Volume 1 June 11, 1887
The workingmen of New York did right in not yielding to the demands of William O'Brien that they should emasculate their resolutions of everything but praise of Mr. O'Brien and his colleagues, and denunciations of Lord Lansdowne, and put a slight on one of their foremost men because he might not be agreeable to the London Times.
No trap whatever was set for Mr. O'Brien, and no attempt whatever was made to get him to take sides in American politics. He came to America to denounce and Irish landlord for his conduct as a landlord. He was received with open arms by American landlords and the defenders of American landlords, who dined him and wined him and gave him public ovations, with the transparent purpose of making themselves solid with “the Irish vote;” he has been flattered and lionized by a press that has nothing but misrepresentation and abuse for those who impeach in America the very same system which these papers so glibly condemn in Ireland, and has received the public approval of the same archbishop who is exerting all his power to persecute unto ecclesiastical death the American priest who incurred the unrelenting enmity of the Italian propaganda by the brave words he said in favor of the “Irish revolution” in Ireland's darkest hour. Not satisfied with this, Mr. O'Brien's friends wanted his triumphs in America to culminate with a grand demonstration of the organized workingmen of New York, and at their suggestion the Central labor union, the New York districts of the Knights of Labor and the organizations of the united labor party tendered a public reception to Mr. O'Brien, which was duly accepted by him.
What did Mr. O'Brien expect of these men? What had he a right to expect? Unless he is the most ignorant man that ever edited a paper he must have known the opinions of the workingmen of New York on the land question and the grounds of their sympathy with him. He must have known that the workingmen of New York have explicitly declared their adherence to the great truth that the land of every country is the common property of the people of that country, and that their sympathy with those who are fighting Irish landlordism is due to the belief that the Irish social revolt is at bottom an enunciation of this truth. Yet at the last moment, after all preparations had been completed, he had the shocking bad taste and imperial audacity to demand, as a condition of his presence, that the workingmen of New York should stultify themselves by striking out of their resolutions all reference to principle, and by setting aside the gentleman whom—because his official position made him their most representative man—they had selected to preside. These conditions being refused, Mr. O'Brien refused his presence. But the demonstration went on all the same—not a demonstration in honor of Mr. O'Brien, it is true, but a demonstration in honor of what it had been really intended to honor in the reception tendered to Mr. O'Brien—the great principle of “the land for the people.”
This occurrence is not accidental and it is not to be regretted. No man can serve two masters. No man can be both for landlordism and against landlordism; and it is better, far better, for the cause of popular rights both in Ireland and in the United States that the real position of the Irish parliamentary leaders should be understood in this country, and that the real position of the working masses of the United States, who have hitherto given their sympathy to the Irish movement, should be understood in Ireland. For the development of radical sentiment on the land question has in Ireland been largely kept down by the notion that the sentiment in America whence the pecuniary supplies come, is conservative. It is time that Americans should know that the Irish parliamentary leaders have no sympathy with popular movements elsewhere and are not bent on gaining “the land for the people,” even in Ireland, but only on entrenching landlordism by securing some reduction in rent to tenants. And it is time that the radical men of Ireland should know that the main strength and sympathy which the Irish land movement has today in the United States is due to the belief that it aims at the assertion of the universal principle that the land of every country belongs, not to landlords, not to tenants, but to the whole living people.
It is hard to regard Mr. O'Brien's objection to Mr. McMackin otherwise than as a mere subterfuge. If Mr. McMackin had been known because he only had presided at a lecture by Mr. Tynan, there might have been some reason in Mr. O'Brien's objection, though even then it is hard for an American citizen to understand the abject frame of mind which would lead an Irish patriot to declare that his presence on a New York platform with any one whom the workingmen of New York had selected as their presiding officer would destroy Mr. Parnell, wreck the Irish movement, and cast to the winds the hopes of the Irish people for this generation! If Mr. Parnell is so easily destroyed, and the Irish movement is of such delicate stuff as this, had it not better be kept in a bandbox marked “Truly British,” and no one suffered to approach it unless labeled “Approved by the London Times?”
But Mr. McMackin's title to distinction is not that he presided at Mr. Tynan's lecture. Mr. McMackin is known to thousands and thousands who never heard of Tynan; and to thousands and thousands who, though they may have heard Tynan's name, have no clear idea of any connection of his with Irish “physical force movements,” or that he had any connection at all. But the people of New York do know Mr. McMackin. He has been selected by the men who proposed to receive Mr. O'Brien on Saturday night as their representative and presiding officer on far more important occasions than even the reception of an Irish member of the British parliament. He was the presiding officer of the labor union convention of all the trades unions and labor organizations of New York—the most truly representative body of workingmen that has ever assembled in this city; he was the chairman of their executive committee during a great political campaign; he is the chairman of the general committee of the united labor party, the chairman of the central land and labor committee, and so far as there can be said to be any official head to the labor movement in New York, from which Mr. O'Brien's friends sought a reception for Mr. O'Brien, he today occupies that position. He was chosen to preside at Saturday night's demonstration, as he would have been chosen to preside at any other great gathering of the workingmen of New York—for reasons similar to those which made the “saviors of society” choose ex-Mayor Grace to preside at the Hoffman house dinner. In choosing him there was no thought of the Tynan lecture. And to withdraw him after he had been selected, for such a reason as was assigned by Mr. O'Brien, would not only have been to put a deliberate insult upon Mr. McMackin, but to have shown a subserviency to British opinion as represented by the London Times that the workingmen of New York are not yet ready to acknowledge.
John McMackin happened to be born in Ireland, and was in Fenian times a Fenian. But he is not a dynamiter, nor an advocate of violence. As a matter of fact, he presided at the Tynan lecture simply because he was strenuously urged to do so by some of Mr. O'Brien's friends, as a matter of charity to a man who had been left stranded in New York with a family of nine children; and in his remarks there he took pains to emphasize his own position and to state that he only presided as a matter of fair play. Yet Mr. O'Brien wanted the workingmen of New York to boycott Mr. McMackin for this!
The utter insincerity of Mr. O'Brien's plea that for him to go upon a platform with the man who had presided at a lecture by Mr. Tynan would “destroy Mr. Parnell, wreck the Irish movement and cast to the winds the hopes of the Irish people,” is proved by the fact that at Boston he did go on the platform with a gentleman, Mr. John Boyle O'Reilly, who recently presided at a lecture of this same Tynan. And it is further to be observed that between the time when he refused to attend the labor demonstration and the time when he took the occasion of the Hoffman House banquet to attack Mr. McMackin he accepted the invitation and escort to the Press club of Patrick Ford, the editor, and Austin E. Ford, Captain Edward O'Meagher Condon and David Healy of the staff of the Irish World. How grateful this will be to the London Times is shown by the cable dispatch that the Times on Tuesday morning, in continuation of its articles on “Parnellism and Crime,” published a facsimile of a page of the Irish World and the greater portion of an address by Patrick Ford. If Mr. O'Brien's appearance at a demonstration presided over by Mr. McMackin would have destroyed Mr. Parnell and wrecked the Irish party, the vivid imagination of that foe of landlord oppression—in Ireland—Mr. Charles A. Dana, will alone suffice to portray what must happen now.
The real truth of the matter is, evidently, that Mr. O'Brien did not want to identify himself or the parliamentary party with the principle of the land for the people, which Mr. McMackin does represent. He was willing to accept an ovation from the workingmen of New York, provided it should appear to be merely a tribute to himself, to what he calls his “mission,” and to the picayune land policy of the parliamentary party; but he was not willing to accept any demonstration which would displease the saviors of society who have clustered round him in the United States, or would give any color to the assumption that the Irish cause does involve a universal principle.
In this Mr. O'Brien has undoubtedly obeyed his instructions. He was informed by cable before he left here that the executive committee of the Irish national league heartily approved his action “in keeping Irish questions free from American issues.” This is in accordance with the settled policy of the parliamentary party. This attitude of the Irish leaders has been intensely selfish. They have wanted everything, while giving nothing. They have claimed the sympathy of the world for their struggle for freedom without giving sympathy for the struggle of any other people. They have preferred to put Ireland in the attitude of a beggar soliciting alms by the peculiar horribleness of her sores, rather than in that of a high-spirited nation, striking against a wrong which everywhere oppresses men, and calling upon other peoples to join her in a common struggle.
What the gentlemen of the Irish national league call “American issues” is simply the great issue which lies at the bottom of the Irish movement and alone gives it any claim upon the sympathies of other peoples—the issue that is being everywhere joined as to the natural rights of men in the land of their country. Ever since the treaty of Kilmainham and the withdrawal of the no-rent manifesto it has been the policy of the parliamentary party to turn the demand of the “land for the people” into a demand for a reduction of rents to Irish tenants and to avoid anything which would show sympathy for the great principle which gave the land league its original strength.
Even Michael Davitt was muzzled when he came to this country. He, the founder of the Irish land league, the great standard bearer of the principle that all men have equal rights in the soil of their native land the avowed citizen of the world, came to this country when the same standard was being raised here, but did not have one word to say in its behalf. And, although his natural noble impulses so far asserted their power that he did break out into some indignant words against Cardinal Simeoni's attempt to punish an American priest for favoring the Irish revolution, yet no sooner did he again get home and under the influence of the parliamentary party than he made haste to humbly apologize for this. What, then, can be expected of Mr. William O'Brien, whose paper, the United Ireland, was one of the agencies employed to break Mr. Davitt into submission to the no-principle policy of the parliamentary junta?
We should not be too ready to blame these men. They have seen, in the United States, that newspapers and politicians were quite willing to denounce landlordism—in Ireland; to talk of evictions as crimes—when they take place in Ireland; and, in short, to lend their enthusiastic support to the Irish movement so long as it is popular in this country and is treated as though it involved nothing that has any application beyond Ireland, and is not too radical there. The Irish leaders have naturally deemed this support valuable and have been loath to do anything to lose it. And the men who have gathered around such of them as came to this country, who have dine them and wined them and shown them attention which poorer men could not, have been those whose effort it has been to impress upon them that golden stream of American contributions would fall off if they taught any doctrines or professed any principles which would, even by implication, deny the rights of landlords in the United States.
Yet the land league movement in Ireland never could have attained its strength without the support of the laborers of the country and the workingmen of the towns—classes to which the agricultural rent reductions of the parliamentary rent reductions of the parliamentary leaders could offer nothing. And the heart of the support which the movement has had on this side of the Atlantic has, from the beginning, been radical to the core. Whoever knows the sentiments of the great masses of the Irish-Americans who have contributed so steadily and liberally to the support of the movement in Ireland knows that their sympathies are with the laborers, not with the farmers, of Ireland, and that to them, “the land for the people” has meant, not that such men as Farmer Kilbride should pay $3,500 a year instead of $4,000 a year to Lord Lansdowne, but that the whole accursed system should be swept away and the youngest child of the humblest Irish peasant accorded the same equal right in the soil of his native land as the oldest son of the proudest duke. If there is one class of the oppressors of Ireland that the great body of Irish-Americans detest above another it is that middle class of tenants who grind down their laborers with far less mercy than the titled landlords show to their tenants. And from the very inception of the Irish land league movement, its most active organizers and advocates in the United States have been denouncing, not high rents, but landlordism, and looking forward not to the establishment of tenant rights, but of natural rights. The files of the Irish World and the great sums of money it collected while advocating the destruction of landlordism, bear witness to the depth and strength of this radical sentiment among Irish-Americans, while among the working masses not of Irish blood the Irish movement has derived its sympathy from the feeling that it was indeed a movement which in its social side aimed at the emancipation of labor, as in its political side it aimed at the assertion of the right of self-government.
Something like the O'Brien incident was inevitable from the growth of radical sentiment here. The friends of Mr. O'Brien who, not satisfied with the reception he got from the “society saviors,” wanted him to be also publicly endorsed by the workingmen of New York, proposed to him the riding of two horses going in different directions.
It is well the incident has occurred. It makes the position of the Irish parliamentary party on the land question clear in this country, and will doubtless, in time, make the true grounds of American sympathy with Ireland clear in that country.
The coolness of these Irish parliamentarians in desiring to "keep Irish questions free from American issues" is indeed refreshing. They are constantly asking us to interfere in English politics, but when it comes to taking an}r part which would imply that the land question has any reference to America, they are struck with the impropriety of interfering in the politics of a foreign country. Mr. O'Brien, a member of the British parliament, comes to America in order to denounce another servant of "her majesty," the governor general of Canada, and asks the workingmen of New York to adopt resolutions against a bill pending in the British parliament. Yet he is so scrupulous as to the propriety of an Irishman taking any interest in American issues that he refuses to be present at a grand demonstration of sympathy with the cause he is supposed to represent, if, forsooth, its resolutions should intimate that the land question could have any relation to America. And Michael Davitt, who so carefully bottled up his opinions in this country lest his expression of them might interfere in American politics, telegraphs from Ireland to Patrick Ford, asking that a deputation of Knights of Labor wait upon the president of the United States and call his attention to England's policy in Ireland. Surely, if these men are so fastidious about giving utterance to a general principle which might have a bearing on American politics, it is hardly fair in them to ask Americans to have anything to say about politics on the other side of the water.
With the exception of the Leader, the daily papers of New York ave just now vyingwith each other in asserting that Mr. O'Brien has the sympathy and support of the friends of Ireland in his resistance to what the Sun styles the "shameless efforts to trade on the unselfish sympathies of Americans for Ireland." But people at a distance should know that the dailypress of New York are in such matters very poor exponents of public opinion. They are good enough indicators of the drift of feeling in capitalistic circles; but as experience has amply shown, they should be read inversely on questions which really stir the working masses. A little while ago theywere congratulating themselves that Dr. McGlynn had lost his influence, just as now they are declaring that John McMackin has lost the labor party its Irish supporters. The Mail and Express, the organ of Mr. Cyrus W. Field, is perhaps the most optimistic of all. This is the cheerful view which it takes of the situation:
There are two tough facts that the George-McGlynn party will have to digest in the immediate future. McGlynn will probably be excommunicated before the next election, and then all good Catholics will have to cut loose from him. If the Irish accept Mr. O'Brien's opinion and push it to the logical consequence that a man in the George party cannot be a good Irishman, the Irish also will cut loose. If the party loses all its Catholics and all its Irishmen it will be an interesting and select little body.
So it will, that is true! But if Mr. Field is in town on Saturday evening, June 18, and takes the opportunity to witness the demonstration that, if it doesn't rain, will then take place in endorsement of Dr. McGlynn's stand as a man and a citizen, he will probably see that all the Catholics and all the Irish men have not been alienated yet. In the meanwhile, the anxiety of prominent members of the organization to explain that Tammany had nothing to do with Mr. O'Brien's refusal may be worth noting, as also the fact that. Mr. Blaine, Governor Hill and Major Hewitt found themselves too busy to attend the O'Brien banquet at the Hoffman house. Mr. Blaine and Governor Hill have the reputation of being extremely quick-witted politicians, and even Mr. Hewitt has frequent flashes of political prudence, and "knows enough to get in when it rains."
One of the features of the banquet was the presentation to the guest of the evening of a letter to Mr. Parnell, enclosing a draft in Mr. Parnel's favor for $25,000, which Mr. O'Brien was requested to carry across the ocean to the Irish parliamentary leader, thus saving a five cent postage stamp. The $25,000 is, it seems, a portion of the Irish parliamentary fund raised by subscription in this city something over a year ago. It does not appear, however, that this money has been retained so long by banker Kelly and his associates solely with a view to the saving of a five cent stamp. Their address to Mr. O'Brien shows that they retained this money (and it is said some $28,000 more) “to meet emergencies not otherwise provided for,” and they tell Mr. O'Brien that they were “inspired and stimulated by his presence and the activepatriotism, devotion and self-sacrifice, which seem to them to be the governing forces of his love for Ireland,” to emphasize their regard for him. They did this b3r getting him to act as a letter bearer, and thus saved five cents. Mr. Parnell will doubtless be well pleased that Mr. O'Brien's presence, etc., has inspired and stimulated Messrs. Eugene Kelly, Joseph J. O'Donoghue, Miles O'Brien and Colonel Brown to this extent; but he might be even better pleased if Mr. O'Brien had inspired and stimulated these gentlemen a little over twice as much. For it is to be presumed from this letter that Banker Kelly and his associates propose to keep the rest of the money here until some other Irish parliamentarian comes along to inspire and stimulate them into sending it over.
To the young gentleman who attends the clam chowder bar at the Astor house this incident of the Hoffman house banquet recalls the fact that on the day on which he paid in the contribution of the Astor house employees to the parliamentary fund Dr. McGlynn also paid in $650, of which $100 was from himself and $100 from Dr. Curran. When Dr. McGlynn's name was hissed by the Hoffman house banqueters Banker Kelly might possibly have recalled this fact if he had not been in the habit of receiving such large sums of money. One hundred dollars from an income of $800 is, however, relatively as large as $5,000 from an income of $40,000. But contributions to funds of this kind do not increase with incomes. The great sums which the Irish parliamentary party have received from this country have come in largest proportion from the earnings of working men and women. And when the rich have given, it has been largely because the devotion of the poor has made the cause popular. As a class, the rich Irishmen of the United States are just about as devoted to the Irish cause as are the rich Irishmen of Ireland.
Michael Davitt, in the sight of the evictions of poor little tenants in the west of Ireland, has broken out, and taken back all he has ever said of non-resistance. And whatever may be thought of the prudence of this it is creditable to his heart.
He has also telegraphed here asking us to prevent the evicted Irish people from landing here, so anxious is he to stop by any means the depopulation of Ireland.
But why should we prevent their coming? We have room enough, and they in blood and brain and morals are the best of human stuff. Why should we think of such a thing? If we do, it is only because there is on our soil today the same curse that is depopulating Ireland, and though our land is broad there are here already men and woman and children who because theycan find no foothold are being turned into tramps and paupers.
Instead of allowing human beings to be driven back and forth across the Atlantic, would it not be better for Irishmen and Americans to unite to break the common curse.
No man could do more in this than Michael Davitt.
Puck of this week has a spirited cartoon representing a boxing match between Archbishop Corrigan and Dr. McGlynn, while the pope and myself act as bottle-holders, and a number of well-known Protestant ministers look on with amused satisfaction. The legend is: “It's a very pretty quarrel as it stands, and the Protestants can afford to smile, whoever is victor.” One of the most significant things about this whole affair is that the Protestants don't seem to feel so. Puck correctly enough represents the Rev. Heber Newton as being evidently on the side of Dr. McGlynn, though the gross figure and face which it labels with his name bears as much resemblance to the slight form and spiritual countenance of the eloquent Episcopalian as a prize pig to a nightingale. But of all the other prominent Protestant clergymen whom it represents as unconcerned spectators, it would be safe to say that their sympathies are with Archbishop Corrigan and the pope. It is instructive to observe this attitude of well-to-do Protestantism, which is perhaps even more clearly marked in the press. Harpers' Weekly is a typical case. A few years ago no subject was more congenial to its pens and pencils than the aggressions of Rome in American politics. But after crying "Wolf! wolf!" so often, it now welcomes the wolf. Only a few years ago it pictured a swarm of bishops, archbishops and abbots, with miters elongated into crocodiles' jaws, crawling up from the sea to destroy our public schools and devour the school children. Now it has no t a word of hearty sympathy with the priest who stood up so bravely for the public school system, and it sounds no alarm when a citizen is summoned to Rome under threat of major excommunication to answer for his economic opinions and political action. So it is with the Times and the Tribune, and similar papers over the whole country. Has the leopard changed his spots or the Ethiopian his skin? Hardly; but “circumstances alter cases.” Today, as of old, Diana of the Ephesians is worshiped of the silversmiths; and today, as of old, Pharisee and Sadducee close together in united front when the gospel of glad tidings to the poor threatens their unjust privileges.
This is not matter for regret. It is matter for rejoicing. It is of good omen that old prejudices are passing away, and that this is so on the left as on the right. For, while one class of Protestants and free thinkers are chuckling over the threatened excommunication of the American priest who will not take his political orders from Rome, and are coming to regard the Catholic machine as the providential protector of “things as they are,” so on the other hand another class of Protestants and free-thinkers are beginning to realize that the spirit of Catholicism is not so slavish as they once thought, and that men may hold firmly to the Catholic faith and yet defy bishop, propaganda or pope when the rights of the citizen are assailed. For it is something well calculated to shatter old prejudices in many minds that in this case the quickest and strongest remonstrance against the assumption of a foreign ecclesiastical power to dictate in American politics comes from Catholics!
The weeks are passing, and since Dr. McGlynn as yet makes no sign of going to Rome, the forty days of the summons of which the archbishop's secretary has informed the press will soon be up, and it will he the privilege of “his grace” to place by name on this “subject,” who insists on acting like a citizen, the major excommunication. This, once vulgarity known as excommunication by bell, book and candle, is what might be termed in vulgar speech of the present day the “big boycott.” Once the boldest might well have quailed before it, for, though in Italy it never amounted to very much, and Italian barons would sometimes make a papal legate eat a bull of excommunication—parchment, wax, lead seals and ribbons; in parts of Europe further removed from the holysee it struck, like the whitening of leprosy, shutting off its victim from intercourse with his kind. Even if its operation had not been somewhat modified in more recent times, it could, of course, have no such effect in this country. But it would still be, from its historical associations, a very imposing ceremony, and it is to be hoped that if Archbishop Corrigan does it a t all, he will do it in public. For not only would many of our “best society”—Protestant even more than Catholic—enjoy it immensely, but the newspapers would all print full reports. And, if he will pardon the suggestion, the most appropriate day for the archbishop to excommunicate Dr. McGlynn would be the 22d of June, which this year comes on Wednesday. To be sure the forty days, which, through his secretary, Archbishop Corrigan has informed the public is the limit given to Dr. McGlynn to present himself before Cardinal Simeoni, will not then have quite expired, but still, if Dr. McGlynn does not sail for Rome before the 22d, it will bo physically impossible for him to get there within the forty days, and the archbishop may safely proceed with the excommunication. The 22d of June is, indeed, of all the days in the year, so eminently appropriate for such a purpose, that if through any misgivings the archbishop feels compelled to deny himself the pleasure of excommunicating Dr. McGlynn on the 22d of June instant, he ought to wait until another 22d of June comes around.
For on the 22d of June, 1633, in a hall in “the palace of the sacred congregation of the inquisition, before the scarlet robed cardinals of the holy office, among whom sat one of Archbishop Corrigan's favorite authorities, the Jesuit Bellarmine, there knelt a trembling old man of seventy, weakened by long imprisonment, and, as some say, by the torture of the rack. However this may be, sore indeed must have been the anguish, whether of mind or body, which that venerable old man must have undergone before he could have been bent to take the part he did in the tragedy there enacted.
For then and there kneeling, with his open hand on the holy gospels, the old man on oath denied what in his inmost heart he knew to be God's truth, and denied and cursed the revelation that the heavens had made to him. The exact words that he repeated, as theywere entered on the records of the holy office, were these:
Solem esse in centro mundi et immobilem motu locali proposito absurda, et falsa in philosophia, et formaliter haeretica, quia est expresse contraria sacrae scripturae.
Terram non esse centram mundi, nee immobilem, sed moreri mote etiam philosophia, et theologice considerata, ad minus, erronea in fide.
Corde sincero et fide non ficia, abjuro, maledico, at detesto supradictos errores et haereses.
Which, being translated into English, is:
That the sun is the center of the universe and immovable by local motion is an absurd proposition, false in philosophy, and formally heretical; because it is expressly contrary to sacred scripture!
That the earth is not the center of the universe, nor immovable, but is moved even by a diurnal motion, is also an absurd proposition, false in philosophy and theologically considered, at least, erroneous in faith.
With a sincere and unfeigned faith, I abjure, curse and detest the above mentioned errors and heresies.
Thus two centuries and a half ago was Galileo compelled to deny on oath that the earth moves round the sun—a truth he saw as clearly as Dr. McGlynn now sees a truth that in the social sphere is as grand and inspiring, and that to the lives of men is far more important.
But the world still moved.
The Catholic priest who sends me the above transcript of the abjuration of Galileo, adds this to it:
An old man of seventy, weakened by years of persecution on the part of bigots and ignorant pretenders to religions purity, denounced as a disturber of society, as an enemy of order, was thus coerced to condemn truth, to violate his conscience, to wear as heresy what is now taught as truth all over the world. Of course the church, as a teacher of revelation, is not guilty of this crime. Those Roman cardinals who represented the disciplinary power of the church must bear the odium. They have their successors.
But more disreputable still than they was the old man who, at their inquisitorial demand, violated his conscience by conscious perjury.
These are hard, hard words. What they mean from the Catholic priest who sends them to me to be published is that it is Dr. McGlynn's most solemn duty to stand firm on what he knows to be right, even though he be excommunicated.
Very well. This adjuration now goes as he intended, publicly to Dr. McGlynn. I shall respect this priest's confidence, and give his name only to the man who is entitled to know it. But I put it to his conscience whether, in case Dr. McGlynn, shall be excommunicated, it will not then be his most solemn duty to publicly stand forth by Dr. McGlynn's side.
Another Crowded House and Thousands Turned Away
A Lively Address by Louis F. Post—Dr. McGlynn Eloquent, Humorous, Convincing and Pathetic—An Audience That Gave Unmistakable Proof of Its Feeling
The sixth public meeting of the Anti-poverty society was held at the Academy of Music last Sunday evening, Mr. Louis F. Post presiding. The doors were closed a t 7:00 o'clock, the house then being crowded, and several thousands who came later were unable to enter th e building.
Mr. Post opened the meeting with a brief speech, in which, after humorously demolishing the recent argument of Professor Dwight at the Columbia college law school, he gave a terse and vigorous presentation of the way in which the earth monopoly of landlordism robs the 1aborer of his hire.
“Suppose,” said Mr. Post, “that some one with sufficient power stood on this platform and said: Everyone who will pass up this aisle may have steady work, short hours and $5 a day. How long do you suppose wages would be less than $5 a day? Not very long. People who wanted to get men for less would find them very scarce. Suppose, however, that a great big black devil was stationed at that door, and he said: I won't allow anyone to pass through here unless he first makes an agreement to pay me $3 a day out of his wages. Wouldn't wages drop to $2 a day pretty quickly. Yet this is a fair illustration of our present industrial system.”
The choir, under the leadership of Miss Munier, then sang a stirring hymn, after which the chairman introduced Dr. McGlynn.
When the tempest of applause which greeted bis appearance had subsided, Dr. McGlynn said:
Mr. Chairman, Ladies and Gentlemen: We wish to abolish poverty (a voice, "Certainly"); and in order to abolish poverty it is true that we shall not be content with any thing less th an the earth. (Laughter and applause.) We wish t o abolish poverty because poverty is a blotch a r d a blur on the fair face of God's creation; because poverty is the fruitful source of vice and crime; because poverty is the constant occasion for the degradation of the Godlike image that the Creator placed here to rule the world, from that high estate in which he was made but a little lower than the angels, to a condition much lower than that of the brute.
We wish to abolish poverty because it is the fruitful source of blasphemies that go up t o heaven; because it is the immediate cause and occasion that makes men doubt whether there be a God a tall; because from poverty comes the constant hatred of the existing order of things; and where men are forced to believe t hat it is God's order, they say: We will have none of your God! (Applause.) Your God is a s bad or worse than your devil, since he makes so poor use of his power and wisdom, and permits his plans so strangely to miscarry, and sanctions this miscarriage through the voices of those who assume to speak in His name. (Applause.)
To abolish poverty, we want the earth (applause): because we believe that the blasphemies that go up from all quarters of the globe against the wisdom, and the goodness,and the very existence of an intelligent and beneficent Creator will cease only when men shall be permitted to believe what their reason itself teaches them unmistakably, that by the mere fact that they are men at all they have an absolute, indisputable, inalienable, indefeasible right and title t o all the world. (Applause.) Men are perfectly safe in following their reason. Reason is a transformation of the very light that comes from the countenance of the Creator. It is that light which th e first page of the gospel of St. John speaks of when it tells us of a “Light that enlighteneth every man that cometh into the world,” It is the teaching of right reason, sanctioned by the teaching of revelation, that if man be not capable of knowing God. His justice, and His goodness and His truth—if man be not capable of knowing the moral order by the power of reason—then he is not capable of receiving a revelation. And it is enough for him to discover that the pretended revelation that is presented t o him, no matter upon what apparently most authentic evidence, contradicts in the slightest tittle the teachings of his reason—to know that it is no revelation of God, that it is some man abusing the credulity of his fellow men, or some demon disguising himself as the child of light to mislead the children of men. (Applause.)
