Volume 1 June 18, 1887
Bishop, Archbishop and Guest
On the sixth and seventh pages of this issue of the Standard will be found a document which many of our readers have heard of but few have ever read—the latter on the land question addressed, in 1881, by Dr. Thomas Nulty, bishop of Neath, Ireland, to the clergy and laity of his diocese.
This letter, it may be observed, was written by Dr. Nulty before he bad read “Progress and Poverty,” or perhaps ever heard of me. It is the result of the independent observation and study of a Catholic divine, whose orthodoxy and theological learning no one can question, whose life has been spent in a purely agricultural part of Ireland, and who, as this letter shows, is disposed to view the land question from that standpoint. Yet its conclusions are precisely the same as those with which my name is so often associated, and it will be evident to any one who reads this letter that what is sometimes spoken of as “Georgeism,” could with quite as much propriety be styled “Nultyism.”
But what gives this letter a peculiar importance here and at this time, is its relation the case of Dr. McGlynn. The opinions which Archbishop Corrigan, supported by the Roman propaganda, declares to be inconsistent with the teachings of the church and to have been condemned by be pope, are the same opinions which have been openly taught by the greatest and most influential of the Irish Catholic prelates. The American priest has in nothing gone beyond the Irish bishop. He has pointed out the same injustice; he has proclaimed the same fundamental truth; he bas proposed the same remedy. What, then, becomes of Catholic uniformity if in New York Dr. McGlynn shall be excommunicated, while in Ireland Dr. Nulty remains bishop of Meath?
Perhaps, however, when he reads this letter in the Standard , Archbishop Corrigan may communicate with Rome and have Dr. Nulty excommunicated also! The Italian propaganda cannot like the sturdy Englishman. For it was he who, when they were bent upon placing another tool of England in the archbishop vacated by the death of Cardinal McCabe, told them plainly that they had no divine guarantee that Ireland would remain faithful to the Roman see if they persisted in using their ecclesiastical power to crush the just aspirations of the people.
The [text missing] which Dr. Nulty (for [text missing] that the Irish bishop [text missing] addressed) presents his [text missing] and laity of his diocese, [text missing] with the manner in which “his grace” of New York saw fit to address his “subjects” on the same questions. The one, as is evident by his letter, has made a long study of political economy; the other, as is evident by his pastoral, is in utter ignorance of its first principles. Yet Dr. Nulty, when moved to present his long and well considered views on the land question to the clergy and laity of his diocese, does so in the form of a personal essay, which he dedicates to them as his friends and brethren, expressly disclaiming in this the official character of a bishop, and telling them: “I have no divine commission to enlighten you on your civil rights or to instruct you in the principles of land tenure or political economy.”
Archbishop Corrigan, on the contrary, assumes it to be the duty and privilege of his office to thrust his crude views upon the consciences of the Catholics of New York, and embodies them in an official pastoral which the priests of his diocese are compelled to read to their flocks from their altars.
The dedication of Bishop Nulty's address is, in fact, the strongest testimony that could be given to the canonical correctness of the position of Dr. McGlynn—that as a Catholic priest he has a perfect right to hold what opinions he pleases upon question of civil rights or political economy—all the stronger because this testimony that the ecclesiastical authority does not extend to matters of civil rights and political economy is given, as a matter of course, by a Catholic bishop years before the American controversy had arisen.
Of special interest to Catholics a s presenting the views of an eminent Catholic theologian and bishop, this letter of Dr. Nulty's is well worthy the attention of men of all beliefs. For though containing here and there a sentence or a paragraph which may not be readily understood by those unfamiliar with the writings of the economists whose works it is evident Dr. Nulty has carefully studied, and bearing evidence of the influence of environment in the disposition to dwell on the question with peculiar reference to agriculture, while almost ignoring the even more striking manifestations of the same principles in great cities and industrial centers, this essay is yet as a whole a most admirable presentation in all its breadth and fullness of the land question, or rather, as Dr. Nulty clearly recognizes it to be, the great social question of our times. And to anyone who understands the great, almost crushing weight which the authority of the English economists has had upon the thought of cultured men on the other side of the Atlantic, the manner in which the Irish bishop. while accepting their views in many respects, discards their leadership in others, and goes straight to the heart of the most important questions will inspire the greatest respect for his intellectual freedom and strength, not unmingled with regret that his daily round of episcopal ministrations over a large diocese should leave him so little opportunity for work of this kind. If Archbishop Corrigan would only get Dr. Nulty excommunicated as well as Dr. McGlynn, Ireland might lose a bishop, but the cause of the emancipation of labor, the whole world over, would gain an apostle.
In beginning his essay Bishop Nulty recognizes the wide and long acceptance of private property in land. Yet this he declares cannot justify an institution in itself unjust, and he points to the wide and long acceptance, even by the Christian church itself, of property in human flesh and blood as evidence that no amount of sanction that the world can give to a social institution ought to prevent inquiry into its essential character. Having thus at the outset disposed of the main argument of the defenders of the right of private property in land, he goes on to show how and why the right of private ownership does attach to things that are produced by human labor, and how the recognition of this right is necessary to social well being. But from the necessity of private property in the products of labor, he deduces with irresistible logic the common right to land, and in words which could not be made stranger, he, over and over again. asserts the absolutely equal right of every human being to the land of his country as his equal share in the gift of a common Creator.
Starting again, from the irrefutable proposition that the inhabitants of every country are equally entitled to the use and enjoyment of the land of that country, Dr. Nulty proceeds to inquire how best this common estate may be utilized to the greatest advantage of all. Showing that each individual is entitled to the full enjoyment of the fruits of his own exertions, and that security in the possession of land is necessary to the individual use of land, he arrives at the conclusion that the value which the growth of society gives to the original and indestructible qualities of the soil should be taken for the use of the community, leaving to the improver or user that value which is due to his improvements or use. That rent, in the economic sense of the word (that is to say, the value attaching to land by reason of social growth and improvement, as distinguished from the value which may be produced upon it by the exertions of the individual user) is the natural provision for social needs, Dr. Nulty sees with the utmost clearness. And this evidence. of creative intent fills him, as it must every man who recognizes it, with a new and deep sense of the beauty of the creative scheme. For it shows that the wrongs and injustice which under present conditions seem due to the very advance of civilization, do not result from any failure or jangle of natural laws, but are due solely to the injustice of human laws, which, denying to the masses of men their most obvious natural rights, make what was intended by God for the use of all the private property of a few, and turn the patrimony of the whole people, the great fund arising from social growth and improvement, into a fund for the encouragement of monopolization and waste and the promotion of monstrous social inequality. Dr. Nulty sees clearly the real reason why the marvelous increase of productive power by modem invention has failed to raise wages, and why the enormous increase in wealth has served but to make want more bitter. He sees that the prime cause of our social difficulties, the real root of the seeming conflict between labor and capital, which is the most menacing danger of our time, arises simply from the monopolization which has been permitted in that natural element indispensably necessary to production and to life, and he sounds the keynote of the great struggle for the emancipation of labor and the abolition of poverty in the rallying cry with which he concludes. “Back to the land!”
A notable thing about Dr. Nulty's letter is its catholicity. It is not animated by that narrow spirit characteristic of the Irish parliamentary leaders, and which was recently emphasized in Mr. William O'Brien's refusal to attend the demonstration of New York workingmen. Dr. Nulty does not treat of the Irish Land question as though it were something peculiar to Ireland, and having no relation to the laud question anywhere else; but while he uses Irish illustrations, the Irish land question is in his view only the local phase of a worldwide question. Though he is directly addressing the agricultural tenants of Meath, he does not fail to point out that the land question is of as much importance to artisans and laborers and business men as it is to farmers. And he closes with an appeal to the masses of Great Britain, not to have pity on Ireland; not to do anything specially for Ireland; not to take part in the settlement of an Irish question, but with the rallying cry of “Back to the land!” to join, for their own sakes and for the sake of their own country, in a common struggle for the emancipation of labor every where by the assertion of the natural rights, not of Irishmen, but of man!
If Dr. Nulty's spirit had animated the Irish leaders, the landlords of the British parliament, instead of being engaged today in pushing through a new coercion bill for Ireland, would have had every energy engrossed in fighting for the retention of their own privileges. If the same effort and the same expenditure that have been devoted to the making of a purely Irish fight in the British parliament had been devoted to arousing the masses of the three kingdoms to a common struggle for common rights, England, Scotland and Wales would be today seething with revolt against that system of common robbery to which the oppressions of Ireland are due. For it is as true of nations and of parties as it is of men that he who would evoke sympathy must evince sympathy. To tell the British masses that the Irish struggle is merely for the Irish people; to substitute for the great principle of equal rights for all men in all countries a paltry two-penny demand that the Irish landlord should be compelled to scale down the rent of the Irish agricultural tenant; to talk constantly of Irish evictions as though evictions were unknown anywhere else, and of Irish oppressions as though the masses were nowhere else oppressed, is not merely to forego the opportunity to awake an answering chord in the hearts of millions, but to leave the opponents of the Irish cause free to avail themselves of prejudices of nationality and creed that would be consumed as stubble in the flame of a common struggle for the common rights of all men. If Davitt had been permitted to carry the torch of social revolution from Land's End to John o' Groat's, as his good angel has constantly whispered to him to do; if the Irish eloquence that has been wasted on empty benches at St. Stephen's in picturing Irish woes and demanding Irish concessions had rung out the clear note of God-given rights, the Irish leaders would ere this have “carried the war into Africa,” and a British revolution would have already begun to shake to their fall the very foundations of monarchy and aristocracy.
But instead of this, the effort of the men who since 1882 have had control of the Irish movement has been of a piece with the conduct of Mr. O'Brien in New York. They have striven in every way to avoid the identification of the Irish cause with the cause of universal freedom; they have pulled down and hidden away the grand banner of “the land for the people” and have raised in its stead, not the harp of universal harmony and the sunburst of universal liberty, but a little green flag inscribed, “Home rule—forIreland,” and “Twenty per cent reduction—for Irish tenant farmers.”
This magnificent declaration of fundamental principles by an influential Irish bishop ought to have been scattered broadcast through Ireland at least, if not through England and Scotland as well; but instead of that it is probably as little known in Ireland as in the United States. The money which the Irish parliamentary leaders have expended in printers' ink has been used to write down these principles, not to disseminate them.
There are, however, three sentences of this letter that did once get a magnificent circulation, being printed in every daily paper in the three kingdoms and telegraphed in hot haste to Cardinal Simeoni in Rome. They are the sentences beginning, “Now, there fore, the land of every country is the common property of the people of that country.” In 1882, when I was in Ireland as correspondent of the Irish World, a copy of that paper (which was then as carefully excluded from Ireland as though it had been dynamite, although it was at that time advocating nothing but the moral dynamite of the idea that God made the land for the people) reached me in Dublin. It contained on the first page those sentences, with a facsimile of the signature of Dr. Nulty. It struck me that they would make a good thing to substitute for the “no rent” proclamations which the constabulary all over Ireland had been engaged in tearing down. As the leading men of the Irish movement acre then in jail or in England, the Ladies' land league had the management of affairs, and Miss Parnell readily consented to send this ringing declaration out in proclamation form with a request that it be posted up. A few days thereafter the press of the three kingdoms contained, with appropriate comments, the shocking “incendiary proclamation of an Irish bishop,” which was being posted over Ireland. “His eminence,” Cardinal Simeoni, must have been deeply horrified. What Latin correspondence ensued I know not; but Dr. Nulty had to come out with a card stating that he had nothing to do with the matter, which was indeed absolutely true.
Among my letters this week comes to me one from Ireland, written by one of the most learned and lovable regular priests that it has ever been my good fortune to know, expressing the strongest approbation of the stand taken by Dr. McGlynn, and enclosing his application for membership in the Anti-poverty society. He has been enrolled.
Another letter, postmarked this city, contains this. The name of the pastor to whom it is addressed and who sends it to me it is, of course, unnecessary to give:
266 Mulberry street,
New York, June 7, 1887.
Reverend Sir—I am authorized by the most reverend archbishop to collect the cathedraticum for the present year. Your church is rated on the cathedraticum book at $200. Please remit to this office at your earliest convenience. Yours very respectfully,
Thomas S. Preston,
The cathedraticum is the tax which every Catholic church in this diocese is obliged to pay toward the personal salary of the archbishop. It used to be only $100 instead of $200, and that when the archiepiscopal income from the deaths of Catholics was not so large as it is now. When Archbishop McCloskey was made a cardinal it was doubled on the plea that more money was needed to support the dignity of the cardinalate. There was some excuse for this, since the red cap, and the bearer of the red cap, and the noble guard who accompanies him, and all the other heavy expenses must be paid for by the recipient. But it was not reduced when Archbishop Corrigan succeeded Cardinal McCloskey without being made a cardinal. The subject priest who wishes this demand from “My Lord” Preston printed in the Standard intends it as the only hint he dares to make that the cathedraticum ought to be reduced. Seeing that the archbishop gets a salary of $5,000 from the cathedral, besides the palace and its expenses, and that he has, moreover, a tax of $1 apiece on all the burials in Calvary cemetery, which must make his personal income something over $40,000 per year, while the salaries of parish priests are only $800, the feeling of this pastor is quite natural.
Illustrative of the manner in which Protestants who have been so deeply concerned about papal aggressions are now applauding the action of Rome in Dr. McGlynn's case, is an article in the current number of the Episcopal monthly, the Church Revieiv, by the Rev. E.F.V. Huiginn. Mr. Huiginn declares that, being a Catholic, Dr. McGlynn must submit his economic and political opinions to the pope, because the doctrine of infallibility carries with it the right to say what things this infallibility attaches to.
Of what use, he asks, is this infallibility if each individual has the power to say: “This doctrine of mine does not come within the limits of faith or morals?” “Of what use is it if the pope does not know if a certain proposition lies within the limits of his so-called infallibility?”
If this Protestant view of the doctrine of infallibility were really what Catholics understood by it, then, indeed, it would be past comprehension how any intelligent man could believe in the infallibility of the pope. But in reality, in the Catholic view, the limits of papal infallibility are not only extremely narrow, but absolutely fixed. To make an infallible utterance the pope must speak ex cathedra—that is to say, in his highest official capacity as head of the whole church; he must speak on matters of faith and morals; and he must speak to the whole universal church. And it is no more within the power of the pope to infallibly declare that a matter relates to faith and morals which does not obviously and to common apprehension relate to faith and morals than it is to address a part of the church and declare it the whole church. Or, to put the matter in another form, the quality of infallibility is, in the Catholic view, not positive, but negative. It does not consist in an inspiration to speak truthfully, but in a providential restriction, which in certain conditions and upon certain subjects, prevents speaking falsely. Catholics believe, in short, that when speaking in any other capacity, on any other subjects, or to any other body, the pope could do or say what he pleased, and might make an utterance inspired by ignorance, or passion, or avarice; but when he comes to speak ex cathedra to the universal church, and on matters of faith and morals, if he tried to teach false doctrine, Divine Providence would interfere to prevent him.
For instance if Urban VIII, speaking ex cathedra and addressing the universal church, had declared, as a matter of faith and morals, that the earth did not move around the sun, but that the sun moved around the earth, no Catholic of the present day would deem that utterance infallible. Catholics would say that this utterance of Urban VIII was not infallible, because it did not fulfill one of the required conditions of infallibility—because, no matter what Urban VIII might have declared, the question whether the sun moved around the earth or the earth moved around the sun was not a matter of faith and morals, but a matter of physical science.
Here is an authoritative statement of Catholic belief on this subject, taken from a standard Catholic text book, “The Faith of Catholics,” by Fathers Berington and Kirk, two eminent English priests, and which may be read with advantage, not only by those anti-Catholics who entertain the vulgar Protestant belief that a good Catholic can have no conscience or reason of his own, and is bound by his religion to believe anything the pope may tell him, but also by that class of Catholics who are just now doing their best to give color to this stander:
Extent Of The Inerrancy Of The Church
It is no article of the. Catholic faith that the church cannot err, either in matters of fact not relating to faith, or in matters of discipline, things alterable bu the circumstances of time and place; or in matters of speculation or civil policy, depending on mere human judgment or testimony. These things are no revelations deposited in the church, in regard of which alone she has the promised assistance of the Holy Spirit.
I published last week, as furnished by a Catholic priest, the text of the oath denying and abjuring the proposition that the earth moves round the sun, which the cardinals of the holy inquisition with the approval of the then pope—compelled Galileo, two centuries and a half ago, to make. And I also published the declaration of this priest that Galileo flinched from his clear duty, and was even worse than those ignorant cardinals and that ignorant pope, because, knowing that the earth did move around the sun, he did not suffer himself to be burned alive at the stake rather than deny that truth.
In view of the coming excommunication of Dr. McGlynn for refusing to deny and abjure a truth as clear, and to men far more important, here is a question which Catholics ought to put to themselves: If Galileo had been excommunicated for refusing to deny that the earth moves around the sun—as he surely would have been if the disciplinary power of the church had not then possessed more effective means of coercion than it has now—what binding force would this excommunication have had upon Galileo, and what binding force would it have had upon other Catholics?
Dr. McGlynn's friends, with the sanction of Dr. McGlynn himself, have very properly refused to have anything to do with the proposal to send a petition to Rome asking the pope to reinstate him as pastor of St. Stephen's. The time when American Catholics could with self-respect petition the pope in this matter has gone by, and they owe it to themselves and to their faith to settle, once for all, the question whether their political opinions and political actions are to be dictated from Rome or not. This is not to be settled by petition, but by protest. The demonstration which the workingmen of New York propose to hold on Saturday evening will be such a protest; but the protest that would be most effective, both on Madison avenue and at Rome, would be the shrinkage of the cathedraticum and the falling off of Peter's pence. The Italian monsignor will shrug their shoulders at American Catholic indignation so long as American Catholic money continues to arrive regularly. And it might also be well for the Catholic masses of New York to consider whether there is not some way to reduce the extortionate charges for burials in Calvary cemetery; whether there is not some way of giving the people who support the churches some control over their own property, and whether it is wise to place so much public money, as now goes to Catholic institutions, in the hands of those who are engaged in teaching the slavish doctrine that American Catholics are not merely ecclesiastical, but political, “subjects.”
We are to have a six-million-dollar Protestant Episcopal cathedral in New York, and Prior Glynn, the Italianized Irishman who induced Davitt to apologize to Simeoni, has collected a lot of money to honor St. Patrick by adding another to the four hundred churches that already exist in Rome. The pope has sent to Queen Victoria, in charge of three monsignori who are to be made bishops to further emphasize the gift, a magnificent mosaic worth a considerable part of the Peter's pence that will come to him this year from suffering Ireland. Westminster abbey is being lined with scaffolding from which some thousands of people who never did a day's work in their lives and some sixty representatives of “the working classes” are to witness the grand pageant which commemorates the queen's jubilee. And Trinity church, New York, in grateful remembrance of the act of “her gracious majesty's” predecessor in giving that corporation the right to draw an immense income from the labor of the present gen era ti on of New Yorkers, is to celebrate the same event by grand choral services.
Consider the tenement houses of New York; consider the “jubilee” evictions in Ireland; consider the misery that festers in London, where philanthropists are getting up farthing dinners! What would Patrick, the swineherd and missionary—what would John, the divine—what would Christ, the carpenter's son—say to all this were they here to-day?
Said Christ our Lord, “I will go and see
How the men, my brethren, believe in me.”
He passed not again through the gate of birth,
But made himself known to the children of earth.
Then said the chief priests, and rulers, and kings,
“Behold, now, the Giver of all good things;
Go to, let us welcome with pomp and state
Him who alone is mighty and great.”
With carpets of gold the ground they spread
Wherever the Son of Man should tread,
And in palace chambers lofty and rare
They lodged him, and served him with kingly fare.
Great organs surged. through arches dim
Their jubilant floods in praise of him;
And in church, and palace, and judgment hall,
He saw his image high over all.
But still, wherever his steps they led,
The Lord in sorrow bent down his head,
And from under the heavy foundation stones,
The son of Mary heard bitter groans.
And in church, and palace, and judgment hall,
He marked great fissures that rent the wall,
And opened wider and yet more wide
As the living foundation heaved and sighed.
“Have ye founded your thrones and altars, then,
On the bodies and souls of living men?
And think ye that building shall endure,
Which shelters the noble and crushes the poor?
“With gates of silver and bars of gold
Ye have fenced my sheep from their Father's fold;
I have heard the dropping of their tears
In heaven these eighteen hundred years.”
“O Lord and Master, not ours the guilt,
We build but as our fathers built;
Behold thine images, how they stand,
Sovereign and sole, through all our land.
“Our task is hard—with sword and flame
To hold thine earth forever the same,
And with sharp crooks of steel to keep
Still, as thou leftest them, thy sheep.”
Then Christ sought out an artisan,
A low-browed, stunted, haggard man,
And a motherless girl, whose fingers thin
Pushed from her family want and sin.
These set he in the midst of them,
And as they drew back their garment hem,
For fear of defilement, “Lo, here,” said he,
“The images ye have made of Me!”
—James Russell Lowell
By and by there may arise here a cathedral worthy of a great metropolis—a cathedral grander and more graceful than those which yet stand in England, mementoes of a time when there were no paupers in the land, and no one need fear that he could not make a living—a “poem in stone” that shall express, not the ostentation of a sect, but the faith of a people. This generation will hardly build it. Other work must be done before that can come.
An artist sends me a pen and ink drawing of striking power and suggestiveness. A high, heavily buttressed wall supports the foundation of an esplanade, from. which arise stately palaces and porticos. Reclining around a well covered table a party of revelers raise high their goblets as they toast each other, and preceded by cymbals and trumpets, and carried in couches resting on men's shoulders and sheltered by peacocks' fans borne above their heads, other guests are approaching. On the coping of the wall a jester has stretched himself as if for a nap, and a coquettishly dressed serving maid who has set down a tray of refreshments, stands in listless attitude with hand on hip, both looking with most languid interest on what is going on below. There a group of emaciated, half-naked wretches bend in resigned adoration or prostrate themselves in prayer before the face of the wall. Mounted on a ladder, stretching from the lower ground tenanted by the starving wretches to the top of the wall, a monk in the habit of one of the preaching orders, whose burly form prevents any one else from climbing up, is standing painting. He has painted a maze of angels' wings and clustering heads of cherubs, and is now engaged in filling in a figure of Christ, while over all he has painted the words, “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.”
This drawing, which expresses at a glance more than many words could say, is typical of the frame of mind of many men who have come to hate religion because they have seen it made the bulwark of injustice, and to war against the very idea of a future state because it has seemed to them that the hope of heaven was used to make men submissive under wrongs on this earth. The artist—I never knew him before—who sends me this says:
I send you a drawing once intended for publication, but fortunately never used. I am glad it was not used, for I now feel like saying to that noble man, McGlynn: “Almost thou persuaderst me to be a Christian!” Nay, in all but that kindly, reverent faith of his in the supernatural I hope I am. I accept Christ as the type of humanity and of the highest love of the good.
It was from the hearts of men like this—men who in their soul's hunger have asked of the churches bread and been given a stone, that there burst that joyous shout, that storm of exultant applause which none who heard will easily forget, that at the first meeting of the Anti-poverty society greeted the words, “Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done, on earth,” as they fell from the lips of the priest who stands under the shadow of excommunication because he will not deny the truth and give up the hope and the struggle for the reign, of justice here.
Let Rome excommunicate this priest, if it will. There is behind him what made the Pantheon a Christian temple; what planted the cross on Tara's hill.
Let the Big Boycott Come
Skaneateles Falls, N. Y., June 12.—I attended the lecture of Dr. McGlynn at Syracuse on the 8th inst. He is full of sincerity and earnestness that shows a soul full of love to God and man. He has thrown himself with the masses, to be sacrificed and made a burnt offering for their interests and welfare that will let a new flood of light shine on the world. Well, let the big boycott come. It will greatly help to spread the light. Truth and justice must prevail.
The Struggle Must Go On
Newton, Kan., June 11.— Whether Dr. McGlynn be excommunicated or not, the struggle will fro on until all men and women shall be free, whether they be Catholics or Protestants, and the sooner the Corrigans and the would-be saviors of society understand this the better for all concerned.
The McGlynn Fund
the Standard has received from Mr. Carew of the Carpenters' association fifty dollars for the McGlynn fund.
Another Crowded House At The Society's Seventh Meeting
An Impressive Address by Dr. McGlynn—A Short Speech by Mr. James J. Gahan—Questions Answered by Louis F. Post
Last Sunday evening the Academy of Music was again crowded in every part, people standing three and four deep behind the last rows of seats. The program was one of more variety than usual. Mr. W. T. Croasdale was the chairman. He announced that a s Dr. McGlynn was to take a train for Auburn at a few minutes past 9 o'clock every moment possible would be given him after his arrival. Miss Munier's chorus then began singing “The Cross of the New Crusade,” but had finished only one verse when Dr. McGlynn came upon the stage. The cheering that greeted him was loud and long. The doctor waited until it was possible to control it, which he did by signaling for silence by a gesture of the hand. His manner in beginning his address, while utterly unaffected, was deeply impressive, and as he proceeded it became touching. His voice, always pleasant, was clear and musical, and as he clothed in choice language the lofty sentiments that animated him, his audience at times seemed spellbound—lost in admiration of his truth, courage, conscience and splendid talents. A man's voice called out loudly, just as he was about to begin, “God bless you, Dr. McGlynn!” and there was not one who beheld him and thought of his high purpose and sterling manhood but echoed the same prayer in his heart. Dr. McGlynn said:
Mr. Chairman, Ladies and Gentlemen.—Your kind and flattering applause does not elate me. It fills me with a strange sense of responsibility. It is a dangerous thing for any man to be very much applauded. We must all be conscious how weak, how imperfect and how impotent we are, except so far as we become instruments in the hands of Him who disposes all things most powerfully and most sweetly for His own most worthy ends. (Hear! hear! and applause.) Your excessive kindness to me lays a most sacred obligation upon me (applause); it obliges me to be careful of every word that I utter; to think seriously of everything that I do, to make no misstep if I can avoid it.
It is particularly incumbent upon us when we would do anything great or good for the interests of justice and for the interests of humanity, to remember that we are but instruments in the hands of another: that we are but mere instruments upon which the Master must play and sweep the chords and touch the keys, inspire the thoughts and give the fit and the apt and expressive word, so that the truth may be communicated from mind to mind; and the impulse to love and to promote a great cause may spread like wildfire. After we have accomplished great things, after we have raised the banner high in the name of Christ, we have. after all, but to acknowledge that we are unworthy servants.
So your applause is preaching to me a good sermon. It is teaching me my duty. I ask not so much j-our applause, but your sympathy and prayers that I may be a little less unworthy of your applause (great applause) and that I shall be stimulated by your applause, by the confidence you seem to repose in my judgment, by the perfect confidence that you seem to have in the integrity of my motives (great applause), to be allowed more carefully to weigh every thought and judgment, to be slow to speak words that might be misunderstood; in a word, to do nothing that may bring a single stain upon the fair white banner of our crusade (cries of “Hear, hear,” and applause). or be in the least degree unworthy of the benediction of Him from whose sacred sign of redemption we have taken the symbol of our holy war. (Applause.)
I am profoundly impressed with the comparative nothingness of time, with the comparatively trilling character of the things, the toys, the children's playthings, the child's rattle, the sugar stick, that men call pleasure and business and politics and statesmanship, and dignify with the name of a ff airs, except so far as all these things that busy the brain and torment the heart and engross the fancy of men are signs and symbols of spiritual things.
The things of time and sense have no value, except so far as they are the outward manifestation, the remembrance and the prophetic expression of the things of the soul, of the things of eternity. The ideal is the real, the eternal. The ideal truth and justice and goodness and beauty are the real. And these things that seem to us alone real are but the imperfect and transitory outward manifestations and expressions of the eternal reality which is in the mind of God. Things here are true not because they are here, but because they are a transcript of the eternal idea in the mind of God. Our knowledge of these things is borrowed from the things themselves, but the truth of these things is not in themselves, but in their conformity with the eternal truth, with the ideal in the mind of the Creator. (Applause.)
It is the teaching of Christian philosophy that not only is it necessary that there should he an infinite and eternal and all-wise Creator in order that anything should have begun to be, but also that there must be the constant, never failing concurrence of the Creator in order to prevent all things from instantly falling into nothingness. There is only one Being in the whole universe that has the reason of his being in Himself, and that is God. All other things would instantly, by the very necessity of their nature, fall into nonexistence, if God should but for an instant withdraw His concurrence and His supporting hand.
