Volume 1 June 4, 1887
Volume 1 June 4, 1887
The Rising Tide
The manner in which the pro-poverty press all over the country is still chuckling over the pope’s letter to Archbishop Corrigan, and the evident delight with which the leading papers of both parties look forward to Dr. McGlynn’s excommunication should he refuse to obey the summons to Rome, is as significant as it is striking.
The monstrous pretense of Archbishop Corrigan to dictate the political action of his subject priests; the arrogant summons of an American citizen before a foreign tribunal to answer for his opinions concerning a proposed change in the laws of his native country are to these papers only matters for laudation and congratulation, because the “saviors of society” imagine that in the interference of Rome they have secured the aid of a power which, acting upon what they deem “the superstitions of priest-ridden Catholics,” will aid them in putting down the great popular movement for securing the rights of the masses now beginning. They are destined to find themselves mistaken. Even the pope’s broom of excommunication will not sweep back the rising tide.
The Sun, the fast ally of the Tammany ring, is especially anxious that Dr. McGlynn should go to Rome, and with tears in its eyes, so to speak, warns him of the fate in store for him should he refuse to leave his country for its politicians’ good. “There is nothing,” says the Sun, “which gives Dr. McGlynn more encouragement to continue in the course he has marked out for himself than the cheering and other marks of applause which he receives from audiences. His hearers are as enthusiastic as he is.” And then it goes on to warn him that all this applause and enthusiasm is merely due to personal friendship and will not last, and that the destiny in store for him is disappointment and isolation, and the bitterness of futile hopes when once he is cut off from the church.
The editor of the Sun may possibly really delude himself with the idea that this is true, for so poor a judge is he now of the tides of popular opinion that up to the verge of the last municipal election he imagined that the labor party in New York would not poll more than a few thousand votes. But however this may be, this ignorance of the force back of Dr. McGlynn undoubtedly characterizes the view which Archbishop Corrigan, aided by the leading American newspapers, has succeeded in imposing upon the Roman authorities.
It is a mistaken one. Dr. McGlynn will no more lose strength by excommunication than he did by suspension. Loved as he is by thousands who know him, if he had nothing behind him but personal affection, Archbishop Corrigan would not have found it necessary to call upon Rome to put down the “rebellion” of his “subjects.” But the enthusiasm with which Dr. McGlynn is everywhere received is due not to personal popularity, but to the fact that he stands for great principles—the principle of political freedom and the principle of equal rights. What Archbishop Corrigan and the pope have undertaken to put down at the behest of the saviors of society is not a single priest, but a great popular movement, which has touched the hearts and aroused the consciences of the masses. And the stronger the opposition to this movement, the more irresistible must it become.
The workingmen of New York have determined to give an unmistakable evidence of how they regard the threats made against the priest whom they look on as their friend and champion by a grand parade on the afternoon on June 18. This may show those whom even the Anti-poverty meetings will not convince what is the real strength behind Dr. McGlynn.
The attempts of the pro-poverty press to reply to the arguments in favor of abolishing all taxation on the products of labor and resorting to the taxation of land values for public revenues, indicate at once how rapidly this idea is taking hold of the public mind, and how increasingly rapid its future progress must be. For all attempts to prove that property in land has the same derivation and sanction as property in land has the same derivation and sanction as property produced by human labor can only call attention to the obvious and essential differences which show that the one species of property ought to be taxed to its full value and the other exempted from all taxation.
For instance, the World, commenting on my answers to some questions of the young ladies and gentlemen of Packard’s business institute, endeavors to dispute the proposition that land is the only thing that grows in value on account of the growth of the community. It says:
Almost everything produced for sale “grows in value on account of the growth of the community.” Newspapers are made valuable properties by the increase of population. The product of a strawberry patch grows in value from the same cause. A blacksmith’s stand, though on leased land, grows in value by the growth of the community around it. The same thing is true growth of the community around it. The same thing is true of a hotel, a store and of every other business enterprise.
What is likely to be the effect of this on the mind of any reader who does even a little thinking for himself—and it is only the men who do some thinking for themselves who have any influence on the course of opinion?
“Almost everything produced for sale grows in value on account of the growth of the community.” Shoes, hats, coats, dry goods, books, houses, and so on infinitum, are produced for sale. Do they increase in value with the growth of population?
“Newspapers are made valuable property by the increase of population.” Are they? Is it the increase of population that has made the World so much more valuable a property than it was five years ago, or is it the audacity, enterprise and business management of Mr. Pulitzer? If newspapers are made valuable property by the increase of population and not by their management how is it that, according to the World, the value of some of its respected contemporaries has been steadily declining of late years while the increase of population has been growing steadily on?
“The product of a strawberry patch grows in value from the same cause.” Does it, as a matter of fact? There are some patches of ground used for growing strawberries that, as every New Yorker knows, are gaining in value every year by the growth of population, but does the value of strawberries in the market likewise increase?
A blacksmith’s stand, “though on leased ground,” a hotel site, the location occupied by a store or other business, may grow in value by the growth of the community; but what does this increased value attach to, and who gets the benefit of it? Business men know it, in many cases to their cost, that it attaches to land, and that at the expiration of the lease the landlord gets it by raising the rent.
Another instance of how utterly impossible it is to answer the argument for putting taxes on land values and taking them off of things produced by labor is thus given by the Tribune:
The fundamental doctrine of Mr. George, which a correspondent asks us to state and explain, is the notion that no man has or can acquire a right to the ownership of land. His theory is that the value of the land is not created by man’s labor, and therefore cannot be properly appropriated by individuals. The truth is that the part of the value of land which is the result of man’s labor is infinitely the greater part, and is absolutely inseparable from the value, if there ever was any, existing in the land independently of such labor. Name a tract of ground anywhere, and examine its history closely, and it will be found that its value has been created by the building of roads, the creation by the building of roads, the creation of means of reaching it and transporting products from it, by the clearing, fencing and other improvements of that and adjacent lands, by the growth of villages, towns and cities more or less near the land in question, by the building of stores and churches, railroads, canals or turnpikes, and, in a word, by all the progress of civilization from the earliest settlement of that region to this day. As a rule, the land itself has no value which is not the result of human industry.
The value thus created must belong to somebody, and be capable of transmission from one person to another. This is necessary to the welfare of civilized society, because the creation of such values, by the improvement of lands and the construction of means of communication, would be arrested if the land were not the property of individuals.
So, too, the Star labors to the same end in the same muddled fashion:
The real city lot is the product of labor and investment, public and private. It is surrounded by streets that have been graded, opened and paved, and which are underlaid by sewers and penetrated by gas and water pipes. In front of the lot is the sidewalk to render access to it convenient and easy. All around it are improvements which will cause a house to be built upon it this year or next year. It is not, even while lying vacant, unimproved land. It has been leveled down from some high hill or graded up by filling in some hollow. Every inch of it has been handled by labor and improved by it. It is the product of man’s work, the result of his investment of time and money, and not the wild piece of ground God gave man to work on.
These are good examples of articles which are appearing every day in hundreds of American newspapers, and which must have a most powerful effect in promoting the Anti-poverty movement in promoting the Anti-poverty movement by putting men upon inquiry. For whatever land has any value, one has to look around, has but to “name a tract of ground and examine its history closely” to see that over and above any value which the individual owner may have created by his improvements there is a value, irrespective of these improvements, which has been created by the growth and industry of the community at large—a value which, in the words of the Tribune, “has been created by the building of roads, the creation of means of reaching it and transporting products from it, by the clearing, fencing and other improvements of adjacent lands, by the growth of villages, towns and cities more or less near the land in question, by the building of stores and churches, railroads, canals or turnpikes, and, in a word, by all the progress of civilization from the earliest settlement of that region to this day.”
And no one can fully appreciate this patent fact without seeing clearly that both as a matter of justice and as a matter of sound public policy, the value created by the individual ought to be left in its entirety to the individual, undiminished by any taxation upon it, while the value created by the growth and industry of the community at large ought to be taken for the common uses of the whole community.
Nor will it be difficult in any locality to name valuable tracts of ground as to which there can be no possible confusion between what the individual owners have done and what the community has done, for the simple reason that the owner has done nothing.
Thus, there is in that part of the city of New York still called Fort Washington a certain rocky piece of land jutting out into the Hudson. This little peninsula of a few acres, to which, in its present condition, the most convenient access is by a bridge across the cutting through which the New York and Harlem railroad runs, is yet in a state of nature. It is a piece of rock covered in places with a thin soil and a natural growth of trees, and running off so precipitously on the river side that the water there has a depth of about a hundred feet. But for the roar of the passing trains, one seated among these trees, and catching only glimpses of the river through their branches, might imagine himself a thousand miles from civilization. The view from the rocky shore is delightful. Over against you is the wall of the Palisades, and up and down on either hand stretches the long expanse of the noble Hudson, dotted with all manner of craft. Unless, indeed, he thinks of the great advantages for the sites of warehouses or factories which the railroad on one side and the river on the other gives it, no one can visit this little rocky peninsula of a bright summer’s day without thinking “What a delightful spot for a house.”
Yet neither dwelling nor warehouse has ever built there, nor the little peninsula improved in any manner whatever. Some forty or fifty years ago the naturalist-painter, John James Audubon, bought a half acre of it, with the intention of putting up a house, but, for some reason or other—possibly because the price he had to pay for the site exhausted the means with which he proposed to build the house—he never did so, and the half acre was finally sold by his son.
The rock now belongs to two gentlemen, who, like their predecessors, have made no use of it themselves, and have permitted no use else to use it. There it still remains—just as it was when revolutionary soldiers raised the now almost obliterated earthworks of Fort Washington; just as it was when thirteen black pieces of property were burned at the stake on one day in New York; just as it was when Hendrick Hudson sailed up the North river; just as it was when Columbus first felt the land breeze of the New World; just as it was when Caesar crossed the channel; when Romulus drew the bounds of the Roman city; when the first brick of the pyramids was laid!—just as it was when the first man, whenever or wherever he came, opened his eyes on this fair globe! This particular piece of the dry superficies of the earth, jutting out into the Hudson river, in the city and county of New York, has never known the hand of labor. Neither its present owners nor any of their predecessors ever cultivated it, or graded it, or drained it, or built upon it, or did anything else to create a value on it. Yet this rock is very valuable. It is doubtful if it could now be bought for $20,000 an acre, and it is constantly growing more valuable.
Who created that value? Not the individual owners, nor their predecessors in ownership. They have done absolutely nothing. If the value of this land is the result of human industry, it is certainly not the result of their industry, but the industry of the whole community. Is it not, then, a matter of simple justice that the benefit of this value should go to the whole community, and not to two men who have done no more to create it than any other member of the community?
But this giving to individuals of values due to the growth and industry of the whole community is in itself not the worst feature of the system which the pro-poverty press try so hard to defend. Still more injurious is the effect it has in restricting enterprise and hampering industry.
To illustrate: If the owners of this piece of rock had been willing to take merely its actual value at the time to take merely its actual value at the time for permission to use it, it would long ago have been put to use, instead of remaining in a state of nature as at present; for since Audubon’s day there have been many who wanted to use it. But the confident expectation that the growth of New York and the increasing demands of the business that centers here would continue to add to its value, has prompted its owners to keep the price they asked for it always ahead of what anyone who wanted to use it could afford to pay. As one of them expressed it, they have in the ownership of this piece of rock a ticket in a lottery, which, if only held long enough, is certain some time to draw a grand prize, and the higher the offers the higher have grown their expectations. A rocky bank with a hundred feet of water at its base is not to be had everywhere around New York, and some day or other is likely to be badly needed. And so its owners have refused all offers of people who wanted to use the land, and have preferred to continue lying, as it were, in ambush, for the purpose of blackmailing some would-be user out of a larger sum. Various things have from time to time excited their expectations of getting an absolute-necessity price. At one time it was thought that the increasing size of ocean steamers would soon make it necessary for the steamship companies to secure wharves in deeper water than can be had on the present commercial front of the city, so that the lucky owners of this rock could make the steamship companies “sweat.” Then through the talk of spending more money on our navy they got the notion that it would be required for a navy yard, and that they could make the nation “sweat” through the war department. Then the “fortification boom” raised their hopes that the government must have it for a fort, and they could make the nation “sweat” through the war department. And the net result of all this confident expectation of being able to extort from the needs of the community an immense price is that this bit of land, with a great trunk railroad on one side and a hundred feet of water on the other, remains absolutely unused.
What is true of this piece of land is true of thousands of other pieces of land in and around New York. And what is true in this respect of New York is true of the whole country.
Here is a story for Archbishop Corrigan, who seems to think that while God made the air for all men, He intended the land to be the private property of some men. It is to be hoped he will mark it with a blue pencil when he sends this number of The Standard to Rome:
Silas M. Burroughs, an American, settled for some time in London, where he is engaged in a manufacturing business, visited Boston some years ago with his family, intending to pass some months. Finding that his children were sickening in the hot term, he set out to look up some more salubrious place in the country, and found a little shanty perched on the top of a rock between the seashore and a pine wood. The owner offered to rent it for $500 for the season. Mr. Burroughs remonstrated that the whole place was not worth $500 out and out. “Why that house,” said he, “never cost $500 for the season!” “Of course the house didn’t cost me $500,” replied the owner. “But what I am charging you for is not the house, but the air. Take a sniff of it. Where can you get healthier air? When the wind blows this way it comes straight off the ocean, and when it blows that way it comes through the pine trees. Air like that is dirt cheap at $500 for the season!”
What brings up Mr. Burroughs in this connection is this: He wishes to remove his manufacturing business from London to New York. He wants to do this, not to get the advantage of our protective tariff, for the goods he proposes to manufacture get no advantage from our tariff and will be in large measure exported; but partly because, being an American, he would prefer to live here, and partly because the raw material he works up can be procured here to advantage. To establish his factory here he, of course, first wants a site—and he wants a site convenient to the railroads and convenient to the water. The little rocky peninsula at Fort Washington which no one is now using, and no one ever has used, would suit him admirably; but before he can get permission to put up his buildings there he must first pay out a large part of his capital in what is in reality nothing but a legalized blackmail of such enterprises. So it is with other places. There is some unused ground at Port Morris, but that is held by New York bankers, who, though not using it themselves, demand from $20,000 to $25,000 an acre before they will let anybody else use it. Then there is twenty acres of ground at Point Berrata, which at present is only being used to pasture a few cows, and which would make an admirable location either for dwelling houses or for factories; but $20,000 an acre is demanded for this. So it is all around the city of New York. There is no end of sites adapted for just such businesses as Mr. Burroughs wishes to establish here—sites that are now either utterly unused or only put to such uses as grazing cows; yet the man who wants to put them to a use which will increase the general wealth must must pay an exorbitant price before he can get permission. For a long distance up the Hudson river unused river banks are held at ten or twelve thousand dollars an acre—not because of anything the present owners of their present owners of their predecessors have done, but because other people want to use them.
Consider the effects of our present system of taxation upon the growth and prosperity of the community. Here is a manufacturer who wants to bring his capital here and establish a factory. In the first place he must submit to a blackmail which will rob him of a large part of his capital before he can get a vacant piece of ground to build on. In the second place, when he brings over his machinery his capital will be further lessened by the “protective” duties which will be charged upon it, and in the third place, as soon as he puts up buildings, purchases stock, employs labor and goes to work, he will be taxed on all his improvements, and not merely that, but when he has put a vacant piece of ground to use, he will be called on to pay a far higher tax on the value of the ground alone than did the man who simply held it idle, and would neither use it himself nor permit any one else to use it.
Is not this a system which directly discourages enterprise and diminishes production—a system, in short, for the encouragement of poverty? Would it not be the part of wisdom, as it certainly would be the part of justice, to abolish all our taxes upon production and improvement, thus recognizing the full right of property in all that individual effort produces, and by taxing only the values which the growth of the community creates, to take for the community what belongs to the community, and render it impossible for mere blackmailers to levy their toll upon those who wish to put land to beneficial uses.
