Volume 1 July 2, 1887
On [text missing] of July the forty days within which Dr. McGlynn was ordered to present himself [text missing] propaganda in Rome, under penalty of excommunication by nomination, will have expired, and unless the attitude of the Catholic masses in this country shall have warned the Roman authorities of the depressing consequences this step may have on the collection of Peter’s pence, the Fourth of July will be commemorated in Rome by the excommunication of the American priest.
As the day for the excommunication draws near, it becomes evident, however, that there is some doubt in the archiepiscopal palace whether Rome will venture upon this fulmination. Various items have recently appeared in the press, evidently intended to account in the press, evidently intended to account in advance for the failure of the excommunication gun, should it not startle the world with its reverberations on the Fourth. It is said that no public ceremony, and even no public notice is required, and that Dr. McGlynn will be excommunicated, just as in the south people are supposed to be “hoodoed,” in secret; and it is also said that it will not devote upon the pope, upon the propaganda, upon Archbishop Corrigan or upon anybody else to excommunicate Dr. McGlynn; but that by the terms of the order he will excommunicate himself, ipso facto, if he is not in Rome on the 3d of July.
But all this is not only in direct contradiction to the declaration so jubilantly made to the American press by Archbishop Corrigan’s official secretary, that Dr. McGlynn has been ordered to Rome within forty days under penalty of excommunication by name, but it is in flat opposition to canon law.
The learned Dr. Burtsell, the most eminent of living American canonists, in the last number of an elaborate series of articles which he is writing for the Tablet on “The Canonical Status of Priest in the United States,” declares expressly that excommunication “can only be imposed by the public ecclesiastical authority, which has the public exercise of public jurisdiction,” and that even where the excommunication is threatened as consequent upon the act of disobedience to a superior’s command “a special proclamation by this superior of the actual application of the penalty is needed before the censure can affect the relations of others with one so threatened.” Thus Catholics may rest assured by the law of their church that if they do not publicly hear of Dr. McGlynn’s public excommunication he is not actually excommunicated at all.
In this article Dr. Burtsell answers this question which, in view of the coming excommunication of Dr. McGlynn, was asked in this column two weeks since:
If Galileo had been excommunicated for refusing to deny the earth moves around the sun—as he surely would have been if the disciplinary power of the church had not then possessed more effective means of coercion than it has now—what binding force would this excommunication have had upon Galileo, and what binding force would it have had upon other Catholics?
Dr. Burtsell says:
While it is ordinary required to give outward acquiescence in an unjust sentence of suspension, interdict or excommunication, yet it does not really, in any sense, bind the conscience, even if the injustice comes merely from the want of due observance of the forms of trial required by the law, though the delinquency may have occurred. No respect at all, even outward, need be given it if notoriously there was no delinquency on the part of the one condemned. The learned D’Avino, in his ecclesiastical encyclopedia, at the word “excommunication” gives this principle in unmistakable language:
“If a censure is evidently null, such as one pronounced after a legitimate appeal or which was founded upon an intolerable mistake, it has no effect before God or men. And consequently there is no need of absolution from it, and as its nullity is thoroughly notorious, there is not any obligation to pay heed to it, even outwardly.”
Thus, there being no delinquency in Dr. McGlynn’s case, for neither propaganda nor pope have the slightest canonical right to order him to Rome, no excommunication based on his refusal to go to Rome can have any effect, even if proclaimed with “bell, book and candle,” and no Catholic will be under any obligation to pay heed to it.
It is certain that at least one American Catholic prelate has telegraphed to Cardinal Simeoni that to carry out the threatened excommunication of Dr. McGlynn will be fraught with gravest disasters. This, following upon the cable dispatch of the president and secretary of the monster demonstration of June 18, notifying the propaganda that 100,000 Catholics of New York protest against ecclesiastical interference with political rights of American citizens, and are prepared to stand with Dr. McGlynn, may cause the papal court to hesitate, and probably accounts for the hedging items that have appeared in the press during the week.
But on the other hand, the main point at issue—the power of the papal authorities to control the political action of Catholics is just at the present moment very dear to Rome. Under the present pope the Roman ecclesiastical machine is evidently dreaming of a restitution of at least some shreds of the temporal power through a pressure upon Italy from other European governments. The only quid pro quo that the pope has to offer for this interference is the control over the political actions of his spiritual subjects. It is understood that he has already secured the aid of Germany by coming to Bismarck’s help in the recent critical election, when he directed the German Catholics to vote for the government candidates, and the proceedings in connection with the queen’s jubilee and the sending of Italian ecclesiastics to Ireland show that he is engaged in intrigues with the English government in which the power of the church in making the Catholic Irish lie quiet under English rule is offered as a consideration for favors from English diplomacy.
The pope has no army or navy. His noble guard, with their buckskin breeches, and his Swiss guard, with their harlequin attire, are mere adjuncts of barbaric grandeur, like the throne on which he is carried on men’s shoulders and the peacock fans that are waved over him. But in the power to control the political actions of Catholics by orders transmitted from the propaganda to the bishops, from bishops to priests, and from priests to people, as was done in the recent German election, the pope has, what in the expressive slang of New York is called “a pull” on the politicians and governments of all countries having a large Catholic population, which, especially in times of close elections or popular uprisings, may make them exceedingly anxious to come to terms with him.
Dr. McGlynn’s indignant refusal to take his politics from Rome; his declaration that in assuming the vows of a Catholic priest he gave up none of the rights of an American citizen, and his denial of authority on the part or bishop, propaganda or pope to punish him for his actions in American politics or to order him to Rome to account for them, strike at the roots of this power. And a failure to carry out a threat of excommunication that has been given worldwide publicity will be a confession of inability to control the politics of Catholics, which, no matter what beneficial effects it may have upon religion, cannot fail to seriously weaken Roman diplomacy, especially in England, where the excommunication of Dr. McGlynn is looked forward to as a warning to “Irish agitators.”
So that taking one consideration with another, it is quite probable that the Italian cardinals begin to feel that Archbishop Corrigan has got them into a serious dilemma. They may seek to escape from this by failing to fulminate the excommunication, while at the same time causing it to be given out that Dr. McGlynn has excommunicated himself ipso facto. Dr. Burtsell’s showing that under the laws of the church such an excommunication cannot take place is, therefore, very timely.
I have said that the main point at issue in the case of Dr. McGlynn is the power of the ecclesiastical authorities to control the political actions of Catholics. This is something that should not be lost sight of.
Dr. McGlynn first offended the propaganda by making a radical speech on the Irish land question in 1882, at the very time when, at the instigation of Errington, the propaganda was co-operating with the Gladstone government to put down radical ideas in Ireland. It was this—as it doubtless seemed to the Italian cardinals—impertinent interference with their Irish politics, that provoked the order from Rome in 1882 for Dr. McGlynn’s suspension, and the subsequent letter of May, 1883, in which he was again censured for having “again shown himself very much inclined to favor the Irish revolution.” These letters Archbishop Corrigan resurrected when, in 1886, he found that Dr. McGlynn was disturbing the smooth course of Tammany politics in New York by supporting the workingmen’s candidate for mayor. There was and there could be no assumption that in taking part in politics he was doing anything unusual in a Catholic priest, for the Catholic clergy in this and other countries are accustomed to take part in politics. His offense was not that he took part in politics, but that he took part in politics. His offense was not that he took part in politics, but that he took part on the wrong side. Dr. McGlynn was not forbidden to attend any political meeting, but was forbidden to attend any political meeting, but was forbidden to attend any political meeting “without permission of the sacred congregation of the propaganda.”
Dr. McGlynn was first suspended for having, in spite of the prohibition of the archbishop, attended the political meeting of a party opposed to that which the archbishop favored. He served out his two weeks’ sentence for this offense, and then, in his desire to avoid scandal to the church, continued to respect the order that he should not attend any political meeting without permission from the sacred propaganda, deeply galling though this submission of his political rights to a lot of alien Italians must have been to his dignity as a priest and to his self respect as a citizen. But, while respecting the letter of this order, he did, on several occasions, express his political opinions in interviews with newspaper reporters who called on him for that purpose. He was a second time suspended on the frivolous ground that in one of these interviews he had by implication spoken disrespectfully of the pope. When Dr. McGlynn denied that he had made any reference to the pope, or had, indeed, in what he said even thought of the pope, then this frivolous and manifestly dishonest excuse was abandoned, and Archbishop Corrigan placed the manifestly dishonest excuse was abandoned, and Archbishop Corrigan placed the maintenance of the suspension on the ground of Dr. McGlynn’s views on the land question, which the archbishop took it upon himself to declare inconsistent with the doctrines of the church—despite the fact that the church has never pronounced on this question, and that, as shown by the letter of Bishop Nulty, which we published in The Standard two weeks since, precisely the same views had been enunciated by one of the most eminent of living Catholic prelates.
Following upon this Dr. McGlynn was ordered to Rome. This order he refused to obey, placing his refusal in words that are worth reprinting:
In becoming a priest I did not evade the duties nor surrender the rights of a man and a citizen. 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. This they have not shown, and I know that they cannot show it. I have not appealed to Rome from the judgments of the archbishop, and I have no desire to do so. I deny the right of bishop, propaganda or pope to order me to Rome. The “vow of obedience” of the priest, of which so many absurd things have been said within the last few weeks, is simply a promise to obey the church authorities in manners concerning the priest’s duties of religion. It were monstrous to imagine that this promise has not clear and well-defined limitations.
Then came the letter of Pope Leo XIII to Archbishop Corrigan, in which he condoled with him on account of the “contumacious disobedience of one of your subjects” and “the rebellion, which has arisen against your authority in your city,” and shortly following it, the order that Dr. McGlynn should report to the propaganda in Rome within forty days days under penalty of excommunication by name.
The land question does figure in all this. Dr. McGlynn does unquestionably represent the great principle of equal rights in land, against which Archbishop Corrigan, backed by propaganda and pope, is throwing the whole weight of the Catholic hierarchy; but the point upon which issue is joined is the power of the ecclesiastical authorities to control the political acts and political opinions of the Catholic priesthood, and through them of the Catholic laity. As Judge Maguire of San Francisco put it in his ringing letter to the McGlynn demonstration, published in last week’s Standard—
The question is simply this: Are American Catholics under any obligation to obey the pope and propaganda in matters of purely political concern? In other words: Are American Catholics the political chattels of the pope?
The answer of many American Catholics to the question may be seen in the open letter from Mr. James Johnson to the pope, which we publish on another page.
It is notorious that in the city of New York the Catholic church, or rather the ecclesiastical machine, has long been in alliance with the corrupt Tammany ring, and that while aiding to keep these public plunderers in power it has received from them much consideration and large amounts of public property and public money. This alliance is cemented not only by the substantials but also by the ornamentals. Only this week Archbishop Corrigan lent his presence to the conferring of an honorary degree upon a member of the Tammany ring, just as these same Jesuits in Tweed days conferred the same honorary degree upon one of the most notorious of Tweed’s corrupt judges. Archbishop Corrigan made no objection to Dr. McGlynn’s taking part in politics, so long as he did not take any part opposed to Tammany; on the contrary, he sought to utilize for office-getting purposes the doctor’s political influence. It was when Dr. McGlynn began to take sides with the workingmen against the corrupt democratic clique that Archbishop Corrigan’s interest in his economic opinions began to show itself. Dr. McGlynn was not the only Catholic clergyman who was not the only Catholic clergyman who was prohibited by the archiepiscopal order from supporting the labor party, but, on the other hand, not only was Vicar General Preston permitted to issue what was virtually a campaign document for Tammany in the name of the church, but priests were permitted to preach from their altars against the workingmen’s party, and even the confessional was used to prevent the defeat of the ring with which the ecclesiastical machine in New York has so long been allied.
The election over and the democratic gangs having, with the use of every corrupt and rascally expedient, only managed to barely save their lease of power, Archbishop Corrigan evidently determined to make an example of the “rebellious subject” who had dared to let it be known that he favored the side opposed by the archbishop. Finding that he had a somewhat harder job on his hands than he could well manage he called in the authority, first of propaganda and then of pope, with results such as so far are seen.
In the second issue of The Standard I stated “that Archbishop Corrigan in the last election not only wanted to defeat a certain candidate, but also wanted to defeat the call for a constitutional convention; that letters from him were sent to priests telling them to work against the convention, and that at a gathering where one of these priests endeavored to carry out this instruction, a proposition was made to get held of the bags containing the ballots in favor of the constitutional convention, and, by making away with them, to lessen the vote in its favor.” Archbishop Corrigan having been reported as saying to one reporter that this was false, and to another that it was ridiculous, I offered, in case he saw fit to deny it over his own signature, either to give authority for his statement or publicly retract it. This Archbishop Corrigan has not yet seen fit to do.
In the meantime, here is another fact which is worth remembering: In 1875 amendments to the constitution of New Jersey were submitted to the vote of the people of that state. These amendments prohibited the legislature from granting special privileges to corporations, associations or individuals, and from making special laws in reference to the management and support of public schools; prohibited the denation of land, money, property or credit by the state or any municipal corporation; forbade counties, cities and towns from becoming security for, or directly or indirectly the owners of any stocks or bonds of any association or corporation, and required the legislature to provide for the support of a thorough and efficient system of free public schools.
A few days before the election Archbishop Corrigan, then bishop of Newark, issued the following letter to the priests of his diocese, a copy of which was obtained by the Newark Daily Advertiser and published by it on the evening preceding the election. Its authenticity has never been denied:
Neward, 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 still, 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.
On October 24, 1880, the Herald editorially said:
When a Catholic Irishman, the leader of an Irish Catholic party, announces and boasts that he will decide political contests in this neighborhood as suits his good pleasure by means of the suffrages of (30,000) thirty thousand Irish Catholic voters, upon whom he can count, the people have an opportunity to see what sort of an institution the Catholic church is in politics and to understand what a farce it would be to pretend that free government can continue where it is permitted to touch its hand to politics or, indeed, to exist, for where it exists it will not leave politics alone. This is a Protestant country and the American people are a Protestant people. They tolerate all religions, even Mohammedanism, but there are some points in all these tolerated religions to which they object and will not permit, and the vice of the Catholic church, by which it has rotted out the political institutions of all countries where it exists—which has made it like a flight of locusts everywhere—will be properly rebuked here when it fairly shows its purpose.
This vice, not of the Catholic church, but of the Catholic machine, has shown its purpose with a vengeance. It is not now a mere Catholic layman who boasts control of the votes of Irish Catholics. It is not now a mere Catholic layman who boasts control of the votes of Irish Catholics. It is an archbishop, backed by a pope, who now openly declares that American Catholics are bound in their political action by the dictation of an Italian ring three thousand miles away.
And the resistance to this monstrous pretension comes from Catholics, mainly from those very Catholics whom it was not long since the fashion in certain circles to denounce as the “Pope’s Irish.” The loudest Protestants have all of a sudden become the strongest supporters of the Roman authority in American politics. As for the Herald, it pats the archbishop on the back and “skats” the sacred congregation on. It is now the best friend the pope has, always excepting the Times, the Tribune, Harper’s Weekly and Puck.
This is the effect of the growing interest in the land question. Is not an issue which can in so short a time make of the bitterest Protestants and the rabbidest infidels the warmest supporters of the papal power, likely ere long to drive republican politicians and democratic politicians into the same camp?
The relations of the papal diplomacy to the English-Irish question are just now both interesting and instructive, and have a close relation to the question which is agitating American Catholics. The pope has evidently been making another effort to secure the aid of England in getting back some scraps of the temporal power from Italy, by the promise of making himself useful in getting Ireland to “be aisy.” He sent a special envoy, one Monsignor Ruffo Scilla, who is described by the British papers as “dignified but dull,” to bear his jubilee present, a magnificent mosaic, to the queen. This Lord Scilla is accompanied by two young “my lords,” graduates of the seminary maintained at Rome for the education of young nobles who are destined to be made diplomats, cardinals and perhaps popes. It is characteristic of the way in which holy things are prostituted at Rome, that although the office of bishop in the Catholic church is supposed to represent and transmit in its fullness the priesthood and apostleship of Christ, with all its graces and blessings, these two young ecclesiastics, whose office it was to lug the papal mosaic into the royal mosaic into the royal presence, are still further to emphasize the pope’s admiration for the queen, to be promoted to bishopries on their return. Envoy Scilla was received first of all the ambassadors and envoys by the queen, was treated with great distinction, and entertained by the young tory Catholic duke of Norfolk, the center of those aristocratic English Catholics who hate Irish Catholicism that is not of the “Castle” order a great deal worse than they hate any form of heresy. In addition to the sending of these representatives and the costly present, the pope ordered special services in honor of the queen, and Cardinal Manning issued an address to the Catholic clergy, in which Victoria was told that no sovereign had so won the love of her people, and that she had “shown the heart, not only of a queen, but also of a mother of those who mourn.”
The patriotic Catholics of Ireland, to whom all this adulation of the queen is in shocking contrast with the realities of the system of which she is the head, have not much relished all this, and still less have they relished the talk of a papal nuncio at the British court, which it is seemingly the great object of the pope to secure. For they know that the business of this Italian nuncio would be, in return for English favors to the pope, to watch and overrule the Irish prelates in the interest of the English government. The pope’s excuse for desiring a nuncio is to enable him to obtain correct information of the state of Ireland, an excuse that is of itself an insult to the clergy and laity of Ireland, who are his rightful informants in all he may want to know about Ireland, and who certainly, in one respect at least, keep him well informed, since Ireland, in proportion to the numbers and wealth of her people, sends to the pope more Peter’s pence than any other country in the world. While this talk about a nuncio was going on, Ireland was startled by the news that the pope, not satisfied to wait, had already appointed two Italians to visit Ireland on a tour of inspection. The Irish bishops met and must have sent off by telegraph to Rome as strong a protest as that which prevented the appointment of a tool of England to the chair of Cardinal McCabe, for the orders of the two papal inspectors were countermanded when they were on their way to the railway station to take train for London. There was rejoicing among the Irish, but it did not last long, for a telegram from Mr. Envoy Scilla has undone all that was accomplished by the protest of the Irish bishops, and the two Italian inspectors of Irish faith and morals are on their way to Ireland via London.
Before long the Irish may begin to very seriously ask themselves when it was that the Italians got to be the chosen people of God, and to wonder whether a pope in a stovepipe hat would not be a great deal better and more Christian like than a pope in a triple crown, constantly endeavoring to trade off the rights of his co-religionists in exchange for favors from the sovereigns of the earth.
The Forum for July is a good number, but its most striking articles are those by Professor H.H. Boyesen on “Dangers of Unrestricted Immigration,” and “Tenement House Morality,” by Rev. Father J.O.S. Huntington. Although he has no intention of the kind, Professor Boyesen’s article is a most telling answer to the social philosophers of the Edward Atkinson school, who prove to their own satisfaction by arrays of figures, how much better off the American workingman is than he ever was before and how rapidly his condition is improving. The danger of unrestricted foreign immigration arises, according to Professor Boyesen, from a great change which has in recent years come over the condition and feelings of the mass of immigrants who are steadily pouring into the United States:
So long as the immigrants greatly improved their condition by crossing the Atlantic, they felt kindly toward the country of their adoption, and became, as a rule, good American citizens. Especially was this the case with Germans and Scandinavians, to whom my observation has been chiefly confined. Their children were proud of their American birth, often Anglicized their names, and felt no particular attachment for the fatherhood beyond the sea. But during the last five or six years a change has come over the spirit of the immigrant. He now finds the struggle for existence here no less severe than it was in the old country…The man with two strong arms and two empty pockets has not, during recent times, been able to gain an independence in half a dozen years by frugality and toil. He has been obliged to hire himself out as a farm hand, just as he did in the old country; and though he has earned better wages, he has also been required to work much harder, and his expenditures for all necessaries of life have been greatly in excess of what he has been accustomed to. The consequence has been that, instead of feeling under obligation to his adopted country, he has had a sense of bitterness and disappointment. The buoyant and sanguine spirit which was so noticeable among the same class of people ten or fifteen years ago is now rarely to be met with, and the enthusiasm for American institutions which impressed me so deeply in the west during the first years of my sojourn there, I have never found among immigrants of recent years.
The consequence, according to Professor Boyeson, is socialism and anarchism and a more or less pronounced hostility toward the country and its institutions. He seems conscious that the cause of the change is in the land grabbing which prevents the newcomer from getting employment for himself and compels him to compete for the wages of an employer; but the only remedy he has to offer is restriction upon immigration. As for us who are already here, and our children who are coming faster than foreign immigration, Professor Boyeson, for all the suggestion he makes, would leave us to “stew in our own juice.”
Father Huntington’s article, which is reprinted on another page, is a review of some of the aspects of tenement house life by a man who, for the love of God and his neighbor, has left all that to most of us makes his existence sweet, to live the life of the poor. The shocking conditions which he describes are the conditions to which the great mass of our people are steadily tending—they are the conditions into which, according to the gospel of the Congregationalists, God is bringing the heathen so that “home missionaries” can conveniently get at them. Thank heaven, there are some to preach a better and a higher gospel! Here at least is one “home missionary” of the highest type, who is not content to be a medium for doling out alms or to blaspheme a just Creator by preaching that degrading gospel of “live horse and you will get grass” that passes in our churches for Christ’s message to the poor. “This is not a matter for sentiment or pious condolence, but for justice,” says Father Huntington. And the cheers that rang in McCaull’s opera house on Sunday night when this priest of the real Christ preached the word of the new crusade to the Philadelphia Anti-poverty society, like the cheers that rang through the New York Academy of Music when the Episcopal priest of the people stood in the place of the Catholic priest of the people, prove that now, as of old, the hearts and the consciences of men respond to the call of justice.
Says the Rev. Dr. Lyman Abbott, in that Congregational report of which I spoke last week: “The name of Jesus Christ is greeted again and again with applause in the labor halls.” He adds, “They do not understand him very well!”
Dr. Abbott is right. They do not understand the Congregational Christ and would not applaud him if they ever did. The Christ they cheer is the living Christ who taught men to pray and work for God’s kingdom of justice on earth, not the wooden caricature of him that the “saviors of society” have made.
Rev. Hugh O. Pentecost
The announcement made last week that the Rev. Hugh O. Pentecost would occupy his July vacation in speaking through the state of New York in behalf of the new crusade must be withdrawn. Mr. Pentecost has been working so much and so intensely that a rest has become imperatively necessary, and much to his own regret he has been obliged to withdraw his consent to make anything like an extended campaign. He will, however, endeavor to make one or two speeches.
Three prominent physicians and a leading lawyer of this city are among the recent converts to the system of taxation advocated by Henry George.
A Rousing Meeting Of The Society, In Spite Of The Hot Weather
A Lucid Address by Abner C. Thomas—The Thunder of the Vatican Will Be But the Echo of Tammany Hall—Henry George Shows How Poverty Afflicts the Rich and Well-to-do—Intelligent Questions and Convincing Answers
The ninth public meeting of the Anti-poverty society, held last Sunday evening at the Academy of Music, was as crowded and enthusiastic as any of the preceding ones. Chairman Abner C. Thomas opened the meeting with a brief speech, defining the aims and objects of the society. He said:
This Anti-poverty society of ours has been criticized by some of its enemies because it is said that we have in our address here emphasized the fundamental truths upon which all religion is based, and which, operating upon masses of men, move them more powerfully than any other class of impulses possibly can.
There is one reason, perhaps, why this tone has been given to the address upon this platform, which is more potent than all the rest put together. That reason lies in the fact that our president (wild applause), the man who, perhaps more than anyone else, has breathed life into this branch of the great movement in which we are engaged, is so saturated with the grace of God, so full of the spiritual impulses that make him look upon the most ordinary affairs of life with the eyes of a worshiper of the living God, that in every one of his addresses he has sought to lead us toward this great reform which he has so much at heart, along the lines upon which he has traveled for so many years, the lines which in his mind lead direct to the throne of the great Creator. (Applause) And in this effort of ours to lift humanity up to a higher plane and to destroy abuses which have corrupted the very foundations of the prosperity of the common people, it is right for us to look to the fountain of all goodness as the place from which inspiration may come for all good works. (Applause)
This is not a selfish Anti-poverty society. This Anti-poverty society is not organized upon the lines which make successful anti-poverty societies of one. This society is not working merely for itself. I question whether it would be possible to gather the audiences we have had in this hall Sunday after Sunday on any issue purely selfish. The newspapers have criticized this audience as being too well dressed to enter into any anti-poverty crusade. I admit they are well dressed. (Applause) We do not expect to lead this crusade toward success on the votes of men who need help the most. There are men in this community, God help them! who have been so crushed, so degraded, so debased by this horrible condition of affairs which we are trying to remedy that they have been ready to sell for a pittance the vote which ought to assist in bringing about their own reformation and help. It is by the votes of the men who are self-respecting and industrious, and honest and good members of the community that this great reform is to be worked out. (Applause)
We are in this anti-poverty crusade not merely for ourselves. We remember our children. And however successful we may have been in the battle of life, we remember the generations that are coming after us, and we know that under present conditions we have no assurance that our own children will not share in the calamity which has befallen so many of our fellow citizens. (Applause) Free institutions, correct and just institutions, are a better inheritance for our children than any amount of money which we, individually, can accumulate. (Applause)
The time has come for a reconstruction, not merely of political, but of social institutions. It is but recently that all of the energies of the world seemed to be concentrated upon the creation of dynasties and the building up of nations. The time is coming when we shall consider, not only the relations of nations to each other. The time is coming when we shall consider the social problems that trample down the masses and lift up the few above them. (Applause) In this great country of ours it is within the memory of men still young that it seemed as if our great estate could not be wasted or frittered away. And yet we see before us today a state of things that reminds us most forcibly of the fact that when we came from the older countries of Europe, bringing with us the laws of those countries, the laws created for the purpose of manufacturing and maintaining an aristocracy. (Applause) When we brought over here this notion of the individual right to control the bounties of nature, we brought the seed that was to create the aristocracy as arrogant, as overbearing, as offensive as the aristocracy of any nation in Europe. (Applause)
With the changes we desire to bring about we desire to establish one fact more than any other, and that is the dignity of mankind, the dignity of labor, and the superior value of a man to any number of dollars. (Wild applause) We find in this great republic of ours all of our water courses, all of our lines of communication, held in the grasp of monopolists, and, more than all, the land monopolists, who are oppressing the people and making the poor poorer and more numerous, the rich richer and fewer. It is against this that our war is directed. We hope to uplift mankind. We hope to declare that every child born into this world has an inheritance in the world and shall not be deprived of its just rights by any law, however antique and however hedged about by acts of the legislature or by the constitution. (Applause)
There is another matter that lies very near to our hearts tonight. There is another subject which is in the mind of every one of you. Our friend, the man who stood by us (shouts of “We will stand by him; three cheers for Dr. McGlynn!” Long continued applause), the man who has sacrificed everything that he held dear in order that we might be saved, faces a great condemnation. They will not do justice to him. (Groans and hisses) I do not think they will do justice to him. But it rests with us, dear friends, in the time of his trial to gather close around him (“hear! hear!” and applause), to make him feel and know that the heart of this great people stands firmly with him. (Great applause. Voices, “We will stand by him!” “There isn’t a man who won’t stand by him!”)
A sound will come from across the seas that will sound like the thunder of the Vatican; but we know the facts will know that it is an echo from Tammany hall. (“Hear! hear!” and applause) And when the time comes that the corrupt political machines who have lived by your votes, who have made themselves great by your friendship, ask for those votes again and appeal to your friendship, we will tell them, “Remember McGlynn.” (Great applause) It is my firm belief that in this community there are men just enough to heap upon the heads of these tricksters and knaves, these managers of popes and cardinals (applause), these manipulators of ecclesiastical machines (hisses), such a condemnation as will make them—well, about as religious as we are. (Tumultuous applause) The voice will be the voice of Leo, but the hand will be the hand of O’Donoghue. (Terrific hisses and groans)
Miss Munier then sang Dr. Lawrence’s song, “We Want the Earth,” to the air of “Kilarney,” the audience listening with keen enjoyment and greeting each stanza with applause.