One who is full of this thought, of this true philosophy of the teachings of this Christian metaphysics, surely must be impressed with an overwhelming sense of the importance of the things of eternity, of the importance of the ideal world, of the world of perfect justice and truth and goodness and beauty, and must find worthy objects in the pursuits of time only so far as they are the signs and symbols and means for the accomplishment of the things of eternity. (Applause.)
This is religion. This is the teaching of the Christian schools. This is the teaching of the Christ.
Now, then, so far from our crusade being of such a nature as to draw men away from God; from the pursuit of spiritual things; from intense and ardent love of the unseen truth, and goodness and beauty, by teaching them to covet more the things of this world, to prize them more highly and to devote themselves more unreservedly to the attainment of them at the expense of higher and better things, we assert, and must never tire of asserting, that a large part of the purpose of this crusade is to bring men nearer to God (applause); is to bring back religion to the world (applause); is to teach men that the apparently trilling and otherwise unworthy pursuits of time—the daily tasks, the unpleasant burdens, the dreary treadmill of human life—would be without an adequate purpose if a sacramental value were not driven to them by the moral nature and the spiritual dignity of man, investing them with ideal truth and goodness and beauty. So that we, by performing these tasks of time; by the patient and loving bearing of these burdens that the Father has laid upon us; by the constant treading day after day in the weary way of duty, no matter how humble or how undistinguished it may be, are but performing duties which, when regarded from the moral side, when seen by those who look down from the kingdom of God, take on a dignity, a grace, a charm, a benediction, that never could be in the things of time, except so far as they have reference to the things of eternity.
For those of us who take this view, every step is counted by the angels of God, every cross becomes inexpressibly precious, every task has its eternal reward. We feel that we are weaving here a wondrous tapestry, which can be en joyed by those who are on the other side. We are weaving thread after thread in apparent confusion; but He who has planned the task, who has designed all the destinies the universe, in giving us the moral law that we are to obey even when we cannot see its full purpose or the beneficent ends that it is ultimately to attain, bids us go on in perfect faith that somewhere, some time, somehow, the tapestry that we are weaving shall be placed in its proper frame, and even we shall be permitted to see the perfect beauty of the design, the wondrous work of art, the wondrous creation that shall have been made by human beings in humble, lowly fulfilling of the tasks that have been assigned to them by duty. (Applause.)
The whole human family is composing and performing a magnificent oratorio that is sending up a wondrous ascription of praise to the Creator. (Applause.) The silent performance of duty, the humble love of spiritual things, the temptation secretly and successfully resisted, the charity to others not because of the lovableness we may find in them, but because on every human being we find stamped the image of the Creator (applause); all these things lend a grace and a dignity to our live – and give a ready answer to the skeptical question, “Is life worth the living, is the battle worth the fighting, is the burden worth the bearing?”
Yes, the battle is worth the fighting! And to those who understand the magnificent objects that are to be obtained by the victorious fighting of the battle of life, the very strife itself takes on a fierce delight; and we feel that it is better to battle, to receive many a wound, to bear upon our souls and upon our bodies the scar of many a conflict as we shall enter the portals of our Father's kingdom to hear from Him the acknowledgement of our well-earned triumph for having fought His battle. (Great applause.) The burden is worth the bearing through the heat of the day, through the arid wilderness, in spite of hunger and thirst, in spite of the mockery of those who, self-indulgent, lie in the shade and wonder that we should continue in the performance of a task for which there seems to be for a time so little and so unworthy a requital. The burden is worth the bearing if we have the assurance that somehow, sometime, we shall be able to lay it down at the feet of the Father, to learn from Him the secret why he has asked us to bear it, and to receive the assurance that, having borne it well and faithfully for His dear sake, and after the example of Him who by our Father was made the exemplar, the teacher of humanity—we shall deserve an everlasting reward. (Applause.)
It was the perception, the clear perception of these great truths that made him whom we honor ourselves by calling our guide, our philosopher and our leader, Mr. Henry George (great applause), say that in the heart of these supposed nihilists, anarchists, dynamiters, in spite of their hatred of so much that is good, in spite of a spirit that at times may seem satanic in its blind desire for revenge, in spite of a spirit that would seem so destructive and so subversive and at times absolutely atheistic—that there is for all that more of the essence of religion in them than in many of those who sit in the foremost places in the synagogue and thank God that they are not like the rest of mankind (applause and cheers), socialists, atheists, dynamiters, followers of Henry George (laughter and applause), engaged in a Quixotic crusade.
And yet it was not the purpose, the intent, the thought of Mr. Henry George, and no more is it my thought or purpose, to justify the excesses of nihilists or socialists or dynamiters, whatever they may be. But what we have said, and what, in spite of obloquy, we shall not be afraid to say again and again (great applause), is this: That the very rage, the very fury, the very apparent satanic hatred of the nihilist and the dynamiter is a magnificent tribute of the spiritual and better part of man to the god-given instinct of justice. (Applause.) Take away injustice, preach to the dynamiter, to the extreme socialist, to the nihilist, of the fatherhood of God and the brotherhood of man (applause); teach him that the crimes that outrage him, that make him so bitter against the existing order of things, are not the result of the law of God, but are the necessary penalty, the self-inflicted, the natural penalty of the violation of God's law—and he ceases to be the dynamiter (applause); he ceases to be the atheist; he takes on a reverent and a loving spirit; his sense of justice is satisfied, and he is the more willing to work by peaceful, lawful and constitutional means for the rights of the wronged, for the preaching of the gospel of truth, until we shall have attained a majority of the voters (applause), who shall constitutionally and lawfully re-write the laws and satisfy the cravings for absolute equal justice among men. (Great applause.)
We are talking about nihilists, social extremists, dynamiters, in this favored land of ours. We can persuade them—we have succeeded already in persuading not a few—to take on a different spirit. When they are permitted to see, like a gleam or a ray of light, that by constitutional means these reforms may be accomplished, they will be patient until they exhaust all such constitutional and lawful means. We are not talking about other countries that, unfortunately for them, are different from ours, where constitutional justice does not exist,where even petition is considered a crime, where the despotic spirit of one man makes him the lawgiver and absolute master of a hundred millions of people (hisses); it is idle for us to prate to such as are subject to so brutal a despotism, of lawful and constitutional agitation; where even a respectful petition to the despot may be considered as an insult to offended majesty (hisses); where the construction to be put upon the petition and the penalty to be awarded to the petitioner all rest with the unrestrained will of a despot. Will some one be kind enough to tell us what will be the constitutional and lawful remedy by which the people of Russia can accomplish their necessary reforms? (Voices from all over the hall, “Dynamite, dynamite,” and applause. Another voice, “Send Bayard there.”)
It is very painful and humiliating for us to observe how strangely the tone and the temper of very many of our American fellow citizens have changed within a few years; how rapidly the spirit of the fierce democracy has died out; how it has become fashionable to admire and to toady to despotism anywhere and every where (applause); how it has become the correct thing to congratulate and to honor any wretched scion of the ruling family of the unfortunate country to which we have just been alluding; how a great many Americans consider it a great honor to be admitted to make a bow before the presence of crowned majesty (hisses); how it has got to be one of the dearest objects of the heart of some American fathers and mothers to wed their daughters to men whom they have to bribe with a good round sum of money to condescend to honor American girls with the touch of their hands, and with the imparting of their inherited titles of nobility. (Hisses and laughter.)
A friend of mine from San Francisco, California, was visiting Rome some years ago, when a young ecclesiastic came to him on a matrimonial embassy from an antiquated Roman duke, the great great grandson of a pope. I happen t o know all about the story, and was intimately acquainted with the parties, for the lady in question happened to be my own niece. This Benedictine monk came with a serious proposa1 to the father of the child to the effect that if he would put down four hundred thousand dollars the duke would condescend to marry the girl and impart to her the title of a duchess. I am happy to say that the proposal was not accepted (applause), although it came through so eminently respectable and ecclesiastical a channel. (Laughter.)
Now, then, I think it will be one of the magnificent objects to be attained by this crusade that it will revive the spirit of American republicanism and democracy. (Applause.) It teaches, as a matter of political economy, sound philosophy and true religion, that the liberty and the equality of men (applause) spoken of in our magnificent Declaration of Independence (applause) are in wondrous consonance with the very spirit of the gospel of Christ. This is the gospel of the new crusade (applause), the equal brotherhood of man, the equal rights of all men to the general bounties that God the Creator has spread out so lavishly for the use, the comfort and the instruction of His children. (Applause.)
Our movement is necessarily a moral one. We must appeal to the sentiments of the masses as against the classes. We must be in sympathy with the poorest, the lowliest. We must necessarily be on our guard against aristocrats. We must necessarily believe that it will be as hard for a true aristocrat to enter heart and soul into this movement as it is, by the very teaching of the Master Himself, difficult for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of heaven. (Applause.)
Dr. McGlynn brought his short address to a conclusion with the announcement that he was obliged to catch a train in order to keep an engagement for the morrow in Auburn, N. Y.
The chairman then made several announcements of meetings during the coming week. He said that the audience that was present and cheered McGlynn to the echo did not look as if the doctor was very much isolated. He then alluded to the parade and mass meeting that was to be given in honor of Dr. McGlynn on the following Saturday, and said that the Anti-poverty society had at its last business meeting resolved to participate in a body. He also invited the audience and their friends to participate, and requested them all to meet at Irving hall at six o'clock on the afternoon of Saturday to arrange for the parade. The society will have one of the places of honor in the procession, St, Stephen's parishioners having the first place.
The chairman also announced that next Sunday evening the Anti-poverty society will have two meetings, one in the Academy of Music and one in Irving hall, each of which will be addressed by Dr. McGlynn, Rev. Hugh O. Pentecost and Mr. Henry George.
The choir then sang “Land and Labor,” and Mr. Croasdale introduced the author of the song, Mr. James J. Gahan, who was received with great applause, and said:
Mr. Chairman Ladies and Gentlemen—While I was sitting here this evening I could not but congratulate myself upon the fact that I had a very peaceably-disposed gentleman sitting beside me. Within a week or two, in this city, it has become suddenly fashionable for men who style themselves Irish nationalists to denounce dynamiters, and remembering that resource of civilization which has occupied the pages of so many of our New York papers during the past week, I could not but congratulate myself upon the fact that I had such a very peaceably disposed individual as my friend Mr. Redpath (applause) sitting between me and my very good friend, that awful dynamiter, John McMackin. (Applause.)
The position which has been assigned to me this evening by the executive committee of this Anti-poverty society fills me with embarrassment. To follow the great man who has planted the cross of the new crusade on the hilltops of our consciences, is to bring forth in sharp and vivid contrast the richness of his gifts and the poverty of my own. (Applause.) But in this crusade there is room and work for all. There is room and work for such a great man as all acknowledge our great crusader to be.(applause.) There is room and work for one who is as humble as I am. There is room and work for all who believe in doing their duty toward their fellow men, independent of the sneers of a hostile press, and always ready to repel and resist the advances of corrupt politicians and political halls. (Applause.)
We have heard uttered on this platform great truths; and a speaker in this new crusade can, perhaps more than most men, realize what must have been the feeling of the Hebrew emancipator when he heard from out the burning bush the words which told him that the ground on which he stood was holy. And grand and holy is this spot, because here a grand and a holy man has stood preaching and teaching the great truths of the fatherhood of God and the brotherhood of man; teaching us that as God is no respecter of persons He cannot extend his benediction over hearts which do respect persons; teaching us that if we are to fulfill our duty. if we are to carry out the mission of our hearts and souls in its fullest and completest sense, we must be prepared to carry on a battle for truth, for justice, for right among men, a combat for liberty, equality and fraternity, an undying struggle against the apologists—be they ecclesiastical or lay, I care not—of the system which creates classes and which oppresses the masses. (Applause.)
And how does this Anti-poverty society propose to accomplish this mission? By infusing into the hearts and the minds and the consciences of men the great fact that there cannot be any other than a hideous and horrid system of things existing until all men rise up in their might and dignity, and bring about by their own acts the restoration of natural justice among men. (Applause.)
It is, my friends. a magnificent mission, and it is a mission which is not likely to down at the bidding of the politicians of this or any other city. (Applause.) And why? Because we have flung out our banner inscribed with these great words, that poverty, that crime, that misery, must exist and cannot be eradicated until all the bounties of nature created by the eternal God are thrown open to all and made free of access to all. (Cries of “Hear! hear!” and applause.)
In other words, as has been said on this platform by Mr. George and Dr. McGlynn and Mr. Pentecost, we want the earth, and with nothing less than the earth will we be satisfied. (Applause.) We want the land for the people (applause); and in making our demand for the restoration of the land to the people, we do so with a firm resolve and a fixed determination never to allow any mere expediency or any mere tricks of opportunism to make us lower that fair banner or enter upon compromises with the devil and with wrong.
We have seen in a newspaper published in this city this morning, a newspaper largely read by the countrymen and countrywomen of Michael Davitt, a most extraordinary statement. The editor makes a faint effort, a very silly attempt, to prove that the utterances of Bishop Nulty have not been correctly or fully quoted, but have been garbled by those on this side of the Atlantic who believe in the doctrine of the land for the people. And in order to make good his strange and silly case, he tells us that the Catholic hierarchy of Ireland have had a meeting recently, and that they declared that the only just and fair settlement of the land question at the present time over there in Ireland would be for the government to buy out the landlords' interest in the soil and then relet that soil to those of the people who desire to occupy it, at a rent much below that which the landlords are now enabled to obtain for it. The editor says, “There is not a word about land nationalization in this!” (Laughter.) Why, do not the very words of the resolution declare that in the opinion of the bishops and archbishops of Ireland, the land of the country should be bought out by the government? What is the government? The government is the state, the government is the people. That it should be relet to those who desire to occupy it. Relet by whom? Relet by the government, by the state, by the people, back to the people, with rents to be paid back to the people, back to the state, back to the government, in order to carry on the functions of government. (Applause.) And with the exception of the very vicious doctrine of the resolution that the land thieves now in occupancy should be compensated, there is not a single essential feature of difference between the land theory as preached upon this platform and the land theory as declared just, equitable, wise and judicious by the assembly of archbishops and bishops of Ireland. (Applause.)
My friends, on this platform to follow me there is a gentleman who deserves always at the hands of the people in this city a royal welcome—no, an anti-poverty welcome; and I believe that he will much better be able to interest, and, above all, to instruct you, and it is the instruction you get here, not the regular attendance at these meetings, that is useful. And for the purpose of enabling him to be assailed from all quarters of this vast audience with questions pertinent to the issue, I will retire, first thanking you for the friendly attention you have given me, and at the same time joining my voice with that of your worthy chairman in the hope that not a single member of the Anti-poverty society, not a single friend of the society, man or woman, will be found absent next Saturday evening, but will be there (applause) to tell that marble hearted archbishop (hisses) who lives in that marble hall, to tell those people over in Rome (hisses) that the day has passed, if that day ever existed, when he or they could or can with impunity dare to lay their sacrilegious hands upon the ark of American freedom, the American ballot box! (Applause).
Chairman Croasdale then introduced Mr. Louis F. Post, and announced that he would answer such questions pertinent to the object of the meeting as anyone might choose to put.
Mr. Post said:
Ladies and Gentlemen: Without any vanity, I con fess that I am very much embarrassed by the duty which your committee has assigned to me tonight: and I assure you now that I shall not undertake to perform that duty in full. I do not propose to set myself up as a prize answerer of conundrums. But I will tell you what I will do. If there is any one in this audience who has any doubt upon this subject, who has any objection to make to our propositions, who is seriously inquiring into the subject, and who in that spirit will ask a question, I will answer him here and now if I can. If I cannot answer him here and now I will look into the question and see that he gets an answer, if there is one. And if his question is a vital question, and after consideration and reflection cannot be answered, then that is the end of our crusade. (Applause.)
We see about us a condition of poverty, and it is from that point that we start. Poverty in the midst of plenty; poverty among the people who work, and plenty among the people who are idle. (Applause.) And our attention is attracted by this anomaly. How can it be? We know that there are no material things that we enjoy in this world that are not produced by human labor and maintained by human labor. Then how happens it that he who works from morning until night is in poverty, and he who spends his days and his nights as he pleases is in wealth? How happens it? That is the question that we have put to ourselves, and it is the question that we put to you.
We are told sometimes that if men would only be moral and honest and industrious there would be no poverty. But we know that the work, the industry and the honesty of the masses will not abolish poverty so long as the classes have possession of the source of wealth without which no wealth can be produced. (Applause.) We have traced poverty in the world to the private ownership of the earth. 50 long as the earth can be privately owned, so long will we have poverty, and so long will poverty increase and spread and intensify. And it is for that reason that we propose to get the earth back again. (Applause.)
We do not intend to divide this earth up. That is not necessary nor desirable. So long as there is no such thing as rent, any one can take what land he wants. Then there would be no necessity for an anti-poverty society. Slavery takes a different form then—the form of chattel slavery. But under present conditions one needs not to own men, for he who owns the land owns the men who must live on and out of the land.
What we want is the rent, the rent of the land. No land has rent until two men want it; and as the number of men who want it increases, the rent increases. That we have noticed, and that you can notice all about you, all over the civilized world. Rent is produced by no man; it is born of the competition of men for the privilege of using the earth on which they live.
Now we say we will take that rent for the people. How shall we take it? We propose to take it by the present methods of taxation. We will abolish all taxes save taxes on land values. We will abolish taxes on all products of labor. and put taxes on land values and increase those taxes as the values of the land grow until he who says I own this ground may say so. but it won't do him any good. (Applause.) But we do not propose that those taxes shall absorb the whole rental value at once. We propose at the beginning merely to shift present taxation. That is enough. That raises the whole question. We have no right to tax one class of property and exempt all other classes. We concede that any man would have a right to object—landlords would have a right to object and say, “You must not tax my property and exempt other kinds of property.” Very well, we agree to that. And so, before we have a right to shift taxation, we must prove that land cannot belong to any one man exclusive of other men.
So, in order merely to shift taxation, we have got to take upon our shoulders the whole burden of the fight, and prove that the land of a country belongs of right to the people of that country. (Applause.) Therefore, all we want at the start is to shift present taxes. After we have got that far there will be .no trouble—it will only be a matter of detail—to increase the tax, and no man can make a fortune thereafter by putting a fence around land and going to bed.
Now, I repeat that I won't promise to answer every question, but every question will receive attention; and any question that I cannot answer at once I will answer through the query column of the Standard , if it can be answered. Now fire away.
The following questions were then showered upon Mr. Post in rapid succession, and he as quickly answered them. The first was:
Q.—An editorial in the Brooklyn Eagle of June 10, winds up with the statement that if the community is the creator of the value of land, it is equally the creator of the value of personal property; and the principle that demands that the value of land be returned to the people would demand that the value of personal property be returned, which is downright communism. I, myself, understand it; but many do not. I would, therefore, like to have you clearly explain it, and everything connected with it. (Applause.)
Mr. Post.—The value of all products of labor is determined by labor. No product of labor can for any length of time be worth any more than it will cost to reproduce that article. If a house, for instance, is worth two thousand dollars, measured by labor, that house cannot for any length of time be worth more than two thousand dollars, because labor can reproduce it at the same cost. But when land has acquired a value of two thousand dollars, you will have to go a great way for the laborer who can reproduce that land for that cost. (Great applause.) The value of land is not determined by labor, but by demand for the land. If there had been two men on Robinson Crusoe's island, and one man had built a house, for instance, and another had raised a goat, and they had each devoted the same time to their different works, the value of the house would have been the value of the goat. Labor would have determined that value. But there would have been no value to land. No land has value until the best land is appropriated and inferior lands must be resorted to. (Applause).
Q.—When you tax a land owner, how will you prevent him from raising his rent?
Mr. Post.—We will raise his taxes. The difficulty with you is that you think the tax on land values can be shifted off upon the community. A tax upon land values cannot be shifted upon the community. It is the only kind of a tax that cannot be so shifted. The rent of land is determined by the margin of production, which I need not explain here, as it would take too much time, and rent is always up to the mark—it is all that the traffic will bear. The landlord is not particular to have a tax imposed in order to raise rent. (Applause.) When you can afford to pay more your landlord will. call just before the expiration of your lease? and he will talk of how your business prospers, and will say, “I know of other men who would like this place, but I like you and will give you the first call. Improvements are going up all around and I must raise you a little.” He don't wait for any increase of taxation in order to raise the rent. (Great applause.)
Q.—My brother is a farmer. He has a small farm, but the richest farmer in the county has sold his farm and put all his money in government bonds. He pays no taxes, and my brother on his small farm has to educate his children and pay taxes besides.
Mr. Post.—I am in favor of putting an end to bonds of that kind. (A voice: right." Applause.) Those bonds powder that was used up twenty-five years ago. They represent no existing capital. I will not say, and it is not necessary, what I would do with those particular bonds; but the next time they come around asking us to make bonds to carry on war, we will say to those people that inasmuch as we have to draft men we propose to draft capital too. (Applause.) That is not a question of taking taxes off of capital. That question relates to another method of robbery, of which rent is the mother. I am a little in doubt whether we had better pay those bonds off and get rid of the leeches, or cut them off. However, the Anti-poverty society has not taken any stand on that question, and when our ground rents are restored to us we shall be rich enough to pay off our old bonds and begin fresh.
Q.—Suppose A owns a piece of property on one side of the street, and B owns a piece on the opposite side. A, who is a very rich man, builds a magnificent hotel upon his piece of property. He derives rent from letting out the rooms; while B, who is a poor man and has his own little place on this side, has to pay the same amount of taxes ?
Mr. Post.—I do not know of any such case except in the imagination of Mayor Hewitt. But suppose there were such a case—the poor man, occupying a valuable piece of ground that lots of people want, is not a poor man at all; he is a mere speculator in land. (Applause.) He is entitled to no consideration because he is a poor man. He is speculating in land values, and he expects to get rich by occupying ground that other people want.
The searcher after truth returned to the charge as follows:
Q.—That does not satisfy me, Mr. Post. B is a man who has saved enough to buy a dwelling on this side of the street. A has had enough money left him by his ancestors to build a magnificent hotel on the other side. By letting that out to boarders and others he derives a large revenue. Should B pay the same amount of taxes as A ?
Mr. Post.—You think because A has got more of the products of labor than B has that it is unjust that he should pay no more taxes. I will give you an illustration. Oil wells are land. Suppose one man has got a whole lot of oil out of one well and that a poor man owning an equally valuable well has not got any oil out of it. The rich man has barrels and barrels of oil stored away. Now, we would tax the two men the same. You would come back at us and say this rich man should be taxed for the barrels of oil he has stored away. But we don't care for the oil that has been stored away so long as we can put our hands on the source of the oil. The stored oil won't last long; it isn't worth while bothering with that. Let us get at the land, and then the things that have been taken from the land cannot last much longer. They will all in the process of tune decay or be consumed and go back again to the land. (Applause.)
Q-—What particular advantage is gained by an individual who lives in a tenement house to-day if the taxes are shifted from the building, the improvement, and placed on the land? Wouldn't his rent still remain the same, inasmuch as his landlord would have control of the house?
Mr. Post.—His great advantage will be that he will not have to live in a tenement house. When you tax land values, all land that is not required for use and is consequently vacant will be substantially free. And with all vacant land f reed, no man need live in a tenement house. (Applause.) Tenement houses will give place to homes.
Q.—Will land owners stand the proposed tax on land values? Will they not resist such a tax, and cause a terrible and bloody war?
Mr. Post.—If they want to go into the anarchy business we can take care of them. When the taxes are shifted to land values, I do not think there will be any difficulty. But if there should be, we will be strong enough to put down the law breakers.
Q.—At a recent debate there was a point made against this theory that I would like to have you answer. It was this—that if the taxes were shifted to land, it would destroy the insurance companies and trust companies that have large mortgages on land.
Mr. Post.—I remember hearing that point made. Of course there is a great variety of points raised in behalf of special interests whenever a moral reform is undertaken. Such points were raised during the antislavery contest. Present taxes must first be shifted, and when we see the advantage of that, taxes will be increased until rental value is entirely absorbed. I think that during process of shifting there will be a shifting of securities, so that no great loss will fall upon any one. I don't know this absolutely; but I don't think that there will be any great damage done to those interests. At any rate, such interests cannot weigh against the absolute right of every child that comes into this world to his share of the earth. (Great applause.)
Q.—Will you please define original ownership to anything, and the whys and where fores?
Mr. Post.—I might make a speech. all night on that. Briefly, the right to own a thing flows from the production of that thing. A man who makes any product of labor owns it while it remains in that form. From the time that he withdraws the material from nature until it returns to the earth again, the object in the shape which he has given it belongs to him. His ownership relates to the production of, the materials from the earth and their transformation into a form that meets his desire; and so long as they remain in that form—until they return to the original source again—he has ownership in the object. That is my idea of ownership, and beyond that ownership cannot go. (Applause.)
Q.—We will suppose that taxes are shifted to land values. What will prevent the farmers from combining and charging shoemakers two days' pay for one of their own, so that they will not have to work more than one day themselves?
Mr. Post.—Too many farmers and too few shoemakers. (Applause.)
Q.—I say that the gentleman who wants to know what original ownership was ought to read “Progress and Poverty.”
Mr. Post—You all ought to do that.
Q.—At present, under the constitution, is it legal to sell land? Does the spirit of the constitution of the United States permit the sale of land?
Mr. Post.—You know what that fellow in jail said when the lawyer told him, “They can't put you in jail,” and showed him so in Blackstone. “You infernal fool,” said the prisoner, “I am in jail.” (Laughter.)
Q.—Suppose three brothers are on three different pieces of land. One was industrious, but he had a large family of children to educate, clothe, and so forth; the second was a worthy single man; the third was supposed to be a perfect gambler—squandered his money, etc. Of course the man with the large family had very little money—in fact, could not pay his rent; the second could pay his rent, and had plenty of money the third could pay his rent, but wouldn't?
Mr. Post.—As to the man that had a large family and who had to pay a heavy tax, if the land was worth it and he could not pay it, he need not keep that land, for he would find plenty of other land that did not have any tax at all. As to the brother that was paying the tax, the advantage of his tax would go to the brother that did not pay. What he lost as a tenant he would gain as a landlord. By the way, what happens in such cases under the present system? (Applause.)
Q.—What would you do with the gambler?
Mr. Post.—Except gambling for fun, there wouldn't be any occasion for gambling. When you can make a living decently and honestly, all the incentives to gambling, except as an amusement, will be lost. (Applause.)
The following telegram from the Antipoverty meeting in Philadelphia was received after the meeting had adjourned:
Three thousand Quakers send fraternal greetings to their New York brothers and sisters. The cross of the new crusade has been raised in Philadelphia.
President Anti-poverty society
Dr. McGlynn's Lectures
On Thursday evening of last week Dr. McGlynn spoke at Hoosick Falls, and on Friday at Oswego. He had been invited to both places by the Knights of Labor and had large audiences. His engagements for the present week were at Auburn on Monday, at Rochester on Tuesday, at Elmira on Wednesday, at Port Jervis on Thursday, at Middletown on Friday. At Auburn the Academy of Music was crowded. Among those present were Mayor Austin, Judge Cady, Rev. J. J. Brayton, Rev. C.C. Hemenway, Rev. Arthur Copeland, Rev. F. H. Hinman, John W. 0'Brien, B. B. Snow, T. J. Searles and Dr. West. Wherever the doctor has visited in the state he has brought many within the folds of the party of the land for the people. The opposing newspapers all concede his sincerity of purpose and admire his eloquence. Letters are constantly being received at room 28, Cooper union, telling of his effective work in many places.
Philadelphia's Anti-Poverty Society
McCaul's opera house in Philadelphia was crowded in every part last Sunday evening at the first public meeting of the branch of the Anti-poverty society of that city. President William J. Atkinson called the meeting to order and explained the objects of the society. Henry George spoke on “The Cause and Cure of Poverty.” At the close of his address numerous questions were put to him by people in the audience. A collection amounting to $115 was taken up. The audience was enthusiastic throughout the evening, evidently having caught the spirit of the parent society. Another meeting will be held on Sunday evening next, at which Louis F. Post will be present.
Two Enthusiastic Meetings in New Haven
On Sunday last the Rev. Charles P. McCarthy delivered two addresses in New Haven, under the auspices of the land and labor club and the united labor party.