It is the clear teaching of Catholic theology, of Christian civilization, from which, so help me God, I shall never depart in the slightest tittle (great applause and cheering), that reason is preliminary to faith, that if you have not reason to receive revelation, revelation and grace can have no existence. It is only because revelation appeals with clear argument to reason, because He whom we revere as our lord and Master, showed by His work that He spoke with the very voice of God, and that what He said had the divine sanction—it is only thus that His teaching is commended to us. He himself could not, would not, demand of us belief in His teachings until He had clearly demonstrated to us His divine right and title to demand the submission of our wills and intellects.
The Creator respects th e image of Himself that He bas stamped upon men. And so sacredly does He revere this Godlike image that He will not permit these intellects of ours to be subject to anything but Himself, because He is eternal truth; He will not permit these wills of ours t o be subject to any law that is not clearly a transcript of His eternal law, of His eternal will. (Applause.)
They, then, make a great mistake who think to force upon men, as if it were the very teaching of God, what their right reason, their natural and profoundest instincts, reject as an injustice. It is because of this abuse on the part of those who assume to speak in the various churches as if by the very voice of God, and in the name of God, that so large a portion of the people have turned their backs upon the churches.
The only way to bring men back to religion, t o bring them back to God, is to make it clear always and everywhere that God is the God of truth; that God is the God of justice; that God is the God of infinite love, goodness and mercy; that His goodness is spread out over all His works; that human society is of all the visible works of God, the highest, the noblest and the best (applause); and that in the divine plan human society was intended to send up to heaven praise that should so ravish the ear and the heart of the Creator as to beggar all the boasted harmony of the spheres. Praise that goes up to God from the perception of the truth by the minds of his children, by their love of goodness, of virtue and of justice, is dearer to the heart of the Father than all the praise that may come to him from all the wonders of the inanimate or the mere brute creation.
And so we, who are inspired by divine enthusiasm to justify the ways of God to man; t o teach mankind that the miseries and crimes that so mar and blotch society are the resultnot of God"s law, but of the violation of God's law (applause), are impelled to this not merely by a natural instinct of benevolence, but by those noble instincts that come from our Creator, impelling us to serve God, and him alone, by doing what we can to love our brethren. (Applause.)
Henry George (great applause and three cheers), with that dauntless courage that to my mind is perhaps the noblest trait in his character, and makes him tower like a giant among the pigmies who surround him (great applause), whose lion hearted bravery if possible surpasses his magnificent philanthropy and his godlike genius (applause), has had the courage to say that there is frequently more of the essence of true religion in the dynamiter (applause) who seems to hate society as it exists, in the nihilist who is calumniated as wishing to annihilate everything (applause), in the anarchist who is calumniously represented as wishing to abolish all social order—that there is more of the essence of true religion in some of these men, even in some of them who seem to blaspheme God, than in the scribes and pharisees who sit in the front seats of the synagogues (wild and tumultuous applause) and thank God, with sanctimonious faces, that they are not like other men; that they fast twice in the week and pay their pew rent regularly (laughter), which is the modern equivalent, I suppose, to passing tithes—and that they are not like a few of those unfortunate nihilists and dynamiters and anti-poverty people. (Great applause.) And the reason our guide, philosopher, and friend (applause) gave for thus speaking was this: That their rebellion against the existing order of things, their hatred of the monster that is presented to them falsely as a god, is a tribute that their godlike nature pays to the true God; a tribute that their hearts are paying to eternal truth and justice. (Great applause.)
We wish, then, to abolish poverty. (Applause.) And when we announced our object and proclaimed our name, it was a question among men whether our object and our title were a joke or a blasphemy. (Laughter.) It seemed at first like a huge joke to start out to abolish such a necessary, and it would seem such an indispensable, thing as poverty. (Laughter.) Then, again, it seemed surely like a blasphemy to attempt to interfere with the clear ordinance of God. The devil, you know, is always ready to quote scripture. (Great laughter.) As an illustration of the fact, do you not remember ho w the devil quoted scripture most glibly and made several most apt quotations when he tempted our Savior to fall down and worship him, with the promise of all the kingdoms of the world. So this devil we have to contend against—this great black devil of whom our worthy chairman has told us so happily and wittily—is not like those friends of his, the lawyers (great laughter); for, unlike them, he is perfectly familiar with the inside of the Book as well as with the outside of it. (Laughter.) He does not do any kissing of the Book at all, I believe; he does that by proxy. (Great laughter and applause.) So the devil jumped up and said: “What! abolish poverty? It is clearly a crime against the plain teachings of the New Testament; against the teachings of Christ—'the poor ye have always with you.'” Web, in the first place—if I may be permitted to try my hand at interpreting scripture a little—(laughter and applause)—if it is not too risky a thing for me to try a fall or two (laughter) with the devil on the theological platform (laughter and applause)—that is the declaration of a painful fact, but not the enunciation of a divine law. (Great applause.) The scriptures might very well say—and we would not need revelation to teach us—that there has been, and is, and there is likely to be to the end, more or less crime in the world, for the reason that God will not do violence to our force will; but respects so much this magnificent image of Himself that he will tolerate evil rather than violate our moral freedom. Therefore it is that because of human freedom of will there will be more or less of crime in the world. (Applause.)
Now I think I floored the devil that time (applause and laughter), because even the devil will hardly say that God in permitting the existence of crime in the world actually ordains that there shall be crime in the world. “The poor ye have always with you.” More the pity. And if we must always have some of them with us, don't you think it will be an excellent thing, entirely in keeping with right reason and revelation, to diminish the number of them as much as possible and to improve the quality of their poverty a little? (Applause.) Would it be so blasphemous, so terrible a contradiction of revelation, if we could so reverse the order of things that the masses should enjoy great abundance and that it should be only classes that suffer the poverty? (Great applause.)
We wish, therefore, to abolish poverty, because we wish to enforce the ordinances of God in the maintaining and ruling of human society, and because we see clearly that God's plan for the prevention of poverty is that men should have the earth, and it is clearly God's only plan for the abolition of poverty to restore the earth to men again. (Applause.) We have no business to ask God to make another world outside of this that the masses may escape to in order to get a comfortable living. What good would it do to escape to that other world if the order of things were not changed and after a while a few of the brethren should be able to say, “The whole of this world also is ours and now you must pay us toll for the privilege of living upon it!” (Applause.)
But we cannot delude ourselves. It were worse than folly to amuse ourselves with the imagination of any other earth or any other world for the human family than this old earth of ours. We are condemned to be confined to this world, and not merely during our individual lives. The whole human family, as we know it, is condemned to live here, maybe for thousands and tens of thousands and myriads of years yet to come. We are like a goodly company on board a tight and well kept ship sailing through space. And we have to stick to the ship, for we can find no safety in getting off. And for that matter there is this great difference in sailing in a ship and sailing around the sun on this goodly planet, that even if we wanted to jump off we couldn't succeed in doing it. (Applause.) So here we are, for weal or woe, for thousands of years already past and probably for myriads of years yet to come, condemned if you choose, to this earth by the clear law and providence of the Creator.
Now, then, it is this earth that we must have, and therefore this e a r th we shall have. (Applause.) Man was placed here with such a nature and such necessities that it is perfectly clear, it is the most obvious teaching of his instincts, and his reason, that the Creator, if he be an intelligent and a beneficent one at all, must have intended that he should be able to maintain decently and comfortably the life that the Creator has given him, that he should have the opportunity, the means and the material to develop all the instincts and all the capacities of his nature. We find lying loose all about us a wondrous storehouse of materials, out of which man is able to create all manner of good things, and to imitate, by his creative faculty, the wonders of the Creator in the universe. The fact that man has done these things shows t h a t he is able to do them. The fact that he has capacities and instincts that drive him to do these things shows that it was in the mind and plan of the Creator that he should do them. (Applause.) Therefore; it is obvious that it is the l aw of nature and of God that man should have access to these materials; that all men should have access to them; that all men, being equally by nature brethren of one family because children of one Father, should have joint, equal ownership in usufruct of all these bounties. (Applause.) It is perfectly clear that man, by being a man at all, has an equal right with every other man, with all men, to these bounties. It requires no parchment to prove his title; it requires no civil or ecclesiastical law to guarantee it. (Applause.) The mere fact that he is here, a human being endowed with this nature, is the one indispensable title to this joint equal usufruct of all the bounties of nature.
They have in certain countries a great deal of formality about allowing people to get married. The bans of matrimony have to be published three times in the church and three times a t the city hall of the place where the man lives, and in the same way in the church and at the city hall of the place where the woman lives. And the result is that they make it so difficult for people to get married that a very large part of the community think it not worth while to get married at all. (Laughter.) And besides these requirements of church and state, there are other requirements that are insisted upon by the families of the unhappy intended groom and bride. (Laughter.) I remember having read a very clever book written by a very clever little American woman, in which she states how she came very near being married in Paris; but she didn't. One of the greatest difficulties was that she had to get a certificate of birth. (Uproarious laughter.) The little woman is honest enough to acknowledge in that book that the less said about her birth the better. She wasn't of a very high and aristocratic family, but she was going to marry an old noodle of a duke who had money, so she had to lie about it, and forge a certificate. She entitles this most amusing chapter in the book thus: “I prove that I was born.” (Groat laughter and applause.) It was a pretty difficult thing for her to prove it in the sense that that old noodle wanted her to, but we shall be more accommodating, and cheerfully acknowledge the absolute, inalienable, unquestionable, indefeasible right and title of every individual to a joint equal share in all the general bounties of nature in virtue of the mere fact that he was born at all. (Great applause.) And I think we can all agree that we need no other proof of the fact that a man was born than that he is here present himself, to assert his right, and title to his equal share of the estate. (Applause.)
In spite of all the clear demonstrations in the works of Mr. Henry George (great applause) and of other accepted masters of political economy, like Herbert Spencer (applause) and John Stuart Mill (applause), that the money value, the rental value, the selling value of any of the bounties of nature was not created by individuals, and therefore in strict justice should not belong as private property to individuals, there is in the minds of very many people a feeling that there must be some quibble, some sophistry in this doctrine. It looks wonderfully plausible when they read the arguments; it is impossible for them to answer them. (Applause, and then a voice: “They don't read them at all.”) Right you are (applause); the great majority of them never read at all; but if they do read they can never answer the arguments, and the only resort for them, and the one that they constantly avail themselves of, is to misrepresent the arguments, to belie the object and the means of its attainment. (Applause.) When I was in Cincinnati a month or two ago to deliver a sermon, or a lecture, or a speech, or an address, or something (laughter) on the cross of the new crusade—I believe you have heard the title once be fore (applause)—and stayed over a day, I went in company with a goodly number of Knights of Labor (great applause) and land and labor parties to hear a supposed-to-be learned and every way respectable and amiable gentleman—a Jesuit father named Higgins. He lectured avowedly to demolish Henry George. It was expressly advertised that he would refute the theories of Henry George. The poor man did his best (laughter), and while he was trying to utterly demolish and annihilate Henry George, so little did he succeed that I do not think you need my testimony to assure you that Henry George is still the liveliest kind of a corpse. (Laughter and applause.) A newspaper man asked me the next morning what I thought of the lecture. I stated to him that while listening to it I was forcibly reminded of what Henry George had been able to say in the preface to one of the late editions of his works, that he had failed to see a single argument against the book that had not been already answered in the book itself. (Applause.)
During a certain municipal campaign that seems now like very remote ancient history (laughter), because so many things have happened since (great and tumultuous applause, accompanied by the waving of handkerchiefs), and you know that the sense of time comes chiefly from the sensation of events, rather than from the mere watching the swinging of a pendulum—during that same interesting canvass a prelate with a foreign title, which Mr. Henry George facetiously interprets "My lord" (hisses), was called upon with a kind of Macedonian cry by the chairman of the committee on resolutions of a certain institution in this city. (Hisses and groans.) And this right reverend prelate, in a letter which furnished a magnificent campaign document, and which was printed and scattered broadcast before the doors of churches on the Sunday before election, said that he and of hers of the same profession as himself disapproved entirely Mr. George's doctrines, and found them bad in political economy, theology and every thing else. (A voice: “Suspend him.”) A few days after that one case-hardened man—I believe it was a priest (wild applause and cheers)—oh, it was not I; I should not have been so case-hardened; I should have been afraid to do what this bolder man did—he went to this right reverend man with the foreign title and said: “See here, monsignor (that is the correct Italian pronunciation, I believe,)—see here. Do you know what the younger clergy are saying—that they are willing to wager that you have not read any of Henry George's works?” He had just condemned them as unsound and bad and every way disastrous. Do you know what his answer was? “Why, of course not; do you think a man can be expected to read all the trash that comes out nowadays?” (Great laughter.) That was his answer.
And there is a still mere distinguished prelate in town to whom I under: took to send Mr. George with a letter of introduction and commendation (hisses and groans)—now, let him alone—(applause)—with the object that Mr. Henry George should explain this terrible doctrine to him, and show that he was not a socialist and a communist; that he had the most sacred respect for the rights of property; and that therefore I, while sympathizing with Mr. George and agreeing with his doctrines, was not necessarily an enemy of society and a holder of doctrines utterly contrary to the rights of property. Mr. George came back and reported to me that he might as well have been talking to the marble of an adjacent church as to the gentleman to whom he had been trying to explain the doctrine. (Hisses.) Mr. George sent him a complete set of his works the next day, and I doubt very much if he has read a page of them. (Hisses.) For though this doctrine seems to clash, and does clash, with certain arrangements that are now permitted, tolerated, and even sanctioned by the civil law, it does not, therefore, follow that it is contrary to the rights of property as taught by reason, as taught by true religion, and as thundered forth upon the summit of Mount Sinai in the great social law, “Thou shalt not steal.” (Great applause.) For we remember that civil law is not always necessarily good law (cries of “hear! hear!” and applause): that civil law and justice are unfortunately very frequently two very distinct things. (Applause.) For we remember that it is the teaching of the old tomes of theology, of the first fathers of the church, and of the canonists, that no law can have any power to bind the immortal soul of man, to lay obligations upon his Godlike freedom of will, except that law be a transcript of the very mind of God Himself (applause); except it be in keeping with eternal justice, which is God. (Applause.)
They should remember that the Christian religion itself was forbidden by law for centuries and centuries (applause); that pontiffs, bishops, doctors of the church, priests and thousands of men, women and children were done to death by the Roman law, which forbade the Christian superstition. (Applause.) They should remember that law very often is but another name for oppression, for robbery, for slavery and every manner of injustice. (Applause.) And it is a poor business to have anything forced down our throats simply because it happens to be sanctioned by law, especially down the throats of these who have a little drop of Irish blood in their veins. (Great and tumultuous applause and cheering.)
Was not the Catholic religion forbidden by law in Ireland for centuries?(Cries of “hear! hear!” and applause.) The funniest thing of it all was that while the penal statute was still on the statute book a certain gentleman in Rome was coquetting with the British cabinet and most eager to give them a veto upon the appointment of Irish bishops—a beautiful illustration of the wolf having a good deal to say about the appointment of the shepherd, or rather, of the shepherd's dog.
You remember the story of the newly arrived immigrant who, as he got upon the pier saw a street fight going on, and immediately rolled up his sleeves, spat upon his hands and said: “Which side is against the government.” (Uproarious laughter and applause, breaking out again and again.) We must take compassion upon these poor benighted brethren: we must try to enlighten them and remove their prejudices. It is not enough for us to reason, to prove from reason, that our doctrine is clearly the teaching of right reason. It is necessary to show them even from scriptural facts that it is the right doctrine. But the trouble is that then, perhaps, they will say we are dabbling in theology. They condemned Galileo and Copernicus for teaching that the earth revolved around the sun. Copernicus fortunately was dead a hundred years, so they could not worry him any longer. They got Galileo and they worried him:—the poor old fellow. He said: “It is all right if you will only look at it; the earth is round and revolves around the sun, and its revolutions produce the 305 days, and all that.” But they said: “Oh, no! no! no!” (Great laughter and applause.) They said: "You can prove as much as you please, but we have no stomach for that kind of thing. The scriptures say the earth abides; therefore—and in Latin it says “stat.” which means “stands”—therefore you are a heretic, and therefore you are against scripture.” Galileo did not set up for much of a theologian, and yet this preaching did not seem exactly right to him. He said that it simply meant that the earth stands while men are disappearing like snowflakes. They said he was trying to interfere with theology. They are now trying to make us believe that he was condemned for interfering with theology. The truth is, theology was interfering with him.
There was Copernicus, who said about the same thing. Ah, did he? Yes, he was a Catholic priest who originated the doctrine of the revolution of the solar system around the sun, and has had the honor of having his name inscribed in letters of light on the solar system. (Great laughter.) But I must be very careful in saying this or some fellow in the gallery may jump up and say they kept his book on the index for one hundred years, and the only reason they did not touch him was because he was dead. (Great laughter.) I shouldn't know what to say to that fellow in the gallery. That remark would knock me clean off the platform. (Laughter.)
Then we will have to dabble in theology, because they insist in obtruding their theology into all political and economic questions. That is one of the reasons why we are talking so much about God in this matter. Not merely because we find so much religion in this movement and because the religion that is in it is so powerful an attraction for us, but also because we are placed somewhat on the defensive. So far from opposing justice, we are asserting justice. So far from interfering with religion, we a r e attempting to bring religion back again. So far from taking people away from God, this doctrine is rapidly bringing them back to God again. (Applause.) We have to keep asserting that men who for many years have been familiar more with curses than with prayers are now forgetting their curses and are learning their prayers again. (Applause.) We have to remind them of the very singular fact that the preachers of this political economy are familiarizing people with the wondrous power and the full significance of the Lord's Prayer. (Applause.) We have to keep reminding them that because of the truth that is preached upon this platform men are willing now to say their prayers, instead of having to be compelled to say them by the threat that it they do not they will be sent to bed without supper. (Laughter.) They now begin to see that the religion of this new crusade is so good a thing that they rise up with a shout of applause that makes the welkin ring as they catch the true significance of the Lord's Prayer.
I have told you these things more than once, and it would be indiscreet to dwell upon them too long again. (Voices from all over the house, "Go on, go on.") But it is necessary for us to dwell upon them, not merely because of the religion that is in this cause, and because of the powerful fascination of the justice and the truth of it, but also in order to refute the constant arguments that are borrowed from the supposed teachings of religion. We have to hit back! (Great applause.) And if men begin to say that this new doctrine cannot be true because most of the respectable people, and the majority of the well-to-do classes, and nearly all the clergy, and all the churches, look upon it with suspicion, and, in fact, with positive reprobation, we have to say, Do you remember that it was the orthodox church and all the goody-goody and respectable people in the church and state who excommunicated Christ and did him to death?—(great applause)—the scribes, the pharisees, the doctors of the law—the doctors of divinity, I suppose you would call them now. It was the high priest who said: “It is expedient that this man should die because he is perverting the people. It is a political necessity that he should die, because if we allow him to go on perverting the masses, stirring up this extraordinary enthusiasm, something will happen. The Romans will take umbrage—somebody will misrepresent us, saying that we are responsible, that we have tolerated this; and they will come and destroy what little vestige of independent autonomy they have yet left to us. So, in order that we may continue to enjoy what little they have yet left us to enjoy. we must put this man to death. The multitudes are following him: they a r e following him out to the wilderness, and it is reported that this man seems to have the power of controlling the very elements. He dares to say that he is the “very Son of God himself, and he solaces the people with promises of a heavenly reward. He tells them of a strange doctrine of this essential equality and fraternity. He has no respect for persons. He preaches to the slave and the beggar rather than to the wealthy and the powerful and the learned. We must see what we can do to put him out of the church, to put him out of the synagogue.” And not satisfied with that they said “It is expedient, it is necessary that this man should die.” (Applause.)
And what was the doctrine that they most feared? It was just this doctrine which we have said time and again is the very essence of all true religion; the very essence and the core of the doctrine of this new crusade, the fatherhood of God and the brotherhood of man (applause); the doctrine of the Lord's prayer; the doctrine of the sermon on the mount, the parable of the judgment day: the doctrine of the holy gospel. And we should remember the original significance of the words "gospel" and "evangel." They mean glad tidings, good news. To whom were glad tidings sent and preached? It was to the afflicted, to the outcast, to the slave, to the disinherited. It was to thorn that the beatitudes were promised. to those who would hunger and thirst after justice. With the promise that they should have their fill.
I say the more we are provoked the more we shall assert that we stand upon the very same platform with Christ (great applause); that there is nothing in the preaching or the practice of the anti-poverty movement—this new crusade—that is nut in perfect consonance with His most humane teachings; nothing but what can ask His sanction and invoke from Him his choicest benediction. (Applause.)
It were tedious to detain you much longer (cries of "Go on") with proofs that what the Master taught—the gospel of menace to the rich and of solace to the poor—has been the teaching of saints and sages through all the ages of Christianity. The great doctors and fathers of the church have always taught the self-same doctrine; and, coming down to particulars, they have taught that the gifts of nature are not to individuals or to classes, but to all the children of men. (Applause.) They but reiterate throughout the ages the commandment given at Mount Sinai, “Thou shalt not steal,” that was reiterated by the Master when He spoke of depriving the laborer of his hire. (Applause.) They tell us that the gifts of nature are to all living men, and that they have only been appropriated by individuals through injustice and robbery. (Applause.) They clearly acknowledge the distinction between what God through nature has given equally to all His children, because He is the equal, impartial and loving Father of them all, and the private property which by God's own law is the proper reward of man's individual energy. They distinguish between what is produced by human industry and is necessarily human property, and what was not made by man, but made by God, and therefore is not human property (applause), so much so that it can be said, and it must be said, if we wish to be very accurate, that the common gifts of nature are not absolute property even of the whole human family: that the whole human race today has only the usufruct of them, and not the absolute ownership. (Applause.)
Now I will quote one of the fathers for you—St. Basil. a doctor of the Greek church, who flourished about the year 390. 1 had occasion to quote him in New Jersey or Albany or somewhere else, and was reported to have said that he flourished three hundred and ninety year? ago: and some clerical critic may get up and say that I don't know much about ecclesiastical history. Some fifteen hundred years ago St. Basiltalked about this very thing and used this remarkable language, “The rich who occupy what should be common are something like a man who comes into the theater and tries to keep everybody else out, and himself alone tries to enjoy the play.” (Great applause.) Suppose that there was but one single door of admission for the enjoyment of this performance here tonight (laughter), and that somebody had got in here about 5 o'clock this afternoon, and having secured admission himself, put his stalwart back to the door and positively refused to let anybody else in. According to St. Basil that would be a. lit image of the rich people who appropriate all the bounties of nature. By chicanery, by craft, by robbery, by all sorts of iniquity they have managed to disinherit and rob their brethren: and your “saviors of society” (hisses) and your chaplains and your right reverends whom you seem to hire to do the gospel part for you (laughter and applause), want to make us believe that that is religion—the robbery of the masses of God's people by a few privileged classes under the name of law. Small blame to us if we have not quite so much respect for law if this is the kind of law it is intended to cram down our throats forever and forever. (Laughter and applause).
And, faith, you ought to be very thankful to this Anti-poverty society and to this united labor party (great applause and cheers) that they are so exceedingly conservative; that they are so eager to protest their toleration and their respect for existing laws; that they are so anxious to make it known that they will have no resort to violence; that they only intend a perfectly peaceful and legitimate and constitutional agitation; that they simply wish to convert a majority of the city, of the state, of the country, of the world, to their way of thinking. (Great applause.) They will not violate even the law which they know to be unjust, but are patient and tolerant and lung-suffering, until they can peacefully, legally and constitutionally rewrite the laws. And if you are not thankful for us, let me assure you most seriously that you can go farther and fare worse (Laughter.) And if you will not permit the peaceful, the lawful reform that we are aiming at, yon may have to get your stomach full of such reform as came with the French revolution (cries of “Hear, hear,” and great applause): as came through the Protestant reformation. (Applause.) Many of us believe that the French revolution and the Protestant reformation while reforming, and purging and purifying many things, also destroy ed a great many good things. We would fain bring about reformation without destruction (applause), reformation for the better in all things without doing injustice or hurt even to the least of God's children.
The times require plain speaking, and I happen to be in the exceptional position of a man who is a little more free to speak than a good many others. (Cheers and applause.) I do most earnestly hope, I do most intensely desire, I do most humbly and reverently pray that I shall not abuse this new found liberty. (Applause.) We desire, I desire, the preservation of society. We believe in the Declaration of Independence. (Applause.) We love and revere our American constitution (applause): we acknowledge no inferiority in our enthusiastic American patriotism to any men or set of men; we believe that this country of ours is, in the providence of God our Father, freighted with the destinies of the whole human family; and therefore, how exceedingly important it is that this land of ours shall go on progressing from truth to truth, purging out more and more what is unworthy of the magnificent gospel and charter of our Declaration of Independence. (Cries of "Hear, hear,” and applause.)
It is because we believe that patriotism is a virtue that it is a part of religion, that we love our country as well as we love humanity. (Applause.) It is the happy privilege of American citizens, in loving their country best and serving their country best, to feel that they are best serving the interests of all mankind. (Applause.) And we find exceeding comfort in the belief that the providence of the Creator of human society that watches over the fall of the sparrow and over the wants and needs of the least of his human children. is pledged to the guardianship and care and development of this nation, because God's merciful designs for all mankind are so largely to be promoted through that liberty equality, fraternity an-l love of justice that hitherto have been. and in the future we hope still more shall be, characteristic of this American people. (Applause.)
And in perfect parallelism of our love of country is our love of God and of the holy church of Christ. (Applause.) They serve best in God's vineyard who point out with regret, but yet with courage, the defects of a system, the mistake; the shortcomings of those who represent it. It were a sad day for patriotic and true Americans when they must cease to criticize and differ from the policy of any administration.
And so it is in religion. And. surely it is no new thing for me to believe, and there are many here who can hear me witness that it is no new thing for me to preach. that our true allegiance is to God and truth, to the church in its teachings, to the catechism and its holy dogmas, and not to the mere individual who by circumstance of time may occupy a place (great applause), and for a time be charged with its administration. If it is proper for one pope to criticize the administration of a previous pope; it it is permissible for us to criticize the bad policy of this or that or the other pope or bishop: if it is permissible for us to say that there need have been no French revolution or Protestant reformation if those who were charged with the preaching of Chris's gospel and the administration of the sacraments had not so strangely forgotten and abused their office (wild and tumultuous applause and cheers, long continued, the whole audience rising and waving handkerchiefs and hats): if it is permissible as historical critics to say all this and to write it, wouldn't it be a good thing to whisper something of the same kind into the ears of those who still live, while there is still tune to change their policies and politics? (Applause.)
Let us have no fear. We will assert this doctrine in spite of men and devils. (Applause.) We shall preach justice, and do what we can to make it practiced and common. We will not enter into partnership with the devil. We will not be guilty of the extraordinary compromise, of which I was once told in a very funny story by a venerable old Portuguese priest. He said, in his peculiar dialect, something like this: “Dere vas a voman vonce in my guntry who vas a very vise voman. and she alvays liked to be rightd vit both sides; and zo she vanted to obtain some special favor von day tru the intercession of the archangel St. Michael. And she vent to de church and brayed as long as she couldt, and brought vid her a two pound vax gandle, and lighted it be fore de picture of St. Michael, in order to show her dewotion to de angel and obtain his bowerful ait. St. Michael vas represented id de pieture, as you haf frequently seen, punching the head of de devil mit his spear. And dis vise voman tougbt it vell to be in vid both sides. Vile she put de two pound gandle before de picture of St. Michael, she put a little two ounce taper before de picture of the devil.” (Laughter and applause.) Now, I give you permission to bum as many pounds of wax as you may choosebefore the picture of St. Michael, but I eanestly entreat you not to burn any little tapers before the devil at all (laughter), but rather applaud and enjoy the work that St. Michael is doing with his foot on the devil's head and punching him with his spear.
Well, I think I have talked enough (cries of “Go on, go on”), but I have brought a little book with me, and will read you a poem which I think will send you away with a little bit of rhythm and rhyme ringing in your ears. There is something that I wanted to say, but I have forgotten it, not having my manuscript with me. (Laughter.) I am like the man who is drifting down the Mississippi in a small boat at the mercy of wind and wave. The man who comes without his manuscript, if he is somewhat uncertain how to begin, it is almost impossible for him to stop (laughter and applause), because he is apt to have his little rhetorical fancy, if you choose to call it so, and he would like to end with a magnificent peroration. (Laughter.) If he has his peroration not only in his head, but in his pocket, where he can fall back on it, he is apt to do it to his satisfaction. So this boatman on the Mississippi, while he is drifting down, is constantly looking for a convenient landing place, until he finds that he don't know how to stop, like the orator without his manuscript and without his peroration. I can tell you one or two stories which I might utilize for the purpose of showing you what I mean.