The chairman next announced Henry George, who said:
Ladies and gentlemen: I thank you for the kind enthusiasm of your greeting; but I am still more pleased with your welcome tonight of the name of Dr. McGlynn (tremendous applause), because it is said that this coming week Dr. McGlynn is to be excommunicated. (Hisses) I read in yesterday morning’s Sun (hisses and groans drawn out)—I read in yesterday morning’s Sun (hisses, screams and hooting; voices, “Don’t read it any more,” “Don’t mention it”)—now, give me a chance to get along a little faster. I must mention the Sun (groans, long repeated). Very well then. I read yesterday morning in a paper that cannot be mentioned before this audience (uproarious applause)—I read that Dr. McGlynn was going to be excommunicated during the coming week, and that as soon as he was excommunicated he would sink out of sight. (Groans and hisses, and cries of “Rats,” “The Sun is sinking out of sight.” This latter sentiment was greeted with applause and laughter) We have heard that story before. When Dr. McGlynn was to be suspended, then he was to sink out of sight; and I am told on credible authority that the archbishop of New York (groans and fierce hisses) told a gentleman who remonstrated with him upon the importance of the step he was going to take in three days after he had suspended Dr. McGlynn he would never be heard of more. (Laughter) This audience, the audience that greets him today in Chicago, that enormous demonstration of last Saturday night, the enthusiasm that is evoked wherever his name is mentioned, shows how such prophecies have been fulfilled. (Applause)
There has been something in this matter from the beginning that these people have not understood. Behind Dr. McGlynn is a great principle. (Tremendous applause) Behind him is a hope and a trust that is rising into an overwhelming wave. (Applause) Let them excommunicate, if they please. (A voice, “That is it,” and applause) This wave will but mount the higher. (Applause)
The manly, straightforward utterance of that priest this week in which he expressed his opinion of the ecclesiastical machine (hisses) has drawn forth from the press an effort to liken him to Luther. (Hisses; a voice: “They can’t do it.”) The best proof that they cannot do it, and the best proof that this is not a true parallel, is that the men who are trying so hard to impress Catholics with the notion that Dr. McGlynn is following the footsteps of Luther, are followers of Luther themselves. (Uproarious applause and cries of “You’re right, they are.” “That is where your head is level.”)
The movement that Dr. McGlynn is heading is a far greater, a far more important, a far more vital movement than was that headed by Martin Luther. (Applause) This is no mere squabble about theological distinctions. This is no mere quarrel about points of doctrine. There is between the two powers that are brought face to face in this struggle an issue that goes deeper down. Dr. McGlynn is to be excommunicated, and the Protestants and all the atheists of the daily press cry amen! (Applause) He is to be excommunicated, not merely because he has asserted the right of an American citizen, has declared that as an American priest he is free and unfettered in his political thoughts and political action, and will acknowledge no foreign domination (great applause), but because he has said that poverty can be and ought to be abolished, and that it is the duty of Christians to struggle to that end. This is his sin (applause); and here is the great and vital difference between him and the ecclesiastical machines. (Applause)
I saw yesterday, after I had read that article in the paper that shall here be nameless (laughter), as I came walking down town, two Italians and a monkey. One Italian was grinding an organ, the other was leading the monkey around with a string. And it made me think of his eminence, Cardinal Simeoni. (Hisses and laughter) I don’t mean say that the monkey reminded me of the cardinal, but that the monkey reminded me of the cardinal, but that there were able-bodied men engaged—one grinding an organ and the other in leading about a monkey; and it made me think of the condition of the people that are being poured on our shores from Italy, and how little of true Christianity there could have been preached in Italy (long continued applause), when the condition of these people is all that there is to show for eighteen hundred years of it.
Here is the great distinction between the ideas represented by Dr. McGlynn on the one side and the ideas represented by propaganda and pope on the other side. (Applause) Dr. McGlynn believes that poverty is the result of human injustice, that it can be, and ought to be abolished. (Applause) They on the other side look upon poverty itself as something decreed by the Almighty (hisses); as something that must always continue to exist; in fact, as something that ought to continue to exist—in other people. (Laughter. A voice, “Just let them try a little of it themselves.”) Here are the words of Bishop Vaughan, which I take out of the first article in a Catholic periodical, Donahue’s Monthly Magazine: “Poverty is a direct consequence of original sin.” (Laughter) Now, I always thought that the theological doctrine of original sin was that everybody incurred the penalty of original sin (applause); but this particular consequence of original sin, according to Bishop Vaughan, is only for the masses, and does not affect the classes. (Laughter) He goes on to say, “No political, social or philanthropic course of action will ever destroy the presence of poverty in the world. Poverty, indeed, serves more than one purpose in the economy of God’s providence over the world. (Laughter) It exercises an important influence both in the natural and the supernatural order of things. Were poverty banished out of the world the consequences to mankind would be deplorable.” (Hisses and laughter)
And this is the doctrine quite as strongly of the Protestant saviors of society. This is the doctrine that you may hear today preached from pulpits occupied by followers of Luther (hisses); the same old doctrine, that God gives wealth to some and poverty to others. (A voice, “It is a lie.”) That poverty is ordained in God’s providence to enable the rich to be charitable to the poor. (Laughter and hisses) Why, only last week, in the Christian Union, the organ of the great Congregational denomination, there was published a report made by four eminent doctors of divinity to the council of the church and the Home missionary society, in which they described in the darkest terms the condition in which thousands and tens of thousands of people live in the slums of our great city. And then they went on to say that that was a providential design of God (hisses); that God was bringing the heathen over here from Europe, and He was concentrating them in masses in these great cities so that the Home missionary society might get at them easier. (Laughter) What Dr. McGlynn stands for is a belief in a very different kind of a God. (Applause) He doesn’t believe, and we do not believe, in an Almighty Father that gives to some of His children far more wealth than they can well use, and deprives thousands and thousands, deprives in fact the vast majority—of enough for the full use of their powers, and the full satisfaction of their needs. (Applause) We do not believe in that kind of a God. We believe in a God who is the equal father of all his children, who has placed them in a world stored with an abundance to satisfy all their needs, and who, leaving them their free will, puts it in their power either to abuse and waste what he has provided, or to so use it as to give plenty to all. (Applause) And we believe that the highest duty that is devolved upon us, the way in which we can best show our love and our gratitude to the provider of all good things, is by seeing that all His children get a fair share of them; is by attempting, in so far as it in us lies, to bring on earth the kingdom of His righteousness—to establish society on a basis of justice, so that there shall be no poverty. (Applause)
Dr. McGlynn has raised the cross of the new crusade (applause), not a crusade for the recovery from the infidel of the tomb in which Christ has lain, but for the redemption from the degrading and demoralizing conditions in which they are now imprisoned who were made in Christ’s image. (Applause). And that is a battle that, once begun, must go on, and on, and on. (Applause) The cross that the good priest has lifted appeals to the hearts and consciences of men, and forbid them who may, they gather around it. (Applause) It is a worldwide movement, a movement that has in it far greater and far higher opportunities than any theological quarrel, and it is a battle in which the great mass of the men in New York are going to stand by the man who carries their standard. (Wild applause. A voice: “We are going to stay with him, too.”)
When we talk of abolishing poverty most people are apt to think of that dire poverty that festers in the slums. It is well that we should keep that in mind. It is well that we should keep that in mind. It is well that we should aim at its abolition, for it is a truth that unless we raise the very lowest man nothing can be done for society as a whole. And yet, in aiming at is something far more than that. The papers say, as Mr. Thomas has mentioned, that this is a well-dressed audience. Perhaps it is. And yet in this or in any other well-dressed audience that you get together in the United States you find men and women who are suffering from poverty. (Applause) We all suffer from poverty. Even William K. Vanderbilt or Jay Gould suffer from poverty (laughter)—not their own poverty. They do not suffer from that; but it is true that they do suffer from that; but it is true that they do suffer from the poverty of others. No man can live in human society without feeling in some way the injuries inflicted upon others in that society. (Applause) And not of this terrible poverty that lies at the bottom of society comes that greed, comes that corruption of thought, comes that degradation of high ideals that curses even those who have accumulated the largest number of millions. The very poor, the tramp, the pauper, I am not sure that they really suffer the most by the poverty that exists in society today. Though they may have no hope, yet neither do they have any fear. When men get down so low their sensibilities are blunted. The keenest suffering from poverty today probably exists among those who are well-dressed (applause); among those who have the fear and the dread of it before them (“hear! hear!” and applause); among those who are struggling to make both ends meet; struggling to bring up their children (applause); struggling to secure something for their wives if they shall be taken away.
This curse of poverty runs through the whole of society; and it is growing deeper and wider. Steadily, as modern progress goes on, the chances of the ordinary man to make an independent living become less and less. (Applause) A generation ago no boy who went to a trade, but hoped to become in time his own employer, a master in the business. No boy entered a store but who hoped in time to have a store of his own. How is it today? Look at these great establishments that are concentrating trade, these great monopolies that are concentrating various forms of production. See how, in every direction, business is becoming massed and concentrated; and then say what is the chance of the ordinary boy who goes into a factory, or who goes into a store. (A voice, “There is none!”) The best he can hope for, unless there comes some accident to help him along, unless he has very unusual talents and opportunities to show them, is simply to go through life as an employee, making wages that if they enable him to live it is about all that he can expect. (Applause)
Poverty! We are all poor compared with what might be—even those who can dress well and have enough to eat. We hear a good deal of thrift and toil. But consider what man is, the powers that lie latent even in the poorest and most degraded of mankind, the capabilities of taste and enjoyment. Was man intended merely for toil and thrift? That he should go through life working hard and stinting all his expenditures? In his tastes, in his powers, in his capacities, man is an expensive animal. (Laughter) He can only gratify his tastes and develop his powers when he has both leisure and the opportunity of making use of an abundance of the material things that minister to his needs.
How many of our population today, even those who are comparatively well-to-do, really enjoy the benefits and the opportunities that a civilization like this affords? How many of our people can go to Europe? How many of our people can even see our own country? How many of our people, of the well-to-do, men who make what we call a decent living, have any time for the development of the mental powers? How many read books? How many have the opportunity to gratify those tastes that can only be gratified by exploring the wonders of nature?
We hold, not merely that the gaunt poverty that festers in the slums can be abolished, but that a state of things can be brought about in which we all may be rich, in which all shall have abundant opportunity to develop their very highest powers and to gratify every reasonable taste. (Great applause) When one considers the forces of production that are now going to waste, when he considers the enormous waste arising from unemployed labor, the hundreds of thousands of men that even in what we call good times, are willing to work, and anxious to work, but find no opportunities to work—when we consider how abundant are the powers of production that are yet unused, the land that is untilled, the mineral resources that are uncalled upon, the great powers of invention that have not yet been utilized, no one can resist the conclusion that in a state of society based on natural justice all might be rich. In a state of society where every one who wanted to could get an opportunity to employ himself—in a state of society where this cut throat competition that now crowds wages down to the line of a mere living was abolished, in which gaunt poverty and the ignorance and the vice that come from it would cease, in which each child as it grew up might have an opportunity to select that vocation for which his natural powers were best fitted; no one need fret or strain, and every one, even the humblest, might have full opportunity for the highest life and the fullest development.
That is the social state we believe possible. We do not believe, as do the saviors of society (hisses), who call themselves followers of Christ, that some time or other God of His own volition is going to bring a millennium on this earth. (Applause) We believe that men have got to make the millennium for themselves (applause); that the coming of the kingdom on earth which shall be akin to that of heaven, is only to be hastened by the sincere and earnest work of men. (Applause)
It may not come in our time. Well, supposing it does not? It is at least something to have seen the possibility of its coming. (Applause) It is at least something to have had the privilege of working to bring it on. (Applause) When one realizes that the misery that springs from poverty in this world is not due to the intent of the Creator, but is solely due to man’s injustice; when we realize that the Almighty is indeed a benevolent Father, looking with equal eye upon all His children, and not giving the good things of this life to a few, and promising to the great mass that if they will only lie quiet and be content that then, after death (laughter), he will give them some good things, too. (Laughter)
And it is the highest and the noblest inspiration that a man can have to feel that he has the privilege to do something to aid in this struggle of good against evil; that it is in his power to do something, no matter how little it may be, to make the world better and brighter for those who come after him. (Applause)
Mere wealth, the wealth gained by anti-poverty societies of one, cannot bring happiness. The rich men of our day, the men who by organizing the most thorough and complete and efficacious anti-poverty societies of one, have grabbed millions of dollars together for themselves, leaving others to suffer; they are not to be envied. They remind me of the men whom I have seen on an ocean steamer, who from the time the steamer left port to the time she arrived, could do nothing but gamble. No matter how beautiful the sunset or the sunrise, no matter how beautiful might be scenery of the shores they were approaching, they had eyes for nothing but their cards. So it is with these rich men who, by force of habit that becomes an engrossing passion, devote all their powers, up to the verge of the grave, in grasping what they cannot take away. (Applause)
And what they leave becomes to their children oftener a curse than a blessing.
Wealth in the midst of poverty, wealth that no exertion has been made to gain, is often an injury. That is the best state in which there is no need of grasping, in which there is no need of undue toil, in which work may become a pleasure, and in which no one need fear that should accident befall him that those who are dependent upon him would suffer want. And such a state of society is entirely practicable. It is to bring it about that we have entered this crusade. (A voice, “The ballot will do it.”) Aye, the ballot will do it; and it is the only thing that will do it. We must act on general conditions, and we can only act through the ballot.
Mr. George then announced that he would answer any questions that might be put to him by members of the audience. The following queries and answers ensued:
Q—Would unimproved property or improved property be the first to be confiscated?
A—We do not talk about confiscation of property. It is the other people. (applause) We do not propose to confiscate any property, even to take possession of any property. What we propose to do is to exempt from all taxation that species of property which is the result of human labor and to put our taxes upon land values irrespective of improvements. (Applause) Were that done the people who are now holding vacant land without using it would either to have to use it or part with it to somebody who would. (Applause)
Q—How and in what manner is the ballot to abolish poverty?
A—By securing the making of laws that by putting taxation upon land values and removing it from things produced by labor will give each individual an equal interest in the soil of his native country and an equal share in that vast fund that comes from social growth and social improvement and that attaches to land, giving it a value irrespective of the improvements upon it. (Applause) Secondly, by securing laws that will take into the hands of the community, or, at least, place under the control of the community, businesses that are in their nature monopolies, such as railroading, telegraphing, the supplying of gas, water, etc.
Q—There are three different kinds of taxation—municipal, state and national. How do you propose to arrange that?
A—I do not think it necessary just now to dwell upon how that division should be made. We are principally concerned just now in urging the general principle. Matters of detail we can very well leave to the future. (“Hear, hear,” and applause) But I can say briefly, that there is no difficulty in the division. The municipality and the state could do as they do now—take various proportions of a single tax levied on land values, and a proportion could be taken for the general government. If, however, it is not deemed desirable to have the same source of revenue for the general government as for the states and municipalities, then there are other sources of revenues that, without interfering with the production of wealth, might be resorted to for the general government. For instance, a tax upon legacies and successions, while not having the same foundation in justice as a tax on land values, would yield a large revenue without interfering with the production of wealth. (Applause)
Q—Do you not propose to make labor saving machinery a portion of the property of the co-operative commonwealth of the future?
A—Not unless it is labor saving machinery whose use involves a monopoly. For instance, I would make railroads entirely free, at the expense of the city, just as in large buildings elevators are run. But I would not make the typewriter or the sewing machine the property of the community. (Applause)
Q—I have been told that this Anti-poverty society recognizes property in land of one nation as against other nations, and I would like to know what your answer would be to that, as it would help me in confuting our opponents?
A—We recognize this: That each nation, having come into being and carrying on its existence on a portion of this planet, is entitled to retain the management of its own affairs and to prescribe the terms on which it will admit to its membership members of any other nation. (Applause) We do not hold that nations, any more than individuals, can get absolute property in land. We do not hold that the red Indians who were here before us had any more right to sell this soil forever than we of today have. (Applause) We do not hold that the earth can belong to any individual or to any nation or to any generation, but that it is appointed dwelling place of all the generations who in the providence of the Creator are brought into being on it. (Applause)
Q—Suppose all the Chinese come into the United States, what is to become of the people here already. (Laughter)
A—If all China were to come into the United States under the present condition of things it would be most disastrous. (Laughter) And under the present condition of things, where competition of men deprived of all opportunity to earn a living for themselves fixes the rate of wages, in my opinion we cannot be too careful to keep out any large immigration from China. But if we were to base our social conditions upon principles of justice, securing to all men their natural rights, then I believe that we would have no need for any restrictions. For, to go no further, I believe that that example would spread like wild fire all over the earth. (Applause) That there is today in Europe a single crowned head; that there is today in Europe a standing army or a titled aristocracy, is our fault. (Applause) If we had really carried out in its spirit and truth the Declaration of Independence; if we had really based our institutions and laws upon the full recognition of the principle that all men are created equal and are entitled to inalienable rights, we would have had here such a republic that the nations of the earth would have followed its lead. (Great applause) We have gotten rid of the titled aristocracy, but we have a plutocracy of greater power. We have got rid of kings, but have accepted the rule of bosses. (Applause) All over Europe the ruling classes point to the United States with hissing and reproach. If we had been true to our principles; if we had established a truly democratic republic, the whole civilized world by this time would have been democratic and republican. (Applause)
And that is the work before us, men of today! The republic, the true republic, the republic that Jefferson had hoped for, has not yet been established. (Applause) It is ours to establish it. (Wild, tumultuous and long continued applause)
Q—If we have to divide the value of a house and lot, how can we find what part of the value attaches to the house and what part to the lot. (Laughter)
A—Very easily. In the state of California the assessors return the value of the land and the value of the house separately. Here the assessment rolls return only the sum of the values. But, as a matter of fact, to make their assessments the assessors of New York have to take first the value of the land and then the value of the house. Then they sum them up. All we have to do is simply to keep the assessments separate. The value of land is of all values that which can be most certainly ascertained.
Q—As rentals of buildings decrease, will not land values also go down?
A—No, not as the rents of buildings decrease. Land values will only go down as the rent of land goes down. (Applause) What the gentleman means probably is: As what is ordinarily called house rent decreases, would not the value of land go down? Not necessarily. The rent of houses would go down, because the tax would be taken off houses and off of various materials used in building houses, but the value of the land might still be as great as ever. But it is worth while to go briefly into the principle the question brings up. Say a tax falls under the present system on a house and lot. That portion of the tax which falls on the house adds to the rent of the house; that portion which falls on the land does not add to the rent of the land. The reason of that is this, and it is a very important principle that it should always be borne in mind: A tax which falls upon an article of human production which must constantly be produced in order to meet the demand will add to prices, and must ultimately be paid by the user. For instance, if a tax is put upon coats or cigars, the makers of coats and cigars will not continue making them unless they can get the ordinary profit; so the reduction of supply that would otherwise ensue enables them to add the tax to their prices. If they were not to do so a number of them would step out and the supply of coats or cigars would be diminished until the demand rose sufficiently to pay a higher price.
So it is with houses. If you put a tax upon houses, it will check the building of houses until that tax can be got back from the user. But land is a fixed quantity. No tax that you put upon land will reduce its quantity. The rent of land has a value until two people at least want it; and its value is the highest sum that the demand will enable the owner to get. Therefore a tax imposed upon land values is a tax levied on a tax, a tax levied on the monopoly price which the owner can get from the community. So that the system of taxation we propose would tend to reduce house rent—in the first place, by increasing the price that must be paid by those holding land vacant, which would force them either to build or to sell to those who would build, thus increasing the supply of houses while reducing the price of lots; and, in the second place, the reduction in the tax on materials would reduce the cost of erecting and maintaining houses.
Q—Would the taking of the tax off the buildings prevent the owners of those buildings from paying twenty thousand dollars for a house, and a month or two afterward coming around and demanding a percentage on forty thousand dollars?
A—It might have that tendency. But house rent cannot be raised very much without inducing the erection of more houses. The rent that is constantly rising in this city is not the rent of the houses; it is the rent of the ground. (Applause)
Q—Those men put their own valuation on those houses, and raise the valuation with the understanding of getting a percentage on the increased valuation. How can we prevent that—by laws?
A—No, it is not necessary to pass specific laws to prevent men from robbing us in that way. If we can at once take off the taxes which now fall upon the building of houses, and prevent the speculation in land which makes house sites unnecessarily dear, the supply of houses will follow the demand. As a matter of fact, as we may readily see, the increase of rents so common in this city is due to increase in the value of land, not to increase in the value of houses.
Q—What is the difference between that landlord and the highway robber who presents a pistol and says, “Your money or your life?”
A—I don’t know that there is much difference when you come down to the question of ethics, between the highwayman and the man who seizes that upon which all must live. But there is this practical difference: With the highwayman, if you have no pistol, you wouldn’t have much show. With the other form of robbery, however, you have a remedy, and that remedy is in your vote. (Applause)
Q—You say that the ballot is the only remedy. But you and I have seen times when the other side, the masters, did not recognize the ballot, and took up arms and fought for their property. We have three hundred and eighty-five lawyers in Washington; and they can always be hired by the Huntingtons and the Goulds. That very class has been organized. (Confusion, during which the questioner could only be indistinctly heard)
A—Where the people have not the ballot, and where their oppressors fight to keep them down, the oppressed may very properly also appeal to strength. The gentleman further asks, if I understand him, how can we do much in this country where we have so many lawyers, and where lawyers are so readily employed by the Goulds and the Vanderbilts. We can pay the lawyers ourselves. We also have something to tempt the lawyers when it comes to employment. When we are ready to cast our votes for this principle we will find men of the highest legal ability, as of all other kinds of ability, who are perfectly ready to go with us. (Applause)
Further than this, in the good time coming, this reform, simple as it is, will very largely diminish the number of lawyers. All the real estate lawyers will find their business gone, and many young men will not be driven into the law as they are driven into it now, in despair of making an honest living at something else. (Applause)
Q—You did not understand me. I meant that the southern slave holders took up arms against the ballot and tried to keep their property by force of arms against a legitimate majority of the nation.
A—I do not think the land owners of the United States will take up arms. All we have to do is to change the system of taxation; and they surely are not going to fight against the collection of taxes. And if they do it will not do them much good. The fighting will be very short. (Applause)
Q—The New York Herald claims this morning that Mr. Gronlund has made you admit that you are not sure whether, if the present system of land ownership were abolished, it would abolish poverty. Please answer that deliberate misrepresentation.
A—It would be pretty hard to ask me to answer all that the New York Herald says. You must not believe all that you find in the New York Herald, especially in its editorial columns. (Laughter) I am in no doubt whatever as to the efficacy of this means of abolishing poverty, not because it is a mere change in the method of taxation, but because I see in it the fundamental law of justice; because I see in it the fundamental law of justice; because I see in it the recognition of the equality of natural rights that must be the foundation upon which truly civilized society must be built. (Applause) I do not say, and never have said, that this is all that is necessary. But I do say that this is the first thing, that it is necessary, and that until this is done nothing else can avail. (A voice, “True” and applause)
Q—Wouldn’t the landlord, in order to pay the taxes on his land, raise his rent to pay that tax?
A—No. The tax would give him no power to raise his rent. All economists are agreed in this—that a tax levied on land values gives no power to the owner of the land to raise the price he can get for using the land. And that this is so may be readily seen. Here is a man who owns a piece of ground which he is renting to a tenant. The increase of the tax on the value of this land might make him want to raise the rent he is getting, but it would give him no power to raise it. It could only do so by operating to decrease the supply of ground that tenants could get. But on the contrary, this increased tax on the value of land would make it more difficult for the owners of unused land to hold it without getting some return, and would force these owners either to use the ground themselves or to hunt up tenants or purchasers by offering their land at lower prices.
Q—Mayor Grace has a number of tenants on Long Island. If taxes on the value of land were increased, what is to prevent Mayor Grace from adding the tax to his rent?
A—Just what I have said. If it were possible for Mayor Grace to add anything to his rents simply because he wanted to, I think Mayor Grace would add to it now. He is good business man enough to get all he can. The imposition of heavier taxes on the value of his land, and the taking of taxes off of improvements, would give Mayor Grace no additional power to add to his rents.
The chairman announced that the collections amounted to $100.08; being $164.98 contributions, and $26 for initiation fees.
Anti-Poverty In Philadelphia
An Enthusiastic Meeting Last Sunday Evening—Address by Father Huntington and Mr. Croasdale
The Anti-poverty society of Philadelphia held its third meeting at McCaull’s opera house on Bond street, last Sunday evening. There was a large audience and the enthusiasm was remarkable. The proceedings opened with the singing of “Nearer My God to Thee” by an excellent quartet. William T. Croasdale of New York was then introduced, and spoke for about an hour. He referred to the preparations for an elaborate celebration of the Declaration of Independence in Philadelphia on July 4, and said that the event was well worth celebrating, not merely because it marked the sundering of the ties that formerly connected this country with the British empire, but because in that great instrument was first declared the great principle that governments derive their just powers from the consent of the governed, and that it is the inherent right of the people to make or unmake governments to suit themselves. The declaration of man’s right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness carried with it by necessary implication the right to all that is necessary to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. We have for a century been hurrahing over that great act of our fathers, but have failed to comprehend the use and value of the liberty they won for us. Liberty is not a condition to be idly enjoyed, but a noble opportunity to be used. The whole struggle for political freedom has, up to the present time, had for its object the putting of the peaceful ballot into our hands as the substitute for all other weapons, embodying the force and effectiveness of all others. We are fools if we do not use the ballot to right our wrongs as our fathers used the ruder weapons placed in their hands. Let us realize that constitutions and laws are what we have permitted them to be, and that the oppressive rule of rogues has been rendered possible only through our own folly and supineness. The speaker quoted facts and figures to show that landlordism is the great sponge that sucks up all the advantages brought to mankind by advancing civilization. He declared that the anti-poverty societies were not themselves political organizations, but but propaganda associations that sought to educate the people and to inspire a religious sentiment in politics. There was, he said, no objection to this. Every priest or preacher who was willing to give his help toward lifting the new political movement to a higher plane was more than welcome, but, on the other hand, the new movement was determined that neither pope, propaganda, bishop, synod, convention or conference should, as an ecclesiastical body, direct any priesthood or ministry to act as a body to control American politics or interfere with the rights of any individual American, be he priest, preacher or layman. “We do not speak meekly on the subject in New York,” said Mr. Croasdale, “but with the assurance of speedily coming power to enforce our just demands, born of the conviction that we shall take that town in our next campaign.” The speaker paid a high tribute to Henry George, as a native of Philadelphia, of whom that city might be justly proud, and to Dr. McGlynn, as a hero and martyr of the new crusade. The speaker was frequently applauded, and his references to George and McGlynn aroused much enthusiasm.
Father Huntington of New York was next introduced and received with wild enthusiasm. He made an impassioned speech, frequently lightened with gleams of humor that caused great laughter, and at one time the applause became so frequent that the reverend speaker had to beg the audience to desist in order that he might have a chance to finish his speech. Father Huntington began by reading an anonymous letter addressed to the society protesting against holding its meetings on Sunday, and answered it by telling a story of a Puritan who hanged his cat on Monday for killing a mouse on Sunday. He then pictured the sin and misery existing in the portion of New York in which he works, and declared he would be desecrating something higher and holier than the Sabbath if he were to refuse a call to help in a movement that he believed would remove the chief cause of the poverty and degradation that contributed so largely to sin and crime. He rejoiced in the religious sentiment that marked the new crusade. Political questions are getting to be social questions, and social questions are coming to be religious questions. “I submit to you,” he said, “that when you get a question on a religious basis, you have got it where it will stick, and you can’t stop it. This land question has a religious bearing and that is why I come at your call.” He denied that drink is the cause of poverty and insisted that poverty is the great cause of drunkenness. Poverty must be abolished. We have found that it is not a dispensation of providence, but the result of human laws and customs. A new Moses has come to show us the way out of this evil. He is not far away. He lives near you over in New York. We are going to give people a chance to keep what they really earn, by giving them free access to what their Maker intended for all. Land is not property. It is an opportunity—an opportunity to work and thereby get out of it food, clothing and whatever you need. God made the land to be tilled and used; to hold it out of use is to defy His will. If any man gets a monopoly of what the people must live upon then he obtains control of the people who must live. The remedy for this is to tax land for all it is worth and give the proceeds to the people. Father Huntington exhorted the people to study this question and said that in order to understand it they must give up the conceit that they knew it all already and in order to do their duty when they did understand it they must give up their greed for gold. He said there were probably some in the audience who would not do this, and that such had put their foot in it by coming there that night. Hereafter he said such people could not look on the bent form of a poor toiling woman or the rags of a poverty-stricken child without remembering that there are a good many intelligent people in the world who say not only that such things need not be, but that they see a remedy for this great evil. Such a reflection ought to make the man who refuses to consider or act unhappy. At the close of Father Huntington’s address the audience applauded him with wild enthusiasm, and then joined the choir in singing “The Cross of the New Crusade.”