The afternoon meeting was held in the Central labor hall at three o'clock, the subject of the lecture being “The evils arising from the unjust distribution of wealth.” The lecturer pointed out that the only possible cure for social wrongs was their abolition, and that most, if not all, of these spring from the present unjust distribution of wealth, all of which was produced by labor. He pointed out and emphasized the fact that measures which did not strike at the root of the disease were worse than useless and that half-way reforms were worthless.
In the evening an open-air meeting was held on the green opposite Yale college, nearly two thousand people being present, when Mr. McCarthy delivered an eloquent address. The names of Henry George and Dr. McGlynn were received with prolonged cheers and enthusiasm.
At the close of the discourse the editor of the Advocate announced that these meetings would be continued throughout the summer, and eminent speakers from New York city and other places would be in attendance.
The Packard Students and Henry George
It is the custom of the students of Packard's business college to take up for discussion on Friday mornings some of the burning questions of the day, the object being more especially to incite the young mind to more general reading and thinking. For some weeks past they have been discussing private ownership of land. Finally, in order to settle certain differences of opinion which had arisen in the discussion, Mr. Packard suggested that Mr. George be invited to be present on the next occasion, and to answer such questions as might be puzzling the minds of the young people. Mr. George heeded to the request, and of Friday, May 17, met a large lecture room full of students and their friends. Mr. Packard had formulated a few of the leading questions which had been presented to him in the previous discussions, and opened the exercises by reading these questions in their order, Mr. George responding as they were read. After this more formal opening the matter of questions passed into the hands of the pupils, who spoke entirely from the spur of the moment. As the brief newspaper reports of these questions and answers has been made the subject of considerable press comment, the following verbatim report, made by the pupils of the shorthand department of Packard's, is here printed:
Q.—Under your proposition to tax land to an amount which would be equivalent to confiscation, would not great injustice be done to owners of mortgages thereon?
A.—I don't think it would be a great injustice; but supposing there should be some injury it would be very much less than the injury now done to the community by the continuance of the present state of things, and the people who might lose somewhat as mortgages would gain so much by the general improvement in the condition of the community that they also would be great gainers.
Q.—Has land intrinsic value?
A.—No; nothing has intrinsic value.
Q.—Does not all the value that inheres in land come from the labor of man in one direction or another?
A.—The value which attaches to land comes from the demands of men. If I understand the question it is, Does not the value which inheres in land come from the labor bestowed upon that land? No, it does not. You may have a piece of land on which no labor has been bestowed, and if there is a demand for it it will have a value. Land has a value when, and not until, some one will pay for its use; in other words, if land is to be used for a productive purpose it has no value until some one, for its use, will consent to give the owner of it some portion of the product of his labor; or, to put it in another form, land has no value until two or more people want the same piece. The demand for use constitutes the real value of land, but land may also have a prospective or speculative value due to the confident expectation that in the future some one will be willing to pay for its use. For instance, land on the outskirts of the cities has a higher value than the present demand for its use would give it. This value is based on the confident expectation of the growth of the community.
Q.—Is not the private possession of land one of the greatest inducements to industry, sobriety and good citizenship?
A.—Private possession, yes; private ownership, no. Possession is necessary to the use of land. No one, for instance, will sow a crop unless there is some certainty that he shall reap it. No one, for instance, will sow a crop unless there is some certainty that he shall reap it. No one will put up a house unless he has security that it may stand. No one will open a mine unless he can benefit by it. But possession is a very different thing from ownership. Many buildings in this city are put up by men who do not own the land. Nearly the whole city of London has been built in that way, the builder being one man and the land owner another. The Sailors' Snug Harbor owns a great deal of land in this city, which is let out on ground rent. Buildings are erected upon it by persons who have no ownership in the land on the certainty of the possession for a given series of years. Security of possession is absolutely necessary to the best use of land, but private ownership is not. For instance, if the Sailors' Snug Harbor can hold certain blocks here, retaining the ownership thereof, and yet induce people, by security of possession for a long term of years, to put up the finest buildings, so the whole land of the city of New York might be held by the corporation—that is, by the people of New York in the same way. There would then be no private ownership of the land of New York, but private improvers would have possession; a possession sufficient to give them the security necessary to improvement.
Q.—Would not the evil of putting the rental of land in the hands of the government be greater than any evil likely to come from private ownership?
A.—No. What underlies that question is the idea of the corruption of the government by the vast fund there would be to spend. But in taking the rental value of land for public purposes we could dispense with many other taxes that we now collect, and which in their very nature foster corruption, give incentives to fraud and demoralize our whole public system. Take, for instance, the principal tax by which our national government is supported, that on imports; it is a constant cause of fraud, for it tempts men desiring to get taxes levied for their benefit to spend money in politics, and to bring a pressure upon congress for the passage of laws which favor a class to the injury of the whole people. There is, besides, a source of corruption in the large number of places to be filled by the adherents of the winning party. Then, again, look at the perjury, fraud and corruption involved in the collection of these duties. So it is with the taxes on personal property and improvements all over the United States. The rich men constantly escape—in very many cases by direct bribery of the officials; in others by putting their money in politics, and in still others by perjury. All that would be swept away. The advantage of a tax levied upon land values is, in the first place, that it can be collected with certainty, and can be assessed more fairly than any other tax. Land lies out of doors; it cannot be hid; its value can be ascertained more clearly than anything else. Here is a piece of land on Fifth avenue. You go to a real estate broker, give him the location of it, and he will tell you pretty nearly its value; but he cannot tell you the value of the house without examination, and as to the value of what is inside the house, that is impossible. It may be filled with the most costly furniture and paintings, or it may be bare. Again, in the funds raised for purposes of common benefit, the people would have a direct interest, and public attention would be concentrated upon their collection and disbursement; and finally, something that you will not fully understand until you see clearly what enormous improvements in present social conditions this simple reform would work—poverty would be abolished; no one need be poor if he is willing to work, and in that condition of society the greed for wealth would also surely go. Men would become less grasping than they are today. It would be possible to get for public service the best talent and the highest character. Society would be elevated—elevated from the very foundation, and the social conscience improved.
Q.—In the Captain Kidd illustration given by you, would not the same argument pertain equally to the possession of personal property which may have been unjustly obtained?
A.—No; as I say in that very illustration, the wrong done in the appropriation of personal property ceases with time. A horse is stolen, a watch is picked out of one's pocket, a ship is taken, and the injury soon ends; but when land is wrongfully appropriated it is not merely taken from that generation, but the robbery goes on with all succeeding generations. Personal property tends to decay, and passes away in a very short time; in one or two generations at the most it is gone; but the land remains forever. One generation after another will live on this laud. Where will this building be one thousand years from now? But others will be living on this land.
Q.—In case people could hold land only as tenants, would not the tendency be to deterioration all matters of improvement, especially in beautifying homes and in scientific and esthetic farming?
A.—Possibly, if they were to hold land as tenants liable to be put out in a short time. But we don't propose the actual taking of land by the state; we don't propose to make the holders of land formal tenants. We propose that land shall be held precisely as it is now, the only change being the increase of the tax on land values and the abolition of other taxes. The effect of this would be that no one would care to get hold of land that he did not wish to make use of, and the formal ownership of land, the real possession of it, would pass into the hands of those wishing to use it. Under this system a man would own his home just as securely, in fact far more securely, than he can now. The house would be his, the possession of the land would be his. He would still be its owner, subject to the condition of paying this tax, and could give it or sell it, just as he does now.
Q.—Inasmuch as the popular sentiment and the calm judgment of the people are opposed to the spending of our present surplus for the benefit of any part of the country or of any special interest,may we not infer that were the government the great landlord, it would be powerless to do anything with its land, except in the most economical and parsimonious way? And would not even this limited power open the flood-gates of political corruption?
A.—I think probably you have in your mind that the government will take the position of the owner of the land on whose shoulders rests the burden of improvement. This, as I have said, we do not propose. As for the surplus that remains in our national treasury, the real cause of its existence is the system under which we now raise our revenues. Everybody knows that we are raising too much; but when an attempt is made to repeal any of these taxes, up jump selfish interests to protest, log roll, and bribe, against the repeal of the tax which benefits them, though it injures the public at large. Sweep away that system, and you are rid of one great cause of corruption. But you should understand that we do not propose that the income from the taxation of land values should go to the general government, except in very small part. We have no necessity for much revenue for the general government. We have no need whatever for an army, a navy or a lot of ministers abroad; and very many of the present expenses of the general government would be largely reduced by the simpler system of raising revenue.
Q.—Do you not think that the best way to civilized the Indians is to confer upon them the private ownership of land.
A.—No, on the contrary; if you ask the Indians themselves they will tell you that this simply means destruction, extermination. Where the Indians can hold their lands in common, under the tribal system, as is the custom with all primitive peoples, there is among them no such thing as pauperism. The father may be a drunkard, but when the children come they have a chance to earn a living, an opportunity to make homes for themselves. Wherever the Indian lands have been divided up in severalty they “have in a little while passed into the possession of speculators. I was talking recently with a gentleman who spent a number of years at Saginaw, Mich., and he told me the saddest stories of a tribe that was living on that peninsula. They were living in contentment in a simple state and still they all had enough. A lot of speculators got a bill through congress to divide up their lands in severalty, and the consequence was that in two years there were only fourteen who had any land left; the rest had become mere tramps.
Q.—Is there any greater wrong or any greater temptation to wrong in holding large quantities of land for a rise that in holding the products of land for a similar purpose?
A.—Certainly there is. The effect of speculation which raises the price of corn, wheat, or anything of that kind, is to increase the incentive for production; but you cannot produce land. The effect of speculation in land is to deprive people of the opportunity of producing other things. One might corner all the wheat in the world, and the effect would not last very long; but let one become the absolute owner of all the land in the world and what would become of the people? They could only live as his serfs.
Q.—Would the inability to own land have the tendency to equalize the ownership of wealth? Under such a dispensation should we not be just as likely to have Goulds and Vanderbilts as we are now?
A.—Inability to own land is hardly the way to put. it. What we propose is to levy upon the land a tax equal to its animal value, irrespective of improvements upon it. This would strike at the heart of the great fortunes of the Goulds and the Vanderbilts. It would do this by making it unprofitable for any one to hold land which he did not want to put to use. The consequence of this would be that there would be no such thing as a class of men who could not find employment for themselves. There would be a demand for all possible labor. Then that intense competition that now drives down wages in all vocations would be gone, and in thus striking at the root of poverty you strike at the root of great wealth. The power that a man gets by the possession of millions comes not so much from the fact that he has the million as from the poverty of the people, who are glad to do anything to get only a few dollars of it. A man can have all the money he wants in a condition of things where every one could find employment and get a good and independent living, and he could do no harm, further than these fortunes of which you speak. As for the fortunes that have come with the rise of the railroad systems, they have come because we have left in private hands a great public franchise. We have done what would have been equivalent in old times to making ever tho high way s to individuals. Now, properly, the maintenance of highways is a public function, and this is just as true when those, highways are of iron as when they are of cobble-stones, or Macadam, or mere earth. The difficulty that stands in the way of our taking these highways and managing them for the public benefit, is simply the corruption of the government. The simple plan that we propose of levying a single tax, leaving everything else free, would be to simplify our government so that we could take possession of these railways and even run the roads (or run cars over them) with far less danger of demoralization than is involved in our present system of taxation. Our tariff is, to my mind, productive of far more corruption than the running of the railroads by government could possibly be.
Q.—Does not the “unearned increment” idea apply with as much force to personal property as to land?
A.—It does not. What is the kind of personal property that increases with the growth of society? Can you think of any? Here, take this house; it is not more valuable than it was when it was built On the contrary, it is less valuable. It is nearer decay, and, further than that, the improvement in building has been such that a similar house could now be built for less cost. The building has not increased in value, but the ground on which it stands has. What other thing is there that with the growth of the community grows in value, save land? Land, always and everywhere, does, and it is the only thing. What John Stuart Mill called the “unearned increment” is this increase in value, unearned by the owner. The value of a piece of land is not what the individual owner has given to it; it is tho value caused by the growth of the community. He may be asleep, or he may be off in Europe, or traveling around the world; this increase of value goes on all the same. It is a value created by the community, and it should belong to the community.
Q.—How about the accumulation of interest? Is not that equally an “unearned increment?”
A.—No; interest is the re turn for the use of capital, which is the produce of labor used in further production. Interest does not increase with increase of population. Is interest here any higher than it was fifty years ago?
Q.—Under the present condition is there any unwholesome tendency to the acquirement or the possession of land?
A.—Unquestionably there is, if you mean by that is the possession of land concentrating? All over the United States, it is concentrating in obedience to a general law. As the land goes up in value it steadily tends to concentrate. If you take Macaulay's introduction to the “History of England,” you will find it states that at the time of the accession of James II the majority of English farmers were owners of their own land. At the beginning of this century there were so few of them owners of their own land that they had ceased to be considered. The great agency in producing this concentration was the rise in the value of land. Land, as I said before, lies out of doors. It cannot be stolen; it cannot run away. There it is, and there it will remain. For that reason, under the system of private ownership, laud is the most secure investment, and the people who have large amounts of money are willing to pay for land—for the purpose of having a secure investment—more than it is worth to the owner of only a small amount of capital. For instance, the English farmer having a piece of land that would sell for £1,000 could not borrow what capital he wanted to use for less than six, seven or eight per cent; but he might sell his land and then get back its use by paying a rent of only three and a half or f our per cent on the selling price. Manifestly, therefore, it was to his interest to sell the land, and in the mutations that come of sickness, accident and losing speculation, he has gradually lost his capital, and of his successors some to-day are tenant farmers of the English capitalist type, and more are agricultural laborers of England—probably the most degraded race of men who speak the English language; men whose lives are spent in the hardest kind of work, and whose old age—if they live to be old—has no relief but in going to the alms house.
Q.—Would not the placing of taxation wholly upon land work to the disadvantage of cultivators thereof and to the advantage of owners and managers of money and personal wealth?
A.—No, not at all. The taxation of capital does not affect the capitalist. It falls ultimately upon the user of the capital, and it gives, moreover, an advantage to those sharp and unscrupulous enough to take advantage in avoiding the taxation. But to raise our public revenues by a tax upon the value of land alone would exempt the producer and the consumer from taxation. It would be to the advantage of the man who is cultivating land or otherwise making use of it. He would gain far more by the exemption of his labor and all that it produced from taxation direct and indirect than he would have to pay by reason of the increased tax on the value be his ground. He would be a great gainer.
Q.—Would not the doing away with the private ownership of land destroy one of the most sacred charms of home—the home feeling? This question is one which has seemed to trouble the minds of our young ladies.
A.—Well now, young ladies, look around you in this city. Here we have private ownership of land. What are its results? In this city not four per cent of the people live in separate homes of their own. Over sixty-five per cent of the families of this city are crowded together more than two families to the floor. There are thousands of families in this city living in single rooms. Do you call that home? Can there be a home in the condition in which the vast majority of the people of this city live? Look, then, to the country. What is the condition of the ordinary farmer's wife? Can anything be more dreary than that isolated existence? People are scattered so far apart that they have none of the conveniences and intellectual enjoyments of neighborhood. It is a most significant fact that insanity is rapidly increasing in this country, and it is nowhere increasing more rapidly than among farmers' wives. Now, the effect of the reform we propose would be that, no one having any incentive to hold land idle, the population in our cities would spread, while in the country it would come closer together. One-half of the area in this city is yet unbuilt upon—simply lying in vacant lots—not because people do not want homes, not because there is not capital and labor sufficient to cover these vacant lots, but because the owners of the land are holding it at enormous prices, trusting to the increase of population to give them profit. And the isolation of country life is caused by the same thing. Men when they take up land do not take up what they want to use; they grab all they can get, and so you have a population unduly crowded at the centers and unduly separated at the outskirts. Under the system that we propose it would be profitable for no one to hold land that was not put into use. Population in our cities would spread out, and we would get even in our greatest cities populations living in separate homes surrounded by gardens, and in the country, instead of the present isolation, people would settle closer together, so that they would have opportunities for social enjoyment and intellectual life. So far from destroying homes, the system we advocate would make it easy for every one to get a home. What to-day stands in the way of a man getting a home ? The big thing is the price he has to pay for the lot on which a house is to be put. Then comes the tax gatherer and fines him for having built himself a house. Under our system he could get his laud for nothing, and he would have little or no tax to pay. Now, which system is the best in that respect?
It was here proposed that Mr. George briefly state his scheme so that it might be understood, Mr. Packard remarking that, although the young men and young women had been diligently pondering over “Progress and Poverty,” “Social Problems” and “Property in Land,” nobody seemed quite to understand the “George theory.”
Mr. George—I am afraid that is because you have read rather what the newspapers say of my books than the books themselves. However, I set out with the proposition that laud —that is to say, the material universe, because it is only through land and by land that we can use any part of the material universe—is something that belongs in usufruct to all men and women equally and of natural right, while the things produced by human labor belong exclusively to the producers. Now to secure that common right of all in the land in conformity with the individual right of the producer to the things he produces, so that all may have access on equal terms to the element necessary to life and labor, and all may have the fullest possession of that which their labor of hand or of head adds to the common wealth, what we propose is this: To let the present legal title to the laud remain as it is, and to simply abolish all taxes upon production or upon accumulation—not to tax any man for building a house, for making a piece of goods, or for erecting a factory, or for bringing into the country any wealth from abroad; not to tax him because he accumulates wealth, no matter how much he accumulates; but, abolishing these taxes, to raise our public revenues by a tax levied on the value of the land, irrespective of improvements—raising this tax as fast as we may, until we come as near as possible to taking the full, actual value of the land, thus giving to the community that fund which arises from the development of the community and grows with its growth, and leaving to the individual all that his industry or thrift gives him. That is our scheme. It is very simple, it involves no revolution, it will not add to the functions of the state. All we have to do to carry it out is to abolish taxes. We now put some tax upon land values. By increasing this tax we can dispense with other taxes, taking more and more of the annual value of land, until finally we take the whole. We would thus get not merely enough to pay our present expenses, but to do very much more. We would have a great public fund to be used for public recreation, education and amusement; that could be used to give us clean streets, fine walks and splendid parks: for purposes of scientific investigation, etc., and finally, could be used—as I believe a portion ought to be used—for taking care of the widow and orphan; not as a matter of charity, but as a matter of right. Everyone in a civilized community like this is a co-heir to a great estate. Here is an enormous value constantly growing, produced by no individual, but by the growth of the community, that should be used for the common benefit. This is what we propose, and the gains that we look for result, first, from the simplification in our present form of taxation; second, from the exemption of the results of labor from taxation; third, from the utilization for public purposes of what is now supposed to be unjustly gathered by individuals, and, fourth, from the opening of land, now monopolized, to the use of labor.
Q.—(From a young lady.)—Do you think that fund could ever be used equitably for the people so long as God has made them so unequal—some born with evil hearts and grasping dispositions, some unscrupulous, some honest, some immoral, drunken and shiftless; in short, so long as God sees fit to create them so widely different, can we set them on an equality by any plan that can be devised?
A.—I do not think God creates people as unequal as our conditions make them, either mentally or morally. I do not think God makes them so wicked as bad conditions lead them to be. I do not think the human heart is altogether evil. On the contrary, my experience is that most men are inclined to be just and generous; that they become hard, greedy, grasping and unscrupulous by reason of the fierce struggle for existence in which they are engaged. The motto of our society today is in reality, “Devil take the hindmost”—either crush others or be crushed yourself; and the thing that we really worship is not the living God, but the golden calf. Let man get wealth by whatever means he pleases, let him but get wealth, and he will be honored, and will have all that, to the eye at least, makes life worth having. Abolish poverty, give us the state of society in which every child that comes into the world could at least have wholesome surroundings, could at least have a good education, could at least have an opportunity of making a good living, and I think the temptation to greed would be gone. Under a condition like that we could not admire wealth as we do now. We admire wealth because we fear poverty. Under that state of things I do not think we would have an immoral class or a pauper class. I do not think that men would be as bad as they are today, and that all the influences and good motives that animate men would have a much stronger sway.
There are, as you say, differences among men; but the great differences of which you speak are owing mainly to human institutions. There are children coming into the world in this city every day who come in absolutely disinherited, who come in amid squalid surroundings, under conditions in which healthy development is absolutely impossible—many of them under conditions which drive them out of the world within a few months or years. We can certainly change this state of things; and then whatever differences there are among men—differences of industry, of prudence, of capability, let them have their sway and produce their natural result. Let him who works hardest get his natural reward. Under our present condition of things the man who grabs best, or whose ancestors grab for him, is the successful man.
No; I do not think the present evils of society result from the wickedness of the human heart, except as that wickedness may take shape in social institutions which give scope for greed, and then react upon the characters of men; but if we can conform our institutions and laws to promote right and justice, we will be doing away with that tendency.
Q.—(Student)—Would it be just for the owner of a plot of ground with only a small building of two stories, say, to pay as much tax on the land as his neighbor on the opposite corner who owns a similar piece of land, but has a fine six-story tire-proof building on his property? Would that be fair for the poor man? He would be taxed just as much as the rich man.
A.—If I go up here to the Fifth Avenue hotel and order a room, they will charge me just the same whether I am a big man or a little man, whether I am rich or poor. Just the same whether I make use of it or not. And the reason is that I am taking that room and keeping somebody else out of it. If one man has little buildings it is not the fault of the community. He is holding the ground on which he might put big buildings. We give him the opportunity; if he does not put up big buildings it is his own fault.
This is the true system of taxation. It is not what the man himself does, but tho opportunity that the community gives him that ought to be considered, and if the opportunities are equal, taxation ought to be equal.
Q.—(Student)—Do they charge as much for a little room as for a big one?
A.—No: nor should we charge as much for a little lot as for a big one.
Q.—(Student)—Does not England dictate to the landlords their prices?
A.—Yes; and the people who are supporting that sort of thing are supporting the grossest sort of communism.
Q.—(Young lady student)—Why do we need no army or navy?
A.—We have no use for an army or navy because we are sixty millions of people, the richest. the brightest, the most inventive, and therefore the strongest of any nation upon earth, living upon a continent separated by three thousand miles of water from all the wars and quarrels of Europe. We are so strong that nobody on the earth would dare to pick a quarrel with us. We ought to be so just and so righteous that we would pick a quarrel with nobody: and we no more want an army or navy than John L. Sullivan would want a stuffed club in walking down Broadway.
Q.—(Same)—Although so strong, we once were weak enough to quarrel with ourselves.
Mr. George.—I hope we never shall quarrel with ourselves again; but this is certain, that our preparations for war, our army and navy that we had before the war did not do much toward putting it down or making it impossible; and to maintain an army and navy would not make internal quarrels any more improbable, but on the contrary, might be an inducement to quarrel. A man and his wife sometimes quarrel, but it would be a dangerous thing for them to keep weapons at hand in case they might quarrel.
Q.—(Student.)—How would a poor man get money to put a building on a piece of land?
A.— Supposing he could not get it he would have this advantage, that he could get buildings that other men put upon land much cheaper than he can now. To make monopolization—the holding of land without using it—impossible would be to make land cheap for the putting up of buildings, and to take the taxes off buildings would be to increase by that much the inducement to put them up. Therefore, men who have money would go to work and put up buildings on what are now vacant lots. It would increase the number of buildings, and the man who must rent a building could get it by paying less rent than he does today.
Q.—(Student)—With no army, what protection would you have against mobs?
A.—I think we could rely upon our militia to put down all mobs; but wherever there is among you will find that there is some injustice. The best way to prevent mobs is to do justice.
Q.—(Student)—In 1886, during the great labor strikes, the employees of a factory in Chicago were urged to strike by a man who it was afterward found had never worked in his life.
A.—You must not believe all you read in the newspapers. I think that story is not (quite correct, and even if it were correct there is underneath some real basis of complaint. Do away with that and you will have no difficulty.
Q.—(Student)—To abolish poverty and to give the poor people money we must take it out of the rich man's pockets, and he would not like that very well.
Mr. George.—Where does the rich man get his money? Student.—That has nothing to do with the man who hasn't any.
Mr. George.—It has everything to do with it. If the rich men got their wealth by making it, by giving something fairly in return, then all right. We do not propose to take it from them. But if they do not. then it must come from somebody who does work to produce it, and the wealth they have is really the robbery of the poor. This we aim to stop. It is utterly impossible for any man to fairly get the monstrous fortunes that some have in this community. What we want to do is to give men a fair opportunity. Under the present system thousands and thousands of men must constantly pay other men for the privilege of living and working—must pay somebody else for the privilege of using that which Was created for their use. Abolish that system; do away with this primary injustice, and then all men will have equal opportunities and you can secure to those who produce wealth the full enjoyment of it.
Q.—Did not all land once belong to tho government?
A.—Yes; but, supposing somebody's forefather had had the foresight to lay claim to property in the sun, and were to leave his children the right of charging other people's children for the enjoyment of the light of the sun, would that be a reason why other people s children should be such fools as to keep on paying it? What right had Adam and Eve to give away this world? When they died and went to some other world they certainly lost all right in this. And what right has any one since then had? All the generations of the world have had no right to give any one perpetual title to the use of the earth. Every child that is born is born with a natural right to the use of land—a right that nothing can bar.
Q.—(Student)—You say the government is not corrupt, but the men who go into the government corrupt it?
A.—No, I did not say that. I said that our laws of the present day, and especially our laws for raising revenue, foster corruption and put a premium upon fraud, and that they tend to make the government corrupt.
Q.—(Student)—Would not your plan make the people slaves to the government?
A.—No; but even if that were true, the American people had better be serfs to a government which means but themselves than to be serfs to private individuals. The great mass of American people are fast passing into the condition of serfdom. What is the essential thing in serfdom? It is that you must give your labor and ask no return. The majority of children that are born to-day must give their labor for the privilege of living and working in their native land, for the privilege of breathing the air or using the sunshine.
Q.—(Student)—Suppose a man owns a house and lot, worth, say, $15,000, and it is all he has. From the rent of that house he lives. Would you have the government take it from him without an equivalent, and thus destroy his only income?
A.—I would let things remain as they are now, the only difference being that I would take taxation off from the personal property and improvements and put it on the value of land. The man who now has a $15,000 house which he rents would continue to rent it and receive the rent as he does now. The only difference would be that he would have to pay to the community a higher tax upon the value of his land, and no tax upon the value of his house. The relation between him and the tenant would be just the same as it is now. The tenant, however, would have the advantage in this, that the tendency being to erect more houses the tenants rent would fall.
Q.—(Young lady student)—Is not the ocean as well as the land the gift of the Creator? Should not the people who use the ocean pay taxes?
A.—Yes; if that use is exclusive. Wherever the use of any part of the ocean becomes a valuable privilege, then the best way would be to have the user pay a tax; as, for instance, on the valuable fur fisheries in the Aleutian islands a tax is paid to the general government.
Q.—(Young lady)—Ought not the people who have refrigerators to pay taxes on the air they use?
A.—Wherever, if you can imagine such a case, the use of air is necessarily exclusive; but in that case the valuable privilege would give value to land. If you had some piece of land where the air was peculiarly good, that piece of land would have a value resulting from the opportunity to get good air, and that value ought to be taken for the public.
Q.—(Young lady)—You say that land can not be produced. How about the Netherlands?
Mr. George.—Tell me how the Netherlands were produced.
Young lady.—They were wholly reclaimed by human labor.
Mr. George.—What kind of labor?
Young lady—By draining, and diking, and digging trenches and canals.
Mr. George.—Where did they build the dikes?
Young lady.—Partly in the sea, and then filled in with earth and reclaimed the bottom of the sea.
Mr. George.—What would they have done if there had been no bottom there? The improvement is the result of human labor, and that is something for which no one ought to be taxed, for at least a specified time. But what was the bottom before it was filled up?
Young lady.—It was presumably land.
Mr. George.—Yes; and if any value attached to that it ought to be taxed. Land doesn't mean simply the surface of the earth which you see. It is all land in the economic sense, down to the center. You have got to have some foundation before you can improve. The ocean has value in only specified places, where some exclusive advantage is attached to its use, as in pearl fisheries or in an oyster bed. Land, as I said in the beginning, has no intrinsic value. All the land on the continent of America was worth nothing before men came here.
