I sprung up from the seat I was on; I didn't want to hear of no happiness to-day; I never could stand it, at least, not then, to have her tell me she was goin' to marry Nathan; an' still she called an' kept a-comin' nearer. If she found me I must be doin' somethin', have some excuse for bein' there; so I picked up an empty tin lid off the floor, lin' with a stick I dug into the cocoanut oil, which was hard as stone 'most an' white as marble, an' I filled my lid an' then stood there tremblin' an' shakin' like a fool, an' waitin' for her comin'.
“Mollie, Mollie, where in the world are you?' She was in the room below. I was almost delirious, now. with excitement; I could not face her, an' as she put her foot upon the front stairs I flew to the back, an' as she come up I went down; an' when she stood in the room I just left I stood in the room she came from, an' still with the lid in my hand I ran wild but swift to the other wing of the factory, over the very room where he was still pacin' up an' down, an' left her far behind and surprised, no doubt, I tried hard to be cool, for I knew she'd come to me anyway; but I wanted time to quiet myself so I set my tin lid piled high with the hardened oil upon a gas stove to melt. That very stove Nathan had fixed for her against one of the cedar pillars which upheld the roof, so that she might make tea or boil an egg for dinner, an' I didn't forget it as I turned around to hunt, or pretend to be hunting, a glass bottle, for I heard her steps returning. I had gone clear to the other end of the long room when I was startled by a hissing that sounded like an angry snake, an' lookin' behind me I can't never be more frightened, even on judgment day, than I was then. My unsteady hand had tiptilted the oil upon the stove, or the shallow lid had overflowed: but there it was blazin', an' the flames, higher than a man, leaped up the cedar post, an' through the smoke I saw her face. I tore back an' tried to turn off the gas, but my sleeve caught: I tried to trample out the fire, an' then my dress caught, and writhin', strugglin', I fell, an' through the cracklin' an' the hissin I heard her ringing voice:
“Nathan, dear Nathan”—I heard her say it —“quick! the factory's on fire!” an' then an' there I lost my senses.
. . .
I come to in my own bed at home, an' I wasn't burned so bad, thanks to him, an' neither was the factory, but if he hadn't a' been there it would a' been death to me an' ruin to Barton & Company. She was a huntin' me everywheres, for she wanted to make peace between me an' Nathan that very day, seein' with her bright eyes how miserable I was.
“And there you were running away from me as hard as you could run, while Nathan was waiting to ask you how soon your wedding quilt would be finished!” said she. .
“I thought you an' Nathan—” an' then I stopped for shame, but with a most beautiful light on her face she said:
“When you are married, Mollie, I shall miss you, but then—Jesse is very kind to me,” an' I was wiser, an' nothin' tickled me more than to think of that, unless it was the chance I had to tell Elam that chivalry was not out o' fashion, an' that some men still went through fire an' water for the women they loved!
C. L. Eckel.
The Bushnell, Ill., Record inserts in its table of advertising rates the following: “Obituary poetry, selected, 10 cents per line; original, $2.75 per line, cash in advance.”
The panther that was shot near Peoria one day last week turns out to have been a dog. The daring hunter who shot him has gone into seclusion and pulled the seclusion in after him.—[Chicago Tribune.]
A Scottish blacksmith, on being asked the meaning of metaphysics, replied: “When the party who listens disna ken what the party wha speaks means, and when the party wha speaks disna ken what he means himsel'—that's metaphysics.”
Mistress: “The coffee is so strong this morning that ifs absolutely bitter, Kathleen.” Maid: “Yis, ma'am. The polaceman an this bate do be comphlainin' av th' wakeness av it all winther, an' durin' th' cowld wither cook is afther humoriu' th' poor divil a bit.”—[Tid-Bits.]
“What was that great racket I heard in your woodshed alter you got home from fishing last night?” asked one Esteline small boy of another. “It was me swingin' the buggy whip for fun,” the other replied. “But I heard somebody jumpin' around, too.” “Oh, that was pa, seeing if he could jump over the wash boiler and two tubs.” “But who was it veiled so like thunder?” “Why, every time he made an extra high jump he would holler, kinder in fun, you know.”—[Esteline Bell.]
Uncle Primrose—“Where you git dat yer pullet, Clawed Clay'f Clawed—“I done win him in de ratfle.” Uncle Primrose—“Clawed, you's lyin'; all dem raffier chickens wuz dead ones—picked and ready for cookin'.” Clawed—“Dis one wuz jes in a trawnce, Unk Primrose, en for de Lawd, -he come to an' put on he's fedders when I winned him an' he done see he wuz in sech safe comp'ny."—[Tid-Bits.]
“Owing to ill health,” says Bill Nye, “I will soll at my residence in town. 20, range 18 west, according to government survey, one crushed raspberry colored cow, aged six years. She is a good milkster and is not afraid of the ears or any thing else. She is a cow of undaunted courage and gives milk frequently. To a man who does not fear death in and form she would be a great boon. She is very much attached to her home at present, by means of a trace chain, but she will be sold to any one who will agree to treat her right. She is one-fourth short-horn and three-fourths hyena. Purchaser need not be identified. I will also throw in a double-barreled shotgun which goes with her. In May she generally goes away somewhere for a week or two, and returns with a tall, red calf, with long, wabbly legs. Her name is Rose, and I would prefer to sell her to a non-resident.”
When a Virginia mountaineer wants a chew of tobacco, this (according to one who has been there), is the way he asks for it: “Stranger, gimme a chaw yer black flat chawin' terbacker; that is, of yer chaw. I dunno of yer chaw er no; do yer chaw?"—[Washington Critic.]
Thackeray said: “The only Court Circular story which ever pleased me was that of the king of Spain who, in great part, was roasted because there was not time for the prime minister to command the lord chamberlain to desire the grand gold stick to order the first page in waiting to bid the chief of the flunkeys to request the housemaid of honor to bring up a pail of water to put his majesty out.”
Dangerous to Whom?
Adelaide, South Australia, Commonwealth.
It is a dangerous and significant fact that 70,000 voters supported Henry George. Yes, sir; dangerous to those who wish “industrial slavery” to continue, and very significant to those who hope and work for its abolition, through the abolition of private property in land.