The meeting was a highly successful one, and gave much encouragement to the managers. As next Sunday is the eve of the Fourth of July, no meeting will be held, but meetings will be held on July 10 and 17, at one of which Rev. Dr. McGlynn will make an address.
True To Dr. M’Glynn
Another Crowded Meeting of St. Stephen’s Parishioners at International Hall
The weekly meeting of St. Stephen’s parishioners, at their hall in East Twenty-seventh street on last Friday evening, was attended by a larger crowd than usual, there being an overflow out into the street. Dr. Henry Carey, Miss Munier and Chairman John R. Feeney were appointed a committee to wait on the editor of the Morning Journal to request the statement contained in a headline in Friday’s issue to the effect that Dr. McGlynn was a second Martin Luther.
John J. Bealin made an address criticizing the Italian authorities of the church. He was heartily applauded. He said he hoped all present had read the dispatch from Buffalo relating Dr. McGlynn’s expose of the Italian machine. Archbishop Corrigan’s associates would probably assert that the common people were unable to understand it. Mr. Bealin said that they were likely not able to understand how Roderic Borgia was the father of five children, whose mother he never acknowledged as his wife, while he was Pope Alexander VI, nor how he could concentrate his oldest son, Caesar, to the church and promote him successively to the positions of archbishop and cardinal, nor how he himself was created a cardinal by Calixtus III while living in adultery, much to the scandal of the Christian world. The people might not understand all this, but it happened all the same. In relation to the picture sent by Pope Leo XIII to Queen Victoria Mr. Bealin said that he must admire the pope for the courage he displayed in acting up to his convictions, if he believed the queen’s treatment of the Irish people had been just and fair. The pope, however, had no right to prostitute religion by consecrating two young Italian bishops in honor of the queen’s golden jubilee. The duty of St. Stephen’s parishioners was to keep up agitation until Archbishop Corrigan would do justice to Dr. McGlynn. The only way to do him justice was to convene an ecclesiastical court, summon the doctor to appear, and confront him with his accusers. If the doctor then would be adjudged guilty the agitation would cease; if not, justice to the beloved pastor, to his parishioners and to the church would require his restoration to his pulpit. Until that was done the speaker hoped that not a fraction of a farthing would be given by his hearers to a church guilty of such injustice.
George Smith of Greenpoint said that the people of Father O’Hara’s congregation were in sympathy with Dr. McGlynn. There was a roll of honor made up of the doctor’s supporters, and he was proud to be among them. He had learned from the catechism that by keeping the commandments he could reach heaven; the pope wanted his commandments kept, too, but that was not good law.
Mrs. Griffith of Washington, formerly head center of the Fenian sisterhood, said the Irish people were under no compliment to Rome. It was Rome that sent the Norman invaders into Ireland, and with them came the curse of landlordism. From that time until the present, whenever they attempted to advance their interests as a nation, the Irish people got nothing from Rome save anathema. There was one way of settling the matter—keeping their money in their pockets until Rome listened to them. She advised her hearers to stop contributing to the land league. It was a farce. The only way to benefit the Irish people was by the abolition of landlordism. She was against a reduction in rent of twenty-five per cent. If the landlords owned the land they had a right to all they could get. But they did not own it, and no individuals or class could own it. The Irish as a people only could own it.
Mrs. Margaret Moore denied writing a “gushing” letter to Editor William O’Brien, as had been represented in one of the newspapers. She had simply written him a private communication relating to business of hers in Ireland. She believed that Ireland’s wrongs were to be righted by the bullet, not by the ballot.
Frank Ferrall urged the people to stand by Dr. McGlynn. Their presumption should be that he was innocent of a violation of church discipline until proven guilty. It was their duty to secure him, if possible, a hearing.
The meeting adjourned for a week, those in attendance as determined as ever to uphold Dr. McGlynn.
The Morning Journal explained editorially on Saturday that its Buffalo correspondent was responsible for the use of Dr. McGlynn’s name in comparison with Martin Luther’s.
The collection at St. Stephen’s on Sunday last was even smaller than usual. There is a disposition shown by the parishioners to agitate against the collection of Peter’s pence and jubilee offerings.
Dr. M’Glynn In Chicago
An Immense Audience to Listen to the “Cross of the New Crusade”—Comments of the Press
Dr. McGlynn delivered his lecture on “The Cross of the New Crusade” to an immense audience in the Central music hall in Chicago on Saturday night of last week. He was introduced by Rev. Dr. Thomas, who has got into trouble with the Methodist church authorities because of his liberal views, and who was received with great enthusiasm by the audience. The Chicago Tribune says:
The bulk of the audience was made up of laborers, mechanics and artisans of the better class, a few of whom were accompanied by ladies. There was a sprinkling of professional people and leisurely curiosity seekers, and it was noticeable that all of them remained until the lecture was finished. Much of Dr. McGlynn’s argument, all of his treatment of the Scriptural aspect of the subject, and an occasional illustration of rare poetic beauty were plainly heartily approved by Dr. Thomas, who did not hesitate to join in the applause, which was during the latter part of the lecture frequent, spontaneous, and prolonged.
At no time did the audience attest its approval more enthusiastically than when Dr. McGlynn said that he was preaching the political economy he believed in because of the religion there was in it. “The doctrine of this new crusade,” he said, “is actually borrowed from the Sermon on the Mount and the Lord’s Prayer.”
The arrival of Dr. McGlynn seems to have been regarded as a most interesting event by the newspapers, and most of them publish descriptions of his appearance. The Tribune says:
Dr. Edward McGlynn’s personal appearance is striking and favorable from the first. He is nearly or quite six feet in height with a frame a little too broad and generously provided with flesh to be in good proportion, and massive features whose expression is always one of strength of purpose, combined with great intelligence, and sometimes it reflects a gleam of humor that is as irresistible as some of the doctor’s logic.
The Herald says:
The famous ex-rector of St. Stephen’s, New York, is of striking appearance. Of powerful build, energy and determination are stamped upon every feature of his remarkable face. Dr. McGlynn is not a handsome man, strictly speaking, but he would attract attention everywhere, even without the national prominence into which his teachings and his avowed advocacy of Henry George’s doctrines have brought him. A low, but broad forehead, under crisp dark hair; deep-set, gleaning eyes, a prominent nose and a square and massive jaw denote the deep thinker and fearless man.
The Times sneers at the doctor as “an agrarian apostle,” but admits that he is a captivating and insinuating conversationalist and has evidently paid considerable attention to the elevation of “talk” into a fine art. His eyes, which are dark gray and full of fire, sparkle with enthusiasm, and every feature of his face is expressive of his thoughts and emotions as he converses.
The Inter-Ocean interviewed the Catholic clergy of Chicago to ascertain their opinions of Dr. McGlynn and his crusade. Two or three of those interviewed could only denounce him with wrath and insinuate that he had taken leave of his senses, but those who really knew anything of him, while opposing his views and lamenting his course, spoke highly of Dr. McGlynn as a man. Rev. Dr. Butler, pastor of St. John’s, said he was at college with Father McGlynn and declared that “he was a splendid scholar, a close student, and had one of the most brilliant minds in the college…His manners were charming, he was very gentle, and friends came to him and remained with him to this time. To know him was to know a man of wit, wisdom, talent and loveliness.” Dr. Butler expressed regret that Dr. McGlynn had espoused Mr. George’s views, but he said:
Few priests have had the adoration from the pen enjoyed by Dr. McGlynn. Aside from his talent his life has been singularly beautiful, and he loved his fellow men and loved himself last. All his savings have been given to the poor, and much of his leisure to deeds of charity. I haven’t a doubt but his espousal of Henry George’s land views grew out of a desire to abet the condition of the poor. As all the world knows, he is himself a poor man, and has no resources but those of his pen as a writer or lecturer. His rich friends are legion, and all his friends, whether rich or poor, are loyal, and will continue so in spite of his views.
Father Roles of St. Mary’s church had no doubt that Dr. McGlynn will be excommunicated, but declared that there will “be nothing of book, bell and candle performance.” He said:
He was recognized in the Urban college (the propaganda) as one of the most saintly subjects. A holier man than Dr. McGlynn, as we saw him as a Catholic priest, never walked. His career in New York was extremely devotional. His attention to the poor, his sacrifices, his self-denying work, made a deep and wide-spread impression on both the laity and the clergy…McGlynn is an able man unquestionably. Moreover, he is a good man—a holy man, and his actions and utterance now simply annoy and appall us as those of a man whom we greatly esteemed and loved and admired. It annoys and appalls us to see a man who was so high in our regard, fall so low.
The Seventh Assembly District Entertainment
Despite the bad weather, the new headquarters of the united labor party in the Seventh Assembly district were crowded in Thursday evening of last week. Mr. W.T. Croasdale made an excellent address, after which an entertainment, consisting of vocal and instrumental musical selections, recitations, etc., was given by volunteer artists. Among those who lent their efforts were Mme. Marie Mareno, Mrs. Edw. Schultz, and Messrs. Harry Gilmore, R. Pope Cooke, Edwin Browne, Louis Kieffer and Harry P. Keily. The entertainment was in every way thoroughly enjoyable.
What They Will Be
New York—The New York Herald recently asked: “If the church condemns Mr. George’s land theory, what course will you pursue?” Or, in other words: If a few well known American politicians set up the pope as a political scarecrow, what will you Catholics do? I answer: We will pull up their political corn!
Queries and Answers
Apportionment of Taxes—Minor Reforms
Roodhouse, Ill—Since reading Herbert Spencer’s “Social Statics” eight years ago, I have been convinced of the correctness of the doctrine “the land for the people” as an abstract principle, but it was not till I read the dialog between George and Field in the North American Review that I saw how easily the abstract principle could be made a glorious reality.
(1) Since then I have carefully read all of Henry George’s works, and also every issue of The Standard; but as yet have not seen any statement as to how the revenue to be raised by the land tax is to be appropriated or divided between national, state, county, township and municipal governments. In case of a clash of authorities, which shall be supreme? Would it be feasible for a single state to adopt the new system? I take it the tax would be collected by state authorities. How, then would it be distributed? When the national government demanded its share, wouldn’t the cry of “state sovereignty” be raised?
It is a good rule never to cross a stream before you come to it; but really the new crusade has been making such rapid progress of late that it seems to me advisable to ascertain at least what kind of bridge timbers we have.
I asked these questions one day of Colonel Wm. Camm, a wonderfully well-posted man on economic and governmental questions, an original thinker, and one who in his own mind studied out and became convinced of the justice and necessity of a single tax on land values before he read of Henry George, whom he is now proud to honor as the prophet of the new crusade. His reply was briefly this:
“If a tax on land values only is inconsistent with a federal form of government so much the worse for the federal form of government.”
Perhaps I have overestimated the importance of this subject, but I should be glad to hear it discussed.
(2) Another point. While I fully realize that the land reform embraces and covers nearly all the other reforms that are being agitated, I believe that you would make friends for the cause by devoting a little more attention to some of the minor reforms, on which I know you have the correct views. There are many who, having seen the truth only partially, will be encouraged to further investigation if you continue to assure them that they are on the same road with yourself, only not so far along.
J.P. Drennan, Jr.
(1) Colonel Camm’s answer is comprehensive and ought to be satisfactory. But there is not the difficulty you imagine. Federal taxes would be raised by apportioning to population, and requiring them to be levied on land values. When the states had complied with this requirement the federal government’s relation to the matter would be at an end. The state then could require counties to supply state revenues according to the value of land in each county, and the counties could provide for their own needs in the same way, the whole being under the direct management of the counties respectively.
(2) We cannot now spare space for minor reforms. We believe in them only as supplements without that which it should supplement is like a dog’s tail without the dog.
When Non-Valuable Land Becomes Valuable
Newburg, N.Y.—You have some friends in this city who are considerably puzzled over the following feature of your land theory. Please explain I and you will confer a favor on them. You say that the improvements on land should not be taxed; that the land itself should be taxed, and that that tax should be regulated according to the rental value of the land, and that some land, having no rental value, should not be taxed at all. The question is this: Suppose twenty or more mechanics should occupy this non-taxable land and build each one a house and occupy it, when would that non-taxable land become taxable, and what gives it a rental value if not the improvements? It is argued that just as soon as they (the lots) become taxable that it is the improvements that are taxed, as the improvements created the taxable value that they did not before possess.
The non-taxable land would become taxable when other people were willing to pay for the privilege of going upon it. To illustrate: Let us suppose that line A is the outer limit of valuable land, and that any one who lives below that pays a ground value tax; but that land beyond it is free, and that all the free land lying between line A and line B is equally desirable. Now, suppose that your twenty or more mechanics build upon the land between line A and line B. They will, of course, pay no tax, for the land has no value. After a while another mechanic wants free land, and as the space between lines A and B is not yet wholly occupied, he builds there too, and is also exempt from taxation. But now still another mechanic wants a home, and cannot build on the land lying between A and B, because it is all occupied. He must then decide whether he will go upon the less desirable land lying between lines B and C or pay something to one of the occupants of the better land for the privilege of taking his place. When enough cases of this kind occur to give a rental value in the market to land lying between lines A and B, everybody occupying that land will be taxed. Then, and not before, the non-taxable land becomes taxable.
Improvements do give value to non-valuable land; but only by monopolizing it. So long as other land just as good in all respects can be had for nothing, no land will acquire value, no matter how much it is improved. It is the appropriation of better land which by forcing latecomers to go upon the poorer lands, gives value to the better land. A man who wants to shield himself from the scorching rays of a July sun will not pay anything for first-class shade trees are all appropriated, and he must either pay rent, go to a poorer shade tree, or stand in the sun, he will make it an object, if he can, to somebody to go to one of the poorer trees. So it is with land.
The Shifting of a Land Tax
Old Point Comfort—Referring to your answer in last week’s issue, in reply to the inquiry of Charles I. Prizer, Reading Times, I would ask you, for the benefit of those not so well versed in political economy, to shed some further light on this subject. Suppose I put up a tenement house on a vacant lot, what is to prevent my charging a share of the “single tax” to each of the occupants?
You would charge a share of the single tax to each occupant and you would collect it. But when you had collected it the community, through its taxing officer, would say, “That share is our share,” and then you would pay it over, retaining for yourself only what your tenants paid for using the house. If you tried to avoid this effect by raising your rents your tenants would leave you if other accommodations equally good could be had for the old figure; and if they could not and your tenants paid more than before, that would prove to the taxing officer that he dealt too leniently with you and he would raise your tax. Can you not see that you would soon come to a point where you would soon come to a point where you would have the alternative of losing your tenants or letting them stay without an increase of rent? When you reached that conclusion your rents would be at an equilibrium and so would your tax, until increasing demand for your location enabled you to charge more rent, which would be followed by a higher tax.
Immigration and Intemperance
Brooklyn—I would like to ask you if all immigration to the United States was entirely stopped, and all public dram shops, of whatever nature, and the use of all intoxicating drinks as a beverage, involving an annual expenditure of $900,000,000 therein, absolutely prohibited; would not these two reforms alone almost entirely abolish the greater amount of poverty, distress and discontent at present existing in our country?
If all immigration to the United States were stopped, the increase of pressure for opportunities of employment might not go on as fast. But, as nature furnishes unlimited opportunities for employment, the real remedy is to be sought, not in prohibiting immigration, but in removing legal obstacles to the use of these natural opportunities. The entire population of the world could support itself in the state of Texas alone; then why prohibit immigration? There is plenty of room in this country. The trouble is that most of it is monopolized and much of it kept out of use.
If drinking were stopped, a drinking man’s expenses would be diminished, and if eating were stopped, an eating man’s expenses would be diminished. Whatever may be the merits of the alcohol controversy as a moral question, it stands, as an economic question, on a level with all other devices for saving. So long as drinking prevails, a teetotaler may save out of his wages just what, if he drank, he would spend for liquor. If you ascertain the amount that any particular working man spends in that way, you will find that it would take him a long while to get rich on such savings; and working women and children, and many men who do not drink, would be able to save no more than now. But if the drinking habit were generally abandoned, wages would fall accordingly, for men could then work for less, and, as a condition of getting work, would be compelled to. On this point read chapter 3 of book 4 of “Progress and Poverty,” especially the last paragraph.
Oberlin, O., June 12—Please answer in The Standard this objection presented by Joseph Cook, that the value of labor products is increased by growth of population the same as land values, and that the increased value of the one should go to the community as well as the other. He illustrates it by Crusoe’s rough hewn boat, which rose in value when a ship appeared on the horizon.
It is an obvious misstatement of fact. The value of a hat is no greater in a city of a million inhabitants than in a country village. The reason is plain enough; when a labor product of any kind rises in value, labor produces enough more of that kind of product to restore the value.
This is the first time we have heard of Crusoe’s boat rising in value when a ship appeared on the horizon. That boat’s scope of usefulness may have been widened, but its value did not rise. Perhaps Mr. Cook means that the boat had no value while Crusoe was alone, and acquired a value when other people came there. That might be so, because value is a factor of trading, and when there is no one to trade with there can be no value. But it by no means follows that growth of population increases the value of labor products, for a population of fifty will give as much value to a desirable product as a population of a million. It is not so with land.
A Wolverine’s Doubts
Lansing, Mich.—Three of us wish to propound a few questions in regard to your views. They may have been answered before, but we are new subscribers to The Standard.
(1) Supposing your plan to be in full operation. A man with a fixed income, or with an income not liable in which he lives. He and his large family live comfortably upon his income, but use it all up. The government takes for the use of the land upon which his house stands, say, $25 per year, and he manages to pay it. The demands of trade or of manufacture suddenly raise the value of the land on which his house stands, so that some corporation would be willing to pay the government $100 per year for the use of it. This man would have to pay this increased tax, which, we will suppose, he can ill afford to do, or else he must move his house, which is really taking as much from the value of his house as the cost of moving it. As the land has no selling value, he cannot, as now, come to terms with other parties so that it may be made profitable for him to give up the land—he must either say and pay the increased tax or else go to the expense of moving. How would you obviate this difficulty, if there would be any such difficulty?
(2) Supposing, as before, that your plan is in full operation. In “Progress and Poverty” you say that the tax or rent would be what one would be willing in competition to give for the use of the land. If competition is to rule, by what method would you insure a poor man or a weak corporation against the designs of a rich man or a strong corporation? We know that some men are so constituted that they will expend a good deal of money to gratify a grudge; and most corporations, to crush out a weaker rival, can afford to use money liberally. Now, would not there be the opportunity to do those things by openly offering to pay the government a very much larger rent than the occupiers are paying, and by actually paying the rent if the offers are accepted? Could not a greedy corporation force the value of any piece of land up, and the present occupier, having no claim upon the land, and unable to pay the increased rent, would be helpless?
(3) We understand you to say that wages decrease relatively to the amount of wealth produced, as rent rises. Robert Giffen and other statisticians attempt to show that the average rate of wages in most employments has greatly increased in the last fifty years, and that the cost of living has decreased. Now, granting your proposition in regard to wages, how can pauperism increase relatively with the whole population, when the rate of wages in so many employments has increased so much? If pauperism is not increasing relatively as well as absolutely, is not much of your argument overthrown, even though we admit that laborers do not receive their just share of what is produced?
(1) To the man who can ill afford to pay to the community a tax of $25 a year and who must leave rather than pay $100 a year the difficulty obviates itself. That man’s condition is certain to be vastly improved by the general prosperity. Do you know of any man so situated who does not now pay more than $25 a year in taxes? And if you consider his indirect taxes, is there such a man who does not pay more than $100 a year? How could a man to whom the payment of $25 a year is a hardship be prejudiced by becoming an equal partner in all land values? It is easy to make men of straw and shed tears over their imaginary sufferings.
(2) By “competition” is meant market competition. A greedy corporation could not make an offer to the government. It would have to deal with the occupier, and as one shallow does not make a summer neither does one bid make a market value. When an occupier was besieged with high bids or neighboring land equally desirable was selling or renting at high figures a basis for his taxation would be afforded, and on that he would be taxed. Read chapters 2, 3, and 4 of book 7 of “Progress and Poverty.”
(3) None of these statistics take unemployed labor into consideration and they wholly ignore different standards of living. As to the cost of living they compare prices of different articles of food, but never compare hotel or boarding house bills; nor do they take into account many things that are now classed as necessaries which fifty years ago were either luxuries or unknown. Read the introductory chapter of “Progress and Poverty.”
Correct in Part
Piedmont, W. Va.—The following clipping is from the “Notes and Queries” column of the Baltimore American of today:
Is Henry George’s land theory, to confiscate land now held and divide it equally among all who would like to have a slice, or is it to collect all taxes from land values so as to return to the community the increment of value created by the community?
The latter clause of your query generally explains his theory. He wants land taxed 100 per cent annually, so as to make it practically valueless.
Does it fairly represent the issue made by you?
That part of the answer which reads: “The latter clause of your query generally explains his theory,” is correct. The remainder of the answer is like a ship in a fog.
Davenport, Ia., June 21—In your issue of the 18th inst., in an article entitled “The Packard Students and Henry George,” there is this question: “Has land any intrinsic value?” To which Mr. George is represented as answering, “No; nothing has intrinsic value.” This is surely an error. It could not have been the author of “Progress and Poverty.” Has not a bushel of wheat intrinsic value? I should say it has, and that its intrinsic value is that of a bushel of wheat.
Mr. George correctly stated that nothing has intrinsic value. Value is a factor of exchange. It is the relation of one thing to another in exchange. None of Robinson Crusoe’s things had a value, because there was no one with whom he could trade. Value is a term which describes a relative quality; and an intrinsic relative quality is an absurdity. Instead of saying that the intrinsic value of a bushel of wheat is that of a bushel of wheat, why not say that the intrinsic value of the sun is that of the sun?
Seeing Men as Trees, Walking
Richmond, Va.—You will excuse one whose financial prosperity is wholly opposed to your land system in seeing difficulties in the way of its adoption. I cannot see how fixity of tenure could be secured. Suppose A had paid a rent to the government for his farming land for thirty or forty years, and had all his friends and relations in the neighborhood. Now suppose B, a young man with capital and full of energy, who really could make more rent out of the farm than old A could, were to offer a higher rent to the government for A’s land. Would not A have to pay the rent offered by B or be evicted? And if A was evicted, receiving, of course, the value of his improvements, would that be considered sufficient for disturbance?
B would not offer the government a higher rent than A was paying. The government would have nothing to do with the matter. B would bargain with A directly. If he would pay more, and all of them were willing to pay the same higher rate for neighboring land equally desirable, a market value for A’s land higher than his tax would be established, and therefore his tax would be higher.
Your letter indicates that you have not yet read “Progress and Poverty.” After reading it, let us hear from you again.
Temperance and Pauperism
Salado, Tex., June 20—(1) Is the use of intoxicating liquors productive of more crime than any other cause? (2) What per cent if any of pauperism is caused solely by the use of intoxicating liquors?
(2) We do not know.
A Practical Question
Kansas City, Mo., June 21—(1) In your answers to questions from the Packard students, published in The Standard of June 18, you say: “Raising this tax as fast as we may until we come as near as possible to taking the full actual value of the land.” Also, on page 2, same issue of The Standard, Mr. Post is reported as saying: “But we do not propose that those taxes shall absorb the whole rental value at once.” Am I to infer that in time you would place such a tax, say on an improved lot, as would absorb the rental paid to the party who had invested his money in the same, or do you mean that the tax should be a percentage of the value, said value being determined by the rental received or by the selling price of the ground, leaving a reasonably fair return to the party whose money had gone into said ground and improvements?
(2) If in the first instance, what would you do with a case where a party had, through his industry, accumulated enough to purchase half a dozen lots and pay for half a dozen houses, not being able to work nor engage in active commercial pursuits, and preferring this way of investing his earnings, with the expectation that the same would supply his wants during the rest of his days? If this man finds that either through his inability to work or lack of business experience it is impossible for him to do anything else for a living but rent these houses, and you put a tax on the ground that will eat up the rent, what is he to do?
George H. Kerr
(1) We would have the tax absorb, ultimately, all the rental of the lot, leaving the rental for the improvements to the owner free of tax.
(2) He would enjoy the full benefit of the house rents, turning the ground rent (less his wages as a collector) over to the community, to which it in justice belongs.
You had better read “Progress and Poverty” before asking any more questions.
A Few Intelligent Questions
Los Angeles, Cal.—(1) If the land tax you advocate is put in operation do you expect it to cause land values and rents to fall steadily until the lowest possible figure may be reached in consequence of the immense quantities of unused land forced into market?
(2) You say the land tax will be ample to provide all revenues for federal, state and local purposes and perhaps yield a large surplus. Is your calculation based on the existing land values, high rents and rack rents of landlords?
(3) What will be the effect on incomes when private ownership is abolished and a tax substituted?
(4) How would the amount of rent to be paid by the “Standard oil trust,” coal mining and other corporations drawing wealth from the bowels of the earth be arrived at so as to give the state its just proportion and guard against fraud?
(5) Do you think it a sound policy to discontinue the issue of licenses to saloons and liquor dealers?
(6) Would you not consider it a good idea to keep on taxing liquor and let the government accumulate such tax toward the purchase of railroads and telegraphs, and thus pay in cash instead of creating a bond or other debt?
(7) Is it within the powers of our separate state legislatures to tax land up to its full unimproved value, as urged by you, or must the battle be fought out in congress as applying to the whole country, like the homestead law?
(8) In case Father McGlynn is not restored to his pastorate, would he be willing and eligible for congress if urged to stand?
(2) Our calculation is based on the obvious fact that rents, at the lowest point to which they can descend with present population and industrial improvements, will be ample to meet all the requirements of government.
(3) Unearned incomes will be reduced at once, and ultimately will be extinguished; earned incomes will steady increase.
(4) By taxing the mines to their full value as mining opportunities.
(5) If you mean the licenses, yes.
(6) No. The tax on land values will be sufficient to pay for railroads and telegraphs.
(7) In some states the legislature has the power. In others it will require an amendment of the state constitution. So far as federal revenues are concerned congress has the power now.
(8) He would be eligible. He would be eligible even though restored. As to his willingness, you must consult him.
New York—Please state whether the tenement house bill, passed at the recent session of the legislature, repealed the old law which required the names of owners and agents to be placed on the front of the buildings.
The new tenement law does away with the requirement that every tenement owner shall post his name on his door, and requires instead that he shall register his name at the office of the board of health.
The Land and Labor Party in Vermont
The following call has just been issued by the labor leaders of Rutland, Vt., to the citizens of Vermont:
Fellow Citizens: In spite of the enormous increase in the productiveness of labor, the share of its products which the producers obtain in return for their labor is insufficient to support them in decent comfort, while the exhausting character of their toil deprives them of the opportunity for mental and moral improvement. We believe that by shifting all taxation upon that part of the value of land which does not result from labor upon that land, and by thus unearned increase in land values which results from the labors of the entire community, and which, therefore, of right belongs to the community, a great part of the evils of overwork and underpay will be corrected.