A suit was begun in the United States district court on Tuesday which illustrates another feature of our monstrous land system. A Canadian named Tunis Covert probably a descendant of one of the American tories who emigrated to Canada to some five hundred blocks in the most valuable and best built up part of upper New York, by virtue of a grant made by the colonial Governor Nichols in 1667 to certain men then living. If he succeeds in his suit by proving that certain dead men did or did not do certain things, he will become the legal owner, not only of all this immensely valuable ground, but of all the buildings that have been erected upon it. Whatever be the legal merits of this particular claim, such a thing is entirely possible under our laws. Cases are constantly occurring in all our states in which men are deprived of land they have paid somebody for, and of the improvements they have made and the buildings they have erected upon it, because of some action or non-action on the part of men long since dead and of whom they never heard. Yet when it is proposed to substitute for this robbery-provoking poverty-breeding system one based upon the self-evident truth proclaimed by Thomas Jefferson that the land belongs in usufruct to the living, and that the dead have no power over it, the saviors of society bawl “Confiscation.”
The editor of the Hairdressers’ Chronicle and Barbers’ Gazette was, as it seems from the last issue of that paper, the gentleman who, at a recent Anti-poverty meeting, put to me the question, “How are you going to abolish the pawnbroking system?” My answer was, “By bringing about a state of things in which no one will be so poor that he will need to pawn anything.” This he says was flippant, and goes on to explain the importance of his question:
The rich man can borrow money from his banker at six per cent per annum, while the poor man must needs take his rings and things and household goods when he wants to borrow money to the pawnbroker, who charges him at the rate of three per cent per month, or thirty-six per cent per annum, for the use of it, after leaving double and treble the collateral security, merely because he is poor, and the world is not his friend, nor the world’s law.
The editor of the Hairdressers’ Chronicle and Barbers’ Gazette thinks that to remedy this—
The state must establish its depots in different parts of the city and country, and be prepared to loan the poor man money upon collateral security at the legal rate of interest, the same as a bank loans money to the rich.
And he thus declares his intention:
We shall take the initiative in this matter without fear or dread, and our first step shall be upon the filthy pawnbroker’s head.
But it is to be hoped that Mr. Landsberg will reconsider this and devote his energies to higher things. The pawnbroker, as he himself must see, if he thinks of it, is not a cause, but an effect. The poor man resorts to the pawnbroker because he is poor. As Mr. Landsberg puts it, “the world is not the poor man’s friend, nor the world’s law.” And this will ever be the case, for it is of the nature of things. Wealth is power; poverty is weakness. As the Scriptures have it, “The destruction of the poor is their poverty.”
Now, what is the use of wasting energy in attempting to somewhat mitigate one of the manifold evil effects of a general cause, when the cause itself may be removed. My answer to Mr. Landsberg may have been brief, but it was certainly not flippant. The earnest men and women who compose the Anti-poverty society propose to remedy the evils of intemperance and prostitution and wife-beating, and a thousand kindred evils—by abolishing poverty. They believe this entirely feasible, because they believe that widespread poverty amid abounding wealth is not a natural, but an utterly unnatural, condition; that it is, in short, the result of a monstrous wrong—the wrong that denies to the vast majority of the children who come into life in such a city as New York any share whatever in the estate to which they are joint heirs; and compels the great majority of men and women to constantly buy of others what God provided for them. The simple righting of this wrong will, the members of the Anti-poverty society believe, so open opportunities for employment, so raise wages, so increase the production of wealth, and so secure a just equality in its distribution, that no one willing to do what, measured by present standards, would seem like a very small amount of work, need want, not merely for the necessaries, but even for the luxuries of life. As for those who won’t work, the Anti-poverty society proposes to leave them to starve. And as for those who can’t work, it proposes to take care of them, not as a matter of degrading charity, but as a matter of right, out of that vast fund properly belonging to society, which now goes to maintain idlers and manufacture “dudes.”
The Support Catholics Give Dr. McGlynn
Boston, May 30—The support of the Catholics given to Dr. McGlynn after the pope’s reprimand, as evinced by yesterday’s meeting at the Anti-poverty society, fills me with joy and confidence.
A Parade And Mass Meeting
The Friends of Dr. McGlynn Will Crowd the Streets of New York on Saturday, June 18
Catholic citizens to the number of thirty met last Monday evening at room 28, Cooper union, and considered a proposition to hold a great public demonstration to give evidence of popular feeling in regard to the letter recently received from Rome relating to the case of Dr. McGlynn. Those in attendance were men residing in different parts of the city and acquainted with the masses of its Catholics. The question as to the advisability of holding a public mass meeting was soon settled in the light of the testimony given on the spot as to the feeling prevailing among the Catholic population. A call was therefore drafted, as follows:
At a meeting of Catholic citizens held in Cooper union Monday evening, May 30, it was unanimously resolved to hold a public demonstration, consisting of street parade and mass meeting, in New York city on Saturday, June 18, to give expression to popular feeling on the recent letter from Rome, in which sanction was given to the arbitrary and tyrannical action of Archbishop Corrigan toward a priest because of his exercise of his rights as an American citizen.
We, the undersigned, invite organized labor and all American citizens, irrespective of creed or nationality, to join with us in this great popular demonstration of protest against attempted interference in American politics, as instanced in the case of the Rev. Dr. Edward McGlynn.
The call is signed by John T. Coughlin, chairman, and James J. Gahan, secretary, and John McMackin, chairman of the united labor party, New York; Hugh Whorisky, United Order of American carpenters; Thomas Moran, L.A. 1563; Michael Eagan, John R. Feeney, Hatters’ union; Jeremiah Murphy, Right protective association; Peter Ryan, James P. Archibald, president Paperhangers’ union; Michael Clarke, Irish World; John J. McNulty, teacher; Patrick Egan, John J. Bealin, united labor party; Thomas F. Kenny; M.P. Lee, William P. O’Meara, Hatters’ union; J.J. Sweeney, J.J. Joyce, Fifth assembly district association, U.L.P.; William J. O’Dair, machinist; L.J. McEvoy, J. O’Shaughnessy, Dry Goods salesmen’s association; J.J. Lovell, George Smith, J.J. McKenna, Ocean association; Richard Caffrey, gold beater; J.A. Malone, M.D.; Martin A. Hanley, District Assembly 197, K. of L., Jersey City; James Cavanagh, Hugh Grennan, cooper; James Hurley, Chas S. Purcell, tile layer; Richard Norris, lithographer; Geo. W. Dunn, D.A. 49; James E. Quinn, master workman D.A. 49; Thos. A. Delaney, D.A. 49; William McCabe, Typographical union No. 6; Dr. Henry Carey, James H. Magee, master workman D.A. 75; J.J. Moran, D.A. 75; Patrick Doody and Thomas F.O’Neill, Book-keepers’ federation, and Dr. Daniel De Leon.
A sub-committee of arrangements met on Tuesday evening and issued the following notice:
To all Labor, Temperance, Benevolent and Military Organizations, Associations and Individuals favoring the position taken by Dr. McGlynn in reference to American citizenship: A grand parade and public meeting endorsing the position taken by Dr. McGlynn will be held on Saturday afternoon, June 18, 1887, in and around Union square, to which all organizations are cordially invited.
All bodies desirous of participating will correspond at their earliest convenience with the secretary of the committee of arrangements.
Joseph McElvoy, Secretary
Room 28, Cooper Union, city
A resolution was also adopted requesting organizations to select their own marshals, who will then meet and make a selection of a grand marshal. By this course independence of action is given to all organizations participating in the parade.
The finance committee connected with committee of arrangements will send out the following circular:
Dear Sir: It has been decided to have a public outdoor demonstration in New York on Saturday, June 18, to give expression to popular feeling on the recent letter of the pope in reference to the case of Rev. Dr. McGlynn.
The demonstration will take the form of a street parade, followed by a mass meeting in Union square, at which we hope to have distinguished speakers from all parts of the country. To make the demonstration a success money is needed, and to obtain the necessary funds the only resource of the committee is to appeal to the friends of the great cause with which the name of Dr. McGlynn is identified.
On behalf of the committee we venture to appeal to you to give us what assistance you can, and to interest your friends in the same direction.
Contributions will be gratefully received and acknowledged by the chairman of the committee, Dr. Coughlin, 28 Cooper union.
We are, dear sir, yours truly,
Jeremiah Coughlin, M.D.,
James P. Archibald,
Just Let Them Excommunicate Him!
New Haven, May 30—As a humble Catholic I wish to ask what in the name of all that is just and reasonable are the potentates of the church driving at? Do they for a moment really suppose that Catholics at large are not capable of distinguishing between what is religion and that which in no wise comes within the authority of Rome? Excommunicate Dr. McGlynn! Well, let the outrage be perpetrated and it will kindle a flame that will rankle and burn in the hearts of legions. God speed “the people’s” priest. May his efforts never lag until religion ceases to be a mockery and becomes as Christ founded it, and until a Catholic can serve his God without surrendering his economic and political convictions and becoming a mere jumping-jack to be manipulated for the amusement and worldly glorification of unscrupulous and ambitious intriguers!
Geo. Geary, Jr.
Called Back by Dr. McGlynn
Cincinnati, May 30—Enclosed please find $1 as initiation fee to the Anti-poverty society. A Roman Catholic by birth and education, with strong religious feelings, I have for years ceased to be a militant of that church because I have been unable to reconcile my ideas of perfect justice and brotherhood of men with the course pursued by its higher dignitaries, whom I have always found on the side of the rich and powerful. The Christ-like example of some of the humbler clergy maintains alone its influence for good. I am only one of the thousand who, not practical church-goers, will be proud to enroll themselves under the banner of a priest like Dr. McGlynn, and help to realize reforms with which all righted hearted must sympathize.
The reforms proposed by the Anti-poverty society can be defended on purely economical grounds, but their religious, or rather moral, features are vastly more important, as only these can give the sanction necessary to make them lasting.
Van De Velde
The People’s Answer To The Papal Court
Thousands of Believers Who Are Not “Subjects”—A Multitude Arraying Itself on the Side of McGlynn and American Citizenship—The Masses Defy the Classes—A Wonderful Oration by the Priest of the People
Inside the Academy of Music last Sunday evening the spectator witnessed proceedings that may now be locked upon as routine, if such a term can be applied to oratory of the highest order and demonstrations of enthusiasm such as this generation has not seen before. The doors of the building were opened at seven o’clock, and a crowd that had been waiting long and patiently, many persons in it having ranged themselves in line as early as six o’clock, poured into the auditorium. In about quarter of an hour the house was full. When every foot of available space had been taken, the entrances to the Academy were closed by orders of the police, the precaution being necessary in view of the possibility of panic or fire. At eight o’clock the immense audience was quietly awaiting the opening of the program, and it was a surprise to many who had arrived early when announcement was made from the stage that in consequence of the great crowd on Irving place and Fourteenth street some of the persons expected to assist on the stage had been unable to enter. It was 8:15 when Miss Agatha Munier’s chorus sang the opening anthem.
Outside the building the scenes enacted were as notable as they were unexpected. When the police closed the doors, steady streams of people were moving along the sidewalks into the entrances. In a few moments a large, dense crowd had formed in Irving place, and soon afterward it had swollen in dimensions until it reached almost from Third avenue around in front of the Academy to Fifteenth street. How many thousand persons were unable to obtain admittance it would be difficult to estimate, but the World of Monday placed the number at 5,000.
There could have been no difficulty, however, on the part of any spectator in quickly ascertaining the feelings that animated the vast multitude on the street. Indignation at the treatment of an American citizen as a “subject” by the Roman authorities, and confidence in the power for good that had been born with the Anti-poverty society, found expression frequently. Men and women were heard declaring in no uncertain tones their sentiments in regard to the contest that the people of this country are witnessing between wealth and power on the one hand and truth on the other.
The crowd, though good natured, was persistent in remaining. The police found it a difficult piece of work to conduct to the stage door the young ladies of Miss Munier’s chorus who had not arrived as early as 7 o’clock. Many persons applied for admission at the stage door on various pretexts, but nearly all these were turned away. Letters have been received since Sunday evening by members of the executive committee of the Anti-poverty society, complaining that the writers, though members of the society, were unable to obtain admission to the meeting. As one gentleman put it, “Things are at a pretty pass when one can’t get into his own church, coming early at that.”
Announcement was made from the stage that a sum of money had been found, and that the loser could obtain it on application to the executive committee. An elderly lady called on the chairman of the house committee on Monday to claim the money. Unfortunately, no one was able to inform her who the finder was. The latter is requested to send word to The Standard office as to where the lost money can be obtained.
Mr. Henry George opened the fifth meeting of the Anti-poverty by saying:
Ladies and Gentlemen:—We must ask your indulgence for a few minutes. So many thousands of people have been turned away, and such an immense crowd blocks up the street, that the members of the choir have not yet all got in, and it is very probable that a large number of them will not be able to get in. John McMackin, chairman of the county general committee of the united labor party (applause), will preside tonight.
Mr. McMackin, on assuming the chair, said: I do not come to preside merely as a representative of the united labor party (applause), but I come to preside as a Catholic (applause)—a Catholic because I have learned to know what Catholicity is (applause); because I can distinguish between my duties as a Catholic and my rights as a citizen. (Applause) It is not new to me to be threatened, and in fact to be denied the rites of my church for entertaining political opinions. Nearly twenty years ago in this city I, for believing that Ireland had a right to rule herself, was denied the rites of the church. But I have lived to see men change and times change; and that same church that would deny to its humble servant its rites and its sacraments, today through the force of Irish public opinion is compelled to stand with the people of that country. (Applause) This movement that has assumed such vast proportions in this city and that is extending throughout all this country, means no evil to pure religion, but it does mean the bringing back of mankind to that pure religion where man can understand the purity and the principles of the fatherhood of God and the brotherhood of man.
Dr. McGlynn appeared upon the platform while Mr. McMackin was speaking, and the chairman, seeing the futility of continuing his remarks in the storm that arose on the instant, took his seat. No sooner had the audience caught arose in a body and rent the air with shouts of welcome and enthusiasm. Handkerchiefs, umbrellas and hats were waved, and men shouted themselves hoarse. A wee bit of a child was passed from hand to hand up to the platform, and an enormous basket of flowers given her, which she handed to Dr. McGlynn. She was rewarded by the father placing his hands upon her curly head in benediction. Two other floral emblems, representing a harp and a cross, were also placed alongside his seat. “Three cheers for our pastor” were given with a vim, whereupon a man with a stentorian voice shouted, “He will always be our pastor.”
When Dr. McGlynn arose to speak the demonstration which greeted him as he entered was, if that were possible, exceeded. The enthusiasm was almost indescribable. When quiet was somewhat restored Dr. McGlynn began:
Mr. Chairman, Ladies and Gentlemen: It is a glorious thing to be permitted “to justify the ways of God to men,” to hear the summons coming as if from the very voice of God to forget our baser selves, to rise a little nearer to the dignity of rational and immortal beings. And although we are animals condemned to walk the earth, yet it is our higher nature to spurn the earth and soar to heaven, to hear the call that urges us to make of the material things of time and sense, not merely the gratification of a momentary appetite, the satisfaction of a passing whim, the indulgence of a selfish greed, but to find in these material things with which we have so much in common, only the handiwork of God made by Him in His infinite wisdom and goodness and love, as the teacher and remembrancer to our intelligent spirits of His unseen beauty and goodness, even of His very Godhead.
It is the teaching of Christ’s great apostle that through the knowledge and the use of these wonders of the visible world, we rise by reason to the knowledge of the invisible, of the eternal, of the divine. It is this great truth that makes our weary life worth the living. It is the blessed consolation that comes from this faith that makes the burden worth the bearing. It is this precious crown held out to us as the reward of victory that makes us feel that the battle, no matter how fierce or protracted, is worth the fighting. (Great applause)
To him whose mind has been penetrated with the fact of his rational dignity; to him to whose heart it has been given to taste even a little of the joys of the divine communion; to him whose fancy is not so entirely dulled or sluggish or brutish as not to permit him to find in the things of time and sense images and glimpses of the eternal truth and beauty—to such an one to fighting, the suffering and the dying for justice’s sake becomes a thing of joy (applause); and every such an one, no matter of what age or sex or condition, feels that there is a fierce delight in the strife; there is exceeding great joy in working on the encampment of the Lord of justice.