Free Bridges and Free Ferries
The remonstrants against free ferries can “see no reason why the city of Boston and the taxpayers should be called upon to pay for the people of East Boston getting over to the city of Boston.” On their reasoning can they say why East Boston should be called upon to provide streets and bridges for other parts of Boston Fair play is a jewel.
Figures From The Statisticians
The cotton crop of this country for the year 1880 is placed at 6,640,000 bales, and is of a very superior quality.
The number of women engaged at other than household work in the United States is estimated at 3,000,000, and of these 600,000 are agricultural laborers, mainly in the cotton fields of the south; 640,000 are employed in manufactories of various kinds, while 530,000 are in laundries, 280,000 are milliners and 200,000 find employment as dressmakers. 60,000 earn their bread in the tailor shops and 600,000 are saleswomen, teachers, telegraph operators,' typewriters, bookkeepers, typesetters and nurses, and many other occupations find small numbers a livelihood. There ave in round numbers 2,500 female physicians in the United States.
America has a capacity of fully 3,500,000 tons of Bessemer steel rails for 1887. The rail mills have already contracted for over 2,000,000 tons.
The number of hands on strike or locked out by employers in January, l886, was 48,000; in February, 10,000; in March, 50,000, and in May 216,000. From this time there was a gradual falling off, the numbers ranging from 13,000 to 16,000 for June, July and August, with only 3,000 for September. In October the number increased to 23,000, declining somewhat for November, and falling to 10,000 for December. Thus in the year 450,000 hands were idle for a greater or less period.
The oldest of the trades unions of Great Britain is the Steam Engine Makers' society, Manchester, which was established on November 2, 1824, and has now £10,435 accumulated funds, an annual income of £11,338, and a membership of 5,062. The union possessing the largest fund of those which have sent in returns is the Amalgamated Society of Carpenters and Joiners, with headquarters at Manchester, whose funds are stated at £50,851; annual income, £63,122, and membership, 25,781. Seven great labor unions in England, having an income of over $1,600,000, spent in disputes last year only $5,000 Their chief work is in pre venting strikes through conference and arbitration.
The total deposits at the end of October last in the savings banks of Massachusetts amounted to nearly $300,000,000, representing an increase of more than $16,000,000 in one year, and being the largest deposit in eleven years. The number of depositors is 906,039, an increase of 57,250 during a single year. During last year ten co-operative banks were incorporated, making a total of forty. Last year there were published in the United States 5,250 books, of which 1,551 comprised the cheap foreign reprints. Of the American works, 482 were those of fiction, 179 travels and description, 123 history, 115 biography, 127 poetry and drama, 117 art and 514 juveniles.
Commissioner Sparks has given a list of the lands surveyed in the various states and territories up to June 30,18S0, and the amounts of such surveyed lands disposed of, as follows: Michigan—Surveyed, 30,128,640 acres; disposed of, 30,031,402 acres; undisposed of, 97,214 acres. Minnesota—Surveyed, 42,152,674 acres; disposed of, 33,237,784 acres; undisposed of, 8,914,890 acres. Wisconsin Surveyed, 34,511,360 acres; disposed of, 31,759,045 acres; undisposed of, 2,751,715 acres. Dakota— Surveyed, 47,392,242 acres; disposed of, 48,072,464 acres; disposed of in excess of surveys, 080,222 acres. Montana—Surveyed, 18,142,855 acres; disposed of, 9,104,513 acres; undisposed of, 8,97S,342 acres.
The dressed meat trade is now sending Texas beef to London, but New England is a bigger market for it than Old England. The shipment of dressed beef from Chicago began in 1882, and immediately took on large proportions for New England—89,000 tons, from which it has been steadily increased to 153,000 tons in 1886. The tonnage of live cattle to New England reached its height in 1883—100,000 tons—from which it has dropped to 52,000 in 1886. Three-quarters of our western supply of beef therefore now comes dressed. The New York consumption of dressed beef has risen from 2,000 tons in 1882 to about 70,000 in 1886, reducing the cattle shipment from 392,000 tons in 1S82 to 280,000 in 1886. The New York average price of cattle was a half cent lower in 18S6, and the lowest, it is said, for twenty-five years.
The bituminous coal miners mined last year 75,000,000 short tons of coal, against 65,000,000 in 1885. Pennsylvania's gain was 4,000,000 tons, and the products of the four counties of Allegheny, Westmoreland, Fayette and Washington was 14,500,000 tons last year, or 20 per cent of the entire bituminous product of the United States. The total anthracite and bituminous output last year was 101,014,000 tons. The report of the commissioner of internal revenue for 1880 shows a consumption of 3,510,898.000 cigars. against 3,358,972,000 in the preceding year; of 1,810,961,000 cigarettes, against 1,058,749,000 last year, and of tobacco 185,426,000 pounds, against 174,415.000. On the basis of a population of 60,000,000, the tobacco statistics give to every man, woman and child about sixty cigars, over twenty cigarettes and three pounds of tobacco annually.
In 1880 nearly one-third the number of persons employed in mechanical and manufacturing industries in Rhode Island were females, and 5,500 were children between the ages of five and fifteen. In Massachusetts, of 370,000 persons employed in these industries, 98,000 were females, and 15,700 were children between five and fifteen years of age. The numbers are certainly much larger now, for the substitution of women and children for men is going on more actively every day, in spite of the laws enacted to prevent it. The cheapening of the cost of production is so controlling an object with manufacturers. that they do not hesitate to disregard the laws that stand in the way of it.—[St. Louis Republican.]
A field hand can live well on one dollar and seventy-five cents a month, providing his cooking has not to be paid for. A bushel of meal costs eighty cents, a quarter of a pound of meat a day costs fifty-five cents, and that leaves forty cents for molasses, salt and other extras. That will bring the living up to twenty-one dollars a year. The farmer who boards his hands can do it at this price, if he attaches no value to his vegetables and fruit and the occasional chicken pie on extra occasions. If anyone should hire a dozen hands and hire a cook for them, they could be boarded at twenty dollars each a year.—[Spartanburg, S. C , Spartan.]