Q.—(Student)—How do you account for all the land destroyed by human labor, etc? A.—You cannot destroy land; even where you wash the soil away, land remains. And now, young ladies and gentlemen, I find that my time has more than elapsed, and I must conclude. I have been greatly pleased with your questions and have answered them as well as I could so briefly. I fully agree with Mr. Packard that the only way to get knowledge is to get it for yourselves. You will, indeed, remember very little of all I have said, but it may induce you to think and read, and out of that I hope some good may come.
The Crusaders' Song
(Air—“Marching Through Georgia.”)
“Egypt” in the Catholic Herald.
Sound a blast for freedom, boys, and send it far and wide!
March along to victory; for God is on our side!
While the voice of Nature thunders o'er the rising tide,
“God made the land for the people!”
The land! The land! 'Twas God who gave the land!
The land! The land! The ground whereon we stand ?
Why should we be beggars, with the ballot in our hand?
God gave the land for the people!
Hark! The shout is swelling, from the east and from the west;
Why should we beg work and let the landlords take the best?
Make them pay the taxes for their land—we'll risk the rest.
The land was meant for the people.
George has raised the banner high, to face the battle din!
At bis side comes marching, with his cross, the brave McGlynn!
Forward, all our army, till we've crushed the host of sin,
That keeps the land from the people!
“Henry George is dead,” they said; “McGlynn, has lost his place.
Church and state alike are joined to grind the poor man's face.”
Eighty-eight will show them all that we'll be in the race,
To win the land for the people!
Clear the way for Liberty! The land must all be free!
Freemen will not falter in the fight, though stern it be;
Till the flag we love so well shall wave, from sea to sea,
O'er land that's free for the people.
Plain Common Sense
Rev. H.O. Pentecost in New Jersey Unionist
The New York Herald says, in speaking of the activity of the real estate market in that city: “New York cannot grow without causing the growth of her suburbs, and new facilities for getting to and from those places must inevitably raise the value of their lands.”
Precisely. All improvements in any community “raise the value of lands”—the selling and the renting value. Wages have not been raised in Harlem by the better facilities of travel which the elevated roads afford, but rents have. If passengers were carried free on those roads the ten cents a day the laborer would thus save would ultimately go to the landlord, because the rush of persons to the termini of free railroads would immediately push up rents.
Suppose New York had the best public schools in the world and tho best wealth producing machinery and methods of exchange (trade) and all her laboring population were total abstainers, very industrious and economical, and that burglaries, murders and other forms of crime were unknown. What would be the result? New York would then be a very desirable place of residence, and the value of hind would increase, but wages would not. Wages could not increase, because when the men who own the land take all the effects of industrial and social improvement in the form of rent the laborer is just where he was before the improvement came about. The land owner holds a first mortgage on alt the wealth produced, and he has the legal right to take it all, and he does take it all except what it is expedient to allow the laboring man to retain (as interest or wages), to make him willing to go on working for the land owner's benefit.
Facts for Farmers to Consider
Chicago Daily News
It appears that in the states of Kansas and Nebraska, in counties taken at random, from fifty per cent to three-quarters of the farm lands are mortgaged up to within sixty to seventy-five per cent of their cash value; that there is no accumulation of capital in the hands of the farmers; that in case of a failure of crops the owners would have to buy the lands; that in the states of Kansas and Nebraska there are 134 real estate loan companies who charge from eight to twelve per cent interest per annum; and, finally, that the much-denounced landlord system of the old world .is rapidly appearing in a most revolting, plutocratic form in the new.
There is a claim made that the change will work injustice to the farmers who, as is well known, are the class of all classes of workers the most tax ridden. Certainly any system that would any farther oppress them ought to be resisted, but placing all taxes upon land values will not oppress the farmers. On the contrary it will place the burden of taxation upon the valuable land of the large cities, and the very valuable mining and oil lands, when a square acre often has more value than a whole fertile farming county.
Deacon S. V. White of Brooklyn and Wall street recently made a speech at Galesburg, O., in which, after boasting of the immense opportunities offered to industry and enterprise in this country, he referred to the fact that he himself began his business career thirty-five years ago by sawing wood in Galesburg at seventy-five cents a day, the necessary inference being; that any American who begins life by sawing wood, or performing other manual labor, may, by diligence and thrift, come to be as rich as Deacon White is, within thirty-five years.
The same New York paper which reports the deacons speech informs us that the drivers and conductors of a street railway chiefly owned by Mr. White are complaining to district assembly 75, K. of L., that they are allowed only half an hour for dinner, instead of an hour, and that there is no regularity in their trips.
The connection which Deacon White endeavored to establish in the minds of the people of Galesburg between sawing wood at seventy-five cents a day and becoming a millionaire within thirty-five years is somewhat difficult. The connection between the unpaid daily performance of half an hour's extra work by some hundreds or thousands of men, and the rapid increase of the wealth of the man for whom they work, is decidedly obvious.
The pro-poverty economists and papers tell us that in thus demanding a daily extra half hour's work from every one of his drivers and conductors. Deacon White is acting strictly within his rights; he offers his employees a certain wage for a certain amount of work; if they don't feel satisfied with it, let them leave the job and go elsewhere. Then one of two things will happen—either men will come forward who will be satisfied to work for Deacon White on Deacon White's own terms, or the deacon, finding it impossible to secure men for the wages he offers, will be compelled to accede to his present employees' demands. In either case, the matter will have been settled without friction, and in strict accordance with the laws of trade. There is an appearance of straightforwardness and simplicity about such a statement of the case that is very captivating—to people who don"t take the trouble to think.
“This,” says Deacon White to his conductors and drivers, “is my railroad. If you don't choose to work on it on my terms, leave it! If you want to dictate the terms on which a railroad shall be run, go get a railroad of your own!”
All right. Suppose they do it. Let us fancy that the conductors and drivers, taking the deacon at his word, and favored by extraordinary good luck, hunt around until they find people willing to let them have the use of sleepers and iron and cars and horses—the whole equipment of a railroad, in short. Still something is lacking—the most essential thing of all. Before they can lay or operate their road, they must get something more, which Deacon White has, and which they haven't—the franchise the privilege of using the streets. Without that, ties and iron and cars and horses and their own brawn and muscle are useless to them; their condition is practically unchanged; they must still accept the deacon offered terms or remain idle.
“This is ridiculous,” says the pro-poverty advocate. “There are plenty of occupations besides railroading; let these discontented fellows select some other vocation for which no franchise is needed, and go to work at that.” And where, pray, are these vocations to be found? Mr. Maloney, the car driver, could make an excellent living by crossing- the river to the Jersey shore and breaking the solid rock of the Palisades up into paving blocks. There is plenty of demand for these blocks; there are millions of tons of rock to split them out of; a hammer, a drill and a pound or two of gunpowder are all the capital required for the business. But let Mr. Maloney go to work on the Palisade rocks, and straightway some fellow will appear with his little franchise paper, duly signed, sealed and delivered, confounding Maloney's impudence, and vigorously explaining that he doesn't want paving blocks split out of that rock just now, and when he does, he'll hire a man to do it at suitable wages.
Is Mr. Maloney an agriculturist? There are thousands of acres of arable land close at hand, untilled and vacant; but for every acre some individual possesses a written franchise, such as Deacon White holds for his railroad. Is he a house builder? Before he can go to work appears some franchise holder from whom permission to build must be bought Soil, rock, mineral, over each and all of them stand people waving franchise papers, forbidding any man to go to work unless he gives them so much out of what he makes, and contemptuously bidding him, if he doesn't like the terms they offer, to go elsewhere.
In the light of these facts, Deacon White's fair-seeming suggestion to his employees to go look for work somewhere else if they don't like his hours or his pay is something of a mockery. And the methods by which, within the space of thirty-five years, a man can develop from a wood sawer at seventy-five cents a day to a several-times millionaire are pretty evident An immense and steadily increasing mass of humanity is urged to labor by the pressing need of food and shelter; a small body of men hold franchises which enable them to say whether other men shall go to work or not Manifestly, the sure way to wealth is, not to work, but to become a franchise holder and sell the privilege of working to others. And this is what Deacon White, and other millionaires have done. What the good man meant to say in his Galesburg speech was, not that the way to get rich is to saw wood at seventy-five cents a day, which is absurd, but that a man may begin life by working at seventy-five cents a day and get rich nevertheless, provided he is cunning enough, and unscrupulous enough, and lucky enough to get possession of a sufficient quantity of franchises to make an army of men work for him.
In a blind, unconscious, groping sort of a way these facts are recognized by our law makers and administrators. Only the other day there arrived in this port of New York fifteen Irish families—ninety-three souls in all—from Killarney, in Ireland, against whom the heinous charge was made that they had no money wherewith to buy permission to go to work. The grown persons among them were stout, able-bodied and healthy, and of good moral character—the same sort of people exactly as were the ancestors of the best and most aristocratic families of New York and other of our cities; but they brought with them nothing but a willingness to work, and—and—in fact, all the work franchises have been gobbled by the best families aforesaid, and there are no more left. And so free America sought to bang the door in the face of oppressed Ireland, and but for a judicially discovered “defect” in the law would have sent the fools who had fled hither to be rid of landlordism back to Killarney, bidding them put money in their purses before they came again.
It was a cruel thing to try to do, but strictly logical. It rather takes the point off our Fourth of July oratory to be sending the oppressed of Ireland back to Ireland and refusing them an asylum here, but really it's the very least we can do, in justice to Mr. Maloney, the car driver, and his fellows. For if we insist that Mr. Maloney and the rest of the people already here shall compete, each with all the rest, to see who will give most to the holders of franchises in return for the privilege of working for a living, it would be a manifest injustice to make the competition keener by introducing fresh competitors.
There is an alternative, of course—there always is. We might tell Deacon White and the other franchise owners that God evidently provided this earth for the use of the people living in it, and that if they want to control the franchises of car running, and stone cutting, and grain raising, and coal mining, and so forth, to the exclusion of Mr. Maloney and his fellows, they must be content to pay for them whatever they may be worth. Such a system would very soon throw the work franchise open, not only to Deacon White's car drivers and conductors and all the rest of the plundered poor of these United States, but also to as many Killarney families as might choose to immigrate; or, for that matter, to the whole population of Europe if they came here in a body.
But then it wouldn't be possible for a man to begin life by sawing wood at seventy-five cents a day and become a double or treble millionaire within thirty-five years.
It is said that the various manufacturers and importers of india rubber have decided to pool their interests in one grand combination, to be known as the “rubber trust;” and, whether the report be true or not, it is interesting as illustrating one of the strangest tendencies of the modern industrial system—that toward combination and consolidation. The small producers are swallowed up by the larger; the large producers are combined into corporations; and these in turn are aggregated into pools or syndicates or trusts, in such a way as to render competition among producers not only needless and unprofitable, but absolutely impossible. By acting together in this way the coal mine owners settle month by month what shall be the people's allowance of coal, and what price the people shall pay for it; the railway monarchs impose upon commerce such rates as it can bear; the Standard oil trust prevents competition among the refineries; the phosphate rock;syndicate regulates the phosphate mining of South Carolina; the cotton seed oil trust rules the market of the whole United States, and the rubber trust will fix the price of its raw material, regulate the manufacture of rubber products, and determine, with mathematical certainty, the highest rate of profit that can be exacted without unduly checking consumption.
Thus the march of concentration goes on, in obedience to the law of social evolution; tending more and more to abolish that competition which is said to be the life of trade, while enforcing and rendering keener the competition for employment among the great mass of the people who have only brain and muscle to offer in exchange for the necessaries of life. That these combinations are well nigh irresistible engines of oppression is a truth which even the pro-poverty press and preachers are forced to recognize. What is less generally understood is that their power of oppression is mainly due to the counter pressure against their victims of the unyielding wall of landlordism. Between the syndicate which will give him work only upon its own terms and the land monopolist who either absolutely refuses him permission to work, or grants it on terms still more oppressive, the laborer is rapidly being squeezed to the limit of his endurance. The situation is becoming plainer every day to whomsoever, having eyes, will see. It is fortunate for our civilization that as the evil becomes more apparent the remedy also grows more evident When once the equal right of access to the general bounties of nature shall have been restored to men by the absorption of land values in taxation, if these giant combinations are not transformed from instruments of oppression to beneficent agents of production, the way to deal with them will at least have been made clearer.
The labor party is petitioning the pope to reinstate McGlynn and denounces O'Brien because he refuses to advocate the theory that the Irish should steal their landlords' property.—[Mail and Express.]
Two deliberate falsehoods. The labor party has never thought of petitioning the pope or any other foreign prince, and it denounces William O'Brien, not because he refuses to advocate the theory that the Irish should steal their landlords' property, but because he persists in advocating the theory that the landlords should only steal seventy-five per cent of their tenants' property.
A correspondent calls attention to the fact that a sale of land is mentioned in the Bible before that by which the people of Egypt delivered up their lands and their bodies to Pharaoh to gain relief from famine. This is true, though the sale was not one such as we would even at this day call a real estate transaction. It was merely the purchase of a burial lot. Sarah being dead, Abraham begged of the children of Heth that they would give him possession of a burial place, and Ephron sold him the field in which was situated the cave of Machpelah for the purpose. This certainly indicates that private ownership in land was known to the Hittites, or children of Heth, but it must be remembered that the Hittites were a Hamite race, neither of the country nor kindred of Abraham or Isaac, and that the Old Testament does not represent them as enjoying the favor and guidance of God. the Standard , therefore, appears to have been right in showing that the first real estate operation, as we-understand the term, was that which delivered the Egyptians into slavery, and that the direct command of God to the chosen people forbade to them the system of ownership in anything more than the mere right to the use of land.
Queries And Answers
The Tariff and the Land Value Tax
Newburyport.—I wish to inquire whether or not your system of taxing land values could be applied, and yet maintain a protective tariff? Having read your “Protection, or Free Trade?” I am convinced that by the abolishment of our protective tariff our burdens would be greatly diminished. But there are many who, although they believe that land values, and not improvements, should be taxed, are as yet unwilling to abolish the system of raising revenues by an indirect taxation.
A. R. Curtis.
The system of taxing land values alone could not be fully applied without abolishing both revenue and protective tariffs. All who understand the land value tax and appreciate its far-reaching effects in setting labor free are not only willing, but anxious to abolish our system of raising revenue by indirect taxation. Those people to whom you refer as believing “that land values and not improvements should be taxed,” and who also favor indirect taxation, have other reasons than conviction for approving the land value tax. They, unlike yourself, have not read “Protection or Free Trade.”
New York, June 8.—I have submitted the following paragraph to a friend of mine, who, upon reading it, declares that I am wrong in my statement. Will you please state whether my statement is true or not:
“Land value is an intangible value which can only be created by the aggregation of population, in the creation of which one member of a community contributes as much as another—his presence. Indeed, in many cases, the land owner does not even do so much.”
Charles H. Mitchell.
Your statement, so far as it relates to real as distinguished from speculative land values, is perfectly correct, except that improvements in the arts, government, manners, morals, and so on, also create land values. Your idea evidently is that it is only demand for land that creates land values, and that landlords contribute no more than the rest of the community, and in this you are right. The only way in which landlords specially contribute to land values is by come ring land, and thus giving to it a speculative value; in doing that they are not entitled to the gratitude of other people, nor would they do it, except in expectation of future demand for use. Your use of the adjective, “intangible,” is unnecessary.
New York, June 10.—An esteemed friend of mine has purchased a house and lot, which cost him $13,500, on which he has paid $2,000 in cash, and the balance is secured by a mortgage at five per cent per annum. Supposing that through legislation a single tax becomes an accomplished fact, how would he be affected by it? And what would prevent the holder of the mortgage from foreclosing in consequence of the fall in land values?
Benjamin Van Veen.
The single tax would make such a change in the industrial conditions that it is impossible to say exactly how your friend would be affected. His land value would fall, while the interest and principal on his mortgage would not. If he took advantage of the improved business condition, he would make enough more than, as an average business man, he makes now, to enable him t o keep down the interest and pay off the principal with greater ease than he can now. If he did not take advantage of that improved condition, but relied solely on the land and house for his income, he would be foreclosed. That this would be an injustice to him so far as it affected his interest in the house is undisputed; but his wrong would be temporary. while the greater wrong which the land value tax would remove is perpetual. Which shall we choose?
A Lupsus Calami
Lynn, Mass., June 14.—In the last Standard is a bad misprint in an article on the effect of a tax on land. It says, I believe, that whatever tends to increase the supply of anything tends to increase the price. Should like to see it corrected this week.
T. P. Perkins.
It was a slip of the pen and should read, “Whatever tends to increase the supply of anything tends to decrease the price.”
Land Grabbing in Henry VIII's Time
Oswego, N. Y.—The present immoral theories of private ownership of land are comparatively modern and were allowed to grow and assert themselves after the causes of the feudal tenures had ceased to exist, but at various times they were opposed even by laws. The 13th of the 25th of Henry VIII, after reciting the fact that greedy and covetous persons had accumulated a vast multitude of farms and had kept them in their hands to the exclusion of husbandmen, thus driving them to robbery and theft or to cold and hunger, enacted that no person should hold or own more than two farms, and even restricted the owners in the manner of use of such farms. The act was aimed at the merchants of London, who were becoming large land owners and were pleased to think that they could use their lands in the same manner as their goods and merchandise. The change of the tenure of land and the doctrine of its private ownership gradually drove the small land owners into the ranks of the agricultural laborers until the present land monopoly was reached.
The statesmen of early times were charmed to see the small land owners disappear. They held that the possession of a small estate tended to make its owner revolutionary and democratic, while, on the other hand, the great landlords would be interested in maintaining present institutions—that the land would be better cultivated, and thus the nation would become richer and more prosperous. Even the great Bacon lamented the law against enclosing the commons, holding that it was a blow at the prosperity of the nation. He evidently considered the wealth of a few individuals or of a class the index of the prosperity of the whole people. Our able statesmen make the same great mistake.
The vast amount of unoccupied land in this country has made us as indifferent to the immorality of the present system of land tenure as the English of those days were to its gradual appearance. They also had land enough and to spare, and would have thought the present condition of the people of England impossible.
C. N. Matson.
Owners of Lands and Lives
Chihuahua, Mexico, June 1.—Your doctrines have been my day dreams for years. I have been a soldier asleep on his arms for lack of a leader. Your books are trumpet calls to battle. Among my friends are many Mexicans who snare our views. To the few who read English I lend your books, and to those who cannot I talk about the subject, which we have dubbed “Duenos de tierras y vidas,” viz, “Owners of lands and lives.” There are millions of acres in private hands here, where the miserable “peons'” sons inherit nothing but a right to slave and pay the debts of their fathers. The hopelessness of it all is that these people are as content as swine when hunger is satisfied, and when not, they are patient, very patient, and die easily. Even now the municipal lauds set apart for each town and village are passing from the possession of the people; even their “burros” can no longer graze on the common lands at liberty lest they should encroach on the rich neighbors' corn fields. This land is owned by the township and the rents go to the town, but the rich men of the town fix the rents, so that the workers gain little or no advantage. Truth is our beacon.
Truth Told in a College Oration
B. J. Hazen of Middlebury, Vt., in a college oration recently, said: “Let us consider for a moment what would be the result if one, shrewder than his fellows, should put an invisible barrier of ownership about the fishing ground, saying: 'This is mine. You can not go there except upon my terms.' The men who wished to fish there would no longer have the whole product of their labor, but would be compelled to hand over whatever proportion of their earnings the owner chose to take. There is no difference in the last result whether a man owns the labor of other men or whether he owns the land upon which those men must live. In either case the proprietor grows rich by appropriating the products of the toil of others.”
Dr. McGlynn as an Orator
Washington, D. C, June 1.—I had the great pleasure of hearing Dr. McGlynn here, and regret that I could not form his acquaintance. I have rarely heard his equal as an orator, and I have heard Clay, Webster, Calhoun, Phillips and others. At the same time 1 more cordially responded to every thing he said than to any speech I ever heard. After seeing and hearing him I can understand how it is that he holds his old flock, in spite of his church authorities, spell bound. God bless and preserve him, and speed the good cause!
David R. Goodloe.
A Path Marked by the Footprints of the Savior
Rahway, N.J., June 14.—It is the prominence which Dr. McGlynn gives to the religious aspect of this grand reform that arms him with power. It heretofore has been the weakness of social reformers that they have ignored (to a great extent) the Gospel. It is this which makes socialism and communism so utterly powerless to influence the American mind, and it is because the “new crusade” emblazons the cross (symbol of the teaching, suffering Christ) on its standard—for that and that alone—I have enrolled myself among its defenders. To me, a pledged minister of the gospel, Jesus Christ is first, last and everything; and He is so because I find in Him all truth. Himself the “Good Samaritan” of His own parable, He came to bind up the wounds of suffering humanity, to pour on them the soothing oil and to wash them with the healing wine. To follow Him in this is to do what that “priest of the people” and you are aiming to accomplish, and I go with you, whom I have never seen and may never see, because, and only because, 1 see the path to have long before been marked by the footprints of my Lord. Fealty to Christ demands it.
(Rev.) William Rollinson.
Mr. O'Brien Evicted a Great Principle
Chicago, June 12.—I am delighted with the manner in which you,handle William O'Brien in your issue of the 11th. Without being an Irishman or a Catholic, I have seen the “Irish issues” deftly manipulated and mixed up with American “issues,” lo! these many years! And now comes this Mr. O'Brien and fears the intrusion of American “issues” upon the holy cause of collecting money for the Irish parliamentary party from the Hoffman house genus of the saviors of American society.
Possibly the practical question with Mr. O'Brien was $25,000 without consistency, or else consistency without $25,000; he chose the former with tears trickling down his cheek for the poor, oppressed, evicted tenants of Lansdowne, while he himself was evicting the reform principle from his own heart.
August E. Gans.
Bulletin Boards as Missionaries
East Saginaw, Mich., May 30.—Let me suggest that a good way to “spread the light” would be by use of the bulletin board. On this could be pasted an extract from some article on an industrial topic, one of those short, sharp and decisive arguments so often found in the Standard , for instance. These bills could be printed in one place at small cost, in large, bold type, and the locals of the Knights of Labor, labor unions, granges, brotherhoods or any other societies or organizations might hang out a board either before their rooms or in some prominent place, and in this simple way Supply information to great numbers of people.
An Edifice of Liberty
Brooklyn, June 9.—Of Irish descent, I was born, bred, and have ever been a strict Roman Catholic, believing that to be the one true church. But I always believe that Americans will never tolerate foreign dictation in our political affairs, for that determination is inborn in them, and those-who become Citizens soon imbibe the same feeling. Father McGlynn and you are laying the foundations of an edifice of liberty that will never crumble, and are sowing seeds that will yield good fruit, lifting men up and not dragging them down and disgracing them. All hail, and God-speed to you both, and to your heaven born cause.
Patrick O. Maloney.
Didn't Know How to Grind His Ax
Detroit, Mich., June 6.—If landlordism is wrong in Ireland, it must be wrong the world over, and I don't see how Editor O'Brien, with all his metaphysical skill, is to get out of that box. Given a principle that is wrong in one place, it must assuredly be wrong altogether. What is sauce for the goose will do just as well for the gander. Mr. O'Brien had an ax to grind, and at the last moment he inadvertently let the edge fall on the grindstone, and so undid in a moment all his labor. Who have been supporting the Irish land league? Is it not the people? Certainly not the moneyed interests, excepting at election times.
J. F. Duncan.
A Great Day for Cincinnati
The Henry George club of Cincinnati is completing arrangements for a rousing celebration of the Fourth of July. It has engaged the Zoological garden, which comprises sixty-five acres of woodland, lake and pleasant walks, and in addition to the usual entertaining features of music and games, there will be elaborate exercises peculiar to the day. Addresses will be delivered by Joseph R. Buchanan of Chicago, Warren W. Bailey, editor of the Vincennes, Iowa, News, and Henry George. Arrangements have been made for excursions from all parts of Ohio, Indiana and Kentucky. It is expected that many thousands will attend.
An Eight-Year-Old Anti-Povertyite
Will you please send me some tracts? I go to school every day, but I can give them out after I come home. My mamma and papa belong to the Anti-poverty society and I will join, too, when I get money enough, if they will take a boy eight years old. I get all the tracts I can find when I go to the Academy of Music Sunday nights. but I only get a few. We all love Dr. McGlynn, but we are not Catholics. I will do all I can to help the cause along. I like Henry George, too, and I want to be like Dr. McGlynn when I get older. Please send the tracts to my mamma, Mrs. Burroughs.
Harry F. Burroughs.
Want to Know the Reason Why
New York, May 25.—A former democrat, I am now a stanch advocate of your system of taxation, no matter who says it is wrong. The pope and others say it is wrong, but we all ask why is it wrong? And these people answer, “Because it's wrong!” Now, this may be very convincing argument to their followers, but so far as the masses of us are concerned, more substantial reasons will have to be given. Call the party that seeks the amelioration of the condition of the working people by whatever name you please, and I am a member of it.
The Free Soil Club's Lecture
The first lecture of a course given under the auspices of the Free soil club was delivered on Wednesday evening last by Hon. Thomas G. Shearman, at the Cooper union, the subject being “Taxation.” That the subject was treated in a masterly style need hardly be told those who read the gentleman's paper on “The Single Tax” recently published in this paper. Rev. Charles P. McCarthy and Henry George addressed the audience briefly, Mr. George extending to Mr. Shearman an invitation to repeat his lecture before the Anti-poverty society.
“Please Bite on This File”
New York, June 9.—Shame on the writer of such stuff as that which appeared in the New York Herald (which so bitterly opposed and ridiculed Parnell and Davitt in their early struggles) under the head of “Please Bite on this File.” It is an insult to Irishmen supposing that they are not competent to understand the false light in which he tries to place Henry George, whose noble doctrine is “the land for all the Irish,” the laborer as well as the tenant farmer. Irishmen do not eat hay. They want no rights for themselves which they are not willing to concede to others.
J. T. C.
A Bright Young Paper
The Milwaukee, Wis., Review is a young, handsome, union, daily paper, that advocates the abolition of all taxes, save one on land values. It is doing important work in starting a great many people in and around Milwaukee thinking.
Mrs. J. Hood Wright gave a garden party at Fort Washington lately. Among the attractions was a Punch and Judy show for the children, with a plentiful supply of strawberries and cream.
Katie Ludvig, aged 16, Carrie Pohl, aged 14, and Annie Ludwig. aged 15, sued the Castle braid company of 103 and 105 Thompson street, New York, for wages due. It appeared in evidence that all three girls were experienced hands, the elder having been at work for three years and the two younger for six and seven months respectively. Their wages were $2 a week, and their hours of labor ten daily. Judgment was given for the plaintiffs.
the Standard oil trust has a capital of over $100.000,000, the Cotton oil trust of $30,000,000 the Cattle trust of $25,000,000, and the Rubber trust, just organized, has a capital of $35,000,000. “In God we trust” may be a good enough motto for the people of the United States, but its capitalists go in for another “trust” altogether.—[Philadelphia Press.]
An ingenious young beggar has been doing a brisk business along the East river ferries for a few weeks. He is a small, sore-eyed boy ten or twelve years old, with a pinched sad face. He always has four pennies and wants one more to pay his car fare to Harlem. He worked Wall, South, Fulton and Catharina ferries very successfully until last Saturday Then a broker at Wall street ferry recognized the little scamp as the same boy to whom he had given a penny early last week on the same plea. The broker denounced him so vigorously that he hasn't been seen there since.—[New York Sun.]
The whole population deals in real estate—it is a veritable fever; all buy; all sell; thus far all make money. As there has been a steady rise and no break eastern capitalists are constantly sending large sums to back up this endless bargaining. The business blocks built and building are very fine, and the people have erected for themselves many beautiful homes. It is a city built in a night, and has therefore every modern improvement and no obsolete inconveniences. And if you did not plunge from a $50,000 house into a wretched hole filled with almost "squatter sovereignty," you could enjoy its really natural beauty.—[Kansas City Letter.]
A Castle garden confidence man named Mancini ingratiated himself with two Italian immigrant” women the other day, and on pretense of buying their tickets for Chicago, got possession of ail their money—some $800. The money was recovered by the police, and the swindler lodged in jail.
Jay Gould's new private car has been completed at a cost of $35,000. It was built at Pullman, III., and is called the Atalanta.—[Altoona Independent.]
A cent bed house has been established in the City of Mexico, where the poor can find lodgings for that modest sum.—[Exchange.]