There is a charm, a grace and a dignity that come to human life that only they can know who have learned the symbolism of the things of sense, who have learned that their chief value is an educational one; who have learned aright the lesson that this magnificent storehouse of wondrous materials is but God’s workshop, in which He has placed His well beloved children to profit by the holy discipline of labor, not because of the good things this will bring him here, but because the discipline of labor is far better than all its earthly gains. (Applause) This supreme joy comes to all those who understand aright that this goodly world and all the wonders of the universe are but the furniture of the schoolhouse of God, that all that may have occurred throughout the countless ages was but a preparation for the education here in time of His well beloved child, and that the glories of the firmament and all the multifarious and multitudinous beauties and glories of the universe are but the handiwork and handwriting of God the Father, that He was spread out in such profusion, in such wondrous beauty, simply that He might the better instruct the mind, enlighten and elevate the heart, refine the spirit, and discipline the soul. The dearest thing to the heart of God in all the visible world is His well beloved child—the image of Himself that He has stamped upon a mere land animal.
The object then of our abode here besides working in God’s workshop is to learn in God’s school. It is by care and painful study, by humble submission to the direction of the all wise and most loving Master to decipher aright the handwriting of the Father that he has spread out over all his works, to solve the mystery, to understand the riddle, and by the acquirement of knowledge to give higher praise to God through the uses of our intelligence, through the enlargement and the glorification of our imagination, than all the praise that goes up to Him from the wonders of the material universe.
The harmonies of the spheres, the music of the streams, the roar of the cataract, the wondrous poem of the whole universe, are constantly reciting to the ear of God. And yet all these things, great and wondrous and worthy as they are, are but poor and small indeed as compared with the priceless, the inestimable dignity of one human head, one human heart (applause), for upon every human head and heart there is stamped a more intimate and a closer image of God than upon all of His universe besides.
And so man is a microcosm, the compendium of all the world. And if man, in the fullness of time, had not stood erect and walked the earth, then would creation have had no worthy purpose. All the myriad evolutions of the ages only find their solution when man at last appears upon the ripened scene. Man alone can go back and discover the mysteries of the ages and say that all has been on his account (applause), that God would not have made a material universe if He had not intended that when the world should be ripe for him there should come upon the scene one that should find a voice to speak because having mind to think and heart to love, and should send up to heaven a music far more ravishing than the music of the spheres—the voice of an intelligence, a loving, an obedient child. (Great applause)
And so the human head, the human heart, the material frame take on a peculiar charm, dignity, grace and sanctity. The material body that once was a clod of earth, and again shall be a clod of earth, has become a temple, a shrine, a sanctuary of the most precious image of the Lord God Almighty. (Applause) To a mere clod of the earth come inestimable dignity and sanctity. The very animal body, sharing so much with all the brute creation, takes on a grace and a charm of its own. So that man walks the earth monarch of all he surveys, and even his baser part seems not entirely unworthy to be the outward form and image and instrument of the God and King. (Applause)
It was not an exaggeration for the greatest of our poets to speak as he did with enthusiasm of the God-like form of man, since the wisdom of the Maker harmonizes all things, adapts with perfect ease and wisdom, and yet with resistless force, all his means to his ends.
And so the very material body of man, while in many respects inferior to the bodies of the mere brutes in strength, in agility, in swiftness, in endurance, yet by the subtle power within conquers them all and proclaims this animal the lord of creation and the vice-regent of God. (Applause)
It is then no part of our philosophy, it is no part of religion, to despise the necessities of this, our animal nature. We would not be wiser than our Creator, we would not despise that work of His which He Himself from the beginning pronounced exceeding good, and blessed it. And it were blasphemy for us to curse or to revile His work. It is holy religion for us to revere and respect it. While we must exalt the majesty of the immortal spirit, while we must insist that mind shall rule matter, that will shall be the absolute mistress of sense, while it were unworthy of our dignity as men not to acknowledge ever and always the superiority of our spiritual, our rational and immortal part; yet it is but obedience to the plain law and teaching of God Himself to acknowledge His plan, to acknowledge that we are by His law inseparably connected here with animal bodies, that these animal bodies are but one with our souls, that these animal bodies are but one with our souls, and that the connection between the spirit and material body is so close and so subtle that even our highest spiritual conceptions, even our clearest vision of spiritual and eternal truths is for us in our present condition impossible without the aid of material images, without the help of that spiritual faculty that serves as the intermediary between spirit and matter, that borrows from material things its sounds and shapes and motions, and furnishes the human mind with a wondrous storehouse of materials by which it shall express, whether in language, in music, in painting, in sculpture or in architecture, the thoughts and the subtle fancies of the immortal soul.
It is God’s plan—let us reverently acknowledge and obey it—that we should live here in these animal bodies ministering as we reasonably can and must to their temporal wants, looking upon them as a precious trust that God has given to us, the care of which is a large part of our duty here, so that by the proper use of them we may work out our destiny in time in order to secure our perfect happiness in eternity. (Applause)
It is then a mistaken, false and exceedingly perverted notion of true religion, of the Christian religion, to suppose that we must exalt the spirit, the things of God and eternity, to such an extent as to ignore, to revile, to curse God’s handiwork in the material world. A large part of our duties, without respecting and obeying which there can be no true religion, are the obligations that men owe to one another in those relations that concern their temporal abode and the necessities, comforts and happiness of their material life. It is then a part of our duty as reasonable beings, if we would have true religion, to respect exceedingly even the material side of life, and to do all we can to give to our brethren such helps as they may need, that by supplying the wants of this material life they may be freer to carry out their destiny and by the proper use of the things of time to deserve as their reward the things of eternity. (Applause)
God has given us then the right and the duty to take care of these material bodies, to supply their wants, to satisfy their legitimate appetites and cravings, to preserve them in health and reasonable comfort, and from the swift destruction that would come to them if by our diligent labor we did not provide for them food, raiment and shelter. It is a duty as well as a right. And we who have enlisted in this new crusade (applause) should never tire of saying to those whom we invite to take up with us its cross that we and they shall never be worthy warriors under that blessed ensign if we shall continue to content ourselves with prating about our rights, with glibly talking about the rights of labor, about the rights of man; and if we shall not rise to a higher thought and a nobler dignity, and rather be impressed with the holy enthusiasm to fulfill our duty, to induce others to fulfill their duties; if we shall not the rather talk of the duties of man, of the duties of labor, of the duties of citizens one to the other. (Applause)
It is no part of the purpose of the preachers of this crusade, it is no part of the purpose of those who have engaged to do battle to the end for the glorious emancipation that is the object of this crusade, to appeal merely to the selfish greed, the mere interested passions of those who with us have enlisted under this sacred banner; it is not to ask men to provide for their own gross material interests to the highest degree that we would summon them, but rather like the Master from whose cross we borrow the ensign of this holy war, from whom we have received the text and the motto that is the very essence and the core of this great movement, whose blessed word upon the Mount and whose holy prayer and prophecy we have learned to reverence and follow—the blessed doctrine of the fatherhood of God and the brotherhood of man. (Great applause)
Rather, I say, than talk of our rights, we, as we have learned from Him, will talk of our duties, will talk of the blessedness of sacrifice for the sake of justice. And we shall find unspeakable comfort and highest inducement to suffer whatsoever may be in store for us, in His divine injunction that “if we shall seek but first the things that concern the blessed kingdom of truth, of righteousness and of justice, all other things shall be added thereunto.” (Applause)
The teaching men that by some system of political economy they may have a little more bread, that they may have a little butter on their bread (laughter), and that in fact in the new order of things there may be so much butter that they may be able to butter their bread on both sides (laughter) is not of sufficient importance to enlist our enthusiasm; and it would not seem of sufficient importance to make it worth the sacrifice that it perhaps shall cause. (Applause) But when we are able to see that the question of bread and butter means the question of eternal justice; when we see and are able to show to men the close connection between the questions of employment and wages, of steady employment and of proper wages, and the justice of God, the kingdom of heaven, the righteousness that God has taught the minds and hearts of men to thirst after more than our mere animal bodies can ever hunger and thirst for meat and drink; when we discover and show to men the immediate connection between these gross and material things of time and the undying things, the all beautiful things of eternity, then we have discovered a truth that fills our minds and ravishes our hearts. And we must needs feel impelled to go out in the highways and the byways. And if they will not permit us to preach this truth from Christian pulpits, then we will preach it from the stages of theaters and in the market place and from the boat by the seaside (tumultuous applause and cheers), from the bark by the seaside, in the center of the market place, or, be it said, and it contains a great truth, from the tail of a cart. (Laughter and applause) From such stages shall we preach the great spiritual truths that underlie this labor question. (Applause) And the stage of the theater, the bark by the seashore, the crowded market place and the tail of the cart shall all become sacred and precious (applause), and not entirely unworthy pulpits from which the truth shall be taught, not unworthier than when He preached as man never preached before or since in the market place amid rude surroundings, preached of the fatherhood of God, of the brotherhood of man (applause), and prayed and prophesied not from any wooden petticoat of a pulpit (laughter and applause), but from the rock on which he sat upon the mountain top, from the fallen trunk of a tree, from the stern of a fisherman’s rude bark, preached as men never since have ever preached—and thought his preaching more the less worthy because of the rude surroundings—the blessed gospel, the glad tidings of justice, of emancipation, of chastity, of sobriety, of purity, of all these things (applause) that so exalt a man that he can not merely say with the sweet singer of Israel, “For He has made him a little lower than the angels,” but also to think and say that even the angels of heaven must stoop and wonder and envy this favored child of God on earth that he has been considered worthy of an opportunity to work out his destiny through the darkness and the gloom, through the storm and the struggle, with ever a light to steer his course, with ever a help to strengthen his hand, so that he shall some day, somewhere, some time, enjoy the same kingdom of truth and justice and love; that it has not been given him as a free gift, but he has been permitted to earn it by his own sacrifice. (Great applause)
Yes, we want the earth (laughter and applause); we want the land (applause); we all want fair, equal access to it; but the reason why we want the earth, why we want the land, is because we want the kingdom of heaven (applause); because the earth is God’s footstool (applause), and because He has given it to us. And we assert that we must have it, not so much because it is a duty that he has laid upon us never to surrender that right (applause and cheers).
We want the earth because God wishes that we should have it. (Applause) We want it because it were a base surrender of a divine and holy truth to acknowledge that the earth was ever made by anybody else but by God Himself. (Applause) Because it were an unworthy presentation of the character of our Creator to say that after He had made all these natural bounties with such wondrous profusion through the silent ages, for myriads of years by the great processes of evolution before man walked the earth, He was preparing all this to eventuate in a horrid system of injustice. That surely cannot be, since it would be so exceedingly unworthy of us. (Applause)
We therefore insist that come what may, suffer what we may have to suffer, we should be guilty of treason to God (great applause); we should commit an unpardonable baseness; we should be sinning against the Holy Ghost (applause) if ever we abated one jot or tittle of our demands. (Applause)
Yes, we want the earth in obedience to that teaching of Almighty God. “The heaven of heavens is the Lord’s, but the earth He hath given to the children of men.” And they were strangely ungrateful children, strangely recreant to the Father’s love, strangely unworthy of the precious gift that He has given them, as He has left them here for a time to work out their destiny and to take of the materials of nature and transform them so that they shall imitate the creative faculty of their Father, to discipline themselves so as to be more worthy to be called home from school to the Father’s house above. (Applause) They are but obeying the Father’s law in insisting upon their rights to these materials, and they were strangely, I say, indifferent to those most precious gifts of the Father’s love if they should consent to give them away to any man. (Applause)
Labor has a sacramental value. Labor is caged, prisoned, cribbed, cabined and confined if it have not absolutely free access to the bounties upon which it must be exerted; so that in the natural order materialists of labor, access to these materials, and to the diligent, industrious and rational exertion of labor upon these materials, and the diligent, industrious and rational exertion of labor upon these materials, is the sacrament of nature even as the holy sacrament of Christ’s body and blood is the sacrament in the spiritual order. The right and the duty to labor are so sacred and so precious that when Christ, the Son of God, came into the world to teach us what was best, he came not to a birthplace in a marble palace, to be rocked in a cradle of gold, to have princes in attendance in His ante-chamber, to have monarchs holding the stirrup of his saddle, to be a great conqueror and ruler, like unto the carnal minded men amidst whom He lived and whom He made the beneficiaries of His miracles, and whom in their monstrous ingratitude to Him did Him to death because He failed to respond to their carnal-minded expectations by not being a king, a conqueror, a mighty ruler, such as they expected, but became as the lowliest, the gentlest, the most lovable, the humanest of men; a man knowing all the ills and sorrows of poverty; a man so poor that He was born in a stable; a man who continued to be so poor that He had to work, at a mechanical craft to get a pittance for His living; a man who, when He went out to teach the multitude the truths of God, complained that He had not where to lay His head, and who (in all respects a man while He was the son of God), permitted His human nature to assert itself so that He even complained of hardship, and permitted His human nature to feel all the weakness and all the sorrows of so strange an impoverishment, so that He envied the beasts of the field that had their holes, and the birds of the air that had their nests, while He had nowhere to lay His head; a man who slept on the mountain side; a man so weary of watching and labor that He himself yielded to nature and fell asleep as He sat in the stern of Peter’s bark. The son of God was a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief, and He became just such in order to give to the privation of God’s poor an almost sacramental charm and value, to teach men that it is the poor that He loves; that it is among the poor that He finds the most blessed seeds for the coming kingdom.
He came to be a laborer, to take to Himself the horny hand of labor, not to reverse the original command that man should eat his bread by the sweat of his brow. The carnal-minded men who once may have been fed by Him with the miraculous bread began to flatter themselves that He was the expected Messiah after all; that He would feed them with bread for which they did not labor; that He would become the king of Judah; that He would conquer Rome and all other lands tributary to it and not tributary to it; that He would become the great king of Judah. But He taught them that while by His miracles He would prove His power, He had not come to reverse the law of labor, but to give to labor an almost sacramental value for those who will labor after His example and for His dear sake, and to give to labor at the same time the consolation that if it be deprived here of its fruits, it shall be allowed the greater reward hereafter; and to insist that by doing justice here the laborer shall not be tempted to curse God; but by the justice that shall be done to Him here, He shall be all the more ready to acknowledge the providential government of the world by a just, a wise and a loving God and Father. (Applause)
So, I say, the Son of Man, the Son of God, came to teach us the blessedness of labor in the one hand and the exceeding blessedness of justice on the other, to teach us to hunger and thirst after justice, to teach that men must labor, that it is good and healthful for both body and soul to labor; but that it is a crime that cries to heaven to deprive man of his opportunity to labor, or when he has labored to deprive him of the just hire of his labor. (Great applause)
The lessons that He taught are not merely that we must pay what we have agreed to pay. When the crime is crying to heaven for vengeance of depriving the laborer of his hire, surely it does not mean merely depriving him of the hire that he has been compelled to agree beforehand to accept because he was naked and homeless and willing to work, because of his necessities for anything that would be barely enough to help him protract a little longer his wretched life. That is not the hire of the laborer (applause) what he has been compelled to agree to take, but what he should have been able to demand, and what in every case justice requires shall be awarded him—the full wages of his work, whether he has agreed beforehand to receive less or not. For if he has bargained beforehand to receive less than he should be able to make, this is simply taking criminal advantage of his ignorance or of his necessity. (Applause)
And so the sin that cries to heaven for vengeance is crying and crying still. It has cried throughout the ages, and has never cried in vain. God is just, God is wise, God cannot break His word. The same sin is preying upon the vitals of our own civilization. The same crime is committing in our market places, in our factories, in our fields, in our mines, in the holds of our ships. And the voice of ill-requited labor, the voice of the laborer who cannot labor because no man will employ him, is coming up from thousands and hundreds of thousands, calling on God for vengeance upon a society that in its cupidity and stupidity fails to hear the cry, to right the wrong to declare that justice shall be done. (Great applause)
Prate no more to starving men of mere resignation. Talk to men whom you have done everything you could to help, to elevate, to feed, to clothe, to shelter—talk to them, if you will, and you may talk to some purpose of resignation; but you are simply adding insult to injury and giving them new cause to blaspheme, if you prate of resignation, and even in the name of sweet religion, invoke sanction and benediction upon the unpardonable sin, to those whom you are helping to rob. (Tumultuous applause)
What a strange inconsistency it is that those who pretend to represent the teachings of Him who died for justice sake, those who are the custodians of His teachings and the dispensers of those holy sacraments that God has appointed as medicine and food to the minds and hearts of men—’tis a strange and lamentable fact that they should so woefully have mistaken the spirit of their Master, should be so strangely recreant to the spirit of His sweet and holy example; that in the name of justice they should be lending the sanction of the religion of Christ to a horrid social wrong. (Applause)
It is because the ministers of all the churches, with scarcely an exception, of all the churches that assume to speak in the very name of Christ, are today banded on the side of injustice, in favor of the classes against the masses (applause); prating of their sacred duty to maintain “the rights of property,” because of a vested right or title some one-and-a-half or two centuries old, the origin of which was the grant of some unworthy man who was a king, and who for, perhaps, unworthy services such as it would be scarcely decent to name, gave large tracts of land to some man who purchased them by unmentionable crimes (applause); because of “sacred vested rights” a hundred and fifty or two hundred years old, as if that were a greater antiquity than the eternity of God (great applause); as if justice were not older than that (applause); as if eighteen hundred years before that title began—a man had not stood in the midst of the world who dared to proclaim himself the very Son of God, and who declared that all such titles were not worth the parchment they were written upon (applause); declared it in effect when He declared the reign of justice on earth; when He taught men as they had never been taught before, the blessed gospel of liberty, equality and fraternity; when He taught them that they were all but children of one Father in heaven, and therefore all brethren one to the other; that God the Father is a wise and a provident Father, who feeds His children with bread, and not the cruel stepfather who, when they ask for bread, would give them a stone. (Applause)
And so, with all reverence to his reverence (laughter and applause), the minister or priest or whoever else he may be (laughter) that thinks to shut the mouths, to benight the minds and to stifle the hearts of the preachers of this crusade by prating about the sacred rights of property, to such an one we are prepared to say, we do say, we say it to all the world—none more than we, few as much as we, are concerned for the sacredness of property. (Great applause) A large part, we may say the whole, of the preaching of this crusade is to thunder forth, with thunders that shall all but rival those of Mount Sinai, to all the world, to the proud, the haughty, to the aristocrats, the crowns and the kings, to the robbers, the usurpers, the sacrilegious monsters that would change the law of God, “Thou, you, shalt not steal!” (Tumultuous shouts and cheers) And, translating it into the plainest and homeliest of Saxon English, so that every child can understand, the object of this whole crusade is to stop the stealing. (Applause) All can understand that. There are a great many that might not quite understand about the unearned increment, and about the rental value, but all can readily understand the significance of the precept, “Thou shalt not steal!” (Applause) What we wish to do is to enforce that commandment and to prevent the stealing; to insist that the laborer shall have his hire, and that his hire shall be all that it ought to be, namely, all that he himself could or ought to make by proper access to the natural opportunities that God has given him, those natural bounties to which God has wedded his nature, his soul, his heart, by giving him those bounties as inseparably as He has united man and wife in the tie of matrimony, over which He has pronounced His benediction from the very beginning with the stern prohibition, “Let no man put them asunder.” (Applause)
It is then to reaffirm, to make clearer and stronger and holier if we can the beautiful union between labor and its materials, between labor and the land, to restore the beautiful marriage of the one to the other, that is as old as the human family and as sacred to man as that utterance, “Bone of my bone and flesh of my flesh.” Therefore, shall a man leave father and mother and cleave to his wife, for they shall be twain in one flesh. So there is a marriage by nature sanctioned, elevated and given a sacramental value by the example and the teaching of Christ, between land and labor, between man and his environment, between the children of men and this footstool of God and their Father. What God has joined together let no man put asunder!