For Land and Liberty
New York Leader.
Strike as Lincoln split the rails;
Strike against vile poverty;
Strike till every boodler quails—
Strike for land and liberty!
Strike the tyrant's heart of stone;
Strike for truth and equity;
Strike united or alone—
Strike for land and liberty!
Strike the bloated robbers down;
Strike for all humanity:
Strike in every factory town—
Strike for land and liberty!
Strike the landlords off the earth;
Strike for love and charity;
Strike for all our souls are worth—
Strike for land and liberty!
Strike the leeches of the mine;
Strike for homes of purity;
Strike for all that is divine—
Strike for land and liberty!
To Abolish Idleness
Cedar Rapids, Mich., New Era.
Destroy land monopoly and you will abolish idleness, low wages and scarcity of work. with all their attendant evils of poverty, misery and crime.
Outward or Homeward
Still are the ships that in haven rids,
Waiting fair winds or a turn of the tide;
Nothing they fret, though they do not get
Out on the ocean wide.
Oh, wild heart, that yearn to be free,
Look and learn from the ships of the sea!
Bravely the ships in the tempest tossed
Buffet the waves till the sea be crossed;
Not in despair of the haven fair,
Though winds blow backward and leagues be lost
Oh, weary hearts that yearn for sleep,
Look and learn from the ships of the deep!
—F. W. Eourdillon.
News and Opinions
The Church Reformer, London, brings news of interesting movements. The “Church parades”of socialists and unemployed in Battersea gave offense to many good people. They are thus defended in the Church Reformer: “But it may be said that their motive in coming to church is not a religious one. They conspire to attend church in force for the purpose of advertising their distress, and of forcing the hands of the authorities? Well, if this be true, where is the harm? At least, it is no worse for a disinherited brother to come to church to “show his rags” than for a middle class dame to attend for the purpose of displaying the sweetest new thing in Parisian bonnets; but where can the hungry worker make his mute appeal more appropriately than before the altar of Him who badethe hungry thousands sit down upon the green grass, and made them eat till they were all filled?”
Any blame directed against the church paraders must be less than that deserved by the archbishop of York. The vicar and wardens of St. Mary's, Beverly, determined to make all scats free and posted notices to that effect. As matter of courtesy a copy of the notice was sent to the archbishop. That dignitary in an ill-tempered letter told the parish officers that their duty under the law was “to assign the seats to the parishioners according to their degree,” and he directed that the notice to be taken down. The clergyman gave in but the church wardens resist. In a manly and courteous spirit they reply: “The church wardens do not quite see the relevancy of your grace's definition of the uses of our parish church, but it may be replied that neither is the church intended to be allotted among a few of the parishioners according to their rank or degree to the absolute exclusion of the many, as your grace appears to contend, but should be used as a house of God, a common sanctuary where rich and poor may meet together as worshipers of one God and Father of all.” Both parties claim that the law is on their side, and a legal contest may result.
The Rev. Charles W. Stubbs, in preaching before the guild of St. Matthew, presented as parts of its social creed: “We believe that the Christian church, in the idea of its Founder, had for its object the re-organization and restitution of society no less than the salvation and deliverance of the individual. We believe, therefore, that there is no finality in divine revelation that the will of God, the Word of God, is not yet all revealed, that—
Slowly the Bible of the God's is writ, And not in paper leaves or leaves of stone; Each age, each kindred adds a word to it— Texts of despair or hope, or joy or moan.
“We believe in the Bible of God's continuous revelation, whose chapters are history, politics and science, as well as in that other revelation of spiritual truth which we rightly reverence as the very Word of God.”
The Rev. J. Cowden Cole, vicar of Upton, has given a lecture, in which he said: “Greed, covetousness and taking advantage of others ought to be repudiated. The holding of vast tracts of land by some and the vast accumulations of wealth by others were tremendous evils, and as they existed side by side with extreme poverty, their hideousness was the more flagrant.”
Quite a love feast between Catholics and public men of Protestant faith has been held at a dinner of the Catholic club in Philadelphia. The labor question came into the talks, and generalities were mostly uttered, to which no exception can be taken. The sentiment which may be justly criticized was in the principal speech, that of Archbishop Ryan, which appeals to capitalists as those to whom “Providence has been more kind” in giving them the good things of our day. Of course this is indirectly charging God with the sad results of greed.
Nearly all the religions press is discussing the pope's interference in German politics in favor of Bismarck and against Dr. Windthorst, and some Catholic and all Protestant journals declare it to be a sad, if not disgraceful, comment on the case of Dr. McGlynn. The Rev. Mr. Scudder of Jersey City told the Congregational club recently that a few weeks ago he had “Home, Sweet Home” played in the midst eff his service, to the scandal of some “unco guid” among his people, but to the conversion of a ship's officer. “Sam” Jones and “Sam” Small have had a successful series of meetings in Boston. They took alternate appointments in preaching. They are dissimilar in style, but the auditors could not say which they prefer red. Mr. Jones was always full of humor; Mr. Small seldom gave any evidence of it. The latter, formerly a journalist, spoke in the manner of editorial items and condensed dispatches. They do not present dogmas, but Christian morality.
The Baptist Tribune of Columbia, S. C, edited by a learned negro D.D., gives the freedmen good advice in secular matters as well as in the religious life. This is the time of year when the laborers are hiring land. A lawyer, who seems to be of the colored race, tells the work people through the paper how they have been imposed on at these annual contracts, because ninety-five per cent of them cannot read. They should agree to nothing unless it is read to them by some one in whom they can con ti de. He shows how by fraud “the laboring portion of our colored population is yet poor, while the landlord and the merchant have grown rich.”
Father Agnew, one of the best informed priests of Chicago, is authority for the .statement that hereafter no Catholic child in that diocese is to be admitted to first communion unless attending a parochial school. He argues in defense of the position to be taken that the parish schools have accommodation for their children and that only in such schools can sufficient preparation be made for the sacrament.