The Eastern Seaboard bituminous association at a meeting held in Philadelphia, resolved to enforce the rules of the association against the cutting of prices in New York. The association also contemplates making another advance of ten cents a ton in prices about July 1.
On the dusty grass at lunch time I noticed that Mr. Grace's guests were industriously throwing fragments of their feast from the coach, and that yet not a particle of food was to be seen on the grass. Not less than twenty hungry wretches were hanging about that coach and eagerly picking out of the dust even the smallest and least attractive fragments of food. Chicken bones, scraps of bread and pie crust were eagerly snatched up and fought over. From a coach near by a party of young men gayly inclined were entertaining a crowd of just such starving wretches, tossing bones to them, and deriving considerable sport from their doglike struggles.—[London letter in New York Sun.]
A white baby was born in South Sioux City, Neb., the other day, and it being the first occurrence of the sort there the Citizens celebrated by serenading the newcomer and presenting it with a corner lot.
Bribery is to be made more difficult and costly in Chicago. Under the new law the city will have forty-eight aldermen instead of thirty-six.
It is reported that. the Rev. Dr. Reid, a missionary to central Africa, has been eaten by the natives.
Whom the Gods Wish to Destroy
Denver, Col., June 6.—Herbert Spencer, in his essay entitled “The Sins of Legislators,” tells us that the law passed by the British parliament to relieve the overcrowding of the poor in the east end of London had just the contrary effect to that desired; and that, as a result of the passage of the law, “11,000 artisans were made homeless, and had to find corners for themselves in miserable places that were already overflowing,” and further, that “at a cost of six and a quarter millions of dollars to the rate payers, 21,000 persons were unhoused, and houses were provided for 12,000, leaving 9,000 houseless.” Let these facts cool the ardor of those who expect much good from the millions of dollars to be expended in improving the condition of the tenement house population of New York city. To those who may be able to pay the increased rent demanded for those tenements near the improvements some benefits may accrue, but the abjectly poor, it is manifest, will derive none whatever.
What will most surprise those who are engineering these imaginary philanthropies, is the fact that Herbert Spencer sees and deplores in them a practical step toward that socialism which is the opprobrium, the terror and the raw head and bloody bones of the capitalistic press, churches and classes. Has that madness seized them which it is said the gods visit on those they intend to destroy?
The Anti-Poverty Democratic Party
Port Jervis, N. Y., June S.—The name of the new party will be settled in this way: The “old liners” will hereafter coalesce, and this aggregation will be known as the republican party. When the conservatives have got together, what then remains for the radical, go-ahead people—the men and women who move the world? They must in time unite on some great principles. Those principles, I think, will be universal suffrage and “the land for all the people.” These forces are moving rapidly. The democratic party sees the handwriting on the wall. The present democratic party must do something. It must absorb the new forces, or else be absorbed. There is no alternative. And the new forces will be known as the democratic party. It is a good name. although somewhat hackneyed and sadly and shamefully misused. But the economic forces will renovate it and wash it white as snow. It will be once more the democratic party of Jefferson.
W. T. Doty.
They Came to Scoff, But Went Away Believing
Green Island, N. Y., June 7.—Dr. McGlynn's lecture in Troy has made him a host of friends. Men came to hear him and to condemn him. With surly faces they watched him as he made his appearance on the stage, and sneered at the grand round of applause that greeted him as he stepped forward. But in a few minutes a pleased expression came over their faces, and before the lecture was half over they were loudest in their applause. Father McGlynn has set many men to thinking and has helped our cause a great deal. As the close of the lecture names and addresses of many who wished to join our organization were handed in, among them two clergymen, one a Catholic priest and the other a Protestant.
Henry C. Romaine.
We Want the Earth
Give as back the earth again,
It was God's free gift to all,
And the time is coming when
Every man must heed this call.
Join the great crusading band,
Front farm, factory and forge;
Fight like heroes for the land
Led by brave McGlynn and George
Angels from the land of rest
Want an Eden in the west,
With free land for all men,
land and homes for all men.
Yes, we want the earth, the mines,
Precious ores, coal fields and oil;
like the air and sun that shines,
They belong to those who toil.
Come, then. join our gallant band,
Help us make great thieves disgorge;
Join our crusade for the land,
Led by dear McGlynn and George.
Angels from a world of bliss
Want an Eden made of this,
With free land for ail men,
With sweet homes for all men.
Yes, we want the earth made free,
Free as water, light and air;
Then God's children all shall be
Free from poverty and care.
Come, then, help our gallant band
Free the soil from rack rent scourge.
Fight, brave comrades, for the land,
Led by good McGlynn and George.
Angels then again will sing,
Till the earth and heaven's ring,
Peace on earth to all men,
Love and peace to all men.
We must have the earth for man,
God has given this decree;
Robbers cannot thwart his plan;
Land and labor must be free,
Potentates and popes of Rome
Must no longer strive to forge
Fetters fatal to the home—
God will bless McGlynn and George,
Angels from their homes above
Sing with us in strains of love;
Golden days are dawning,
Hail the glorious dawning!
B.M. Lawrence, M. D.,
39 West 27th street, New York.
A Dakota Paper
Dakota, June, 1S86.—Since my last letter I have stolen a march on my rival, the Republican editor. I have started a daily piper. He is left in the lurch with his weekly. He has reproached me, of course, accusing me of breaking the terms of our tacit honorable understanding that we should divide the loaves and fishes of our city's journalism. My answer was that the unexpressed but understood agreement between us related simply to what was, and not to what was to be. I knew that no explanation whatever would satisfy him, but I made the answer, a s a business man, seemingly satisfactory to myself. The truth was, I had been aware that he contemplated anticipating my move, and I overreached him in the nick of time. So the sweet public is chanting pæans of congratulation to me, for if the honest people of our city have been well taught in anything, it is to praise the forestaller and smart trickster. My rival is now printing in his somewhat back number weekly complimentary mention of my energy, together with notices of intention soon to start himself what shall be the daily of our part of Dakota. In his sanctum he is bottling his wrath and mixing gall and wormwood to be administered to me in good time.
I, too, have a sanctum of my own. The Daily State Journal must needs have a sanctum. It is a little corner room slightly elevated above the floor level and partitioned off so that I can look out on Main street from one window and on Prairie avenue from another. The partitions are of glass. Through one I can overlook the composing and press rooms; through another the counting and editorial rooms. In the editorial rooms are two working journalists. The of these two lights is a stripling, whose salary is not to be mentioned. He gathers items, which he heads as “Court Cutlets,” “Police Points,” “Sporting Springs,” and “Town Topics,” the latter mainly embodied in such paragraphs as tickle our enterprising fellow citizen, Mr. Push, who is greasing the hinges of his front fence gate; or the indefatigable and talented Professor Tinkle, leader of the city orchestra, who is rehearsing, with his artists, the new air, “The Cowboy Dude;” or, peradventure, Miss Nellie Esmonde, queen of the varieties.
Our other journalist takes to himself the title of managing editor. His duties are manifold. While I, whom he speaks of as “the chief,” attempt to do little more than hold the tiller and suggest what sails to set or take in, he supplies the wind. He knows just what a n editorial should be, and so, day after day, he supplies the paper with formal, perfunctory and platitudinous expressions of the prejudices of the great democratic party that we support. He has seized the subtleties of the art of meaningless and noncommittal word carpentry and joinery. He can accurately describe the current phases of a political situation, hint a t reforms demanded by a much-beloved, logical, conscientious public, and then swing his readers back into the old partisan paths, worn smooth by the tread of the party's leaders. He glories in controversy. He takes up an article from an opposing newspaper, garbles its statements, misrepresents its meaning, distorts the sentiments of its writer, and then triumphantly demolishes his “unfair” opponent, and throws his party into deserved chaos. Our managing editor, you perceive, is a trained editor.
The new daily not being a very large one, our managing editor does reporting, besides recording his thoughts in its columns. He is by instinct a reporter. It never has been necessary for me t o tell him that, a s language was invented to conceal thoughts, so newspapers are printed to suppress the news. He can dilate on half truth and leave the truth alone, omit all mention of the significant -ind spin into columns the details of the trivial if such a course accords with the policy of our paper.
An example or two:
There is a land boom in town. Our reporting managing editor is reveling in promoting the boom. He collects minute details relating to all real estate sales. He pretends t o forecast how far the boom can go, and he places its limit on what I think would be a discount on a population of 20,000 more than we can have ten years hence. His pen sputters wildly as he dashes off “boom” articles. He is excited as he blares to town and country that so and so, whom he dubs a keen observer, or a shrewd speculator, or a rising financier, has cleared $300, or perhaps $1,300, on the sale of a town lot He stops men on the street and fans the boom flame by loudly asking questions and giving whispered “points” (that he dare not publish as yet, he says) about the plans of the boomers. Curiously enough, he is not making a cent by all his activity. He has no money. His meager salary mostly goes to the maintenance of his large family. The perquisites of his office are only liquid “courtesies” offered by men expecting business notices free. But he, in common with our community, is burning in every fiber with boom fever.
Have you ever stood by a gaming table and watched the emotions of the people surrounding it? At the turn of a card the dealer takes from the table the chips that the bank has won and sizes out upon the table the little piles of chips each player has gained. Agitated men gaze intently upon t l ie play. They all have the startled look of hunted animals. Usually one is playing a desperate game. His actions are observed with the deepest interest as he plunges along betting to the limit of the play. Others bet with him or against him steadily, on theory. The non-players exhibit greater excitement than the players, for they can talk in hurried undertones. In the group you will see, if you scrutinize the men closely, some turn suddenly pale. Others sweat, others tremble, others cannot command their speech. If you could see and feel the mechanism of their bodies what a revelation there would be of nervous tension, of sudden qualms at the stomach, of aches piercing the brain like sharp instruments, of mad coursing of the blood from a palpitating heart through arteries and veins to every part of a shocked and faint body.
Our town is now in such a frenzy. Man, woman and child is talking of its boom. When our paper is issued in the morning its complete reports of real estate sales, and its glowing stories of more to come, are the first parts read by an anxiously waiting and virtuous public. Who has made a winner? Who has proved his business talent? Who is further away from poverty? Who is now in a position to get wealth without working for it? A lucky few are in the front rank of the speculators. Yet all men chatter and suffer from excitement as if all were equally interested. Hundreds have not a six months' purchase of food or standing room on the earth and never will have; yet the fever is parching their very bones. And our managing editor goes on from day to day firing men's imaginations, quickening their avarice and corrupting their perceptions of integrity. Does he know that he is doing so? Has he an inkling of the truth?—of the fact that every dollar put on to the price of a lot is a dollars mortgage on labor? A few days ago he clipped from another Dakota paper a paragraph (and changed its phraseology slightly to make it his own), that indicated a great advance in his mind of the principles of a question of which he will, I predict, hear more anon. Wealthy foreigners, the thought was, should not be permitted to buy vast tracts of Dakota land; they did not buy their goods of its merchants. His glance was directed toward a wagon that has a star for its guide in moving over Dakota's broad prairies.
As I look out on Main street I see many vacant lots. Lot No. 210 is owned by a city speculator; No. 212 by some capitalist away off somewhere. To the “sub” in our composing room, who has just brought here his wife and two children, what matter who owns it? He does not own it; cannot; and every week it is going further from his reach. The power separating him from it is one that is pushing him and his worthy working fellow citizens to the back streets “across town.” It is a wedge sent slantwise into society, sliding some upward but driving many into the dust. These are truths our managing editor can not tell—at least in my paper.
Our party primary elections were held last night. Our managing editor reported all three of them. His report gave the names of the speechmakers, the supervising officers, the nominations made and the votes taken. That is as much as the public should know. I attended them and saw more. I saw that the successful ticket in each primary had been settled beforehand in caucus of the bosses. They were compromise tickets, the compromise being made as against what the people might want and in favor of what the disputing factions wanted. The votes for the caucus tickets were ready printed and easily voted; those which certain earnest citizens wanted east had to be written. The voters for the bosses' tickets were either roughs or glossy-smooth, small bore politicians; the voters for the earnest but not smart citizens were men who rather grudgingly took an hour away from their homes to perform a duty. Our city and county ticket is now in the field. It is the caucus ticket. I can begin at the top and go through it to the bottom and tell what influence brought every candidate's name upon it. I know what assessments are to be made on the candidates. I am certain that if the wire pulling, the work behind the curtain, the sharp practice at the primaries, and the amount of the assessments were to be published, our town would have something t o talk about that would be heard of even amid the din of the boom. Some pure and lofty minded candidates would have ague as well as fever. This is all news not to be printed by our managing editor. By the way, he made a speech at one of the primaries. He was called upon to render a tribute to our free institutions as typified on the occasion. It was good. It met the requirements of the hour—sounding well and signifying naught. I can recall one of his sentences: “Our magic city is feeling the embrace of the iron arms of the railroad, which has penetrated what but a few short years ago was the howling wilderness, opened up new and fresh avenues of trade, and carried the blessings of our higher civilization far away beyond the crowded streets of the eastern seaboard cities until these great and beneficent arteries of commerce now link the Alleghenies with the snowcapped Sierras, whose cloud-piercing summits are reflected in the broad, limpid bosom of the pellucid Pacific.” About as true as it is beautiful, dear managing editor, and, between ourselves, bombastic. And something more has been brought here from the older east. In the wake of man advancing toward the setting sun comes a specter vailed behind a thin cloud. Poor men in Dakota in future years will dread that specter, dreaming and waking. It is the awful specter of distress following close upon progress, like shadow upon man. It is invited here by boom criers and by speechmakers who debauch primaries. Dakota, its governor tells us, increased its population last year by 80,000, and there were more prisoners than ever in its two penitentiaries. Its crops last year were bad—the shortage of wheat and oats was one-third from the year before—but its land values increased $20,000,000. Four million more of its acres were fenced in. The black shadow of the poverty specter is spreading over Dakota.
Our managing editor has today asked a favor of me. He has written a friendly notice of half a dozen fellow journalists, and wants it to “go in.” Well, it shall. It may do him some good, for they will send back type-honey for him. Poor scribblers! They have little else to give. Of those to whom he offers his little sweet tribute, four are leaving the territory and two are “surrendering their editorial positions” on this “bright journal” or that “enterprising paper” and “assuming the journalistic tripod” elsewhere. Let us not look too closely at the reasons for the transfers. But we may inquire why, when editors are raising the voice of praise for Dakota, Dakota enriches them not, but lets them carry their siren tones and pens to other parts of the world. The reason, in brief, is that talk is cheap, that liars are given away, a drug in the market, that the humbug “front” of the profession of journalism can be pinned, badge-like, on to anything that can sacrifice honest sentiments or rattle other men's rattles.
Yet our managing editor works hard to earn bread for his bairns. What fault of his if he has been put to graze in a field where so much of the growth is rank dishonesty? There he sits now at the other side of the glass partition. He looks fifty, is more than forty. Short, swarthy, stout, bull necked. His hair is thick and red; his face beardless and harsh-featured. He is hard of eye, solid of cheek and aggressive of manner. His clothes are of a sort that wears long and does not show dirt This pushing, hard working, impecunious, shrewd man is but a man. He carries eves which, seeing, see not He sees that his business is his duty, and, duty done, that ends his view. Why should he tear away the curtain that hides sham? He knows that the crust between the world and truth is thick; he is rather too light a weight to try breaking through it. He might go to pieces and the crust none the thinner.
B. F. C.
St. Stephens' Parishioners
The Meeting Last Friday Night the Largest Yet Held
International hall was not large enough for the people who attended the meeting of St. Stephens' parishioners last Friday evening. Mr. John R. Feeny presided, and was warmly applauded in his references to Father McGlynn. Speeches were also made by James Hackett, Peter Reg an, George Smith and Richard Jeffrey of Greenpoint. Mr. Smith said that three thousand persons from the parish in which he resided, Father O'Hara's and Father Malone's, in Williamsburg, would join in the parade of Saturday. He said that O'Brien's refusal to appear at Union square was an attempt to break down the cause of Dr. McGlynn. Peter Ryan, A. P. McDermott and Richard Caffrey also spoke, the meeting not adjourning until a late hour.
O'Brien Insulted Ireland's Friends
NEW YORK, June 11.—O'Brien came and went. His coming was a kind of Sergeant Bates business, purely sensational, evidently undertaken for the glory of O'Brien. He posed as a martyr, not for a cause, not for a principle, but seemingly for a cheap notoriety. He told us nothing that we did not know before. He created his preconcerted row in Canada, and on the eve of his departure he insulted a hundred thousand congregated friends of Ireland who gathered together to manifest their sympathy for his oppressed countrymen.
The cause of Ireland is the cause of humanity, and its strength is in the moral support of men everywhere who love freedom and fair play.
If Mr. O'Brien does not know it is time he was told that the little coterie of Irish landlords in New York represent neither the Irish nor the American sentiment upon any question. If they lived in England or Ireland they would simply be English or Irish landlords. Henceforth they will neither do the thinking nor the voting for the Irish population in New York. The toils of Tammany are broken forever, and it will invoke in vain the aid of the Catholic church to compel subserviency in political matters. When labor asserts itself it is invincible.
Is the “Herald” Going to Answer These Questions?
New York Herald.
To the Editor of the Herald: You published editorially in your issue of the 9th an article entitled “A Very Plain Talk About A Very Important Matter,” in reply to a request from a workingman who wished to be informed about the situation in relation to George and Dr. McGlynn, which article I have read with great interest, and, I trust, some profit, and I wish to supplement the inquiry of the workingman ref erred to by asking a reply to the following queries:
1. Do you really believe that the article in question gave the plain facts and inferences from them?
2. Is it a plain fact that the Catholic church has condemned George's theories? If so, when did it do so?
3. Is it not disingenuous to state as a plain fact your assumption that the opinion of an Italian ecclesiastic on political economy is the dictum of the Catholic church?
4. Where is the analogy between the lieutenant you cite who defies his general and Dr. McGlynn? Would not the comparison be a plainer fact if you were to say that, whereas the lieutenant, as a soldier, fills in the completest measure everything implied in the term, yet as his (the lieutenants) theory, let us say, for instance, on “tittle bats” differs from his generals, the general may as well take off his epaulettes, because he is defied by his lieutenant, who holds such a theory?
5. Why do you state your very plain talk in a way to create the impression that Catholics must obey every passing whim of the pope on any subject whatever?
6. When has George taught that Catholics must become Protestants before they can be his faithful followers? This statement I suppose you mean to be an inference, but in the face of the fact, which every intelligent Catholic child knows, that Catholics are no more bound than Protestants to accept anything from Rome but her religion, what becomes of your inference?
7. Admitting the absolute right of private ownership in land, by what reasoning do you deny that landlords have not the right to do what they please with it ?
8. Is not the “plan of campaign,” by which Irish landlords are forced to accept in some cases only fifty per cent of their rent, a campaign of robbery to that extent and different from George's doctrines only in degree?
9. Is it not a misstatement to say that George “practically takes sides with the tories, with the redcoats, who smash the peasants' dishes and kick him into a bog,” in view of the fact that upon one of your own conditions which goes to make up a good Irishman—namely, pay the landlords but half of what they ask—George more than fills your requirement, and he ought, therefore, to be regarded as even better than an Irishman, because he would pay the landlords no rent at all?
10. Why do you state that the followers of George say “it is justifiable to evict tenants” when you know the only reason you have for making the charge is the inference you draw from the fact that George's followers cannot deny the right to evict if they admit the right of private ownership in land? Can you?
11. Is there anything more incongruous in the fact, which for the sake of argument I admit, of George, a Protestant, advising Catholics not to submit to dictation from the pope than you, a Protestant, exhorting Catholics to obey the pope implicitly and blindly?
12. Finally, was not your plain talk really meant for the maritime cavalry and not for workingmen to aid them in forming a correct judgment?
New York, June 10, 1887.
Willful Misrepresentation or Ignorance
Rev. Hugh O. Pentecost.
The Rev. J. Benson Hamilton, a Methodist minister in New York, is reported to have said last Sunday, in the course of a sermon upon “Real anti-poverty, versus the sham,” in which he strongly opposed the land tax movement.
“This crusade is falsely styled 'new.' It brings no new discovery. It is but a redressing of an antiquated maxim: 'What is mine is mine; what is thine is mine.' To put its demands into one sentence is very easy—'We demand that the state shall formally take possession of all land and let it out to the highest bidder, the income from the land shall be divided among the owners, the people. When this is done poverty will have been destroyed.'”
This is sheer misrepresentation. No person defines property more clearly or contends for the sacredness of property rights more positively than Henry George. The motto for the Anti-poverty society might well be “What is mine is mine; what is thine is thine; what is partly mine and partly thine is ours in common.” Is not that a just platform? As for the state taking possession of all the land and letting out to the highest bidder. Henry George proposes no such thing. He would have land free to be taken by anyone who finds it vacant. If it is worth anything in the open market, if it has a salable or rentable value, the user of it will be taken by the community up to its full value, because whatever value attaches to the land is due to the growth of the community. If it is worth nothing the user will pay nothing for its use. No one may take that land by a higher bid to the state. If anyone wants it he must buy it at the occupants price. The Rev. J. Benson Hamilton either knows this or does not. If .he knows it he willfully misrepresents Mr. George's teaching. If he does not know it he should inform himself before discussing the subject.
Dr. McGlynn at Syracuse
Syracuse, N.Y., Evening Herald
The doctrine of anti-poverty was peculiarly fascinating as presented last evening at Alhambra hall by the Rev. Dr. McGlynn. His manly presence, his air of thorough sincerity and absolute conviction, and his restrained yet eloquent utterance, combined to hold the closest attention of his hearers, whether they listened with believing or doubting ears, to the outline of the new crusade to which the doctor is devoting himself. In looking upon this man one is first of all impressed by his fearlessness and his philanthropy in jeoparding his church relations, which are so honorable, for the sake of his suffering fellow creatures. He has not antagonized the powerful Roman Catholic church to become the leader of a new theology nor to promote ambition or greed. He has simply thrown himself heart and soul into a movement which, to his mind, promises the best and most practical solution of the great problem of the distribution of wealth. . . . We do not see how anyone can deny the truth of his descriptions of the existing order of things in society. We all recognize that selfishness, avarice, injustice, vice and crime abound, and we blind our eyes if we fail to see that these evils are more than keeping pace with our progress in population and industrial wealth. . . If the movement grows, if it can stand the test of time, men will come to its support. Then in the fullness of time conservatism may yield and the new order of things come about when the world is ripe for it.
He Approves Mr. Keeler's Suggestion
Denver, Col., May 23.—-I have carefully read every issue of the Standard , and approve of B.C. Keeler's suggestion that the new party adopt the name of “free soil party” or “free land party.” I have never thought it advisable to use the word “labor,” because of its deterring effect upon a very large class of people for the reason that it has come to have a narrow and technical meaning. Everyone should be made to feel that the new party is the people's party, the party of liberty, the party of emancipation, of progress and justice, and not that it is the farmers' or the mechanics' party. No one man or class of men can get a corner on all the credit that is the reward of those who fight for justice, nor do I think there is any such ambition prevalent.
F. Q. Stuart.
“Let Them Strike, But Make Them Hear”
Lowell, Mass.—The principles you advocate have many friends here. The attachment of Dr. McGlynn's friends has increased a hundred fold since the last great triumph of his manliness under the threat of excommunication. I am a Catholic. and I say to him in the words of the poet:
Be thou like the noble ancient,
Scorn the threat that bids thee fear.
Speak, no matter what befall thee;
Let them strike, bu'- make them hear.
The M'Glynn Demonstration
A Countless Multitude Ready to Show Their Colors in the Streets
With fair weather, the demonstration in honor of Dr. McGlynn will be as successful as his most sanguine friends could desire. The call to defend his rights as an American Citizen, and to protest against the persecution to which he has been subjected, will be responded to by hundreds of thousands, who will line the route of the parade, march in the procession, or assemble in front of the speakers' stands in Union square. No organization of any kind that could be expected to join in the demonstration has hesitated in arraying itself among the doctor's supporters. The meetings of the committee of arrangements and the marshals of the bodies that are to parade have had a full attendance,and all present have vied in bending their energies toward making the day a historic one. So great has been the number of organizations reporting as ready to turn out that Grand Marshal Wm. McCabe sums it up in the statement that a list of them would simply be a list of all the trade and labor organizations of the city. The procession will be grouped in three divisions—civic societies, trade and labor organizations, and political bodies, marching in the order named. The first division will be under the direction of George Smith as marshal, the second under James P. Archibald, and the third under Wm. P. O'Meara.
The organizations will take up positions on the streets intersecting Broadway, between Fourteenth and Eighth streets. They will march down Broadway in two columns, one filing to the left into Astor place and the other to the right into Waverley place. The column moving through Astor place will proceed to Second avenue, to Twenty-third street, to First avenue, to Thirty-ninth street, to Fifth avenue, to Waverley place, to .Broadway and to Union square. The column filing into Waverley place from the start at Broadway will begin with the end of the route gone over by the first column and follow it to the beginning, excepting that it will cross from Fifth avenue to First through Thirty-eighth street. By this plan the two columns will be continually passing each other or in sight of each other. As the procession will be seven miles in length and the route is not four miles, some such disposition of the bodies marching has been deemed necessary. The result will be to obviate tiresome waits for those in line, to shorten the time taken by the parade and to heighten the effect of the spectacle.
The post of honor of the first division will be given to St. Stephen's parishioners, who will be followed by the Anti-poverty society and delegations from the congregation of Father O'Hara in Greenpoint and Father Malone in Williamsburg.
The following gentlemen have been invited to address the meetings: Dr. Coughlin, who will preside; J. J. Gahan, John McMackin, T. B. Maguire, J. P. Archibald, J. J. Bealin, J. E. Quinn, Michael Clarke, Hugh Greenan. Richard Caffrey, Jos. Wilkinson, Colonel Lee of Washington, James A. MeGee of D. A. 75, Wm. McCabe, Dr. H. Carey, John R. Feeny, Jercmiah Murphy, P. H. Doody, David M. Healy, Andrew Murray, Charles Purcell, Thomas F. Kenny, John R. 0'Donnell, Denis Nerney and John J. Clancy. Mrs. Margaret Moore. Mrs. W. McCabe, Mrs. Hackett and others will address the ladies from the cottage.
The O'Brien Incident
The old party press has allowed the O'Brien affair to pass almost entirely out of sight. It needed but the publication of the facts as they were to show that O'Brien's course was engineered by the enemies of the labor party, that the workingmen saw it, and that their ranks suffered from no defection in consequence. All the assembly district organizations have had the O'Brien matter before them, and it has had the effect on them of clearly defining the difference between their principles and those of the Irish parliamentary party. John McMackin has been surprised at the number of letters he has received approving the stand taken by him and the committee of arrangements. Resolutions of the same tenor have been passed by numberless labor organizations and land and labor clubs, enough having been received at this office to fill several columns, perhaps a page, of the Standard .
A Debate Before the Free Trade Club
The Free trade club winds up its monthly public meetings for the season with a joint debate on next Tuesday evening, June 21, between John Jarrett, late a labor advocate and now an officer of the Tin plate association, and F. A. Herwig. the Philadelphia barber who has rallied the carpet weavers of his city to demand abolition of the tariff on wool. The subject of the debate is to be, “How Does Protection Affect Wages?” Mr. Jarrett preaching the doctrine of high tariff, and Mr. Herwig supporting free trace. The meeting will be called to order at 8 p. m., in the large meeting room, No. 24, Cooper Union.
Twelve Hundred Per Cent in a Year
San Diego, Cal.—In this town millions have been made from almost nothing within the past few years. Investments in land have enhanced twelve hundred per cent within twelve months, and tramps and beggars have made their appearance. It is strange that the average man cannot sec how much more he loses than gains by the present system. All, in fact, but a very few are injured rather than benefited, even if they have made a few hundred dollars by “building lots.”
Evacutes A. Phipson.
The Evolution of the Tramp
Oregon, Holt County, Mo.—Prior to 1860 the population of the United States was practically confined east of the Mississippi river. Suddenly the whole south and all that vast prairie region west of the Mississippi, even through the Rocky mountains, was made easily accessible to our population, and yet since then we have heard of tramps for the first time. It seems to me that whoever will consider of this will be convinced there is something besides our greater population; to account for our growing resemblance to European societies.