We believe that the administration of justice among us is a mockery; that our legal procedure invites fraud and perjury; that practically there is one law for the rich and another for the poor.
We believe that our political systems are so defective that there is nowhere a real representation of the people in our legislative bodies.
We believe that the persons who have obtained control of the organizations of the republican and democratic parties in the different states of the Union use them for selfish ends, and that those organizations have become so utterly corrupt that only through an uprising of the people can any reform of existing evils be accomplished.
Oppressed with these evils and imbued with similar views the people of New York, on the 6th of November last, appointed a temporary committee to organize a new party throughout the Union.
We invite those of our fellow citizens of Vermont, and those only, who share the opinions above expressed, to meet for the purpose of appointing a temporary committee to organize the state of Vermont and for the purpose of effecting a permanent organization of the new party for the town of Rutland, to act in co-operation with the committee appointed at the mass meeting held at the Cooper union, New York, on the 6th of November, 1886.
Pay Ransom to the Owner
West New Brighton, June 21—I see an occasional correspondent favors paying the landlords. I agree that there should be compensation—but it should be of the kind that Emerson speaks of:
Pay ransom to the owner,
And fill the bag to the brim.
Who is the owner? The slave is owner,
And ever was. Pay him!
Twenty-five Frenchmen, silk weavers by trade, arrived in this port the other day from Europe. Charge being brought against them that they had come here under an agreement to work at their trade of silk weaving for a stipulated time at a certain predetermined rate of wages, they were refused permission to land; and, it appearing on investigation that the charge was well founded, the doors of Castle garden were slammed in their faces, and they were incontinently bidden to get them back to France.
There can be no question as to the right of the people of the United States to forbid undesirable immigration, or to decide for themselves what classes of persons shall be excluded; but what is worth noting in the case of these turned-back silk weavers is the pitiful inadequacy of the remedy to the disease to which it is applied. Consider the situation.
Here is a country of literally boundless natural opportunities. The Creator has been generous to it almost beyond understanding. Mountains of coal, and iron, and tin, and lead, and other metals; vast reservoirs of oil and gas; unnumbered acres of virgin forest; wide prairies and broad savannas; a climate ranging from the temperate to the subtropical, and adapted to vegetation of every kind—the catalog of bounties is endless. All that is needed to convert this vast natural provision into wealth is labor—the work of human brains and human hands. And how little labor is needed! With what kindly forethought has providence given us the inventive faculty and taught us to harness the untiring forces of nature and make them do our work. The lightning runs our errands; the stored up sunbeams of a million years ago spring forth at our bidding to perform tasks which might shame the genii of Aladdin; the winds of heaven are our servants; the tumbling waterfalls and roaring cataracts wear our livery and do our work. The favored children of a loving Father, we have wealth and servants at our command beyond the possibility of desire. And the pitiful outcome of it all is that twenty-five poor devils who come knocking at our doors must be kicked back to their original wretchedness, because, forsooth, they have agreed to work for a bare subsistence, if we will only let them in. And this sort of thing we are told is necessary to keep Americans from starving! Millions upon millions of acres of land are lying vacant and untiled; uncounted tons of coal and iron and lead and tin and gold and silver are ready for the pick and furnace; oceans of oil and unmeasured volumes of gas are waiting to be used; the storehouse of nature, with door wide open, invites us to help ourselves; and withal, little babies are crowded out of life and women withered out of sex or unsexed by the sin that buys them food, and strong men wandering reckless and degraded and despairing, or struggling desperately for a foothold in the filth and slime of poverty; and loving kindness is being effaced by greed and honor making way for fraud; and men are laughing religion to scorn; and the mock ministers of a mock god are insulting heaven with empty hymns of praise that things are as they are. And by way of remedy twenty-five poor wretchedness are forbidden to change their condition of slavery for our own. The mountain groans in labor and this ridiculous mouse appears.
Suppose these twenty-five Frenchmen, instead of humbly saying, “We want to weave silk for you Americans, and if you’ll only let us come ashore and do it, we’ll undertake to give you nearly all the silk we weave”—suppose, instead of this, they had said: “We don’t propose to weave any silk, nor to do anything else that involves labor. We are men accustomed, not to work, but to be worked for; and what we want is to so arrange matters with you that your children may work for our children, and your grandchildren for our grandchildren, to the end of time.” Would we have sent them back with a warning not to do it again? Not much! We should have said: “Gentlemen—milords and dukes and counts and marquises—the arrangement you propose suits us exactly. Here in West Virginia is a coal deposit; here in this territory is an inexhaustible bed of iron ore; here are natural opportunities without number which will be pressingly needed by our children just about the time your children enter upon the serious business of doing nothing for a living. You shall play that these things are yours, and we will instruct our children that they are yours and mustn’t be touched without the consent of yourselves or your heirs. And so it shall come to pass that when, years hence, our children want to use some of that coal or iron, your children shall be able to say to them: ‘First send to us in France so much gold and silver, and wheat, and corn, and bacon, and other things, and then you may take a little coal and iron or till a little land, but not much; and this thing shall be called rent, even as it is today.’” That is the sort of thing we free born Americans have been and are saying, day by day, and year by year, to immigrants who come here, not with hands toil-embrowned and hearts fixed to cast in their lot with us, but with muscles untrained to labor and pockets lined with wealth wrung by social fraud from the very class whose petition for a refuge among us we so scornfully reject. And our Atkinsons, and Huntingtons, and Hewitts, and Depews stand prating to us of thrift and toil and temperance; of the surpassing virtue of saving a glass of beer a day, and the deep thankfulness we ought to feel that things are no worse than they are, and never see, or pretend they cannot see, and try to hide from us the truth that the one and only thing needed is to open the doors of nature’s storehouse and let the naked and the hungry take freely of the good things which their Father provided for them when he laid the foundation of the earth, but which the greed and wickedness of man have shut in and monopolized.
It is a small matter that these poor Frenchmen should be turned back; but it is not a small matter that our lawgivers should imagine that by such stupid actions they can still the voice of discontent.
This is the season of college commencements. Within the past ten days several thousand young men who, for years past, have been intending their minds on study, have bid adieu to text books and instructors and come forth into the world to apply the learning they have acquired to the serious business of life. At such times it is the custom for college presidents to address to their departing pupils some last words of instruction; to point out to them the dangers that await them, the opportunities they are about to enjoy, and to advise them how best to avoid the one and make profitable use of the other. At a time like the present, when the social atmosphere is charged with discontent, when vast problems are pressing for solution and will not be denied, it is worth noting what manner of advice these professional watchmen upon the hill tops are giving to their departing charges. Here are the words of wisdom which President Dwight addresses to the departing students of Yale:
It is certainly a critical period in the experience of the world, and especially of our own nation, at which the young men of these passing years are entering upon their life’s work. In material things our people are moving, as if in an hour, out of the limitations and moderation of the past into all the resources and wealth of the most luxurious nations. The temptation to get money and spend it, to view it as the means of all good and the end of all desire, to make what it brings the essential thing in the idea of earthly happiness, to subordinate for its sake the inward life to the outward, is becoming stronger and seemingly more irresistible continually. The demoralizing character which follows the yielding to this temptation is more and more clearly manifesting itself. Those who stand nearest to the centers of the public living in this regard may well be alarmed for the future, and the most thoughtful among them are so often-times, as we know. Closely bordering upon this sudden and wonderful increase of wealth and the desire for it there has come upon us what threatens to be a serious and prolonged conflict between classes in society and the inroad of theories of the state which would overthrow what has been founded upon the thought and wisdom of ages. And no less clearly bordering upon it, doubt and questioning of the most dangerous order are pouring in upon us. The danger of the hour is that even the educated classes will lose the most ennobling element of life and will satisfy themselves with knowing the seen and not the unseen.
Our people! What people? Are the great mass of American citizens who stew in tenement houses, and labor in mines, and labor in mines, and work in shops, and trudge wearily behind the plow, really “moving out of the limitations and moderations of the past into all the resources and wealth of the most luxurious nations?” Are they building yachts, and laying out fairy lands of pleasure grounds, and sauntering idly from club to club, and from drawing room to drawing room? Evidently in his opening sentences the good president is addressing the favored few and not the toiling many. Well may he warn them against “the temptation to get money and spend it,” and preach to them of “the demoralizing of character which follows the yielding to this temptation.” Never did men need such warning more. But when he talks of “a serious and prolonged conflict between classes in society,” and of “the inroad of theories,” etc., has he still in mind the people of resources and wealth? Hardly. Listen now to what he says to “our people” about their duty in the premises:
The university does not send you forth, my friends, and the call of duty at this hour does not summon you to be doubters, but to be men of convictions—to believe something in your own souls—and, therefore, as by the impulses of a resistless force, to speak and to do something in the world…If the principles of the personal thinking of educated men, and of their individual action also, with regard to the great social questions and problems and difficulties of the present and coming years, were to be the same as those of true Christian thinking, who can doubt that the end would be nearer than it now seems to be?
Read these words in the light of circumstances, and consider what meaning they are meant to have for “our people.” Will they bear any other interpretation than that the social injustice which gives wealth to the few and misery to the many—injustice against which the “conflict” and the “theories” Dr. Dwight has spoken of are an uprising and a call to judgment—is sanctioned by the teachings of the gospel, and is to be maintained by an extension of “true Christian thinking.”
When Christian ministers, professed trainers of youth, sum up the whole aim of education and expound the duties of life in words that are either platitude or blasphemy according as they are read carelessly or studied analytically, what wonder is it that men should be found who think that the turning back of twenty-four French immigrants is a real step toward the solution of the wealth-distribution problem.
Archbishop Corrigan said on the stage of the Academy of Music last Monday night:
It is hard to understand how any pastor of souls who is responsible to God can ever flinch one moment when he sees his duty laid before him.
One the boards trodden so oft of late by the priest whom he persecutes because he will not “flinch one moment when he sees his duty laid before him” even “his grace” of the marble palace and the dollar burial fee can do no less than say a word for liberty!
“Labor,” says the pious Independent, “is practically a commodity as really as pork and beef, and sells for more or less, according to its quantity and quality.” No one should find fault with a paper for stating, with more or less accuracy, what it conceives to be a fact; therefore, this observation might pass unchallenged, if it did not convey the intimation that labor not only is, but must and ought to be, “a commodity as really as pork and beef.” It is natural perhaps that people who, without laboring themselves, make a business of buying labor, should want it to remain a commodity like pork and beef, selling for more or less, according to its quantity and quality, and that they should favor whatever tends to increase the quantity of the best quality, with the view of bringing down prices; but that is a poor kind of business for a religious paper that began its career as an anti-slavery advocate.
There is something significant in the fact that the pro-poverty press is unanimous in patting the “union labor party” on the back. What does it mean?
The New York Star makes two rather remarkable statements relative to the single tax on land values. One is that it cannot be carried out by the federal government under the present constitution. The Star does not state why, for the obvious reason that it cannot. Its other remark reads in this wise: “If all taxes were to come from the land and be ad valorem, and if the tax were to be up to the full value of the ground rent, then whichever state levied first would leave nothing for the others.” What that piece of wisdom means, if it means anything, no fellow can find out. It would seem that the Star is trying to think and has got to the point where it only thinks it thinks. But let us be charitable. The Star, which has long been blind, is beginning to open its eyes, and what wonder if at first it sees men as trees walking.
One of the funniest things that has appeared lately is the queen of England’s letter of thanks to “her people” for the enthusiastic reception they gave her on the occasion of her jubilee parade. Here it is:
I am anxious to express to my people my warm thanks for the kind—more than kind—reception I met with going to and returning from Westminster abbey, with all my children and grandchildren. The enthusiastic reception I met with then, as well as on all these eventful days in London, as well as at Windsor on the occasion of the jubilee, touched me deeply. It has shown that the labor and anxiety of fifty long years, twenty-two of which were spent in untroubled happiness, shared and cheered by my beloved husband, while an equal number were full of sorrows and trials borne without his sheltering arm and wise help, have been appreciated by my people. This feeling and a sense of duty toward my dear country and my subjects, who are so inseparably bound up with my life, will encourage me in my task, often a very difficult and arduous one, during the remainder of my life. The wonderful order preserved on this occasion, and the good behavior of the enormous multitude assembled merit my highest admiration.
That God may protect and abundantly bless my country is my fervor prayer.
The “labor and anxiety of fifty long years” is sublimely good. Poor old woman! When she flings herself upon her lonely pallet after a laborious and anxious day spent in driving out with the Princess Beatrice in the morning, lunching with the countess of Thousandacres, resting in the afternoon, and presiding at a servants’ ball in the evening, as set forth in the Court Journal, how she must envy the calm, untroubled existence of her loved and loving subject, Mrs. Threadneedle of Seven Dials, who has absolutely nothing to do but to sew fifteen hours a day for ninepence. What a noble “sense of duty to her dear country and her subjects” it must be that encourages her to continue her “difficult and arduous task” of doing nothing for the rest of her life. Surely, in her case at least, that absurd rule about the camel and the needle’s eye will have no application; and an eternity of happiness will be her fitting reward for the “labor and anxiety” of her life on earth.
Any one familiar with what the pro-poverty press are pleased to style Henry George’s land theory” has no difficulty in detecting the crass ignorance of that theory which the entire pro-poverty press displays when discussing it. But there are few instances of this ignorance so striking as the following gem from the editorial columns of the New York Times:
He (Dr. McGlynn) informed an audience that a legislature in this state composed of the right kind of men could put the (Henry George) land project into operation without difficulty.” Has the doctor ever had his attention called to the thirteenth section of the constitution of the state of New York, which says: “All lands within this state are declared to be allodial, so that, subject only to the liability to escheat, the entire and absolute property is vested in the owners, according to the nature of their respective estates?” He will, perhaps, perceive that no legislature could, though its members were chosen from a lunatic asylum, get over this provision so long as the courts continued to exist and to construe the constitution.
Dr. McGlynn never dreamed that any legislature would try to “get over” this provision. To put the land project into operation it is not necessary to get over it. In some states the constitution requires all kinds of property to be taxed equally. There the legislature cannot put the project into operation until the constitution is altered. But there is no such provision in the constitution of this state, and no one has ever ventured to doubt the constitutional right of the legislature here to shift all taxes to land values. Dr. McGlynn was perfectly right, and the Times is entitled to the honor of having first discovered that the allodial section of our constitution has any relation to taxation. An elaborate treatise on the subject would be an entertaining, if not valuable, contribution to the literature of constitutional law.
Mr. William Browne, 26 John street, New York, has published a little pamphlet entitled “Stop that Clubbing,” in which he draws attention to the many cases that have of brutal treatment of citizens by the police of this city. Mr. Browne’s statements and arguments are supplemented by numerous extracts from the news columns of the daily press. His pamphlet is interesting, and should be widely circulated.
One way of relieving the pressure for elevated railroads would be to increase the tax valuation of vacant lots within the built up parts of the city, so as to compel improvements. A hundred thousand people could be accommodated within walking distance of the business center if all vacant ground should be occupied, instead of being kept as a nuisance for merely speculative purpose. Such lots should be taxed on the owners’ valuation of them.—Philadelphia Ledger
Surely the light is penetrating dark places when the staid and conservative old Ledger begins to see some of the advantages of placing all taxation on land values. Not only should the vacant city lots be taxed on the owners’ valuation of them, but the tax should be increased by relieving the products of human industry from all burdens. Then men will build or get out of the way of those ready to build, and the hundred thousand people of whom the Ledger speaks will be promptly accommodated.
A Clergyman Who Fears Pollution
Richmond, Ind., June 20—Last Sunday the Rev. Dr. Burns of the Methodist Episcopal church preached a sermon on education, and, among other remarkable things, he said: “The class called the ‘neglected poor’ is so sunken in ignorance and vice that if the church thrust down a helping hand, that hand will be polluted.”
This statement is all the more remarkable and shocking because it comes from the lips of one who stands, first, as a minister of a sect whose origin is “low,” and second, as a professed disciple of one whom “the multitudes heard gladly.” Neither John Wesley the organizer, nor Charles Wesley, the hymn writer, nor Whitfield, the orator, felt any fear of pollution by going down among “the neglected poor,” the ignorant colliers of England, and giving them the right hand of fellowship.
I am not much of a Christian, but beautiful to me are those words, “And the multitude heard him gladly.” Is it not a fearful indictment against our ministers that the multitudes do not hear them gladly? Is it not a sad commentary on our nineteenth century Christianity?
Another New Church Minister Out
Roxbury, Mass.—A copy of “Progress and Poverty” was sent me some time ago.
Although I had been led to believe that you were a socialist or communist, I began to read with the intention of giving you a fair show; and by the time I had finished the part on wages I was quite sure that you had got hold of the right end of the string. I never came across a work on political economy that both satisfied the reason and agreed with the deepest religious sentiments until I read “Progress and Poverty.”
I immediately bought two or three copies of “Progress and Poverty” to give to my friends, and I have bought on an average each week three copies of The Standard. Although I have been a Cleveland democrat hitherto, I mean to work in the future for the land party.
The Catholic people about here most all sympathize with the noble priest, Dr. McGlynn.
You may command my services at any time in the work of abolishing poverty and inhumanity.
John A. Hayes
Plain Words from a Land and Labor Club
Iron Mountain, Mich., June 22—Land and labor club No. 6 of the state of Michigan, the membership of which consists largely of Irishmen and sons of Irishmen, have denounced William O’Brien for not attending the labor party demonstrating in New York city and for repudiating the true doctrine of the land league, viz.: that private ownership of land is the cause of the poverty, ignorance and moral degradation existing in the civilized countries of the world today. The club further declares that Mr. O’Brien is trying to mislead the Irish people by urging them to combat imaginary wrongs instead of demanding their natural rights in the land.
Patrick H. Burnes, Chairman
John Daly, secretary
Sixteen Dollars Grown to Fifty Thousand
Washington, D.C., June 20—I have just had, in the course of my practice, occasion to notice in a little search an instance of the values created in land by the growth of the community. A hundred years ago one Benjamin Oden was the owner of a farm in Montgomery county, Maryland, which was a portion of a tract known as “Beall’s flats.” This farm was then worth eight dollars an acre. In 1792 that portion of Montgomery county was selected by the federal government as the site for the seat of government. In 1811 Oden sold two acres of his farm, which two acres were then known as square of his farm, which two acres were then known as square 566 in the city of Washington, to one David Schoemaker for $440.20. Shoemaker divided the square into thirty lots of nearly equal size, and in 1820 sold one lot, known as lot 29, for $100 to a person whom I call John Doe. Doe improved the lot by building upon it three houses, which became so dilapidated that they were torn down a few years ago. The lot is now in the same condition as when Benjamin Oden raised tobacco and corn on it one hundred years ago. Today Doe’s heirs sold the vacant lot for $1,700 to a man who will improve it immediately for for his own use to carry on a small business which he has already established in the neighborhood. The balance of the square is worth rather more than this particular lot, but at this rate the square would now sell, if there was not an improvement on it, for $50,000. Thus in one hundred years the increase in value has been from $16 to $50,000, a value which has been given to it by the growth and enterprise of the entire United States, but which under existing laws is appropriated by the heirs and assigns of Benjamin Oden.
The Farce of Excommunication
Brooklyn, N.Y.—It is amusing to read the comments in the great dailies on the expected excommunication of Dr. McGlynn, to me, a Catholic. They are, to say the least, laughable. The “sentence of excommunication,” as they call it, is spoken of with fear and horror. Bah! No human institution can excommunicate a pure man. He may be cut off from participation in the outward forms and ceremonies of religion; but that is not excommunication, for they are, as Dr. McGlynn himself beautifully expressed it, “but signs and symbols of spiritual things.” Neither bishop, propaganda nor pope can prevent an honest man from communing with his Creator. Excommunication did well enough for the dark days in the world’s history, when men could neither read nor write, when the superstition of which their ignorance was the parent, made them easy prey to the craft and chicanery of ecclesiastics. But excommunication has no place in the nineteenth century when the blessings of education are so widely diffused among the masses; it only serves to render ridiculous those enjoying the higher distinctions of the church in Rome, and leaves the church open to accusation that she is yet laboring in the mire of the bigotry and fanaticism of the middle ages. All honor to Rev. Edward McGlynn for the manly and self-sacrificing stand he has taken.
Dr. McGlynn Teaches the Religion of Humanity
South Minneapolis, Minn.—I have read The Standard from the start and am intensely interested in the Corrigan-McGlynn controversy. While I have little faith in any of the creeds, I am fully convinced that the doctrine advocated by Father McGlynn is good enough for Catholic, Protestant, infidel, Hebrew or Hottentot, and it is the broad, humanitarian doctrine advocated by him and Rev. Pentecost that is ultimately to convert the world, if that is ever to be accomplished. I bid you godspeed in your work and enclose $1 for my initiation fee to the Anti-poverty society.
In regard to the article on Pope Leo’s letter, all I can say is you are entitled to the everlasting gratitude of all fair-minded people, without regard to race, creeds or previous condition of servitude. If that article is not inspired, it is at least full of good common sense.
The Way Topeka Gets Rich
Topeka, Kan.—In this city there is now an eighty acre tract of land for which $240,000 have lately been offered and $500,000 can be had readily. The present owner bought it of the United States government in 1856 for $1.25 per acre. He has one house on it worth $150, fences worth about the same, stables probably worth $25, and a very good orchard covering about ten acres. These are all the presence of people, with the improvements which they have made upon surrounding lands, have rendered this land worth $500,000. It is valued for taxation at less than $350, though its owner has refused $3,000 per acre, and it is, in fact, worth $8,000 per acre for town lots. More than this, he says he won’t lay out his land in lots until it has become the center of Topeka.
The New Church in the Crusade
Brooklyn, June 24—All new church people who are interested in the spread of the doctrines laid down in “Progress and Poverty” must be encouraged when through the columns of The Standard they hear of others of their faith who are also fellow crusaders. Mr. Spencer’s sermon, Mr. Reiche’s statement, Mr. Albert Smith’s letter, and lately Mrs. Day’s letter are grateful to me, and no doubt those named above will be equally glad to know that twenty or more of the members of the Brooklyn society are earnest workers in the great cause signified by the cross of the new crusade. And as others read their numbers must increase, as to read is to believe.
Hurrah for Dr. McGlynn
Leavenworth, Kan.—Enclosed please find $1, for which send me the following books in paper: “Progress and Poverty,” “Social Problems,” “Property in Land,” “The Land Question.” I want to post myself on the land and labor question before 1888. I have read The Standard ever since its birth, with the exception of three weeks while down in old Mexico, where I couldn’t get it, and must say that I regard it as the best paper in America.
I am a strong Catholic, but would like to possess a pair of lungs strong enough to yell “Hurrah for Dr. McGlynn!” so that it would strike the walls of Rome and echo back over the entire civilized world.
One of Nature’s Noblemen
New York—When I see the popular interest maintained in the land question; when I see such an ovation as was that parade given to one of the most talented advocates of these principles, and the next night hear from the lips of that man a pure and simple lesson from the teachings of the world’s greatest reformer, instead of a tirade of abuse against his enemies, I am confident of the success of the cause, and recognize that here is one who may rank among nature’s noblemen.
Thanks to John McMackin
Providence, R.I.—I have been a careful reader of The Standard from the start, and am in hearty accord with its policy. I am an Irish-American, and am proud of it; and I wish to express my complete satisfaction at the way in which John McMackin sat down on the impudent pretensions of the Dublin dude—O’Brien—who, by the way, is half landlord.
Truth is Mighty
New York Sun
Henry George’s land theories are having a great spread in Louisiana. Seventeen land and labor clubs have been organized in New Orleans.
Last week’s heat put to rout the few people in society still held in town by lingering engagements. Nearly every doorway in Fifth avenue is barred up, and there are fewer and fewer open blinds in the side streets all the way up. With July 1 the stagnant season will come in earnest, with nothing to look for in town until the first of the America’ cup gay at present. The Bar Harbor season has scarcely gotten under way yet, though most of the cottages are taken. Bar Harbor follows the Boston precedent rather, and in Boston the exodus from town always comes late. The New London boat races will draw a lively crowd of college men to the Thames this week and next. But college boat racing has become by this time rather a popular than a fashionable institution.—[New York Tribune]
When the Rotterdam steamship Edam reached her pier last week the custom house officers arrested John Schiniffer, a passenger. They found that one of Schiniffer’s trunks had a cleverly constracted false bottom, in which were secreted ostrich feathers valued at $500. The feathers were confiscated.
The mangled remains of a six weeks old girl baby were found one morning lately in the slide attached to a night soil scow lying at the Morgan street dock, Jersey City.
An immense throng attended at St. John’s Catholic church in Baltimore on the occasion of the investiture of the Rev. Bernard J. McManus, rector of that church, with the purple of monsignor of the first class. Cardinal Gibbons occupied the throne, and grand high mass was celebrated by the Rev. Dr. John Foley, with Monsignor McColgan as assistant priest. The papal bull conferring the title upon Mr. McManus, and declaring him a member of the papal household, was read, after which he was presented to the cardinal, who invested him with the purple insignia. The cardinal explained the ceremony, and said that the honor was conferred only upon those whose sincere piety and devotion to the church attracted the attention of the head of the Catholic faith.—New York Sun
Thomas Bartley, machinist, of Cambridge, Mass., had been out of work for some time, and was unable to obtain employment. Seeing no other way of relieving the destitution of his family, Bartley cut his throat and died, thus entitling his wife to his insurance of $2,000 in the Knights of Honor.
A number of New York capitalists, among whom are Colonel Hain and Charles Jenkins of the Manhattan elevated railroad, have bought part of Tomkinsville, S.I. It is reported that they will erect a number of handsome cottages on this property.
The Seventeenth ward liquor dealers have unanimously agreed to raise the price of beer from seven to eight cents a pint.
The big boarding house at 674 Clybourn avenue, Chicago, principally tenanted by street railway robbed last week. The thieves entered the house at night, chloroformed the boarders and secured several hundred dollars altogether.
Denis Ryan, the St. Paul capitalist, who is now rated at $7,000,000, could hardly have raised $500 in cash a dozen years ago. He is only forty years old, of agreeable manners, free from purseproud proclivities, and has never forgotten the friends of his struggling days. He made his money in mines, real estate and lumber.—[Wisconsin State Journal]
John Thomas Ross, a Baltimore negro, has been sentenced to be hanged. On Dec. 10, 1886, he murdered Emily Brown, an old white woman, and sold her body to the medical students of the Maryland university for $15. Ross received his sentence with a smile.
Mrs. James Brown Potter, wife of Mr. James Brown Potter, had the honor of acting at the Gaiety theater in London, June 27, before the prince and princess of Wales, the king and queen of Greece and many other personages. The distinguished audience were pleased with Mrs. Potter.
Dominick J. Ryder, a young man who has saved seventeen persons from drowning, is dying from consumption at St. Francis hospital, in Fifth street. Before he was of age Ryder saved the lives of several persons who fell into the East river, and later he did some heroic work in saving life at Long Branch and Rockaway Beach. He received a gold medal from congress in 1874, and he has received two other medals from the Humane society and one from the hotel keepers at Rockaway Beach. For about a year he has been bed-ridden, and his mother is said to be in want. His medals will barely pay the expenses of his funeral when he dies.
The Shamrock-Titania yacht race is to be sailed July 7. The stakes are a pint of gold dollars.
Hamilton Fish, August Belmont, Cyrus W. Field, Elbridge T. Gerry, Elihu Root, Cornelius N. Bliss, Chester A. Arthur, John T. Agnew, William B. Dinsmore, Henry Bergh, Richard A. Elmer, Edward Schell and John E. Develin have been incorporated into a society to prevent cruelty to sailors.
The Coxsackie savings institution has stopped payment as a result of Mr. Dwight’s embezzlement from the national bank of Coxsackie. Mr. Dwight was cashier of the bank and secretary for the savings institution, both concerns being under his management.
A new method of making car wheels is in use at Wilkesbarre, Pa., by which three men, who formerly made eighteen car wheels a day, can now make one every minute, or 720 a day. A steel case is used instead of one of sand, and when removed the wheel is at once ready for the axle.