The Good Fight Goes Well
San Francisco, Feb. 12.—The world has been set thinking of reform, and crusaders are every where in the field harping on the main question—land monopoly. The late mayoralty campaign in New York has brought, the land question to the front and made it, the burning issue of the hour. Henceforward the corporation-ridden press of this corporation-ridden nation must enter the field of argument, before the logical blows of which a duke and a bishop have gone down. The gospel you are teaching is founded on the rock of everlasting truth, and the gates of hell cannot prevail against it. It is the incarnation of justice, in harmony with the moral and with natural law, and any law or creed that cannot be gauged by its standard should perish from the world. The hegira hasn't commenced, but his coining. Converts are numerous, and have all come to stay. Once imbued with the hind doctrine, there is no taking the back track. A few short months may witness the Knights of Labor and all other labor organizations marching in one solid phalanx fighting the good fight—their battle cry, “The land for the people.”
P. J. Kennedy.
The strike situation along the river front is officially much the same as last week, although there are hundreds more of the strikers at work and many of the non-union men have been discharged. The steamship companies agents are not united in their course of action, some paying the union scale, while others are determined not to recognize the unions nor to pay the union rates. 'Longshoremen's unions Nos. 1, 2, 3 and 5 of New York, Nos. 1 and ofof Brooklyn, and No. 1 of Jersey City held a convention on Sunday and resolved to adhere to their scale. The 'longshoremen's leaders say that there are only a few hundred of their members idle. The men still on strike at the coal docks have generally ref used to return to work unless taken back in a body, but the dock superintendents Lave thus far declined to put them to work have when engaged as individuals. The strike of the coopers who went out in sympathy with the 'longshoremen has attracted most attention during the week. They were employed by three firms, and it was found that each house had so large a stock of barrels on hand that the strike was not a serious inconvenience.
The Real Record Record and Guide says it is understood that the master builders will endeavor to extend their new organization to all parts of the country. Thus far the boss builders have combined only to resist the regulations of the trades unions. The editor of the Record and Guide,however, asks them if they should not do something to put a stop to unwholesome competition. Buddousieck has imitators in the building trades, and the employers who turn out good work are obliged to bid against estimates for Buddensieck work. Combinations between the unions and fair employers could do much toward driving out the field the employers who thrive on cheap and bad work and low wages.
The boot and shoe industry of Lynn. Mass., is face to face with a serious state of affairs. There has been a remarkable development in this industry in the west in the hist few years, and the country towns of Massachusetts are also enabled to hold out inducements superior to those of Lynn. The manufacturers who have consequently left Lynn, either in whole or in part. employ about 5,000 hands. The Boston Journal endeavors to make it appear that organized labor has driven work away from Lynn. This, however, is said in spite of the fact that the state board of arbitration has just settled a case in Lynn in which a large number of shoemakers who were interested have bowed to its decision.
In the last six years the Dominion government has spent $l,800,000 for assisting immigration to Canada. The Hamilton, Ontario, Evening Times says that of this sum thousands of dollars have been paid out for commissions on pauper children taken off the hands of the old world poor law authorities and shipped toCanada by professional philanthropists, and thinks that, in view of the fact that many of the Canadians find it a hard task to obtain employment for themselves and families to keep body and soul together, such a prodigal expenditure of money is nothing short of criminal.
For the first time in the history of the Mormon combination in Utah, there has been a Strike of Mormon workingmen against a reduction in wages. The riveters in the big church co-operative shoe manufactory in Salt Lake stopped work last week to protest against an attempt to reduce their wages. The Salt Lake Democrat says there are signs of a coming revolt, against the clique which directs the modes and prices of labor in Utah.
Carbondale, Pa., is being advertised as a desirable place for manufacturers, inducements being held out to those wishing to establish shoe factories. woolen mills and knitting mills. Coal is seventy- five cents a ton, land nothing, no taxes will be assessed for ten years, and all the girls and women that are needed can be had at $3.50 to $5 a week.
The local assemblies of the Knights of Labor throughout the United States composed of garment cutters are negotiating with the general executive board with the object of securing a charter forming them into a national district. There are ninety local assemblies, with a membership of 15,000, which have signed the petition for the charter.
Few new industrial establishments are being started in New England in contrast with $65,000,000 invested in like enterprises during the past year at the south. E. H. Cheyney, a well-known citizen of New Hampshire, says that cotton manufacturing has seen probably its best days in New Hampshire: that more mills have been built in Georgia since the war than are now in operation in that state.
Philadelphia has a score of church workingmen's club. The first formed was St. Mark's, organized in 1870, and it has now 450 members. It has connected with it a building and loan association, through which many of the members have been enabler to purchase their homes: a beneficial association, which has afforded benefits to hundreds of its sick and to the families of many of its dead members: a co-operative grocery store, at which goods are bought at the lowest prices, and the profits of which are divided among the members: end co-operative coal and flour clubs, and other schemes for benefiting the members peculiarly. The general plan of the clubs is familiar tothat of St. Mark's. They have pool and billiard tables, libraries, reading rooms and gymnasiums.
The Boston Journal says that a committee of Albany Knights of Labor, who have made a tour of the New England states investigating the wages paid byshoe manufacturers, with a view of making out a higher schedule of prices for their own work, encountered an unexpected obstacle. They discovered that the eastern prices were thirty per cent below wages at Albany, yet the eastern men earned the most money, because they had a better market and steady employment.
Western newspapers speak of a circular cent out recently from the headquarters of the Knights of Labor making explicit inquiries as to such strikes and boycotts as the assemblies addressed have taken part in. The circular makes the complaint that the knights have been accused of being the instigators of nearly every strike and boycott of the year, and that when a victory was gained the press gave the credit to other organizations.
The employees of the Canadian Pacific railroad complain of an unjust system of fining and blacklisting. A machinist:s work was found to be minus a small pin—probably through the fault of a helper—and although he knew nothing of the matter he was fined $5 and his name published all along the line of the road. A black list of men who had broken tools was also sent along the line. The Winnipeg News gives these facts as examples of what is constantly occurring, and says that serious consequences may be expected if such tyrannical practices are not put an end to by the managers of the road.
The employing plumbers of St. Louis have consented to the demands of the journeymen, The agreement to hold until April 1, 1888. Kine hours will be a day's work and twenty-five cents per hour will be the lowest price paid.