It is a malediction which He says He will hurl on that terrible day pictured in the parable of the judgment upon those who have failed to do what they should in behalf of the necessities of their brethren. And if He will curse those who have failed to do deeds of charity when called upon, He will the more hurl maledictions upon those who shall have failed to do justice, which makes so universal the need of doing charity. The highest charity is to labor, to suffer and to die for justice. (Great applause)
If the world goes on as it has gone; if the men who are clad in purple and fine linen, who sit in the high places in the synagogues and who assume to speak as if with the very voice of God—assume to have a monopoly of His grace and of His teachings, and to lock the very kingdom of heaven against whom they please to lock it—shall go on as they are going, it would seem that the day is not far distant when you will have to go to the theaters to get your religion. (Wild applause)
If the Son of Man should reappear today He would not be invited, He would not be permitted, to speak in many of His Christian pulpits. His attire, His manner, His appearance, His voice, His doctrines would seem strange to most of those who now think to have the exclusive right to represent him. (Applause) And, mark you, I say that, not because of any quarrel that I have with any of the dogmas of the holy Catholic church; not because of any want of reverence or devotion in my mind or heart to those holy sacraments that Christ has left as the medicine and the food of souls that are conscious of sin and craving pardon, of souls that are conscious of their weakness; not because of want of any faith in those dogmas or reverence for those sacraments, but because of a bitter, a heartfelt, and an inconsolable regret that those who stand for Christ, those who are supposed to represent Him, too often so misunderstand His spirit as to give occasion not merely to the ungodly, to the scoffer, to the men who have long since proclaimed themselves hostile to Christianity, but to many of those who are still most reverent believers in those doctrines and who are hungering for the grace of those sacraments, to feel that they are not getting a fair chance, that there is a fearful mistake somewhere, that it is passing strange that the church of Christ should too often seem to be in alliance with monarchs, with despots, with aristocrats, with the classes, with the landlords, with the privileged few, and to have so little of the fresh, of the strong message to the poor, the suffering, the oppressed, the outraged, the disinherited masses. (Applause)
I, least of all, have any quarrel with the beautiful, spiritual dogmas of the holy Catholic church. (Applause) I believe that they have in them the potency and the charm to enlighten and to dignify the mind of man to wondrous resemblance to God. And least of all have I any quarrel with those holy sacraments that I have cherished from my youth up, and never more than today. (Applause) As I have said on another occasion, it pains me much to obtrude so purely private and personal a matter upon such an audience as this; yet I think you will acknowledge that circumstances and the times give excuse and necessity for it. I would say, what under other circumstances I should shrink from saying, but now feel impelled to say, that this very blessed Sunday morning, on this holy Whitsun festival, on this glorious day that commemorates the coming of the holy spirit of God from heaven, I knelt reverently before an humble Catholic altar, and with as great reverence as when ministering before that altar, I humbly and thankfully, and I hope not entirely unworthily, partook of His holy sacrament. (Applause) So little did I fear that there should be anything in the gospel that I am preaching of this new crusade that could contradict in the least tittle His blessed teachings; so far is it from my mind and heart of hearts, or from the hearts of those who are with us in the holy war to do or say aught against the holy teachings and examples of Christ, that I begged and entreated Him to send His holy spirit as He did of old on His apostles, even upon me (applause), and to give strength and light and leading and sweetness to my mind and heart, and to permit me, to help me, to inspire me, as I should speak here tonight before a vast array of His beloved ones, so to speak that every word that I should say should give praise to Him, and be to the comfort and the edification of his children. (Applause)
The great advantage of this new crusade is that it is to bring men back to God; that it is to stop the blasphemy with which the whole world is filled, because men’s minds have been darkened, because their spirits have been embittered by the prevailing injustice, and chiefly because the prevailing injustice, and chiefly because the prevailing injustice does prevail so largely by the support of those who assume to speak in the name of Christ and in the name of God. (Applause)
The one object then that fires our enthusiasm until it becomes a divine frenzy, like that of the apostles who on this Whitsun morn eighteen centuries ago went out all aflame and talking with so new and strange an enthusiasm that men said they were drunk—it is this that inspires us with such an enthusiasm that men think it a charitable thing to say that we must be a little touched in the head. (Laughter) And good St. Peter gave what he thought was a sufficiently strong argument to prove that he was not drunk by saying that it was only 9 o’clock in the morning and that he had not yet dined, and of course it would be an ungentlemanly thing, not to say an unapostolic thing, to get drunk before dinner. We must assert our conviction that we are not insane, but simply seeking the doing of justice and to establish the kingdom of the Lord that will be in some measure a precursor of the kingdom of heaven upon earth, and that will be not merely a precursor, but will be a large part of the coming and of the staying of the kingdom of heaven on earth. For the law of that kingdom, whether here or hereafter, of the kingdom that Christ came to establish here, is that love, that charity which it were a mockery to pray for if it be not crowned by perfect justice.
And so the object of this crusade is to fulfill the prophesy of our Master when he taught us to pray, and when in teaching us He prophesied the fulfillment of the prayer that God’s kingdom should come and His holy will be done on earth as it is in heaven; when He taught us to pray, “Give us this day our daily bread,” and surely meant not that we should not labor for the daily bread, but that we should have abundant opportunity to labor and full wages for our labor. (Applause) “Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.” Can there be any worthier object to engage the mind and heart of man? Can there be any better object to arouse the enthusiasm of a Christian priest? And is it not the greatest abuse of privilege that a Christian priest shall be forbidden to teach anything at all from a Christian pulpit because on some other platform he has taught this and only this? (Applause)
“Let justice be done even though the heavens should fall” was the adage of the sages of antiquity; and to the same maxim has Christ given new sanction and new dignity.
We then are laboring for the doing of justice; and chiefly because we are all aflame with the spirit of true religion. It is because we are convinced that no cause is worthy of enthusiasm that is not full of religion, that is not all ablaze with it, that is not transformed and transfused by it. It is because of the religion that is in this cause that we are in it; and the moment you take religion out of it you take us out of it. (Applause)
And this cause will triumph. (Tumultuous applause) The stars in their courses are fighting for it. It has on its side the approval, the sweet smile and benediction of the God of justice, of Him who taught us the blessedness of hungering and thirsting after justice, with the divine assurance that we shall have our fill. All the angels above are envying those who have the blessed privilege of speaking burning words, of doing heroic deeds, in bearing throughout the world the holy ensign of the cross of this new crusade. (Applause) The teachings, the examples, the hopes, the fears of the great and the good of all the ages and of all lands, all poetry, all the highest hopes of men, all the aspirations of the nations—all these are with us and for us. And those that are against us are waging unequal battle against the light, against the right, against justice and against God. If God be with us, who shall be against us? (Applause)
The very angels of God, the princes and the powers of the kingdom beyond the grave, are fighting with us. Legions of angels are with us. The very might and the wealth and the craft of all those who are against us are but working the will of God. The wrath of man is working the will of God. Every step they take, every word that they utter, every letter that they write, every penalty they threaten to inflict, will be but to promote the teaching of this blessed gospel (sensation and great applause); will be but to advertise this doctrine (applause); will be but to give new fierceness to the strife, and therefore a new joy and delight of battle to those who engage in it. (Applause)
There is a perfect parallelism between these “saviors of society” (hisses) and the saviors of that blessed thing of which we have actually to change the pronunciation to do it full justice and call it an “institootion,” the one sacred thing some thirty years ago, the right on the part of a few men to hold four millions of their fellow men in chattel slavery. The holding in monopolistic ownership the bounties that God gave to all his children, sooner or later entails upon a larger number of God’s children a worse than chattel slavery. (Applause)
And if it be true that Christ died to make men free, if His blessed word were not all a mistake when He said, “If the Son of man shall set you free ye shall be free indeed,” then we shall have Him for us; and those against us shall sooner or later be compelled to hear from His lips not “Well done thou good and faithful servant,” but the curse against those who have failed to do what charity and justice demand for His suffering poor. (Applause)
Do you, all of you, men and women, gentle women and strong and earnest men, take in your heart of hearts the cross of this new crusade. (Cries of “we will! we will!” and applause) Resolve to hear here, if you can find no other altar, the preaching of this gospel; resolve—for this spot for the moment becomes a consecrated one when such sacred truths are delivered upon it—resolve here to forget your petty selves and leave off strife and selfishness, resolve that you bring no stain upon that fair white banner, the sacred emblem of this crusade. (A voice, “God sent you, we will follow.” Another voice, “May God spare you to do it.”)
Upon such a cause, upon such a movement, upon such a banner and such an ensign, surely upon the blessed Sabbath evening of this holy Whitsun festival we may with strictest propriety invoke the choicest blessings of our Father in heaven and of His Son, who, because God loved the world so much, was sent to be our Savior—the divine light and grace, the strength and comfort of His Holy Spirit that on this blessed Pentecost so many years ago came to cheer and strengthen the hearts of Christ’s beloved disciples, to make them more intelligent, stronger, purer and more courageous messengers to all the world of the blessed gospel of liberty, equality and fraternity, showing the way of God the Father. Upon this cause may we, with the poet Longfellow, invoke the blessings of the Paraclete.
We may well and reverently, even upon the stage of this theater, bespeak an invocation of that Holy Spirit to help our cause, to bless His warriors, to shield them from the missiles of the enemy and permit no hurt to come to them, until they shall be called in his good time to receive the crown of a well earned victory.
We may find peculiar application to the cause that we are now promoting in almost every line of that beautiful Latin hymn which was read in holy mass this morning: “Come, Holy Spirit, send down from heaven one ray of Thy light; come, Father of the poor; come, giver of good gifts; come, light of hearts. Oh, best of consolers! oh, sweetest refreshment! oh, sweet guest of the soul! Thou art our solace in tears. Bend what is hard and stubborn. Bring back those astray and wandering. Cleanse what is unclean and sordid. Bedew what is dry and withered. Heal what is diseased and wounded. Oh, most Blessed Spirit, fill up the inmost recesses of the hearts of Thy faithful. Give us the grace of virtuous lives. Give us the joy of a happy end.”
Zanesville, O.—I shall treasure as a gem your certificate. Enclosed is a list of names, as was requested in The Standard of May 21. I wish the society and its cause success, and offer my poor services whenever needed.
Somerville, Mass.—I enclose $1. Please put me down among those who have taken “the cross of the new crusade.” Very truly yours,
New Orleans—I esteem it an honor to belong to such an organization with that grand servant of God and lover of humanity, Edward McGlynn, as its head. Thank God the age is not altogether degenerate, and that there are men even in the Roman Catholic church who, like Savonarola, the great priest of the fifteenth century, are willing to suffer martyrdom for truth and humanity. Fortunately, the sacrifices of such men in times past have resulted in curbing ecclesiastical power.
New York—It is a source of pride with me that I have one of the first copies of “Progress and Poverty” published. From the moment I picked it up fresh from the press, when Henry George was an unknown name, I saw in it the great book of the century. During five or six years I have perused it again and again, and each perusal has strengthened the conclusions of its author in my mind. The recent progress of the land reform movement has been beyond the most sanguine imaginings, and the Anti-poverty society has only to make converts for a few years in the same progression that they have been brought in during the past two years actually to bring into effect the great sine qua non of human progress.
Aspen, Pitkin county, Col.—Enclosed is my application for membership, cut from The Standard, with fee and contribution for tracts to aid in securing memberships for the Anti-poverty society in this, a mining camp in the Rockies. Dr. McGlynn, the true priest of God, teaching the “Word” of the Galilean, the gospel of truth, justice and love, is loved by all here. See the condition of humanity, and see the pomp of modern Christianity presuming to teach truth and love, yet denying justice. “Love” without “justice” is lust. Where justice is not, truth, love, the kingdom of peace is not and can never be.
Red Bud, Randolph county, Ill.—In answer to a notice in the New York Standard I send you enclosed list of names, who I think could appreciate any literature of interest to the Anti-poverty society. I have been a student of Henry George’s doctrine for several years, read all his publications, and weekly distribute four copies of the New York Standard at my expense; besides I distributed free to my customers several hundred copies of the different books of Henry George, mostly the “Land Question,” because it is cheapest. I can remember the time when myself and another man were the only advocates Henry George had in this neighborhood. Now a great many are taking an interest, and before another year I expect to see a Henry George club organized here. Ours is a farming community, mostly hard working poor people, and but little money in circulation, or else many more would keep The Standard.
New Orleans—In compliance with the request of The Standard we send you here with the names of a few persons who are likely to be interested in land reform, and prove efficient helpers. We are canvassing the subject among our friends and acquaintances, and after a good deal of hard talking and harder arguing, have succeeded in making many converts; we will soon be able to send you a number of applicants for membership in the Anti-poverty society, together with our own applications.
Mobile, Ala—I enclose list of names to whom your committee can mail literature. I also enclose postal note for $1 as membership fee to the Anti-poverty society. You in New York can hardly estimate the rapidity with which the “land views” of Henry George are spreading all over the country. Since six years ago I have been over the largest part of the country, and find an almost feverish desire to know more of these theories, and a willingness to investigate and learn. The main objections come from the conservative press and more illiterate people. I have written to several friends in different parts of the country to send you names. I hear from all parts frequently, and think you in New York should be greatly encouraged.