One is the story of an old Irish piper, a crusty old fellow, who made such a difficulty about beginning to play, that people had to pay him a penny in advance. You see my case is different. (Laughter.) But when once he got fairly start ed he was so enamored of his own music that they had to give him twopence to make him stop. (Laughter.)
The other story is of an Irish car driver in Dublin. A gentleman went to Dublin for the same reason that once brought Queen Victoria (hisses), “her health for to revive;” probably she wouldn't think the climate of Dublin a wholesome one now (laughter); an English gentleman went to Dublin and wanted to see the sights. He had heard the name of an unpronounceable place and asked the driver how far it might be. The driver was a poor fellow and very anxious to get employment, and he said—I am sorry that historical accuracy will not permit me to state that he did not tell a lie—it was twelve miles and he said it was only five or six. So they started and went on and drove eight, nine, ten miles, until the English gentleman ordered him to stop, and swore he wouldn't go a step further, and wanted to know why the Irish miles were so horribly long. The poor Irish fellow scratched his skull and said, “Your honor would like to know why the miles are so long?” “Yes.” “Well, you see the roads are so bad that we like to give good measure.” (Laughter.) So the one merit, I think, of these public utterances of mine is that whatever may be the defects of quality, I give you superabundant good quantity. (Great applause.) And I hope the exceeding good measure, like charity, will cover a multitude of sins.
I was going to talk to you tonight, but I am not going t now, a little more my practical experience among the working people. And I thought it would be a good ending for me to read you a famous song so peculiarly applicable to the wrongs of working people. I shall read for you, then, with your permission, Thomas Hood's famous “Song of the Shirt.” Somebody said to me that the only fault with the selection was that it was so hackneyed, and I, being determined to read it anyhow, said everything is new to a new generation—even the alphabet to a new arrival.
Dr. McGlynn then read Hood's famous poem with fine effect, the audience listening with close attention. As the Doctor resumed his seat he was hailed with round after round of applause and a perfect storm of waving handkerchiefs.
A collection was then taken up to defray the expenses of the meeting and in aid of the work of the society. The amount collected was $222.
In response to the evident desire of the audience, John McMackin then gave an account of the occurrence at the O'Brien demonstration on the previous evening. Dr. McGlynn was loudly called for, and spoke for some minutes on the same theme. Reports of these addresses are given in the account of the O'Brien meeting in another column.
Miss Munie's choir then sang Mr. Gahan's song, "Land and Labor," as printed in The Standard of May 28, the audience joining in the chorus with enthusiasm.
The Anti-Poverty Business Meeting
Eight hundred members were present on Saturday evening at the business meeting of the society. Dr. McGlynn was at Union square and Mr. Wm. McCabe was asked to take the chair. Speeches were made by James J . Gahan, Charles F. Wingate, James Redpath, Louis F. Post, Mr. Molina, Mr. Steers, Dr. Coughlin and William T. Croasdale. At 10:30 o'clock the meeting adjourned and the members in a body marched to Union square and joined in the McGlynn demonstration.
Anti-Poverty in the Great Parade
At a meeting of the executive committee on Tuesday evening seventy-five dollars was appropriated for a banner for the demonstration of Saturday, June 18. A.J. Steers was selected to act as marshal. A band will lead the society. The members will turn out afoot or in conveyances, as they please.
Sunday Evening Meeting in Brooklyn
The Kings county Henry George land club started out in earnest last Sunday evening to spead the doctrine of “taxing land values only.” The club and its friends filled every seat and every foot of standing room in the Criterion theatre on Fulton avenue to listen to an address on the land question by Henry George, who was received with great enthusiasm. Fully one-third of those present were ladies. President Charles F. Wingate announced that this was the first of a series of Sunday evening meetings, and that Dr. McGlynn, Rev. Hugh O. Pentecost and other speakers would make addresses. A collection was taken up to cover expenses. Among the members of the club present were Messrs. O'Donnell, Preston, Johnson, Dailey, Calhoun, Wilder, Roscoe, Klingler, Kohler, Schalkenbach and Dr. C.H. Sheppard.
It Has Been Heard of In Texas
Dallas, Texas, Mercury.
There is a new party springing up in the north called the Anti-poverty society. We have not seen the platform of the party yet, and cannot, therefore, decide as to the merits or demerits of its purposes.
Religion Against Robbery
Altoona, Pa., Tribune.
Pope Leo XIII very properly condemns the heresies of Henry George which have been accepted and a are being preached by Dr. McGlynn. In this view he will be sustained by Christians of all names. Robbery is antagonistic to all religion.
Respects The Doctor's Sincerity
Cincinnati Evening Post.
Rev. Dr. McGlynn is going to brave ecclesiastical excommunication for the sake of the “Cross of the New Crusade.” This would indicate that he himself, at least, honestly believes the theories he preaches. Those who differ from him as to the merits of the issue to which he is devoting himself must nevertheless respect his sincerity and his devotion to what he conceives to be the truth.
From a Glasglow Irishmen
Glasglow, May 28.— I have read the last two numbers of The Standard with more relish and delight than I ever before read a paper of any sort. Those magnificent meetings in Chickeriug hall and in the Academy of Music give cogent proof that the people's question is to the front on your side of the Atlantic. The speech of Father McGlynn at the former and Henry George's masterly utterance at the latter of those meetings makes one a bit jealous of America having sole possession of such men: and only that we know that your success is our victory we would be inclined to cry out for the permanent possession of one of them.
The Standard is doing an immense work for the new movement. I am bound, however, to say that it is a very demoralizing newspaper. When one lifts an ordinary newspaper, whether a daily, weekly or a monthly, one can run over its interesting bits in a few spare minutes, and then return to business again, but it is different with The Standard. When one lifts it, it is impossible to put it down again until every line of the paper is read. Thus you see an entire day of each week must be given to the reading of The Standard. And this is not the worst. I have met one or two persons who say that when they open The Standard they are compelled to read most of it two or three times over.
The Anti-poverty movement on this side is progressing rapidly. It has received a strong impetus by the home rule question. It is now seen that the only real difficulty in the way of a settlement of the Irish demand is the land question, and people are casting about for a scheme which will remove this difficulty out of the way. The more this is thought about the clearer it will become that there is but one way to settle it, viz.: By levying laxes on land values.
I wish to express my sympathy with Dr. McGlynn in his gallant crusade against poverty on the one side and plunder on the other. There can be but one opinion of his determination to stand, as Christ himself did, by the side of the poor and oppressed as against their despoilers. He may be made to suffer, but his suffering will force the attention of the church to the question and prevent the authorities from too readily repeating their conduct in the future.
The landlords a re shuddering at the prospect of an early settlement of the Irish question. They think they see in it signs of a brewing storm in England and Scotland. If it should happen that the Anti-poverty society in America shows up well at the next election of president, it will give a tremendous impulse to the movement here.
The Land Owner Marches Along with Civilization
Quincy,. Cal.—As a student traveling for instruction I saw Illinois, a frontier state, with its five great railroads just building, and professional work has kept me much of the time since on the frontier, as it has moved forward from the Mississippi to the Pacific, and everywhere I have seen land values absorb the lion's share of the wealth added to the wilderness by human industry. A few weeks ago I was called to southern California, and there it was again; a “boom;” real estate rising in value enormously. I met a friend, who was an intelligent man, an excellent artisan, a faithful, frugal and efficient worker, who was leaving the district because he could not get fairly remunerative wages for his labor, and was truing to reach an out-of-the-way part of the state. It was a typical incident—typical of general conditions which have come to prevail within one short lifetime across a width of continent that it takes the sun four hours to pass over.
J. E. M.
The Obstructionists In Buffalo
A Landlord and a Landlord Bishop Putting a Little Obstacle in Dr. McGlynn's Way
St. Stephen's hall of Buffalo was built some years ago by the Y. M. C. A. of that city, but after a number of payments were made on its indebtedness the association found that its funds were exhausted, so it transferred its title to Bishop Ry an, who now owns the hall. It is a large business block containing a large lecture and entertainment hall, a smaller hall. storerooms, etc. Mr. James Mooney, ex-president of the land league in America, being the agent of Bishop Ryan, attends to the renting of the hall.
Immediately after making arrangements with Mr. McMackin for a lecture to be given by Dr. McGlynn on June 23 two members of the executive committee of the Henry George club of Buffalo called on Mr. Mooney at his office, when the following conversation took place there:
“Mr. Mooney, we have called to find out if we can secure St. Stephen's hall for a lecture to be given by Dr. McGlynn ?”
“Is this refusal final?”
“Would it be of any avail to appeal to the bishop?”
“Why do you want to appeal to the bishop?”
“To find out whether you or the bishop is responsible for this refusal.”
“It does not make any difference who is responsible; let anyone be responsible.”
“We think it makes a great difference. We want to know if the bishop has instructed you to refuse St. Stephen's hall for a lecture to be given by Dr. McGlynn?”
Mr. Mooney, rising and becoming rather interested—“Who are you? What is your business? What right have you to ask me such categorical questions? How dare you come and insult me in my office? The people of Buffalo know me,” etc.
“We have not come to insult you; we want to know if the bishop has instructed you to refuse the hall for a lecture by Dr. McGlynn?”
“Have I not told you so?”
“No, sir; we don't want to assume that you have; we want a positive statement.”
“That is all.”
Mr. James Mooney's profession is that of landlord and his occupation that of land agent, and rumor has it that the landlords of Buffalo are getting rich by collecting as much rent as the “traffic will bear.”
The nice discrimination made by the bishop against Dr. McGlynn will be appreciated when it is noted that the hall has been frequently rented for the purposes of a concert saloon by “social clubs,” who have sold at their public dances, beer, wine and whiskey.
An Agnostic on Dr. McGlynn
Washington.—When Dr. McGlynn delivered his lecture here on “The Cross of the New Crusade,” notwithstanding the fall of a drenching rain during the hour of meeting, there was present a good audience, which was held by the charm of his eloquence until half part 10 o'clock. To those of us who have seriously studied the subject of his address and caught something of the enthusiasm through newspaper reports which his living and loving words inspire, it is needless to say the lecture was a great treat, not only because of its elegant diction, but more especially because of the gentle and essentially religious spirit which pervades it. The effect was to make his audience, composed as it was of all schools, religious and secular, seem like one people worshiping at a common altar dedicated to “the fatherland of God and the brotherhood of man.”
Even a poor agnostic finds comfort in the gospel of justice as taught by Dr. McGlynn; and when God and religion come to signify habitually all that the agnostic can imagine of justice and good will among men, upon what ground can he refuse to be classed as religious? There is none.
After the lecture Dr. McGlynn was surrounded by friends anxious to make his acquaintance personally, and the writer of this, though feeling a great desire to have a long talk with the good priest, had to be content with the mere grasp of his hand without even a formal introduction.
It is earnestly to be hoped that the Christian churches of this country as well as others may come to generally understand that they have something to do with the well being of men in this life, and that if they cease to love justice in the domain of human nature, it is impossible for them to really love it as an attribute of God.
A religion divorced from humanity in this life is unfit to prepare humanity for a better life hereafter.
Right to the Point
Mr. W. J. Colville recently delivered an address in Parker memorial hall, Boston, on “The Work of Henry George and Dr. McGlynn in the Light of Reason and Science.” The doctrine of Henry George, the speaker said, was a most simple one and must be endorsed by every just person. “His aim” is to make an intelligible and righteous definition of property. I maintain that anything I have had a share in producing I have a share of as an owner. What I have not helped to produce I have no right to share. God made the land—we did not—and He has given it to His children on this earth. We may have buildings on it, for those are the results of our intelligence and labor. We may claim a right to the products of the soil, for they are the result of our energy and labor. But the uncultivated land, the land unoccupied, the land not worked or embellished by man, but left as it has been by the forces of nature—that land man has nothing to do with except to use his intelligence in its cultivation and its occupancy. We therefore maintain that all the land of the world belongs, without exception, to the people of the world, and no one has any right whatsoever to own a single acre of it. The land is given by God as a heritage to mankind. It is foolish to say that to carry out this scheme the land must be cut up into 50,000,000 pieces and a piece given to each individual. We simply mean that you will pay no tax on the building you may erect, but a ground rent for the land. No one would be ruined by such a system, and it is impossible for the land to be stolen in any way. 1 contend that were such a system adopted it would result in benefit both to the people and the landlord class.
What Would It Signify?
What would an equal distribution of rent signify, as touching the land, so long as multitudes spend all they have in drink.—[Temperance.]
It would signify a good deal to those who don't spend all they have in drink.
The Glorious Days Before Us
H. L. Knight in San Francisco Star.
(Air—"The Girl I Left Behind Me)
Since now on every side we see,
The clouds of error rifting,
Let's join the march, the New Crusade,
To which the world is drifting.
The land is ours, the gift of God,
No landlord ruling o'er us,
For every man shall own the sod
In the glorious days before us.
We bow not to the musty rules
Of lawyers, courts and all that;
We fear not now the burly fools
Whose swords made right and all that;
We trample on the barbarous past;
The rule of right is o'er us;
The New Crusade shall lead at last
To glorious days before us.
To every child of God shall come,
Its heritage of plenty,
And every mothers son and heir,
Though there were ten or twenty.
Our God has made a bounteous world
And scattered blessings o'er us,
That no proud landlord shall withhold,
In the New Crusade before us.
Then march, oh, march, ye sons of men,
Behold the banner over us;
The New Crusade has come to stay,
A cloud of light before us.
For God, for right, the la ad for all,
And heaven smiling o'er us,
We'll march to death or vict'ry, for
The glorious days before us.
And Meet a Fine For Making Your Home There
In a recent trip to northwestern Nebraska the writer observed thousands of acres of unoccupied and untilled land stretching away on either hand moved swiftly along. Here and there, scattered over the alternate sections reserved by the government from the railroad grants could be seen the improvements of the homesteaders who had braved the inconveniences and perils of frontier life to escape the avarice of the speculator farther east. Inquiry proved that the unoccupied tracts were largely held by speculators who had purchased from the railroad and who held them to await the inevitable rise in value, consequent upon the enterprise of the pioneers. Surrounded by the comforts of his eastern home, the speculator rests secure in the knowledge that the toil and sweat of Nebraska settlers will be coined into money for him. Such, indeed, has been the growth of the state that already one can almost in reality see written all over these untilled hills and plains, like the patent medicine signs on the side of Weber canyon—“Fifteen to twenty-five hundred dollars fine for making a home on this quarter section.” Hundreds of farmers, too, have undertaken the task of paying a small sum down to the landlord, of drawing from the surface of a quarter section purchase money, interest and improvements. And this herculean task is assigned in the too often vain hope that after years of toil and privation, the buyer may a t least sit down under the shelter of his own vine and fig tree. This is what confronts the farmer today while land is still comparatively plenty and may yet be found subject to homestead entry. What will be the outlook when, a generation to come, the last homestead has been entered? Is there not something in store for us as a people, some public retribution, consequent upon our criminal prodigality of land and our unjust and unequal laws, which it were the part of wisdom to look in the face and seek to avert?
The Disinherited Children
The Norwich Bulletin quotes Henry George as saying: “These thousands of little children brought up here in this great city, underfed, underclothed, undereducated, without room to play in, living from the start under conditions which condemn them to the penitentiary or the brothel, are robbed, robbed of their birthright; disinherited before they come into the world.” To this the Bulletin adds the comment: “Inasmuch as the underfed, underclothed and undereducated are not kept in New York by any force or imprisonment,why don't their parents take them out west, where there is plenty of room to breathe, play and work.”
Not kept by any force or imprisonment, are they? No “force or imprisonment” prevents the Bulletin's editor from making himself Jay Gould's partner on even terms. It isn't worth while now to discuss what force is and what is imprisonment. What we are bound to notice, and are likely to take off our hats to, is the curious ignorance displayed by the Bulletin's writer, when he asks: “Why don't their parents take them out west?” and so on. The answer is easy. The parents are too poor, and always have been, and always will be. “There,” he says, “is plenty of room to breathe, play and. work.” Without doubt. But if the father of a big family cannot support it without the all of the children who ought to be a t school rather than in the mill, or at play, perhaps, rather than in school or mill, how, pray, is he to get his family to the land of alleged milk and alleged honey which is supposed to lie in the direction of the setting sun?
Apparently the Bulletin man does not know that factory labor unfits a man for every other kind of work, and he is also ignorant that the underfed, underclothed and undereducated children of our great cities might as well be sentenced to death by slow starvation as asked to make a living on western farms.
When the fathers of the children who work in our factories are rich enough to take them to the prairies and give them a good start in life, and when those children have learned in the mills of Fall River and Chicopee and Lawrence how to raise wheat and corn (which they never saw growing), then the Bulletin editor will, perhaps, be able to write intelligently about labor questions. Meanwhile, let him struggle with this question: if the children of the working classes are not held in New York and other great cities by force and imprisonment, what is force, and what is imprisonment?
Even the Birds and Fishes Belong to Them
There are more than a dozen clubs made up by Chicago sportsmen, and the}' control probably between them 30,000 acres of the best shooting lands in Illinois, Indiana, Michigan and Wisconsin. In the Peelee island club, the membership of which is limited to twenty-five, the aggregate wealth has been over and over again figured at $2,000,000. This would make the average over $2,000,000 for each member in that aristocratic organization. They own the whole island. It is in Canadian waters, and famed rather for the excellence of its fishing than for its shooting. Field, Pullman, Doane, Leiter, the Spragues and about a score of others go down there with their families. Each member has his room and furnishes it as best suits his own taste. The pocketbooks are so nearly of a size that all the apartments are furnished with a magnificence that is unknown anywhere else around that country.
Queries And Answers
Another Interest Question
New York.—Although I have been and am and expect to continue a supporter of Henry George's land theory, I have never been able to assimilate his doctrine of interest. All wealth comes from labor only. Grasp that and try how far it will carry us. If a man picks an apple from free land, the normal exchange price of the apple is the amount of labor required to pick it. Any value that may accrue without labor is really without exchange price, and no additional price can be exacted for it where the conditions are free. It is as if one man had picked a big apple and another a small one from a tree that was common property. The big one would be the most valuable, but the price of each, measured in labor, must be the same, supposing, of course, that an equal amount of labor would procure either, and supposing that it was not the only big apple.
Once grant that natural opportunities are land, and that the exertion required to avail of them is labor—that land and labor only are the ultimate economic factors, and the conclusion is unavoidable that the amount of labor measures the exchange price.
Values added by natural forces must fall under the head of land, whether these values be in form of crops, domestic animals or fera naturæ.
If this reasoning is correct, it would seem that freeing the land, by whatever means, would involve the abolition of economic interest, for no one would exchange a spade that cost twenty days's work for a heifer that cost twelve days' work on account of her future natural increase, when he could command the same increase by the work of twelve days only, the amount required to produce the heifer, so to speak.
John Beverley Robinson
You ignore the element of time, which is the sole cause and justification of interest. A shovel and a bottle of wine, each of which had cost the same labor, would, other things being equal, exchange equally; but if they were stored for a year (the shovel not being in process of exchange during that time), the wine would be worth more. So a bottle of wine made last year will exchange for more than a bottle of wine made this year. If apple trees were common property, and apples picked in the summer and stored up would grow all through the winter, no one would take a little apple picked this summer in exchange for a big one picked last summer. The labor would be the same in the case of each apple; but a year's time would make a difference in value. Nor would this value be a land value. Value which natural forces give to any particular part of the earth's surface is a land value; but value which natural forces give to a labor product is not. In the first case labor has nothing to do with producing the value; in the second, labor is an essential prerequisite. Wine will not grow valuable with age unless labor first makes the wine.
You are correct in saying that land and labor only are the ultimate economic factors. Capital is but a subdivision of labor, just as skilled labor and unskilled labor are subdivisions; from which it follows that interest is only a form of wages. Wages is the immediate return to labor; interest is the remote return.
Christ Church, West Haven, Conn.—I have read a few of your later issues with much interest and am deeply impressed with your land doctrines. If you can spare space, please allow me to catch up with the course of your arguments by stating what I have only seen hinted at by your editorials in a general way and unexplained, viz: What settlement do you propose shall be made with those whose whole present property consists in land? Absolute confiscation would, as it seems to me, bring on, with apparent justice, nothing short of war to the death. Is that yet a “missing link?”
(Rev.) Hobart B. Whitney
You will find your question fully answered in book YII of “Progress and Poverty.” “We bring a message of peace; but if the unjust resort to the sword, let them perish by the sword. We would have justice done lest the heavens fall; but if needs be “let justice be done though the heavens fall.”
Boston, May 30.—(1) As you do not propose to disturb titles to land, would not the owner of land of no value have the right to prevent its use if so disposed? “Would I not have to get some sort of conveyance or permission in writing to use the land. from the owner, to prove that I was the owner when the land had acquired value?
(2) Suppose I settle on land of no value, and after the lapse of a few years the land has acquired-value by reason of increase of population about me; I sell out my real estate, including the acquired value of the land; am I not putting in my pocket an unearned increment to the extent of this acquired value of the land, which might or might not amount to the taxes paid upon it during my occupancy, as that would depend upon how soon I sold out after it had acquired value?
(3) Suppose land in a city is taxed up to its full rental value, which is, say, fifty per cent of its value, would this cover the increase of value in all parts of the city? Might not land in some parts of the city increase in value at the rate of ten or fifteen per cent of its value, and, therefore, the tax would not cover it? Or the land in some parts of the city might not increase in value at all: therefore there would be no increase for the community to take by taxation.
(1) The owner of land of no value would have the privilege of preventing its use by others, but when others wanted to use it it would cease to be land of no value. It would then be worth what people were willing to pay for it rather than to go upon land that could be had for nothing. And upon that value the owner would be taxed.
(2) If after your land acquired value, but before the tax had been imposed upon it, you could find anyone to pay you its value, you certainly would pocket an unearned increment. But you would have to ransack an asylum for idiots to find a buyer. In the interim between the acquisition of value and the imposition of the tax you would find people who would pay you ground rent from time to time, but no one who would pay you capitalized ground rent in a lump sum. And when you began to receive ground rent it would not be long before your tax-paying neighbors would call the assessor's attention to the fact. You might get away with some unearned increment, but not more than what the community could spare under the circumstances.
(3) You are mixed in your arithmetic. A percentage of capitalized rental value would fall in equal ratio upon all land having a rental value.
Where to Go
New York.—I am a young man, twenty-two years of age, and am going west. What state or territory would you advise me to go to?
If in going west you expect to better your condition by becoming a land owner and living on the labor of other people, settle in the least populous territory along the line of the prospective advance of population. There you will get land at moderate rates, and, although you may have to work pretty hard to make both ends meet, and must make sacrifices, until population catches up to you, vet when it does catch up you may go to London, to Paris or to bed confident of an ample and regular supply of the fruits of the labor of other people who will divide their property with you for the privilege of using "your" land.
But if you expect to better your condition by work alone, it makes but little difference which territory you go to. Wages, all things considered, are pretty much the same every where. and will never be much more in one place than in others.
A Question of Practice
Though a believer in a single tax on land, I would ask you to answer this question through the columns of your valuable paper: We will suppose that all taxes are placed on land. A has capital and he rents two building lots off the government, we will say at $20 a year. Now, he improves these lots by building a house on each, one for his own use and the other he rents to B. Now, how do you propose to tax A on his property ? Ought he not to draw interest on his capital, as A is furnishing a home to B, who has no capital? Please tell me how A would be affected by your way of taxation, and oblige.
A would not rent of the government. If he rented at all, it would be of some one who claimed the land, in which case the latter would be taxed on what he received of A, and A would not be taxed at all. But suppose that A built two houses on ground of no value, and that, after a time, that ground became valuable and subject to taxation. Then B. who rented of A, would pay no taxes. He would only pay his rent for house and land to A, and A would be taxed on the value of the land alone, leaving the house free. In such a case it would be very easy to determine the amount of tax that A ought to pay. He is receiving a certain rental for one of the houses and i is lot, say $300: the rental value of the house, which could be determined by any intelligent man of business experience, is, say $200, and $200 deducted from $300 leaves $100, which is the rental value of the land hired by B. Then as the land A occupies is the same kind as that occupied by B, the whole tax to be paid by A, if imposed to the full value of the land, would be $200, less enough to compensate A for collecting and paying it over.
The Dubuque Bridge
Dubuque, Ia., May 31.—Providing taxes were levied on land values only, what taxes would the bridge company pay for their bridge from Dubuque to East Dubuque, across the Mississippi river?
A tax based on t he value of the land on which the abutments of the bridge rest. But one of the first things for Dubuque to do after it puts the land value tax into operation is to devote some of the income from its land to t he purchase of that bridge. A public high way has no business to be in private hands.
New York.—Would not the acquisition of title to all land by the state be the result of the abolition of the private ownership of land? and therefore would not the power of the private owner to give title in fee simple be invalidated? And if such is the case, would not that portion of his wealth consisting of land be appropriated by the state without compensation, to the amount of the current value of his land? To illustrate my question: If a man buys a piece of land valued at ten thousand dollars, and erects a building upon it valued at twenty thousand dollars, that building and lot, under our present system of land holding, will sell thirty for thirty thousand dollars. Now. as a result of the George system of land holding, would the value of that investment of thirty thousand dollars, provided the owner wished to convert it into money, be impaired ten thousand dollars because of the owner's inability to give absolute title to the land on which the building is erected? Could he exchange the investment for thirty thousand dollars without owning the lot? If not, how is he compensated for his loss?
J. M. G.
Whether acquisition of title to land by the state would result from abolition of private ownership must depend upon the manner of abolishing private ownership. If that be done according to the method advocated by us, namely, by shifting all taxes to land values and then increasing the tax until the entire rental value of land is taxed away, there would be no state ownership. There would be no ownership at all. But there would be private possession. Anyone could possess as much land as he pleased as long as he pleased, provided he paid into the common treasury the animal value of the land he possessed.
In the case with which you illustrate your question, assuming that no change of values occurred, the house and land would sell for less and less as the land value tax increased, until there was little or no selling value left except what attached to the house. If the owner wished to convert the lot into money or into anything except other land he could get nothing for it if the land value tax were at the full limit of annual value. He could not exchange the investment for $30,000, but he could. Exchange it for another house worth $20,000 upon a lot equally desirable. His land would be just as useful to occupy, but it would have no exchange value and therefore be useless for speculative purposes. Read chapter 1, book VIII, and chapter 3, book IX, of “Progress Poverty.”
As to compensation for this loss, the agitation preceding the introduction of the tax and the gradual manner in which it will of necessity be increased, will tend to distribute all such losses through the community so that none of them will be felt as seriously as similar investors feel the losses of a moderate real estate panic. But even if it were otherwise, even if the tax to the full limit were suddenly imposed so that such investors lost all that they had invested in land values, the investors would have no right to complain. The ownership of land is conferred by law. It has no natural sanction. It is a privilege, not a right. And the same power that confers the privilege may at any time terminate it. Observe, we do not say revoke, we say terminate. The investor in land values invests upon this condition. He buys what title the seller had to give. The seller a title is subject to termination by law, and when the law terminates it the buyers privilege is at an end. Read book VII of “Progress and Poverty.”
What Is Capital?
New Rochelle, N. Y., June 2.—Will you please tell me in this week's Standard “What is capital.” I want to know what you call all kinds of capital?
Captain G.W. Loyd.
“Wealth in course of transmutation from one thing to another, as ore to iron, or of exchanging from hand to hand, as flour for molasses. Wealth in the hands of the consumer, as the clothes you wear, is not capital. Read chapter 2 book I and chapters 3 and 4 book III of “Progress and Poverty.”
How to Determine Land Values
Jackson, Tenn.—I am asked the question, and that frequently, how will the value of land be determined under your land tax system?
W. A. Johnson.
In the beginning, when present taxes only are shift ed to land values, the value of land will be determined by its market price. But when taxes are advanced to the full value of land, there will be no market price for a fee, and the value will then be determined by what the land will rent for in the market.
Who Would Pay the Tax?
Reading, Pa.—The Reading Times says editorially: “Mr. Edward Atkinson very cleverly demonstrates the fallacy of the idea of Mr. Henry George, that by piling the tax on land other forms of property can be made to escape a proportionate share of the burdens of government. He says: 'You may put all the taxes on land. but you can't make them stay there. Nobody will buy, or hire, or occupy that land to build houses or shops on, unless they can charge the taxes to the tenant or occupant, or put the taxes into the price of the goods that are made in the factory or sold in the shop. If they couldn't collect the taxes put upon them, then they couldn't get any profit on their capital invested in the houses or buildings. And if there be no profit to be had in building houses, or shops, or factories, who but a fool would build them? Would you? . . . The consumers, most of whom are working people, pay all the taxes at the last end, no matter where they are at the first put.”