The tube works and rolling and sheet mill of the Reading iron works will shut down on July 2, throwing out of work 2,000 men with a pay roll of $70,000 a month. The stoppage is due to the refusal of the employees to submit to a ten per cent reduction in wages. President Colt says the works will remain closed for an indefinite period.
Burglars entered the home of Lewis Woodruff at Staten island one night last week and took a quantity of silverware and a well filled purse, amounting in all to $400.
“I am in my senses, but am discouraged. I kill myself because it is impossible for me to make a decent living.” This was written on a tag fastened to the coat of an unknown German who blew out his brains in the depot of the Chicago and Northwestern road.
Mayor Hewitt says he is by no means an enemy to dogs. He himself has one of the finest kennels to mastiffs in the United States, but he is careful to keep them at his country place. He thinks that no dog owner should keep his dog in his city residence.
Henry Pingle, a laborer, who was injured on the West Shore railroad June 4, died at the Roosevelt hospital last week.
George M. Pullman’s private car was robbed at Chicago the other day, the burglars securing a strong box containing an expensive service of silver cutlery and other valuables.
Michael Bohl, while cleaning a tank in the ruins of Havenmeyer’s sugar refinery at Greenpoint recently, was suffocated by carbonic acid gas.
Trinity church is to build a “mission house” in Fulton street at a cost of $40,000.
Pittsburg Phil, the “Plunger of the West,” is reported to be worth over $40,000, won entirely in pool rooms.
The Journal do Comercio of Rio Janeiro says that on a farm in Brazil seven large monkeys have been taught to cut hemp and prepare it for sale. They work more quickly than negoes, and the cost of feeding them is but trifling.
Anti-Poverty in St. Louis
St. Louis, Mo.—We are preparing to start an anti-poverty society. Every city of any importance should organize one at once and flood the locality with tracts. We already have two land and labor clubs here, one of which I am secretary of.
K. Perry Alexander
The Brotherhood of Man
Hinckley in Washington Craftsman
Deeper than all sense of seeing
Lies the source of secret being,
And the soul with truth agreeing
Learns to live in thoughts and deeds;
For the life is more than raiment,
And the earth is pledged for payment
Unto man for all his needs.
Life is more than what man fancies,
Not a game of idle chances,
But it steadily advances
Up the rugged heights of time,
Till each complex web of trouble
Every good hope’s broken bubble
Hath a meaning most sublime.
More of practice, less profession;
More of firmness, less concession;
More of freedom, less oppression—
In the church and in the state;
More of life and less of fashion,
That will makes us good and great.
When true hearts divinely gifted,
From the dross of error sifted,
On their crosses are uplifted,
Shall the world’s most clearly see
That earth’s greatest time of trial
Calls for holy self-denial;
Calls on men to do and be.
But, forever and forever,
Let it be the soul’s endeavor,
Love from hatred to discover;
And in whatso’er we do,
Won by truth’s eternal beauty
From our highest sense of duty,
Evermore be firm and true.
The Land Shall Not Be Sold Forever
A Powerful Sermon by the Rev. Mr. Rollinson of Rahway, N.J.—God’s Law and Human Statutes
Rev. Mr. Rollinson, pastor of the First Baptist church, Rahway, N.J., recently preached the tourth of a course of lectures on social subjects, his topic being “Land Monopoly.” His text was Lev. 25:23. “The land will not be sold forever; for the land is mine.”
“It may be safely assumed,” said the preacher, “that a law enacted by God must be wise, righteous and beneficent, and that any antagonistic law would possess opposite characteristics. The passage read announces a law of perpetual authority, which stands unchanged in the only civil code which ever has been clothed with divine sanction. By all believers it is acknowledged to be a law [text missing] by infinite wisdom for the well being of a nation specially favored. Yet the nation of modern Christendom—our own among them—have by antagonistic statutes practically nullified this law of God and placed their fallible and selfish judgments in supposition to the wisdom of the Most High, with the disastrous results which might be impacted.
It cannot be denied that the present generation is confronted by the startling fact that the entire surface of the earth is rapidly passing into the hands of a limited number of its inhabitants, and that existing laws give to him the absolute control of the land they possess, with all that it contains of mineral or their forms of wealth: and that by these laws the natural rights of any other than this [text missing] class to the use of the earth or any of its resources is practically denied.
“The frivolous foundation on which is based a claim so stupendous in its magnitude and results is evident the moment the existing ties to private ownership of land are traced back to their origin, when almost invariably is assumed right is found to be derived from original seizure by the hand of power. An example of this was given in the grant to the [text missing] of York, by the king, of the whole land in comprised in the state of New Jersey, on which grant, made without a shadow of light, it is probable that the validity of every land title in the state depends. And what is done here is, in the main, true everywhere.”
The speaker drew attention to the rapid and constantly increasing monopolization of the land in this country, the immense tracts that have been bought for speculative purposes by which noblemen and foreign syndicates; pacts which already aggregate more than twenty millions of acres, and which are constantly being increased. Attention was called to the immense government grants to railroad reparations; to the vast tracts owned by private speculators and purchased as investments by the growing class of millionaires; to the extensive cattle ranges of the far west and to the rapid increase of grain farms numbing thousands of acres each, so that the [text missing] cannot be far distant when the whole of the great public domain once held in trust for the limited number, who will be virtually lords of the land.
“Already one seeking a homestead on the public lands must go nearly two thousand miles from the seaboard in search of it, and perhaps then seek in vain for a desirable spot. When under the shadow of the Colorado mountains all land capable of cultivation has been absorbed, while in that portion where irrigation is needed to produce crops, the water is well as the land has been monopolized. Where the unfortunate immigrant, after having bought a right to earn his bread by the sweat of his brow from the monopolist of land, finds himself compelled to pay a heavy tribute hourly to the monopolists of the water, who have seized the sources of supply, turned the [text missing] from their natural channels into artificial “ditches,” and exact for their use prices in extortionate as to swell the dividends of some corporations to eighty, ninety and one hundred per cent annually on the capital invested. Of the millions of acres of public land yet remaining, large portions are included in the great American desert; in the barren alkali lands; in tracts too mountainous and sterile for cultivation; and comparatively little remains outside of the Indian reservations and the tracts set aside for railroad selections, that is sufficiently inviting to tempt speculative investment.
“Considering this condition of the land into which by the will of God we have been bought, can one turn to the Holy Scriptures and read a declaration such as that made in the text: ‘The land shall not be sold forever; for the land is mine;’ or can he read that ‘the earth is the Lord’s and the fullness thereof;’ and that ‘the earth hath He given to the children of men,’ without having forced on him the conviction that the beneficent purposes of all are being set at naught and frustrated by the greed and selfishness of those whose [text missing] avarice and lust of power prompts [text missing] to appropriate what the Father of all [text missing] for the equal use and benefit of all?
“Is it possible for anyone to believe that the bountiful creator made the earth that greed and avarice might seize on its best portions, and through their possession enable the idle [text missing] in luxury on the fruits of the poor man’s toil? Has God given any generation of His the right to disinherit their successors to the very end of time, and in doing this deny that the earth hath He given any to the children of men!” No! What the creator did was the [text missing] of this. His law, immutable as Himself, is announced in my text: ‘The land shall not be sold forever; it is Mine, and ye are strangers and sojourners with Me.’ To generation after generation, as they should come and go, the right to the use of the land—that only, was given, while the creator of the land kept and still keeps the ownership in His own possession. ‘The land is mine,’ saith the Lord.
“If I am told that this divine law of land was given to the Jews only, I reply that so the moral law of the ten commandments was given to the Jews only; both laws, that of life and that of land, were given by the same God, and are invested with equal authority. What was good, right and just for a Jew is good, right and just for a Christian also. If I am told, as I may be, that the moral law is binding on all men because of its nature, I reply that the same is true of God’s law of land. It is so eminently wise and, in the nature of things, so just, as to have commanded the assent of the clearest thinkers of the world. Mr. John Stuart Mill, whose reputation as a political economist is world wide, says: ‘The land of every country belongs to the people of that country.’ Thomas Jefferson said: ‘It is a self-evident truth that the land belongs in usufruct to the living.’ Herbert Spencer, confessedly among the profoundest thinkers of the age, says: ‘Equity does not permit private property in land. For if one portion of the earth’s surface may be so held.’ ‘The world,’ he says, ‘is God’s bequest to mankind. All men are joint heirs to it.’ In saying this the first thinker of the age tells us that pure reason vindicates the dictum of revelation by leading up to the very statement made in our text—the land belongs to the Creator, who gives the use of it to the creatures he places on it, as in their successive generations they come and go, and to no generation has He given the right, nor can they in any other way have gained the right, to so dispossess the generations to succeed them as that a limited number of mankind may claim to own the planet on which all must live and from which the distressed must derive food, water, raiment and shelter. Yet he who, today, reading in God’s word the declaration that the earth and its fullness—its ample resources—is the Lord’s, should turn from the sacred oracles to human laws, would find himself confronted with what men esteem as a higher scripture—yet a man-made one—which dominates the Inspired Word and gives the ‘earth and the fullness thereof’ into the hands of a single class, disinheriting all others.”
The approaching completion of the new Union Pacific bridge calls to mind the fact that the waters of the Missouri are gleefully flowing over nearly two hundred graves of men who worked for the construction company. They were victims of the so-called “caisson disease,” which is caused by working in vaults where the pressure of the atmosphere is artificially increased to three or four times the normal pressure. A man works with pick and shovel for an hour, perhaps, without feeling any ill effects. Suddenly his spinal cord seems to snap and his head drops until it is nearly on a level with his loins. His blood, feeling like molten iron, courses through his veins with meteoric swiftness, and his skull seems to small to contain his brain. He is removed from the sepulcher and taken to the hospital. If he recovers he is a cripple for life. If not, he is buried in the sand on the sloping bank of the river, and a shingle marked Jones, Smith or Robinson, as the case may be, is stuck at the head of the grave. A portion of the machinery of the bridge has given out. That is all. Lives are cheap, and other pistons and levers take the place.
The Beginning of the End
Nothing shows the paralysis of British agriculture more completely than Mr. Mulhall’s “Fifty Years of National Progress.” Everything has progressed except the most important industry of all. Agriculture is actually six per cent lower than it was fifty years ago, and in reference to population thirty-three per cent lower. The following table gives some points in statistical form:
We have discovered that agriculture cannot live under landlordism, and all other industries will soon show similar signs of decay, for in time landlordism is fatal alike to all human progress.
Something Very Much Needed—By Whom?
The Chesapeake and Ohio railroad, through General Echols, has closed the trade with the Merchants’ compress company and others for that portion of land lying between Promenade and Front streets, and extending from Market street to the county jail. Since the news of the sale got into circulation property along Front street on the line of the proposed union depot has advanced wonderfully in value and owners of such property are at a loss what to ask, fearing that their offer would be accepted. In one instance the owner of a piece of property which cost $700 a couple of years ago refused an offer of $2,700 for it. The erection of the union depot at this point will have an electrical effort upon North Memphis, especially that portion of it adjacent to the depot. It will bring about a “boom” uptown, something very much needed and to be desired.
Eaten Up by Rent
Burlington, Is., Justice
The northeast corner of Fourth and Jefferson streets was first occupied we think about eighteen years ago by Hutchinson & French; they were not successful, dissolved, and Hutchinson & Schramm succeeded, who a few years later failed and were succeeded by Chris Boesch who failed, while Lang Bros. Announce that they will quit on July 1. Yet, notwithstanding that every occupant of this corner for eighteen years has been unsuccessful, the landlord has increased the rent steadily. To us it seems illogical to attack the individuals, Mr. Jones, Lord Lansdowne of Mr. Hedge. It is the infernal system that is alone at fault.
Yet They Say We Have No State Endowed Church
The True Educator
A year ago Charles Maclay of San Fernando gave the university of southern California $150,000 to endow the Maclay theological college at San Fernando, offering the trustees their choice of taking the gift in money or land at San Fernando. They chose the latter, and took 1,000 acres. They have already sold $30,000 worth at $200 an acre, and, as the price is steadily rising, will probably realize $225,000 from the gift.
An Entailed Estate
God has lent us the earth for our life. It is a great entail. It belongs as much to those who are to come after us and whose names are already written in the book of creation as to us; and we have no right, by anything that we do or neglect, to involve them in any unnecessary penalties, or to deprive them of benefits which it was our power to bequeath.
Old Time Excommunications
For some reason the newspapers are just now concerning themselves with the formulas in use in the Roman Catholic church for excommunication. They have apparently overlooked one of the most interesting features of the process when it was at its height in the middle ages. At that time a man under excommunication was in a terrible plight, and a nation under papal interdict was cursed indeed. The church was all-powerful, and the bishops’ courts took cognizance not only of human affairs, but of the conduct of dumb animals. These stories in the light of today read like burlesques or extravaganzas, but they are well authenticated, and give us a curious glimpse of the child-like faith of the child-minded men of the middle ages.
A familiar tradition concerning the exercise of the power of the church against animals is mentioned by several French historians, who state that Chasseneuz, president of one of the provinces of France, gained his first reputation as an advocate by the ingenuity he displayed as counsel for the rats of Autun, when they were on trial before the bishops’ court. Mr. Henry White, Ph.D., of London, in correcting this story, quotes at length from a curious volume written by Chasseneuz, which abounds in accounts of the dealings of the church with the lower animals. Not only were these creatures excommunicated, but they were formally convicted of crimes and turned over to the civil power for execution of sentence. Such executions took place in Paris in 1314, at Caen in 1470, at Bordeaux in 1528 and at Paris in 1601. A bull was condemned to be hanged in 1499, and in the archives of Lille is the certificate of the execution of a pig for having killed and eaten a child. In the archives of Dijon is an order to pay the provost of Macon for hanging a pig that had killed a child. It appears from the accompanying bill that a new gibbet was built expressly for this execution.
In this work Chasseneuz refers to the case of the rats of Autun, his only connection with which was that of a historian. A petition had been presented to the bishop, complaining that the rats had committed serious depredations in the vineyards, causing famine and high prices. The rats were thereupon duly summoned before the bishop, and an advocate was appointed to defend them and their accomplices, the slugs and caterpillars. After a former trial, rodents and worms were condemned, and ordered to depart the province within three hours on pain of excommunication.
Chasseneuz gives a very full account of a trial of caterpillars, particulars of which are still preserved in the records of St. Julien, in Savoy, a little place not far from the old Episcopal city of St. Jean de Maurienne, on the Mount Cenis road. In 1545 the vineyards of St. Julien were overrun by a horde of voracious green caterpillars. The villagers brought an action for damages against the worms. In due time the case came before the ecclesiastical judge of St. Jean. The syndics of St. Julien appeared as plaintiffs and the caterpillars as defendants, each party being duly represented by counsel. Letters monitory were issued, and a commission of experts was appointed to assess damages. The validity of this inspection was questioned by the defense, but counsel for the worms was overruled. The judge, however, displayed great impartiality, saying:
Seeing that God, the Supreme Creator of everything that exists, has permitted the earth to bring forth fruits and vegetables, not only for the nourishment of reasonable creatures like man, but even for the preservation of the insects which fly over the surface of the earth, it would be by no means becoming to proceed with too much haste against the animals in this case.
There certainly was no undue haste, for the case dragged along till May of the following year (1546), by which time the defendants had disappeared and the case apparently went against them by default. They reappeared in greater force in 1587, and the syndics solemnly appeared before the bishop’s court demanding the execution of the old judgment. They prayed the court to appoint a commission to visit the damaged vineyards and to summon the opposite party to be present at such visitation. They further promised that in case the caterpillars should be excommunicated or put under an interdict that they would assign them a place where they would assign them a place where they should have sufficient food. A decree was finally granted, which urged the parishioners to forsake their sins, pay their tithes and make processions around the vineyard. All of this was duly attended to and the parish priest so reported to the court. Thereupon appeared one Peter Remband, counsel for the caterpillars, who moved to set aside the judgment on the ground that the plaintiffs had never had any standing, because common sense tells us that brute beasts like these “verpillons” cannot be regularly summoned or reasonably condemned for contumacy. Counsel further went on to show from Genesis that God created creeping things, blessed them and commanded them to multiply, and said, “To everything that creepeth on the earth I have given every green herb for meat.” He therefore insisted that the worms but exercised their natural rights in eating plaintiffs’ vines.
This plea appears to have taken counsel for the plaintiff by surprise, and they asked a month’s delay in which to prepare their answer. They then came into court claiming that as God had given man dominion over all other created things, that caterpillars were subject to his use and could set up no valid claim against him. They seemed to be in some doubt, however, as to the justice of their answer, for they renewed their former proposal to set apart a piece of land for the exclusive benefit of the worms and sufficient for their support. Counsel for the caterpillars finally accepted from history, all the more completely as the last page of the record is destroyed, and so we have no information as to the means by which Peter Remband persuaded his clients to comply with the terms of the compromise.
To modern ears this sounds like a burlesque or a story of the play of children, but it is a literal account of actual and serious legal proceedings, and there were many such cases in the ecclesiastical courts down to and beyond the time of Luther. Sentences of excommunication were frequently pronounced against animals. St. Mammet, bishop of Vienne, excommunicated certain wolves and pigs for devouring children in that city. St. Bernard, when bothered by an immense swarm of flies in the church of Frogny, ascended the pulpit and excommunicated them. Instantly, according to the received tradition, the flies fell dead to the floor in such quantities that shovels were required to remove them. St. Hugh, bishop of Grenoble, in the eleventh century excommunicated the snakes at Aix les Bains in Savoy with such effect that thenceforth the bite of the serpent ceased to be poisonous, while all are familiar with the tradition that St. Patrick rid Ireland of snakes by miraculous means.
In the district of Chur, in Switzerland, there is a tradition very like that of the caterpillars of St. Julien. The invaders of Chur were beetles. They were summoned before the church court and ordered to withdraw upon being furnished by the plaintiffs with a suitable place of retreat. Thereupon a written contract was entered into between counsel for the beetles and counsel for the people, and the story goes that the insects retired to the ground assigned them and faithfully kept the contract. In fact, most of these traditions declare that animals and insects obeyed the sentences imposed upon them by ecclesiastical authority, but there are not wanting stories of contumacious brutes or bugs that refused obedience. In such cases the rebels were formally cursed with all due solemnity in the churches, and this was kept up until they did disappear. The subject is one that will amply repay study by one curious as to the customs and ideas of the people of the middle ages.
The Belgian Workingmen
James Stephens in Boston Republic
The chief shibboleth of the Belgian workman is manhood suffrage. So long as he is refused that boon, so long shall he actively conspire against established authority; for in the position he now holds he finds himself a veritable pariah of society. He is compelled to obey laws in the framing or passing of which he has been allowed to take no part directly or indirectly. He is, moreover, obliged to pay rates and taxes with the subsequent distribution of which he has as little to do as a Cherokee Indian. He feels that he is the puppet and serf of the upper classes; and it is the intensity of this feeling which prompts him to have recourse to measures reprehensible in themselves, but which he considers will be ultimately efficacious to attain the good he aims at. As it is not the commune, but the right to vote, that is just now the cardinal principle of the Belgian democracy, the government, to my mind, could not do better than bow to the justice of this claim, and concede it to the claimants without further delay. I doubt, however, if M. Bernaert and his colleagues will take up such a measure and adopt it as part and parcel of their official program. They are, I fear, destined to keep their ears closed to the popular cry till the people’s acts shall have replaced the people’s words, and an angry upheaval of the masses may cause the monarchy itself to tumble ingloriously in the dust. In any case you may expect strikes and raids and rumors of strikes and raids in this country so long as the boon is denied to the plebs.
Home Rule and Land Reform
Correspondence Toronto Labor Reformer
I believe that Ireland has a right to home rule if she wants it, and I believe it would be in England’s best interest to concede it—for it is always the best and wisest and most profitable thing to do the right thing—but I am just as certain as I am that like causes will produce like result; that with home rule and the present land system continued in its essentials—and mind you that is what all the leading nationalists, except Davitt, believe in—the condition of the Irish people would be bettered for the moment scarcely at all, and it would be very soon just as bad as ever.
What better evidence do you want that the mass of Irish sympathizers are not land reformers than the fact that they hold up, as one of the heroes of their cause, Killbride, who is a sort of sub-landlord—a man who rents land from a land owner and sub-lets it out at a profit. Could any real land reformer fail to see that the class to which Killbride belongs are worse enemies of the tillers of the soil than are the landlords? Then the home rulers, when they talk of the land question, the farthest they get is “peasant proprietorship,” which takes no account of the laborers, whose rights in the Irish soil are just as good as those of the tenants.
The True Solution of the Irish Question
Brooklyn Catholic Examiner
Landlordism must be abolished, and the only way to abolish it is by making it impossible for the idle and shiftless millionaire tramps of the British aristocracy to reap the fruits of the toil of their poor Irish tenants. Home rule alone will not accomplish this. Ireland may get rid of foreign political dictation, but the landlords will remain.
How to get rid of them? Why, tax the land until it no longer yields any profit to those who do not use it. Then the foreign landlords will have to let go and a true peasant proprietorship will be established, each farmer having exclusive possession of his holding, all his improvements—houses, crops, drains, fences—being absolutely his without tax and amenable only to the state for his land tax which would fall with the fall in prices and rise with the increase in population, keeping exact relation to the necessities of the community, a scientific system, simple and easily adopted. That would stop evictions forever.
Immigration and a Boom
The boom in real estate has extended as far west as California. For more than a year past real estate values in southern California have been increasing with unheard of rapidity, owing to the large influx of immigration in that direction, which was brought about by judicious advertising. But it was not till the present year that the boom, while continuing in the southern sections, has extended to other countries. Residents are not slow to take advantage of the improvement, and large blocks of land in country districts have changed hands, as well as smaller farms. If the record of sales made in all parts of the state were compiled, showing the advance in properties, some almost incredible figures would be presented.
Central Park Land Values
Correspondence Real Estate Record
In the speculation which followed the enactment of the law in 1853 property advanced in one year from one hundred to three hundred per cent in some localities, and one noted instance is recorded of an advance in a single plot of thirteen hundred per cent within five years. This was the tract bounded by Fifth and Madison avenues and Seventy-eighth and Seventy-ninth streets, which in 1852 was sold for $3,000, and in 1837 for $40,000. Twelve years after Mr. Vanderbilt offered $1,250,000 for this plot, and the offer was refused.
An Obstacle to Progress
New Milford, Conn., Gazette
Now that New Milford is on the eve of an industrial development, now that the citizens are all talking about how this place is growing and is likely to arise which probably few have thought of. Land holders will be tempted to refuse to sell land at reasonable prices. They may ask so much for their acres that they will throw a damper at once on manufacturers who would be glad to locate here.
A Query for the Archbishop
Burlington, Iowa, Saturday Evening Post
Archbishop Corrigan declares that every man has a right to acquire by honest means as much land as he can, and cites the Indians as an example of the disastrous results of a free land policy. We have no disposition to engage in a heated debate with this worthy prelate, but we would like to ask him what he would do if some other fellow were to get possession of all the land and order him to vacate the premises?
The Outlook In the South
The Land Question Is the Question of the Present Day
Mobile, Ala., June 15—One-half the world is today building monuments to the memory of the martyrs our fathers stoned, while the other half is busy stoning the man to whose memory our children will build monuments. Was it Gladstone or Disraeli who said, “The prevailing opinion is generally erroneous, and the one about to disappear,” so slow are the masses to grasp the situation.
Today the public press is, of all institutions, the most conservative. Not only conservative, but absolutely hostile to any change in the existing order of things. I was forcibly reminded of this in reading an article of Mr. G.W. Curtis in last week’s Harper’s. The same reasons he gives to justify the defection of those whigs who were instrumental in forming the republican party in 1860 would now justify republicans and democrats alike in forming a new party, for today neither republican nor democrat has a single issue upon which the interest of the people can be centered. I have talked with leading men all over the southern states during the last three years, and the opinion is universal that the only interest now in the democratic ranks is, how to obtain office; the only issue, to turn out more republican office holders and substitute democrats. Even the “tariff reform” urged by some democrats, cannot be called a democratic measure, for many of the southern democrats oppose any reduction since parts of the south have become so largely interested in manufacturing. The average southern democrat doesn’t want any reduction in the tariff, and around which to rally. So far as the Union is concerned, the south is today as loyal as the north, while the questions of states’ rights and nullification are as much out of keeping with the present temper of the times as the old theological question of “how many angels could stand upon the point of a cambric needle.” There is indeed a vague idea among democrats that their party is still actuated by the principles of those leaders were, and no one could say what would be their ideas regarding present issues.
I defy any man to show in any declaration or platform of either the democratic or republican party for the last five more years, any worthy issue; any call that has enlisted the thought or enthusiasm of any one but the office seeker. The republican party has sought to uphold its record as the “grand old party,” and the democratic party has sung the praises of pure Jacksonianism, and burned tapers before the image of Jefferson. But to the men who have become of voting age since the settlement of the only question that ever divided these parties, the “pointing with pride to past record,” and the appeal to “pure democratic principle,” is much like reciting to them the history of the Black Hawk war. The temperance question has vitality, but the two old parties have played battledore and shuttlecock with it as seemed to both to suit their immediate purposes, and now the land question is fast overshadowing all others, and must continue to do so, as it includes all other living questions, temperance not excepted.
There are today no dividing issues south between the two old parties, even the colored man voting the democratic ticket when he thinks the best men for the office are upon that ticket, the issues in all cases being purely local. If neither one of these old parties can see the new ground to be taken, or, seeing it, will not or dare not take it, they have no further right to exist, and their speedy dissolution is but a question of the immediate future.
Mr. Curtis, in the article already referred to, says, “It is those who believe a cause to be paramount to all other causes who give it victory.” This is true; but to find such men Mr. Curtis will have to look to the temperance party and to the land and labor party. Mr. Curtis represents a fractional party who might be called political agnostics, and from the position they occupy they can no more see the actual tendency of the times than could Daniel Webster when urged by Charles Sumner to champion the cause of humanity. Mr. Curtis and his friends are making the same mistake that Mr. Webster made.
The land question is the question of the future. It is now coming on as the slavery question was thirty years ago. All that is needed is to present it fairly to the people, and the truth that all men have equal rights in the land will compel acceptance. And when the land question is rightly settled, it will be found that many other questions have been settled also; questions that to some seem paramount, but which are really subsidiary. Such, I believe, will be found to be the case with the temperance question, tariff laws, reformatory methods and institutions, etc., etc.
Fully believe that the land and labor party will accomplish for all men much more than the republican party accomplished for the colored man, I pledge my best efforts and all my time to aid it, and call upon all fair-minded men to examine its claims. No party has ever embraced in its principles so much of promise to the human race, and no party ever started with greater promise of ultimate success, success that will benefit all, even those who continue to oppose it.
Edward Quincy Norton
Something for Professor Swing to Read
Chicago—Professor David Swing, the popular preacher and essayist, in a recent address on “The Dream of Henry George,” said that a tax on land values would increase the price of commodities. Let me suppose the case of a man who owns a fifty lot in the city of Chicago, upon half of which is a twenty-five foot flat. He pays $200 taxes, $100 on the lot and $100 on the house. If he adds another flat, his tax will be increased another $100. No matter in what way he may improve that lot, his tax will increase proportionately—in fact, the community fines him for improving it. Now suppose the $200 comes entirely from the land; the owner has to pay $200 ground tax whether he uses the ground or not. He will then put up his two houses and improve his property if he can, because the more the improvements amount to, the smaller his tax will be—the community offers him a reward for his industry. Such a tax system would cover all the vacant lots in Chicago with houses, until every family had a comfortable home.