White Slave Emancipation
Rev. Albert Walkley of Manistee, Mich., in a recent address before a Grand army of the republic post and the Manistee light guards, said: “The emancipation of the negro was but a step toward the greater white slave emancipation. As the ideas of yesterday become the facts of today, larger ideas arise saying, 'Reach out to us.' As the ideas of today are fulfilled, to-morrow's glories arise.”
The Day of Pentecost Has Come
Detroit, Mich., May 31.—I have just read the great and masterly address of Mr. Pentecost, and am very forcibly reminded of a meeting once held upon a day of the same name, when every man heard the gospel preached in such a language that he was able to understand it. Another day of Pentecost has surely come.
(Air—“Maryland, My Maryland”)
Oppression's heel is on thy soil,
Its traitor kings thy wealth despoil,
A wake, as in the days of yore,
When Washington the banner bore;
A wake, and be thyself once more,
Where once the brave, the true, the good,
United for their country stood,
A band of mercenary slaves
On high its flag of discord waves,
While each for power and plunder raves
But all their guile shall come to naught,
The day is past when men were bought,
In vain their shouts the echoes wake,
In vain their idle boasts they make;
Our votes corruption's ranks shall break,
From where the broad Atlantic roars
To California's golden shores,
Our cry goes forth—“We must be free!
The Cross of our Crusade shall be
The oriflamme of victory!
Close up the ranks from east to west^
Let north and south alike be blest,
One country shall our homage claim,
One land indeed as well as name,
With rulers worthy of thy fame,
John Anketell, A. M.
Straws That Show The Wind
The pope desires to see Rev. Dr. McGlynn. Perhaps the pope had better sail for New York.—[Cresco, la., Plaindealer.]
Man has been robbed of his birthright without receiving as much as a mess of pottage in re turn.—[Letter to Boston Investigator.]
New York pays four cents an hour for woman's labor and $6,000,000 for a Protestant Episcopal cathedral.—[Providence people.]
It looks as if Dr. McGlynn and Henry George, despite the utter emptiness of their theories, will play the mischief in. New York politics.—[Baltimore American.]
The doctrine of the Anti-poverty society “in a practical way supports the belief in the fatherhood of God and the brotherhood of man.”—[Johnstown, Pa.. Real Estate News.]
We admire Mr. O'Brien's determination not to be captured by any political faction, but we fear that like those who attempt to stand up too straight, he has fallen backward—into the arms of Tammany hall. We do not wish for a moment to criticize Mr. O'Brien's motives, or his action.—[Brooklyn Examiner.]
The excessive tenderness of all the machine republican organs for the discipline of the church of Rome, and their righteous reprehension of Dr. McGlynn, is extremely affecting. What interests us is the lively zeal of every mouthpiece of monopoly in the land to get McGlynn out of it, and. Safely embarked for Rome.—[San Francisco Examiner.]
In Kingston valuable properties are held by individuals for higher values, the giving of which depends upon no labor or effort of their own; and the non-owners are inclined to the feeling that if the community, as a whole, bestows the benefits, they are entitled to share in them, and can only hope to do so by way of taxation.—[Kingston, Canada, Whig.]
The simple fact is that the millionaire bondholders, bankers and rich men of every class, whose wealth is hoarded up and out of the tax collector's reach, are the most bitterly opposed to George's land theory and are the first to denounce Henry George as an anarchist, communist and things like that.—[Alpena, Mich., Labor Journal]
The discussion of Henry George's proposal for the nationalization of land has led to the general admission that land can be held only for the benefit of the people, and not for individual benefit, and that possession of land is not actual ownership, but is only a trust for the benefit of the community.—[Bobcaygeon, Ont, Independent.]
We have been much disappointed in the general character of the answers and criticisms we have seen of Henry George and his philosophy. They are full of laugh, ridicule and prejudice; but we have thus far failed to see anything like what we would term a substantial, orthodox answer. We wish somebody would get down to business and dish up the fallacy, if it is one.—[Kellogg, la., Enterprise.]
Who is “protected” by a duty which compels the people of this country to pay annually $5,000,000 more for the daylight in their houses than they otherwise would? Not the glass workers, surely. Their wages have diminished. An answer is furnished in the suggestive fact that Mr. De Pauw, the great glass manufacturer of Indiana, recently died, leaving an estate worth §15,000,000.—[New York World.]
Let every Catholic in America say to church, pope and priest that they must not attempt, to extend the authority of the church over politics, science or literature. Religion, and Roman Catholic view of religion, is the legitimate sphere of the Roman hierarchy and nothing else. Let pope and priest be anathema maranatha when they attempt to control the politics or the progress of America.—[Worthington, la., Advance.]
We can remember when the doctrine of the abolition of slavery in this country was looked upon as even more absurd than this land reform proposition. There were no such quiet meetings in advocacy of abolition as there are now in favor of land reform. The persons who occupied the positions now held by Henry George and Dr. McGlynn were stoned and assailed. They were even led through the streets with ropes about their necks; and they were also clubbed and stoned to death. And yet slavery was abolished. “No one can tell what a day may bring forth.”—[Albany Press and Knickerbocker.]
Orator O'Brien was given a draft for $25,000 by the patriotic citizens of New York to be used in behalf of the suffering tenants in Ireland. If the pursey patriots of New York will subscribe an additional $25,000 toward the relief of New York tenants who feed on street garbage and sleep fourteen in a room, they can knock Chairman John McMackin's sarcastic allusions higher than Gilderoy's kite. At present, John has the best of the argument.—[Harrisburg Star.]
A displeased correspondent of the New York World w rote to that paper and asked it to answer, if it could, “What unpatented American industry is a monopoly in this country?” That journal ref erred him to the oil and coal industries. If the correspondent wants further information let him come west—come to Nebraska and gaze upon the workings of both patented and unpatented monopoly industries. We can show him where railroad companies not only own coal mines, but where they fix a price that is beyond all reason, and make the price within one hundred miles of the mines the same as they charge four hundred miles further east. We can show him where unpatented lime is owned and handled exclusively by one railroad company and peddled all over the state at the same price—distance making no difference. We can show him where salt from great salt works is sold in the same manner. We can show him how unpatented dealers get special inducements, and how outrageous freights are charged on unpatented railroads. We could show him “unpatented American industries which are monopolies,” by reason of the aggressions of great corporations, until his eves would water and he would gasp for breath. Come west, young man, and grow up with the country—and while growing up learn the ways of the world as they are here presented.—[Omaha Bee.]
Back To The Land!
Bishop Nulty's Letter To The Clergy And Laity Of His Diocese
God Has No Eldest Sons—Land Common Property, and Land Values Intended for Public Needs—The Land Question the Key to the Labor Question
We reprint below the letter on the land question addressed, in 1881, by Dr. Thomas Nulty, bishop of Meath, to the clergy and laity of his diocese. To better fit it for our columns, some portions in which Dr. Nulty fortifies his position by quotations from well-known economists, and in which he makes special reference to Ireland, and to the reports of parliamentary commissions, have been omitted, amounting in all to perhaps one-sixth of the whole; but everything relating to the general subject has been retained.
To the Clergy and Laity of the Diocese of Meath:
Dearly Beloved Brethren—I venture lo take the liberty of dedicating the following essay to you, as a mark of my respect and affection. In this essay I do not, of course, address myself to you as your bishop, for I have no divine commission to enlighten you on your civil rights, or to instruct you in the principles of land tenure or political economy. I feel, however, a deep concern even in your temporal interests—deeper, indeed, than in my own; for what temporal interests can I have save those I must always feel in your welfare? It is, then, because the land question is one not merely of vital importance, but one of life and death to you, as well as to the majority or my countrymen, that I have ventured to write on it at all. With a due sense of my responsibility, I have examined this great question with all the care and consideration I had time to bestow on it. . .
. . . For my own part, I can assure you, I entertain no unfriendly feelings for any landlord living, and in this essay I write of them not as individual, but as a class; and further, I freely admit that there are individual landlords who are highly honorable exceptions to the class to which they belong. But that I heartily dislike the existing system of land tenure, and the frightful extent to which it has been abused, by the vast majority of landlords, will be evident to anyone who reads this essay through. I remain, dearly beloved brethren, respectfully yours,
Mullingar, 2d April, 181.
Private Property in Land Not Justified by its General Acceptance
Anyone who ventures to question the justice or the policy of maintaining the present system of Irish land tenure will be met at once by a pretty general feeling- which will warn him emphatically that its venerable antiquity entitles it, if not to reverence and respect, at least to tenderness and forbearance. I freely admit that feeling to be most natural, and perhaps very general also; but I altogether deny its reasonableness. It proves too much. Any existing social institution is undoubtedly entitled to justice and fair play; but no institution, no matter what may have been its standing or its popularity, is entitled to exceptional tenderness and forbearance if it can be shown that it is intrinsically unjust and cruel. Worse institutions by far than any system of land tenure can be have had a long and prosperous career, till their true character became generally known and then they were suffered to exist no longer.
Human Slavery Once Generally Accepted
Slavery is found to have existed, as a social institution, in almost all nations, civilized as well as barbarous, and in every age of the world, up almost to our own times. We hardly ever find it in the state of a merely passing phenomenon, or as a purely temporary result of conquest or of war, but always as a settled, established and recognized state of social existence, in which generation followed generation in unbroken succession, and in which thousands upon thousands of human beings lived and died. Hardly any one had the public spirit to question its character or to denounce its excesses; it had no struggle to make for its existence, and the degradation in which it held its unhappy victims was universally regarded as nothing worse than a mere sentimental grievance.
On the other hand, the justice of the right of property which a master claimed in his slaves was universally accepted in the light of a first principle of morality. His slaves were either born on his estate, and he had to submit to the labor and the cost of rearing and maintaining them to manhood, or he acquired them by inheritance or by free gift, or, failing these, he acquired them by the right of purchase—having paid in exchange for them what, according to the usages of society and the common estimation of his countrymen, was regarded as their full pecuniary value. Property, therefore, in slaves was regarded as sacred and as inviolable as any other species of property.
Even Christians Recognized Slavery
So deeply rooted and so universally received was this conviction that the Christian religion itself, though it recognized no distinction between Jew and Gentile, between slave or freeman, cautiously abstained from denouncing slavery itself as an injustice or a wrong. It prudently tolerated this crying evil, because in the state of public feeling then existing, and a t the low standard of enlightenment and intelligence then prevailing, it was simply impossible to remedy it. Thus then had slavery come down almost to our own time us an established social institution, carrying with it the practical sanction and approval of ages and nations, and surrounded with a prestige of standing and general acceptance with calculated to recommend it to men's feelings and sympathies. And yet it was the embodiment of the most odious and cruel injustice that ever afflicted humanity. To claim a right of property in man was to lower a rational creature to the level of the beast of the field; it was a revolting and an unnatural degradation of the nobility of human nature itself. That thousands upon thousands of human beings who had committed no crime, who had violated no law, and who had done no wrong to anyone, should be wantonly robbed of their liberty and freedom; should be deprived of the sacred and inalienable moral rights, which they could not voluntarily abdicate themselves; should be bought and sold, like cattle in the market, and should be worked to death, or allowed to live on a t the .whim or caprice of their owner, was the last and most galling injustice which human nature could be called on to endure.
The Approval of the World Cannot Justify Injustice
The practica1 approval, therefore, which the world has bestowed on a social institution that had lasted for centuries is no proof that at ought to be allowed to live on longer, if, on close examination, it be found to be intrinsically unjust and cruel, and mischievous and injurious besides to the general good of mankind. No amount of sanction or approval that the world can give to a social institution can alter its intrinsic constitution and nature; and the fact of the world's having thus approved of an institution which was essentially unjust, cruel and degrading to human nature, only proves that the world was wrong, but it furnishes no arguments or justification for following it to live on a moment longer.
Private Property in Land the Twin Sister of Slavery
The system of laud tenure in Ireland enjoyed a long and similarly prosperous career, and it, too, has created a state of human existence, which in strict truth and justice, can be briefly characterized as the twin sister of slavery. The vast majority of tenant farmers of Ireland are a t the present moment slaves. They are dependent for their peace of mind, for their material comforts, for the privilege of living under the roof beneath which they were born, and for the right of earning their bread on the farms which their forefathers enriched with their toil, on the arbitrary and irresponsible will of their landlords.
Abject, absolute and degrading dependence of this kind involves the very essence, and is, in fact, the definition of slavery. They toil like galley slaves in the cultivation of their farms from the opening to the close of the year, only to see substantially the whole produce of their labor and capital appropriated by others who have not toiled at all and who even leave them not what would be allowed for the maintenance of slaves who would be expected to work, but what hardly suffices to keep them from dying of want.
When grazing on land had been found more remunerative than tillage, and the people consequently became too numerous, the superfluous multitudes who were no longer wanted under the new state of things were mercilessly cleared off the lands by wholesale evictions to make room for the brute beast, which paid better. Such of the evicted as had the means left to take themselves away were forced to fly for refuge as exiles into almost every laud; and the thousands who could not leave were coolly passed on through hunger and starvation to premature graves.
Let any one who wishes visit this diocese and see with his own eyes the vast and boundless extent of the fairest land in Europe that has been ruthlessly depopulated since the commencement of the present century, and which is now abandoned to a loneliness and solitude more depressing than that of the prairie or the wilderness. Thus has this land system actually exercised the power of life and death on a vast scale, for which there is no parallel even in the dark records of slavery.
But the attention of the civilized world is now steadily fixed on the cruel and degrading bondage in which it still holds a nation enslaved, and therefore its doom is inevitably sealed.
Natural Right, Not Vested Right, Should Control
Some wise and thoughtful men can see no stronger objections to the abolition of landlordism now than were alleged not so long ago against the abolition of slavery. If the public good demanded the summary dismissal of landlords from an important position of trust, which, as a class, they have so grievously abused, and, on the other hand, that they had been compensated for the real or fictitious property which it is assumed they possess in their lands, the justice of such a course could not for a moment be questioned. . . . But on whatever line the “new departure” may start, it is essential that the eternal and immutable principles of justice which determine the character of property in land shall in no instance be departed from by the people. Ours is a struggle for justice and for right, and we must not furnish our enemies even with a pretext to reproach us with dishonest or unfair dealing.
Justice of Private Property in the Results of Labor
The following are the acknowledged principles of justice that have a practical bearing on the question:
Every man (and woman, too) has a natural right to the free exercise of his mental and corporal faculties; and whatever useful thing any one has produced by his toil and his labor, of that he is the rightful owner—in that he has in strict justice a right of property. Any useful thing that satisfies any of our necessities, relieves any of our wants, ministers to our comforts or enjoyments, or increases our material happiness or contentment, may be an object of property, and the person whose toil and labor has produced that thing possesses in it a strict right of property.
The two essential characteristics of property therefore are: First, the thing itself must be useful for some purpose; and, secondly, it must be the product or the result of our labor.
Now, the effort or exertion demanded by labor is irksome, distasteful and repulsive to the indolence and self-indulgence that is natural to us, and, therefore, no one will voluntarily subject himself to the painful inconvenience of labor who is not stimulated by the prospect of the remuneration and enjoyment which the fruit of his labor will return him.
Whoever, then, has voluntarily subjected himself to the painful operations of labor has, in strict justice, a right of property in the product or result of that labor; that is to say, he, and he alone, has a right to all the advantages, the enjoyments, the pleasures and comforts that are derivable from the results of his labor. Others cannot complain of having been excluded from the enjoyment of a thing whose production cost them nothing; which he was not bound to produce for their use, and which, were it not for his efforts would not have existed at all. Use and exclusion are, therefore, the two essential peculiarities of the enjoyment of a right of property. The power to dispose of legitimate property is almost absolute. Property may be devoted by its owner to any purpose he pleases that is not inconsistent with the public good and does not interfere with the rights of others. He may keep it for his own use and enjoyment if he wishes, or he may exchange it by barter or sale for an equivalent in value of the property of others; he may alienate it by free gift when living, or bequeath it to anyone he pleases, as a voluntary legacy, when dying. He might even destroy it and do no wrong to anyone. If Michael Angelo, in that delirium of artistic frenzy in which he called on his celebrated statue of Moses “to sneak,” had dealt it a blow of his mallet, which would have created not merely a rent in its knee, but had actually shattered it into atoms, the world might indeed deplore the destruction of this immortal work as an irreparable loss, but it could not complain that he did it an injustice or a wrong. Michael Angelo was master of his own free actions, and he was not bound to spend years of labor and toil in producing that incomparable statute to delight and please the world, and, even after he had produced It, he was not bound to preserve it for its enjoyment. “He might do what he liked with his own.”
Every individual whose labor produces an article of property makes a substantial addition to the wealth of the nation: and a nation's general prosperity and happiness, and the degree and abundance in which it possesses all the comforts, the enjoyments, the luxuries and pleasures of life, depend entirely on the numbers engaged in industrial productiveness, and on the skill and efficiency of their labor. Every man, no doubt, works for his own self-interest, for his own benefit and happiness, but whether he wishes it or not, he works, too, for the increased enjoyments and prosperity of others. No man consumes all that his labor produces, and the benefit of the superfluous products of his labor. if not enjoyed by himself, is sure to be enjoyed by some one to whom he has transferred it. If a bootmaker does not himself wear all the boots he produces, somebody else is sure to wear them for him. It is, therefore, highly in the interest of the community, as well as of individuals, to encourage the production, the multiplication and accumulation of objects of wealth: and, therefore, to stimulate the activity and energy of the labor necessary for their production the laws of all nations, as well as the law of nature, have regarded as sacred and inviolable the right of property which a man enjoys in what he produces.
Necessity of Private Property Springs from the Necessity of Labor
The first form of property ever seen or held on this earth was undoubtedly connected with the land. Although political economists never dream of adverting to it, it is, nevertheless, an unquestionable fact that the institution of private property is one of the sad effects of original sin. It springs directly from the barrenness and sterility with which the earth was cursed in punishment of the crime of original sin. That curse deteriorated and to a great extent destroyed the primeval and teeming fertility with which the earth had been in the beginning created.
Before the fatal words, “maledicta terra in opere tuo” had been pronounced the land needed not the labor of man to produce all that was superabundantly sufficient for the sustenance of man—all that satisfied to the full his wants, wishes, and desires. The rich and delicious fruits with which it spontaneously teemed were as unlimited as the waters of the seas, as the air we breathe, as the atmosphere in which we live. Like the manna, on which the children of Israel lived in the desert for forty years, every one took all he wanted, and as the supply was as certain in the future as in the present, it would be useless folly to take more than was wanted for present use. In the unlimited superabundance that then prevailed there was no room for the existence of private property at all. It was only when the earth was cursed by sterility and barrenness, and the supply of human food consequently became limited, that the produce it yielded became proportioned to the labor expended on it, and that every man had to work for his living, that private property became not only lawful but a necessary institution of society. Man's labor became a necessary means to reverse the result of this curse, and to restore to the earth, at least partially, the primeval fertility of which it had been despoiled in punishment of his sin.
The productiveness thus imparted or restored to the earth became, in strict justice, the property of the individual by whose labor it had been created, and this property in land is the first form of private property on record.
Necessity of Labor Proves the Common Right to Land
Although the earth, even in its present deteriorated state, is a splendid inheritance provided by the liberality of God for the maintenance of man, it is, nevertheless, an inheritance which places him under the necessity of patient, laborious toil in its cultivation and improvement, to extract from it the means necessary for his subsistence.
The human race cannot now any longer live on the earth if they refuse to submit to the inevitable law of labor. No man can fairly emancipate himself from that universal decree which has made it a necessity for every one “to earn his bread in the sweat of his brow.” Now, the land of every country is to the people of that country or nation what the earth is to the whole human race—that is to say, the land of every country is the gift of its Creator to the people of that country; it is the patrimony and inheritance bequeathed to them by their common Father, out of which they can by continuous labor and toil provide themselves with everything they require for their maintenance and support, for their material comfort and enjoyment. God was perfectly free in the act by which He created us; but, having created us, He bound himself by that act to provide us with the means necessary for our subsistence. The land is the only means of this kind now known to us.
The Land of Every Country the Common Property of Its People
The land, therefore, of every country is the common property of the people of that country, because its real owner, the Creator who made it, has transferred it as a voluntary gift to them. "Terram autem dedit filiis hominum." Now, as every individual in that country is a creature and child of God, and as all His creatures are equal in His sight, any settlement of the land of a country that would exclude the humblest man in that country from his share of the common inheritance would be not only an injustice and a wrong to that man, but, moreover, would be an impious resistance to the benevolent intentions of his Creator.
The Practical Problem—How Best to Use the Common Estate
The great problem, then, that the nations, or, or what comes to the same thing, that the governments of nations, have to solve is—what is the most profitable and remunerative investment they can make of this common property in the interest and for the benefit of the people to whom it belongs. In other words, how can they bring the largest, and, as far as possible, the most skilled amount of effective labor to bear on the proper cultivation and improvement of the land?—how can they make it yield the largest amount of human food, human comforts and human enjoyments—and how can its aggregate produce be divided so as to give every one the fairest and largest share he is entitled to without passing over or excluding any one?
Security of Possession Necessary to Secure the Right of the Improver in the Fruits of His Labor
Wherever, therefore, the principle of private property in land is carried out to the full extent that its justice and the interests of the community demand, the land of that country will be parceled out in larger or smaller lots among its people, on the plain principle of justice, that the increased fertility and productiveness which they shall have imparted to the soil shall be their own, find that they shall have a strict right of property in the returns—no matter how abundant—it shall yield to their capital and labor. The powerful principle of self-interest will thus be brought to bear effectively and with all its energy and force on the cultivation and improvement of the soil; and as the cultivators or farmers will have a strict right of property in the products which it shall yield to their labor and capital, so it will be their highest interests, and they will make their best efforts to make them as large and as abundant as possible. The returns, therefore, from the land will be the highest it is capable of yielding. To stimulate the production and enlarged growth of that invaluable property which is created in the development and improvement of the soil, and to secure to its owner the certainty of enjoying all its uses and benefits, he must have a right to the continued and undisturbed possession of his land.
The labor and capital necessary for the production of property of this kind are immediate; the returns to be derived from it may be spread over many years, perhaps over all future time. No man will incur the expenditure if others, not himself, are to be benefited by it. He might, no doubt, enjoy the full benefit of improvements already made after a certain term of years; but to stimulate him to make further and larger improvements in the soil, and, at the same time, to secure him a certainty of enjoying the full fruits of those he has already made, no term cf years can produce on men's minds what has been most felicitously called “the magical effect of perpetuity of tenure.”
Non-Improvers Can Have No Rights in Land
The arguments, therefore, which prove that, in strict justice, as well as in the interests of the nation at large, a laud holder who is constantly improving and increasing the productiveness of his farm has a right to the continued occupation of it, prove, too, that a non-improving laud holder has no right to be left in the possession of it at all. The people of a nation have too deep an interest in the productiveness of the hind of the nation and in the amount of human food it will yield to be able to allow any portion of it to remain in the hands of a man through whose criminal indolence or incapacity it either produces nothing at all, or what will be much less than it is capable of yielding. Thus, an improving land holder has by that very fact, in strict justice and m the higher interests of the public, the title, and, indeed, the only unquestionable title that exists to the continued and undisturbed possession of his land.
Security of Possession and Full Ownership of Products for the Common Good
The occupiers rights of property in the agricultural products of the land, in the permanent improvements he has made, in the productiveness of the soil, and in the undisturbed occupation of his farm, which he continues to improve it, are all deeply rooted in the clearest principles of natural justice. They are, moreover, necessary and sufficient to secure the highest permanent and progressive improvement of the soil, and to draw from it the largest and most profitable returns it is capable of yielding. The legislature, therefore, which is bound to strive in every reasonable way for the advancement of the public good, can hardly withhold its sanction and protection from clear natural rights, which are of vital interest, not only to the cultivators themselves, but also to the well-being of the nation at large. The agricultural products of the land of the nation will then be disposed of or distributed among the people of the nation by the cultivators who produced them, on the principle of competitive sale, and every one will receive a share of the whole at the price that it cost to produce it, and that will be considerably less than it would cost himself to produce it. No one, therefore, has been called on to surrender his share in the common property of the nation without getting an equivalent in return. No one has surrendered his share in this property; every one has simply made a most profitable and remunerative investment of it.
A Just Right of Property in Improvements, But No Just Right of Prosperity in Land Itself
In the foregoing exposition of the principles of justice on the question of the tenure of land, I have made no distinction between the landlords of a country and the tenant farmers who hold land under them, for in truth. on the question of property in land there is no room for any such distinction. I am, however, quite ready to allow the full benefit of the rights of property in land, as I have explained them, to any land lord or tenant who has created such property; but I cannot allow either to landlord or tenant any other or further rights of property in land than those I have just enumerated. No individual or number of individuals can have a right of private property in the land of a country in its original state, and antecedently to human culture; for in that state the land of a country was and is still the public common property of the people of that country. Undoubtedly the people, by their combined labor and industry, “have not made the land” of their country, but they have received it as a voluntary free gift, and as a necessary means for their subsistence from their common Father and Creator, who did make it. Besides, a right of property in land implies, as I have observed, a right of exclusion as well as of use in its enjoyment; and, therefore, if any privileged class had a right of property in the land of a country they would have a right to the exclusive use of the land of that country—that is to say, they would have a right to the exclusive use of all the necessaries of life in that country, and the people would have no right to exist at all. Not only, then, would the well-being but the very existence of the nation depend on the whim and caprice of a single class of the community. Again, no class of men could have such a right of private property in the land of a nation—firstly, because they could not by their own labor and industry have created such a right themselves, for “no man has made the land;” and, secondly, because they could not have received that right, either by contract or free gift, from any one who was competent to give it. The people of the nation could not give it, for if they were to barter, or sell, or give away the land, their would expropriate the means that were necessary for their own subsistence, and that would be tantamount to a nation committing suicide.
Individual May Rightfully Collect Rent for Improvements in Land, But to Permit Them to Collect Rent for Land Itself a Wanton Injustice
The tracts of country known in England as the Bedford Level. and in Flanders as the Pays des waes, were, not so very long ago, as sterile, as barren, and even more useless than the bogs of our own country at this moment. By an enormous expenditure, however, of capital and labor they have been drained, reclaimed and fertilized, till they have at last become among the most productive lands in Europe. That productiveness is entirely the result of human labor and industry, for nature did hardly anything for these lands. If the question, then, was asked: Who has a right to charge or demand a rent for the use of the soil of these lands for agricultural or industrial uses? the answer undoubtedly would be, the person who by his labor and capital had created all their productiveness, who had imparted to them all the value they possess. In charging, therefore, a rent for the use of what he has produced, he is only demanding a most just and equitable return for his capital—a fair and honest remonstration for his labor. His right to demand this could not possibly be disputed.
The artificial productiveness of these tracts of country hardly equals. and certainly does not surpass, the natural fertility of large districts of rich, luxuriant, arable and pasture lauds in the county Meath, in this diocese. If it were asked then who has a right to charge a rent for the use of the soil of these highly favored districts in Meath for agricultural or industrial purposes, the answer should be that if human industry or labor had imparted to these lands a real and substantial amount of artificial productiveness, by the cultivation and permanent improvement of the soil, then the person who had created that productiveness had a perfect right to demand a rent for the use of it. But who, it may be further asked, has a right to demand a rent for the natural fertility of these lands “which no man made,” and which, in fact, is not the result of human industry and labor at all? The answer here, also, should be, he who had produced it. But who produced it? God. If God, then, demanded a rent for the use of these lands, He would undoubtedly be entitled to it. But God does does not sell His gifts or charge a rent for the use of anything He has produced. He does not sell; but He gives or bestows, and in bestowing His gifts He shows no respect of persons. If, then, all God's creatures are in a condition of perfect equality relatively to this gift of the laud, no one can have an exceptional right to claim more than a fair share of what was intended equally for all, and what is, indeed, directly or indirectly, a necessary of life for each of them. When all, therefore, relatively to this gift, are perfectly equal, and nobody has any real claim to it; when all equally need the liberality and generosity of God in it, and no one can afford, or is willing, to part with his share in it—to alienate it from any or all of them would be to do them a wanton injustice and grievous wrong, and would be a direct disappointment to the intentions of the donor besides.
The Whole People the True Owners of the Land
When, therefore, a privileged class arrogantly claims a right of private property in the land of a country, that claim is simply unintelligible, except on the broad principle that the land of a country is not a free gift at all, but solely a family inheritance; that it is not a free gift which God has bestowed on His creatures, but an inheritance which He has left to His children; that they, therefore, being God's eldest sons, inherit this property by right of succession; that the rest of the world have no share or claim to it, on the ground that their origin is tainted with the stain of illegitimacy. The world, however, will hardly submit to this shameful imputation of its own degradation, especially when it is not sustained by even a shadow of reason.