Philadelphia—I herewith enclose five dollars. Enter the names of my wife and myself as members of the Anti-poverty society. If there is anything left devote it in any way that will further the glorious cause. May God speed you in your noble work, for it is nothing short of a gospel to mankind.
J.W., Kensington avenue.
Lincoln, Neb.—Enclosed please find $1 as initiation fee for the Anti-poverty society. It is hardly necessary for me to state how heartily I sympathize with your movement, and that wherever I go I try to make converts to the great cause of liberte, egalite et fraternite.
Charleston, S.C.—Enclosed find $1, my initiation fee to the Anti-poverty society. Excuse me for troubling you to turn this over to the treasurer, whose address I have forgotten, having circulated the number of The Standard containing it.
The United Labor Party
The Movement in the Assembly Districts of the City
Thursday, May 26—The Fifth assembly district held its usual fortnightly entertainment at Warren hall, the president, Mr. W. Anderson, in the chair. Mr. J.A. Dolly opened with two brilliantly executed pianoforte recitals. Mr. H. Ancketill read Rev. M. Hageman’s powerful poem, which appeared some months ago in The Standard, “So cold, papa, so cold.” Then followed a banjo duet by the Redican brothers, a recitation by Miss K. Doyle, several contralto songs by Miss McGrath, an oration on the labor question by Master Williams, the boy orator, a recitation by H. Ancketill, a duet by Misses Amelia and Josie Selborn, a parody recitation of Romeo and Juliet by Mr. Samuel McElheran and Dutch eccentricities by Messrs. Goebel and Baer. Altogether a most enjoyable evening was spent. The chairman reported that the arrangements for the picnic were progressing splendidly, nearly 1,000 tickets being already sold, and a month yet to run.
The Seventh held its monthly entertainment. The program included Mr. Sears, pianist; Charles De Lackner, baritone; Miss Miller, recitations; H. Patterson, comic songs; Mrs. Isabella Hinton, recitation; Mrs. B.F. Kelley and Miss Lillie Paige, piano and violin; Miss Mattie Stewart, Mrs. W.H. Livingston, vocal solos. Harry P. Keily sang James J. Gahan’s new song, “Land and Labor,” and Mr. McClennan pleased the audience with his plantation humor. Mrs. W.H. Baker, Edwin Browne and Mr. Thomas also filled parts in the program.
The Eighteenth held a regular meeting, Thomas Doyle acting as temporary chairman. The proposed amendments to the constitution of the county committee was sent to a committee. A committee was appointed to secure a picture of Rev. Dr. McGlynn, to be hung in the meeting hall. The call for the state convention was laid over for future consideration. A vote of thanks was tendered Miss Agatha Munier.
The Nineteenth held its monthly meeting at 122d street and Eighth avenue, Wm. P. O’Meara in the chair. Forty-five new members were reported for the month. Consideration of the call for the state convention was postponed.
Friday, May 27—The Ninth met, with H. Oscar Cole in the chair. The committee in charge of the arrangements for the public meeting on behalf of Dr. McGlynn reported its work of preparation as complete. The meeting will be held in the Bleecker building on June 6. Chairman Oscar Cole will preside, and the speakers are to be John McMackin, Michael Clarke and T.J. Heney. Three delegates were elected to the county committee, viz.: T. Stewart, Wm. A. Mass and George Cole. The election of officers of the executive committee was laid over for the next meeting.
The Twelfth met at 642 East Fifth street, George Lindner in the chair. The following committee was appointed to draft a set of by-laws for the organization: Jacob Schoer, B. David, A. Haertel, George A. McKay and H. Miller. The executive board reported that they had appointed a committee to make arrangements for a family picnic. The following were elected delegates to the state convention: Messrs. Wm. Hawley, Paul Wilzig and B. David. Alternates; Max Altman, Edward Finkelstone and Geo. A. McKay.
Tuesday, May 31—The Fourteenth discussed the resolution of the Tenth protesting against the terms of the call for the state convention. After a debate that took up most of the session, the subject was laid over for one week.
The Fifteenth has the following officers for the ensuing term: Edward Conklin, president; Thomas Larkin, vice-president; Herman Stedily, financial secretary; Thomas Batterburg, recording secretary; James T. Coughlin, treasurer; Patrick Woods, sergeant-at-arms; Thomas Masterson, corresponding secretary; Charles Price, A.G. Johnson, Jr., William C. Dorrian, trustees.
Saturday, May 28—At the regular meeting of the Fourth, held at Botanical hall, it was decided to hold fortnightly public meetings, for the purpose of discussing all social and political questions of interest to the members of the labor party. Messrs. Thos. Lee, J. Warren, W.B. Clarke, J. Christie and G. Weinstein were appointed to make all necessary arrangements. The first debate will take place on Wednesday evening, June 8, at 68 East Broadway, and the subject of discussion will be “Free Trade vs. Protection.” All are cordially invited.
A Stole For Dr. Curran
Embroidered by the Same Fair Hands that Worked the Archbishop’s Miter—A Beautiful Token of Esteem
Advantage was taken of Rev. Dr. Curran’s visit to New York last Tuesday for the purpose of attending the conference of priests at St. Michael’s to present him with a beautiful stole, embroidered by the hands of the same young lady who worked the miter worn by his grace Archbishop Corrigan. The stole is beautifully embroidered on white moire silk, the crosses of solid embroidery, outlined with gold and bordered with wreaths of forget-me-nots and moss roses. The good doctor expressed himself deeply moved and gratified by the reception of so appropriate a testimonial of esteem.
Queries and Answers
New York, May 18—Will you kindly answer the following question and give the reasons? Whether poverty should be abolished by an act of legislature or left to benevolence?
Benevolence can no more abolish poverty than a dam can abolish the flow of a stream. Neither can poverty be abolished “by an act of the legislature,” as that expression would be commonly understood. But since poverty is caused by legalized obstructions to production and exchange, it can be abolished by an act of the legislature removing those obstructions. If all drinking water were privately owned, and a price charged for it, there would be a great deal of unsatisfied thirst which could be abolished by an act of the legislature terminating private ownership in that kind of property.
Poverty is not a natural condition. The earth is abundantly furnished with all the materials necessary to the production of what man needs. It needs only labor to bring it forth. Given equal access to the earth, and poverty, which has been produced by denying such access, will depart by the same road by which it came. This can be done by act of the legislature.
The New Party
New York—I have affiliated with and, without a break, supported the nominees of the republican party from the inception of its organization to the present day. As against the democratic party, I must ever be true to my first love. But what of the united labor party now looming up? Has it come to stay? Has it the sand and bottom to hold on and persevere, even though it meet defeat at the outset? Believing in the fatherhood of God and the brotherhood of man, every pulsation of my heart is in unison and sympathy with this labor movement. But I cannot afford to play into the hands of the democracy, and so, before casting off the old love, I must be assured of the constancy and stability of the new. Tell me, is this labor movement constant and true? Is it to be a party of principle, fighting for the right because of the right, or, in imitation of both of the old parties, is it a question of spoils? I ask in all sincerity, and hopefully await your reply in the columns of The Standard.
Some democrats who have supported that organization from its inception, voting every year with all the enthusiasm of their youth for Andrew Jackson, and remaining true to their first love, suspect that the labor party lacks “sand” and “bottom” and “perseverance,” and is playing into the hands of the republicans, and is not honest and true, and is not a party of principle, but, in imitation of the old parties, is fighting for spoils. On the other hand, many republicans are suspicious(and you seem to be one of them), that it lacks “sand” and “bottom” and “perseverance,” and is playing into the hands of the democrats, and is not honest and true, and is not a party of principle, but, in imitation of the old parties, is fighting for spoils. The party itself goes quietly on organizing, canvassing, holding crowded meetings in nearly every district, repudiating both the old parties and declaring principles that have set all the rascals, Tray Blanche and Sweetheart, barking at its heels. All of which goes to show that the party has “sand” and “bottom” and “perseverance;” that it is honest and true; that it is a party of principle, and not, in imitation of the old parties, fighting for the spoils; and that it is not playing into the hands of the democratic party or of the republican party, for either of which it cares just as much as for the other, and that is—nothing.
The Profit of the Earth is for All
Poughkeepsie, N.Y.—You say that a man has a right to own things produced by labor—a house, for instance, but that he has no right to own land. Now, will you tell me what good it can do a man to own a house, if he has no land to put it on? Your proposition is its own refutation.
It can do him no good. Since a house cannot hang in mid-air, a place on the earth is essential to the ownership of a house. Therefore, if a prohibitory price is put on land, the man of whom that price is demanded cannot own a house; and from a prohibitory price down, his ownership is denied to the extent of the price, so that though he pay no more than a penny a year, he is deprived of a penny worth of his house every twelve months. From which it follows that private ownership of land tends to prohibit ownership of houses by all but land owners. If, however, every one who appropriates a place on which a house may be put, is required to pay into a common fund the rental value of that place—much if it be of great value, little if it be of little value, and nothing if it be of no value—anyone who owns a house or can build a house will have no difficulty in finding a desirable place to put it on, and the price that is paid for more desirable places will be enjoyed by the whole community in accordance with scripture which says: “The profit of the earth is for all.”
Utica, N.Y.—(1) Suppose a man has bought a piece of land for $2,000 and put a building on it worth $10,000, making $12,000 in all; and suppose the land has increased in value so that the property is worth $100,000, on which the owner is drawing a net rental of $5,000 a year, how much of that rental would you think it right to take in taxation? (2) How would you deal with the owner in regard to compensation?
(1) Taking your figures as you give them, we should say in round numbers $4,500, or nine-tenths of the total net rent. This would be the proportion which the rent of the land bore to the whole rent.
(2) We would let him keep all the land rent he collected in the past. We should be satisfied if people were allowed in future to keep the property they produced free from ground rent, without requiring the land owner to compensate them for what he had deprived them of in the past.
A Possible Missionary
Richmond, Va., May 23—Supposing Mr. A bought a city lot for $4,000 and built a house on it which would bring at auction $79,000 dollars, what would be his taxes if your mode of taxation does not favor the rich?
His taxes would be based on the $4,000, and as the value of his land increased, his taxes would rise accordingly. Every one else who had a four thousand dollar lot would have to pay the same taxes whether he used the lot or not. Therefore, those who had $4,000 lots would hasten to build $79,000 houses on them, for they would see that it would be profitable to build $79,000 houses and very unprofitable to keep $4,000 lots out of use. This alone would make business active and wages high. But the reform would not end here. People who were keeping lots out of use would discover the futility of that mode of speculation, and lots not needed for immediate use would be abandoned. These would be open to anyone who chose to go upon them, and would afford an unlimited outlet to labor, which would make it independent in dealing with employers.
If you think that such a system of taxation would favor the rich, calculate the possibilities of an opposite system—one which taxed production and freed land values from taxes. It would encourage the holding of land, discourage production, reduce opportunities to work, make men cheap and vest almost unlimited power in those rich enough to command access to the surface of the earth.
If you still think that a tax on land values would specially benefit the rich, you could not render your kind a better service than by volunteering as a missionary among the rich to show them how foolish they are in so bitterly opposing this method of taxation.
Jackson, Tenn.—Your theory, so far as I see, relates to land occupied for settlement only. How about timbered land? How do you propose to prevent the wholesale destruction of our forests? How do you propose to control the cutting of timber for building purposes, etc.? I ask these questions based upon land being free. I am a friend to your theory.
The better timber lands would have a value, which would afford a basis of taxation. Those which had no value would be free. Timber culture would be an appropriate subject of governmental supervision, protection and encouragement.
A Partial Application
Is it advisable to demand of a state legislature a partial application of your doctrine—that is, the exemption of dwelling houses whose value does not exceed $1,500 from taxation.
Every law that removes taxes from labor products is in the right direction. Therefore, if the amount of the exemption were to be recouped by a higher tax on land values, the demand would accomplish something. But if it were to be made up by general taxation no good would be done, and a great deal of valuable time and energy would be lost. It would be but little if any more difficult to shift all taxes to land and values than to shift the tax of $1,500 dwellings. It might be but little if any more difficult to shift all taxes to land and values than to shift the tax of $1,500 dwellings. It might be easy to procure such an exemption, but it would be well nigh impossible to lay the burden on land until the essential difference between property in land and property in things produced by labor is recognized, the heat of the fight will be over.
Off the Scent
Okobojo, Dak.—It is contended in “Progress and Poverty” that a house is property, but an improved farm is not. In 1883 I moved to Dakota and took up a quarter section of land under the pre-emption laws. I broke out the whole quarter and built me a sod house. Now you say the house is mine against all the world, but the subdued land is not. What is the difference? Isn’t the land dirt and labor, and isn’t also the house dirt and labor? The only difference I can see is in mobility. Do you contend that mobility gives title?
You must have derived your knowledge of “Progress and Poverty” from some religious paper or from Puck. You will find no such contention in “Progress and Poverty” as that an improved farm is not property. What you will find is that the earth itself is not property, but that improvements, whether attached or detached, movable or immovable, are property. That part of your farm which consists of dirt and labor is property, but that part which consists of dirt without labor(and you will not have to plow very deep to find it underlying every inch of the farm) is not property.
A Chance to Experiment
Shepherd, Tex.—I have land worth $25 per acre. Improvements made that value. Adjoining land(unimproved) of equal value can be had for less than $3. Will not renters go on, taking up my land and paying for it in preference to having the other as a free gift?
J.E. Hill, M.D.
No. If you would like to satisfy yourself on this point, get the owners of that unimproved land to offer it as a free gift to whoever will take it. Any one who pays you a rent now is paying for the improvements only. The land has little or no value. It is evident, however, that land values in your neighborhood are expected to rise. That is the reason a price is put on the unimproved land. When that expectation is realized, your tenants will pay for something besides the improvements—the natural opportunity—and then you will be paid for something that you did not produce.
(1) A New Bedford whale ship may cost $15,000 to fill her with provisions for a four years’ voyage $15,000 more. The ship proceeds on her voyage and does not get to her “ground for six months; consequently no oil is taken for six months. What do you call the cash investment of the owner? Is it not capital?
(2) Could oil be taken in any other way, save in exceptional cases?
Henry S. Chase
(1) Yes, it is capital.
(2) Speaking generally, no. There must be a vessel, seamen, provisions and time.
Wallace, Kan.—(1) What effect would an inflation of the currency have? Some greenbackers argue that an abundance of money makes good times, as in the west, in the mining districts, where there is more money per capita, wages are higher than in the east. Is it true? Would not an increase of the currency be a good thing for the laboring man generally? (2) You say that if the government should furnish cheap money it would reduce wages in proportion. Why then did a contraction of the currency after the rebellion make such hard times? Did wages rise as money became scarce?
(1) The permanent effects of inflation would not be beneficial. During the transition period it would be of advantage to debtors, but upon current exchange it would have little or no influence. Money is only a medium of exchange, which, in its last analysis, is barter. The conditions of production being equal, a bushel of A and a pound of B will exchange equally. If the exchange be effected by money, still it will be equal; if a bushel of A will sell for a dollar, a dollar will buy a pound of B; and if by some device a bushel of A is made to sell for $2, it will cost $2 to buy a pound of B.
If, however, you buy a bushel of A at $1 on credit, and your debt falls due when a bushel of A is worth $2, you will be able to discharge your debt at fifty cents on the dollar.
That wages are higher—that is, higher in commodities—in the west than in the east, is not because there is more money per capita there, but because labor is near to land on which it can employ itself more easily than can labor in the east. It was not the amount of money during the war that made wages high, but the great amount of labor required and the small number of men to do the labor. Opportunities to work were not so restricted, and wherever that is the case you will find wages high, no matter what may be the state of the currency.
(2) The contraction of the currency ruined debtors by making them legally liable to pay two or three times what they had borrowed. At the same time the great production following the dissolution of two armies made a sudden demand for land, which gave it an enormous speculative value, thus reducing opportunities to work concurrently with an increase of workers. The ruinous effects of currency contraction would have passed away soon but for the contraction of natural opportunities.
Elizabeth, N.J.—I have been told that the economic benefits of temperance would be enjoyed only by land owners. Is this true? I cannot understand it.
As a broad proposition it is true. Temperance leads to prosperity and prosperity makes high land values. For illustration take two extreme cases—a community of drunken loafers and a community of sober and industrious men. Decent men would not care to settle in the community of drunkards, and decent men who were born there would want to emigrate. Hence, demand for land would be kept at a low point. But into the community of sober and industrious men, other things being equal, there would be a stream of immigration which would make land in that community very valuable.