Dr. McGlynn at Oswego
Oswego, N.Y., Herald
The people who listened to the lecture of Dr. McGlynn the other night, departed from the Oswego casino enthusiastic in their praises of the man, his brilliancy, eloquence and sincerity, and willing to at least admit that there is a necessity for amendments to the social system, and that the theories of George and McGlynn are not so much akin to socialism and like evils as the popular mind has believed. Men who were disposed to criticize the lecturer remained to praise him, and the people of his own faith expressed themselves aggrieved that a man of McGlynn’s attainments and sincerity should rest under the ban of ecclesiastical condemnation.
A Battle Hymn
(Air—“John Brown’s Body.”)
We have lifted up The Standard of a new and glorious cross;
We have turned our backs on Egypt, and we count its wealth but dross;
Hard conflict lies before us, but the Lord will shield His host,
As we go marching on.
‘Gainst poverty and wretchedness we wage a battle strong;
The Lord our God is mighty, but the conflict will be long;
Our foes, their name is legion, but they can’t uphold the wrong,
As we go marching on.
The earth! our Father made it for His children small and great;
‘Tis humanity’s inheritance, the people’s own estate;
Nor kings nor knaves shall fence it in while labor starves and waits,
As we go marching on.
Our “Battle cry of Freedom.” how it thrills the soul that hears;
How it rouses up the soldier; how it calms the widow’s fears;
How it comforts the afflicted, while it wipes away their tears,
As we go marching on.
Then grid ye on the armor bright of truth and liberty;
A better day is coming, when the people shall be free,
And their songs of joy shall echo forth from mountain unto sea,
As we go marching on.
Chorus—Glory, glory, halleluja, etc.
Straws Which Show The Wind
One effect of the McGlynn incident is the assertion of a spirit of independence among Catholics, which is as gratifying as it is novel.—[Independent]
Dr. McGlynn is not the only priest that is dissatisfied with the pomps and vanities of clerical expositions which rest upon and are adjuncts to the present system.—[Social Science]
A rich New York man had two little girls arrested and detained at the police station for picking a few flowers from his garden. It is such meanness as this that makes members for anti-poverty societies.—[Exchange]
The discussion of Henry George’s proposal for the nationalization of land has led to the general admission that land can be held only for the benefit of the people, and not for the individual benefit, and that possession of land is not actual ownership, but is only a trust for the benefit of the community.—[Bobcaygeon, Ont., Independent]
“Are there too many houses?” is a question the Real Estate Bulletin propounds in speaking of the building prospects in this city. Considering that the city has 25,000 tenement houses, about ten per cent of which are wretched affairs even for tenement houses, the question would seem to be somewhat superfluous. If the city had 100,000 more houses it would not have enough.—[New York Tribune]
The idea that an American Catholic is bound to act in American politics as the servile puppet of Rome; that he must vote, speak and think in all our government matters as an Italian, four thousand miles away, is fast becoming a thing of the past, and members of that church are becoming more enlightened every day, notwithstanding the efforts of the clergy to the contrary.—[Montgomery, N.Y., Standard]
We might assume that the Rev. Father McGlynn, who delivered an able address last night at Hodge opera house, upon “The Cross of the New Crusade,” is a fanatic or lunatic; but this would only indicate our inability to appreciate a man of remarkable intellectual power, of a most reverent religious nature, and possessing a wealth of human sympathy which gives him high rank with the philanthropists of all ages.—[Lockport, N.Y., Union]
Kansas City’s real estate operators have induced capitalists of other states to invest a great deal of money there. But now they are investing so much of this money in the lower and safer real estate of St. Louis and other cities whose traffic is not confined to front feet, that cattle paper at Kansas City has to stand a discount of fifteen to eighteen per cent. When capital pours in to inflate a town lot boom and then skips away to seek safety in legitimate business elsewhere the shrewdness of the boomers is vindicated; but it is bad for the town.—[St. Louis Post-Dispatch]
We do desire, however, to keep our readers posted as to this question, and are also candid enough to state that so fair our sympathies are with the bishop of Meath and Dr. McGlynn, but this may arise from the feeling the Commercial always has for the weaker party, the one battling with evils entrenched behind official battlements. When we have made up our mind we will not be slow to let it be known. The land question is not only interesting, but it is fundamental and far reaching, and we cannot be too fully informed as to arguments and facts affecting a decision.—[Pensacola, Fla., Daily Commercial]
We regret to say there are some men who lay claim to Irish patriotism, and profess themselves as anxious to prosecute the land war for the extermination of the landlords in Ireland with vigor, while, in the same breath, they denounce the representatives of the land and labor party in America with bitterness, because the latter think it is right to prevent the growth of a system in America which has brought on most of the wretchedness and mourning on their once happy land—Ireland. Indeed, if the abolition of landlordism will prove a blessing to Ireland, why refuse to extend its beneficence to America?—[St. Louis America Celt]
Said Assistant Librarian Knapp of the public library the other day: “In proof of the interest taken in the land question let me show you a copy of ‘Progress and Poverty,’ and you can see how often the book has been taken out of our library this year. It was first taken out Jan. 5, and was returned on the 19th. Only two days later, Jan. 21, it was again taken out. It was again called for Feb. 1, again on Feb. 26, again March 22, April 8, April 28 and May 5. Thus, one reader hardly finishes ‘Progress and Poverty’ before another reader comes and calls for it. There is not a novel in our whole library, not even Dumas’ ‘Monte Cristo,’ or Howells’ ‘Silas Lapham,’ or Haggard’s ‘She,’ that can show a better record of ‘called for’ dates than this philosophical work of Henry George. As I have said, its popularity is simply marvelous.”—[Boston Herald]
An Opinion of Some Waterbury People
Winsted, Conn., Press
What kind of creatures have they in Waterbury calling themselves citizens of the United States? A dispatch from the brazen city says that Dr. McGlynn lectured there last Thursday night, but that the Catholic clergy “threw so much cold water on the project that the attendance was small.” Men so much under the thumb of the priest are fit subjects for the collar of the plutocrat.
The Problem to be Solved
Rockland, Me., Opinion
The question is a practical one that is forcing itself forward and must be met. The problems presented are not Mr. George’s, though he has stated them very clearly. They are problems which present themselves to the American people by their own importance, and they must be solved.
Tenement House Morality
Rev. J.O.S. Huntington in the Forum
Some time ago a lad came back to me, after making his confession and asked, in a troubled tone: “Father, must I confess what that man says at the shop!” That, it seems to me, is a fair example of the effect not only of the shops where tenement house people work, but of the streets where they walk and the buildings in which they live. Here was a boy with strong impulses toward goodness, trying and struggling to do right and to keep himself pure, hating the blasphemy and obscenity which he heard from those around him, and yet compelled for so many hours each day to breathe an atmosphere foul with moral corruption that he had come to feel that the sin about him was somehow his own, and that he needed cleansing from others’ guilt as if he were himself defiled. That this is the case in many shops where children work is clear from their own pathetic acknowledgment. “How can we be good,” they cry, “when we have to hear such talk all day?” Or, as the older ones say, in yet sadder tones: “When I first went to the factory I thought I couldn’t stand it; then I got used to it; now I say the same things myself.” Would that the evil stopped short at words!
But it is not of shops that I have to speak now, but of a more sacred place, of that which must ever be the source from which the life of society flows forth—of the homes of our working people. And I solemnly aver that the tenement house system surrounds the poor in their very families with just such corrupting influences as those found in the factories and shops; yes, and with yet more deadly moral contagion. How can it be otherwise? Take one block in a tenement house district. It will measure 700 by 200 feet. On all four sides are rows of tenements four or five stories high. Behind one-third of the houses in these rows are rear houses, with smaller rooms, darker and dirtier passages, backed often by another rear house, a brewery, a stable or a factory. Altogether there are 1,736 rooms. In these rooms live 2,076 souls, divided into 460 families; thus, on the average, each family of five persons occupies three rooms. The population of some parts of New York is 290,000 to the square mile—the most densely populated part of London has 170,000. Of course in many cases the family is larger (some of the very poorest people take lodgers), and in a number of cases we have found fourteen or fifteen grown persons occupying two rooms, or even one. And then many of these “rooms” are hardly more than closets, and dark closets at that. Almost all the bedrooms measure only seven feet by nine, and have but one door and one window. The door leads into the apartment that serves as kitchen, parlor, sitting room, laundry and workshop, and the window opens on a dark stairway, up which the moisture from the cellar and the sewer gas from the drains are continually rising. One-fifth of these rooms, too, are in basements below the level of the street, and nearly half of even the outer rooms open into courts only twenty feet wide, in which there are usually several wooden privies for the use of the fifteen or twenty families in the front and rear houses.
I know that these statistics will give but a faint conception of the density of the population to any except those who have gone in and out of the houses day and night for months, if not years; but most people, by a little effort of the imagination, can form some sort of an idea how impossible it is for dwellers in tenement blocks to get out of the sight and sound of their neighbors, whose names are often unknown, but whose voices and footsteps are as familiar as those of their own roommates. At all seasons of the year the inhabitants of a tenement house must meet one another in the entries (sometimes less than three feet wide), on the stairs, at the sink(there is but one on each floor); must see into one another’s rooms as each person goes in and out; must use the roof, the doorway, the yard, in common. But when the summer heats are on, and men and women crowd together on the top of the house waiting for a breeze to come; when men will sit all night on a scat in the park to escape the closeness of a room where fire has been burning all day(not for cooking, but to heat the irons for the laundry or the tailor’s shop); when ever window must stand open to let in what little air there is; then it may be seen that privacy in a tenement house is not much more possible than in an eastern caravansary or in the steerage of an emigrant vessel. At such a time every loud word spoken reaches the ears of scores of people. From one room come the harsh tones of a husband and wife in the heat of a “family quarrel,” oaths and imprecations ringing out on the fetid air; from another window comes the shouts and frantic laughter of men and women (God pity them!) trying to drown their misery in liquor from the gin mill on the corner; while from the roof of a neighboring house come the words of a ribald song flung out shamelessly to all within hearing, whether they choose or not. And, as if they were not debasing enough, in many of these blocks every other house has, on the ground floor, a saloon or rum shop, from which the smell of alcohol issues at all times; where the monotonous click of balls on the pool table sounds till after midnight, when it gives place to the howls of drunken men turned out on the street; and past the door of which, often open into the entry, every person, every child, in the house must pass to and from his room.
And who are the people that crowd these tenements? Perhaps it will be thought that the very badness of the condition of such places shows that the people are all “filthy and debased creatures,”2 And that, therefore, very little can be done or need be done for them. Men will be inclined to dismiss the whole matter with a shrug of the shoulders and an impatient sigh. “It is all very dreadful, no doubt, but there will always be base, corrupt people; they naturally herd together, they create their own misery; if you root them out of one locality they will simply transfer themselves and their brutality and vice to some other.” No doubt there are such people in tenement houses, but that they represent the great body of the tenement house population I entirely deny. Side by side with these poor outcasts of humanity are hard working men and women who are leading lives of heroic purity and nobility. They are fighting, at fearful odds, to keep themselves and their children from the filth and pollution all about them. It is in their name that I plead; and not for their sake only, but for that great middle class of those who are not determinedly vicious, and yet are not striving with such desperate resolution as these others after goodness and truth—those who would gladly do right, but lack the courage to rise above the mass of simple low living and coarseness around them. Surely the case of these people is pitiful enough. They are pressed together under conditions which make it well nigh impossible for them to help themselves or one another. The bad almost inevitably drag down the good, and the good have not the chance to lift up the bad. Remember that the tenement population of most of our cities is a heterogeneous mixture of all the races and nationalities of the globe. There is no place in such a conglomeration for the public spirit and popular sentiment that so often exercise a restraining and elevating influence. There is no standard of morality. Human nature is left to do pretty nearly what it likes, and the lower passions are not slow to assert themselves.
This is all the more the case that so many of these people are immigrants. They have come from the villages of England, Germany, Russia, where they were under the constraint of a certain conventional morality, backed up by a strong and vigilant, even if a despotic, government that made it often easier to do right than to do wrong. Here they are jumbled together in utter disorder, Prussians, Bohemians, Swiss, Scotch, Chinese, Italians, Turks, Jews and Christians, black and white; a restless, seething mass of human beings, unable to talk together. In a city like New York may be found representatives of almost “every epoch of history and every locality of the world.” One says that in New York may be found representatives of almost “every epoch of history and every locality of the world.” One says that in New York he has heard eighty-four languages and distinct dialects spoken. The signs alone in the crowded parts of the city show the cosmopolitan character of the population. Is it not evident that in such a chaotic state of things, with the reins of government held very loosely, every one, man, woman, boy and girl, must actually live in an atmosphere of defilement night and day; not merely going into it, as in the case of work in a shop, and then coming back into pure and elevating surroundings, but breathing in the polluted air with every breath? Why, the very tones of the voices that I have heard from my room in a tenement house brought with them a sense of moral contamination. Even bodily cleanliness is almost impossible. Bathrooms are unknown in tenement houses, and the public baths, open only a few months of the year, often afford but fresh opportunities for vice. In most families what little washing is done must be done in the presence of others, and often all the water used must be carried up three or four flights of narrow winding stairs.
Of course sickness and death have their own horrors and their own depraving influences. What little privacy may be possible for the well is often denied to the sick, who, to get any air at all, must lie in the room used by the whole family for almost every purpose. Many of the diseases are infectious, but isolation is impossible, and therefore almost every child suffers from scarlet fever, measles, chicken-pox and diptheria, and often bears the results through life. And death, from its frequency and the coarseness that surrounds it, loses, if not all its terrors, at least in dignity, and is regarded as one of the many disagreeable accidents of life, hardly worthy even of idle curiosity. The corpse lies for two days in the room where the family eats, works and often sleeps.1
But this is by no means exhausts the abominations of the system of tenement house life. As I have said, it is by an effort quite beyond the powers of many people that grown men and women can resist the lowering influences about them. What, then, must be the lot of the children? They must not only hear all that older people hear, and see all that they see, at an age when every such sight and sound leaves its impression, but they are practically forced into acquaintanceship with the other dwellers in the tenement which their elders can avoid. Many mothers do try to keep their children in their own rooms, but as the children grow up this is increasingly difficult, and at length impossible. Once beyond the mother’s supervision, the child inevitably becomes one of a group of children representing, perhaps, almost all the nationalities and religions of which the population consists. This group of children finds its play ground in the dirty streets in front of the block, or in the dirty yard, half filled with privies, behind. Here and there is a yard where turf has been laid and a few flowers coaxed to grow; but there, of course, is no room for children. When it rains the children play in the cellars, sailing their boats on the water that often stands there, or wading ankle deep in it. Wherever they play they are without any real oversight. The fathers are at their work or in the saloon; the mothers are working wearily at the sewing machine or the wash tub, too driven to stop and watch their children, even if they can see them from the window. Think of what possibilities of moral contagion lie in such associations, amid such surroundings. Think how horribly ruinous the presence of one older bad child can be. As a fact, I could not here relate what I know to be the effects of such companionship; I could not even describe the games at which they play.
But suppose that a child passes with some degree of safety, through the period of mere unconscious and, even in tenement houses, light-hearted childhood.2 Suppose the child has not been afflicted by many of the disorders—granulated eyelids, scrofula, rickets, heart disease—so shockingly prevalent among these children, what then awaits these boys and girls? As life begins to open, and the desire for a little of the brightness and happiness of the world makes itself felt, what is the scene that confronts them? A wilderness of ignorance, poverty and crime; a moral desert, beautiless, joyless, utterly unsatisfying to all the best and noblest instincts of their hearts. Do you realize that in a tenement house district there is absolutely not one lovely thing on which the eyes can rest? Even the sky is often robbed of its fairness by the clouds of smoke and dust. The glories of sunrise and sunset are unknown. The sun crawls up from among the chimney pots, and goes down behind brick walls and tin roofs. The streets are always filthy, the houses ugly, the shop windows cheaply gaudy, or neglected and covered with dust; the blocks are wearily monotonous, the school rooms are bare and uninteresting, the factories are filled with fluff, and dirt, and noise; the air is charged with foul odors from close courts, open drains, or the neighboring oil and varnish works; the river is foul with mud and ooze and the refuse of a great city; the district ends in heaps of rubbish and empty lots, waiting for a rise in the market. And the rooms are often worst of all. There is many a “home” where a boy or girl over fourteen years old would not think of passing an evening unless compelled to do so. Think of coming back after a hard day’s work in a shop to find the only sitting room half filled with washtubs, the baby crying, children squabbling on the floor, or perhaps tumbling about on the bed; the walls hung with the soiled clothes and dresses of the family; the whole place reeking with the smell of fat and garlic from the hot stove; the table “set” with coarse, broken china, strewn on a dirty board; a kerosene lamp, without a shade, smoking in the middle; a loaf of bread in the brown paper in which it was wrapped at the bakery, and a coffee pot of black, bitter coffee. That is the scene which welcomes many a girl or boy, just beginning to realize how differently other people live. Is it strange that they gulp down their sugarless coffee and, at the first chance, slip out into the street beneath, glad, perhaps, if they escape without a harsh scolding or a blow? And what has the world outside their homes to offer them? An avenue lighted by electricity, with plenty of young people with whom to “carry on” without any interruption from father or mother; the bright, warm saloon, with every chance of pleasant companionship and obsequious attendance; or the gay theater or dance hall, where all the troubles of life can be forgotten for a few hours in excitement or sin.1 Is it strange that as we go about from house to house, every few weeks some mother tells us, with an affection of indifference, but with a quiver in her voice, “Rosie isn’t at home now, she’s boarding. We don’t just know where she is. She was a bad girl; she wouldn’t work. Father licked her, and then she went away.” Or, “Charlie done something wrong at the shop; he took some money from the boss, and we ain’t seen him since.” Is it strange that a young woman, attractive, intelligent, who has gone astray and found the misery of that, and now is trying to do right, and support a father and mother and little brother, should have said to me the other day: “There’s nothing in the world that makes me happy; the only thing I can do is to keep working. I work at tailoring all day. Noontimes I work as soon as I’ve eaten my lunch. I bring my work home and sew until I fall asleep. That’s the way I keep from going mad with my wretchedness.”
I am quite aware that much of what I have written will seem overstated. It seems so to me, and yet I know that it is not. Every single fact has been verified and can be verified in thousands of cases. And this is not more than half the truth. If anyone is disposed to be skeptical I can only ask him to make investigation on his own account. But let him be through. Let him not merely walk through the streets some breezy Monday morning; let him spend days and nights here; let him live, as we have done, in a tenement block; let him visit the people at all hours; let him, above all, spend a public holiday here; let him see the carnival of sin of a Fourth of July or a New Year’s night. I do not say that he will even then understand the conditions of tenement house existence; but I know that his incredulity will give place to a sad, bewildered realization of the horrors of a state of things where manhood is brutalized, womanhood dishonored, childhood poisoned at its very source.
That is the present witness of those who have looked unflinchingly at the facts. Two clergymen, one of them the rector of one of the largest of our city churches, the other now a missionary bishop, formerly a hard-working priest among the city poor2, have recently given public utterance to the statement that in many tenement houses morality is practically impossible.
One question remains: Can anything be done to set things right? I can almost hear some one saying, “Oh, well, it is all very bad, no doubt; but it always has been, and I suppose it always must be.” There is an answer to that. This is not a matter for sentiment, or pious condolence, but for justice. Thirty years ago Christian communities in many parts of this country were content that thousands of human beings should live in a condition of life where the marriage relation was unknown, and children grew up in ignorance and vice. But at last the conscience of the American people awoke to the wrong inflicted, and in its highest legislative assembly assured to the negro slaves of the south and rights of men.3 And if this is their right, then the enjoyment of it must be theirs sooner or later. If there is a God in heaven, and if righteousness and judgment are the habitation of His throne, it cannot be His will that one of these little ones should perish. Shall we work with Him that His will be done, that even the weakest and poorest shall find the way open before him to purity and peace; or shall we longer withhold the poor from their desire, and turn away the stranger from his right, and plunder the heritage of the needy, and so be called to answer to the God of the poor in the day when He shall arise to shake terribly the earth? Already many hearts, among working people at any rate, are rising up to echo the call of a great English thinker:
“Charitable persons suppose that the worst fault of the rich is to refuse the people meat; and the people cry for their meat, kept back by fraud, to the Lord of Multitudes. Alas! it is not meat of which the refusal is cruelest, or to which the claim is validest. The life is more than the meat. The rich not only refuse food to the poor; they refuse wisdom; they refuse salvation. Ye sheep without shepherd, it is not the pasture that has been shut from you, but the Presence. Meat: perhaps your right to that may be pleadable; but other rights have to be pleaded first. Claim the crumbs from the table if you will: but claim them as children, not as dogs. Claim your right to be fed; but claim more loudly your right to be holy, perfect, pure.”4
Let us acknowledge that claim, and strive for the destruction of the tenement house system, for the bringing in, even in the midst of the darkness of our great cities, of the kingdom of light, liberty and love.
Wouldn’t They Build Quicker Yet if You Taxed Away All the Ground Rent
Bloomington, Ill., Sunday Eve.
There are entirely too many vacant lots in this city, especially in the eastern part, and as I understand that the owners hold them at prices far beyond their worth, I think it would be a good idea for the assessors to fix the value at two-thirds, at least, of the price which some of them have refused, and then tax them accordingly. I know of a lot that is a nuisance and an annoyance to every one living in the vicinity, for which the owner had refused $50 a foot. Now, if this lot was assessed at two thirds of this price and then taxed $1.70 on that valuation, the owners would no doubt soon get tired of paying it, and either build upon it themselves or sell it to some one who would.
The American Conscience
That we had for the first one hundred years of the republic very much more than enough, who will question who reads the record of the flinty path in which its owners walked uncomplainingly? The New England conscience for generations long stood as the synonym of all that is sensitive and acute and high in demand. In public and private life alike it ruled, and if unlovely virtues made part of its train, and narrowness and hardness and bigotry were its inseparable companions, at least the men who owned it had clean hands, and the ideal of duty has handed down, often the only inheritance from father to son.
Naturally, then, the conviction grew that it was a national characteristic, and that neither decay nor accident of any nature had power to move or mar this inalienable possession. Even when lines once sharply drawn faded away; when old beliefs crumbled and old forms had no further place, we still clung, as we do today, to the certain faith that because of this conscience there need be no apprehension of present danger or future consequence.
“The heart of the people is all right,” we say. “Get at that and there is nothing to fear.” Granted that in great emergencies we have thus far responded, and that the national heart rings true, when outrage enough has ruled to rouse it to a sense of national honor and national duty. Yet this is for the single call that may come in a generation, but that has no demand for the day or the hour, and we may even begin to question if the undermining process of which most of us are now conscious goes on, even if this call will in the end be heeded.
A popular writer in a popular magazine has recently given us an article on “The Decline of Duty.” Unfortunately the justice of his arraignment, and it is a scorching one, fails to leave the impression that it should, when it is discovered that it is a bit of special pleading. The present labor organizations, notably the Knights of Labor, are made responsible for all defects in work, all scrimping in time or materials or methods, and thus once more Tenterden steeple must account for Godwin sands, and the public mind be turned aside from the real issue.
The fact is plain, and to the student of social problems and conditions daily grows plainer, that conscience is well nigh eliminated from daily work. For the past, there was a satisfaction in the work itself that long ago died out of any life that we know. In every trade of every nature we face the same difficulty, and find that men, with only here and there an exception, perform the day’s task grudgingly, limit hours wherever practicable, and rail against the necessity which makes them workers at all. Where patience and capacity for silent, steady drill are demanded, it is not the American but the foreigner who meets the need, and who is gradually filling all places where quiet faithfulness and patient application are the requisitions. The American is looking for the swiftest way of making a fortune, and doing it with as little trouble as possible, and his children are following in his footsteps, shirking responsibility, scoffing at old-fashioned ideas, and growing further and further from old ideals. In short, so far from having a national conscience, it is only an individual here and there to whom it remains. Trickery, fraud shameless bribery and malfeasance are part of the daily record all may read; and he who points to the growing tendency is counted pessimist or troublesome agitator. That a few remain is the only guarantee of a reaction, and till such reaction has begun, and conscience once more is the foundation of the day’s work, we are likely to retain the reputation given us by other nations. “Slippery as Greeks and treacherous as Turks,” said a foreign minister not long ago in commenting upon certain phases of our business life, and there are no present indications that this verdict will be reversed. Nor can it be till different ideals rule and something higher than mere “getting on” becomes the national desire. The most determined optimist is silent before present conditions; the bitterest pessimist need hardly leave his own door, and yet there is no occasion for hopelessness if once we can recognize that the sharpest emergency the republic has known is upon us, and that instant uprising is our only security.
The Evening Post May Be Tired, But the People Are Not
Cincinnati, O—My affiliations have been republican, but in 1884 I did what I could for Cleveland, partly in the interest of civil service reform and partly to shake things up by a change which I hoped would promote the formation of a new party advocating definite measures for the reformation of existing abuses. My ideas were of superficial reforms, and many of them. I did not realize how many evils have their root in the time-honored iniquity of proprietary monopoly in land, and now that I do realize this, I want to join the Anti-poverty society, and any political or philanthropic organization to restore to men their equal rights.
I am amused to see that my “mugwump” friends of the New York Evening Post are “tired” of the movement. But the people don’t seem tired. They have been tired of the other thing for years and years, and this is the most refreshing thing that has come to them in a long time. Let them enjoy it in anticipation and then in reality.
Charles H. Fitch
Correspondence Mail and Express
Our population which in 1881 was 5,175,000, is now considerably under 5,000,000. It decreased 8,000 with the first three months of this year. Ireland has now fewer inhabitants than it had at the time of the union in 1800. The birth rate is the lowest in Europe. In twenty-one towns, including Dublin, and in eight counties, the deaths within the quarter exceeded the births, and this during a period when the registrar-general pronounces the health of the people to be on the whole good and the death rate below the average. Poland has increased in less than twenty years from 5,500,000 to over 7,000,000. Even Switzerland, half mountain and forest, and with no city as large as Cork, has now a larger population per square mile than Ireland.
Testimony From California
San Francisco Star
Now to examine the land history of the American workingman. All through the early part of our history, a workingman, even a farm laborer, received such wages that with economy he could soon get hold of a piece of land and become his own master. When his hireling life ceased to suit him, all he had to do at the very worst was to go a more or less distance westward and take up government land at $1.25 an acre. But within the last twenty-five years this resource has been shut off with suddenness, because as the end of the public domain was seen to be approaching, the land grant railroads and land grab monopolists hurried all the faster to seize greater and greater blocks of the good land that remained, and instantly the workingman was left without his sole means of independence, his sole resource against the dictation of employers. If a workingman now starts out to make himself a farm, he can no longer find good land at $1.25 an acre. Good land he finds is in the possession of a railroad or a duke or a corporation or a speculator, and he is required to pay from $5 to $100 an acre or more—that is, he is practically prohibited from the use of the land.
English Society in the Victorian Age
Rev. Stopford Brooke
I often used to meet, when I was a curate at Kensington, families drifting into London along the Hammersmith road. One day there came along a laborer and his wife, his son and two daughters. Their family had lived for a long time on an estate in the country, and managed with the help of the common land and with the help of the common land and with their labor to get on. But the time came when the common was encroached upon and absorbed, and their labor was not needed on the estate, and their cottage was. And they were quietly pushed out. Where should they go? Why, to London, where work was plentiful. They happened to have a little savings, and they thought they could get two decent rooms to live in. but the inexorable land question met them in London. They tried the decent courts for lodgings, and found that two rooms would cost too much for them to pay. So they took only one. Food was dear and bad, water as bad, and in a short time their health suffered. Work was difficult to get, and its wages were so low that they were soon in debt. They became more ill, and more despairing, and the illness and the despair, and the poisonous surroundings, and the darkness, and the long, long hours of work, all wrought together to produce carelessness and hardness of heart. They were driven forth to seek for cheaper lodging. They found it in a court I knew well, a hotbed of crime and nameless horrors. In this they got a single room at a cruel rent, for the middleman was forced to get his profit out of them, and the leaseholder his profit out of the middleman, and the ground landlord his profit out of the leaseholder. And their very blood and bones were ground out of them in this accursed mill. And work was more difficult for them to get now as they came from a place of such bad repute, and they fell into the hands of those who sweat the last drop out of man and woman and child for wages which are the food only of despair. And the darkness and the dirt, the bad food and the sickness, and the want of water were worse than before, and the crowding and the companionship of the court robbed them of the last shreds of self respect. Then the drink traffic seized upon them. Of course there was a public house at both ends of the court. There they fled, one and all, for shelter and warmth, and society and forgetfulness. And they came out in deeper debt, with inflamed senses and burning brains, and with an unsatisfied craving which they would do anything to satiate. And in a few months the father was in prison, the wife dying, the son a criminal, and the daughters on the streets. Multiply that history by half a million, and you will be beneath the truth. It embodies the first causes, the roots of all that we are complaining of.