In March, 1877, a co-operative store was started at Johnstown, Pa,, with a capital of $4,000, which was subsequently increased to $6,000. The first year's dividend was 33 per cent, but afterward the venture did not prosper, and in November, 1882, the store was closed by the sheriff. Last Monday the directors met to close the books of the concern, a great deal of time having been taken up in attempts to collect bills outstanding when the store was closed. The Johnstown Democrat says that this first trial at cooperation there has been anything but a success, as every dollar put into it was lost, and some of the stock holders have paid the amount of their stock over again. The Democrat believes it more than probable, however, that the misfortunes of the co-operators can be attributed to careless management rather than to the principles of co-operation.
The Labor Champion is authority for the statement that during the last campaign a number of clerks in the Santa Fe railroad offices desired to vote for Judge John Martin for congress, and arranged to receive and distribute tickets for him. When the tickets were taken to them at the offices, however, they refused to touch them, and told the bearer that they could not make their preference for Martin known, as it would cause their discharge. They were even afraid to be seen talking with the judge's manager.
The Ohio valley trades assembly is holding at Wheeling the largest industrial fair ever seen in that city, the trades unions and assemblies of the Knights of Labor of the district contributing liberally in money and goods to the exhibit. There is an unbroken chain of organized labor from Pittsburg to Cincinnati, comprising the trades assemblies of western Pennsylvania, Steubenville, Jefferson county and the Ohio valley. A picnic held last autumn yielded proceeds sufficient to purchase a power press for the Ohio Valley Budget, and there are three newspapers—one being a daily—published in the interests of labor in the Ohio valley.
How convict labor can be employed to the detriment of free labor isstated clearly in a circular issued by a committee of the Mapmakers' protective union. There are 800 cocoa goods workers in the country. To prevent “over-production” they have nearly all been working three-quarter time during the past season. Seven-eighths of the cocoa matting consumed in the country is made by them. Small profits have recently caused two large establishments to go out of the business, and the commissioners of the Western penitentiary of Pennsylvania have bought the plant of one of them. If the force of convicts at the disposal of the commissioners is employed on this plant the amount of goods produced will be fifty per cent more than the country can consume. The mat makers' union, foreseeing ruin to their employers and a great reduction in wages, are endeavoring to induce the labor organizations of Pennsylvania to protest against the employment of convict labor at their trade.
In the course of a riot which ensued upon a strike of Italian laborers at Ware. Mass., on the line of the Central Massachusetts railroad, last week, the police fired unnecessarily the Italians and wounded several. The Citizens of Ware say that the officers fired unnecessarily, and in case of the death of any of the Italians efforts will be made to bring the policemen to justice.
If the street-car lines of Boston consolidate, one hundred and fifty miles of car truck and two thousand three hundred employes will be put under one management.
An agent for railroad laborers has contracted to supply 500 Italians to complete the Santa Fe system to Chicago, a distance of 450 miles. The men will receive $1.50 a day, and are already within call of labor agencies in this country.
A private meeting was held in Boston on Sunday by delegates from the various branches of labor engaged upon steam railroads running into that city. There were represented the conductors, brakemen, engineers, firemen, machinists, stat ion agents, baggage masters, carpenters, painters, car builders, trackmen, construction men, freight handlers, clerks, switchmen, railroad telegraph operators, etc. The purpose of the meeting was to effect a more complete organization, and a petition was drawn up asking the Knights of Labor to sanction a charter for a district assembly composed entirely of railroad men. “The consummation aimed at is the foundation of an international organization comprising the United States and Canada.”
In Philadelphia a movement is on foot to organize a housekeepers' local assembly of the Knights of Labor to be composed exclusively of women engaged in household service.
Retail butchers in Buffalo have formed a co-operative company. Its capital stock is $300.000 and the shares are $50 each. It has purchased the abattoir of George F. Christ, which covers two acres of ground, for $300,000.
Lasting machines have been used for some time on men's shoes, but as yet none have been in general use that give good results on women's shoes. A company has lately put half a dozen machines of a new invention into a factory at Pittsfield, N. H., each of which, it is said, can turn out live cases of women's shoes a day, being about the working capacity of ten men. A man and a boy run a machine.
The executive board of the national textile union has removed its headquarters from Holyoke, Mass., to Philadelphia. It has issued a circular to the trade asking all who earn their living at it to join the union.
The adjutant general of Texas has officially urged the legislature to raise a state army for the suppression of the Knights of Labor.
A bill has been introduced in t he senate of Illinois making it unlawful for an employer to compel an employe to sign an agreement not to quit work except when notice of an intention to quit at a specified time is given, unless the employer is bound to the same conditions as the employe.
A bill to establish a board of examiners of railroad telegraph operators was introduced in the legislature of Minnesota last week. It provides that the governor shall appoint as such board three operators, to be selected from nine names furnished him by the Minnesota branch of the American train dispatchers' association. The bill requires certain qualifications for operators in offices connected with railroads. Every railroad company in Minnesota will be obliged by the law to keep a record of the names of all operators, and no railroad company will be permitted to employ an operator unless he holds a certificate from the examining board.
A labor representative has introduced a measure in the Illinois legislature providing for a state board of labor and capital, which shall investigate cases of fraud, extortion or oppression on the part of employers, and regulate the hours of labor and the rate of wages and compensation of employes. In general the board is empowered to perform the work intrusted to it in a manner similar to that followed by the present state board of railroad commissioners.
The nine-hour system is adopted in all the government workshops in Paris.
A petition has been sent from the familstere of M. Godin at Guise, France, to the chamber of deputies asking that the right be given by law to the councils of the trades unions of France to decide upon the number of hours which shall form the working day, and the average lowest rate of wages which shall be paid in all establishments in each industry.
Who Are the People?
Seattle, W.T., Intelligencer.
The woman suffrage law which has been in force in Washington territory for three years no longer exists. By the decision of the supreme court the suffrage is restricted to men. It is certain, however, that a vigorous effort will be made to secure a re-enactment of the law at the next session of the legislature. The defect, because of which it has been declared invalid, can easily be remedied, and as soon as the legislature assembles it will find itself besieged by the suffragists. Those who are opposed to woman suffrage however, will insist that this question be submitted to the people before another such law is placed upon our statute books.