When sobriety is exceptional the sober man is rewarded, but when sobriety is general the reward goes to land owners. Sobriety is like skill. When skill is exceptional it commands high wages, but when it is general it does not. Nevertheless, skill adds no less to the wealth of the community(indeed, it adds more), when it is general; but when it is general competition among the skilled for access to land becomes keen, and the advantages of skill are enjoyed by the owners of land. If all workers were equally skilled, wages would be at a level, not on the highest plane, but on the lowest. The wages of the skilled man would be no more than those of the unskilled are now.
Read chapters 2 and 3 of book IV of “Progress and Poverty.”
The Adjustment of Land Taxes
Jackson, Tenn., May 22—How will the value of land be adjusted for purposes of taxation under your theory?
I ask the above because I want to work in harmony with your views. I will be called upon to publicly put your idea before the people; in fact, I am asked questions every day in regard to your position. Things are moving right along. No people in the world have been more imposed upon than the workers in this part of the Lord’s vineyard and they want “light.” See to it that they get the true light.
I know that the value of land depends upon the number of people who desire its use. But this way of deciding the question of value is beset with too much uncertainty.
Will the value be placed upon density of population—in towns and cities, the ratio being between the number of people and a given number of square feet, and in the country in proportion to the density per square mile or contiguity to centers of density?
This is an important matter, and we must fix upon some scientific and sure principle to go hand and hand with the imposition of taxes levied on land, so that all who desire to occupy vacant land may know in advance its rental or taxable value. Something in your paper on this subject will be read with a great deal of interest. I want to see landlordism killed too dead to ever be revived.
The value of land will be adjusted by the demand for it, just as it is now. If you hold land, whether vacant or improved, which you can sell for a given price, that price will be the basis of taxation. If the land value tax be advanced to the full annual value of the land, so that land has no fee simple selling value, it will nevertheless have a rental value. You might not in that case find any one who would pay you $5,000 for your farm, but you would find plenty of people who would pay you $250 a year for it. This $250 would be in part at least an improvement rent, and it might be in part a ground rent. So much of it as was ground rent would be taken away from you in taxes.
It will not be necessary for any one wanting vacant land to know how much the tax is. When all land values are appropriated by the community in taxes, no one will keep valuable land out of use, and unused land will not be valuable. It will be a drug in the market. If any one claims dominion over it and puts a price on it, that will prove that it has a value, and it will be taxed accordingly; but if no price is put upon it, it will be free to the first comer who will use it without taxation until it commands a ground rent in the market.
You would do well to reread “Progress and Poverty,” carefully and critically, chapter by chapter, but especially the four chapters of book VIII.
Effect on Farmers and Mortgages
Chicago, May 21—(1) Suppose a farmer owns one hundred acres of fairly improved and reasonably well stocked land, located in a well settled state. At the present time he pays a tax of from $50 to $60 per annum. The present rental value of such land is from $4 to $5 per acre. Should a tax be levied equal to its rental value? Would it not necessarily make his tax $400 or $500 per year instead of $50 or $60? And if so, how can it be of advantage to the small farmer? (2) Would shifting of taxation to full rental values be a virtual repudiation of all debts of which the only securities are mortgages on land? Nothing can be clearer than the fact that the land must be nationalized as well as the means of transportation and communication, etc. But the writer cannot understand why your system would not bear down upon the small farmer with unjust severity.
(1) The farmer now pays more than $60 taxes. You are thinking only of taxes on his farm, and we doubt if you made them high enough. But besides such taxes are customs taxes on foreign products, with profits added; internal revenue taxes, with profits added; the taxes which revenue laws enable monopolists to impose on domestic products, with profits added. To the extent that your farmer consumes any of these things he is taxed. Again, all forms of taxation on labor products discourage production and slacken trade; hence, his markets are sluggish and his profits small. But beyond all this is the effect that a land value tax would have on the value of the land of such farms as you speak of. Eliminating the value of improvements and the value of that farm is nearly, if not wholly, a speculative value. It commands rent because all land equally desirable is not in use, but appropriated. If a tax on land values high enough to make it unprofitable to keep land out of use were imposed, farms like that of which you speak would have no value, except for the improvements, and they would go untaxed. The land would be just as useful to the occupant, but there would be so much unused and unoccupied land just as desirable that no one else would want that particular land. Consequently it would command no ground rent and pay no tax. Taxes would be paid by men who used land which was so much more desirable that it would be all in use.
A farmer is a land-owner, a capitalist and a laborer, all in one. If his interests as a land owner are greater than his interests as capitalist and laborer, he will lose by a land value tax. But if his interests as land owner are least, he must gain by such a tax. This is the law by which every possible instance may be measured.
(2) It would make the security valueless.
Franz Weyrich of Port Kenyon, Humboldt county, Cal., bases an argument on the following illustration: “Eight years ago I bought a piece of land (brush) for $40 per acre. Cultivated land in the same location sold for $100 per acre and rented for $5. Brush land rented free for five years’ use, with the condition of bringing it under cultivation. Today the rent of land under cultivation has risen to $10 per acre and it sells for $200; brush land sells for $200 also, but rents the same as eight years ago.” We can understand that the owner of unimproved land might refuse to sell it for less than improved land of equal fertility and similarly situated, and consequently that it is possible that brush land, yielding no rent, might be held at $200 when adjoining cleared land sold for no more; but we find it difficult to believe that any man would pay $200 for brush land when he could get equally good cleared land for the same price as, unless he was very much in need of brush. Mr. Weyrich has not stated all the facts.
Early Days of Christianity
A Word From Rev. C.M. Morse of Newcastle, Pa., About the Work of the Early Church
A writer in one of our church papers not long since condemned Henry George’s land doctrine on the ground that it is a step backward, a return to primitive ideas as advanced by Moses. Curious, isn’t it? The church papers are now sustained by the strenuous efforts of the pastors, and the inculcation of the dictum that “every church member should take a church paper,” but if they maintain their opposition to everything that favors democracy, and continue such arguments as the above, their future is uncertain.
Christ insisted that He came not to destroy, but to fulfill the law. He was not afraid to adopt primitive ideas simply because they were primitive. And if we should go back to a primitive state of society, we might not lose anything of real value. True, the sacred doctrine of “the rights of property” would lose some of its sanctity, and a class might be compelled to give up the delights of a monopoly of aristocratic privileges and enjoyments, but the world in general might be more comfortable than it is at present. The early church was a primitive institution, but that it was a very good kind of organization is proven by the following quotation from Dr. E.W. Farrar, which one of these very church papers publishes:
The world was settling into the sadness of unalleviated despair; the church was irradiated by an eternal hope, and rejoicing with a joy unspeakable and full of glory. In the world men were “hateful and hating one another; in the church the beautiful ideal of human brotherhood was carried into practice. The church had learned her Savior’s lesson. A redeemed humanity was felt to be the loftiest of dignities. Man was honored for being simply man. Every soul was regarded as precious, because for every soul Christ died; the sick were tended, the poor relieved. Labor was represented as noble, not as a thing to be despised. Purity and resignation, peacefulness and pity, humility and self-denial, courtesy and self-respect, were looked upon as essential qualifications for all who were called by the name of Christ. The church felt that the innocence of her baptized members was her most irresistible form of apology; and all her best members devoted themselves to that which they regarded as a sacred task—the breaking down of all the middle walls of partition in God’s universal temple, the obliteration of all minor and artificial distinctions, and the free development of man’s spiritual nature.”
Dr. McGlynn Converted Him
Pittsfield, Mass., May 24—I watched the contest last fall in New York city with a great deal of interest and frankly say that at first I was not friendly to you. I have been a life long democrat, and the prejudice of years can’t be overcome in an hour, but when I saw the noble stand taken by that glorious man, Dr. McGlynn, I began to think and investigate and I found that you were right. I was brought up a Catholic and love the truths of the Catholic church. But I don’t like the old fogy ideas and prejudices that keep men in bondage to false theories, nor do I approve of Roman interference with American or Irish political affairs, and the sooner the pope and the other dignitaries of the church are made to understand that they must attend to spiritual affairs and let politics alone the better it will be for the Catholic church.
A New Crusader
Franchises At Auction
On Tuesday last an auction was held in the office of Comptroller Loew, at which were sold the franchises for the building and operating of two lines of street railway within the limits of this city—the Twenty-eighth and Twenty-ninth street cross town line and the electric line through Fulton and West streets, connecting Fulton, Wall, Cortlandt and Chambers street ferries. The franchises were sold subject to the conditions that the purchasers should keep the streets in repair and free from dirt and snow; should pay all the expenses of the sale; and should, in addition, pay into the city treasury three per cent of their gross receipts for the first five years and five per cent thereafter. On these terms corporations were found ready to pay 26 2-10 per cent of their yearly gross receipts for one franchise and thirty-five per cent for the other.
Here we have, for the first time, a glimpse, imperfect and shadowy it is true, but a glimpse nevertheless, of the immense value of the privileges of street occupation that the corporation of New York has for more than a generation been bestowing with such a lavish hand. The franchises sold last Tuesday were of necessity far less valuable than most of those already granted away, for the simple reason that most of those already granted away, for the simple reason that the franchise getters have had the first pick, and naturally enough have taken the best and left only the least desirable; but the heavy prices paid will enable the citizens of New York to form some vague idea of the immense value of such gigantic monopolies as the elevated roads, the Broadway and avenue lines, and the more important cross-town railways.
Under the old system of franchise granting the beneficiaries were the men on whom the privileges were bestowed, and the few individuals who by virtue of political power were in a position to “strike” the grantees for a portion of their profits. Under the new system it may be assumed that at least the larger part of the profits of the franchises disposed of will be paid into the city treasury. Yet the great mass of the citizens of New York will be no better off under the new dispensation than under the old. The two franchises sold at public auction last Tuesday were as much stolen from the people of this city as was the franchise of the Broadway railroad, for buying which Jacob Sharp is now on trial, and for selling which a few aldermen are wearing striped suits in Sing Sing prison.
The land owners of New York collect from the people an immense yearly tribute in the shape of rent—not house hire or office hire, but rent for the mere privilege of being and doing within the limits of the city. To this tribute every merchant, every storekeeper, every clerk, every laborer, every artisan, every man and woman and child contributes, generally to the utmost limit of their ability. This is the true tax levy of New York city, rigorously imposed and impartially collected; and it is out of this immense fund, wrung from the people by virtue of the law that gives the few the right to rob the many, that the comparatively small amount of taxes to the state and city governments is paid. The payment into the city treasury of the yearly value of every street privilege yet granted or to be granted would have no effect save to increase by just that sum the net profits of the owners of the land. So far as the great mass of the citizens are concerned the money might just as well be thrown into the river or pocketed by Jake Sharp and the “boodle” aldermen. The rent franchise overshadows and includes all other franchises, and so long as that great robbery endures, it makes precious little difference to the people of New York whether the lesser franchises are stolen by one set of thieves or another.
It is the unconscious comprehension of this truth that has rendered the voters of New York so careless of political corruption. Why should Smith the clerk, and Jones the journeyman, and Dennis the car driver—why should the small merchant, and the restaurant keeper, and the day laborer trouble their heads as to whether the alderman or officials they vote for are honest or dishonest? No aldermen have ever robbed them! No aldermen ever can rob them so long as the landlords’ superior right to rob endures. Against the one monstrous dishonesty that taxes them to the limits of endurance they can, as the growth of the united labor party shows, be organized and induced to do earnest and efficient and self-denying work; but in such minor stealings as those of Jachne and his pals they have, and know they have, no interest whatever.
When, indeed, the great reform shall have been accomplished, and the all including rent franchise shall be restored to its proper owners by the absorption of land values in taxation, then it will be for the people to decide what measures they shall take to ensure that the values of such minor franchises as street and elevated railways shall be secured for those to whom they rightfully belong. Should it be found expedient to leave any monopolistic franchises to be operated by corporations or individuals the simple plan will doubtless be adopted of awarding them to those who will render the best service for the least possible charge, and in place of an auction to settle who among the bidders for a street railway privilege will pay most money into the city treasury, we shall probably have one to decide who among them will carry passengers at the lowest fares.
The First Landlord
“God said, let the waters under the heaven be gathered into one place and let the dry land appear.” He commanded that the earth should bring forth all that was necessary to animal life, and He caused the animals to appear, and then in His own image created He man, and commanded him to be fruitful and multiply, and to subdue the earth; but though He gave to man dominion over every living thing that moves upon the earth, yet He gave him not dominion over the land. He placed man in Eden, but when the creature disobeyed, the Creator turned him out of the garden he had permitted him to use. When the time came for the founding of the chosen people “the Lord said unto Abraham, get thee out of thy country…into a land that I will show thee, and I will make thee a great nation.” After the immigrants had multiplied “so that the land was not able to bear them,” Abraham made no claim to ownership, but he said unto Lot, “Is not the whole land before thee? Separate thyself, I pray thee, from me; if thou will take the left hand, then I will go to the right; or if thou depart to the right hand, then I will go to the left.”
After Abraham had settled in Canaan, the Lord gave the land unto him and his seed—that is, the whole chosen people. It was to these descendants that the commandments were given, and to each of these it was said, “Honor thy father and thy mother that thy days may be long upon the land which the Lord, thy God, giveth thee.”
After the chosen people had lost their heritage and been delivered from the Egyptian bondage, “the Lord spake unto Moses on Mount Sinai, saying:” “The land shall not be sold forever, for the land is Mine, for ye are strangers and sojourners with Me.” Then followed the provisions that substantially decreed that only the right to the use of the land could be sold, and even that right extended only to the year of jubilee, when it should be returned to the seller.
But it will be noted that it was not until the chosen people had come in contact with the Egyptians that there was among them any custom of sale needing to be thus regulated by law. Among the Egyptians, not represented in the Bible as enjoying God’s favor, another rule prevailed, and it was among them that the first recorded operation in real estate occurred. In motive, method and character this first great transaction of the kind differed in no way from those of the present day.
Joseph, the chief servant of Pharaoh, having foreseen a famine, had gathered all the corn and stored it up. When the famine came he sold this corn until he had gathered into Pharaoh’s coffers all the money that was to be found in Egypt or Canaan. When their money was spent the people gave him all their cattle, and, the famine still continuing, the people came to Joseph, saying: “There is not aught left in the sight of my lord but our bodies and our lands. Buy us and our land for bread, and we and our land will become servants to Pharaoh.” And Joseph accepted their offer, and he said: “Behold, I have bought you this day and your land for Pharaoh; lo, here is seed for you and ye shall sow the land. And it shall come to pass in the increase that ye shall give the fifth part unto Pharaoh, and four parts shall be your own.”
This is the Scripture story of the rise of the claim to private ownership in land, and of the method by which rent first arose among men. It is likewise the Bible story of the beginning of human slavery, and the declaration is explicit that the starving Egyptians in selling their land to Pharaoh likewise sold themselves, and in becoming tenants became slaves. And let not those who ignorantly attempt to defend landlordism as a scriptural institution forget that this is described as the work of a heathen king ruling a people that enjoyed not God’s favor, and that no sooner had the chosen people come out of Egypt once more than the Lord, speaking through Moses, declared to them, “The land shall not be sold forever, for the land is Mine.”
One day this week a procession of people passed before Judge Smythe pleading to indictments, receiving sentences and having days fixed for trial. Little boys of fourteen, and even as young as ten, women and full grown men, were in the line, and all were from the poor classes. One day’s history of this court room is, with slight variations, its history on all days, and yet some people fail to see the relation of poverty to crime.
Straws show the direction of the wind. The half-holiday meeting at Chickering hall two weeks ago was poorly attended, although the names of Bishop Potter, the Rev. Mr. McArthur and ex-Governor Abbett let the list of speakers. About the same time a temperance meeting presided over by ex-Chief Justice Davis but half filled Cooper union. At the Decoration day gathering at the Academy of Music, addressed by the governor of the state, the mayor of the city and the most popular Brooklyn preacher, there were many vacant seats. And yet, Sunday night after Sunday night, the Academy of Music is packed at the meetings of the Anti-poverty society, and at the meeting last Sunday over 5,000 people were turned away.
Mayor Hewitt hit the nail on the head when he said that the human race, ever since the days of Adam, has been an anti-poverty society, seeking, by labor and toil, to get out of the earth enough to supply its own wants, and thus keep poverty out of the world. [Independent]
How about that part of the human race which has no earth out of which to supply its wants?