Preach a Sermon to Yourself on this Textb
Riverside, Cal., Enterprise
A.J. Bryan, the live real estate agent of San Diego, has sold all his remaining interest in the Oceanside tract for $100,000, so we are informed by O.M. Reece of Oceanside. The history of the sales of this tract as given by him sounds more like an Aladdin’s lamp fairy tale than an account of actual business transactions. After it had passed through several hands, each owner making money on it, it was purchased a few months ago by Mr. Bryan for $30,000. The original tract comprised about 142 acres. The day before his first auction sale he sold a portion of it for $45,000. On the day of the sale he sold $30,000 worth of lots. At the last auction sale $7,000 worth of lots were sold, leaving about half yet unsold, which he closed out last week for $100,000, making $152,000 in less than a year on an investment of $30,000.
The Reward of Industry
In 1854 David Byers, then as now a resident of Leavenworth, bought 132 feet square on the northeast corner of Douglas and Fifteen streets, Omaha. He paid for it exactly $150. Three years later he attempted to sell it for less than he gave, but was unsuccessful. In 1866 Samuel Orchard leased the corner for twenty years and started a grocery store. Several times Byers would have disposed of his corner had it not been for the long lease, which Orchard refused to abrogate. In 1868 the Masons offered Byers $40,000 for his square. Not long ago Ezra Millard offered him $75,000, which was refused, and subsequently William A. Paxton unavailingly shook $100,000 at him. The property is now worth between $300,000 and $500,000.
What Does Professor Dwight of Columbia College Say to This?
In a speech before the Glasglow juridicial society on May 25, reported in the North British Daily Mail of May 26, Lord Coleridge said:
A very large coal owner some years ago interfered with a high hand in one of his coal centers. He sent for the workmen, he declined to argue, but he said, stamping with his foot upon the ground, “all the coal within so many square miles is mine, and if you do not instantly come to terms not a hundred weight of it shall be brought to the surface, and it shall all remain unworked.” This utterance of his was much criticized at the time. By some it was held up as a subject for panegyric and a model for imitation; the manly utterance of one who would stand who would stand no nonsense, determined to assert his rights of property and to tolerate no interference with them. (Laughter) By others it was denounced as insolent and brutal, and it was suggested that if a few more men said such things, and a few more acted on them, it would very probably result in the coal owners having not much right to property left to interfere with. To me it seemed then, and seems now, an instance of that density of perception and inability to see distinctions between things inherently distinct. I should myself deny that the mineral treasures under the soil of a country belong to a handful of surface proprietors in the sense in which this gentleman appeared to think they did. That fifty or a hundred gentlemen, or a thousand, would have a right, by agreeing to shut the coal mines, to stop the manufactures of Great Britain and to paralyze her commerce seems to me, I must frankly say, unspeakably absurd…Freedom of contract implies that both parties to it are really and not nominally free. There can be no free contract between a slave and his owner, none with a little child, none where one party to a so-called contract can impose and the other party to it must accept its terms, however burdensome, however inherently unjust. Under the truck system (I speak, I am sorry to say, from the evidence given before the last truck commission and from the yearly reports of the inspectors of factories) it is possible to deliver over men and women into a degrading, hopeless lifelong slavery, from which there is practically no escape, by so arranging the payment of wages that a debt is created which can never be paid off and the service is so hampered that it cannot be relinquished except at a sacrifice, always very serious, sometimes absolutely ruinous.
Dr. M’Glynn In Elmira
He States Plainly His Position in the Controversy With the Hierarchical Machine
A few days prior to Dr. McGlynn’s lecture on “The Cross of a New Crusade” at Elmira, N.Y., the Rev. J.J. Bloomer of St. Patrick’s church of Elmira and his assistant, the Rev. T.A. Murray, sent to the press the following card:
The undersigned cannot allow the sentiment expressed in last Sunday’s issue—that the Catholic priests of this city were friendly disposed to Dr. McGlynn in his present status—to pass current without contradiction. On the contrary, we cannot make light of his belittlement of ecclesiastical superiors, nor endorse his facetious remarks derogatory to the church. We should not be misrepresented, and hence take this method of defining our position.
This card was coupled with Father Bloomer’s declaration that he would advise his congregation to stay away from the lecture.
When Dr. McGlynn arrived in Elmira the Telegram of that place interviewed him on the subject as follows:
An attempt was made to suspend me four or five years ago for my land league speeches, but it was unsuccessful. Cardinal McCloskey was a prudent man and did nothing in the case, but my present suspension was brought about through those old letters from Rome, which Archbishop Corrigan took as an excuse for suspending me. Father Bloomer talks like a fool when he says that no good Catholic could associate with me, if he means that no good Catholic could come to hear me on political economy. Catholics might come to hear me on such subjects even if I were a Turk. The attempt of Fathers Bloomer and Murray to make people stay away was simply to keep the people from learning their right and how to obtain them. Father Bloomer and his assistants are simply guilty of a calumny when they say in their card that Dr. McGlynn uttered facetious remarks derogatory to the church, and they are also guilty of a false insinuation when they imply that I belittled ecclesiastical superiors when I asserted or implied that there surely must be some limit to ecclesiastical authority as to every other authority, except that of almighty God himself. However, I am not surprised at the calumnies uttered or implied by this Father Bloomer since I remember his calumnious insinuations against Governor Hill and the governor’s partner, Judge Muller, which I took occasion to correct and rebuke in a published interview just before Governor Hill’s election, to counteract the evil effects of Father Bloomer’s utterances, which were published and scattered broadcast at the doors of Catholic churches by the republican machine on the Sunday before the election. Father Bloomer probably does not forget or forgive this. There is an additional calumny in Father Bloomer’s insinuation in the last paragraph of the article in last Sunday’s Telegram, where he is reported to have spoken as if Dr. McGlynn was in open rebellion to his ecclesiastical superiors, if by this he meant to insinuate that Dr. McGlynn is refusing obedience to any lawful command of any lawful authority. Dr. McGlynn is only resisting the unjust encroachments and assumptions of certain ecclesiastical authorities beyond what is their legitimate province. He is simply asserting that in becoming a priest he did not evade the duties nor abdicate the rights of a man and a citizen. Does Father Bloomer teach his people and would he have the whole world to believe that there is no limit to the authority of bishop, propaganda or pope? Would he have people believe that church authority is a despotism as absolute as that of Russia? Does he hope that the great world will ever be converted to the Catholic church or that it will even hold its own in the world if people will be permitted and even compelled to believe that in remaining or becoming Catholics they must submit to a unlimited and irresponsible despotism? Well may the church exclaim, “Save me from my friends!” Does Father Bloomer believe, and would he teach others, that no criticism whatever is permissible as to the policies or politics of bishop or pope? Does he believe and would he teach that in accepting the divine element in the Catholic church he must accept as divine all the errors and blunders, the stupidity and the crimes of the human side of the church, including the pope and his surroundings? This is not the teaching of the Catholic church as I have learned it in Rome, no matter what Father Bloomer may think to the contrary.
Must we suppose that Father Bloomer believes that the earth is the center of the solar system and that the sun revolves around it because the inquisition, of which the pope is the ex-officio chairman, condemned the Copernican system as heretical, and because the so-called sacred congregation of the Index placed the letters of Galileo and the book of Copernicus on the index of books which the faithful were forbidden to read under pain of mortal sin, and kept on that infamous list for one hundred years? Has Father Bloomer any fault to find with the utterances of Daniel O’Connell when he said, “As much religion as you please from Rome, but no politics;” and again, “I would as soon take my politics from Constantinople as from Rome!”
Does Father Bloomer desire to justify the opposition of the know-nothing party to Catholics, when they held that Catholics could not be good American citizens because subject to the political dictation of a foreign potentate—namely, the pope? I would submit these questions to Father Bloomer’s prayerful consideration, and after he will not be in so great a hurry to rush into print again about my affairs.
Dr. McGlynn delivered his lecture to a large audience despite the attempted interference of the two priests.
Should We Take More Care of Indians than of Other Men?
The Pittsburgh Dispatch says:
If the Indians are made proprietors in severalty of their lands, there is greater danger that they will become a landless race in the course of a short time, and that they will not be elevated in morality by the loss.
Commenting on which, the Rev. C.M. Morse remarks:
If the possibility of becoming “landless” in such a menace to the welfare of the Indians, why is not the same possibility an equal menace to the great mass of industrious American citizens? And if it is a wise and humane thing to protect the Indians from the railroad corporations and the other classes of monopolists, why not do likewise for our own citizens?
American philanthropy is watchful over the interests of the red men of the west; from our pulpits, our platforms, our press come burning words of indignation against the aggressions of the land holding class in Ireland, but when Dr. McGlynn and Henry George insist that land values created by the people belong to the people, that industry shall be rewarded and monopoly discredited, from press, platform and pulpit comes a flow of epithets: “Crank,” “Socialists,” “Anarchy.”
Questions That Demand Answers
Naugatuck, Conn., Agitator.
How came less than 100 men to own all the oil that flows from the bosom of mother earth?..How came a syndicate of coal barons to straddle all the coal fields?…Why is it that the lot of the average farmer and wage worker has in the same time grown harder and harder and his burden of taxes heavier? These are a few of the questions that the army of the disconnected an asking, and in a tone tha indicates unmistakably that they must be answered.
Paying Rent for Their Own Land
Socorro, N.M., Bullion
The agent of the so-called owners of the Maxwell grant proposes to lease a portion of the land to farmers. How do you like the picture, Americans? Paying rent on your own inheritance to an alien corporation that has no interest on our land but to draw the blood from her people.
The Year of Jubilee
(Atr—“Wearing of the Green”)
Judge J.G. Maguire in San Francisco Star
The happy year is drawing near—
The year of jubilee—
When man to man, in this great land,
Shall truly brothers be;
When all will share what Nature gave,
And each will have his own,
Then all will be for common good
And none for self alone.
For soon the land, as air and light
And water shall be free;
Then hail! my brothers, hail! and haste
The year of jubilee.
When land shall fairly portioned be,
No landlord on the sod,
Then earth will be a gem of love
As glorious as its God
Then in our mighty nation
Fraternal love will guard
The interests of capital
And labor’s rights award
Chorus—For soon, etc.
The earth that God for all men made
Belongs now to the few,
The landless ones are helpless and
The rich oppress them, too
They speculate on misery,
Grind wealth from human woe,
And closing opportunities,
They bring the poor man low
Chorus—But soon, etc.
‘Tis wrong that chattel slavery
To serfdom should give place;
‘Tis wrong to foster tenancy,
Old England’s foul disgrace;
‘Tis wrong that Christian lord should hold
His birthright from a brother;
‘Tis wrong that men should feed upon
The woes of one another
Chorus—But soon, etc.
The world is good and broad and rich
God made it for us all,
And if ’twere held as He designed
No worthy man need fall
The miseries that round us writhe,
Our vicious laws have made,
Oh! brothers, then unmake these laws,
And loose the chains of trade
Chorus—And soon, etc.
An Open Letter To The Sovereign Pontiff From A Catholic Workman
To His Holiness Leo XIII—Health and Christian guidance:
It is the desire of all true Catholics to be in close and friendly communion with the holy see. We believe it is the duty as well as the right of intelligent Catholics to protest against any invasion of their civil rights by any ecclesiastical authority, and to appeal to the highest tribunal for such redress as the gravity of the case may demand. But when we calculate the distance over which the true Catholic sentiment of America has to travel before reaching the ear of your holiness; when we consider the barriers of prejudice to be surmounted before an impartial hearing can be obtained; when we view the wall of religious bigotry by which your person is surrounded, it is with feelings almost devoid of hope that we make an effort to convey to the supreme head of the church the sentiment of disapproval with which your condemnation of Dr. McGlynn has been received by the intelligent Catholic working men and women of America. We are filled with grief at your condemnation of a priest whose religious ministration is without a stain, whose love and loyalty to Catholic faith is yet unquestioned, and whose noble, catholic Christian efforts to abolish poverty, to promote happiness, and to exalt humanity, have received the approval won the support not only of Catholics, but of the intelligent, honest and well meaning people of every creed.
Your letter of condemnation is before us, and as we read and reread it, we ask in sorrow, Is it genuine? Is it a true expression of the Christian spirit of the Catholic church? Is it based on a true and fallible knowledge of the issue? Unwilling to believe you an agent for the propagation of evil, we yet cling to the hope that you are misinformed. In the light of past injustice and wrong perpetrated in the name of law and religion by Catholic authority, under sanction of the church and with the blessings alike of eminence and holiness, on the unorganized, uneducated, unthinking mass of the people in other nations, the free, intelligent, self-thinking workingmen of America, in their just and legal effort to obtain a share of God’s free gift to all mankind, did not expect any sympathy or encouragement from Rome. They were unprepared, however, for this your unwarranted interference in their political affairs, and will be found unwilling to submit their political action to the censorship of the propaganda.
An attentive and careful perusal of your letter, as translated in American journals, not only fails to show any religious cause for your decision, but tends to confirm the expressed charge of Protestant writers which the Catholic press of this country have always been combating, namely, that of Romish interference in American politics. When his holiness, Leo XIII, over his own signature, issues a decree of Catholic condemnation against the civil policy of American citizens, the issue between church discipline and civil rights in America is openly and squarely made. If the political influence of the Catholic clergy can be swayed or directed by any foreign potentate for or against any party or any organization of citizens in a contest for national control, what guarantee have citizens of other faiths against the fallibility or intrigues of the dictator? The issue has not yet arisen, but it is within the possibilities of the future that the Catholic clergy of the United States may be confronted with the alternative of excommunication for contumacious disobedience to his holiness at Rome, or imprisonment in a fortress for treason to their country.
With regard to your gratuitous opinion on the George theories, the people here who approve and adopt them are entirely indifferent, and so they will remain until you or your political advisers shall produce something better or prove the tendency of those theories to be dangerous either to the public welfare, to the public morals, or the Christian religion. In the absence of any theory advanced by the church to improve the condition of the working people save that of contentment and resignation to injustice and wrong—of praying to a beneficent providence for more while deliberately providence for more while deliberately insulting it, by refusing to take and enjoy what it gave them, and by permitting idlers to take and lock up the proceeds of their labor—the intelligent working men and women of America have committed to their own reason and judgment the duty of selecting a theory. And among those presented there is none which appears so practical in its application or so effective in its operation as the system of land taxation as presented by Henry George. It means free access to the land, not to the solitude of the woods nor to the wilds of the prairie, but free access to all or any land held idle for speculative purposes. In our ignorance of Catholic doctrine we think this would be good, because land is the basis for all industrial enterprise, and free access to the exact limit of individual, family or corporate use, within range of business, manufacturing or commercial centers, would permit the occupants of the garret and the cellar to settle and live in the more healthy suburban atmosphere of towns and cities. It would offer the security and comforts of a home to the millions who are outlawed by what should henceforth be known as the Leo system. It would tend to civilize, to reform, and to cultivate the morals of youth by removal from the beastly influence of promiscuous herding in the tenement stalls which are now the abode of the toiling millions and will continue to be so while the monstrous system of property rights in land remains.
Seeing the grand resources for human advancement which providence has made available, seeing the present physical condition and social state of the toiling masses in all nations, and knowing that free access to the land is the only effective cure, what must honest, intelligent Catholics think of you? The man who is willing to see, be he pope or peasant, must see and know that the earth was made big enough to give sufficient room to all the people. He must see and know that its inexhaustible treasures, its unfathomed wealth, stored up by the hand of providence for the use of the people, only await the hand of the toiler to spring forth in abundance. He must also see and know that in these days of expanding thought, enlightened progress and scientific discovery the capacity of labor, multiplied by modern invention, to supply the means of human happiness is equal to the most extravagant use of all the people. Yet in seeming defiance of an all-wise providence the genius of evil is diverting the mind and thoughts of man from the lofty earthly state in which he ought to dwell, to the blasphemous doctrine of poverty, ignorance and resignation.
“The poor you shall have always with you.” The plain and lucid words of the Divine Master are constructed by the foes of Christianity to convey the idea that existing poverty with its consequent evils was preordained of God. Admitting that Christ did speak those words, they will bear a grander construction, one more in harmony with the bounties of a generous Father to His children. As He was Himself the associate, the institution which He founded was intended by Him to be the refuge, the counsel chamber and the defense of the poor against injustice and wrong; but seeing that divine authority was then to pass to human hands, and knowing the weakness and greed of man, he could forsee, and then foretold the use that would be made of that authority by worldly, selfish, ambitious men.
He did not say to His apostles, “You shall be faithful allies to the rich and the powerful; you shall commit my church to the existing social state with all its wrongs; you shall refrain from doing anything to improve the condition of the people, and you shall condemn them for doing it themselves.” Born of the poor, He lived among them. He listened to their grievances and sympathized with them. He spurned the rich. His doctrine was opposed to the wealthy and the powerful. He was deaf to the O’Donoghues, the Erringtons and the Bismarcks of His time.
How strangely inconsistent with His example and teaching is the man who now poses before the world as His faithful representative.
He was born to no common destiny whom providence ordained to fill the chair of the Vatican. His was no common mission. The representative of the divinity whose doctrine was peace and good will among men, it ill befits that representative, the spiritual sovereign of the world, to ally himself with a class whose doctrine is not peace but discord, whose ruling passion is wealth and power, and whose use of both is to oppress and plunder the rest of mankind. Appropriating anything that belongs to others is a crime; but legalizing the act is a prostitution of justice and a greater crime. It has remained for his holiness Leo XIII to bring down the church of Christ to an endorsement of this unholy state of perpetual plunder, growing anarchy and declining faith in God. While the Catholic workingmen and women of America are willing and ready to pay all due respect to the place which you fill; while they will at all times accept and cheerfully obey the moral and Christian teaching of the church, they cannot and will not accept the doctrine of legally manufactured poverty as the teaching of Christ. They cannot and will not accept a doctrine invented by a conspiracy of political and ecclesiastical highwaymen to deprive labor of its due reward that idleness may revel in all the excesses of unbridled debauchery.
Before retracting one single step from the political course laid down by Henry George and endorsed by that true and unbending apostle of unadulterated Catholicity, Dr. McGlynn, they want to know at what period of church history the system of property rights in land was made a factor in the saving of souls. They want to know if the legal possession and absolute ownership of a portion of this planet is a necessary passport to the kingdom of heaven; and if so, they want some light on the question what has been or what is to be the eternal fate of millions shut out from space enough to spread a blanket over.
156 Harrison street, Brooklyn
Anti-Poverty Down South
Pattison, Tex., June 20—The colored people here celebrated the twenty-second anniversary of their emancipation today. John H. DeShield was the speaker of the day, and expounded the free land policy of the Anti-Poverty society. The enthusiastic endorsement given the speaker—the deafening cheers of the crowd and the deep “Amens” of the old fathers—went to show that he only uttered popular sentiment. Mr. Kronecke, an intelligent German farmer of the community of the land and liberty doctrines, as did a number of other speakers.
A New Crusader
A Priest Who Joins the Anti-Poverty
An Irish Catholic priest, writing from England, says: “In The Standard of May 7, I find a list of the first members of the Anti-poverty society. I want to join the same. I am constantly giving a little money to the poor, but it is a wearisome and profitless kind of charity. I think it is doing more service to the poor to give a trifle to the new society. May it prosper, as it surely will, please God. It is a great pleasure to me to find so many Irish names on the list. The cause is making wonderful progress.”
The Nineteenth District Picnic
The Nineteenth assembly district association of the united labor party enjoys its first picnic on Saturday, July 2, at Cosmopolitan park and Casino, 169th street and Tenth avenue, near High bridge. Dr. McGlynn, John McMackin and Messrs. Schevitsch and Jonas will make addresses during the afternoon.
To Celebrate the Fourth
The Eighteenth ward association of the united labor party of Kings county will celebrate the Fourth of July by giving a musical and literary entertainment in the Brooklyn labor lyceum, 61 Myrtle street.
Prisoners Of Poverty
“What are you going to do about it?” was Tweed’s question when first New Yorkers began to realize the fact that they were being systematically robbed by the boss and his coadjutors. After a while, by dint of continually keeping the facts of the case before the people, sufficient interest was aroused to bring forth a very practical answer to the question. Every thoughtful reader of Helen Campbell’s “Prisoners of Poverty” must ask the same question, although in a far different spirit. What are we going to do about the bitter slavery in which such a vast proportion of the women of New York and other large cities seem hopelessly held? Dr. Huntington’s remedy of “Temperance, Toil and Thrift,” which meets with so much approval from those who have never known the bondage of real want, utterly fails to meet the case. Temperance and toil are given a fair trial by these working women of whom we are speaking, for Mrs. Campbell has been careful to limit her researches to those who work, not to obtain money for drink, but merely for the necessities of life. The results of toil lasting twelve, fourteen and sixteen hours a day and temperance, not only in drinking but in eating, as exemplified in the lives of the wage-earning women of our cities, are set before us in words that gain in strength from their very simplicity. There is no attempt to deepen the shadows, if that were possible, or to harrow the feelings by dwelling on the sad details of the different cases cited. Facts are given, and the causes which lead to these facts. The questions so frequently asked by well meaning people roused to a momentary interest in the sorrows of sister women, “Why don’t they try domestic service?” are answered in ways that should be satisfactory to those who care to think on the subject. Many parts of the book are terrible arraignments of the more fortunate women who in so many ways help to forge heavier and more irksome chains for their working sisters.
“The destruction of the poor is their poverty,” may be said to be the real motif of the whole book.
“The coal is the trouble” says one woman thrifty enough to keep a strict record of every penny expended when giving Mrs. Campbell an account of how she and her daughter managed to live on an average income of $22.95 a month, $10 of which went for rent. “By the scuttle it costs so much, and I try to get ahead and have a quarter of a ton at once, but I never can.” That is one link in a working woman’s fetters—inability to buy at any but the highest price.
Another girl, who, working on ladies’ and children’s suits, could earn but $5 and $6 a week where once she earned $10 was asked: “Do you ever think that if all who work in your line joined together and made common cause you might even things a little—that it might be easier for you?”
“We wouldn’t dare!” she answered aghast. “Why, do you know, there’d be ten for each one of us that was turned off. Women come there by the hundred. That’s what they say to me at our firm: ‘What’s the use of fussing when here are hundreds waiting to take your place?’”
And that perhaps is the strongest of all the links in the dreadful enslaving chains. While such hundreds and thousands are begging so earnestly for the privilege of earning barely enough to keep soul and body together, what hope can there be of freedom for these women held fast in a slavery tenfold more hopeless than that of the southern negro. It was to the interest of the master to keep the slave in good condition, either for work or for sale. They were marketable merchandise, and it was poor economy to destroy their value; but the “prisoners of poverty” are so numerous that those who are constantly falling disabled from the ranks have their places immediately filled. “Men are cheaper than shingles” was the brutal but truthful answer given by the superintendent of one of our great railroad corporations when asked to roof over a spot where a number of freight handlers were employed during a stormy season, rheumatism and asthma being the consequence for many. “There’s a dozen waiting to fill the place of one that drops out.” And, unthinkingly, perhaps, but none the less truly, are many of the philanthropic and charitable men and women of today adding to the trouble. The least the working man or woman can live on will always be the measure of wages, and charitable people, by their efforts to make life easier for the overworked and overburdened, are often times only enabling the employer to draw the chain still more closely around his victims. An Irish land owner once said in my hearing, “This cry of Irish destitution only helps us, for American money enables our tenants to pay their rents;” and low priced eating and lodging houses, where good food and respectable rooms can be obtained for nominal sums, only enable the workers to accept still smaller rates of compensation.
One can hardly wonder at the author’s feeling when she says: “There are moments when the student of social conditions abhors philanthropy; when a disaster that would wipe out at one stroke every institution the city treasures would seem a gift straight from God, if only thereby the scales might fall from men’s eyes, and they might learn that hiding foulness in an asylum is not extirpation; that something deeper and stronger than philanthropy must work before men can be saved.”
The story told in this is, in one sense, no new thing. Since the day when Tom Hood startled London with the despairing “Song of a Shirt,” in some way or other it has often been repeated; but as the years go on the picture drawn by the poet gains still darker hues. No longer are the shirtmakers the most sadly abused class; no longer is the appeal to “Men, with sisters and wives,” but to the sisters and wives, also, who profit by and add to the slavery of the working women. The pages in which some of the experiences of women who have tried domestic service are given should be read and digested by many a woman who complains that American women are unwilling to do housework.
The book is not written to advocate theories, but to investigate facts; but it is curious to observe how “all roads lead to Rome” nowadays. Over and over again in these pages does the question of rent come in as an important factor. Work is given out to be done by women at home, because the employers claim they cannot afford to pay rent for work rooms, and the working women must pay car fares or expressage from their scanty earnings. “Rents are so enormous,” says the representative of a large and fashionable firm, “that the space for every woman employed by us in these departments, may be said to represent simply so many cubic feet in good coin, bringing us no return. Our profits are dwindling with every year.” It is safe to assume no means are spared to cut down expenses. The landlord cannot be bulldozed, but the working woman can, for if she complains, there are hundreds eager to take her place.
But not all the fault lies with the employer. One of the most interesting parts of the book is the account given, from his bed in the hospital, by a man who, born in old abolition days, was brought up from early childhood to work for “the cause.” “But by the time I was eight years old it was plain enough to me that there were other kinds of slavery quite as bad, and that my own mother wore as heavy bonds as any of them. She was a farmer’s wife, and from year’s end to year’s end she toiled and worked…I said to myself when I was ten I’d have things easier for her before she died, and when she died I said it to her in the last hour I ever heard her voice: “What I couldn’t do for you, mother, I’ll do for all women as long as I am on earth.”
How he tried, and how and why he failed, is well worth reading, while the pathetic appeal, the sure prophecy spoken by the dying man, cannot fail to awaken in many the earnest resolve to do their best toward ushering in the better time this man who failed had spent his strength in trying to bring about.
“Difficulties of an Employer” is another chapter showing much the same experience, and should also be thoroughly studied by those who wish to prepare themselves for the “irrepressible conflict” which is as inevitable now as when it was waged between the owners of negro slaves and their opponents. And perhaps no other words can so fitly close this short review of a most intensely interesting and practical book as those of this German employer: “I think that this generation must suffer much, and in pain and want learn, it may be, what is life. Today it knows not, and cares not, save a few. How shall the many be made to know?”
Real Estate Record and Guide
Looker On—Well, Sir Oracle, I saw the McGlynn parade last Saturday evening, and was much impressed thereby. There was a large crowd, whose appearance was respectable, and it displayed a great deal of enthusiasm. I saw no red flag or green flag, only the stars and stripes; nor were the mottoes on the banners out of taste.
Sir Oracle—It was undoubtedly a significant gathering, and the magnitude of this movement is troubling the newspapers, all of whom are disposed to belittle the McGlynn-George matter. There are several notable points to be kept in mind, however, respecting the future of this anti-papal demonstration, for such undoubtedly it is.
L.O.—Notwithstanding the George vote, the numbers in the McGlynn parade, and the vast multitude which attends the Anti-poverty meetings in the Academy of Music, you do not, I think, apprehend any revolution either in religious or political matters.