To The Point
Very Strong Words From a Universalist Clergyman
Chelsea, Mass., Feb. 19.—God speed the brave and able Standard. My sympathies are with you. Those who have not read the Standard articles on the Dr. McGlynn case think you have donned the fool's garb and gone into the fool's business of attacking the religion of Roman Catholics; but those who have read these articles, both Catholics and Protestants, see how wise are the words, how judicial the action, how impregnable the position. Agitation, education, instruction. All these are greatly needed among all classes concerning the industrial events and problems of to-day. I am trying to contribute my mite toward setting people to thinking and studying in this field. I recently gave a brief course of Sunday evening lectures on “The Labor Problem,” entitled “The Christ and the Sphinx,” “Principles and Measures,” “Land and Labor,” before large audiences.
As one illustration of the need of true instruction on this subject, see Mr. Edward Atkinson's misleading statistics in the Century for January. Therein he “proves” that the wages of mechanics in Massachusetts were twenty-five per cent higher in 1885 than in 1800, and the purchasing power of their money (relative to the necessaries and comforts of life) was twenty-six per cent greater. Splendid! splendid! He leaves out of his computations, however, three items (not to mention minor ones) which, once noticed, entirely vitiate, or at least materially modify, the whole argument he sets up to show. These three items are: The increased cost of rent in 1885 over 1860; the increased unsteadiness or irregularity of employment, and the elevated standard of respectable or even decent living. Save an incidental reference in small type to the raised standard of living, he gives no word of warning as to these omissions; yet the single item of increased rent would largely alter his so confident assumptions. People used instruction as to the comparative worth and worthlessness of tables of statistics and of inferences and deductions therefrom. Ignorant of the fact that, in order to be valuable, statistics must not only be carefully collected but also rightly tabulated and fairly interpreted, many people make a deity out- of statistics, and, at the bidding of this pseudo god, forswear truth, reason and the golden rule. The old proverb says that “Figures won't lie;” but, as a matter of fact, nothing else is so apt to be misleading, because nothing else is so elastic (unless indeed it be a politician;s conscience or a scripture text) as a table of statistics.
Would it not be a good plan to publish in the Standard a list of all ministers of the gospel who are in any way identified with the labor movement of to-day? If so, please include the name of
S. W. Sample,
Pastor First Universalist Church.
Landlordism In England
Some Facts Regarding the Laws—Land Tax Levied on Valuation of 1692
The Liverpool, England, Financial Reform association, which has for its purpose the establishment of “economical government, just taxation and perfect freedom of trade,” and which is exerting a strong influence on public thought in Great Britain, has issued its animal report and calls for the redress of the present pernicious land laws and the transfer of taxation from labor and capital to land values. It says:
People love to trace the rise of the power of parliament, to point to the liberties extorted from successive sovereigns in return for grants of taxes; they repeat as a truism that most of our greatest national privileges have been purchased for so much money, and, thinking only of these privileges and liberties themselves, they forget the price paid for them. But anyone who studies the history of taxation finds that, great though these liberties are, we have paid very dearly for them. By the transformation which has taken place in our fiscal system, by the substitution of indirect for direct taxation, the land— the property of the whole nation—has passed into the hands of a privileged few, and t he people can only obtain permission to till or otherwise use their native soil by agreeing to maintain an aristocracy in luxury. To undo this process is our work.
Rent and taxes differ in name only. They both come out of the same fund, so to speak—the higher the rates the lower the rent, and vice versa—and it were a pity indeed if the result of all our labors to secure retrenchment in our public expenditure, to reduce local and imperial taxation, simply meant a corresponding increase in the rent rolls of the landlords. By means of a land tax, and only by means of a land tax, can the people really benefit by the natural increase of value in, or, as it is popularly termed, “the unearned increment” of; the land. The present land tax is an absurd and unjust anomaly. It is levied upon a valuation of 1692, a valuation notoriously unfair even at that date. It was levied ostensibly at four shillings in the pound on the true yearly valuation, but in reality a fixed sum was put down as the amount to be raised from each county. At that date agriculture and cattle or sheep rearing were the principal pursuits of the people, and the better suited a county was for these, the higher its value and the greater the amount it contributed to the land tax. The mineral wealth of counties like Lancashire was unknown, with the result that at the present day the land tax is as heavy as two shillings in the pound sterling in certain places, and a fraction of a farthing in the pound sterling in others. To put it another way, those counties that can best afford to pay are called upon to pay least, while those that can afford least are called upon to pay most.
Every step hitherto taken in the direction of free trade has resulted, and every further step we take must ultimately result in an increase of land values, as a whole. But the abolition of customs and excise duties without a land tax has produced, and must inevitably produce, an unnecessary disturbance of land values. While the rent rolls of some land holders have been reduced, other land holders have been made immensely wealthy. A justly levied land tax would have introduced a balancing power, the contributions of the richer portions of the country would. Have reduced the burdens upon the poorer, and, what is more important still, the whole nation would have participated in the increase ofthe national wealth.
Detroit Evening News.
The name of Supervisor Wm. McFarlane of Greenfield township deserves to be printed in italics. He is the first man in Michigan to propose giving official sanction to the growing idea of raising all taxes upon land. The idea didn't prevail, of course, nor was it half so well entertained by the committee as one to adopt an inquisitorial law, compelling every man under oath to enumerate every taxable thing of which he is possessed. The strangest thing brought out by the discussion upon it was the statements of the other members of the committee that to place all taxes on land would raise values and have the effect of concentrating ownership in the hands of a few—just the contrary effect which Henry George, father of the theory, claims for it, and just the contrary, too, of the obvious truth. Of course it would be too much to expect of a supervisor that he should be capable of reasoning.
Private Property is Land and Cattle
Kansas City Star.