If you have anything to say in answer to such profound reasoning, please publish it in your “Queries and Answers” column. The Times is a fair paper, and will, no doubt publish your reply if their attention is called to it, as I shall take care shall be the case.
Ceas S. Prizer
This is the first objection to the land value tax that occurs to men who have never given any serious thought to the subject of political economy or taxation. It belongs to the family of objections of which the confusion of land with labor products is the parent. It is generally understood, and it is true of products, that a tax on a commodity will increase the price. Without stopping to consider the radical difference in every way between land and what is produced by labor from land, tyros in political economy assume that this law is general, and jump to the conclusion that a tax on a building lot, like a tax on a building, will, if paid by the landlord, be collected by him of the tenant in increased rent. And yet there is nothing more clear to the student of political economy or better settled among standard writers on the subject than that a tax on land values cannot be shifted from the owner to the consumer like a tax on the building or other product of land.
The reason that a t ax on a product must be paid by the consumer is found in t he law of supply and demand. Whatever tends to reduce the supply of anything relatively to demand tends to increase its price; and as a tax on production does tend to reduce supply relatively to demand the price rises until the consumer pays the tax. The reason that a tax on land values is paid by the owner and not by the consumer is found in t h e same law of supply and demand. “Whatever tends to increase the supply of anything relatively to demand tends to increase its price; and as a tax on land values does lend to increase the supply of land (the market supply, not the actual supply, for that is fixed), relatively to demand the price falls and the consumer escapes the tax. A heavy tax on land values would bring whole empires of vacant land info market.
It is true enough that labor produces the wealth with which taxes are paid, no matter how they are imposed; but there is a great difference between producing the wealth with which taxes are paid and paying the taxes. If a man worked an oil well for three-quarters of the product, he would produce what paid the taxes, but he would not pay them if they were imposed on the value of the well; and he would very readily distinguish between a tax on oil and a tax: on oil wells. Three-quarters of the former would he paid out of his oil, while the latter would be wholly paid out of his landlord's oil. So the owner of a house on leased ground would distinguish between a tax on houses and a tax on ground rent. And we do not believe that the editor of the Reading Times thinks, whatever may be Mr. Atkinson's opinion, that any one would hesitate to hire land and build houses on it because part of the ground rent was taken from the owner of the ground in taxes. When the lessee had paid his rent be wouldn't be apt to care whether the taxing officer took it away from the landlord or not, except to be thankful that he was himself thereby relieved of a tax on his is house.
Without intending to prop our argument by “authority,” we beg the Reading Times to ponder the language of John Stuart Mill who, in his work on political economy, says: “A tax on rent falls wholly on the landlord. There are no means by which he can shift the burden upon anyone else. It does not affect the value or price of agricultural produce. for this is determined by the cost of production in the most unfavorable circumstances, and in these circumstances, as we have so often demonstrated, no rent is paid. A tax on rent, therefore, has no effect other than its obvious one. It merely takes so much from the landlord and transfers it to the state.”
As "international Sunday school convention has been in session in Chicago, at which the Sunday schools of the United States and Canada have been represented, the object of the convention being to ascertain the progress of Sunday school work and to devise improved methods of conveying a knowledge of the word of God to the minds of children. Among the proceedings of the convention was the sending by cable of the following; communication to the private secretary of her majesty, Queen Victoria:
To General Ponsonby, London, England—The International Sunday school convention of the United States and Canada assembled jn Chicago present hearty congratulations to her majesty Queen Victoria on this jubilee occasion. They recognize that during a generous reign of fifty years her majesty has been an earnest defender and advocate of the Bible as the foundation of the Christian religion, and a living exemplification of the favor of God. Righteousness exalteth a nation.
This message was read to the convention and enthusiastically ordered to be sent at once, the audience emphasizing their approval by singing “God Save the Queen.”
It does not appear that the International Sunday school convention sent any messages of congratulation and endorsement to the marquis of Lansdowne, to Jay Gould, to Mr. Scully of Ireland and Illinois, or to any of the tramps who in fest our highways. Possibly there was a lack of time, or it may be that the convention considered that In thus fulsomely bepraising the queen of England they were sufficiently expressing their endorsement of all who live by appropriating the labor of others. It is a pity, however, that these supplementary messages were omitted, not only because of the great comfort they would have given the persons receiving them, but also because some of the innocent children who attend the Sunday schools of the United States and Canada may fail to comprehend the principles of religion as expounded by the International Sunday school convention, and may, some time or other, set true Christianity at naught by loosing the family dog upon a tramp, instead of hailing him as “a living exemplification of the favor of God.”
“Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it: Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself. Such was the answer given to a convention of Pharisees who inquired what they must do to inherit eternal life. It was given by Him who taught men to pray for t h e coming of God's kingdom upon earth as well as in heaven, and if the International Sunday school convention have any faith in the teachings of that Jesus whom they fondly think they worship, they must believe that in no other way than by the keeping of both these commandments can men either gain the kingdom of God in heaven, or hasten the coming of His kingdom upon earth. Their message to the queen of England gives the lie direct to the teachings of Christ. It is sent to a woman who so loves her neighbor that the neighbor may not so much as address her directly, but must humbly approach her through “General Ponsonby.” It is sent to a woman who so loves her neighbors that she daily takes from them, without return of any kind, and wastes in idle luxury and senseless ostentation an amount of wealth which represents some five thousand days of their weary, ill-paid toil. It is sent to a woman whose horses and cattle, and dogs, and foxes, and deer, and pheasants are cared for with tenderness and forethought, while her neighbors live in loathsome sties whose foulness cries to heaven. It is sent lo a woman who in her own proper person represents that gospel of theft and greed which the Carpenter's Son denounced as making it easier for a camel to go through a needle's eye than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God. and whose sole business in life is, and for fifty years has been, to render possible the organized plunder of those poor—her neighbors—to whom Christ has promised the kingdom of heaven.
The International Sunday school convention, among its other proceedings at Chicago, has probably given some attention to the phenomenal growth of irreligion in this generation, and has perhaps considered how best it may combat the lamentable tendency to unbelief which it cannot but deplore. If, instead of wasting time and money in cabling to an idle and utterly useless old woman that she is “an earnest defender and advocate of the Bible as the foundation of the Christian religion, and a living exemplification of the favor of God," the convention would give a little attention to the proceedings of the Anti-poverty society, they might get some light upon this subject They would learn how, when a Christian priest stands forth declaring that God's kingdom on earth is no meaningless jingle of words, but a filing to be wrought for and prayed for, and surely brought to pass; when he denounces as a horrid blasphemy the idea that God the Father has so ordained His universe that queens and millionaires and tramps must be; when He proclaims that the same loving parent who gives His children one simple rule for attaining bliss after death has provided another simple law, by following which they may gain peace and happiness here on earth; when he reads from Holy Writ that the heavens are the Lord's, but the earth hath He given to the children of men, and shows how, to bring God's kingdom upon earth, naught is needed but to stop the stealing—then, as the true import of Christ's gospel dawns upon their minds, men and women break out into a tumult of religious enthusiasm, and a cheer goes up for the Lord's Prayer such as heaven has not heard for many a weary century.
Let the International Sunday school convention decide to teach Christ's two commandments in all their glorious fullness—let them give over sending ridiculous messages to throned pauper, and speak instead the glad tidings of God's love and bounty to His plundered poor—and they will find children flocking to their Sunday schools like chickens to be fed.
Mollie Jackson has been convicted of vagrancy in the city court of Paducah, Ky., and is to be sold to the highest bidder for thirty days. So say the press dispatches, and they add that the action of the judge in imposing this penalty has excited much unfavorable comment.
It is a pity that Mollie Jackson should be sold into slavery at this season of the year, when vagrancy has charms which are lacking to it in the sterner months of winter; but otherwise it may be questioned if she is entitled to any more sympathy than a good many thousand other people who have never been convicted of vagrancy, but have been pretty effectually sold into slavery nevertheless. There are quite a few men and women in Paducah, Ky., who, in return for the privilege of living in that town, have legally bound themselves to do yearly a certain number of days' work for other men and women, who are thus enabled to live in idleness at other folks' expense a great deal more effectually than Mollie Jackson's purchaser is likely to do. These owners of Paducah men and women are sometimes called landlords and sometimes mortgagees. After a few years they will be spoken of historically under the generical title of thieves.
There are certain qualities of iron which require for their production the use of coke as fuel in smelting. Unless coke can be had the furnaces must stop. This fact has given a strong impetus to the business of coke making in the bituminous coal regions of Pennsylvania, and has enabled the owners of coal mines in those parts— good Mr. Triumphant Democracy Carnegie among the rest—not only to reap rich profits from the privilege of forbidding other folks to dig coal, but also to benefit themselves and humanity by “giving” a lot of men employment in the making of coke. Hungarians these last named fellows are, mostly, who come across the Atlantic to work in American mines and turn American coal into American coke, because the Scotchmen and other chaps who own the American mines and American coke ovens won't pay Americans enough to live on for working in them. On this basis everything should be lovely, and the manifest intentions of Providence in favor of Mr. Carnegie and the other owners of America should develop to their fullest fruition without let or hindrance.
But providential arrangements sometimes require human readjustment, and so it has proved in this case. The owners of America, instead of agreeing together like a band of brothers, have shown a disposition to get ahead of each other as far as possible. The fellows that owned the iron mines higgled over the price of coke in a most disgraceful manner, and see-sawed the market until they brought coke down to a figure which materially reduced the profits of the fellows who owned the coal mines and coke ovens; which when these last named realized, they made a combination and agreed that thenceforth they would sell all their coke through a single agency and exact the best price for it that the iron men could afford to give. This mercantile combination was called a syndicate, and it promptly ran the price of coke up nearly fifty per cent, thus largely increasing the material wealth of the country.
Such was the condition of things when the Hungarians, to whom the owners of the mines and ovens were giving work, came forward with an impudent claim for more wages, and form ed a wicked conspiracy to enforce it. The owners treated them with rare patience; demonstrated to them that if they got more wages without doing more work the country would be just that much poorer, and they themselves so much worse off; told them about Edward Atkinson, and explained to them, in English and Slavonic, that if they didn't like their job, the proper thing for them to do was to leave it and go away quietly to some other place where nobody wanted them; finally offered an advance of five per cent. It was all no use; the confounded coke burners wouldn't listen to reason, and so at last the owners, sooner than have any more trouble, agreed to refer the matter to a board of arbitration, of which one member was a miner, two were nondescripts with Hon. before their names, and the rest were connected with the syndicate.
Well, the arbitration committee met, deliberated, and decided that the coke operatives were getting as much as they had any right to expect—denied them even the five per cent advance, And then those misguided operatives, in the language of the Evening Post, “struck against their bread and butter;” wouldn't make any coke themselves, wouldn't go away and make room for men who would make coke—raised the deuce and all generally. Then the iron furnaces which couldn't manufacture iron without coke had to stop; the steel rail mills and other industries requiring coke-made iron are coming to a standstill, and as the pro-poverty papers are daily demonstrating, tens of thousands of workingmen are losing hundreds of thousands of dollars of wages, and the walking delegate ought to be hanged.
Of course this state of things won't last; the men who own America will take care of that. They can't make the coke burners work or go, but they can make them pay rent or go, and they may be relied on to do it. By and by the coke burners and the rest of the Hungarians and Irishmen and Americans who live in this country by permission of the men who own it will bethink themselves that perhaps, after all, God didn't make the earth merely that Mr. Carnegie and others might charge rent for the privilege of using it. When that time comes t h e coke burners of Pennsylvania will have no occasion to strike, and the men who now increase the wealth of the country by diminishing the production of coal and iron and other necessities of life will have to go to work or starve.
Several thousand acres of land in Oneida and Herkimer counties were sold a day or two since for almost nothing. A good many of the acres went for a cent each. And yet, strange to say, Henry George and his followers were conspicuous by their absence from a sale which placed land within reach of the humblest member of the Anti-poverty society.—[New York Tribune.]
This is our first intimation that Oneida and Herkimer counties are located in the broad territory of Whitelaw Reid's imagination.
The Tribune gives Mr. Blaine some points for enlightening the dense ignorance of Europe respecting America and her institutions.
“He can tell,” says the Tribune, “of the institutions of this country and the opportunities it offers to industrious and honest citizens.” But among its institutions is rack rent landlordism, and its opportunities are proclaimed by a million men vainly seeking work. Of these, let Mr. Blaine exercise that “singular gift of silence when speech would be unwise or ill-timed,” with which the Tribune declares that he is endowed.
“He can tell of a nation whose government has proved its strength in one of the greatest wars of history,” but he should exercise his “singular gift of silence,” respecting homeless veterans and shoddy society saviors.
“He can tell of the wise methods by which a free nation restored its currency, redeemed its pledges, paid half of an enormous war debt in twenty years and reduced the interest burden by two-thirds,” but he must exercise his “singular gift” as to the robbery of debtors involved in the “restoration” of the currency, and as to the fact that. our public debt, measured by the price of labor, is bigger than ever and that more has been paid to bond holders in interest than to soldiers in pensions.
“He can tell of the processes by which a free people have gained in wealth during twenty years of persistent industrial self-defense more than double the entire wealth accumulated in the previous eighty-four years of national existence,” but he must lake refuge in his “singular gift of silence” if any one asks him of the processes whereby that wealth has found its way into the hands of the few, or of the “industrial self-defense” by which great masses of the “free people” have through labor organizations vainly struggled to protect themselves against their greedy countrymen.
Is it not just a little singular that those with whom Dr. McGlynn has become most intimately associated in the course of his “new crusade” are nearly all pronounced infidels?—[New York Star.]
No. They are the “publicans and sinners” of the Christian renaissance.
One has but to read the newspaper comments on the Sharp trial to realize that the legal presumption of innocence in criminal cases has been practically abolished. Whether or not Sharp is guilty the law does not know, but he would be a bold juror indeed, who, believing him innocent after listening to the evidence, should so declare in his verdict. Let Sharp be never so guilty, the course of Judge Barrett in trying questions of alleged embracery pending Sharp's trial for another offense is an outrage on the orderly administration of justice. Its inevitable effect must be to excite prejudice in the main case by arousing suspicion in a collateral matter. It is better that Sharp, though guilty, should go free than that. judicial hunger for popularity should be fed at the expense of precedents that may endanger the innocent.
Dr. McGlynn's Brother
Frank McGlynn, a brother of the soggarth aroon, is doing gallant work for the new crusade on the Pacific coast. In a recent number of the San Fransisco Star he says:
The Henry George doctrine is not to cut up people's property; it is not to divide; it is not to take any thing from anybody; it is not to give everybody an equal start; it is simply to put taxes where they justly belong—that is, on the land value.
In Dr. M'Glynn's Parish
Another Enthusiastic Meeting at International Hall—Mrs. Margaret Moore's Speech—Whom the Archbishop Went to See in Bermuda
The people of St. Stephen's were out in goodly numbers on Friday evening last. Long before the time to open the meeting the hall was filled to overflowing; men and women were unable to enter the hall, and were forced to congregate on the sidewalk. As usual, Mr. John R. Feeney presided, and after a few remarks, introduced Mr. John J. Bealin as the first speaker of the evening. Mr Bealin made one of his usual outspoken speeches, and in a very feeling manner announced the demonstration in support of the doctor on June 18. Mr. Richard Caffery of Greenpoint also addressed the meeting, and was well received, but the speech of the evening was delivered by Mrs. Margaret Moore. Mrs. Moore began by congratulating the people on the manner in which they were standing by the doctor. She urged that every man, woman and child in the parish participate in the demonstration on the 18th. “Bring the babes in your arms,” she cried, “so that in after years they can tell that they shared in the indignant protest of the people against the attempted destruction of the purest priest that ever lived.”
In talking about the letter sent to the “O'Brien meeting” by the archbishop, Mrs. Moore said it was a flat contradiction. “How could the archbishop condemn Irish evictions when he himself evicted the doctor on a colt winter's day and sent him out into the world without a dollar in his pocket—call such conduct as that Christian? No; it was inhuman and unchristian. At the very time when he evicted the doctor the archbishop went to the island of Bermuda to spread the light of the gospel and bless the people with his presence; and it was a strange fact that the governor of that English colony was an Irishman who ought never to have been born in Ireland—one who sold his country, and was glad that he had a country to sell; a man driven from his native laud by force of public opinion, and forced to take refuge under the English flag—a renegade and a^ dastard. He was one of the 'extraordinary magistrates' appointed by her majesty's government for the express purpose of killing the land league by law. I myself was one of his victims. O strange sight, indeed, to see the archbishop of New York dining with this 'national apostate!' Let what will come, our duty is clear. Feeling and knowing that the doctor is right we must stand by him, even were he excommunicated. Shame on us were we to tolerate it, and God's vengeance on the people who dare to give such scandal to His church.”
Mrs. Moore concluded her remarks amid the cheers of the people, and on motion a vote of thanks was tendered to her. A committee of ladies was appointed to cooperate with the gentlemen, with a view of doing justice to the doctor's friends in the grand parade of the 18th. After a few remarks from Dr. Carey the meeting adjourned to meet Friday evening next.
From an Ex-Pupil of Professor Dwight
Cincinnati.—As one of the pupils of Professor Dwight in the Columbia college law school, and as one of his most devoted admirers it pained me greatly to read his recent speech at the commencement of the Columbia college law school, in which he stated that:
Without property in land no man has an assured birthplace or burial place. No tree can be planted that he can call his own nor any dwelling erected that can give him shelter. There can be no churches but state churches, no colleges nor schools but state colleges and state schools. When the state owns all the laud and all the improvements what a tempting prize that will be for some bold adventurer.
Professor Dwight himself has stated scores of times in his lectures to the students that the right of the individual to property in land is subordinated to the right of the community to the use of such land for public purposes, for roads, water works, public buildings, railways, wharves, etc, and that any specific tract can be appropriated by the state for such purposes under the reserved right of eminent domain.
Professor Dwight has demonstrated hundreds of times the subordination of private property in land to the claims of the state for its own needs, en forced by sales of land for non-payment of taxes and assessments. He has shown us the just limitations of private land ownership by principles of public expediency as contained in the statutes against entails and perpetuities.
Professor Dwight must know that the payment of rent to the state in the shape of taxes does not interfere with permanence of possession any more than the claims which the state enforces to-day; that the church, the birthplace, the dwelling, the college and the tomb will be just as safe as they are at this moment; that the collection of revenue by indirect taxes is liable to be a greater prize to the adventurer than a rent open to the inspection of all, where each is interested in its just apportionment and in its proper expenditure. I do not agree with you as to the mode in which the present system is to be changed to that which you propose, but the legal right of any man to monopolize the bounty of heaven, except upon terms which are equally open to all, is as sure to perish from the earth as the right of one man to rule another.
Most of all was the professor unhappy in his ecclesiastical references. It ill becomes one who believes that the world moves to call up again the spirit which denounced Galileo. It ill becomes one who denies the authority of Rome, and speaking the land which Columbus discovered, to summon some new council of Salamanca to dissuadeand discourage these “froward children.” The time is gone when truth can be crushed even for a season by the mere voice of ecclesiastical authority.
“ O, bells of San Blas, in vain
Ye call up the past again,
The past is deaf to your prayer;
Out from the darkness of night
The world rolls into light;
It is day break everywhere!”
W. D. T.
The Party Here to Fight
Charles H. Mitchell in the Clarion, published by the Nineteenth assembly district association of the united labor party, says:
“But a new party has sprung into existence whose force has been gathering strength for a long time, until at last, in one mighty effort, the wronged, overtaxed, and monopoly ridden people arose and planted a well directed sixty-eight thousand power blow at the enemy. It spread consternation among them to such an extent that they are now engaged in administering 'taffy' to this great power. But rest assured, gentlemen, your blandishments are entirely lost upon the united labor party. You cannot, with their sanction, buy a longer lease at any price. “We have since organized for effective work, and in our platform, adopted April 7, 1887, we have set forth our aims. Therein our principles are plainly stated, and these principles we are prepared to 'assert,' and are ready even to stake our existence upon.'”
Marching to Freedom
(Air—“Marching Through Georgia.”)
The Master's blown the bugle and given us a song;
Sing it with a chorus that shall drive the world along,
Sing it as 'twas never sung—we're many millions strong—
While we are marching to freedom.
The land! the land! for men's children it was made—
The land! the land! the Master so hath said—
Thus we'll sing the chorus grand of our new crusade,
While we are marching to freedom.
The sign's throughout the workshop; the master workman's there;
It crowns the highest mountains and illumes the valleys fair;
It's radiant in the deepest mines, locked out from heaven's air,
While we are marching to freedom.
Chorus—The land! the land! for men's children it was made, etc.
We've both the prophet and the priest, and men of every creed,
We've sowers, by the thousands, who are sowing wide the seed;
While all the poor and needy ones are praying us godspeed,
Thus we go marching to freedom.
Chorus—The land! the land! for men's children it was made, etc.
And those who love the shamrock are foremost in the fray;
Still patient for the dawning of a great and glorious day;
Rack-rented, robbed, aye, ruined, they hold tyranny at bay—
They, too, are marching to freedom.
Chorus—The land! the land! for men's children it was made, etc.
Enlist beneath our standard—the cross of the crusade!
Close ranks behind our leaders until the march is made;
Come! soon the land of promise we'll rightfully invade,
While we are marching to freedom.
Chorus—The land! the land! for men's children it was made, etc.
Thus we'll make a thoroughfare for freedom and her train,
Miles and mi]es in latitude—'twill reach from main to main;
Wrong must fly before us, and right shall rule again,
While we are marching to freedom.
Chorus—The land! the land! for men's children it was made, etc.
Joseph W. Parker
The Anti-Poverty Party
San Francisco Argonaut
The movement of Henry George is an important one, and destined to have an important bearing upon the politics of New York, and possibly upon the politics of the nation. That “this stranger could take his gripsack, and without money or party alliance or national reputation other than that given him by his land theories, walk into the city of New York, and, against Tammany political leadership and combined wealth, without organization or personal following, could receive 68,000 votes for mayor, is a significant fact. The movement inaugurated by him last fall has not lost its force, nor has the party thus inaugurated diminished in numbers.” On the contrary, it has extended and strengthened. Brooklyn has brought an effective and thorough organization to swell the ranks; in Philadelphia and other cities a movement has begun. A state convention is called at Syracuse for this fail. The Rev. Edward McGlynn of the parish or St. Stephens, suspended from his clerical functions, has cut loose from the hierarchy of Rome and proclaimed his independence in all matters of a political character, defying the authority of his bishop (Corrigan), and treating with contempt the mandates of Rome. He has dared to boldly proclaim his right as an American citizen to think and act for himself in all questions that do not conflict with matters of religious opinion. His parishioners—and his was the largest Roman Catholic parish in New York—have followed him almost to a man. They have rallied around him and support him, and other Catholic priests and Catholic journals have identified themselves with the new political movement. It is a mistake to think these men are all communists and anarchists, or are all bad men, or are intending to destroy republican government, or to overturn order in the state, or to render life insecure. As yet the rum interest of the slums, the criminal element, the Tammany politicians, and the political adventurers have not shown any sympathy with the George movement, and we have confidence that so long as this party is subordinate to its present leaders there is no danger of anarchy or misrule. The name under which the party is rallying is the “Anti-poverty” party—a catching name. Its principles, so far as we can gather them from Mr. George's weekly paper, The Standard, are the “nationalization of land,” and this is explained to mean that land values being the creation-of all the people, and land being the one thing of fixed measurement, should bear all the taxes; that improvements, personal property, and all productions resulting from labor should be free from taxation. That railroads and all conveniences for transportation, all telegraphic and telephone and other communications should belong to and be managed by the government for the benefit of the people. “Do unto others as you would that others should do unto you” is the golden thread that runs through the somewhat conflicting and altogether impracticable and theoretic philosophy that underlies the political program of Henry George and Father McGlynn. George has engrafted his philosophy upon Father McGlynn's religion, and Father McGlynn has budded his religion in upon the root of Mr. George's philosophy. . . . We are very fond of the people, and we do not agree with Carlyle in his statement that three-fourths of them are fools. We admit that a majority of them are just enough touched in the brain to follow George and Father McGlynn after this political will-o'-the-wisp with which the philosopher and priest are luring them. And because we think there are more of this kind of shallow pates in the democratic than in the republican party, we think the democracy will catch it first and have it more severely than the more intelligent and property accumulating ranks of the republican party. . . . It is more than an even chance that tho “Anti-poverty” party of Henry George and Father McGlynn plays the very devil with the political organizations at the next presidential election.
Something for Michigan Farmers to Read
Alpena, Mich., Journal.
Henry George would not tax the poor man's little home and improvements at all. He would only tax his land, and such land tax would be very little, if any, higher than his present land tax, because the vacant lot alongside of the poor farmer would have to pay its share of the taxes, and thereby lighten the farmer's burden of taxation. It is the vacant land now held on speculation that would suffer under Henry George's system—not the improved land. Of course that class of “poor men” holding thousands of acres of good farming laud, or even city lots, in idleness, would have to abandon their claims; but we have no sympathy for them.
This system would be a relief to all improved land, whether it belonged to the rich or the poor. The unimproved land that George would burden with taxation is not held by “the poor man, whose all is in his little house and farm.” If the vacant land of the country had to pay in taxes what it owes to the community for its value, land monopoly and its twin sister, aristocracy, would be knocked in the head.
The St. Paul Globe's Baby Benefit
Another Baby Benefit Enterprise Explained by a Writer Who Would Extend the Principle
Correspondence Northwestern Labor Union.
A lot for every baby born in Minneapolis from now to kingdom come.
While the Globe is coming to the front with a scheme to furnish one miserable little baby with a lot as a start in life, the Northwestern. Labor Union is forging to the front with a scheme that will be a universal baby benefit and guarantees a lot to every human being that wants one. But the philanthropic editors of the Associated press will probably say that it is not practical, a very moral scheme but impractical. Well, let us see if it can't be figured out. The first question that arises is, are there lots enough ? Well, any school boy can figure that out. There are lots enough within five miles of the Nicollet house to make homes for 1,500,000. with each family living in a separate house, built on a separate lot, plotted at the rate of eight to the acre. But these lots are the property of somebody else. Some own scores, some hundreds. and others none. Lots are the favorite investment for capital and if a working man wants one he must go to speculating in real estate, or they will keep him working until he is bald and gray headed paying the principal and constantly accruing interest on the mortgage, and if in the course of years misfortune overtakes this slave, he will lose his lot and all he has paid besides. Again, what do capitalists want these lots for? To use ? Oh, no! They don't want to use them; they want to hold them and make other people pay in hard work thousands of dollars for the use of them.
Now, then, the value of a lot to a capitalist is not in the lots themselves, but in the fact that a monopoly or corner in lots gives them the power to confiscate the labor of those who do use them in the form of rent. Then what is the value of a lot? Real estate agents, who understand their business, will acknowledge that the valuation of a lot is based on the rental power; that is, power to confiscate in rent. Then figure this annual confiscation at thirty to forty per cent and you have the capitalized confiscation, or the price of that lot. So when the laborer or producer wants this lot they will take part cash and mortgage the balance at six to eight per cent. Now, if the fathers and mothers of babies want to perpetuate a system that will permit some other babies to confiscate the labor of their baby through a life time of toil, well and good. If not, let them study the history of the world and they will find that labor has been despoiled and confiscated through all periods of history by those who pretend to own the soil by title, and if you wish to be still more curious as to how they got this title, that is, legal power to confiscate, you can trace every one back to the conquest, where blows of battle, of sword and bayonet, were the coins paid for this privilege, and then legalized grants given by the royal thieves to their pet parasites.
Now, to come back to our baby benefit and make it universal, we propose to make speculation in land and holding out of use unprofitable; and it is a well known fact that there is so much land in this country that it can be made valuable only by cornering it, and for the last quarter of a Century capital has been struggling to accomplish this, and railroads and other corporations and foreigners have cornered more than the original thirteen colonies of our best and richest agricultural land. They have upheld a system of tariff that has nearly swamped the farmers, and the Chicago Inter-Ocean says that where its agents made investigation farmers were mortgaged for all their property would bear, and trying to pay off the eight or forty per cent interest, and would probably lose, as it is only a question of time. But the worst and most glaring and pernicious effect is seen in and around our great centers of industry and commerce. There the cornering land system can be made successful, and held and boomed till the people cannot make a decent living and pay their rent, and legitimate industry comes to a standstill, and they call it overproduction.