Sir O.—It takes time to make any decided religious or political changes; but it is not to be disguised that this anti-Catholic church revolt presents very interesting phases to the social philosopher. The Irish Roman Catholic poor have so far been the most devoted friends of the church. For any number of them to revolt under the leadership of a popular priest is a very significant matter, and may have very far reaching consequences. There is still another consideration that should cause anxiety. The laboring people are becoming organized. They are training good leaders and are learning how to follow them.
A Different Thing Altogether
Omaha Philanthropist—I’ve been in Ireland and seen some hard things, but—
Politician—Sit right down, sir, and use this house as if it were your own. What can I do for you?
“I have called, sir, to secure your influence in behalf of some fifteen or twenty evicted families who—”
“More evictions! I’ll call a mass meeting at once, this very week, sir.”
“They are now living in miserable tents and—”
“Put me down for $100, sir, for their relief. I want to head the biggest kind of a popular subscription. Did you get the news in a private letter or did it come by cable?”
“The families I refer to are right here in Omaha, and I have just been talking with them.”
“Glorious. We’ll have ’em on the stage at the mass meeting. How did they get across the ocean?”
“Oh, they were born in this country, you know, and were evicted from Omaha shanties for not paying their rent.”
“Oh, then, see here, you meddling milksop; those were my shanties, and if you don’t attend to your own affairs I’ll make daylight shine through ye.”
Tax Reform Reflections
Correspondence Burlington, Iowa, Justice
Riding with the mayor on Decoration day, your correspondent had a chance to illustrate the working of our tax machine; the first spot that came under our observation being the mayor’s superb villa, who, in reply to the query, “How much did they fine you for improving that corner?” admitted that he was punished $400 worth every year. We afterward passed many a vacant lot held by men who expect to force high prices from those who may be compelled to occupy them when population becomes denser. The taxes are so low it is good policy not to sell now. Other places were passed where men have been rash enough to build small houses, for which misdemeanor they are surer of punishment than if they sold bad whiskey in open defiance of the law.
Pope Leo’s Diplomacy
Petersburg, Va., Index Appeal
Will Rome take the back track? Will she permit, almost for the first time in her history, her prescribed course to be changed by a large number of her rebellious children? Will she recognize the fact that excommunication has no terrors now as it had in the days when it meant social as well as ecclesiastical ostracism? Will she run the risk of alienating perhaps a hundred thousand or more of her adherents, or will she bend rather than break? It is not too bold a supposition that the wonderful diplomacy of Leo XIII may find a way out of the dilemma whereby the authority of the church may appear to have remained inviolate, and, at the same time, no revolt be occasioned among the faithful in the most important diocese of the church in the great American republic.
Germany’s Land Reformers
From Berlin Land
The Latest News, published daily in Forst, N.L., which is widely circulated in that district, comes out openly and earnestly for our ideas. The publisher of this paper spoke on April 14, in Triebel, one of the small cities of the district, before the trades organization of that place. The meeting was crowded, and the interest in the lecture stimulated by the articles of the News was so great that Judge Hesse, who presided, moved that all business be suspended for the day, in order that the speaker should have full opportunity to express his views.
Do They Treat Old Billy’s Driver as Though He Were Human, Too?
Boston Commercial Bulletin
The directory of the Metropolis street railway have just been presented with photographs of “Old Billy,” who was retired some time ago. Billy is a car horse thirty-five years old, and has been running for the company for twenty-five years. During this time he has not lost a single day by sickness or inability, and when he was retired he was doing his regular trips from Boston to Brookline in a perfectly satisfactory manner. When he was thirty-two years old the president of the road ordered a box stall fitted up for him, and he is treated with as much kindness as though he were human. To give him exercise he hauls the feed box around the stable every day and seems to be proud of his load. With the exception of being wheezy, he is in sound condition.
A Horde of Tramps
Northwestern Labor Union
Various accounts of the tramp evil confirm the report that not only Duluth, but the whole northwest, is infested with them, and if real estate booms continue with a corresponding rent boom, tramps will soon be as thick as flies in summer. When an honest workingman starts for a town where a boom is on, he finds there is no more employment than before and to his dismay he finds in cheap boarding houses hundreds of other workmen who have likewise been fooled and deluded by the hope of participating in this false prosperity, but to his disgust he finds the number of idle men increased and competition thus sharpened and resident workmen soured by finding that only land owners get the benefit, and in cases where a little industrial boom was prevailed, the greed of landlords grabs the whole by greater demands, and the whole town falls back deader than ever.
The Fight Against Poverty
Popular Science Monthly for July
As most of our readers are aware, an association has lately been formed in this city under the title of “Anti-poverty society.” It proposes to extirpate poverty by throwing the whole burden of taxation upon land. One may be allowed to doubt how far the proposed remedy, if found to be applicable, would go forward accomplishing the result desired; but that poverty is an evil, and that the best efforts of modern society should be devoted to removing it, admits of no doubt. If the Anti-poverty society accomplishes no other good object we trust it will, at least, during the term of its existence, help to render the community more deeply sensible of its duty in this matter.
Albany Independent Citizen
The treatment that labor legislation received at the hands of the late legislature ought to be sufficient to convince the workingmen of the state that neither of the old parties will do right unless they are forced to do it. And you can’t force them to change their tactics in the least, as long as you continue to willingly make a choice between the two. Choosing between two evils may be all right when there is no other choice to make, but the best way is to stand independent of both, at least until they show by their acts that they are worthy of your support.
Correspondence New York Witness
I began reading Mr. George’s works with my mind strongly predisposed against what I conceived to be Mr. George’s land theory. I constantly submitted the arguments advanced and the logic used to as severe a test as my mind was capable of applying, and while I can find some serious objections and some points claimed that seemed to me unwarranted, yet I became convinced of the general truth of the proposition that it is rent that absorbs the earnings of labor and capital, and tends to keep their earnings down, drawing nearer and nearer to the point of subsistence.
Captured by the Classes
New York Catholic Herald
The strange conduct of Mr. O’Brien in deliberately choosing a policy of insult to organized and united labor in the city of New York has provoked widespread comment throughout the country. To a man the editors of the pro-poverty press sustain him, and if proof were needed that he had been captured by the classes who oppress the masses, this fact alone would suffice to make good labor’s charge against him.
Then All Poor People Must be Drunkards, Lazy and Sick
Marlborough, Mass., Times
The best and most potent anti-poverty society that we know anything about is the one formed by the close alliance of health, industry and temperance. That association knocks poverty out every time.
New York Times
Brooklyn property owners are complaining about the increased assessed valuation of unimproved lots, and many of the owners of large places along Clinton avenue say they will have to sell their valuable gardens if the assessments are not decreased.
The Booming Ocean Beach
Real Estate Record and Guide
There is practically a corner not only on the Atlantic ocean front, but on the bays and sounds which have outlets to the ocean and are available for human habitations. As the country grows people who acquire wealth in the interior will want a summer “cottage by the sea.” There has been a remarkable advance in the price of property, not only on the coast proper, but on enclosed waters like Long Island sound. No matter how remote the points on the seashore may be from centers habitable or have a bathing beach or a marine view, they are sure in time to be in demand. Man is almost an amphibious animal. The longer he remains on land the more he craves the water. When this country has 300,000,000 of inhabitants water fronts will be as costly as lots on Fifth avenue, but of course that will not be in our day.
Forest City, Ark.—Enclosed is post office order to cover the following three subscriptions for six months each.
I need scarcely say that I admire The Standard. It is my Bible. Thanks to the teachings of such men as McGlynn, Pentecost and yourself, I begin to realize the true meaning of the gospel of Christ. Go on; you can not fail. If you do, it is certain as fate you bring down what little there is left of religion with you. I subscribe for sixteen newspapers. I would prefer to do without them all rather than be deprived of The Standard. It is the only real labor paper I have ever seen.
James W. Stuart
Southboro, Mass.—Enclosed is money order for renewal of my subscription. I would not exchange The Standard for any paper published in this country. It is a true and fearless advocate of the natural rights of man.
Seth Hi Howes
Chicago, Ill.—God bless The Standard! It is like the shadow of a great rock in a weary land. Each week when it makes its appearance there is jubilation in my house. My wife reads it as eagerly as I, and even the children listen eagerly to some of its stirring appeals against the wrongs that oppress humanity. We would sooner be without butter on our bread than without The Standard.
Providence, R.I.—The Standard is giving its readers in this city entire satisfaction. Indeed, we were not prepared to receive such an abundance of heavenly truth as is contained in it every week. May God bless you and all associated with you…If Archbishop Corrigan persists in persecuting the purest and best of God’s appointed shepherds he may as well take my name and hundreds of thousands of others, and make one job of it. I was born and raised a Catholic, and hope to die one, if I am permitted to do so by those shepherds who take good care to feed themselves, whatever the sheep and lambs may do. I am a Rhode Island Anti-poverty Dr. McGlynn Catholic. Enclosed are four subscriptions.
These are pleasant letters to receive and we get them by the dozen. We are glad to have them by the dozen. We are glad to have them and we thank the writers for them. But we want to remind the good folks who admire The Standard and sympathize with its work that the very features which evoke their administration also arouse the active and persistent hostility of a powerful and unscrupulous class, who see in every page of The Standard the handwriting on the wall warning them that the day of their dominion is drawing to a close.
News dealers are told that if they keep The Standard for sale patronage will be withdrawn from them. Employees are made to understand that they risk their bread and butter by connecting themselves with “anarchism” and “socialism,” and all sorts of other isms in the shape of a crusade against poverty. Social pressure is brought to bear, and men and women who read The Standard find themselves spoken of as “cranks,” and looked upon as rather dangerous persons. There is even reason to believe that, in the Catholic church, the influence of the confessional is exerted, and men are threatened with spiritual punishment unless they give up preaching and believing in the fatherhood of God and the brotherhood of man.
We don’t object to all this. On the contrary, we are glad to see it, for it is the strongest possible proof that the gospel of anti-poverty is spreading fast. Nor have we any fear of the result. Truth will prevail in the end, for the very simple reason that she is always gaining ground and never losing it; men are converted from error to truth, but never from truth to error. But what we want The Standard readers to realize is that in this contest for human rights it won’t do to let all the activity be on the other side. Our cause will win it to win soon; not in our children’s time, but in our own. The man or woman who sees the truth, who understands the possibility of abolishing poverty, and sits passive, taking no part in the struggle, is guilty of a greater crime against humanity than one who ignorantly joins in the outcry against the gospel of reform.
With this issue The Standard completes the first six months of its existence. Thousands of half yearly subscriptions expire with this number. We want those subscriptions renewed, and we want each subscriber when he sends his own renewal to bring at least one fresh recruit with him. We have a right to demand this, for we are asking support, not for a mere ordinary periodical whose success or failure involves only the personal fortunes of an individual, but for a cause, the highest and noblest since Christ came on earth. You Standard readers know full well that the success of this paper—your paper—means the success of that cause. You know that wherever The Standard goes it sets the thoughtless to thinking, confirms the wavering, strengthens the believer, and confounds opposition. Up, then, and be doing! Stir among your neighbors. Talk to them, argue with them, urge them to subscribe; and let your approval of The Standard and the cause it champions be shown by active and efficient work.
Dayton, O.—The number of renders of The Standard increases each week. Besides the subscriptions I have sent you, I sell twenty copies, and the Free land club distributes ten copies free. Please send me whatever samples you can, and we will soon be at the front row in the great reform.
Mr. Kile sets a good example, and shows what can be done by any man who chooses to put his shoulder to the wheel. The news-dealers have an enormous power for good or evil in this crusade. Many of them, we fear, are doing what they can against us, and for that very reason it behooves those who wish us well to spare no efforts. An active dealer, who has the cause at heart, can do much to convert a town. How many will imitate Mr. Kile’s example?
Here is a letter from a clergyman:
Greenpoint, L.I.—It would give me pleasure to subscribe through your office, but since my neighbor, the newsdealer, furnishes me with The Standard already, you will excuse my doing so. At the same time, as a clergyman and as one ministering among working people, it is right for me to say that I approve of The Standard and its principles.
Thank you, Mr. Whitaker, both for your support and the outspoken manner in which you avow it. You clergymen are capable of exerting immense influence in this movement. Many of you are coming forward gloriously, careless of personal consequences, and bent only on speaking the truth, and every one that steps to the front sets a dozen others thinking.
Here is a ringing campaign song to the air of “O’Donnell Aboo:”
Shout, boys, the cry of the “land for the people!”
Loud let it ring over mountains and vale!
Proudly unroll labor’s flag from each steeple,
And swear to defend it whoever assail.
On, every son of toil!
God made for all the soil!
Rise in your might against plunder and sin.
Forward! be not afraid!
March in the new crusade;
Strike for your birthright with George and McGlynn!
Long, ah, too long have the land thieves been ruling,
Crushing the hope and the life out of man!
A priest and a prophet have risen for their schooling—
The sunlight of knowledge reveals a new plan.
Up, boys! the night is past;
Slav’ry is doomed at last!
Roll out the anthem—the death knell of sin—
Forward! be not afraid!
Join in the new crusade;
Strike for your birthright with George and McGlynn!
Have you noticed, by the way, how much really good poetry the new crusade is drawing out? Just compare such verses as these with the trash that appears in the ordinary political campaign. Our songs come from the heart. Men write them because they simply can’t help it; they are filled with emotion, which must and will have vent, even in spite of themselves.
Spokane Falls, W.T.—I was out yesterday to see what I could do in the missionary line, and succeeded in getting three six months’ subscribers. It rained this afternoon, which gave me a chance to go to the post office, where I found The Standard. I went up to an old shoemaker’s to read it, and parties that dropped in could not withstand the red hot burning truths that crowd together in the columns of The Standard. They had a faint glimmering of truth, and the fresh shower of facts rained down by The Standard were all that was necessary to confirm them. And so The Standard is wanted by two more weary pilgrims. Enclosed find money for five subscribers.
W.R. Van Dolahr
Well done, Mr. Van Dolahr. If every Standard reader would do as you are doing—take right hold and do the work that lies close to his hand—the movement for reform would run like fire among dry grass. Your letter will be interesting reading for the philosophers who are so fond of telling folks that they can solve the land question by going to Washington territory or some other place a few thousand miles off. And right on top of it, here comes a letter from Australia.
Melbourne, Australia—I enclose an order for £2, which you can divide, £1 for The Standard and £1 for the tracts, say, ten cents postage. I suppose you have had word of the scheme proposed by Sir Robert Stout and the New Zealand cabinet, to allow syndicates to rent them at prices that will pay interest on the sum to the government. It is a half measure, but in the right direction, and when governments and members of parliament make fortunes by land speculation, we must be thankful for even so much.
We had a railway smash last week—six or seven injured; supposed cost £100,000; cause, boy of fifteen employed as ticket clerk had to attend to telegraph in same room. Driver Maskell put on brake, saved a worse smash, but himself and firemen were killed. I have given copies of Standard to members of parliament and librarian of parliament library.
Australia, with its seven hundred acres to each inhabitant, feels the tightening of the landlords’ fences just the same as New York with its crowded tenement districts. The evil we are fighting is as widespread as humanity itself.
Here is a suggestion worth consideration:
New York—Being a constant reader of The Standard, I consider the information conveyed in its columns the most instructive literature of today, but I notice with regret that, with the exception of Mr. Louis Prang in Boston, no German gentleman of influence endorses publicly your movement. This may be caused by the fact that the majority of Germans residing in this city read the New York Staats-zeitung—being their only source of information as to what is going on in the world, and form their opinions accordingly. As this paper has always been foremost in hostility to you, the baneful effect of its exclusive perusal is apparent, and it deserves the attention of all warm hearted Germans to find out means by which to teach the true principles of the new crusade to their countrymen. I beg leave to suggest an extension of the recruiting fund by having a judicious selection made from the most stirring and convincing short articles or letters contained in The Standard, to be translated into plain German, printed in a pamphlet of eight pages and distributed freely in “little Germany” on the east side, to which all chemists and storekeepers will certainly lend their helping hand. Later on a translation into French, Italian, Spanish, etc., may follow, and let it be called “the international enlightening fund.” By teaching the new gospel to the vast number of German citizens in this and other cities in their own language, their innate sense of justice will prompt them to embrace the new movement with an enthusiasm that cannot but prove irresistible in due time. Enclosed please find $2 for the new fund, and may others do likewise.
Mr. Littman’s idea is an excellent one. There is a great work to be done among our German-speaking fellow citizens, and the circulation of a few plain common sense tracts, such as “How to Increase Profits,” would do a world of good. The only thing needed is money. Who speaks next for the international enlightening fund?
Chicago, Ill.—Enclosed is a two-dollar bill for the “recruiting fund.” I buy three or four Standards weekly wherever I may happen to be and pass them around. Talking up Georgism, too, pays handsomely. No thinking man with honest instincts can follow up the subject without becoming converted. The Standard is the only paper published every line of which is worth reading. I talked today with a man who had thought George should be in a mad house or penitentiary. I explained your theories in this way. I said, pointing to a fine building: “There is a lot worth $50,000; the building is worth $100,000. George would tax the ground, say, five per cent on the $50,000, but there should be no tax on the building. On that other corner is a vacant lot worth $50,000. The owner would have to pay five per cent on that too, even though it has no improvements. How long do you suppose it would remain unimproved? How long could the owner afford to play dog-in-the-manger with it?” “Gosh!” replied my auditor, “would not that make the land sharks squirm!” He saw the point. I know that the land tax doctrine meets with favor from all fair-minded men once they understand it. Being a drummer I do what I can to spread the light in my travels.
Detroit, Mich.—I am more than pleased with The Standard. No one can read it without being benefited and feeling a deep interest in the cause of humanity. Find enclosed $5, from which deduct my year’s subscription and apply the balance to the recruiting fund.
New York—Enclosed you will find two dollars which we had over after paying something toward the banner for the Concordia chorus. The money was at first intended for seats in the McGlynn parade, and was not used for that purpose, so we gladly send it as our mite to the recruiting fund of The Standard. The great paper! If you only could publish it every day, so that we would not have to read the Herald or any other pro-poverty paper. There is always such a scramble in our house when The Standard comes on Friday; that to keep pace we came to the conclusion that each one must have his or her own, and so now we have four every week, and when we get through with them we send them away as far as San Francisco, Las Vegas, Cheyenne City and others. We are all members of the Anti-poverty society, and have not missed one meeting, all of which we enjoy very much. Wishing you every success, we are very truly yours, Mrs. C.R. Hunke, Charles G. Ochs, Dena B. Ochs, Viola A. Ochs, Emma J. Ochs and Ida V. Hunke, ten years old.
Haverhill, Mass.—I enclose $5 for the recruiting fund, and am going to work to get you up a club of subscribers. You have fairly dragged me into this movement; I tried to keep out of it, but I cannot. I commenced reading The Standard three months ago, just to see what this new crusade was all about. The paper made me think, and kept me thinking in the right direction. Just as soon as some objection rose in my mind, along came The Standard with an argument, or an illustration, or a letter, right to the point, that knocked my objection cold. I feel as if I had been going through a hand-to-hand fight with a hard hitter, and had been beaten, and pounded and banged about until every bit of self-conceit was knocked out of me. I am thrashed, and I acknowledge it. Take my $3 and wallop some other fellow.
All right, friend Smith, we’ll go for the other fellows with undiminished vigor, and with the same certainty of victory. But see here, Mr. Smith, you mustn’t expect us to do all the fighting. Strike a few blows for freedom yourself. We want a club from Haverhill, and we expect you to get it. You can do it if you try. Let your works show your faith, and stir round among your friends.
The recruiting fund grows, but it doesn’t grow fast enough. Big or little, let them come. If you have dollars to spare, send them; if you can afford only a few postage stamps, send them along. Every little counts, and every penny has its use. We want to see this recruiting fund rolling up into the hundreds. Here is how it stands now:
John Brunton, Melbourne, Australia
Alex Orme, Detroit
E.D. Hamilton, Marshall, Ind.
E.J. Smith, Haverhill, Mass.
William Wells, Durango, Col.
Mrs. C.R. Hunke and others, New York
Henry R. Ochs, Brooklyn
John W. Ettel, St. Michael, Australia
“Spread the Light”
“Brother and I,” Lockport, N.Y.
And now we want to say a word about the tracts of the land and labor library. Every man or woman whose heart is in the work ought to keep a full set of these tracts on hand all the time, so as to be able to pick out just the one that is needed to combat a particular objection, or set at rest a particular doubt. If a friend tells you, for instance, that people wouldn’t improve land unless they could own it absolutely, give him “The Sailors’ Snug Harbor,” and let him see for himself that men do erect magnificent buildings on land they don’t own, and never can own. If you are arguing with a lawyer, let him read “The Single Tax,” by Thomas G. Shearman, one of the foremost lawyers of the country. Bishop Nulty’s letter, “Back to the Land,” will show Catholics how a prelate of their church views the subject; Protestants may read with profit the sermons and addresses by Mr. Pentecost and Father Huntington and Mr. S.H. Spencer. To a farmer, give “The American Farmer,” by Henry George; to a doubting merchant, Mr. Steeler’s tract, “How to Increase Profits,” will carry conviction. The student may read “First Principles,” or “The Right to the Use of the Earth;” the careless unbeliever whom you want to set to thinking will be interested in “The Mysterious Disappearance,” or “Only a Dream,” or “My Landlord.” Don’t throw your tracts around carelessly, but consider the character of the person you want to approach, and select your tract accordingly.
The True Meaning of the Threat of Excommunication
It is ridiculous to doubt that the striking down of Dr. McGlynn is but an ill-disguised assertion of the papal jurisdiction in matters political as in questions of faith and morals. The chastisement of the priest is meant to serve as a wholesale warning to those of the laity who thinks as he does. ‘Twas a bold stroke having regard to the standing of the man against whom it was directed; its boldness was equaled only by the signal and disastrous failure in which it has resulted. Of this none are more sensible than the men who aimed the blow. The action taken relative to his land theories was clearly and undisputably an after consideration on the part of the authorities at Rome—a subterfuge from a policy hastily conceived and clumsily carried out. The letters interchanged between priest and archbishop have placed this thing beyond the possibility of denial, and further demonstrate that from first to last Dr. McGlynn has been a victim to cruel and willful misrepresentation.
Dr. McGlynn stands before his country and the world as the champion of those who spurn the doctrine which proclaims the duties of the priest to be incompatible with those of the citizen. In seeking to enforce that doctrine his superiors have arrogated to themselves a prerogative which stands in direct antagonism to a sentiment which holds deepest root in American hearts, be they Catholics or otherwise; a sentiment the expression of which even the thunders of the Vatican will not stifle, inspired as it is by those grand principles of human rights upon which is grounded the constitution of the republic.
James J. Slater
Toronto, Canada—Bearing in mind that the Rev. Dr. McGlynn in raising “the cross of the new crusade,” has the moral support of thousands of the working clergy, the following sentences by John S.C. Abbott, in his story of “The French Revolution,” will show how history is repeating itself: “Thus far the religious sentiment of France, as expressed by nearly all the pastors and the great proportion of their Christian flocks, was warmly in favor of the revolution. The higher clergy alone—bishops, archbishop and cardinal—united with the lords. As in the national assembly, so it was in the nation itself, that the working clergy were among the most conspicuous of the sons of freedom.”
As Others See Us
Samuel Bennett, in his newspaper correspondence to the Dumbarton and Lennox (Scotland) Heralds, says:
I was present on Sunday evening at a meeting of the Anti-poverty society, and was much impressed, pleasantly entertained and highly delighted. With the Anti-poverty society poverty is the most cheerful of all subjects, because they firmly believe they have found out its cause, and with that cause its cure. They have at the same time found out that the Christian religion can be made a practical reality instead of a sham; and that fires them with enthusiasm. Ministers of all denominations—Catholics, Episcopalians, Unitarians, Congregationalists—I am not sure that they have yet caught a Presbyterian—under the inspiration of the new faith, are shaking off the bond that made them hypocrites; men who for a score or more of years have given up the formality of going to church, or laying claim to be called religious, crowd to the meetings of the Anti-poverty society, and show their devotion to the new cause, not only by lusty cheering, but by willing contributions from their more or less hard-earned savings. In a word, a great movement has begun, and the world seems brighter because of the prospect of the good that it may do.
Taxing the Worker
Correspondence Toledo Industrial News
About the year 1870 I brought a lot in Toledo. The tax assessed on a block of twenty lots was $9.80, forty-nine cents on each lot. The next year I put improvements to the amount of $400 on my lot, which not only added that much to its value, but also added to the value of all other lots in the vicinity. In consequence of my improvements, the assessment that year was $13.81. Now, as it was my expenditure that had increased the value of all the property, justice would have required that those who had been benefited without any outlay should pay the extra tax of $4, or at least have divided it equally among the twenty owners, myself included; but the law compelled me to pay the whole of it, and the others only paid forty-nine cents each, the same as the year before. Thus, you see, I not only added to the value of their property, but was compelled to pay them for the privilege of doing it. And this is exactly the position of all men owning property in the vicinity of unimproved land; they not only expend money and labor in increasing the value of the land, but they have to pay the owner for the privilege of doing so, in paying taxes that he ought to pay.
Poverty the Mother of Crime
The report of the Western penitentiary for 1885-86 shows that 432 prisoners, constituting fully eighty per cent of the whole number in the institution, had never learned a trade.
Looking over the list of trades and occupations of the prisoners, we find that though western Pennsylvania is noted for her large iron mills and glass factories, there were only four puddlers, three iron rollers and one glassblower among the number received during the year, while the number of coal miners were eighteen, and common laborers seventy-eight. The men engaged in the best paying trades and occupations are conspicuous by their absence, while the poorer classes of laborers, and the ill-paid tradesman is fully represented. The crimes for which the prisoners were sentenced point in the same direction, and go far to show that poverty is the mother of crime.
Our Laws Amendable
But suppose it dawns upon us now that we made a great mistake in thus giving away our land. Suppose that Henry George is right, that the land is the people’s forever, and cannot be lawfully taken from them and their children; that this generation has as much right to inaugurate a new land system as Abraham and Lot, as the herder and farmer, as the conquering chief, as the king of England, as the government of the United States. Who shall say nay? We are not Medes or Persians. Our laws are amendable forever.
Salt Lake Tribune
Queen Victoria has been a monarch for fifty years. In that time she has drawn from her subjects in rents, amenities, etc., over $100,000,000. She has had, besides, special provision made by the government for all her family. Is it strange that England is growing a little tired of this business of royalty? that on two or three occasions of late the queen has been publicly hissed? The gifts of this world are so distributed that sometimes it looks as though people were rewarded in inverse ratio to the service they render.
 I give the average of five such blocks, which I have had thoroughly visited. The two men whom I employed, though they have lived all their lives in the very district, came back horrified at the condition of things.
2 This is the expression which was used to describe the inhabitants of tenement houses before a committee of the New York legislature last winter, by one of the opponents of two bills, which have since become laws, to amend the old statutes on tenement houses, and to provide for the laying out of small parks in crowded districts.
1 As to physical suffering, take two points: The water the patient drinks must often be drawn at three o’clock in the morning, and kept standing all day; and the thermometer has been found to register 115 degrees in the shade over the head of a sick child.
2 How prematurely this period passes, Dr. Daniels has lately borne witness from her wide experience. “One is struck with the extraordinary early maturity of these little ones. I have sick babies of six months to two years brought to me daily, by boys and girls of eight to nine years, who answer my questions as well as the mother could.”
1 Of course something is being accomplished for a small portion of the young people in tenement districts by the various chapels, mission rooms, guild and reading rooms, schools and libraries, just as in other ways a good deal is being done for the bodies and souls of the poor; but these are, for the most part, only palliatives of the misery, and an increasing number of the hardest workers in the cause of philanthropy are beginning to question whether all our charitable agencies and institutions, by making the lives of tenement house people just not intolerable, may not be actually increasing the evils they are organized to redress.
3 It may be answered that the freedom of the southern states are not as well off now as they were under servitude. Why this is so may be inferred from the saying common among southern planters today, “What fools we were to fight for slavery, when we can get so much more out of our niggers by setting them to compete with one another in the labor market.”