The man who manures and tills the ground does not multiply or add to it in the same sense that cattle are multiplied or added to. The amount of land is not increased at all—its capability of producing a crop is temporarily increased, and in the largely increased crop, Mr. George would say, the tiller of the soil finds his reward. But he does not thereby establish any claim to ownership of the land, which in itself is not the product of his exertion. The multiplication of cattle is a different matter. The size or extent of the herd is increased, and each pair of cattle is capable of still further increasing or adding to the total number. The original quantity which was cattle has been doubled, quadrupled or increased a thousand fold, as the case may be. and the result is still cattle. But in the case of the land the original quantity which was land has not been increased at all. It was one acre at first and it is one acre still. Even its largely increased producing capacity is but temporary. When the farmer has raised all the crop she wishes, he will stop manuring and the land will gradually go back again to its original state of moderate productiveness. Then, too, it can be quite successfully argued that the cattle are the products of the owner's exertion. He feeds, waters and cares for his stock just as he manures the ground and sows the seed. He pays as much attention to the breeding of his stock as he does to the raising of crops—in fact, some men breed cattle to the entire exclusion of ordinary farming. Thus it may quite reasonably be argued that the cattle are the product of the breeders exertions, just as the crop of wheat is of the farmer's.
Science And Starvation
Landlords Reap the Harvest of England's Half Century of Prosperity
From the London Democrat.
How is it that during the last fifty years so large a number of persons in the United kingdom have perished of starvation? The proportion of sufferers to population is perhaps greater than that of any other country. Why is it that five millions of our people are constantly suffering from want of the commonest necessaries of life where the development of wealth is the greatest ever known and the productiveness of industry is without a parallel in the history of the world? It is more than forty years since Lord Shaftesbury made known to an astonished and almost incredulous world the terrible condition in which human beings were living in London.
The chief cause of this misery is clearly pointed out by royal commissioners as a rising from our unfair system of taxation, which allows the owners of land to benefit by the increase of value without contributing to the rates, the expenditure of which creates that value. Under this system land is withhold from building, and a band formed round the increasing population which crushes it together and causes fearful overcrowding and its deplorable results. A small number of privileged and idle families receive enormous sums in unjust rents, extracted from a population who are overworked and overcrowded until life becomes a misery instead of a blessing. The cause of social failure is the fact that the product of labor is snatched from the people by a remorseless and unjust power, intended for the advantage of all, but used for the benefit of the few by the sacrifice of the many. Our legislators have made laws for the benefit of the classes at the expense of the masses, and until that legislation is reversed we may expect to make speed with a train when the brakes are on.
Bogus Co-Operative Stores
The Knights of Labor of Chicago have decided that a store has no right to use the title “co-operative” unless it is run by workingmen on the co-operative plan pure and simple, and they have further decided that all such stores must prove claim to the title or be boycotted. There are a number of clothing, hat, shoe and dry goods stores which call themselves “cooperative,”and it is charged that they are largely patronized by workingmen, who think that the employes get a share of the profits. A special committee of District Assembly 24 has been quietly looking into the matter for two weeks, and their report, which will be presented at the next meeting. will recommend that every co-operative store but two in the city be notified to pull down its sign.
The True Doctrine
Grand Rapids, Mich., Workman.
By “land”—as used by Henry George and political economists generally—is meant unimproved land, the unimproved resources of nature which were created by no man, but which are of right the common heritage of the race. This is the “land” in which Henry George, Herbert Spencer and others deny the right of private property. The value to land which is added by labor is of right the private property of him who creates it, and of this right Henry George is one of the strongest defenders—and this improved value created by labor he would exempt from taxation wholly, putting the whole burden on the unimproved or ground rent values. In other words, he who holds a special privilege in the resources of nature, should pay in taxes to the government, as the trustee of the community, a fair price for this special privilege.
The Best Conservatism
We are liberal-conservative as regards social questions, but we hold with Henry George that the immediate doing away with certain well known evils which cannot exist. much longer is the best conservative measure in order to prevent a portion of our people, driven to despair, and perhaps led by self-seeking or inconsiderate leaders, from committing acts of lawlessness and plunging the American republic into the horrors of a civil war.
The past is dead and buried—let it be,
And let me rest;
To rake the wounded leaves is but to see
Behold the mighty oak, when bleak and bare,
In winters gloom,
Gathering its forces for another year
Of radiant bloom!
Then let me rest. Though dark my days are
Trial will cease;
Hope's sunshine chase the shadows from my
Wisdom give peace.
My thoughts become like violets wet with dew,
Hidden and sweet;
Schooling my actions to be just and true,
Till God I meet,
Hudson, N.Y. Henry Ancketill.
Wise Words Of Warning
A Voice from Texas That Rich Men and Politicians Should Heed
Galveston (Tex.) News.
Whatever defects there may be in his philosophy. Henry George is a close observer. His remarks upon the significance of the great strike in New York are precise and forcible. He says: “I think it the first passive form of civil war.” He accounts for it, not by any high degree of intelligence in the strikers, but as a blind push of men squeezed beyond endurance. Looking at it in this light there is no reason why conservative society should reconstruct itself according to the demands of the strikers, but there is much reason why better instructed minds than theirs should seek to know what has caused the squeezing, and how, in consonance with the order of society and its vital and progressive principles, a remedy can be applied.
When the causes of an evil condition are sufficiently understood it is wise conservatism to remove them, no matter how radical the remedial process, rather than risk the arraying of force against force where authority would be compelled to champion injustice bearing the shield of the law.
All acute troubles of an extensive character come on after repeated warnings. The men who engineer them work out destruction for themselves in the first place and disaster to many inoffensive people. and then after bloodshed and misery the “something wrong”—something better known than is confessed, it is often to be feared—is perhaps partially rectified for a succeeding generation.
There are always too many people who argue that so long as there is no rebellion all is well enough, even if the equality existing is a permit to practice spoliation. But when violence and disorder occur they, of course, with other citizens, think of nothing but law and order, forgetting the injustice long done under the law, and which is never felt to be of the utmost gravity till the consciousness has dawned upon mankind that certain privileges and practices are unjust. Thus society experiences its crises through the demands of classes after they cease to bejust according to the best light of the age. The rebellions are generally wrong in particular demands and aims, but they are always a protest against something which is evil, and then in the end no amount of force can prevent society from effecting an enlargement of liberty.