Now it being a fact, that not one-tenth of the land in this country is in economic use, including coal and mineral land, the only way to get at it is to abolish all tax on industry. Take it off of the farmer's house, barn, stock and improvements, and figure its bare prairie or unimproved value, which will bring speculative land on the same par, and treat city property the same way, and coal and iron land also.
Under this system every baby could have at least a spot to build a cottage on that will furnish as solid a foundation as the Globe's $10,000 lot for one baby.
Good Advice, if They Will But Listen to It
Father McGlynn says that if Christ were to come to earth to-morrow there is not a Christian church in New York or Brooklyn, Jersey City, Hobokeu, Newark or Yonkers, Catholic or Protestant, in which he could get a hearing. We have heard assertions like this before from free-thinkers, but never, that we remember, from an ordained priest or parson. Here is the precise language of the assertion, as made by Father McGlynn in his last public speech in this city:
If the Son or Man should reappear He would not be invited, He would not be permitted to speak in any of His Christian pulpits. His attire His manner, His appearance, His voice, His doctrines would seem strange to most of those who now to have the exclusive right to represent Him.
This was greeted by a great audience in the Academy of Music with applause. Does not such a saying, so greeted, afford a more cogent theme tomorrow for the hundreds of Christian pulpits in the metropolis and its suburbs, than most of the preachers are likely to choose for their discourses?
The audience was not a ribald one. It was composed of intelligent and sober workingmen, with their wives and sons and daughters. They bore witness by their greeting of it, to the failure of Christianity, as at present expounded here, to satisfy their needs. The importance of the assertion does not arise so much from its utterance by the mouth of a priest as from the manner of its reception by a congregation larger than will be gathered tomorrow within the walls of any Christian sanctuary in New York or its neighborhood.
We appeal to the pious Archbishop Corrigan of this Roman Catholic diocese, who ministers in the beautiful and solemn fane on Madison avenue, and to the zealous Bishop Petter of this Protestant Episcopal diocese, who is soliciting subscriptions to build a temple twice as big and costly; we appeal to the Rev. Dr. John Hall. who preaches from a Presbyterian pulpit in a million dollar meeting house, and to the multitude of other eloquent and earnest expounders of the Christian fait in this community; we appeal to them all, whether the plaudits of a sober and intelligent audience of three thousand workingmen and their sons and daughters for such an assertion as Father McGlynn's is not entitled to a larger share of their thoughts and anxieties than the piling of bricks on bricks and marble upon marble.
Building the Barriers Higher
San Francisco Star
The effect of a land boom is to add another length to the high fence that now shuts out the producer from the natural opportunities which the Creator made for the equal use and benefit of all. A land boom is the same kind of a blessing that a national debt is; it is a mortgage on the future earnings of labor. It is another chain to bind the gallery slave to the bench of unrequited toil. God save us from the blessings of the land boom.
Land and Labor
A Few of the Letters Received at the Cooper Union Headquarters
The following extracts from the correspondence of the Central committee, 28 Cooper union, New York, have been furnished by Mr. Barnes:
Jas. K. Armstronsr, chairman United Irish societies, Boston, Mass.—Dr. McGlynn had a splendid meeting here. The feeling manifested throughout was wonderful. Should he come to any other city in Massachusetts to speak, rest assured that a largo number of his Boston friends will go to hear him. Thank God. he gained many converts to the new crusade. 1 have met no man so stupid that he did not understand the doctor, nor so prejudiced that he did not believe him. The voice a»d prayer of every member is with the reverend doctor and the cause he espouses. We hope to hear encouraging reports every day, till this holy light is won.
J. IV. Neil. Buffalo. N. Y.—Our movement has not fairly come lo a head yet. We have a Mechanics' institute library here that is incorporated and has at)out live thousand volumes. It was popular some years ago, but was mismanaged a n d about to be sold out for debt. Several of us called a meeting to stop it, and it is not impossible that we may find means to use it as a reading room. We may get together for the purpose of having a workingmen's library; then our little leaven may leaven the whole lump. The Irish World has a large circulation here, so I sent Mr. Ford a notice of our organization. Buffalo covers a great extent of land, and there is a very philanthropic lot of land speculators here, who sell lots with or without houses on them at weekly, monthly and yearly payments, and so the men who are paying double and treble what property is really worth are looking forward to the time when, perhaps, they may own something, and they have not time nor spirit to look beyond the ends of their noses. Besides, a good many men seem to think that more can be bulldozed out of politicians than can be gained by independent political work. Then, too, there is the press, which calls everything that savors of independent action hard names. Finally a good many men sit down at home waiting for kind providence to come along and take charge of their affairs for them and to see something done by somebody else.
Cincinnati. O.—I see by the papers that a man named Lennon is setting himself up to be a so called “organizer” of the opposition labor party in your state of New York. He and one or two like him attended the conference of February 22, here, and he devoted his time to abuse of the leaders in your city, and especially of Mr. George, representing himself as either the business manager or the editor of the lander. However. we all “sized him up,” as the boys say. It was plain that he was a “professional.” I hope that as soon as your state convention is over, steps may be taken t o call a national conference of the united labor party.
Cincinnati, O.—Our Fourth of July celebration will take the form of a vast gathering at Zoological garden, which is a beautiful park of sixty-five acres. Addresses have been promised by Mr. George, as you know, and by Mr . Joseph R. Buchanan of Chicago and Mr. W. W. Bailey of Vincennes. Excursions will come in from all parts of Ohio, Kentucky and Indiana. We shall have a great and memorable occasion, and an immense gathering of people.
Chicago, Ill.—I am a workingman myself, and I go among them all the while. Many thoroughly understand the land question already. I am surprised at their numbers. Others are beginning to suspect that there is something in it which may work a solution of their troubles. Men everywhere are in a state of expectancy on the subject, and desirous of getting light on it.
M.J. Rowan,. Master Workman L.A. 852, K. of L., Chicago, Ill.—Our club was thoroughly organized last night. We shall be in good working order right away. The land reform movement is growing fast here. Arrangements are being perfected for the reception of Dr. McGlynn on the 25th of June, and we shall pack Central music hall, you may be sure.
William E. Morgan, Syracuse, N. Y.—The Concord glee club have volunteered their services for the 5th of June, for the occasion of Dr. McGlynn's lecture. We shall have a large audience. Everybody is looking forward with greatest interest to the coming of the reverend gentleman.
Henry Vick, East Saginaw. Mich.—I have read Mr. George's hooks and The Standard, and I never let pass a chance to talk for the land reform. I have made several speeches for our cause, and intend to devote all my spare time after the 1st of July to the work of the new crusade. We have lost one of our most faithful workers, Charles Rippey, who has gone to Bay City to take editorial charge of the Bay City Star, and he has come out with no uncertain sound on the land question.
SylusTyrrell, Danbury, Conn.—The opera house here was packed on the 31 st of May. Over five hundred people were unable to obtain admission. Br. McGlynn held that large concourse spellbound for two hours and a half. The good seeds sown by this noble man cannot fall to bear fruit. We look for large accessions to our numbers.
A.P. Tanner, New London, Conn.—I see by The Standard that a bold and determined effort is making for state organization in New York. That is good. After it will come national organization, and that sort of preparation which is indispensable to the success of a political party. I should suppose that our friends in the union labor movement, in which I recognize some of my old associates in the contest for government money, would be willing to concede what has always seemed to me to be the wisdom of Mr. George's ideas, that in order to secure a reliable national conference, it is essential first to organize a reliable Constituency. One has only to recall the disastrous termination of two consecutive presidential campaigns to be convinced of the folly of trying to achieve success by any other method. I was delighted with Dr. McGlynn's address m Hartford, and with the numbers present, and especially with doctor's gentle manner. He is one of those whose life is a credit to the human race. Our club is wide awake.
H. Martin Williams, St, Louis, Mo.—Dr. McGlynn's lectures here set everybody who heard him on fire. The scores and hundreds who were silent before are now preaching the doctrine of the land for the people. If only more of the preachers of the gospel were such as he! We shall look forward to the Syracuse convention with the deepest interest trusting that it will set up a standard around which the hosts of labor in the United States can rally to a man.
The central committee of the united labor party of Minneapolis has been designated as ex officio state organizers for Minnesota. Mr. C.A.S. Higley is the secretary of this committee.
Arrangements are now being perfected by the joint committees of D.A. 24., K. of L., and D. A. 57, K. of L., together with the land and labor clubs of Chicago, for a demonstration in honor of Rev. Dr. McGlynn, who will lecture under their joint auspices at Central Music hall in that city on the 5th of June. It is probable that Dr. McGlynn will also be able to speak at the great K. of L. picnic at Custer Park, Ind., on June 27.
Cincinnati.—The following charters have been issued since our last letter:
Louisville—Charter members: J. H. Whetzel, J.B. Sparks, Benjamin A. Wibbles, William W. Daniels, William H. Ryan, John R. Dunlap.
Springfield, O.—Charter members: J. L. Cushman, A. B. Poling, Frank Ross, R. W. Poling, S. Leber. Oliver Hunt, Thomas Barry, G. W. Ladd, W. F. Payne, J. C. Becker, Elbert Finch.
Cincinnati (Storrs township)—Charter members: C.S. Walker. Frank C. Anderson, Oliver C. Budd, J.E. Patten, J.C. Myers, E.T. Fries, Archie Fries.
Henry George Club,
258 Vine street
Organizers for Ohio and Kentucky
San Francisco, Cal.—An immense mass meeting of the land and labor party was held at Irish-American hall on the 20th of May. Before eight o'clock every seat in the hall was occupied, and half an hour later there was barely comfortable standing room. The audience was composed of earnest thinking men and women, who propose to light under the banner and the cross of the new crusade, and battle for the restoration of God's land to His people. The enthusiasm from first to last was unbounded. An excellent program was presented, and when the hour to close had come the people were reluctant to leave, and many stood around in groups discussing what they had heard, while many others remained to sign the roll of the land and labor club.
Who's to Blame?
Medina, N. Y., June 4.—You have probably heard of the rather “fresh” convert who was arrested for severely thrashing the first Hebrew he met after hearing that the Jews crucified Jesus Christ, but who apologized for his mistake when he was assured that the event happened eighteen hundred years ago.
We are very likely to get into a similar belligerent state of mind when we realize the infinite in jury which the world is suffering through land lord oppression and robbery, and we are prone to visit our indignation upon present landlords as the cause of those miseries for which previous generations are chiefly responsible.
Most of our present laud owners think (like the Bay of Tripoli, who received tribute from all nations for sailing the Mediterranean sea, or the barons of the “castled Rhine” who exacted a toll of all commerce) that they are justly entitled to tax others for the use of God's earth.
As they are legally possessed of this power we must blame the law and not those who are innocently enriched by it, for they cannot well help taking what the law forces upon them as a present. And those who made these laws—our well-meaning, but mistaken ancestors—being long since dead and beyond the reach of our denunciation, I have come to the conclusion not to waste any more breath in damning present land owners, because every reformers energies are urgently required for their conversion, which can be better accomplished by a calm presentation of indisputable facts.
Idle landlords and their tribute money received for the use of God's works, harsh bailiffs with writs of eviction in their hands and armies of police to enforce them, starving and despairing tenants tempted to “curse God and die;” once populous districts becoming homes for wild beasts and game; shanties, pig stys, miserable tenements and thistles occupying lands where palaces and comfortable homes and blooming gardens of the industrious should be; capital unable to earn interest and workmen unable to earn wages; the earth and all that is in and upon and above it all in a national and world-wide lottery: the commonwealth a huge gamble, the holders of lucky title deeds rolling in unearned luxury while the holders of blanks drown their misfortune in drink or suicide—all these calamities, than which lightning and tempest plagued pestilence and famine are no worse—all are effects and not causes. It is law (and the public until they change it) that is alone to blame.
No one has spoken more harshly of landlordism than myself, who am a landlord and an owner of unimproved land, mostly used as a common, but my severe language has stirred up so many enemies to our cause that in future instead cf abusing them I am going to persuade them to east in their fortunes with us; to make them friends and fellow workers by argument instead of enemies by calling names. We know that a transfer of all taxation from industrial products to laud values is not only just as enabling the public to receive values created solely by themselves, but that it is expedient also for the nation's welfare, and I think that we can really prove it to be also for the benefit of every good citizen whatever his occupation or calling in life may be.
Let any doubting ones inquire of members of the Anti-poverty society ho w such gradual transfer would affect them, and if any of us get stuck, lay the case before our clear thinking leader, Mr. George, till we have fully satisfied everybody that it is a good as well as a right thing for all, and without exception that the slavery of tribute paying for God's bounties should forever cease, and this people and the whole world become free, as He intended they should be.
A Rahway Baptist Clergyman Comes Out
Rev. Mr. Rollinson of the Baptist church in Rahway is now preaching a course of discourses on “Topics of the Times.” For his second discourse he took the text, “Ye have the poor with you always, and whensoever ye will ye may do them good.” The preacher said that Christ did not teach that it was God's will to perpetuate poverty. The gospel was designed to abolish poverty by removing its causes. The causes of poverty were in part moral, but in a larger degree social. That thriftlessness, idleness, and especially intemperance, greatly aggravated the evils and broadened the sphere of poverty was undeniable. Under any condition of society, vice, idleness and intemperance would produce poverty. Yet, if these were absent, social conditions existed which would steadily operate to widen the chasm between the rich and poor, and under which those already sunk in poverty cannot hope to rise above their present lot.
From labor was wrung the most possible toil for the least possible wages, and great wealth was used to destroy peaceful competition and to exact tribute on fictitious values. The great natural advantages to which all men had an equal right were permitted to become private property.
These things, Mr. Rollinson said, constituted a never-ceasing drain on all productive labor, affecting every class except the few who benefited by them.
Excommunicate the Pope
Brooklyn.—There is a needless amount of ill-feeling over the threatened excommunication of Dr. McGlynn. A simple way out of the impending collision of interests, and an effectual quietus on all attempts to interfere with the liberty of individuals in this age of enlightenment is this: Let the Catholics excommunicate the pope.
Charles M. Skinner
A Case In Point
What a Farmer Actually Pays Under the Present Tax System, and What He Would Save by the Proposed Reform
Gloversville, N.Y.—The farm of R.S., situated in the town of Savannah, Wayne county, New York, is a fair sample of the American farmer's home. Wrested by the labor of his father from the wilderness, it has been improved and cultivated by himself, till now the fragrance of clover fields and blossoming trees, the waving grain and corn, make it seem like one great garden.
Far off in the distance the afternoon sun is reflected back from the dome of Auburn prison, and from the hill top in every direction can be seen the orchards and fields of one of the richest agricultural counties in the state.
Here, if any where, would the placing of all taxation upon land values alone hurt the farmer. In order to test the proposition I sent the following questions to Mr. S., whom I knew to be an intelligent and reliable man under whose charge I learned my first lessons in self-support. The answers he gave follow the questions:
(1) Q.—What is the size of your farm? A.—85 acres.
(2) Q.—What is its actual selling value? A.—875 per acre; total, $6,375.
(3) Q.—For how much is it assessed? A.—$51 per acre, or $4,335 in all.
(4) Q.—Amount of taxes of all kinds? A.—$46.
(5) Q.—How much of the total value of your farm is due to natural values and public improvements, like the railroad, canal, growth of population, etc.? A.—$875.
(6) Q.—And how much of the total value is due to your labor in making improvements of all kinds? A.— $5,500.
(7) Q.—What is the value of the capital, teams, stock and tools required to work your farm? A.—$650.
We have here an unprejudiced statement made by a working farmer without knowing that the questions had any reference to the “George theory” of the land and improvement values of his farm and the taxes he has to pay. Giving but passing notice to the fact that under the present system the farmer, in paying on a two-thirds property assessment, is treated unjustly as compared with the owner of a vacant lot in such cities as New York and Brooklyn, who is assessed on only a one-third valuation, the important point to be considered it whether the $46 which this farmer pays yearly on his land and all the improvements is any less than would be a single tax which should absorb the whole value of the land, exclusive of improvements. Now, five per cent is certainly all that the rental value of bare land would be worth. He would then pay a tax rent of five per cent on $875, or $13.75—-$2.25 less than at present.
But this is supposing that the land of his farm would retain its present value. This it would not do, for, the tax bearing on all land according to the advantages it offered, would rest upon much land which is now held out of use, thus compelling its holders to use it or give it up. In this way much land would be thrown into the market and there would be a general depreciating in land values. Therefore, instead of paying a tax on $875 this farmer would pay it on a greatly reduced value, at the same time being free to improve his land without having to pay a tax for being industrious. These facts are sufficient to show that the American farmer would not only not be injured by the shifting of all taxation to land values, but on the contrary, would be greatly benefited.
Wm. C. Wood.
Mr. Wood states his case forcibly, but he might easily have made it stronger still. His, friend R.S. would not only be relieved from taxes on his own industry, but would also be saved the tremendous imposts he now pays on the products of other people's industry which he uses. His tools and machinery, his clothing, his tea and coffee and sugar—in short, every thing that he wears and uses, and much of what he eats and drinks—would come to him unburdened by the enormous customs, internal revenue, and other taxes which now increase their prices.
A Quicker Way to Get Rich Than by Saving a Glass of Beer a Day
Speculation in land at Bar Harbor, Me., is at fever heat. The unprecedented prices paid I remind one of western land booms. Ordinary lots represent a fortune. Every inch of shore line that girts the island of Mount Desert has largely increased in value. Nearly every portion of it has been either bonded or sold outright. The demand is not confined to the shore front; good elevated lands which command a view of the ocean are in great demand. One piece, bought two years ago for $200, has recently been sold for $2.000; another piece, which six years ago was bought for $600, has been sold for $23,000. An acre of land bought in the fall of l879 for $300 has been sold for $25,000. Most of these lands pass generally into the hands of those who wish to erect cottages. Mr. Lee of New York, some six or seven years ago, bought forty acres for $5,000, and they have been sold to Senator Yulee of Florida and others for $100,000. Dr. Derby of Boston bought last September a tract of five acres running from Maine street to the shore for $50,000 and has sold two-fifths of his purchase for $61,000. The three-fifths he still holds would readily command for villa lots $100,000. A piece of land near Hull's cove was bought for $8,000 last September and a portion of it has since been sold for $28,000. The remaining portion would sell quick for the original purchaser's money. A lot near Duck brook was sold last June for $5,000. The other day the owner was offered $30,000 for it. A firm of real estate brokers here has sold land amounting to rising $400,000 since last season. Last fall James G. Blaine bought thirty acres on Ireson's hill for $100 an acre. It is understood that he has refused an offer of $500 an acre. Extensive preparations are making for the coming season, and the rush is expected to be the greatest ever known. A larger number of cottages have been built or are in progress of building than ever known before. The great hotels and cottages are nearly ready for the coming thousands. The improvements which have been made will largely add to the wealth invested here, as well as furnish additional attractions to this picturesque spot, Among the most elegant cottages which have been built and are now ready for occupancy are those of Mrs. Abby Potter of Newport, R.I., and Miss Julia Stevens and William B. Rice of New York. John Morris of New York is contemplating building the largest and most expensive cottage ever erected here. It will be located on the Cornelia read. The grounds of most of the cottages have been put in excellent condition and present beautiful specimens of the gardener's skill.
The Light Spreading in the Antipodes
Charters Towers, Queensland, Northern Miner
It remains then for the people of North Queensland to go back to the only rational source of taxation—the land. The experience of Europe has proved that the alienation of the land means the creation of a landed aristocracy, which has been the curse of Great Britain and Ireland, and led to the first French revolution. So strong is the force of habit that the earth hunger, which has led to such misery in Europe, has developed with equal rank luxuriance in America and Australia, and the consequences must be the same—the imposition of taxation on the comparatively poor of the country. The possessors of the land contribute no more to the revenue than the common laborers. What more does the owner of thousands of acres eat or drink or wear of dutiable articles than the common laborers? This is not an equitable arrangement, and the sooner the working classes set about rectifying it the better it will be for themselves. By adopting the leasing principle in town and country almost all customs duties could be abolished. The 200,000,000 acres of the new colony at one penny an acre would yield an annual revenue of $800,000, which might be sufficient for all the requirements of the new colony. The taxation on luxuries, on stamps and other sources might swell the revenue up to a million per annum. This is an underestimate of the revenue of the new colony. The great thing to consider is that it would be a blessed change from the systems introduced by the marauding kings and barons of the middle ages of Europe, and which their descendants in England and Ireland now find so profitable to perpetuate. The people are beginning to see dimly through this murderous game. The new colony will become insolvent in a few years if it adopts Queensland methods of taxation. If the system advocated by Mill, by George and the advanced thinkers of the world be adopted, there is safety in separation, for we have all the elements that go to make up a prosperous state. The land is the foundation of all solid prosperity; it must be settled on and cultivated and be distributed, not held by syndicates or banks or monopolists. If the truth of the leasing system is recognized by the electors of the new colony, they can impress their convictions on its legislation. If they go on groping in the present muddle of taxation their condition will not be much improved by separation. Now is the time to prepare for the change, and every man ought to educate himself up to a full comprehension of the great and solid truths of Henry George's system.
England Waiting on America
Colchester, England.— Through the kindness of an old friend and comrade, now for some years resident in the United States, I have from time to time received a copy of The Standard. The supreme importance of your subject, the signal ability and originality with which it is handled, the keen and passionate sympathy with sorrow and suffering which glows in every page, and the tremendous interests at stake, all tend to invest your intrepid crusade against wrong with fascinating interest.
The new gospel has roused some antagonism over here. The London Standard spoke of your “pernicious nonsense” a short time ago. That was good so far as it went. I trust they speak more forcibly in the United States. There is nothing like a rousing, abusive opposition. It is the barometer that indicates the amount of pressure you are exercising. It is exceedingly fortunate in many respects that the good work begins in the new world. Prescription dominates us in this country. Political economy in clean gloves tells a man over here that his place in the economy of creation is to be killed off by “pressure:” and the poor wretch promptly and without a word of protest curls up in the dark corner of a filthy dungeon in a slum, which his children, with an unconscious but cruel mockery, call “home,” and dies like a true, law-abiding Briton. There have been meetings and speeches, and goings to church. and Trafalgar square gatherings, but the poor fellows have no idea of what is the matter with them. “'Give us work,” they say, and beyond that demand all is dark. They cheerfully recognize that. their existence, their “work,” is entirely dependent on the pleasure of their “betters,” and they are thankful for small mercies accordingly. It is natural enough, however. Our country is small, and we live so close together that the feeling of neighborhood almost develops into that of the family. We don't stifle the sobs of the poverty-stricken with a wet sack; we use a scented pocket handkerchief. We are a people of compromise.
We shrink from extreme changes. Those interested in the continuance of things as they are have a thousand of our insular prejudices and party cries and ill-understood but treasured traditions to work upon whom they want to call off attention from land monopoly.
Nothing less than the triumphant success elsewhere of the principles advocated in your Standard can ever compel a fruitful attention to these principles among Englishmen. I am full of hope that these things will be much better managed in America. In the absence of perverting and misleading sentiment there will be room for the play of pure reason, and the traditions of a hoary antiquity fortunately cannot, as here, enlist misguided emotion against innovation with right and justice on its side.
Then and Now
J. F. Cooper of Hites, Pa., says in the Pittsburgh Dispatch: “Nearly forty years ago, while the societary forces were yet in embryo which since have compassed the sinister caste developing conditions—the portentious class antagonisms which now imperil society—the present editors of the Sun and the Commercial Advertiser eloquently inveighed against, this satanic gospel of poverty which they now speciously uphold as divine and immutable. During the “Fourier epoch” the utterances of Mr. Parke Godwin were especially notable for their revolutionary ring. In no respect did they so much differ from the broad, temperate and reverent teachings of Henry George as in their affinity to the lurid nihilism of Bakounin. Only a few years ago, on the occasion of a breakfast given in New York to George Jacob Holyoake, the English radical, Parke Godwin, in referring to the principles which in early years had enlisted the enthusiasm of himself and his gifted coevals who composed the Brook farm association, quoted approvingly this fine sentiment from Schiller: “Let us reverence the dreams of our youth, because they come from our fresh souls; because they are disinterested and are glorious in their greatness, their freshness, their expansion.”
Millions of Catholics Will Go With Dr. McGlynn
STILLWATER. Minn., May 30.—I was born in Ireland of Catholic parents, was baptized and confirmed in that faith. I am proud of Dr. McGlynn, and on the day t h a t the head of the church excommunicates him for his opinions on the land question, on that day Rome cuts off millions of Catholic men and women in this country who do their own thinking. Why did not, the pope call Bishop Nulty to order when he declared that the land of every country belonged to the people of that country, and any settlement of the question that would deprive the humblest child of its snare in the land would not only be a wrong done to that child, but would, moreover, be an impious resistance to the benevolent intentions of the Creator?
“Marching to Victory”
(Air—“Marching Through Georgia”)
Lo! the dawn is breaking and the daylight is at hand,
Soon the outraged millions shall again possess the land;
God's free gift- to every man—on this we take our stand,
As we go marching to victory!
Hurrah! hurrah! we bring the jubilee!
Hurrah! hurrah! 'tis truth that makes us free!
Proclaim the blessed tidings over land and over sea—
Shout as we march on victorious.
Hark! the wail of sorrow stills before our joyful cry,
Poverty on earth shall cease forever and for aye;
Each to each a brother, with one Father God most high,
Thus shall we march on to victory!
Hurrah! hurrah! we bring the jubilee, etc.
Who will dare to front us in this wonderful crusade?
Kings and petty t y r a n t s may call Satan to their aid!
But the God of battles is with us and undismayed,
We shall go marching to victory.
Hurrah! hurrah! we bring the jubilee, etc.
Onward, ever onward we shall wage this holy war,
Till poverty is banished by a higher, purer law,
That gives to every child of God his share of Nature's store;
Then we shall march on to victory.
Hurrah! hurrah! we bring the jubilee, etc.
Not till then shall men be free, then slavery shall cease;
Strife shall fade for evermore, and holy love increase;
Children of one Father and one Lord, the Prince of Peace,
When we have mare he d on to victory.
Hurrah! hurrah! we bring the jubilee, etc.
The Ostracized Rabbit
From the Hindoo
Upon the south side of the Himalayas, at an elevation of some 5,000 feet, was a vast level ledge upon which myriads of rabbits found a habitation and a home. All were equal; but, by their own choice, sanctioned by the consent of all, certain rabbits of a st a id and sober nature exercised a sort of moral control in the community, restraining the exuberance of the younger rabbits, and seeing to it that every rabbit respected his neighbor's burrow.
Now, though the ledge, taken as a whole, was marvelous in its fertility, still a quarter of the territory was very sparse in vegetation, and precarious indeed would have been the existence of any rabbit confined to its limits.
After a time, by intimidation and trickery and by artful devices beyond understanding of the vast majority of the rabbits, an insignificant minority contrived to take possession of the large fertile portion cf the ledge and to drive therefrom, and to the sterile parts, all their fellow rabbits. It thereupon came to pass that in the crowded quarters, where the rabbits found it a hard matter to sustain life, the greater need existed for the restraining influences of the rabbits who acted as teachers.
Having thus gained control of the fat of the land, the minority set about making lasting their possession. Recognizing the mighty aid which would be rendered by the co-operation with them of the rabbits exercising moral authority, they extended a welcome to them to enter the fertile section at any time. Then the minority called the attention of the teaching rabbits to the order which existed in their fruitful land, and convinced them that riot and disorder would prevail should the majority ever be allowed to enjoy the blessings stolen by the minority. So it was that the instructors of the rabbits, while enjoying the friendship of the well-fed minority, added to their injunctions to the starving majority the need of a strict regard for the rights of the minority to the ownership of the fertile tract. But in time many of the teaching rabbits perceived the fallacy of this last precept, and one even went so far as to tell the majority that they were being wronged by the few. When this came to the ears of the minority they told the teaching rabbits that one of their number was instructing the majority as to their rights and that he must be stopped. The justice-loving rabbit refusing to cease exposing the invalidity of the claim of the few to the entire desirable portion of the ledge, he was debarred from the fertile tract and forbidden to act thenceforth as a teacher. But his entire time now being spent among the wronged majority, and his teaching being limited to the one subject condemned by the other instructors, and being so devoid of selfishness that he would share his meager meal with any delicate or sick rabbit, he exercised a mighty influence, and was soon joined by other expelled teachers.
And when, through the efforts of the ostracized rabbits, the entire ledge was once more free to all, and all who wished could live in happiness, a few gray-haired rabbits would of ten shake their heads and say. “That's where we made a mistake.”