I infer, therefore, that no individual or class of individuals can hold a right of private property in the land of a country; that the people of that country, in their public corporate capacity, are, and always must be, the real owners of the land of their county—holding an indisputable title to it, in the fact that they received it as a free gift from its creator, and as a necessary means for preserving and enjoying the life He has bestowed upon them.
Distinction Between the Right of the Individual and the Right of the Community
Usufruct, therefore, is the highest form of property that individuals can hold in land. On the other hand, I have shown that the cultivator's right of property in the produce of the land, in the improvements he has made in the productiveness of the land, and in its undisturbed occupation, as long as he continues to improve it—that these various rights are all founded on the strictest principles of justice, and that their recognition and protection by the state will secure for the land the highest culture and improvement it is capable of receiving, and will draw from it, without fail, the largest returns of human food it is capable of yielding. On these immutable principles of justice and right, the order, progress and welfare of society depend. They allow free scope and hold out the highest encouragement to the fullest development of the energy and activity of human industry and enterprise, by securing to everyone the full fruits of his labor, and recognizing in him a right of property to all that his hands produce. They guarantee to him immunity and protection from disturbance as long as he devotes himself with earnestness and zeal to his industrial pursuits. On the other hand, if a man, through indolence or incompetence, allows his land to run wild, to return to its primitive sterility and barrenness, so as to produce nothing at all, or, at all events, much less than it is capable of yielding, it is no hardship to that man if these principles call on him to surrender a trust which he held from society, and which, to the great detriment of society, he has so grievously abused. Finally, it is no injustice to ref use the remuneration of labor to those who have not labored at all. This usufruct, therefore. is a right of property in land which is held mainly for the benefit of the public and for the advancement of the general interests of the community.
And yet the general interests of the community are hardly distinguishable from the private interests of the usufructuary. The larger the amount of permanent improvements made in the soil, and the richer and the more abundant returns it will yield, the better will it be for both interests. An usufructuary or farmer who labors might and main for his own self-interests, labors with tho same amount of earnestness and zeal for the interests of the public as well. But it is the consideration of the public interests that will determine the continuity of his occupancy. The continuity of his occupancy entirely depends on the continuity of its real, practical effectiveness for the advancement of the interests of the public. The moment it ceases to be useful and beneficial to the public welfare, that moment it ceases to have a right to exist any longer. If individuals could have a right of private property in land, that right would not be fettered by these responsibilities; in fact, it would not be liable to any responsibility at all. The ownership of reclaimed tracts of laud like the Bedford level approximates closely, without, however, fully realizing, to a right of private property in land. The owner of the Bedford level is not responsible to society for the management of that property, nor is he bound to have any regard to its interests in the use he wishes to make of it. Being master of his own free actions, he was not bound to create that property for the benefit of society, but for his own, and he may now make whatever use he pleases of it. If through mismanagement it produces less than it is capable of yielding, that is his own affair altogether. If he allowed it to return to its original sterility society might regret that it suffered a great loss, but it could not complain that he did it an injustice or a wrong.
The distinction, therefore, between the two rights of property in land is essential and fundamental, and it is absolutely necessary to apprehend it clearly and to bear it distinctly in mind. Now, there is nothing novel or startling in the common and inalienable right of property which I have shown every people possesses in the land of its country. I know of no writer on political economy who disputes it, although I am familiar with the works of many of the most eminent of them.
That the Rent of Land Should Go to the Community a Design of the Divine Providence
I think, therefore, that I may fairly infer, on the strength of authority as well as of reason, that the people are and always must be the real owners of the land of their country. This great social fact appears to me to be of incalculable importance, and it is fortunate indeed that on the strictest principles of justice it is not clouded even by a shadow of uncertainty or doubt. There is, moreover, a charm and a peculiar beauty in the clearness with which it. reveals the wisdom and the benevolence of the designs of Providence in the admirable provision He has made for the wants and the necessities of that state of social existence of which He is the author, and in which the very instincts of nature tell us we are to spend bur lives. A vast public property, a great national fund, has been placed under the dominion and at the disposal of the nation to supply itself abundantly with resources necessary to liquidate the expenses of its government, the administration of its laws and the education of its youth. and to enable it to provide for the suitable sustenation and support of its criminal and pauper population. One of the most interesting peculiarities of this property is that its value is never stationary; it is constantly progressive and increasing in a direct ratio to the growth of the population; and the very causes that increase and multiply the demands made on it increase proportionately its ability to meet them, as I shall clearly show further on.
Landlordism Takes the Patrimony of the People
Let the democracy of England, as well as of Ireland, learn the melancholy fate that has overtaken this splendid inheritance which God has placed in their hands, and which would have saved them the £80,000,000 which they now annually pay by direct and indirect taxation for the government of the country. That patrimony was once theirs by right, and by right it is theirs still; but, in fact, it is theirs no longer; a class has wrested the land from the people of the country and now hold a strict monopoly in it. They sell it out to the people as if it were an ordinary article of private property and solely the result of their own capital and labor. The rents which the landlords draw from their lands is an income which they derive from the sale of what are avowed God's gifts, which “no man made.” If they had only claimed the right of selling the use of the permanent improvements they had made in the soil, by the capital and labor they had expended on it, no one could dispute the justice of their demand; but any element of income that might possibly be derived from this source is called, in the language of political economy, not rent, but profit.
If the “Bedford level,” and the rich tract of land in Meath with which I have compared it, were to be leased out to tenant farmers for a given term of years, the one would fetch quite as much rent as the other. The farmer would not concern himself much in inquiring into the source from which the fertility of the land was derived; all his solicitude and inquiries would be directed to the existence of the fact that the fertility .was there, and which of them possessed it in the higher degree. The rent which the owner of the “Bedford level”' would receive for the use of his land would be just and equitable remuneration to which he was entitled for the expenditure of his labor and capital, whilst the Meath proprietor would receive as high a reward for having done nothing at all. Only that his income is so woefully wanting in justice, the condition of the Meath proprietor would certainly be enviable.
The Price of Land a Monopoly Price
But this privileged class not merely sells the use of God's gifts, but extort for them a price which is most unjust and exorbitant; in fact, they hardly ever sell them at less than scarcity or family prices. If a man wants to buy a suit of broadcloth, the price ho will be required to pay for it will amount to very little more than what it cost to produce it—and yet that suit of clothes may be a requirement of such necessity or utility to him that he would willingly pay three times the amount it actually cost rather than submit to the inconvenience of doing without it. On the other hand, the manufacturer would extort the last shilling he would be willing to give for it, only that he knows there are scores of other manufacturers ready to undersell him if he demanded much more than the cost of its production. The price, therefore, of commodities of all kinds that can be produced on a large scale, and to an indefinite extent, will depend on the cost required to produce them, or at least that part of them which is produced at the highest expense. But there is a limited class of commodities whose selling price has no relation or dependence at all on the cost at which they have been produced, for example, rare wines that grow only on soils of limited extent; paintings by the old masters; statues of exquisite beauty and finish by celebrated sculptors; rare books, bronzes and medals, and provisions or articles of human food, in cities during a siege, and more genera1ly in times of scarcity and famine—these commodities are limited in quantity, and it is physically impossible in the circumstances existing to increase, multiply, or augment them further. The seller of these commodities, not being afraid of competition, can put any price he pleases on them short of the purchasers extreme estimate of their necessity, utility, or advantage to themselves. Fabulous sums of money, therefore, have been expended in the purchase of such commodities—sometimes to indulge a taste for tho fine arts; sometimes to satisfy a passion for the rare and the beautiful; and, sometimes, too, to gratify a feeling of vanity or ambition to be the, sole proprietors of objects of antiquarian interest and curiosity. On the other hand, enormous sums of money have been paid in times of scarcity or during siege for the commonest necessaries of have or, failing these, for substitutes that have been requisitioned for human food, the use of which would make one shudder in circumstances of less pressing necessity. Now the land is a commodity that strictly belongs to this class. It is limited in extent, and no human power can enlarge or extend its area. The competition for it is excessive, and the competitors are struggling for its attainment—not for the purpose of satisfying a taste for the fine arts, or to gratify a passion for the rare or the beautiful, but to secure a necessary means of existence: for they must live on and by the land, or they cannot live at all. The owner, therefore, of that land can put on it any rent he pleases, and the poor people competing for it have no choice but to accept his terms or die in a ditch or a poop house. Under the present system of land tenure, the owners are not only enabled, but actually exact for the use of the land the last shilling the tenant is able to pay, leaving him only what is barely sufficient to keep him from dying. Mr. Mill, who is the highest of all authorities on this subject, thus writes on the letting of land as it is actually carried out in Ireland: “With individual exceptions (some of them very honorable ones) the owners of Irish estates do nothing for the land but drain it of its produce. What has been epigrammatically said in the discussions on peculiar burthens' is literally true when applied to them, that the greatest 'burthen' on the land is the landlords. Returning nothing to the soil, they consume its whole produce, minus the potatoes strictly necessary to keep the inhabitants from dying of famine.”
Landlordism Confiscates the Work of Improvers
But the present system of land tenure not merely enables a class to exact from the people of the country a famine price for the use of the land which God made, but it also enables them to charge a rent for the use of the improvements on the land which the people themselves made, which is purely the result of their own industry and capital, and which in fact, on the strictest principles of justice their own private property. With the knowledge and experience which we have acquired all our lives long of the transactions that are daily taking place between landlords and tenants, the clearest and most convincing proof that can be given of this fact will perhaps be found in the plain and simple statement of it.
The land of Ireland would at this moment still be in its original state of nature, had it not been drained, cleared, reclaimed and fertilized by the enormous outlay of labor and capital which has been expended on it by the people of the present day and their forefathers in past generations. The landlords contributed nothing, or next to nothing, for its improvement.
What has become of this enormous property? The correct answer to this question will, I think, be found to be that one part of it had been want only wasted and destroyed; that the landlords have coolly appropriated to their own use a second part of it, and that the people pay, at the present moment, a rent for the use of the residue of what was once all their own property. In the one county of Meath, in this diocese, there are about 869,000 acres of land laid down in grass seeds or pasture. That vast territory was nearly all parceled out about the commencement of this century in farms of various sizes, ranging from ten to seventy, eighty or a hundred acres each. These farms were dotted over with dean, commodious, comfortable, whitewashed dwellings. with offices, outhouses and the plant of well-to-do farmers. These dwellings were occupied by a race of the most laborious, industrious, hard-working and virtuous people that ever lived in any country. But, owing to the iniquitous system of land tenure, they have been almost all mercilessly evicted and swept away, and every vestige of the vast amount of human life, industry, contentment and happiness that once flourished on these lands has been so carefully obliterated that, looking at them in their present melancholy solitude, one would imagine them to have been "prairie lands" since the creation. The property which these poor people possessed in their dwellings and farm houses has been thus wantonly destroyed. and the permanent improvements they had created in the productiveness of the soil were coolly appropriated by the landlords who evicted them. Until the Irish land league interfered with their operations, these exterminators sold out by public auction every year the use of the people's property, as well as the natural productiveness of the soil, to cattle dealers, for a term of nine, ten or eleven months, and at a rent ranging from £4 to £6 an acre; and they drew from their estates an income twice, and in many instances three times us large as the few honest and honorable proprietors in their neighborhood who never evicted anyone at all. I need hardly direct attention to the notorious fact that those who have been suffered to remain, were only too glad to be allowed the privilege of paying a rent for the use of the residue of what was once their own property.
Landlordism Prevents Improvements
But the truth is, if the landlords only confiscated the enormous property created on the land by the people's capital and labor for ages up to the present moment, a word of complaint would not be heard against them. The great grievance of which the people complain is that, even still, i f the tenant- has the folly to expend his labor and capital in the permanent improvements which the soil so sadly requires, the landlords are on the lookout to appropriate it at once, and put a fresh increase of rent on him for the use of his own property. Quite recently, therefore, the nation has earnestly appealed to the legislature, through the Bessborough and Richmond commissions, to protect the property which the people were ready to create in the permanent improvement of the soil, by barring the landlord's right to appropriate it or charge a fresh rent for the use of it. Even the tory section of the Richmond commission were so struck with the manifest injustice of the arbitrary power by which the landlord can put any rent he pleases not only on the land, but- on the tenants permanent improvements in the land, that they virtually recommend the government to leave the tenants no longer at their mercy. “Bearing in mind,” they say, “the system by which the improvements and equipments of a farm are very generally the work of the tenant, and the fact that a yearly tenant is at any time table to have his rent raised in consequence of the increased value that has been given to his holding by the expenditure of his own capital and labor, the desire of legislative interference to protect him from an arbitrary increase of rent does not seem unnatural.
An Open Violation of the Principles of Justice
Under such a state of things one may well ask, is it in human nature that anyone could have the heart or the enterprise to expend his labor and capital on the permanent improvement of the soil exclusively for the benefit of others, and with a certainty that he will be charged an increased rent for the use of his own property? How can any government allow the land of a nation to remain in the hands of a class of men who will not improve it themselves, .or allow others to improve it either? How can any just government suffer any longer a system of land tenure which inflicts irreparable ruin on the general industry and prosperity of a nation, and which is maintained solely for the purpose of giving the landlords an opportunity of plundering the class of industrious, improving tenants which it is specially bound to protect and defend? Such open violations of the fundamental principles of justice and of public morality, would make one who has thoroughly thought the case out, ask himself whether he was really in the region of hard, stem facts and realities, or only in an ideal of fancy or of fiction. The essential and immutable principles of justice used certainly to be—that everyone had a right of property in the hard-earned fruits of his labor; that whatever property a man had made by the expenditure of his capital, his industry and his toil, was really his own; that he, and he alone, had a right to all the benefits, the advantages and enjoyment that that property yielded; and that if anyone else meddled with that property against his will, or interfered with him in its enjoyment, he was thereby guilty of the crimes of theft and of robbery, which the eternal law of God, as well as the laws of all nations, reprobated and punished with such severity.
But the principles which underlie the existing system of land tenure, and which impart to it its specific and distinctive character, are exactly the reverse of these. The principles on which that system is based are—that one privileged class do not require to labor for their livelihood at all; that they have an exclusive right to all the advantages, the comforts and enjoyments that can be derived from a splendid property; which exacted no patient, painful or self-denying efforts of labor to create it or to acquire it; and which in fact, they inherited without any sacrifice at all. That being a singularly favored race, and being all God's eldest sons, the rest of the world must humbly acknowledge themselves to be their inferiors in rank, lineage, condition and dignity. That this superiority of rank gives them a right to sell out God's gifts as if they were purely the products of their own labor and industry, and that they can exact in exchange for them famine or scarcity prices. Finally, that they enjoy the enviable privilege of others against their wills, and do them no wrong even if they charge them a rent for the use of what would really appear to be their own.
Landlordism Robs All Classes
Hitherto we have confined ourselves almost exclusively to the consideration of the various forms of injustice, and the spoliation of private property which the existing system of bad tenure enables the proprietors of the soil to inflict on the tenant farmers of Ireland. But the tenant farmers, though a numerous, an influential and an important section of the nation, are, after all, not the nation. Despite our cruel misgovernment in the past, some few of our national industries still survive, as well as the industry of the cultivation of the soil. Then there are, moreover, certain trades and professions whose services are indispensable to any nation that has any claims to be considered civilized.
But the Irish system of land tenure wrongs and impoverishes not only those who live by and on the land, but all other classes in the community a s well. It robs not only the cultivators of the soil, but every man in the community, of a substantial portion of the hard-earned fruits of his labor, no matter what the trade or profession in which he may labor for his living. It i s therefore, not a local or a particular grievance, but a great national injustice, and that, I think, is its most objectionable peculiarity. I have already shown that the land of every country is the public property of the people of that country, and consequently, that its exclusive appropriation by a class is a substantial injustice and wrong done to every man in that country, whom it robs of his fair share of the common inheritance. Then the injustice of this appropriation is enormously enhanced by the fact that it further enables the landlords, without any risk or trouble, and in fact makes it a matter of course for them, to appropriate a vast share of the earnings of the nation besides. They plundered the people first of God's gifts in the land, and that act of spoliation puts them under a sort of necessity cf plundering them gain of an enormous amount of their direct earnings and wages. The line of argument that leads directly to this conclusion seems abundantly clear. I have already observed that the chief peculiarity of the land of a country was that its value was never stationary, that it was always progressive and rising, that in fact it increased in a direct ratio with the growth of the population and the advancing progress of the industry of the nation.
Land Values Intended by Providence for Public Purposes
It would seem as if Providence had destined the land to serve as a large economical reservoir, to catch, to collect and preserve the overflowing streams of wealth that are constantly escaping from the great public industrial works that are always going on in communities that are progressive and prosperous. Besides the permanent improvements that are made in the land itself, and which increase its productiveness and value, there are other industrial works not carried out on the land itself, but on its surroundings and in its vicinity, and which enhance its value very considerably. A new road is made for the recommendation of a district; a new bridge is thrown across a river or a stream to make two important localities accessible to each other; a new railway passes dose by and connects it withcertain large and important centers of industry; a new factory or a new mill is erected, or a new town is built in the neighborhood. Industrial works like these add very materially to the value of all the land in their vicinity. It is a well known fact that a, new railway has in several instances doubled the value of the land through which it passed, in consequence of the increased facilities it bad afforded for the sale of its agricultural products. In every state of society, which is progressive and improving, such industrial works are continually going on, and hence the value of the land is rising also everywhere in value.
Why Wages Do Not Increase
But its value rises enormously' with the enlarged growth of the population of a nation, and with the increased productiveness of its industry. The United kingdom itself furnishes an example that is singu1ar1y illustrative of this fact. “A given exertion,” says Mr. Cairns, “of British labor and capital will now produce in a great many directions five, ten or twenty times, in some instances perhaps a hundred times, the result which an equal exertion would have produced a hundred years ago. It is not probable that industry is, in any direction whatever, less productive now than it was then; yet the rate of wages, as measured by the real well being of the laborer, has certainly not advanced in anything like a corresponding degree; while it may be doubted if the rate of profit has advanced at all.” A given amount, then, of British capital and labor is now ten or twenty tunes more effective than a hundred years ago, while, on the other hand. the quantity of which effective labor and capital now engaged in British industrial production is perhaps twenty times larger now than formerly.
Now, the ordinary food of the operatives and people of every country is what is called “the raw products of the soil;” that is to say, the beef, the mutton, the bacon, the poultry, the eggs, the milk, the butter, the flour, the meal, the potatoes, and the vegetables that spring directly from the soil, and that require only the simplest and the most inexpensive industrial processes to fit them for immediate use. “The raw products of the soil” will then be sold to the operatives as to other people at the highest price they will bring, on the principle of open competition and free sale. When, therefore, the competition is thus for the necessaries and luxuries of life, and that the competitors must be reckoned by millions, and that their means for purchasing must be reckoned by hundreds of millions, the demand for the raw products mast be enormous, and the prices which they will bring must range very high. This enormous demand will exhaust all the food-producing resources of the country till a point is reached at which a further supply of food from the soil would cost more than its production in foreign countries, plus the expense of its carriage and delivery here. The prices, therefore, of “the raw products” thus tanging very high, the value of the soil which produced them also rises enormously; indeed, vast sums which the nation pays for its food, for nearly all the necessaries and many of the luxuries of life, pass directly, and with little expense or trouble, into the hands of those who hold the ownership of the land, with the single deduction of the remuneration due to the usufructuaries or farmers. If the land had not been appropriated by individuals and diverted from the original purchase for which Providence had intended it, the high prices which the nation thus imposes on itself by the vastness of its numbers and by the abundance of its wealth, in the purchase of the raw products of the soil, should be regarded as a most just and natural tax, which it instinctively levies on itself to realize the large sums that are necessary for the support of its public burdens.
But now the great national property which Providence had destined for the support of the public burdens of society bas been diverted from its original purpose to minister to the wants, the necessities, and perhaps the extravagance of class. The explanation of this extraordinary act of national spoliation will be found in the fact that hitherto this class could just do as it pleased; the government of the country lay for centuries exclusively in its hands, and despite the combined influence of English radicalism and Irish obstructionism it is practically in its hands still.
The enormous value then thus superadded to the land from the two sources just indicated pass directly with the land itself into the hands of those who own it. Those who hold the ownership of the land hold also the ownership of all the accessions of value it receives from all quarters. This increase in the value of their property cost no sacrifice, demanded no painful effort of labor. Even while they slept their rent rolls went on increasing and multiplying.
The value continually impart ed to the land by the industrial exertions of the community, in the construction of harbors and bridges, in the making of new roads and railways, in the erection of new factories, mills and houses, etc., has all gone with the land, has all been confiscated and appropriated by the owners of the soil. Professor Cairns feels sorely perplexed to account for some of the anomalous results of this appropriation. “A bale of cloth,” he says, “a machine, a house, owes its value to the labor expended upon it, and belongs to the person who expends or employs the labor; a piece of land owes its value, so far as its value is effected by the causes I am now considering, not to the labor expended on the land, but to that expended on something else—to the labor expended in making a railroad or in building houses in an an adjoining town, and the value thus added to the land belongs not to the persons who have made the railroads or built the houses, but to some one who may not have been aware that these operations were being carried on—nay, who perhaps has exerted all his efforts to prevent their being carried on. How many landlords have their rent rolls doubled by railways made in their despite!” It never occurred to Mr. Cairns that he had here given, quite unconsciously to himself, an unanswerable argument, ex absurdo, to prove the injustice of the appropriation of the land. If the land has not been confiscated no such absurd or tin just result could have followed. The value imparted by labor to the land, exactly like “the bale of cloth, the house or the machine,” would belong to the persons who expended or employed that labor, that is to say, to the public, by whose industrial exertions it bad been created.
Lastly, the vast accessions of value which the land is constantly receiving from the proceeds of that “self-imposed tax” which the nation levies of itself in the high prices it pays for the “raw products of the soil,” together with the increased productiveness of the soil itself, go all, as Mr. Cairns is forced to confess, “neither to profits nor to wages nor to the public at large, but to swell a fund ever growing, even while its proprietors sleep—to the rent roll of the owner of the soil.”
Private Property in Land the Real Robber of Labor
Thus the appropriation of God's gifts in the land led naturally, and as a matter of course, to the appropriation of an enormous amount of the wages and earnings of the nation, which, in the designs of Providence, kept constantly dropping into the land, accumulating on the land, and adding to the value of the land: not for the enrichment of the laud lords, but for the support of the public burdens of the state. Now a system of land tenure which thus despoils the people of a nation of a vast amount of their earnings, which transfers a valuable property which they have created by the patient, painful and self- denying efforts of their labor, to a class who do not labor at all, and make no sacrifices whatever, can, I think, be fairly characterized as a system of national spoliation. The hard-working, industrious masses of the nation are taxed twice, and for an enormous amount each time. They are taxed first for the benefit of the owners of the soil, to supply them with all the comforts, the enjoyments and the luxuries which they desire, and they are taxed again to the amount of eighty millions annually for the government and defense of the country. With two such enormous drains on the productive industry and labor of the country, I cannot share in the astonishment which Mr. Cairns feels at finding that, notwithstanding the increased productiveness of British industry, “the rate of wages, as measured by the real well-being of the laborer,” has not improved to any material extent, while it may be doubted whether the rate of profit has advanced at all. Both capitalists and operatives, therefore, are intensely disappointed and supremely dissatisfied with these disheartening results, and mutually reproach each other with fraud and foul dealing in the division of their common earnings. Their mutual misunderstandings and rival claims to a larger share than they actually receive have given rise to “lockouts” on the one side and “strikes” on the other; to combinations of capitalists among the employers and “trades unions” among the laborers. Thus their mutual relations, which ought to be of the friendliest character, have at last sett led down into the permanent form of an insane internecine war, which inflicts irreparable injury on the common interests of both. It never occurs to either side that a third party could possibly be liable to blame. I think I have shown that neither party has received, or at all events can retain for his own use and enjoyment, its fair share of their common earnings. The existing system of land tenure, like a great national thief, robs both parties of an enormous' amount of their earnings for the benefit of a class who do not labor at all. As the operatives complain the louder, so the case they make against the capitalists seems really the weaker and the worse founded of the two. Mr. Cairnes, with many others, proved to evidence that unless in rare and exceptional cases it is perfectly impossible for the capitalist to withhold from the operatives their fair share of their common earnings.
Does it therefore follow that the strong, widespread and permanent feeling of discontent which prevails among the laborers is the result of fancy or imagination, having no solid foundation whatever in fact? Undoubtedly this feeling proves the laborers to have substantial grievances, although I think they failed to trace them to the causes that have really produced them. The money wages of the English operative is now considerably higher than in any past period of English history. But if his money wages is now high, the price of the raw products of the soil, that is to say, of the necessaries and comforts of life, is vastly higher still. A given amount of money will not now procure for him the same quantity of food and of the other necessaries of life as formerly. In purchasing the raw products of the soil, he must pay not only for the necessaries and comforts of life which he enjoys himself, but also for the comforts and luxuries which go to the enjoyment of the owners of the soil. The price, therefore, of the raw products is a payment and a tax; a payment for what be consumes himself, and a tax for what is consumed by others. Then, again, a vast margin of the earnings of the English people is expended in direct and indirect taxation. The public burdens of every nation fall mainly on the vast masses of that nation, and the operatives of England are the vast masses of the English nation.
The Only Hope for Labor—“Back to the Land”
If the English operatives could only retain for their own use and benefit the vast sums which, under the existing system of land tenure, go on the one band to the owners of the soil, and the sums that an economical system of taxation would save for them on the other, their material comforts and enjoyments would be multiplied a hundred fold. Under the existing state of things their condition is utterly incapable of any improvement in the future. Political economists can see no possible way in which English operatives can permanently improve their condition, except they have recourse to that revolting and unnatural expedient of voluntarily restraining and. Limiting their numbers. “This, then,” says Mr. Cairnes—the limitation of his numbers—“is the circumstance on which, in the last resort, any improvement at all of a permanent kind in the laborer's condition turns.” If the self-commissioned apostles who preach this new doctrine only warned the people against the consequences of reckless and improvident marriages. I would join and go with them heartily. But when they advise them (as they seem to me to do) to increase and multiply according to the requirements of trade, and in such proportions as they may be wanted in, for the benefit of their betters; when they advise them to increase and multiply only when trade is prosperous, prices are high and commerce flourishes, I am heartily opposed to them. These teachings appear to me not only unchristian, but revolting and unnatural; and their wickedness is only surpassed by the astounding ignorance of human nature, which they reveal in men who ought to be better informed. The British workman has no need to have recourse to such an unnatural expedient for the purpose of improving his condition. The chief, the fundamental obstacle he will have to overcome, will be found in the existing system of land tenure. British operatives and capitalists, of all men living, appear to me to have the largest and deepest interest in a thorough and radical reformation in the system of laud tenure in our country as well as in their own. Trades unions, therefore, instead of wasting their energies and resources in a fruitless struggle with capitalists, would do well to turn their attention in this direction. They have a wide field here for their efforts, and their labors here cannot possibly be fruitless. The rallying cry of capitalists and laborers ought to be “BACK TO THE LAND.”
Land and Labor
Testimony From Many of One Mind on the Land Question
Communications relating to land and labor clubs continue to pour in at the headquarters at room 28, Cooper union. The movement to which they relate is attracting support such as was given to the anti-slavery agitation a quarter of a century ago. It is enlisting the heartiest efforts of earnest men and women in every state and territory of the Union. The spread of the movement is outlined in hundreds of such letters as the following:
J.J. McGrath, Houston, Tex.—I will give you a piece of news that I think must be interesting. It is that the majority of the legal fraternity of this city are in hearty accord with the land tax reform of Mr. George. I have done all that I could with my pen, and am ready to push the matter in any other possible way.
C. Moeller, Minneapolis, Minn.—Mr. Pentecost's speech, as published in the Standard , fairly set the blood boiling in the veins of the men here. He would find lots of cobwebs in this region, but our local clubs are miniature anti-cobweb societies and are doing good work. That cartoon of Mr. George and Dr. McGlynn in the last number of Puck is truly a wonderful production. Ridicule is the last prop to a weak argument. I notice that Puck suggests building a fence around Mr. George and Dr. McGlynn. I wonder they never thought of that before. Almost everything else has been fenced in. We had an open meeting in the first ward last night. About three hundred were in attendance and the most intense interest prevailed. The principal speaker maintained that a single tax on land values was the correct idea, but that the chief obstacle to the success of our reform was the conclusion of thought in many minds of land values with land, adding that land is almost all of it in the country, but that land values are chiefly to be found in the cities and towns.