The trouble about wages and transportation and charges grows out of industrial stagnation and oppression by monopoly. This is now well recognized, but perhaps the majority of great capitalists at the present time reason that it will be a simple thing to suppress the disorders by military force, and thus resolve these matters. Such a solution may be both necessary and effective for the exigency, but it will be no solution at all in the long run.
Nor will a patchwork of arbitration and various legislative counterpoises to the results of monopoly be more effective. If such palliatives are persisted in, the evils of class government and class discontent will grow to greater proportions under a crust of legal order until the forces of the dissatisfied classes are strong enough to defy repercussion.
The politicians are liable to make a mistake as well a s the capitalists. The politicians addressing discontented laborers always take for granted that the constitution and representative government are such. precious heritages that no American will endanger them. The politician says that if there is trouble the wealthy will set up a stronger government. Does the politician believe that the fear of losing representative government will forever operate to keep the laborer from provoking the threatened change. If so, the politician is mistaken.
More and more workingmen are becoming, like business men, accustomed to calculate material advantages. If representative government does not work to their satisfaction they care less for it than the politician assumes. The politician will he long before he will admit this fact, because it must take his breath away and take the wind out of his sails. But it is a fact that workingmen of the latter part of the nineteenth century are be ginning to plan their efforts for something else than keeping up painted political pagodas. They want material results or they will slacken in devotion and become utterly indifferent to what is as yet a favorite form of government because offering the promise of equal protection and equal opportunities to the people.
Effect of Taxing Land Values
Royalton, Minn., Banner.
Tax land values and let personal property go free. No man will then buy more than he can conveniently handle. The landholders whole aim would then be to make what he has produce all it possibly can. As fast as he can make his land into grain, into cotton, into hemp, into vegetables, into sheep and horses and cattle and houses and barns and pianos and organs, that fast does he approach the goal of his youthful dreams of comfort and prosperity. He will, rather than permit any of his land to go to tax sale, employ three men and teams where he now employs one. His hind will be made to produce thirty and forty bushels of wheat to the acre where he now barely squeezes out ten or twenty. He will pasture one cow on one acre in place of one on four acres. The whole ingenuity of the farmer and the inventor will be devoted to that idealistic agricultural task, getting the most out of a little ground, instead of to getting a little out. of the most ground. The millions that are invested in real estate, which in the hands of speculators retard the growth of every country, straggling “settlements” from New York to Portland, would be thrust into the channels of trade and become living arteries, carrying the life blood of employment and prosperity to every part of the body politic. The man who has a lot of unproductive real property will either let it go to tax sale, or else he will build on it or garden it. He will have to make it produce something. This is the first step in the Georgian reform, and we are heartily for it. Instead of hunting out, objects fur taxation. strike the shackles off both capital and labor by making them free from taxation.
The unprogressive democrats of New York, instead of recovering from the panic into which the rise of Henry George's progressive democracy threw them, are becoming mere and more alarmed at the growth of the new movement as they think of its possibly disastrous effect upon the next presidential election. They are, at the same time, eager to conciliate and flatter the revolting proletariat of the metropolis, and to find some means of condemning the principles which have inspired the masses there with such enthusiasm and determination. They have not discussed Henry George's doctrines, and they do not apparently intend to discuss them, unless blind abuse and unreasoning denunciation be discussion. In their treatment of the subject not one of the metropolitan papers has given its readers a fair and intelligent statement of Henry George's land doctrines—which, by the way, are not peculiarly Henry George's, but in their essence are as old as the science of political economy. These journals, in their eagerness to stem the tide of political rebellion among the workmen, go to any length of misrepresentation, characterizing the new doctrines as “socialism,” condemning them by epithet, and even calling in the aid of spiritual authority, which, if used for any other purposes than their own, they would be the first to denounce.
There are many who sec in Omaha's real estate boom only unmixed good: who could the increase in population as eagerly as if the happiness of people was to be told by counting heads. The larger a city becomes the fiercer becomes the struggle for the strategic points and the narrower the home. Of the poor, forced by the monopoly of hind to herd together within its walls. We con fess we fail to see the sense of an Omaha workingman worrying about the progress of St. Paul, and watching the clearance reports and the percentage of sales, unless it be as a matter of pure curiosity. as he would watch a cockfight. Our country has developed at a wonderful speed for twenty-live years, with the only result of making millionaires and tramps; of making it harder than ever forthe man who must begin with his hands alone. Can we not realize to what end this must come.
The Natural Order
Port Huron, Mich., New Era.
Land, labor, wealth. That is the natural order. Whoever Controls land controls labor and wealth. If one man owned all land every other man would be simply a slave to this one. The fart her we are removed from such a condition the better, we all say. Well what better way, we pray, to remove this nation from such conditions than for the whole people to own the land and vouchsafe to every citizen the right to the use of a part of it?
Chicago Baptists Hear Some Truths That May Surprise Them
Chicago Mail, Feb. 14.
The Rev. F. Taylor of Englewood read a paper upon “Christianity and Socialism” at the meeting of the Baptist ministers at the Grand Pacific hotel to-day. The speaker said it was easier to denounce those theories than to answer them, and in our confusion we must turn to the Bible and there we will see that Moses, David and Solomon stand in straight alignment with Henry George. The ancient organization of the Hebrews was socialistic. God did not believe in laissez faire. He would not let men a lone. The ancient land law of God was briefly this: He made a per capita distribution of the soil: fixed the metes and bounds of each perpetual, forbade permanent;alienation. provided a periodical cancellation of encumbrances and a ready redemption at any time without interest. TheRev. Taylor found the same argument in the New Testament,and showed the great similarity between the ideal commune and Christ's little society. He concluded his paper by saying that, turn it which way you will, the Bible affords the absolute property theorist magnificent fighting all along the line, and that it was passing strange to find that socialists are commonly atheists. Like the balance of mankind, they were more disposed to read the church than the Bible.
Jersey's Labor Legislators
To the honor and credit of the labor men in the house assembly, the fact should be recorded that they voted in favor of truth and right all the way through the contest that finally resulted in the triumph of falsehood and wrong.