Bringing the Question Home
The valuable piece of property bounded by East, Houston, Academy and Little avenues may be used to illustrate our unjust and inequitable system of taxation. Three lots located in the northwest corner of this block were recently sold for $4,600—two for $1,500 each and one for $1,000. For the benefit of the sewer lately built through Kant avenue, each of those lots was assessed $20. But Mr. F. P..S. Crane, the owner of the property on the southwest corner, on which he erected an elegant residence, was assessed for the sewer $90. Why was the assessment paid by the owner of the house four and one-half times greater than that made on each vacant lot? This system of taxation is a line upon a man for improving his property, and pays a premium to him who merely holds the laud for speculation. We argue that the value of each of the vacant lots was increased as much as that of the lot on which stands the house. Is not the value of the vacant lot adjoining almost as great as that of the let en which the house stand? The building of a house upon the lot certainly does not increase the value of the lot four-fold.
A Step in the Right Direction
Memphis, Tenn.—It may interest you, as showing the drift of opinion, that the legislature of Tennessee recently passed an act leasing, instead of selling, all school lands containing mineral, the leases to hold for a term of twenty years. By an oversight, for which apparently no one was to blame, the governor did not sign it; but the bill will probably be enacted at the next session if the land there is not all sold.
Straws Which Show The Wind
Many a man who loudly scouts and denounces the George land theory, which is that each owner or occupant of land shall pay to the government an equitable tax on it, yet pays, without murmur, a much greater tax in interest to the shylocks who hold a mortgage on his farm, or as much as the heartless land grabbers see lit to extort from him in the shape of rent.—[Hartford Examiner.]
Yet those in the east contemplating a change cannot do better than to come to favored Kansas, and if they want to secure a home for little money, our advice would be to come now. Next year land will advance, and desirable homes will be more difficult to secure.—[Topeka Capital.]
We have seen bills introduced into our legislatures to restrict the ownership of land to 640 acres…Poor fools! What a magnificent mental grasp of simple propositions does not-this display? They fail to see that the very attempt to restrict the amount that a man may own is in itself a denial of private ownership, and an assumption of state or community ownership. If the state can dictate to me how much land I may own, it follows that the state must have a better title to the land than I have, and hence I am not the owner of it. If I am the absolute owner of one acre of land, I have an absolute right to do with it as I please.—[Wichita, Kan., Labor Press.]
It is one of the drawbacks of poverty that it often compels men and women to live where the conditions are dangerous to health and safety. Another drawback that heartless men in power frequently inflict upon poor neighborhoods buildings with which they would not be permitted to menace dwellers in upper-tendom. How not to interfere with industries essential tn the growth of a community and at the same time protect the great mass of workers is a problem the solution of which will yet arrest the attention of public-spirited citizens in all large cities.—[Philadelphia Record.]
These free-soilers were born too early. There are strong political reasons why they should have come upon the stage of action, say, thirty years later, when all the soil of America should have been reduced to private ownership. The free soil club had better adjourn for a quarter of a century, the members meanwhile availing themselves of the present abundant opportunity to acquire free soil.—[New York Evening Post.]
If the Anti-poverty society attempts to make men rich without work and without a thrifty use of the wages paid for work it will fail. All patent and theoretical ways of procuring wealth are a delusion.—[Leavenworth, Kan., Times.]
Three of the best known clergymen of the Protestant denomination in Newark are open and zealous in their advocacy of the doctrines of Henry George, and probably others of the Catholic and Protestant clergy here are favorable to Henry George's idea of land ownership. The fact has this significance—that religious teachers here as elsewhere are earnestly studying the great social questions that concern humanity, recognizing them as belonging to the province of the church and as allied to the truths of revealed religion.—[Newark Press-Register.]
The ground was but the material. The lot, vacant as it is, is the manufactured result of labor, enterprise, capital and the industry of many associated together for mutual protection. The value of the land in its wild state was as nothing compared to the worth that it has attained through these agendas.—[New York Star.]
Under the new system St. Louis would not see vacant lots in the heart of the city paying little or no taxes, and every year growing more and more valuable without any effort on the part of the owner to improve them.—[St. Louis New Order.]
If there is anybody so foolish as to believe either that George is for Blaine or that Blaine is for George it is useless to try to enlighten him. He is ton far gone in imbecility.—[Seattle Post-Intelligencer.]
The question whether it is worse for workingmen to strike for higher wages or capitalists to strike for illegal profits to be extorted by artificially high food is a matter on which a decided expression of public opinion might be useful.—[Pittsburgh Dispatch.]
There is nothing to be gained by the intimations that Messrs. George and McGlynn are seeking pecuniary profit from their work in organizing the Anti-poverty society, or are pocketing its proceeds. However questionable their theories may be, both of the leaders named must be recognized as honest and sincere men.—[Galveston News.]
We believe that there is a fundamental truth at the basis of his (Henry George's) speculations. We believe that he is right in making a sharp distinction between the competitive and the monopolized elements in production.—[Railroad Gazette.]
Our laws tax enterprise and thrift when they really should tax unimproved as well as improved land. The man who erects a factory on a ten acre lot should not be made to pay any more taxes than he who owns a similar lot adjoining and who derives the benefit of his neighbor\s enterprise without paying for it. The land question unites the employer and the employee. It will be the means of solving the present labor difficulty, and the more the question is agitated the more apparent becomes this opinion.—[New York Electric Age.]
We should be disposed to regard an extravagant enhancement of vacant lot values as great a calamity as an earthquake. It would check building, tie up money, and finally lead to a crash in prices. Then at this particular time it would be unfortunate, as it might make converts to Henry George's theories that all taxation should be levied upon the holders of unimproved property. This idea is not only becoming popular among the working classes, but is advocated by the economists who represent the holders of personal property.—[Real Estate Record.]
Tho Milwaukee Review calls attention to the fact that in his letter to Archbishop Corrigan the pope has carefully avoided defining what he speaks of as “false doctrines,” and predicts that he never will define them.
Real estate matters are very active in St. Paul, the aggregate of dealings for the first four months of this year amounted to $22,000,000 as against $7,000,000 for the same time last year.—[Real Estate Bulletin.]
The whole world seems to be possessed with a spirit of unrest. And why? Because justice and injustice are antagonistic, and each is striving for the ascendancy.—[Union Pacific Employees’ Magazine.]
Never was there such a close competition in this county by renters for land to cultivate as has been this year.—Vincennes, Ind., Herald.]
What Wendell Philips Said About the Czar
Kansas City, May 20.—The “saviors of society” seem to be greatly agitated and shocked over the “seditious remarks” of Dr. McGlynn in reference to the mild and gentle ruler of all the Russias, but if the doctor's utterances savor of “anarchism” and of “sedition” and of a great many other bad things too numerous to mention, what have the “saviors” to say of the following sentiments, from a speech delivered at Harvard college in 1881 by a distinguished “disturber” in his time—Wendell Phillips:
“Nihilism is the righteous and honorable resistance of a people crushed under an iron rule. Nihilism is evidence of life. When “order reigns in Warsaw” it is spiritual death. Nihilism is the last weapon of victims choked and manacled beyond all other resistance. It is crushed humanity's only means of making the oppressor tremble. . . . In such a land as Russia dynamite and the dagger are the necessary and proper substitutes for Faneuil hall and the Daily Advertiser.
The Pro-Poverty Press in a Rage
Philadelphia, June 2—Our daily papers are foaming at the mouth over the Anti-poverty society and all the recruits thereto. Whom the gods would destroy they first make mad.
How It Happened
The True Story Of The O'Brien Demonstration
Mr. O'Brien Declines the Sympathy of American Workingmen—No Objection to Lansdowne But That He Charges Twenty Per Cent Too Much—Landlordism in Ireland Must Be Denounced Only By Those Who Approve It in America—Ringing Resolutions Adopted With No Dissenting Voice Except O'Brien's—Dr. McGlynn's View of the Irish Politician's Conduct
In its issue of Friday, May 13, the Leader, in an editorial, proposed that “organized and united labor” in New York should tender William O'Brien “a fitting tribute of respect, in the form of an appropriate out-of-doors demonstration.” it called upon the “men of labor in the metropolitan city” to let Mr. O'Brien know, “by undeniable proofs,” how they felt “upon the questions of Irish land reform and home rule.” And it added: “The party of united labor is working for the same results.” Mr. O'Brien was then on his speechmaking tour in Canada.
On the Sunday following delegate Robert Crowe asked the Central labor union to get up a mass meeting to welcome Mr. O'Brien, and a committee of arrangements was appointed, consisting of two delegates from each section. At the first meeting of the committee, on the succeeding Friday evening, delegates were present from seven sections of the Central labor union. A temporary committee had been informally called together previous to the appointment of the Central labor union committee, and some of its members attended the meeting of the latter, so that, besides the delegates, there were present individuals from district assembly 49, district assembly 64, the united labor party, the German federation of trades, and several Irish societies. George McVey of the piano makers' organization, was elected chairman, and George E. McQuade secretary. At the next meeting of the committee, Sunday, May 22, the following committees were appointed:
On reception—John McMackin, Edward Conklin, S. E. Shevitch, George W. Dann, William Klinginberg, William Shakespeare and James H. Casserly. On arrangements—Michael O'Brien, Joseph P. Doyle, B.J. Hawkes, Daniel Jacobs, James H. Casserly and John Geeman. On speakers—John J. McKenna, Abner C. Thomas, John G. Jones, John O'Shea, Thomas Collins and Joseph W. Parker. On resolutions—Louis F. Post, Colonel Hinton, Alexander Jonas, Samuel Gompers, William B. Clark and Dr. Quirk. On ways and means—George W. Dunn, James H. Casserly, Ramon Rubeira and Hugh Whoriskey.
The positions of the committee men in labor organizations or in the united labor party will be recognized by the reader acquainted with the labor movement.
On the same day, Chairman George McVey reported to the Central labor union the progress made by his committee, and Mr. E. Conklin spoke in favor of a large turnout from the unions.
Meetings of the committee of arrangements were held on Thursday, May 27, and Sunday, May 29. On the 30th a sub-committee, Messrs. Casserly and McQuade, went to Boston to consult with Mr. O'Brien in relation to the parade. The 1st of June, Wednesday, was the date on which it was to be held, but rumors had reached the committee that Tammany hall was bent on interfering with its success, and the sub-committee was expected to ascertain Mr. O'Brien's intentions. Mr. O'Brien had addressed an audience on Sunday evening at the Boston theater, making an hours speech. On Monday evening a banquet was given him at the Parker house, at which he again spoke at length. Three hundred well know Bostonians were present, among them Mayor O'Brien. P. W. Collins, member of congress; Hon. A. W. Beard, Hon. F. O. Prince. General B.F. Butler, President Capen of Tuft's college, Colonel C.H. Taylor and Vicar-General Byrne. Messrs. Casserly and McQuade, however, were unable to obtain an interview with Mr. O'Brien, the gentleman pleading illness, and returned to New York without settling anything. At the next meeting of the committee it was proposed to abandon its project, but the motion was defeated by a small majority, and Saturday, June 4, was fixed upon as the day of the parade. Mr O'Brien arrived in New York on Thursday. In the evening he was given a reception at the Academy of Music, the prominent men present being Joseph J. O'Donoghue, ex-Mayor William R. Grace, Street Commissioner J. S. Coleman, John E. Develin, General Roger A. Pryor, Colonel W. L. Brown, Assistant District Attorney James Fitzgerald, Supervisor Thomas Costigan, Hon. Richelieu Robinson, Morgan J . O'Brien, Rev. Father Lilly, O.P.: Bishop O'Farrell of Trenton, and Monsignor Farley. The academy was not crowded. A letter from Archbishop Corrigan was received, but the attempt to read it created such a tumult that the effort was abandoned.
On Friday afternoon, in response to a request from Mr. O'Brien, committee men McQuade, Casserly and Dunn called on him at the Hoffman house to acquaint him with their arrangements. When he was told that John McMackin, chairman of the county central committee united labor party, had been selected to preside, he said i hat, as Mr. McMackin had lately taken the chair at a lecture delivered by Mr. Tynan, he would ask that another chairman be selected. He also asked to be shown the resolutions to be submitted at the mass meeting. Mr. O'Brien's callers believed the committee of arrangements might consent to the appointment of another chairman. Mr. McQuade, as secretary of the committee of arrangements, had the resolutions in his possession, and he again called on Mr. O'Brien in the evening and invited him to suggest any alterations he might desire. The resolutions, as they were prepared by the committee and amended by Mr. O'Brien, were as follows. The words in italics were erased by Mr. O'Brien; those in small capitals he wrote in with a blue pencil. He also wrote the word “coercion” on the margin, to signify that he desired a resolution to be inserted denouncing the enforcement of the coercion laws in Ireland:
Be it resolved by the working people of New York in mass meeting assembled. That we welcome William O'Brien to our city and assure him of our sympathy with his mission to America. We abhor the system of robbery by which Lord Lansdowne grows rich at the expense of an impoverished people; we denounce the cruelty of expelling Irishmen from the soil on which they were born. and we condemn those laws which, by treating the land of Ireland as private property, make such robbery and cruelty possible. The land of Ireland belongs of right to the people of Ireland, and in the pending struggle there we recognize the same irrepressible conflict between natural right and vested wrong in which we in this country are engaged.
Resolved, That we watch with sympathetic interest the progress of the revolution in Great Britain, inspired by men like Parnell, Davitt and O'Brien and led by Gladstone, which gives promise to Ireland of a government of the people, by the people and for the people, under which private ownership of land shall be abolished and the gifts of nature and nature's God be equally enjoyed by all.—[Devoted to the happiness of the people;—Coercion]
Resolved, That we denounce the brutality exhibited toward Mr. O'Brien in Canada, by ruffians acting under the encouragement of “saviors of society” there, as an interference with the right of free speech and an attempt by lawless violence to shield one of England's lords of the earth from that contempt with which an exposure of his cruelty and plundering must inspire humane and honest men.
Resolved, That in the further prosecution of his mission against the iniquity of landlordism Mr. O'Brien has the sincere sympathy and earnest co-operation of the working people of New York, whose hands are ever ready and their hearts willing to help in the struggle of the disinherited of the earth for their rights as citizens and their birthright as men.
On Saturday morning Mr. McQuade called on Louis F. Post, chairman of the committee on resolutions, and told him Mr. O'Brien's wishes. Mr. Post had attended meetings of the committee of arrangements at Mr. McQuade's request. He did so supposing that Mr. O'Brien's views with respect to the land question in Ireland were substantially the same as his own. He knew that the Central labor union was organized with the intention of promoting the principle that the land is for the people. He had also seen the united labor party organized by the Central labor union. He took part in the sessions of the committee of arrangements in the belief that Mr. O'Brien denied Lord Lansdowne's right to own Irish land to the exclusion of the Irish people. At the first meeting of the committee it was made clear to him that the intended mass meeting was not to be one for Irishmen, but for the organized workingmen of New York. He saw no one at the meeting who was not either an accredited representative of a labor organization or a participant in the political labor movement. As chairman of the committee on resolutions, Mr. Post submitted the resolutions to the committee of arrangements. They were adopted unanimously, Mr. McQuade being present. Mr. McQuade received no authority to permit Mr. O'Brien to make any alterations in them.
When Mr. McQuade handed Mr. Post the resolutions corrected by Mr. O'Brien's blue pencil, Mr. Post said he supposed that Mr. O'Brien, the guest, had a right to suggest the resolutions, but he also said at once that he would have nothing to do with the meeting if the resolutions were to be emasculated by Mr. O'Brien. He saw that, as altered, there was no sentiment expressed in them to which the Corrigan – Kelly – O'Douoghue combination would not gladly have subscribed. Mr. Post took the resolutions and conferred on the subject with Abner C. Thomas, a member of the committee. Mr. Thomas convinced Mr. Pest that the resolutions were to be the resolutions of the mass meeting; that it alone had a right to alter, adopt or defeat what the committee proposed, and that it was not for Mr. O'Brien to dictate what message the organized workingmen of New York should send to the people of Ireland. On deliberation, the situation was seen by Mr. Post and Mr. Thomas in a clear light. The demonstration promised to be one of the largest ever held in New York. Mr. O'Brien, holding views radically different from those held by the Central labor union and the united labor party, and from those which their committee of arrangements had put forth in the resolutions, had determined that these great bodies should restrict themselves to an expression of his opinions and policy. Messrs. Post and Thomas decided that they would re-submit the resolutions to the committee of arrangements The lines having been drawn between Mr O'Brien's views and the committee's, it was decided that a resolution declaring against coercion would not be complete unless the most conspicuous case of coercion were pointed out. A resolution in which Dr. McGlynn was mentioned was then prepared. To facilitate business at the approaching committee meeting, the resolutions were put in type and printed.
The whole committee met at Clarendon hall at six o'clock on Saturday evening. There were about thirty members present. Mr. Post reported what had occurred, and the sentiment sustaining Mr. Thomas and himself was so nearly unanimous that what little opposition there was did not record itself by a negative vote. Then Mr. O'Brien's objection to Mr. McMackin was considered. The general opinion of the committee was that to withdraw Mr. McMackin on the objections of Mr. O'Brien would be to brand Mr. McMackin as a dynamiter and to insult the labor organizations that have placed him at the head of their political movement. The vote against withdrawing Mr. McMackin was also unanimous.
Messrs. Thomas, Post and Dunn were then appointed a committee to wait upon Mr. O'Brien and inform him that the resolutions as originally adopted, with the addition of the coercion clause, would be submitted to the meeting, that Mr. McMackin would preside, and that if he (Mr. O'Brien) declined to attend under these circumstances, the meeting would be held without him. The committee saw Mr. O'Brien in the parlors of the Hoffman house. Mr. O'Brien received the committee courteously, and expressed regret that any trouble had arisen, but when Mr. Thomas told him that it would be impossible to remove Mr. McMackin from the chairmanship after he had been advertised, he stated, with great positiveness, that lie would on no account consent to appear on the same platform with Mr. McMackin. His phrase was that he “would rather be cut into pound pieces.” His objection to Mr. McMackin was that that gentleman had recently presided at the Tynan meeting, and that any apparent approval by him of that meeting or its objects would be used against his party in Ireland and in England to its destruction, and that either he or Mr. Parnell would have to resign. It was here suggested by Mr. M.D. Gallagher, a friend of Mr. O'Brien, that this difficulty might be obviated if Mr. O'Brien should appear on one platform while Mr. McMackin should preside at the other. Mr. O'Brien thought that this might be done, and he expressed a willingness to speak from the truck instead of the principal stand, if this could be arranged. Mr. Thomas then asked whether Mr. O'Brien would then consider the matter of the resolutions, but to this he peremptorily objected. He insisted that nothing whatever should appear in the resolutions which had any reference to political issues in this country. Mr. Thomas represented to him that the committee would not object to anything that he should say, and offered to have the resolutions deferred until after he had spoken, but to this he would not listen. At this Mr. Thomas asked him whether he had not known from whom he was accepting an invitation to at tend a meeting in his honor. He said that he did not. but that he supposed that the invitation cause from the “working classes” of New York.
“And did you not know, Mr. O'Brien,” said Mr. Thomas, “that it was the Central labor union and other labor organizations that nominated Mr. Henry George for mayor and polled 68,000 votes for him?”
“No” Mr. O'Brien answered, “I did not know that, and I did not suppose that there was any political party back of the invitation.”
“And do you mean to tell me, sir,” said Mr. Thomas, “that you have been several days in New York in the hotel which is the headquarters of the men whom we are fighting without learning that there was a difference of opinion among Irishmen as to New York politics? Why, only a few nights ago you accepted an invitation from our enemies to be received at the Academy of Music, at which the two factions almost came to blows.”
“That disturbance in the Academy,” said Mr. O'Brien, “was no part of the program, and I was not responsible for it. And so for as being influenced by any set of politicians, I assure you that I have entirely kept away from them and am not in the least influenced by them. You seem to desire to force me into an argument, and that I will not consent to.”
“You mistake me, Mr. O'Brien,” Mr. Thomas said. “Nothing is further from my desire. I sincerely respect both you and the cause which you represent, and if I speak plainly, it is because the situation is embarrassing, not only for us, but for you. You have already accepted the courtesies of the organization with which we are at war, and now refuse ours on the ground, in substance, that you disapprove of our sentiments and accepted an invitation in ignorance of who we were. You object not only to our resolutions, but to our most representative man. Suppose we tell the people who expect to see you why you do not come? Will it not make dissensions that would injure you?”
“You must not say that,” said O'Brien, “or I will have to prepare a statement myself.”
“It is exceedingly unfortunate,” Mr. Thomas replied, “and is sure to have troublesome consequences.”
The committee and Mr. O'Brien then parted with mutual expressions of regret. The coercion resolution was not shown him because he had insisted that the resolutions should be passed as he had altered them.
Upon their return the sub-committee found but nine other members of the whole committee at the hall. The rest had gone to their posts in the line of parade. The twelve now present were: Mr. McVey, chairman; Mr. McQuade, secretary: Professor Clarke and Messrs. Jones, O'Shea, Crowe, Parker, Collins, Casserly, Thomas, Post and Dunn. The sub-committee having reported, a motion was made that Mr. McMackin be requested to withdraw, and the resolutions be changed to suit Mr. O'Brien. It was lost by a vote of six to live, the chairman not voting. The six were Professor Clarke, Messrs. Thomas, Parker, Dunn. Jones and Post. Then Mr. McQuade excitedly exclaimed that the committee had decided to ruin the parliamentary party in. Ireland and drive away the Irish vote from the labor party at home; and asserted that the motion had been carried by two Americans and an Englishman. Mr. Post reminded him that Professor Clarke was an Irishman, and his vote would have changed the result, but Mr. McQuade's frenzy so worked on one of the members of the committee that he moved to reconsider the motion so as to have a further expression of opinion. No one objected to this, for all present were sincerely desirous to avoid putting in jeopardy the cause of Ireland. Mr. Crowe then moved to request Mr. McMackin to withdraw. Mr. McMackin himself was not present. The vote on that motion was live to five, one member deciding to vote, whereupon the chair voted for the motion and declared it carried. Thereupon Mr. Crowe moved to alter the resolutions. Mr. Post moved a substitute that there be no resolutions at all. The substitute was adopted. It was then moved that in case Mr. McMackin withdrew Professor Clarke should preside. Professor Clarke peremptorily declined to be made an instrument for the purpose of insulting Mr. McMackin, but upon its being explained that it was only in case of the voluntary withdrawal of Mr. McMackin that he would be called upon, he placed himself in the hands of the committee, but voted against the motion. The committee then adjourned. Mr. MeVey, Mr. McQuade, Casserly, Dunn and Clarke repaired to the Hoffman house, and after a time succeeded in obtaining an interview with Mr. O'Brien, and related the final action of the majority of the twelve members of the committee. It was now long after the hour at which the procession was advertised to move. Mr. CBrien thought it likely that the proceedings had begin at Union square, and asked Mr. McQuade to ascertain if Mr. McMackin was in the chair. Mr. McQuade went to the square and found Mr. McMackin conducting the meeting.
The crowd on the streets through which the procession was to pass and on the plaza at Union square was enormous, even for New York. The following is, according to the World, a complete list of the organizations in the line:
Sixty-ninth regiment, Colonel Cavanagh commanding
United order American carpenters, Hugh Whorisky, marshal
German bricklayers, No. 11
Bricklayers, No. 7, James Doody, marshal
Progressive pollsters, Robert McKnight, marshal
Piano makers, William Dress, marshal
Housesmiths, George Warner, marshal
Fourth division laborers, President Sweeney, marshal
Tin and slate roofers, William Halstead, marshal
Granite cutters, Ed Roche, marshal
Hibernian rifles, Captain Judds, commanding
Ancient order Hibernians
United sheep butchers, President Early, marshal
Eccentric engineers, W.O. Cloyes, marshal
District assemblies 49 and 75
Second assembly district, Daniel Byrnes, marshal
Among those on the reviewing stand at the cottage were Dr. McGlynn, Commissioner Voorhis, John McMackin, James Archibald, Rev. Dr. McCarthy, Henry George, Jr., James Dooly, Professor DeLeon, Dr. Donlin, General Cochrane, Joseph J. O'Donoghue, George H. McKay, George Dunn, Denis Kilbritle, Matthew McGuire, Edward Goldsmith, ex-Judge Gideon J. Tucker, Edward Finkelstone, Rabbi Browne, Frank Ferrall, Abner C. Thomas, M. D. Gallngher, James J. Gahan, Edward King, Henry Emrich, Fred Haller, Alexander H. Jonas and George Block. Dr. McGlynn was greeted with prolonged cheering.
It was nearly 9 o'clock when James P. Archibald called the meeting to order and introduced John McMackin as chairman. “While Mr. McMackin was speaking, the Sixty-ninth regiment, at the head of the line, passed the stand, and for an hour afterward the voices of the speakers were occasionally drowned by the music of the passing columns. Mr. McMackin spoke in substance as follows, being frequently interrupted by applause:
Fellow Workingmen and Friends of Freedom: We have met together tonight to give encouragement to a downtrodden people, the people of the nation where the great land reform movement started. The sympathy which the struggles of the Irish people evokes is a proof that they are lighting in the cause of humanity. Success in them will mean the rooting up of landlordism the world over, and the giving to all men their birthright—the land. (Applause.) This struggle cannot be continued to a single nation. Landlordism is the same, be it English, German or American. There are some professional Irish agitators who say that the principle that would apply to Ireland would not apply to America. We can tell the people of Ireland that their brothers in America, that their countrymen here, have emancipated themselves from the cringing, hypocritical Irishmen that have lived on agitation; that we are not aiming at anything that is against the church, but are fighting for the common rights of the people. The power of the politician, the power of the ruffian, the power of a subsidized press, has been used against the cause which we represent, and now has come the power of the church. There are people in our city who would dare to draw, or attempt to draw, to their side the interposition of ecclesiastical power to sustain the most corrupt political organization that ever cursed any civilized community. (Groans, hisses and derisive shouts of “Tammany hall!”) To such people and to all hypocritical frauds and traitors the voice of New York tonight is a death-knell—they can no longer represent anybody but themselves. We know very well who kept Mr. O'Brien away tonight. When he gets through with the Kellys and the Crokers and the O'Donoghues and the Powers he may have time to take an interest in the great mass of the people, such people for instance as are assembled here. You are waiting here but he does not come. He wanted to dictate what this meeting should do and what we should not do. We would not submit to him, and so he is not here. (Cheers and cries of “O'Brien's no good.”]
Mr. McMackin was followed by Rabbi Browne of Harlem, who delivered a brief, but stirring address. The next speaker was James P. Archibald. His speech was heard by thousands who had been unable to hear those who had preceded him. He said:
He wanted to use a blue pencil on our resolutions, but we wouldn't let him. What right had he, a stranger, to try to dictate what this great mass of people should do? We honor O'Brien, not as an individual, but as a representative of a cause. This meeting is not an O'Brien meeting, but an Irish meeting. It is intended to help the cause of a downtrodden people in another quarter of the earth. (Cheers.) We believe that the land belongs to the people. If O'Brien or any other man believes otherwise he is not a faithful representative of Ireland.
The crowd cheered Mr. Archibald's sentiments lustily.
Dr. McGlynn was announced as the next speaker. It was several minutes before he was allowed to proceed, so enthusiastic was the greeting. He said:
This is a memorable and an especially historic occasion. It is an outpouring really unequaled even in this great city of wonderful demonstrations, of the masses of the people to protest against the wrongs that are done to the masses of the people in another land by a few who are the privileged classes. It is a magnificent testimony given by American citizens of every race and color to the doctrine that under our glorious constitution which is the law, the prophets and the gospel of our American liberty, we have taken occasion during the visit to this city of a representative of the national aspirations of Ireland, to give him greeting—not as a man or as an individual that many of us knew but little about and cared less about, but in a wider sense as men deeply interested, as millions of our fellow citizens are throughout this broad land, in a cause that he is supposed to represent, because we are natives, or the children, or the descendants of natives of that unfortunate island.
There are millions here and everywhere interested in the cause that he is supposed to represent, the cause of liberty and of justice, of those great truths that are the cardinal truths of our declaration of independence. (A voice: “Three cheers for the soggarth aroon!” Cheers.) The cause that Mr. O'Brien stands for, or is supposed to represent, is the inalienable rights of which our immortal Thomas Jefferson tells us when he speaks of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Men like Mr. O'Brien may come and go. If they are worthy representatives of the cause, happy for them. The individual matters but little. The cause is above lenders. The masses understand their rights better, are bolder to work them out, more courageous to maintain them, more willing to suffer and to die for them. The hearts of the masses are right, and it were well for those who assume to represent on public occasions the great national aspirations of our people to come near to the masses.