W. E. Miller, Kansas City, Mo.— We have just elected the following officers for our club: Mr. AV. W. Hapgood, president; Timothy Murphy, treasurer, and myself secretary.
Geo. M. Price, editor of the Avbeiter Zeitung, Buffalo, N. Y.—A club has been formed in my ward. August Winkelmann is president and myself, secretary, and another club in the Third ward, of which Mr. Rolov is president and Gustav Henke, secretary. You will hear good reports from here.
W. H. Van Ornum, Chicago, 111.—I have been having a little controversy with the Chicago Tribune; only when it began to be a little interesting they shut me out. The Labor Enquirer will print my last letter to Mr. Medill. I asked that gentleman some questions which he did not seem to be able to answer. I told him that if Mr. George's arguments were weak their weakness must be shown, and that if they were based on false premises this must be made apparent. “Don't tell us,” I wrote, “what you guess might happen from the adoption of Mr. George's theory. Don't tell us it would mean the dispossession of the small holder from his little home, and the taking from him of his earnings. Don't say that if this theory is carried out there would not be ownership in anything. Don't predict that we want to have those who have been industrious and saving divide with us, for, indeed, the opposite of these propositions is true. We hold that the land tax reform would give to every man a more secure possession than now; that it would give a man absolute ownership of the products of his labor, and that what is needed is to prevent land grabbers from dividing with us the proceeds of our labor, taking the biggest portion, too.” Perhaps it was too much to expect Mr. Mcdill to print so much plain Saxon as that.
J. H., Lancaster, Pa.—Every new advocate counts, and I have made three converts lately to the land reform. One of them has hitherto been a very active democrat, but he now declares himself ready to support any party that will take up the land tax reform proposed by Mr. George. I will do everything I can. We workingmen in this beautiful town are slaves of the worst kind, and bitterly need to be emancipated.
John B. Dempsey, secretary D. A. 17, K. of L., St. Louis, Mo.—1 honestly believe that Dr. McGlynn did more good here for the cause of labor in his two hours' speech, or rather sermon, than our best efforts could accomplish in a year. At the municipal election last April we had a “union labor” ticket in the field, but in our platform, as adopted by the convention, we had a plank which read in substance as follows: “We believe that the best interests of the masses of the people would be subserved by exempting from taxation the wealth created by labor, mental and physical, and by raising all revenues from a tax on land values alone.” I do not remember the exact words, but you will see that our party was there. The land and labor clubs are increasing rapidly, and when the time comes for action, you will find that our influence will be felt. I believe that the land question must be the vital issue before the people. I hope for the day when the ideas of all who are working in the cause of oppressed humanity shall be crystallized into one grand party whose watchword and battle cry shall be “The heavens and the glories thereof are mine, but the earth have I given to the children of men.” I hope to sec the day when the Anti-poverty society shall have accomplished its noble mission, and when the fatherhood of God and the brotherhood of man shall be practiced as well as preached by all His children.
W.H.R., Louisville, Ky.—I have distributed all the tracts you sent me, and they have done good. At last we have started a club, enrolling twenty-three members at the outset. We meet every Monday evening at Liederkranz hall and discuss the land question. Hereafter we shall have a regular program. One of our members who travels over the state is going to organize clubs in every town that he visits. We propose to send tracts to every clergyman, physician and lawyer in the state. the Standard is doing a grand work and more copies of it are sold every day. The last two weeks all the news dealers were short. The newspapers (?) one and all misrepresent in the most outrageous manner the cause we are advocating. It is bad enough for men to be dishonest, but why must they be so stupid.
Mt. Gregor, Iowa.—I am a commercial traveler, and was an early convert to the teachings of Mr. George. I spend my entire time in the towns of Iowa, Minnesota and Wisconsin, and have done my best to promulgate the principles of the land and labor party as opportunity permitted by talking with my friends and customers. If there is any way to further help the cause in my territory you may always command my services.
F. M. Duval, Baltimore, Md.—I abandoned the rotten democratic party in 1880, and I am going to stay away from it as long as I live. God knows I never sailed under the republican flag. I am for the land and labor party on the plan of Mr. George. No other will suit me. I have the fever badly, and must do something to help along the good cause. If I can be of any use, I am yours to command.
Alex Williams, St. Louis, Mo.—There has been a great demand for land and labor literature in this city lately, and many are reading the Standard that a few months ago could not be got to look at it. The ninth section of our platform put out by the campaign committee, of which Mr. Clifton of club No. 2 was chairman, declares that “we favor the abolition of all taxes on improvements and the levying of taxes on land values alone.” The land question has come to the surf ace in spite of all efforts to keep it under, and is stronger than ever. The labor party of St. Louis will have plainer talk about it in the future. The Cincinnati platform never was adopted by the labor party of St. Louis, nor was any allusion ever made to it in our city convention. Our land plank was greeted with storms of applause, which shows the state of feeling in regard to Mr. George in this city. The local assemblies, since Dr. McGlynn's lecture, have devoted a great deal of time to discussing land reform, and nine-tenths of them endorse Dr. McGlynn. I have not heard one man deny the truths of his lecture. I have read a letter in the Locomotive Firemen's Magazine for June very favorable to the single tax agitation. It is written by a fireman in the west. That organization here is very friendly to the idea.
C.H. Hackman, Elkhart, Ind.—Our club is growing slowly, but surely. Outside of our membership it is well understood that there are many followers of Mr. George, believing firmly in his principles, who will act with us when the time comes for political work.
E. J. Perego, secretary Farmers' alliance, Wichita Falls, Tex.—People here are in a deplorable condition, suffering from destitution, from speculators and from drought. If I could get reading matter I would canvass the county and distribute it. We need something like Mr. George's address before the second meeting of the Anti-poverty society. Help us to enlighten this country if you can.
G. B. Hollinger, Harrisburg, Pa.—The land reform movement is growing with a rapidity that is surprising. New converts are being made daily, and many of the best and most intelligent men in our city are taking hold and pushing the work on. If Dr. McGlynn and Henry George could come here it would go a great way toward shaking up the dry bones.
C. S., Long Island City, N. Y.—We had a well attended meeting in the First ward last week and are now organizing the Third ward. Then, with the club in the Fourth ward, we shall get up a picnic and so raise funds to pay expenses for a mass meeting.
W. E. Jackson, Auburn, Me.—One land and labor club has been organized here, as you know, and another will get under way in a few days. There is also good prospect for a club in Lewiston. I get two or three copies of the Standard every week, and I do not let anyone come near me without bringing up the land question. Nothing will go to the bottom of the trouble except to abolish all taxes save those on land values. I wish my means were as great as my enthusiasm.
Robert Pyne, Hartford, Conn.—The doctor's lecture was a glorious success in every way. Only yesterday one of my New Britain friends who heard the doctor, informed me that a club had just been started in that place. Rev. W. D. P. Bliss, rector of St. George's church, Lee, Mass.—I shall be only too glad to serve this cause in any way, for I have come to believe in it with all my heart. We want Dr. McGlynn up here. Mr. Lincoln of Zylonnite says that he is trying to get him.
Pittsburgh, Pa.—Thomas G. Shearman's article on “The Single Tax” is just what I have been watching for. If five or ten thousand of them can be printed, I will buy the whole lot. It is a statement that appeals to intelligent men, and is stripped of all sentimentalism. We expect to accomplish most by appealing to the intelligence of our people rather than by arousing their enthusiasm by pleas which it seems impossible for some of them to understand.
Benjamin Adams, Charleston, S.C.—Our working classes here are in utter poverty. Wages in most occupations average seventy-five cents a day, with work for probably not more than half of the time. Of course there are exceptions, such as the bricklayers and ski lied mechanics, but as the unskilled laborers are in the majority, I think the above named average is not too low. The white men of South Carolina, no matter how poor or ignorant, look upon the negroes as little better than monkeys; and, on the other hand, the negroes, although they are generally humble and very polite, are very susceptible, and an ill-considered word will make them fear that, as in the past, they are to be used as cats' paws for white office seekers. The white men are dissatisfied with the democratic party, but are afraid of social ostracism. The negroes are almost as- much dissatisfied with the republican party, but when it comes to action will be more likely to follow the lead of an influential man of their own race than that of a white man. I shall leave no stone unturned to get our land reform ideas before the public. Let us make a square fight and make the people talk and think. I am neither a democrat nor a republican. I am for the united labor party, and endorse the sentiments of Mr. George in a recent number of the Standard , that our party must take a firm stand regardless as to which of the old parties is the survivor.
——, Cincinnati, O.—There are many land reformers who have hoped by remaining with the union labor people to have them finally adopt our principles, but I think a conflict is inevitable, and it might just as well come now as a t any time. There is scarcely a leader of the opposition but pretends to agree with us. As to our ultimate success we have no doubt. This very fight has caused thousands to study the question who would otherwise have blindly followed blind leaders.
J. W. N., Buffalo, N. Y.—We are now in the midst of a land boom. A large meeting of so-cal!ed business men has been called to “boom” the city and to unload real estate on small holders. There is a splendid field here for a series of letters somewhat like those of Mr. Croasdale, though dwelling more on the dog-in-the-rnanger factor. John Mooney, Bishop Ryan's factotum, who would not give us the hall for Dr. McGlynn, is the leader in the land league here. I had a notion that land was land the world over, but here is this man doing his best to defeat the preaching of the land gospel, and he himself looks after his rents as remorselessly as any land grabber in all Ireland.
F. W. Beals, Auburn. Me.—Our club is now formally organized. President, A.C. Dunning; treasurer, F. W. Noyes; secretary, myself. We are going to try to drive some sense into the heads of the folks that inhabit the earth. Rev. F. S. Root is delivering a course of lectures on the question of the day, and they are fine. He is a George man and an able speaker. the Standard has a large circulation here and is doing good work. Let us have patience. We want the earth, but we can't expect to get it in a day.
——Our entire membership will work as one man to aid this land reform. We are now convinced that Mr. George's land tax will do peaceably what we have been organizing to do forcibly since 1862. God grant that Mr. George may accomplish it, for that will save not only our own country, but the whole world, from a revolution that will otherwise be waged to the utter extermination of the “classes.”
The “Post” is Tired
New York Evening Post
The public of this city is getting very tired of the George-McGlynn movement, whatever it may be. The introduction of the O'Brien trouble brought a little variety into it for a moment, but only for a moment. O'Brien is now gone and the controversy about him must necessarily languish in his absence. Can Mr. George and Dr. McGlynn not take a brief holiday and give the press and the public a rest?
“How long, O Lord, how long?” says M.D. of Evansville, Ind. 'Our triumph will be glorious, but shall I live to see it? Will it come in our day and generation? Is it reasonable to hope that such a social revolution as we are striving for can be brought about in less than a hundred years?' And pray, why not, M.D.? Events move fast in this wonderful nineteenth century of ours. How long is it since the abolition of poverty was regarded as a mere pleasing dream—an idle speculation, fascinating to the imagination, perhaps, but not worth the attention of practical men? Yet today, what subject so engrosses public attention? Take up any pro-poverty paper and lo! in some part of it you will find the editor, with his little broom of platitude or ridicule. trying to sweep back the rising tide of sentiment. Talk to your neighbor of the new crusade—he has been thinking of it, too, it may be ignorantly and blindly, but thinking nevertheless. The tide is rising fast, and the day is not far off when it shall sweep all opposition before it. Meantime, M.D., be sure and do your snare of work, and approve yourself a worthy soldier of the new crusade. Get your friends to read; you'll find they need mighty little urging. See that in Evansville, at least. the Standard has a goodly list of subscribers. While you are working in your neighborhood, tea thousand others are laboring elsewhere to spread the light. Cheer up, M.D.; tell us how many sample Standards we shall send you, and make up your mind to send us at least one new subscriber every week.
Here is a letter from a Tammany hall politician, which is worth reading, as showing the drift of public sentiment, and the way in which the gospel of God's kingdom upon earth takes hold of men almost in spite of themselves:
I am a member of the Tammany hall organization, and have taken an active part in politics for thirty years. Old and loved associations, business interests and the daily needs of my wife and children will not permit me to openly advocate the grand truths you so well and nobly proclaim.
I am with you, however, heart and soul, as are thousands similarly situated, to whom it would be suicidal to publicly avow their true sentiments a t the present stage of the contest. I read your splendid Standard with much benefit and pleasure, and most heartily do l wish it and you and the good Dr. McGlynn godspeed and a speedy triumph of the scriptural doctrine of the laud for the people.
“Thus saith the Lord, I have made the earth and created man upon it. One generation passeth away and another generation cometh, but the earth abideth forever. Moreover, the profit of the earth is for all. And also that every man should eat and drink and enjoy the good of all his labor, it is the gift of God.”
I have written solely for the purpose of assuring you of the sympathy and support of numbers of intelligent men. who are so situated that they cannot voice their feelings without doing material injury to their business and families, and this unknown and silent army will at the proper time, and by the peaceful weapon of the ballot, go very far toward deciding the whole questions at issue.
Enclosed please find live dollars for antipoverty.
All right, friend Salmon; we understand your position thoroughly, and shall not urge you to jeopardize the welfare of your wife and little ones by making an open confession of your faith. The day will come, sooner than you think, when you will not be able to restrain yourself; and then, perhaps, you'll find the consequences less dreadful than you anticipate. Your five dollars shows your anxiety to serve the cause; when you feel you can afford it let us have another contribution.
Birmingham, Ala.—Your plain talk in “Publishers1 Notes,” has given me a shaking up that I really needed. I understand now that there is no room for idlers m the ranks of the new crusade, and please God I will be an active soldier from this time on. I commenced active work a week ago, and send you four subscribers a s the result. I thought when I started out I should have to meet considerable ridicule, but I find people are doing a lot of quiet thinking down here. One old gentleman said to me: “I don't see that all this mining and manufacturing has benefited the people of Birmingham very much. We are getting to have a few rich men, but we've got a mighty sight of poor ones!”
Your old gentleman is a shrewd observer, Mr. Condon. As long as the people of Alabama allow Alabama to be bought and sold, they must expect to see poorhouses and palaces pretty close together. God made a noble provision for the people of your state, but if you are fools enough to let a few shrewd fellows monopolize it, you must bear the consequences. There are quite a few men living luxuriously here in New York on the labor of Birmingham people.
South Hanson, Mass.—I am a subscriber to the Standard , and am so well pleased with it that I have got four subscribers, whose names and addresses I send with remittance. The extra $2 is for the recruiting fund. The statement of Dr. McGlynn that there is only a small discount between Editor O'Brien and Lansdowne just fills my bill exactly.
Hartford City, Ind.—Enclosed please find $4; $1.25 for renewal of my six months' subscription, $1.25 for six months' subscription of ——, and $1.50 for “Protection and Free Trade,” I sympathize with the archbishop and with the pope, too, since I read his recent letter. I always sympathize with the man who opens his mouth and puts his foot in it. Deal gently with these erring ones. They have given the movement a boom that will last.
Chicago, Ill.—I have been assisting the Standard to spread the light. Please send the paper for twelve months to the following fifteen addresses, and enter my name as a member of the Anti-poverty society.
M. F. Coyne.
Little Rock, Ark.—God speed the cause and hasten the day when poverty shall vanish. I send you eight subscribers for six months, and am hustling round for more. I am enlisted for the war; and if I can't be a general, I mean to be a fighting private.
E. B. Sims.
Oakville, Ore.—As my subscription to the Standard will soon expire, please find enclosed an order on Wells, Fargo & Co. for $3—$2.50 for the Standard , twenty cents for “Social Problems,” twenty cents for “The George-Hewitt Campaign,” and ten cents for “The Land Question.” I like your publication. It has the right sound for God and humanity.
Waco, Tex.—Here is my third club—twelve new subscribers. The new crusade is spreading like a prairie fire down here in Texas. I bad to work hard to get up my first club. People hadn't heard of the Standard , and knew nothing about land reform. But now they are waking up and want to have the thing explained to them. One thing is certain—every man who takes the Standard will keep on taking it. He can't do without it.
These are active soldiers in the war against poverty—men and women whose belief finds expression in deeds—who are doing what in them lies to bring about the change that shall lift the yoke of slavery from our necks and herald the actual coming of God's kingdom upon earth. There are many such, but more—aye, a hundred fold more—are needed. Good reader, won't you join the band of workers and do your share to help the cause along? Believing what you do, knowing what you do, can you, dare you, remain idle? Hard, stubborn facts stare you in the face, little children are perishing by thousands and by tens of thousands, literally thrust back from and crowded off the earth for want of living room. Women who might be happy wives and mothers are being forced into lives of degrading, life shortening toil, or driven to sell their souls for bread. Men who might be honest citizens, loving sons, good brothers, devoted husbands and fathers, are being forced at the point of poverty's sharp bayonet into the rum shop, the poorhouse and the penitentiary. The tramp from whom you turn away disgusted appeals to you to lift him from the foul slough into which society has crowded him. The millionaire who plays his gambling game with human lives for counters is a direct result of the robber system against which we fight. Your children call upon you to make life's path smoother and happier for them than it has been for you. Up, then, with the cross of the new crusade! Stand forth like a true soldier and do your share of fighting. Be urgent, with your neighbors and drag them into line. The work is easier than you think for. Men's minds are ripe for new ideas; the world is thinking. Will you do what you can to make its thought bear fruit in action?
The recruiting fund is doing well, but should do better still. It is enabling us to do yeoman service in the work of spreading the light in dark places. People who have never read the Standard before are having it thrust upon their notice week after week, and, as a rule, they take kindly to it, for the Standard is a journal that it's pretty hard to throw aside unread. Here is what a new subscriber, one of many whom the recruiting fund has brought us, writes:
I send you my subscription for a year, and I don't know whether to thank you for the copies you have been sending me or not. You have made me discontented with my self and the social conditions around me, and I don't feel as if I could rest until I get to the bottom of this new doctrine you are preaching. And then, I suppose, I shall turn into a crank and go out trying to convert other fellows. The only criticism I can make on your gospel is that it's too good to be true. A recruit like this is worth winning, and we are getting many a one like him. So swell the fund, good friends, and help us bring them in.
Detroit, Mich.—Find enclosed $5, of which place a part as a year's subscription to the Standard , send me ton copies of the current number for distribution, and apply the rest to the recruiting fund.
Mac, Brooklyn, N. Y., sends a dollar for the fund, and forwards at the same time the name of a “rank heathen,” whom he wants to see converted. We will see what we can do with your heathen, Mac, and hope to get him into the fold for you.
Thoroughly understanding the principles advocated in the Standard , and considering it the best channel for spreading the light of truth in the minds of men I enclose live dollars for the recruiting fund, regretting that I can give so little for such a noble purpose. I consider it the duty of all those who have seen the light to help on in every way they can the spreading of the truth, that God has provided plentifully for all his children, but that men through their stupid enactments have prevented the working of the natural laws, thus divorcing the laborer from the land, murdering the one and wasting the other, while enabling the few to escape the command of God, “In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread.” When the people once see this truth we will have the kingdom of heaven on earth.
The new crusade has its friends all over the world. A subscriber in London, Mr. H. A. Freeman, sends a pleasant letter, enclosing his initiation fee in the Anti-poverty society and a contribution of $1.40 to the recruiting fund.
The recruiting fund now stands:
H.A. Freeman, London
W.H. Creamer, Arkansas City, Kan.
A Gospel That Promises Something for the Poor
Rev. E. P. Adams of Dunkirk, N. Y.; writes to the Observer Journal of that town:
I must acknowledge that whereas I was blind to the sufferings and wrongs of the wage workers and had settled down to let things go on as they are without trying to right them, Henry George has done not a little to open my eyes to see. If saying this puts me out of the synagogue, then out of the synagogue I must go. I ask no man to follow Mr. George or myself, but I do demand, and always shall, that every man follow the truth by whomsoever spoken and at whatsoever cost. . . . Would “Lenox” have me speak “beautifully and feelingly” the sermon on the Mount, and then ignore all practical applications of it. For my part, that beautiful preaching seems no blessing, but a curse. The reason why the wage worker and poor man stay away from the churches is because the whole business is a luxury of the rich. Henceforth I renounce the abstract questions about the nature of God, between old theology and new theology and preach a gospel that promises something for the poor, not only hereafter but here.
Farmers Would Have Less Taxes to Pay
If all land, not the improvements thereon, is taxed at its full value, then each holder pays in proportion to his holding; that this is the very spirit of equity, no one can deny. The vacant lands, which now are held for speculative purposes, would then contribute their full share of taxation, and this would reduce the taxes of those who are cultivating their lands. This change would fall with a heavy hand on those who own immense tracts of idle land. It would actually destroy landed monopoly, for no one could afford to hold more laud than he could use. The farmer's gains are in his improvements, and he should have the full benefit of them, and not be compelled to divide with an adjoining owner who will not spend a dollar to improve his land. The taxes of the average farmer would be much less than they are now, under this system, for all land would bear an equal share, but as it is, the far greater portion of taxation is levied on the land in actual use, and this is clearly detrimental to the agricultural interests.
B. F. Hallock.
Fort Worth, Tex., Southwest.
Dr. McGlynn, Henry George and a number of other reformers, writers, thinkers and workers have founded a society in New York called the Anti-poverty society. The object is a grand one. The blight of poverty is a terrible curse upon poor~humanity, and any agency, effort or organization which will aid in minimizing it should be encouraged and commended. No thinking mind but must admit that poverty is not only unnecessary, but unnatural, in this country at least, Its present painful prevalence is due to vicious systems and unjust laws. Nine-tenths of existing poverty is artificial and can be removed when the people make an honest, earnest and intelligent effort in that direction. Success to every anti-poverty movement.
Fencing 447,000 Acres
Socorro, New Mexico, Bullion.
The actions of the so-called owners of the Armendari's grants, lying in the very heart of this and Sierra county, and comprising 447,000 acres of land, enough to make happy homes for 5,000 families, shows what these great corporations will do in case they can control the laud. They are at this time erecting a barbed wire fence around their possessions and making it a desert as far as concerns the prosperity of New Mexico. The would-be owners of the Maxwell grant propose doing the same thing.
M'Mackin On O'Brien
A Scathing Denunciation of the Irish Leader's Time-serving Inconsistency—Time to Speak Out
The following stirring letter was sent to all the New York daily papers by Chairman John McMackin, on June 9:
Sir—Wm. O'Brien took ship yesterday morning after eating a Hoffman house dinner with democratic office holders of the city of New York. I read in the papers an account of the speech he made at that dinner, in which so great was his anxiety to excuse himself that, as the old adage has it, he accused himself.
Turning to the next page of the paper before me, which happens to be the New York Herald, I find a cable dispatch to the effect that “the evictions at Bodyke were continued to day.” I find another cable dispatch from Michael Davitt, in which he says: “The work of exterminating our race is going on daily. . . . The workingmen in America, in their own interest, should protest against this pauper labor being forced upon their market” by emigration. I find another cable dispatch from London, the caption of which is: “Hastening coercion. The house of commons rushes the crimes act along rapidly.” I have also seen a cable dispatch to the effect that the national league of Dublin reprobates the utterances of Davitt in relation if the horrible brutalities of the Bodyke evictions. It would seem that the time has come when men who believe, as I do, and as William O'Brien does not, that the land of Ireland belongs to the people of Ireland—that the whole of the land of Ireland belongs to the whole of the people of Ireland—should at last speak their minds.
It is time that public attention should be directed to the gross inconsistencies, not to say dishonesty, of the leaders of the Irish cause and of their professing friends and admirers in America. One of the reasons assigned by Mr. O'Brien for not attending the labor demonstration on Saturday was that his doing so would “increase the difficulties” of Ireland by “embroiling” the Irish leaders “in American issues.” Why, then, should Mr. O'Brien ask Americans to embroil themselves in British or Irish issues? If it be an impropriety for Mr. O'Brien to attend a meeting in New York at which American landlordism is condemned, manifestly it must be an impropriety for citizens of America to take any part, either by contributing money or by holding meetings, in condemning landlordism in Ireland. Apparently Mr. O'Brien thinks it right that all the world should be perpetually “embroiled” in the affairs of Ireland, while Irish leaders must take care not to utter a word in condemnation of injustice or oppression anywhere outside of Ireland.
Mr. O'Brien came to Canada to denounce Lord Lansdowne—for what? For doing what American landlords do every day without a word of censure from the men who dined Mr. O'Brien in the Hoffman house. Mr. O'Brien admits that the land of Luggacurran is the private property of Lansdowne, just as his American friends admit that the land of New York is the private property of the Astors, Rhinelanders and others. If New York landlords may, as they do, demand what rent they please for the land they hold as their own, and evict, as they do, tenants who refuse or who are too poor to pay, why should not Lord Lansdowne do the same? There are as many evictions in proportion to the population, and as cruel evictions in America, as in Ireland. The land laws in Ireland are much more favorable to the tenants than the land laws in America. In Ireland a tenant who thinks he is overrented can go to the courts and get the rent reduced. In America a tenant must pay. any rent the landlord chooses to fix or go.
For years the Irish cause has been sustained almost entirely by funds supplied by the Irish of America. All along we were told that the money was asked for, and was to be used in, the work of abolishing landlordism. “The land for the people” was the great motto of the land league, proclaimed at the monster meetings by Davitt and Parnell and their fellow agitators, and reiterated in America by Patrick Ford and other representative Irishmen in their appeals for funds. The hundreds of thousands of dollars contributed to the Irish cause within the last seven years by the Irish workingmen of America were most assuredly not contributed to increase the number of landlords in Ireland, or to change one set of landlords (the present set) for another (peasant proprietors), but for the purpose, repeatedly and distinctly proclaimed by the Irish leaders, of utterly destroying landlordism in Ireland. Mr. O'Brien now tells us that this is not what the Irish movement aims at. He virtually says that they do not want to abolish landlordism, but to perpetuate it. They want reductions of rent first,and then the clearing out of the present landlords to make way for other landlords to take their places. If this is what Ireland has desired and still desires, then the vast sums received by the Irish league from America have been obtained on false pretenses.
With regard to Mr. O'Brien's Hoffman house entertainers at $12 a plate, it is time to tear the mask off the faces of hypocrites who pose as friends of justice and denouncers of landlordism in Ireland, while being the defenders and sustainers of injustice and corruption and rack-renting landlordism in America. What is right in Ireland cannot be wrong in America. We have not heard a word from Tammany hall, or even from Bishop O'Farrell, in condemnation of the brutal evictions a couple of weeks ago in Pennsylvania, where scores of families were pitched out of their houses into the streets and obliged to remain there all night, as the landlord forbade, under penally of eviction, anyone to give them shelter. Such a thing happening in Ireland would be indignantly denounced by the O'Donoghues and Graces and Kellys of New York, but happening in “free America,” those “haters of oppression” have not a word of censure or disapproval. “A patriot in Madrid, a rebel in Ireland,” used to be a formula employed by the Irish national press to point the hypocrisy of the press and politicians of England, who, while British jails were filled with Irish patriots, were ever ready to applaud and to welcome and to demonstrate in honor of patriots from Hungary and Italy and Greece and Bulgaria. “A patriot in Ireland, an anarchist in America,” seems to be the form that applies to the position of the men who have been shouting around Mr. O'Brien. For trying to do in America the same work which the land league with their hearty sympathy sought to do in Ireland, the O'Donoghues and the Kellys denounce us as anarchists. If these men were in Ireland they would be found working in the ranks of the party known as “castle Catholics.”
In this country their political occupation is gone. The people have found them out. The mask has been dragged from their faces. They will no longer be permitted to pose in the double character of friends of justice in Ireland and supporters of corruption and oppression in America.
Under the Hoof of the Land Monopolies
Iron Molders' Journal.
Giffen's statistics for 1885 startle us with the fact that only about 5,000,000 acres of good arable land remain available in the United States for the actual settler. Every thoughtful man knows what that means, viz.: that with the last acre gone the real struggle between the masses and the classes (as Gladstone aptly puts it) will commence. The wealth producer of the American continent will be under the hoof of the land monopolist, as for ages past his European brother has been.