Push the tracts. They are doing glorious work and their usefulness is only beginning. Many a man on whom a brief spoken word would produce small effect may be set to thinking by the reading of one of these little pamphlets, and when once a man begins to think the new crusade can surely count on him for a recruit. Hand the tracts to your friends, mail them with your letters, and send us lists of people to whom they can be forwarded. The Anti-poverty society wants the names of hotel keepers who will keep tracts on hand for distribution among their guests, and of postmasters who will place them in their boxes. Push the tracts!
The Morning Journal has been printing some seemingly well authenticated stories of horrible brutality to the inmates of the city asylum for the insane. None of the other papers pay any attention to them; but we are glad to see that Mayor Hewitt has ordered an investigation, and trust that if he finds but one tithe of them true, he will make short work of the Bureau of charities and corrections.
Dr. McGlynn’s Lectures
On last Thursday evening Dr. McGlynn addressed an audience at Waterbury, Conn., the proceeds of the lecture going to the treasury of the general hospital of that place. There was a fair audience present, and from the newspapers and letters received at The Standard office it is evident that the reverend doctor made a deep impression, his lecture being “Heads and Hearts.” The recipients of the benefits from the doctor’s work of charity will be largely the poor among the Catholics of Waterbury and the surrounding towns, yet some of the priests of the locality endeavored to coerce parishioners into remaining away from the lecture. Men who were selling tickets were actually waited upon by priests and told of the “evil” they were perpetrating in working for the success were perpetrating in working for the success of the lecture. We have word from one gentleman who attended, however, that he never had heard as much true religion in his life as he did during the evening when he sat listening to Dr. McGlynn. On Friday evening the doctor delivered his lecture, “The Cross of the New Crusade,” in Meriden, the event proving a success in every way. On Sunday afternoon, at the invitation of Dakin post, G.A.R., Dr. McGlynn addressed several posts of the Grand army at Cypress Hill cemetery. About 3,000 persons were present. Mayor Whitney of Brooklyn presided. Sunday evening the doctor delivered a great oration at the Academy of Music, New York. On Money evening Dr. McGlynn and Henry George visited Newark, Rev. Hugh O. Pentecost presiding at the meeting. On Tuesday evening the doctor lectured at Danbury, Conn., jointly for the benefit of the local land and labor club and the Knights of Labor. The Opera house was packed, and hundreds were turned away. A procession with a band at its head was formed in front of the hotel where the doctor was staying, and he was escorted in this manner to the Opera house. It was calculated that of every fifteen inhabitants of Danbury two were present at the lecture.
Bradstreet‘s weekly table gave last Saturday 73,287 as the number of persons going on strike from May 1 to May 26. During the week ending with the 26th strikes took place at Pottsville, Pa. (700 rolling mill employees) Kingston (150 cement mine employees), Boston (300 horseshoers), Brooklyn (surgical instrument makers and cabinet makers), Denver (500 brick makers), Indianapolis (90 car drivers), Pittsburg (2,000 brick makers), Washington (150 building material workers), Fall River (14 cotton weavers), Taunton, Mass. (dye hands), Rutland (compositors), Cincinnati (750 safe makers), and New York (horse collar makers and glass belevelers).
The great lockout of the building trades in Chicago, begun four weeks ago, has resulted in making 17,000 men idle, and caused thus far a loss of $900,000 in wages. Over 1,000 first-class mechanics have left the city.
The local stove manufacturers of Pittsburg and a committee of the Stove molders’ union have had a conference, at which the manufacturers offered to withdraw the St. Louis patterns entirely if the moulders would sign an agreement to work at the old wages for the rest of the year.
The Reading iron company of Reading, Pa., on Saturday posted in all its works the notice of a ten per cent reduction in wages, to begin on June 13. The reduction will affect 1,800 employees.
After sixteen weeks th trouble between the garment cutters and trimmers belonging to the Knights of Labor and the Philadelphia clothing exchange was settled on last Friday at a conference. The agreement of May, 1886, was renewed. The Knights of Labor were successful.
The Organization of California
Santa Rosa, Cal.—I am on a pilgrimage, organizing land and labor clubs through this part of California, under the direction of the state central committee, Judge James G. Maguire, chairman, and have met with encouraging success. Everywhere the people listen to the principles of the new party with eager interest, which will become intensified as the movement grows.
I send congratulations for the magnificent progress you are making in the east.
Deputy State Organizer
A Business Meeting of the Anti-Poverty Society
A business meeting of the Anti-poverty society will be held on Saturday evening, June 4, at eight o’clock, at Irving hall. The Rev. Dr. Edward McGlynn, president of the society, will be in the chair.
The Church And The Land
Detroit Evening News
In spite of the fact that the Georgian theory of land tenure has secured a very large Catholic support; in spite of the claim that Dr. Corrigan occupies a unique position in his denunciation of that theory; in spite, too, of the allegation that the Irish bishops have, in a way, approved of the system of which Henry George is just now the central sun and the Rev. Dr. McGlynn the bright particular star, there can be little doubt that the Roman Catholic church in this country is arraying itself quietly, but actively, against the new theory. Within six months a score of pamphlets have appeared from Catholic sources on this subject. The leading Catholic magazine, the Catholic World, has not appeared for months without one or more discussions of the scheme by bright lay minds like C.M. O’Keefe or Conde Pallen, or professors of divinity like the Rev. Edward McSweeney. Lectures have been given by the dozen and printed in cheap form for general circulation. The conferences, the sodalities, the confraternities, all the church societies in fact, have had the opposite doctrine expounded to them. The whole of that complex yet compact machinery which the church of Rome can bring to bear on any question has been set in motion, and the prospect is that the body which Dr. McGlynn saw fit to separate from will be one of the strongest opponents of the system of which he has become an ally.
It is noticeable, too, that none of these adverse philosophers deny all that George claims. They admit that the state has a right, for its own good and for that of its citizens, to limit the possession of land to actual needs, and to prevent the intrusion of aliens, either individuals or corporations, into the land holding class of a nation. They concede that all necessary and proper restrictions may be placed on land holding, for such restrictions, so far from destroying the principle, surround it with greater safeguards. But the principle they will not give up, and they defend their discussion of it as a matter of morals, and not as a question of politics. It is an offense against morals to commit theft. Theft cannot be committed unless there are property rights, and by rights of ownership are understood the moral power or faculty of claiming an object and its utility according to one’s own good will, without interference from others. The church, as she understands her position, has it in her province to define what is property and what is not, in order that her members may know what constitutes theft and what lawful appropriation.
This proposition in morals and this assertion of the church’s right to define morals as applied to property constitute the basis of all the lectures, pamphlets and essays which have been turned out from Catholic presses and distributed through innumerable agencies to the Catholic reading public. It would be impossible in a single newspaper article to give even the most meager outline of the ingenious arguments by which the writers in question demonstrate to their own satisfaction the inclusion of land in the rightful category of property or personal ownership. Nor is such an elaboration necessary. The fact which is of interest to American society is that the publications we refer to are indicative of the ultimate attitude of the Roman church on this subject and of a contest in the near future in the domain of American politics, in which that powerful organization may be expected to take an open and an important part.
Lying on our table at the present moment are five essays, arrived almost simultaneously all from the pens of Catholic authors of high standing, and all assailing the Georgian theory with vigor and a force of casuistry to be found nowhere else among the opponents of George. The American Catholic Quarterly Review of Philadelphia has an article on “Land and Labor,” the title of one of George’s chapters in “Progress and Poverty,” by Father Rouayne, a Jesuit; and in the Catholic World for June “Lacordaire on Property” is reviewed by Rev. Edward McSweeney, from the anti-Georgian point of view. Rev. Willibald Hackner, through the Catholic publication society of New York, furnishes in pamphlet of sixty pages, entitled “Socialism and the Church; or, Henry George vs. Archbishop Corrigan;” “Henry George and His Land Theories,” by Rev. Henry A. Brann, is reprinted from the Catholic World of March; and St. Xavier’s conference of Cincinnati sends in pamphlet form a lecture by Rev. Edward A. Higgins, a Jesuit of that city, delivered in reply to Father McGlynn’s lecture on the new crusade, entitled “Fallacies of Henry George exposed and refuted; the true philosophy of the land question.” These constitute but a small portion of the flood of controversial literature which Catholic writers have precipitated upon George. Of all this mass of literature, the last mentioned, by the Jesuit Higgins, has attracted the most attention and is most frequently quoted. It is evidently regarded by the Catholic opponents of George as furnishing the most efficient weapons against the Georgian heresy.
The whole of this literature, however, forms but the advance skirmish line of the church’s assault. The heavy battalions are immediately in the rear and are about ready to make their charge. The pope himself has sounded the bugle, which is the signal for attack all along the line, in his letter of sympathy and approval to Archbishop Corrigan of New York. The letter takes occasion to condemn the “contumacious disobedience of a priest, one of your subjects,” and reprobates certain “vicious seeds of doctrine” “concerning the right of property.” It does not, however, define the doctrine which is condemned with any degree of precision, although its reference to that of George and McGlynn is perfectly apparent. It promises, however, to furnish “through the sacred congregation of the propaganda timely measures for the correction of the rebellion.”
This will all prove very interesting to Americans, without regard to their religious affiliations, and this, we imagine, is the way most of them will look at it. An American citizen proposes a measure of legislation. Many of his fellow citizens approve it. A political party, composed of former members of the old parties, rapidly forms to promote it. The balance of the old parties is disturbed, and it becomes evident that the growth of the new party may have a decisive result in the next presidential election. The head of the Roman church at this point throws himself into the breach, and assuming jurisdiction over the matter as a question of morals, undertakes, by an exercise of his religious authority, to crush out what he is pleased to call “a rebellion” so far as his religious “subjects” participate in it.
Has Grover Cleveland secured the services of an American Errington at Rome?
How One Kind of Stealing Lends to Another
Boyleston, Ind.—How plainly the facts set forth in “Progress and Poverty” are verified. As I write an excursion train speeds past, going to Muncie. They have struck gas there and land values are going up to dizzy heights. The object of this excursion is to see the cause of this immense prosperity. Few seem to understand that this great advance in land values simply means that labor and capital must pay just so much more for the privilege of being allowed to go to work and create wealth. At Frankfort, the county seat of Clinton county, there are two gas companies at work drilling, and if they should obtain gas it will put land, which is already high, clear out of the reach of any except the very rich men, and so the most of us will have to pay in heavy installments for being allowed by the landlords to live on this part of God’s globe.
Some say: “Why don’t you get a piece of land then you can enjoy the boom.” They had just as well say that we ought to have been born years ago when land was cheap. The fact is that the children of poor parents that are coming into the world now can’t hope to live, except as they make terms with landlords, and with every increase in productive power the terms with the landlord are becoming harder to make. Of course the use of natural gas will decrease the amount of coal and wood wanted, and it will throw some men out of employment and compel them to compete with men in other branches of industry, thus decreasing the wages of all. It also hurts the merchant, for a man is a purchaser generally to the extent of his means, and if his ability to buy is destroyed it is certain to hurt the seller.
Certain it is that natural gas is in itself a blessing; it can be produced cheaper and is more convenient than either wood or coal, but when it is considered that it throws some men out of employment and forces others to pay more for the use of land upon which they must work, it becomes a blessing to a few and a curse to a great many.
Private property in land is absolutely a lock out of labor by landlords. I know men that walked five miles night and morning last winter to cut wood, and they could not make over fifty cents a day. Part of the time the weather was bad, and they could not get to their work. They made, some one told me, $2.50 a week, out of which they had to live and pay rent. Men cannot live and pay rent on such wages, and no less than twelve families had meat stolen, while chickens and turkeys disappeared at a lively rate. Since there has been more and better paying work, no chickens have been stolen, and no smoke houses have been pilfered in my neighborhood.
All this goes to show that to deny men an opportunity to make a living by honest work is to force them to steal, and to deny men access to land is to deny them the right to work.
Another Clergyman Enlists in the New Crusade
Rev. E.M. Botterill of the First Regular Baptist church of Harrisburg, Pa., in an address on “The Cross of the New Crusade,” on a recent Sunday evening before a very large congregation, said: “The watchman sees in the distance a new assembly of earnest men, armed with a good intent, and rallying around a symbol older than Calvary, but transferred into power by the tragedy at Calvary. The inquiry made, ‘Who are these?’ elicits the answer, ‘Another Crusade’…I see the banner of a new crusade borne by heroic hands outside the pale of the church. The men leading, you cannot bend; they are not built in sections; you cannot break them, for God and right and humanity are with them; the symbol of our holy religion they bear will be a fatal weakness to them, or it will be well nigh Omnipotence as was the ark at Jericho, just in proportion to the purity or impurity of the hands bearing it into the fray…The crusade has come from the conviction that the highest call in the world is to forget self, to lay aside strife, to abolish injustice, and to labor and, perhaps, die for humanity…I thank God for the unbroken succession of convinced and resistless enthusiasts for the regeneration of society, for men filled with magnetic social sympathy, ready to make war on poverty, disease, slavery, want, both in its causes and issues. Men who come not to be ministered unto, but to minister and to give their lives as a ransom for many. No century has been without them, no age unillumined by their flaming zeal. Men like Dr. McGlynn, who proves his apostolic succession by the sacrificial zeal and the kindred soul life with the men who followed the Nazarene. Bold, brave, beautiful, priest of God’s anointing, may he see the battle end in everlasting victory, which he has so heroically opened.”
An Appeal From Ohio
Cincinnati—I see that some one in the last issue of your paper proposes contributions to a fund to provide means for propaganda, ie., speakers, tracts, etc. I sincerely hope that this will meet with a generous response, and that our central committee may be furnished with ample sinews of war to make the campaign warm throughout the country.
What I wish to add is this: If there is any wicked reader of The Standard who has who has been harboring evil designs toward the Ohio valley in particular here is a chance to get in his work. Our club has been authorized to act as organizers for Ohio and Kentucky, and we want funds to help us push the organization of land and labor clubs in these two states. Moreover, we wish to spread the gospel throughout this valley, Ohio, West Virginia, Kentucky, Tennessee, Indiana and southern Illinois. Contributions may be sent to me at 258 Vine street, Cincinnati, and will be acknowledged in The Standard.
David DeBeck, M.D.,
Financial Secretary Henry George Club
Christ and the Mosaic Code
Rev. Charles P. McCarthy last Sunday evening delivered a discourse in his hall at 52 Union square on “The Land Doctrines of Jesus,” taking up that part of Isaiah which Jesus read in the synagogue at Nazareth, and which referred to the jubilee year in the Mosaic land code. The fundamental canon of the jubilee code was that “The land shall not be sold forever,” and the reason was given to Moses by God, who said: “For the land is mine.” Thus were all the lands resumed by the tribe every fifty years, and reallotments made to the families. Mr. McCarthy showed that a proper reading of the Scriptures established the fact that Christ attempted to resuscitate and revivify the Mosaic land system which had so long fallen into disuse that all record of its practical workings had been lost; in short, that His proclamation of their active revival, as witnessed by His words, “The acceptable year of the Lord,” formed the potential work for which the divine Nazareth was “anointed by the spirit of the Lord.”
The “Liberal Democratic” Party
Washington—In my view the republican party of a quarter of a century ago was the true democratic party, as the labor party of today is, and the name now rightfully belongs to the latter. But since it has been appropriated by others, and now stands for principles that would no doubt be repudiated by Jefferson, to take it with its present meaning would be misleading. But would it not still be available with a qualifying term? There is a term, which to educated Americans of today is only less inspiring than the name “democratic” used in its original sense, and that is “liberal.” Why not call the new party the “liberal democratic” party?
The Free Soil Club
On Tuesday evening last the free soil club met at dinner at Florence hall, corner of Second avenue and First street. About fifty members and their friends were present. Toasts were drunk, and free land and many cognate questions were discussed by the speakers with ability.
Two great conflagrations have lately shocked civilization. By the burning of the Opera Comique in Paris a number of persons, variously estimated at from one to two hundred, lost their lives, and by the great car stable fire in New York over one hundred families were rendered absolutely homeless and destitute and some thirteen hundred horses perished.