Old race prejudices are fast disappearing. We need not mind what one man thinks or what he does not think. We have the sense of the men of brains and of muscle with us. We have the conscience and the sympathy of the educated and the intelligent among mankind upon our side, and we can afford to be calm and have self-control.
If Mr. O'Brien has been so ill-advised as to think it best to stay away, we should not blame him so much as those who gave him such cowardly advice. (A voice, “Tammany hall!” and hisses.) After having been honored by the invitation of the united labor party and the Knights of Labor of this vast city,after he had been promised a welcome, it was shocking bad taste on the part of those who advised him to dare to dictate who should preside at this meeting—to say that he would not come unless the men who had been chosen to preside at this meeting were withdrawn. It was shocking bad taste for those whisperers in the chamber of the Hoffman house to advise him to scratch and blot out with his editorial blue pencil any resolution which these men thought proper to present here for your adoption. It was for you to accept or reject them, and not for any clique with closed doors to advise William O'Brien to accept or reject them.
It is no new thing for Irish patriots when they come to this country to be seized upon by politicians, professional patriots who ever have a vie w to their own advancement and profit.
You remember how, when Michael Davitt came here, five years ago, after preaching in Manchester the doctrine of the land for the Stople, the doctrine of Bishop Nulty and Henry George, these professional patriots called on him at the Astor house and tried to get him to change his views. The message this vast multitude desire to send to Ireland through Mr. O'Brien is that we sympathize intensely with her, and desire to see her wrongs righted. We desire that she should have a full measure of home rule. The hundred thousand men who called this meeting believe that home rule is but a soothing plaster, and that nothing will satisfy her but a greater thing—the land for the people. The message they will send through Mr. O'Brien (hisses) is that there will be eternal warfare against aristocracies, monarchies and against the privileged classes who are permitted to rob the people.
Here, under the canopy of heaven, we pledge ourselves to preach humanity in this warfare for liberty, for truth. Let us forget our prejudices against race and color and creed and help to relieve the enslaved masses. Let us not be like two bulldogs in the leash, ready at any moment to jump at each other's throats. The greeting and message of this vast meeting is for the people of England as well as the people of Ireland. It is to say to the downtrodden people of England, to her starving and over worked masses, that it is for their interest. as well as that of the Irish people that this movement should succeed.
Mr. O'Brien should have had manhood enough, courage enough, not to have been led by a party of politicians. Mr. Archibald then read the resolutions as they stood before alteration by Mr. O'Brien, and the following additional resolution prepared by the committed in response to Mr. O'Brien's blue pencil suggestion about coercion:
Resolved, That we proclaim the God given right of every people to govern themselves without any foreign interference or dictation whatever, and that we denounce the bill for the coercion of Ireland now pending in the British parliament and the threat of excommunication made from Italy against a patriotic American priest who has favored the “Irish revolution,” as meriting the condemnation of liberty loving men the world over.
As the resolutions were read there was a constant storm of shouts. The one denouncing to muzzle Dr. McGlynn by a communication was vociferously greeted. There was no expression of dissent by any one in the crowd. After the reading of the resolutions two of The Standard's reporters mingled with the crowd, and the one verdict heard everywhere in it throughout the rest of the evening was that O'Brien had taken his stand with the enemies of true land reform, and that his insult to John McMackin was properly resented by the committee of arrangements. Mrs. Margaret Moore and Edward King spoke after the resolutions had been read. Mr. King criticized Mr. O'Brien's action sharply.
The following letter was read:
Standard Office, 25 Ann Street,
New York, June 3, 1887.
George H. McVey, Chairman O'Brien Reception Committee of Organized Labor:
An engagement of some weeks' standing to address an Anti poverty meeting in Jersey City on Saturday evening will prevent me from accepting your invitation to attend the reception to be given to Mr. William O'Brien by the Central labor union. I am glad to take the opportunity to express my warm sympathy with the Irish cause, political and social, and my appreciation of the patriotic work which “has been done by Mr. O'Brien and his associates. I cannot, however, join in denouncing any Irish landlord for doing what the laws of his country give him a per feet right to do, and what American landlords do every day; and I am too stanch an upholder of the sacred rights of property to justify the putting of any coercion upon a landlord as to the terms or conditions on which he shall allow others to use what is still admitted to be his. In other words, I hold with James Fintan Lawlor, Bishop Nulty, Patrick Ford and other eminent Irishmen, that the land of Ireland, like the land of New York, belongs rightfully either to the landlords or to the whole people, and I cannot regard as final, or even as in itself worth struggling for, any settlement of the land question which would merely force the landlords to reduce the rent of their tenants while leaving the workingmen of the cities and the laborers of the country without any greater interest in the soil of their native land than they had before.
The only principle on which the land question can be finally and justly settled—the only principle on which industrial slavery and involuntary poverty can be abolished, is that principle which the “Central Labor union and other organizations of the workingmen of New York have proclaimed and are determined to support—that principle for the assertion of which our loved countryman, Rev. Dr. Edward McGlynn, is now threatened with excommunication from the church in which he has so faithfully ministered—the principle that all the people of every country are entitled to share equally in the bounties of nature and the advantages of social growth and improvement.
This principle, to which we of the united labor party have pledged ourselves, must finally triumph in Ireland and Great Britain as here. And for its speedy triumph let all true men work, in that fraternity born of a noble cause which obliterates all prejudices of race, country or creed and strives for the emancipation of the world and the elevation of mankind. Yours, fraternally,
At stand No. 2, John J. Bealin presided. The speakers were Mr. Thomas, Mr. Post, Frank Ferrall, George Duncan and John Naughton.
It was near midnight before the meeting adjourned and the dense crowd dispersed.
Mr. O'Brien's Statement
In the course of the evening Mr. O'Brien prepared the following statement for the press:
I most deeply regret that anything should occur which prevents me from “expressing in person my gratitude to the working classes of New York for the loyal and hearty service I am quite sure they intended to render to the cause of Ireland by their demonstration tonight. I was forced to abstain from participation in the proceedings because the only alternative left to me was to inflict what I knew would be a deadly blow at the movement in which the happiness of our people during the present generation is bound up. When it was first intimated to me by wire that the workers of New York desired to honor our cause in my person I was not sufficiently acquainted with the facts to be aware that the proposal proceeded from any political organization.
I should have accepted the honor with equal readiness, however, had I known that it represented the desire of so influential a body of American workmen as the labor union, but only on the condition on which I have insisted before accepting any mark of favor whatsoever from any other American organization, of whatever party or color, the condition, namely, that their action should be directed solely to the service of the Irish cause and should in no manner increase the difficulties of our people already sufficiently cruel by embroiling us in American issues and so estranging that sympathy of the American nation in its integrity, which is one of the sheet anchors of our success. I waited in my hotel throughout the forenoon of Friday in the hope that the committee of the labor parade would do me the courtesy of acquainting me with their arrangements.
As I received no communication from them in the afternoon I wired Mr. McQuade to request the committee to favor me with an interview. He, with two other Irish gentlemen, Mr. Casserly and Mr. Dunn, answered my telegram in person, and these gentlemen, throughout the whole proceedings, acted with the utmost candor and friendliness, and showed heartfelt interest in the Irish cause.
I found that the gentleman nominated to preside and present the address of welcome to me was one whose choice, for reasons which I must decline to discuss, but which in no degree applied to his office as president of the labor union, would be used to give color to the malignant misrepresentations of the London Times, and would involve the most calamitous results for our movement. The deputation seemed to acquiesce heavily in the reasonableness of my objection, and gave me to understand that the nomination would be set aside. They assented readily also to my suggestion that I should have an opportunity of perusing the proposed resolutions.
Later in the evening Mr. McQuade called on me with the resolutions and handed me a blue lead pencil, with the invitation to cut out or add to anything that seemed to me to require emendation. I found that two of the resolutions distinctly characterized our movement us one to abolish private property in land, and sought to identify it with an American movement with that object.
I pointed out that the description was in direct contravention of the objects of the Irish national league, and would inevitably be used to entangle us in American issues. I suggested some erasures, which would remove the objection and continue the resolutions to the object of a demonstration of pure sympathy with Ireland with which it was tendered by the committee and accepted by me. Mr. McQuade accepted the emendations with the fullest, assurance that they would be endorsed by the committee. He promised that their decision would be communicated to me early on Saturday. I remained indoors during the whole of Saturday in the expectation that the committee would make me aware of their final decision with reference to the resolutions and to the chairmanship, upon which I distinctively intimated my participation in the demonstration must depend.
As it was growing late, again wired Mr. McQuade, who waited on me with the information that the chairman originally named insisted on presiding, and that the committee were disposed to support him, but that a further meeting of the committee was about to be held.
I was left in ignorance of the committee's decision until a quarter to eight, when a deputation, consisting of Mr. Thomas, Mr. Post and Mr. Dunn—two of them, 1 believe, not Irishmen—came to the hotel and announced that no change could be made in the chairmanship, and that my proposed changes in the resolutions could not be accepted. Under these circumstances I intimated that after most anxious consideration I felt coerced, in the interest of the Irish cause, to decline participation in the demonstration.
Half an hour later another and larger deputation from the committee, consisting of Messrs. McVey, Casserly, Dunn, McQuade and Professor Clarke, returned to the hotel and informed me that the committee had reversed their decision and appointed Professor Clarke to preside, and that they were willing that the resolutions should be dropped altogether. They were not, however, prepared to offer any guarantee that this decision would be accepted by the gentleman originally named, who had announced that he would insist upon his right. Professor Clarke candidly declined to give any pledge that under those circumstances the affair would not end in a discreditable scrimmage for the chair. The gentlemen of the deputation expressed the liveliest appreciation of my grounds of objection and seemed very heartily to regret that the committee had delayed their decision to a moment when there was no assurance of its being respected in the heat and confusion of a vast public meeting. Under these circumstances I declined to alter my determination, and the conference was ended by messengers, who stated that the meeting was actually in progress and that the gentleman originally named had carried out his intention of taking the chair.
Mr. McQuade, the secretary of the committee of arrangements, was represented in Sunday's papers as bitterly disappointed at the turn that affairs had taken. It was said that he had threatened to resign from the labor party, and, of course, from the secretaryship of the Sixteenth assembly district that he declared Mr. McMackin's action in taking the chair as contemptible and double-headed, and that it was he himself that started the idea of giving Mr. O'Brien a reception. A statement was formally made in Monday's papers by Mr. McQuade. In it he takes the ground that when the resolution respecting the demonstration was introduced in the Central labor union it was expressly declared that the occasion was one intended in honor of Mr. O'Brien and in approval of his mission to Canada. The committee of arrangements, he avers, determined that but four topics should be discussed at the meeting, viz.: Mr. O'Brien's mission to Canada, the plan of campaign, home rule and coercion. He speaks of the three committeemen who waited on Mr. O'Brien on Friday as a “deputation.” He makes a point of the fact that the McGlynn resolution was not in the original draft, and seems to think that those who put it before the meeting did so with the intention of conveying the impression that Mr. O'Brien had offered an affront to Dr. McGlynn. In his statement Mr. McQuade makes the most of Mr. Post's modification of his views and exhibits strong feeling against those who differed with him as to the action to be taken. To his mind the steps taken by them indicated a conspiracy to pervert the purpose of the reception.
Mr. O'Brien's and Mr. McQuade's statements are subject to correction. Mr. O'Brien speaks of conditions on which he had insisted before accepting any mark of favor from any American organization. He made no stipulations whatever to the workingmen's committee of arrangements. If he was not called upon by any of the committee on Friday morning, it was the oversight of its secretary. He speaks of two of the sub-committee waiting on him on Saturday evening as not being Irishmen. He could not possibly think that all the organized workingmen of New York Irish.
Mr. George E. McQuade, the secretary of the committee, is a young gentleman “who came to this country from Dublin last fall. He joined the labor party organization of the Sixteenth assembly district a few months ago, as the assembly district organizations are good schools of citizenship for foreigners. Being disposed to take an active part at the meetings, he was lately made recording secretary. He is not a member of any labor union. Mr. McQuade says that he asked Mr. Robert Crowe to make the motion in the Central labor union that Mr. O'Brien be given a reception. He invited other men prominent in the labor movement, including Mr. Post, to be present at the committee meetings. He himself was made its secretary in consequence of his activity. It was mainly through his efforts that the Hibernians and the Sixty-ninth regiment, the only bodies in the parade outside the labor organizations, took part. Mr. McQuade declares his inability to see why the radical political opinions of the great mass of those who took part in the demonstration guided them and their committeemen to a course different from the one he had mapped out. He desired to parade them for O'Brien and a percentage off of rents in Ireland; they turned out in support of the principle of the land for the people. As to what was to be the character of the resolutions, members of the committee on resolutions assert that no instructions were given them, and that when the resolutions were presented they were accepted without question. In inviting the speakers no instructions were given them as to the topics to be taken up. The mistake in Mr. McQuade's statement as to the manner of the introduction of the McGlynn resolution indicates a hastiness in entertaining suspicions. The old party press gave a great deal of space to Mr. McQuade's views, as they indicated a defection in the ranks of the labor party.
The Central Labor Union
On Sunday Delegate Mo ran offered the following resolutions at the Central labor union, and they were adopted unanimously:
Whereas, The Central labor union, sympathizing with the oppressed of all nations, and desiring to publicly express their sympathy with the people of Ireland, struggling for industrial and political liberty, appointed a committee to extend a welcome to Mr. O'Brien, the accredited representative of the Irish people: and
Whereas, Our committee, in performance of their duty, and after having received assurances of Mr. O'Brien that he would be pleased to take part in our demonstration, prepared suitable resolutions and selected as chairman a gentleman whose character is above reproach; and
Whereas, Mr. O'Brien, in a dictatorial manner, arbitrarily demanded that the committee strike out the most important clauses in their resolutions and remove the gentleman selected for chairman; therefore be it
Resolved, That we condemn the action of Mr. O'Brien as ungentlemanly, undignified and inconsistent in declining sympathy for the struggling people of Ireland and refusing to sympathize with the toiling masses of this country.
Resolved, That we endorse the action of the committee in refusing to change the resolutions or to remove the gentleman elected as chairman.
At The Anti-Poverty Meeting
At the close of Dr. McGlynn's address on Sunday evening, at the meeting of the Anti-poverty society at the Academy of Music, there were numerous calls for John McMackin.
As Mr. McMackin a rose, the cheers which greeted him showed that the stand he had taken the evening before was strongly approved. Mr. McMackin said:
Mr. Chairman, Ladies and Gentlemen—It is with considerable feeling that I rise to say anything tonight. I do not wish to say one word in justification or in vindication of myself. What I wish to do is to enter my emphatic protest against a countryman of mine (Hisses and groans; a voice. “Tammany captured him”) attempting to brand a movement of the masses through me with the crimes committed in another land as a result of the tyranny of a government that I know something of myself. It has never been my mission, it has never been my duty, to hound any man to death for any act he may have committed. And I have nothing but the most supreme contempt for the men who goad men to commit acts of violence and then leave them alone to starve or do the best they can. (Cries of “Hear, hear!” and wild shouts of applause. A voice: “That is what O'Brien does” Hisses.) I would not be guilty of the strange inconsistency of this countryman of mine in coming to another land to traduce and assail a man for coming as he thinks fit, with a certain kind of property that he concedes to be property. If the land of Luggacurran is Lansdowne's own. then according to their argument Lansdowne can do what he pleases with it. I take the opposite view to my countryman O'Brien. (Hisses and groans, long drawn out.) I say, as we all say here, that the land of Luggacurran belongs to the people. (Great applause)
My friends, as an Irishmen I repudiate the idea that our countrymen must be going forth to the world preaching against English landlordism, while they uphold a system that is equally as bad in other countries. (Applause. A voice: “That's the idea!”) If a few men who have undoubtedly poisoned this man's mind think that they can stay the tide of this mighty revolution, they can stay the tide of this mighty revolution, they are much mistaken. (Applause) We did not enter into this contest merely to effect the struggle merely to put a man into an office or to make a change of officers. What we did mean, what we do mean, is to bring about such a change that the inhumanities of man will be wiped out entirely. (Applause) And if a countryman of mine makes this sad mistake of trying to bolster up men who, for Ireland, they mistake the Irish people that have grown up in this cosmopolitan city. The day is gone, thank God, when the Kellys, the O'Donoghues (groans), or any of those men can transfer the Irish people to anybody. (A voice: “Right you are!”) This has been a boomerang for them. In fact, the thunder of this Anti-poverty society has made their democratic milk sour. (Laughter.)
They were aiming, they desired to brand the working classes of this city and disgrace them in the eyes of their fellow men. They can never do it over my shoulders. (Wild applause and three cheers for McMackin.) If the “saviors of society” (hisses) can rake up nothing else of my record in this country than this, then I say they ought to stop, because I won't have far to go to point to men who today travel in respectable society—in fact, among the “saviors of society” (hisses)—who were responsible for those outrages, and who basely, inhumanly and meanly left the men who committed them to get along as best they could. (A voice. “That is true.”) If the men of the united labor party are forced to speak, we each speak, and speak the truth. (Applause.)
Chairman Post at the close of Mr. McMackin's address said: “I was about to announce that on the 18th of this month we are to have a parade and mass meeting in honor of Dr. McGlvnn. On that occasion the Anti-poverty society will turn out as a body in the parade, and we hope that every man and woman will be in the procession on that day. I think it would be a pity, my friends, if, after listening to what Mr. McMackin has said, we should close this meeting without hearing some expression of opinion from Dr. McGlynn. I hope you will join me in requesting him to express his sentiments on that particular matter.”
The applause that followed Mr. Post's suggestion left no doubt that the sentiments of the audience were in accord with those of the chairman. Dr. McGlynn said:
I am glad to have the opportunity to say a few words on the same subject as that upon which Mr. McMackin has spoken. (Applause.) I promise you that I shall be very brief. I said a good deal of what I had to say at Union Square last evening, and therefore I only desire to supplement the remarks made then. It was a great mistake for the advisors of Mr. O'Brien (hisses and groans) to advise him to refuse to appear on the same platform with John McMackin. (Applause.) Probably he didn't know yesterday afternoon as well as he does today—(a voice: “You're right)—who John McMackin is. (Great applause.) That John McMackin is a man beloved and trusted by all those who know him, and their name is legion—by the united working people cf this city—as few men a r e loved, respected and trusted. It was a great mistake, therefore, for Mr. O'Brien to accept the advice of those who told him to refuse to appear on the same platform and under the presidency of John McMackin. It was an unintentional but serious affront to the most respectable body of people in this town; the most honest, the most virtuous. the cleanest and every way the most desirable company. The chief objection. The ostensible objection to Mr. McMackin was that he presided at a meeting a few days before at Cooper institute, at which Mr. Tynan delivered a lecture. (Applause.) Now, I have every reason to believe, in fact, to know, that Mr. McMackin's presence here was not so much or at all to approve of the extreme views likely to be enunciated by Mr. Tynan: that it was simply a graceful and a courteous act entirely in keeping with the charitable and noble and self-sacrificing nature of John McMackin, because John McMackin believes in free speech, and was willing to give Mr. Tynan a hearing, even if he could not agree with all Mr. Tynan might advance.
The editor of Harper's Weekly (hisses) has a crushing editorial on this subject about justifying assassination, and does me the honor of mentioning me a number of times in that article. The poor man did not edit that page as much as he should have done, for in another column on the same page there is an acknowledgment that the so-called government of Russia is nothing but a chronic condition of civil war; and that looks very much like justifying the use of gunpowder and things. (Laughter.) But one point that editor failed to note, perhaps because be did not happen to read the newspaper in which it was best reported. It was this: That my argument was chiefly based on the very terms of the treaty under consideration. The treaty between the Russian government and ours, already approved by the czar himself, acknowledges that the killing for political reasons would be no murder, even though they should kill a11 the members of the government of the highest position, provided they did not kill the czar or any of his family. I claim the merit of the original discovery of this point in the treaty . I have not seen a single comment on it, except what I made myself. The treaty itself, approved by the czar, asserts or implies that political crimes ought not to be considered crimes at all, in the sense that the criminal shall be held extraditable from the United States to Russia. Then it goes on to say, however, that among the political crimes exempting the alleged criminal from any danger of being sent back to Russia, shall not be considered the killing or conspiring to kill the czar or any member his family, which clearly implies that the killing of anybody else in Russia would not be murder at all in the sense of the treaty. And if the czar himself is willing to acknowledge the killing for political reasons is no murder, then it was a poor business for us Americans to go out of the way to put a special premium on brutal despotism by making that treaty.
It is a sign of the degeneracy of the times that American editors should be so un-American as to be willing to go down on their knees and lick the boots of foreign aristocrats. That is the reason I said we want a little more of the Fourth of July in ours. That is enough about that. Let us go back to O'Brien. Now about the resolutions. All the press today without a single exception have fallen into an egregious error, which I desire most emphatically to correct . They mix me up in those resolutions which they spoke about adopting. I saw thoseoriginal resolutions, with the blue pencil marks made by Mr. O'Brien himself (hisses); and I assure you that the resolution about coercion was not among them. What Mr. O'Brien did blue pencil—and he ought to have been ashamed of himself for doiug so (hisses)—was the doctrine of this society, the doctrine of our party, the doctrine of Bishop Nulty, the doctrine of Christianity, the doctrine that Michael Davitt used to preach in his better moments and afterward seemed to be half sorry for and half ashamed of. I saw myself the little blue pencil marks Mr. O'Brien made there, cutting off everything that touched upon the doctrine as to whether the land belonged to the people or not. Mr. O'Brien is a landlord himself at heart. It is only a question of ten per cent or twenty per cent between himself and Mr. Lansdowne. They are birds of a feather. He opposes Lord Lausdowne because he cannot jew him down twenty per cent in the price he admits belongs to Lausdowne. If it belongs to him, why shouldn't he do with it what he wants? We say it doesn't belong to him, and that we are going to take it away from him. (Applause.) That resolution about coercion, whether from England or Italy , was not in the original resolutions. Do you know how it got in? Partly through Mr. O'Brien himself. I saw it written over in blue pencil. Be warned, besides striking out all the God's that was in it to insist that the resolutions should also contain one against coercion. If they had consented to patch up the resolutions, they would have had a little resolution against coercion by England against Ireland. However, when our committee decided to go straight on and adopt all the resolutions, they thought as a kind of practical joke on Mr. O'Brien something like this: “We will stick in a resolution about coercion and make it a very broad one” (great applause), and so they stuck in that additional resolution about coercion, whether from Rome or Italy. My friends said if this is going to be our meeting we are going to send our greetings to Ireland of what we think best for Ireland, and not what Mr. O'Brien thinks. (Great applause.) If they had had Mr. O'Brien on that platform I would have been the first to say you had better leave me out, it is not my funeral, it is bis funeral. My friends, therefore, thought it was well to insert the coercion resolution, and I had nothing further to say about it. As I have often remarked, a well-regulated and well-instructed corpse should have nothing to say about its own funeral. (Great applause.)
A farewell dinner was given to Mr. O'Brien on Tuesday evening at the Hoffman house. Among those present were Chief Justice Daly, Judge Van Hoesen. John E. Develin, P.P. Mahoney, member of congress; Judge Donohue, Justice Maurice J Power, Eugene Kelly, Charles A. Dana and Joseph J. O'Donoghue. Mr. O'Brien, in his speech, said: “It was one of the cruel and discreditable maneuvers of Mr. McMackin and his friends to keep me in the dark up to the very last moment as to their intentions, so as to make it impossible for me to acquaint the people who came into the streets that night with the way in which I had been treated, or to correct the fraudulent and untruthful misrepresentations which were uttered from the platform at Union square as to the reasons for my absence.”
As has been seen, Mr. McQuade informed Mr. O'Brien that the committee of arrangements was to meet on Saturday afternoon at 5:30. Mr. O'Brien was not kept in the dark for a moment after the committee had reached its decision. Messrs. Thomas, Post and Dunn waiting cu him immediately after the committee had taken its vote. He knew at 7:45 o'clock what had been the action of the committee. He could not have been informed sooner. The reasons given for his absence by the speakers at the platform were simply his objections to Mr. McMackin and his alterations of the resolutions.
Mr. O'Brien also said: “I chose, at all events, the lesser of two evils in deciding at all hazards to keep the Irish cause pure and uncontaminated and independent before the world, to save our movement here from degenerating into an appendage of any American party, no matter what party.”
If the labor party people were amazed on Saturday night that Mr. 0'Brien does not believe the land of Ireland belongs to the people of Ireland, they were even more so on finding out his anxiety to separate the cause of Ireland from that of the working classes everywhere. Most of them had been long accustomed to giving moral and financial support to the cause of Ireland. To hear from him that they were in a political party without bonds of sympathy with the people of Ireland and apart from them in aims, was news indeed.
Mr. O'Brien's speech betrayed that he had been deluded by the tone of the old party press on Sunday. He was not aware that the labor men expected to have their regular enemies arrayed against them as a matter of course.
There has been no sign of a split in the Central labor union or the united labor party. Mr. O'Brien took passage for home in the Adriatic at a late hour on Tuesday. The Sixty ninth regiment escorted him from the Hoffman house to the dock, according to a program made out several weeks ago. There was but a small crowd at the Hoffman house when he started.
Fast Becoming a Living Issue
Kingston, Canada, May 2S.—The last Standard to hand, with its report of progress all over the continent. A campaign so well organized will do away with the comforting criticism of so many that “Mr. George is a mere dreamer, an unpractical man.” He is becoming seriously practical. And it is just this logic of action that is rousing many an indifferent one and making them thinkers and converts. The Arcturus of this week, an independent weekly of Toronto, urges thus upon those who have made no study of Mr. George's works: “To speak plainly, all such persons are neglecting a plain duty they owe to society and themselves—the duty of informing themselves fairly upon a public question before it becomes a party question. Having once entered the latter stage, every chance of calm consideration and fair discussion will be lost. It is therefore our bounden duty to acquire a competent knowledge of the subject while it is yet debatable, for the time may soon come when all will be eager to talk, but when none will be willing to be convinced. The rapidity with which the Knights of Labor have spread their organization over Canada may assure us that if once the land nationalization question takes root in the United States it, will quickly become a living question here.”
Stirred by Mr. Pentecost's Address
Philadelphia, May 31.—I don't think that for the last ten years I have been able to shed a single tear, though I have seen some very severe trials in the ups and downs of life, but in reading Hugh O. Pentecost's address in the last issue of The Standard, I both wept and laughed, and bad I been a Methodist I should have called out, “Amen. Glory hallelujah.” My whole soul rejoiced at so Grand an effort—I think one of the best I ever read. I think his name is a correct one, for the Christ spirit appears to be with him. May his like be multiplied by the thousands. My brother they will be, for the Christ Spirit is moving on the hearts of the people, for the weeping and wailing of the crushed masses has reached the ears of Him who said, “Do not rich men oppress you?”
Consider such natures, and then, if you can,
Preach of "total depravity," innate in man.
Talk of blasphemy! why, 'tis profanity wild!
To say that the Father thus cursed his own child.
Go learn of the stars, and the dew-spangled sod,
That all things rejoice in the goodness of God—
That each thing created is good in its place,
And nature is but the expression of grace.
I enclose fifty cents for a few copies of that issue for distribution.
The Anti-Poverty Society Will Welcome You, Gentlemen
A.M. Mould of Plumb Point lighthouse, Kingston, Jamaica, writes: “I appreciate highly the character of your works and I wish to know what is the most efficient organization for spreading just ideas in connection with social questions so that I may contribute my mite. I may state that I am doing all I can to spread the ideas here by lending 'Progress and Poverty' and in other ways.” Henry Ford in the same communication writes: “I approve of the foregoing and have had practical experience of the injustices of the land laws in Australia, where land was given for colonization and then priced at $10,000 per acre for frontage lots and $1,000 per acre for back town lots.”
Dr. M'Glynn's Friends
Hundreds of Thousands Will Show Their Colors on Saturday, June 18
The McGlynn demonstration committee will hold meetings every night at room 28, Cooper union, until June 18, excepting on Sunday. Reports have been received from nearly every trade and labor organization in New York, Brooklyn, Jersey City and Green point, and from many in Elizabeth, Paterson and other places, stating that they would turn out in full strength. Every stage and omnibus in New York and Brooklyn bas been engaged. St. Stephen's parishioners have secured nearly two hundred barouches. The column will be formed at Astor place and will move at six o'clock. The route will be to Second avenue, to Forty-second street, to Fifth avenue, to Seventeenth street and Union square. Full particulars will be given in next week's Standard.
Adversity Makes People Think
St. Louis, Mo., May 22.—In the early part of July, 1883, I presented a young man with a copy of “Progress and Poverty.” In a few days the book was returned with “Thanks; I haven't the time nor the disposition to read this communistic trash. I'm no farmer; what do I want with land?”
At this time be was working as a telegrapher—seven hours a day, $95 per month. A few months later he wrote me from a small station on the Union Pacific railroad that he had tried in vain to find a decent job, and had finally decided to settle down out there on the plains, and that, although his salary had been reduced to $50 per month, and his hours increased to twelve per day, he thought if I would send him that Henry George “novel” that he might find time to read it, adding that he was becoming interested in the labor question. There is no denying the fact that it requires a great deal of oppression to convince some people that they are really oppressed at all. Therefore I say let the oppression go on.
A Succession of Ovations to Dr. McGlynn
On his lecturing trips through New York state Dr. McGlynn has been meeting with big and enthusiastic audiences. On Thursday, June 3. he lectured in Poughkeepsie, and on the following day in Rand's opera house in Troy, under the auspices of the united labor party. Aaron P. Williams of Green Island was in the chair. At Albany there was an audience representative of all classes, and at the conclusion of the discourse, when the chairman, Rev. Mr. Muller, asked that those who wished to enroll themselves under the banner of the new crusade to rise there was a general response, and a hearty cheer was given for the priest of the people. Rev. Mr. Brown of Grace Methodist Episcopal church and a committee of the land and labor club sat upon the platform. The reverend doctor also spoke at Hoosick Falls on Tuesday and Syracuse on Wednesday.
Assembly Districts on the O'Brien Affair
All the assembly district organizations of the united labor party that have held meetings since the O'Brien affair have passed resolutions approving the action of the committee of arrangements in refusing to permit Mr. O'Brien to revise its resolutions and declaring their confidence in the fidelity and civic honor of John McMackin. There has not been the faintest indication of any support for Mr. O'Brien's views. The meetings held were: Monday, the Twentieth and Twenty third; Tuesday, the Second, Third, Twenty-second and Twenty-fourth; Wednesday, the Sixth.
John McMackin's Fruitful Words
The following letter explains itself : John McMackin, Dear Sir—For the sentiments you expressed the other day please accept my honest thanks. “Our war is not with religion or nations, but with corrupt wealth power.” May God bless you for such words. Enclosed you will find $10—I would like to be able to make it ten times ten—to be used for the Dr. McGlynn demonstration, or anything in connection with the labor cause.
I am sir, very truly yours,
1500 South Second street
Philadelphia, June 7
Henry George in Jersey City
Henry George lectured in Jersey City last Saturday night, June 4. He spoke to an immense audience under the auspices of the united labor party of the Fourth assembly district in Kessler's hall on the heights, and was greeted with great enthusiasm.
Their Souls Delighted With the New Crusade
London—We in England devour each number of The Standard as it arrives. We have delighted our souls with the new crusade preached by Martyr McGlynn.
What Mr. O'Brien Has Done
New York Leader
William O'Brien, you came: Tammany “saw;” Labor conquered.
A few weeks ago you came to America. O'Brien, with your soul all aflame against iniquitous landlordism. Your fame as the author of the Plan of Campaign had preceded you. That plan was but a modification of the no rent manifesto. The inexorable logic of the situation teaches us this. If the land of Ireland belongs to the people of Ireland—the very words you blue-penciled, O'Brien—then your plan and your mission here were justified. On the other hand, if the land belongs to Lansdowne and his fellow brood of the landlord class, then your mission here was without warrant or justification.
O'Brien, had you acted in New York before you entered Canada us you did after you had been “seen” by the enemies of the people, you might have gone through the Canuck dominion and never an Orange hand would have been raised against, you. Had you then blue penciled the doctrine that the land of Ireland belongs of right to the people of Ireland you would have been welcomed by the friends of Lansdowne who would see in your attack on him a huge joke to be encouraged because of its very absurdity. But when you make haste to make us believe that in attacking Lansdowne you were assuming the principle of which he is representative, and when you thought you had secured our unreasoning allegiance you throw off the mask and showed that you were a landlord defender at heart; that you were merely prepared to jew down land usury instead of attempting to abolish the usury itself.
O'Brien, we condole with you. You have the heart felt sympathies of labor. You came here a “big” man—you go home a “little” man, so small a thing, indeed, that you best resemble that geometrical zero which represents the nothingness of the continuation of a point. You have cut off the supplies of your movement, O'Brien. Not for long can the Kellys and O'Donoghues furnish the sinews of war for you. O'Brien. Their united wealth is but as a drop in the ocean when compared with the aggregate of what the masses gave, and would continue to give toward the abolition of landlordism in Ireland. Suppose, now, they leave to you and to your Tammany friends the work of freeing the land of that country. You will fail. Your newly-found friends will fail. And when you and they realize your folly and your nothingness then will the McMackins and the men who swell the ranks of united labor step into the breach and give to the people the land which is theirs.
We want no flag, no flaunting rag,
For liberty to fight;
We want no blaze of murderous guns
To struggle for the right.
Our spears and swords are printed words,
The mind our battle plain;
We've won such victories before,
And so we shall again.
"We love no triumph sprung of force—
They stain the brightest cause;
'Tis not in blood that liberty
Inscribes her civic laws.
She writes them on the people's hearts
In language clear and plain;
True thoughts have moved the world before,
And so they shall again.
We yield to none in earnest love
Of freedom's cause sublime;
We join the cry "Fraternity !"
We keep the march of time.
And yet we grasp not pike or spear,
Our victories to obtain;
We've won without their aid before,
And so we shall again.
We want no aid of barricade,
To show a front to wrong;
We have a citadel in truth,
More durable and strong.
Calm words, great thoughts, unflinching faith
Have never striv'n in vain;
They've won our battles many a time,
And so they will again.
Peace, progress, knowledge, brotherhood,.
The ignorant may sneer,
The bad deny; but we rely
To see their triumphs near.
No widow's groans shall load our cause,
Nor blood of brethren slain;
We've won without such aid before,
And so we shall again.
The State That Mr. Pentecost Showed Could Give Half an Acre to Every Family on Earth
Galveston.—The great natural opportunities offered by the vast state of Texas are gone.
No sane man with a full knowledge of the facts will pretend that the average poor man's chance today is anything like what it was even fifteen or sixteen years ago. In the old days few men were ever goaded by a shadow of the fear of want. There was plenty of free government land and room for a comparatively unlimited expansion, so that there was no fear of the wolf. Now the bowling of the wolf may be distinctly heard above the deafening hum of seeming great prosperity. In my immediate neighborhood men are fencing in the water which, from the earliest history, has been used in common for stock—lakes where the poor man's little herds might slake their thirst. Five dollars an acre or a third of the corn and a fourth of the cotton is asked as rent, or a half of everything if team and tools are furnished by the landlord, and the percentage of those who can furnish themselves is yearly dwindling. And the poor tenants, white and black, are now and have been for some years mortgaging their ponies for meat and bread until many have no more to mortgage, and must give half their labor for the privilege of earning their bread by the sweat of their brow. Then talk of feudal Europe! Collect contributions for and preach up the miseries of poor Ireland!
John H. DeShield
Land Speculation in Washington
Washington, D. C.—This city is just now undergoing the delirium of a real estate boom, which can only end in the ruin of the smaller operators. Although not one-fourth of its area is built upon, population is being forced into remote suburbs, only to encounter the same spirit of speculation that bas driven it there. Nevertheless, many promising schemes were smothered for a time by the last congress, one of which was the extension of Massachusetts avenue at public expense, and a cost of a million or so, through lands owned entirely by speculators, and where not a soul lives at present. But the speculators can afford to wait, and will find some means for attaining their end.
Washington affords many advantages to its residents in its good schools, magnificent streets and healthful surroundings, but I suppose we pay tor them in increased rents and a greater cost of living. Certain it is that things might be better. Our streets are beautiful, but they are practically owned by the gas and street railroad companies, whose valuable franchises yield little or no revenue to the public treasury, while certain public reservations are occupied by railroad tracks and depots and private market companies.
Compensation to Land Owners
Wakefield, Mass.—The Boston Herald, in a recent editorial on the land question, justified the compensation of the land owner, who made his investment in good faith, by saying that the owners of negro slaves were “on the same ground entitled to receive compensation for them when they were liberated: and, indeed, this was the policy adopted by the English government in emancipating the negro slaves of the West Indian colonies, and this was a fair method.”
The price paid for the slaves was the capitalized labor of the slaves, which. in the form of money when taken to England or else here, had the power to and did demand so many days' labor of white men, being a virtual substitution of white slaves for black ones. Now capitalization of the value of land would amount to about the same thing as did the capitalization of the slave value. Instead of paying the unearned increment the form of rent as now, we would pay the unearned increment in the form of interest, and would be no better off than before. Therefore this capitalization of land values cannot be allowed.
George B. Sinclair
“Home Knowledge” for June
The second number of Dr. R.A. Gunn's Home Knowledge, a monthly magazine, is just out, and its contents are “Vaccination and Hydrophobia Inoculation,” by Dr. Gunn; “When Are We Old?” by Clark W. Dunlop, M.D.: “Mesmerism, yelept Hypnotism,” by Rev. Charles P. McCarthy: “Good Manners,” by Mrs. John C. Fremont: “The Story of a Private,” by Donn Platt: “The Sea Breeze and the Scarf,” by Ella Wheeler Wilcox; “Mrs. Jennifer's Inheritance.” by Amy Layard, and “Defense of Henry Goerge's Theories,” by Louis F. Post. The price of the magazine is twenty cents.
This Editor Ought to Read “Progress and Poverty”
Buffalo Commercial Advertiser
According to the United States census of 1880, the aggregate wealth of this country was estimated at $48,642,000, and the population 50,155,733. To divide up, therefore, not only rent. but the value of the land and all other existing property, would give each individual $880. At the end of one year some men would have $l,600, while at the end of one month others would be asking aid from the poor-master. Here is the decisive factor of differences in the mental, moral and physical qualities of men, which George ignores, but which inevitably turns bis ideal system into mere foolishness. George and McGlynn have bad their heads turned by what they consider new ideas. They are very old and exploded ideas.
A Sanguine View of It
Every day the great gas field of Ohio and Indiana extends its limits. The recent astonishing discoveries of has in the western portion of this area have thoroughly dissipated the idea that the only really productive wells are confined to a .small territory around Findlay. This will have the effect of reducing the price of laud in the gas territory. Gas wells will be so numerous that the confiding persons who have been heavy investors in real estate will become convinced that they made fools of themselves; and, better than all, it will put a stop to all attempts to monopolize nature's fuel on the part of great moneyed corporations.
I am going to write a notice of The Standard for one of our local papers, and then have our newsdealer order a few extra copies for a month, with the understanding that I will pay for all unsold copies. We can win the people of this country within five years, and I did not think six months ago it could be done in twenty-five. I enclose postal note for $1.50 for 1,000 tracts , Nos. 3 and 4; will send for more as soon as lean raise the funds.
So writes a friend in South Haven, Mich., and we commend his example to others. If every reader of The Standard and friend of the cause would do as much, we should indeed conquer before long.
Remember, friends, that every new reader you secure for us brings the day of your deliverance nearer. If you have children growing up, it is a fact to think over that the best work you can do for their future welfare is to canvass for subscribers to The Standard. The way to win is to get people to thinking. Thought is the sure road to truth; and truth never yet has failed, and never shall fail, to conquer in the end. If you are alone in your community, the one solitary soldier in the new crusade, don't rest until you get a comrade. Show your colors boldly; let your belief be known, so that men may talk of you and to you. You may be called a crank and an enthusiast for a time; but, the truth will make its way, and you'll find converts rallying round you soon enough.
Keokuk, Ia., June 3.—I have been putting my shoulder to the wheel, just as you suggested in “Publisher's Notes,” and I had no idea the work was s o easy. I began by sending sample copies of The Standard round among my friends, marking a special article in each which I thought would suit the taste of the man it went to. Then I asked my friends to spend a n evening with me, gave them a pleasant time, and when they wore all feeling pretty good, struck the in for subscriptions to The Standard. Every one of them had read this sample copy, and every one liked it. I tell you, I felt proud of our paper. There were fifteen people present, and out of the fifteen ten subscribed at once, two say they come in next week, and I mean to get the other three before I have done with them. So please enter the enclosed club upon your list and send me another batch of samples—say twenty-five. Just as soon as those new subscribers get fairly into the habit of reading The Standard I mean to form them into a Henry George club and make every one of them go to work and bring in his friends, just as I have brought in mine. I see just, how the work is to be done now and I mean to bring all Keokuk into the ranks of the new crusade before I stop.
Jas. J. Trowbridge
Well done, Mr. Trowbridge. You are a true soldier of the crusade, and are doing valiantly . Who speaks next? It is as easy to start the movement in any other neighborhood as in Keokuk, and Mr. Trowbridge's method of work seems admirable.
Here is a letter which illustrates the way in which the Knights of Labor are urging on the good cause. It is a sample of many that reach us every week.
Akron, O., June 14.—I have just received the sample copies, together with memorandum of terms and tracts, for all of which I am very grateful. My whole time that is not necessarily taken up with my work is spent in receiving and imparting the wholesome truths taught in The Standard. Although not a subscriber, I have been a constant patron of The Standard since its first issue, with the exception of one week, when the news stand ran out: and to distribute the sample copies and solicit subscriptions, not only in our L.A. and the shop in which I work, but wherever an opportunity offers, will be a pleasant and I trust , a profitable task, not from the liberal commission you offer, but from the ultimate triumph of its principles. Would very much like to see “'Single Tax,” by Edward Shearman. published in tract form. That is a most convincing argument, and is doing great good here in the few days since its appearance
Chairman Executive Board D.A. 38.
None can do better work for The Standard and the cause it represents than the Knights of Labor, and we hope to have an agent in every assembly in the land. Send in your names, gentlemen, and let us know how many sample copies you want for distribution.
There is one great thing about this new crusade, that while many join it, none ever fall away from it. Whatever recruits we get we keep . Let this thought cheer you, friends, if sometimes you find it a little difficult t o get subscribers to The Standard. The converts you make will stay by you.
Mr. S.M. Burroughs sends a cheek for $50, with the following letter:
Medina, N.Y.—I enclose fifty dollars, which I beg you will expend in sending copies of The Standard to the ministers of religion in New York, my native state, I ask this because I regard The Standard as the foremost champion of national righteousness, because it strikes at that root of national corruption which is the source of most of the criminality and poverty and irreligion of our times. I therefore feel confident that ministers of all denominations will be glad to know that there is such a paper and that they will do all in their power to carry “the cross of the new crusade”' among the people as Dr . McGlynn, Rev. Mr. Pentecost, Rabbi Browne and many others have already done. I hope this fund will soon receive subscriptions sufficient for sending a specimen copy of The Standard to every minister of religion in the United States, and to every Y.M.C.A. and to other public libraries and workmen's clubs, because a clear knowledge of the truth on the land question is urgently needed for the safety of the nation, its morals and its religion. It is a question, therefore, of the first and greatest interest to all ministers, as well as statesmen and public spirited citizens, whom, we hope, will soon join together in converting our beloved nation into a great national anti-poverty society.
I have for a long time been deeply impressed with the idea that this question of land taxation is eminently a question of justice, morality and religion; of justice because laws are manifestly unfair which enrich idle people for no particular reason and at the expense of the industrious; laws which reward useless citizens by distributing the public property among them, but line the useful or working citizens with a tax, as they cannot send them to jail or otherwise punish them. It is a question of morality, because our present system of taxation is really an institution for the encouragement of gambling, for the reason that t if land values created by the growth and thrift of it community are not taken as a tax, the land owner receives it, and the title to his land really becomes a lottery ticket. In a growing country like ours such tickets are pretty sure to win some prize.
Many speculate in land values who would not buy tickets in a lottery; some because a certain amount of skill or perspicuity is required to determine the prospects for increase in value of any particular piece of land, and some like to show how skillful they are.
Some go in for it because it is so much easier than to engage in manufacturing or trade, for the reason that, the earth is all ready made, and they don't have to take any trouble to carry it around; neither is it liable, like ordinary goods, to be burned up or stolen or get moth eaten. So the prudent ones regard it as a safe investment. Those who get rich upon their receipts of the public property are very likely, as in England, to despise wealth gained by industry, and to set a very bad example of idleness and extravagance to the rising generation, who are liable to be led away from useful pursuits requiring industry and productiveness into this short cut to wealth by gambling in land.
As all wealth is produced by labor, it is right and natural that the rich man should be respected; but, unfortunately, so much wealth is not without labor or merit, but rather by whatis called “luck” in land speculation and in other speculations dependent upon land monopolies, which enable capitalists to rob the public, that wealth has ceased to command that respect which, as the representation of labor, it deserves.
Labor also gets to be despised as a slow and stupid way of gaining wealth, and the “dignity of labor” becomes, in the eye of the unthinking, nothing but a disgraceful necessity.
The effect of the present system upon those whom it favors is therefore highly immoral.
The effect upon others is even worse, for while the favored land owners are unduly uplifted the rest of the public are unduly repressed. Their hours of recreation are cut short because they must support not only themselves, but the landlords . Half their capital is taken from th em for a bare site for a house, even though it be on top of a boulder on Manhattan island untouched by the hand of labor.
When the house is built, their fellow citizens, being unable to put them in jail for spending their money among working people and improving the neighborhood, are content with fining them by a tax. If the man's business requires him to live where the land belongs to the Astors or Goelets he can only get a lease, as of an English or Irish landlord, by agreeing to put up a building of a certain value which becomes the landlord's property after the tenant has paid ground rent for a stipulated term of years.
Could any system be more repressive of industry and improvement, more favorable to idleness and avarice and gambling than this? Nothing, excepting absolute piracy and highwaying, which are but illegal methods for accomplishing the same result.
No wonder that capital lacks profitable employment when investment in building improvements or business means partial confiscation and a heavy line by the state.
No wonder that workmen are unemployed or working for starvation wages when the results of their industry are gobbled up in time by the landowners and heavily taxed by the assessors. No wonder that lands desirable for building are vacant, being held for a rise, and workmen's families are crowded to get her in stilling tenements, where they and their children perish for lack of sunlight and fresh air, and starve. There is ground rent to pay on everything they eat and wear and live upon. No wonder that they live like swine when a room must suffice for a home for a family. No wonder that they go to the gin palace, their only drawing room, and bury, in drunken forgetfulness, the miseries that drive them to despair. What else could be expected from such a system? These effects could be readily predicted from such premises by any arithmetician without any melancholy examples to refer to.
It is a question of religion which has its foundation in justice and morality, which recognizes God as the Father of all men and the creator of this fair world for a habitation of His children, to none of whom has He ever given a title to exact a tax or toll or tribute of any fellow man for breathing his air or sailing upon or drinking His water or living upon His earth.
But who has said, “By the sweat of thy brow shalt thou earn thy bread?” Whose apostle has said: “If a ma n will not work, neither shall he eat?” Whose law, both natural and divine, demands that to every one who works the results of his labor shall be secured to use or dispose of as he chooses, and on the same principle that to the community shall be secured those values resulting from the growth, industry and thrift of the community, land values exclusive of improvements which are essentially public property.
Scripture enjoins us to “render unto every man that which is his due, when it is in the power of thine hand to d o it.”
The injunction of Christ is t o seek the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added unto us; but we have gone on with less regard for these divine words than for mistaken notions of self-interest. We have sought apparent expediency more than to do right, and selfishness has blinded us to truth and wisdom.
Why should we set “statesmen” to work to settle how the taxes shall be raised when God has paid our taxes to the end of time by decreeing that as a community increases in numbers, thrift and civilization they thus create a fund in land values irrespective of improvements, which values are commensurate with the requirements of the community. If we would but do right and gradually resume these values all these other things personal and national prosperity would soon be added to us and we would have no need to be anxious about protecting ourselves from poverty and anarchy, for both would disappear.
Let us be just and fear not, believing that a just God will protect us from all evil consequences which exist not in reality , but in our selfishly fearful imagination.
The recruiting fund started by M.C. last week bids fair to be popular, if we may judge by the correspondence that reaches us about it. We give the fund the benefit of the $10 check which Mr. A. J. Rogers forwards with the following pleasant letter:
I and wife availed ourselves last evening of the Douglas squatters' sovereignty doctrine by squatting in your box at the Academy of Music and jointly and equally occupying it with others. We were about to be bounced, but as we entered the hall to retire a council of war was held and we were allowed to return. I heard a great speech from Father McGlynn. It was worth ten dollars to us. “Never drop the flag in the face of the enemy.” God is in this movement to abolish poverty and He always wins in the end. The gods grind slowly, out sure. Apply check to Anti-poverty society, I am sure you would like me t o know the “gang” I went to.
Another correspondent, A. L., sends $25 for the fund, and says: “I have been absent from home for some time, but upon my return shall put my shoulder to the wheel to get new subscribers. A single number of The Standard contains more independent thought than all the dailies of the week put together.”
The recruiting fund now stands:
M.C. and friend
C.B. Bolin, Whitman
A.P.S., 429 Brooklyn
A. Garbutt, Beachmont, Mass.
Total to date
No Foreign Interference
The pope has been badly advised, and mistakes sadly in his predicates. There are 7,000,000 Catholic people in this country who are as patriotic as the best, but it is very obvious that they owe it to themselves to have a clearer understanding with the head of their church. Foreign dictation in lawful politics is not wanted here; and we are no more desirous of having Roman authority exercised in limiting the rights of free political action among our Catholic fellow citizens than of having our Irish citizens acting here under the orders of Queen Victoria.
Every citizen owes it to the public, and to the free institutions under which he lives here, to hold himself free and independent of all foreign allegiances which might interfere with the lawful exercise of his rights as a citizen. And undoubtedly a precedent like this ought not to be allowed to stand without an earnest protest against both the fact and the principle.
Can the Pope Command Citizens?
San Francisco, May 18—If the pope is infallible in matters of discipline and claims the right to say how American citizens shall exercise their political rights, the sooner we know it the better. And then let a subject of his holiness attempt to run for office, and he will get the worst beating any man ever got.
A Cautious Editor
Convinced by His Own Strong Arguments, Yet Reaching No Conclusions.
Hayes Valley, San Francisco, Advertiser.
It must be admitted that Mr. Henry George's Standard has published some articles , written by several able men, which will become valuable handbooks for the instruction of all classes of people in regard to the land question. In more than one of the articles it is shown how a few thousand dollars invested in land on Manhattan island, sixty, eighty or a hundred years ago, is now paying to the heirs from $50,000 t o $300,000 every year—and there are other instances, tens and hundreds of them, in which equally unreasonable profits are drawn from similar investments in New York lands, but owing to the reluctance of heirs to furnish dates, facts and figures, they can only be referred to in a general way.
But the instances given in The Standard's articles are enough to establish the facts that, through some cause, the heirs or legal successors of men who invested comparatively small sums in certain parts of New York years ago are now receiving incomes out of all proportion to the investment. For this monstrous increase in revenue neither the present proprietor s nor their predecessors have ever done any service to the public or to individuals. They have remained silent, motionless, useless, irritating—growing richer and richer, and enormously richer every day, by absorbing the products of other people's toil, enterprise and money risked. Such estates remind us of little pests which used to fasten upon the cattle in eastern Virginia. Thousands might get on th e animal, but only a few would have the blind luck to fasten on spots where neither the poor beasts nor its friends would be likely to see or reach them. And then how they sucked and grew from a malodorous little brown speck to a bluish, whitey, sleek and quite aristocratic bag of stolen blood—ten thousand times as large as when it first secured its hold on the innocent victim of its greed. We thought that a rather good exemplar when we commenced to “set up” this article, but no—the ticks or chigoes, tormenting as they are, useless and greedy as they are, have one good trait: when they are full they let go and drop off. The land grabber holds on, through all the ages, until the victim sinks exhausted—as did the great cities of old.
We are not objecting to the maintenance of property rights, whether in land or houses or anything else—for we are not quite sure that hard, unmitigated, cold, cruel justice would be a blessing to mankind. A sudden enforcement of exact equity might even cause inconvenience in the best regulated families. So that, as at present advised, we are not clamoring for positive right, but only for some nearer approach to it than prevails in our day, or ever did prevail so far as our memory and reading enable us to form an opinion.
But it seems to us that the most rigid upholder of the sacredness of “vested rights” cannot deny that rights, vested or otherwise, imply corresponding duties. The weakest fool that ever descended, in the second, third or fourth generation, from a half-civilized squatter or a wholly scoundrelized land thief, cannot be such a fool as to sincerely believe that an omniscient, omnipotent and all merciful God created the squatter or the thief and the land and inspired the one to settle on, or the other to steal, the identical acres under consideration, for the express purpose of enabling the grandchildren of the squatter or thief to live in splendid luxury and elegant ease on the toil of good men and women, tho children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren of righteous people who have faithfully served the Lord and kept his commandments in all their generations.
Moreover, though the great-grandson of a squatter or land thief should believe, or imagine himself to believe, or allow some corrupt souled hypocrite to persuade him that the All-Good and All-Wise, from the countless cycles of the ante-creation eternity, predestined him, fool or beast, as it may be, to oppress or rack rent or under pay good, honest, God-fearing people—it would not in the least affect the fact that the God of all sects and creeds—Christian, Jewish, Mohammedan and Buddhist—has condemned the exaction of unreasonable rent or interest, or increase of any kind, not earned by fair service or exchange. To assert such a thing of the Creator and Preserver of the Universe is a mere contradiction in terms.
Therefore, we say, whoever, being Christian or Jew , and inheriting land, shall oppress his tenants by unreasonable exactions of rent, insults and defies the God whom he professes to worship. But as to what constitutes a reasonable rent we do not pretend to express an opinion—circumstances and agreements, common sense and humanity, should decide. In all the foregoing we are accepting, without argument, pro or con, the doctrine of vested rights in land. At the same time we claim thatproperty rights imply duties to the land and also to its tenants . And if that is admitted tyranny of such landlords as we are considering would cease or be prohibited.
We are taking no part, at this time, in the discussion of the theory that the whole of the “unearned increment” on land values should go the public in taxes, as suggested by Mr. George, or by a limitation of incomes, or in any other way that we know of. The subject is being widely debated without our assistance, and we do not doubt that in time, men will see the main point a n d come to a rational conclusion—without convulsing civil organization by any sudden or too radical a change. For so complicated are the relations of the classes with the masses that it is almost impossible for human wisdom to devise a sudden and radical reform in the relations of landlord and tenant, employer and employee, that would not for a time cause widespread distress, and probably are action in popular feeling which the exploiters, the so-called “capables,” the conscienceless manipulators , sweaters, drivers and swindlers of the common people would use with desperate energy and consummate skill in their efforts to check and turn back the flow of reform.
Why, under any just system of laws, any scheme for the good government and progress of the masses—the people—should the grandson of one man be allowed to oppress, to rack rent to the very verge of bankruptcy, the grandson of another man?—the only possible excuse for the wrong being that, when the two grandfathers, or still more remote ancestors, landed in this country, from the same ship and district, and in the same ragged and penniless condition, more than likely, the one invested his earnings in land situated on the line of a city's growth, and led an easy life, as a gatherer of swill, and in time set up a beer garden, and so held on to the land until the growth of the city made him well to do, and his son wealthy, and his grandson or great-grandson heir to an income of a quarter or half million per annum, while the other immigrant, his son, his grandson and all his descendants, worked early and late, led pious, useful and patriotic lives, and are today toiling their utmost, living in dark, unwholesome, narrow rooms, and pinching themselves and their little ones, stunting and withering and smirching all the love and grace and cleanliness out of their lives, in order that “the rent” may be ready when the millionaire's brutal agent comes round, with his merciless alternative, “Pay in full at once, or go!”
As bad as Ireland! Why, friend, it has been years and years since the worst landlords in Ireland dared to treat their tenants with the harshness and illegal severity practiced by New York landlords and their cruel agents.
Let us hope that the workingmen throughout the United States will endeavor to combine their brains and numbers, so that competent and honest men may be elected to represent them in the legislatures and in congress—where they may learn how legislation is worked through the traps and corrupt practice of the party managers, and, in time, drive through caucus, committees, house, senate and executive mansion the entering wedge of one honest law!
A Sublime Expression of Faith
Cincinnati United Labor Age.
We print on this page a facsimile of the banner of the Anti-poverty society as it appeared in the last issue of The Standard; also a composition dedicated to the movement by Rev. John Anketell. The hymn is a sublime expression of faith in the cross of Christ, and possesses the simplicity and rugged grandeur that characterize the best of Luther's hymns.