The occurrence of two such catastrophes within a single week is a grim comment upon the recent remark of a distinguished insurance actuary that his business was to keep buildings from being burned. It is an easy matter to erect buildings that cannot be burned; but it is cheaper to put up perishable structures, to rely on an efficient fire department to minimize the risk of absolute destruction, and to avail of the insurance system to distribute whatever loss does occur over the entire community. If the owners of buildings were held strictly accountable for whatever loss of life or property might be caused by their burning, car insurance companies might soon go out of business. But then, to be sure, the owners of the lands on which the buildings stand would have to content themselves with smaller rents.
The certainty with which industry and thrift are rewarded in this country has received a fresh and striking illustration—this time in the person of Senator Sherman of Ohio. Last February the senator bought 100 acres of land near Findlay, Ohio, paying $30,000 for it. Within thirty days he was offered $60,000 for it; within sixty days he refused $80,000; and the latest advices are that “a well known capitalist” is so anxious to secure that hundred acres that he is willing to pay $150,000 for it; so that as a reward for three months’ hard work during nothing Mr. Sherman can put in his pocket the neat little sum of $120,000 hard cash.
The same journal that narrates these things tells us that Findlay may properly be called the gas center of the United States; that its population has trebled since Senator Sherman became an investor, and that the sales of land have already reached more than $3,000,000 a week.
The British hosiery company of Thornton, R.I., has announced that it will shortly be compelled to reduce its working force by one-half, if not to shut down altogether. This company is a direct product of our infant industry-fostering tariff. It came here from England in 1884, bringing its own machinery and its own operatives, thus cunningly getting inside the fence which we of the United States have built around our country, and now, after three years of struggling, during which the American people have been heavily taxed for its support, it finds itself forced to shut up shop and disband its operatives to swell the ranks of unemployed protected American labor.
This protection is a great scheme. First we clap a heavy duty of English made hosiery, so that our American manufacturers may charge more for their hosiery, and so be enabled to pay their workmen higher wages. Next we import laborers by the scores of thousands, in order that our hosiery manufacturers may take advantage of competition to cut down wages. Then we bring over an English hosiery factory complete, so that our manufacturers may have a taste of competition themselves, and see how they like it. And finally it appears by practical demonstration like this at Thornton, R.I., that there isn’t a great deal of money in the hosiery making business, anyhow, for either employers or employed. Meantime we keep on throwing into the treasury and distributing among professional manufacturers of one sort and another the money that, if we could only use it to buy stockings with, might enable the British hosiery company of Thornton, R.I., to work full time, and keep its operatives out of that genuinely protective institution, the poor house.
Beneath the tide water lands of South Carolina lie immense deposits of phosphate rock, relics of a preadamite age, when great whales and prodigious sharks and strange reptiles lived and died in the sea which then covered those parts. This phosphate possesses great value as a fertilizer, and has the advantage of being easily mined and requiring very little manipulation to fit it for application to the soil. Under these circumstances one might suppose that the more of it mined the better, since every pound of it is a direct addition to the food producing power of the country. This, however, is a mistake; the phosphate rock is not there for the benefit of the people of the United States or of South Carolina, but rather for the advantage of the lucky fellows who own the land beneath which it lies. These men have been considering the situation. Last year they allowed to be dug out 450,000 tons of phosphates, and received in return the pitiful sum of $2,000,000; out of which they had to provide for the hire of the men who actually did the digging. This year they intend to get their $2,000,000 without allowing quite so much phosphate to be dug, and consequently without having to disburse so much money to the vulgar fellows who handle the picks and spades. So they have formed a syndicate or pool. Mr. David Roberts of Charleston, S.C., is to be the manager, and is to have absolute control of every ton of phosphate rock mined, with power to sell at such rates as he may fix. A material advance in price may therefore be anticipated and what the South Carolinians humorously call the prosperity of their state will be largely enhanced.
It is reported that natural gas has been struck within the limits of Cincinnati; and naturally the effect has been a prompt advance in Cincinnati real estate. If the report be verified, and it should be found that Cincinnati really overlies a considerable gas deposit, the people of that city will have reason to curse the day that the discovery was made. The day’s toil of the Cincinnati laborer will not be shortened by a minute nor his wages advanced a cent; his portion in God’s new-discovered gift will be to move into a squalid lodging, to see his children condemned to early death, or grow up stunted, uneducated and degraded. Production will be rendered easier; wealth will be multiplied and multiplied again. Lands now vacant will be covered with factories and palaces; spacious parks will be gay with carriages and horses and groups of happy children. Tourists will visit Cincinnati, will marvel at her wealth, praise her enterprise and delightedly inspect her charitable institutions. Churches will flourish, eloquent preachers be attracted to their pulpits, vast sums be collected for home and foreign missions, and earnest, devoted men thrust wealth and comfort contemptuously aside to go down among the poor and preach the gospel of resignation on earth and eternal bliss hereafter. And meantime the men and women and little children whose brains and muscles, working upon and with the wondrous natural bounties of the Creator, have produced this wealth, have built these palaces and churches and asylums, have laid out and beautified these parks and avenues—they, alas! will be herded in filthy tenements and struggling desperately in the horrid slough of poverty, with our Atkinsons and Dephews standing contentedly on the borders of the slough, telling them that it’s all a misconception—that they really have far more than they have any right to expect, and are all independently rich, if they did but know it.
Natural gas in Cincinnati will be a blessing to those Cincinnatians who can say of it: “This is mine, to have and to hold, to sell or give away, to use, abuse or waste, as I deem best;” but to the great mass of Cincinnati’s citizens it will be little but a curse.
They are having a time over in Belgium. Domestic industry is being encouraged and the wealth of the country immeasurably increased by protection, with the singular result that the ungrateful people are going without food, assembling in mobs, flaunting red flags, threatening dynamite and disorganizing society generally.
The infant industry which Belgium has undertaken to protect is that of agriculture, and the method of protection is the imposition of import duties upon meat and other articles of food. On principles of economic law with which the American public is sufficiently familiar this should result in a beneficent diversifying of Belgian industries and an immense and prompt increase of Belgian prosperity. The farmers, getting higher prices for their products, should be able to pay their laborers better wages; the increased wages of agriculture should draw laborers from the overcrowded towns to the fields; the scarcity of town labor thus produced should enable the town labor thus produced should enable the town laborers to get higher wages; the higher wages of the town laborers should enable them to pay the higher prices demanded for food products, and thus all things should work together for good, and every Belgian subject become independently rich by the simple process of paying as much as possible for what he had to buy, and taking as little as possible for what he had to sell. If only the thing could once get fairly started everything would be lovely; but the trouble seems to be that nobody will begin. The farmers can’t get higher prices till the people will pay them; the people won’t pay them till they get their wages raised; the wages won’t rise till some more of the people will go to farming; no more of the people will go to farming till the farmers want them, and the farmers don’t want them until the era of high prices shall arrive.
It’s like the old nursery story: The fox won’t drink the water, the water won’t quench the fire, the fire won’t burn the stick, the stick won’t beat the dog, the dog won’t bite the pig, and the pig won’t go. And so, just for want of a hand at the starting bar of the protectionist machine, the whole scheme has fallen through, and in places of mounting to a higher plane of civilization, poor Belgium has taken a step downward toward anarchy. And the worst of it is, that these wretched Belgian workmen, with their crude, unscientific, politico-economical ideas, will be coming over here and sowing the seeds of discontent among the happy miners of Hazlebrook, Pennsylvania, or the contented tenants of Mr. Scully in Illinois, or the leisured residents of Avenues A, B, and C, New York. Really, something ought to be done.
Belgium protects her land owners against the harmful competition of American food, and the United States returns the compliment by protecting her land owners against the competition of Belgian manufactures. And it is curious to observe that in both countries are to be found evil-disposed men who do all in their power to prevent the protective system getting a fair show. In Belgium these pestilent fellows hoist red flags and breathe forth threatenings and slaughter; in the United States they go more cannily to work, and instead of vaporing about what they will do if the government doesn’t remove the duty they simply remove it for themselves by not paying it. It’s a lamentable fact. Only the other day Mr. Andris Jochams of Charleoi in Belgium sent a lot of steel to Messrs. Houdlette & Dunnels of Boston. Instead of going to the proper officials and saying to them honestly, “Here are so many dollars’ worth of steel, of which your share is so much,” the Boston firm told a lie about it, reported the steel as of a great deal less value than it really was, and thus escaped the payment of a very considerable portion of the duty fine. Luckily the falsehood was detected and the American people spared the misfortune of getting that steel cheaper than they should; but there is reason to fear that the case of Messrs. Houdlette & Dunnels is by no means an isolated one, and that many other wicked men are telling lies of the same kind, and thus forcing us to get things without doing the proper number of days’ work in return for the privilege of being allowed to buy them. As one of our daily papers pathetically remarks:
In the past, particularly at New York, the undervaluing rings have had things their own way. Notwithstanding the frauds daily committed, no steps have been taken looking to their suppression and the prosecution and conviction of the guilty persons. As has been proven, the honest citizen importer, the true American merchant, equally with the domestic manufacturer, has been forced to abandon his business. Therefore they have demanded that the treasury department should see to it that the law is enforced. The interests at stake are enormous. Many millions of dollars are stolen annually in the importation of merchandise.
What with dynamite in Belgium and perjury in the United States, protection to industry seems to be in a bad way. Perhaps, after all, there is some truth in the adage that crime begets crime; and the dynamite and perjury may be the direct results of legalized theft in the form of a customs tariff.
The anti-tithe movement in Wales is a phase of the fast spreading war against the system which gives to the lucky owners of curiously inscribed pieces of paper or parchment the right to claim tribute from their fellow men for the privilege of living, dying or being buried on or in the earth which God created and a few men have stolen. Indeed the tithe system of Great Britain is the reduction to its simplest form of the landlord system. For the tithe owner neither owns, nor pretends to own, anything under heaven but a bare privilege of taxation—a right to collect tribute in money or in kind without making any real or pretended return whatever to the tributary. The college of Christ church at Oxford, for instance, makes no pretense to own a single rood of land within the principality of Wales. It cannot say to any man in Wales, “We will allow you or forbid you to remain on this land.” But it can and does levy a tribute of nearly $300,000 a year upon the farmers of Wales, and it can and does seize upon their cattle and crops and household furniture if they refuse to pay. And it is against this form of taxation that the Welsh people with their local clergy at their head, are now protesting with sticks and stones and other arguments.
The upshot of the matter will probably be that, as in Ireland fifty years ago, the tithe will cease to be exacted directly from the occupiers and users of the land, and will, instead, be collected from the landlords, who will, of course, promptly collect it from their tenants in the shape of increased rent.
Dr. M’Glynn in Washington
A Reporter of the “Critic” Describes His Appearance and Quotes the Salient Points of His Discourse
Washington, D.C., Critic
There were several paradoxes at the McGlynn lecture in the Congregational church. A Catholic priest accused of heterodoxy preaching from an orthodox Protestant pulpit the gospel of a new political crusade, and a mixed audience, with no small proportion of the gentler sex, greeting with tumultuous applause the orator’s rounded periods of religious zeal.
The church was well filled, notwithstanding the heavy rain, and the Knights of Labor, for whose benefit the lecture was given, profited largely and in several unexpected ways; first, Father McGlynn lectured for nothing; second, General Rosecrans, who was to have introduced the distinguished lecturer, was seized with an attack of administration or some other kind of colic, and sent a check for $50 instead of coming; or perhaps he thought it wouldn’t look well for the brother of a Catholic bishop to introduce a suspended Catholic priest; third, the reporter for the Critic paid for his seat. (Mem.—The K. of L. are in sad need of a press agent).
Rev. Dr. Edward McGlynn, who, in the cross of the new crusade, endeavors to place Henry George’s scheme of land nationalization on a religious foundation, shows little of the priest in his make up. He has a powerful athletic frame; a large head, supported by a large neck; a dominant, handsome, masterful face; the heavy, clear cut chin, firm mouth, combative, aquiline nose; wide, deep set eyes, and a forehead which looms up dome-like and massive, its benevolent fullness in marked contrast to the aggressive face beneath. A winning smile plays constantly across the lecturer’s face. Heenan, the pugilist, used to say: “Look out for the man who smiles in the ring, for he’ll a rare fighter, and never know when he’s whipped.”
Father McGlynn was introduced by ex-Senator Van Wyck, and spoke for two hours to a spellbound audience. The underlying principle of land reform advocated by himself, Henry George and their followers, stated in a nutshell, is this:
The bounties of nature, more than enough to satisfy the wants and desires of all mankind, are largely monopolized by the holders of natural sources of wealth, as in mines and the holders of land in the cities. By removing all taxes from production, distribution and exchange, and substituting a single tax on the rental value of land, gradually raising such tax to the full rental value, an enormous stimulus will be given to production, an enormous fund will pour into the public treasury to be used for the common benefit of all, and labor will receive its natural wages, ie., the full value of all it produces. Honestly, the efficacy of this remedy has never been fairly refuted.
It is impossible to give an extended report of the lecture. Here are a few of the gems:
“This is called the new crusade, but it is as old as God.”
“The object of this crusade is to teach the fatherhood of God and the brotherhood of man.”
“God isn’t a stepfather to humanity.”
“Man’s genius has never yet stolen a march on the Creator.”
“It is our object to give a world wide reverence to the true rights of property.”
“It is for some substantial grievance that the masses are grumbling and cursing.”
“We are seeking to erect a lightning rod to avert the storm of anarchy.”
“You can break any monopoly in wheat, lard, houses, horses or any product of human labor by increasing the supply, but you cannot break a monopoly in land, for you cannot increase the supply. Try it; shovel a mountain into the sea and see how little you have accomplished.”
“We would no more seize the land and parcel it out than we would divide a Raphael or cut up a race horse.”
Mr. Pentecost’s Speech Again
Wilmington, Del., May 28—When I took up The Standard of today and read your eulogium prefacing the report of the address of the Rev. Mr. Pentecost at the Academy last Sunday evening, I feared that in your zeal you had indulged in a little taffy, but on reading the gem myself to a delighted audience of my wife and children I felt so ashamed of my hasty judgment that I cannot help saying that it is, in my opinion, the most direct, practical, concise, witty and eloquent argument yet delivered on the subject. I hope it will be sent out to the many who do not see The Standard as a tract. Verily, the Lord is gathering his apostles for the work of the new reform, which in so many respects is like that which aroused and angered the saviors of society 1,800 years ago. God speed the work, for, verily, the harvest is ripe for the sickle and as yet the laborers are few.
The Professor’s Lecture
Young Gentlemen of the Midasian University—Permit me to express my pleasure in being accorded the privilege of addressing you as one of the speakers in the Smith-Brown course of lectures on political economy. As you are aware, this course has been rendered possible by the munificence of our distinguished fellow citizen Thomas Richard Henry Smith-Brown, who has placed his name among those honored of this university by presenting it with his check for five hundred dollars, to be used in giving an honorarium of fifty dollars each to the ten leading scholars of the country whose efforts on behalf of sound, orthodox political economy shall have recommended them to your talented and honored faculty as lecturers in this course. Profoundly impressed with the honor conferred upon me by the invitation received from your venerable president to appear before you as one of this intellectual decemvirate, I hasten to assure you—the flower of the youth of our metropolitan city, the hope of the coming generation, the fore-ordained rulers of our empire state, the heirs to the substantial evidences of the indefatigable labor, strict frugality, wise forethought and brilliant financial talent of your noble fathers—I hasten, I say, to assure you of my loyalty to those time-honored and incontrovertible principles of political economy which guided the men who have accumulated the wealth of this republic, made it a land of plenty, and crowned it with the countless pleasing evidences of science and art which are to be found in their splendid dwellings. Mindful of the importance of the task that, after careful consideration, I have undertaken, I shall, without further preface, enter upon what is at once a duty and a pleasure.
The eminent gentlemen who have preceded me as lecturers in this course, have defined the meaning of the terms in use by the authorities on political economy, and have mapped out the recognized limits of the science. Today, therefore, I shall content myself with pointing out some of the principles of the science accepted by the schools—principles that rest on a basis as enduring and unassailable as truth itself. In order fully to appreciate the priceless value of these principles, it must be remembered how long and by whom they have been taught. The learned, unbiased and profound thinkers occupying the chairs of political economy in the seats of learning of England and America during the past century have had peculiar advantages for ascertaining and teaching absolute truth. A competency for life is usually attached to the tenure of a professorship, and hence the man in such a position is placed above exhibiting the sordid consideration of self-interest in connection with his teachings. He calmly views the struggles and passions of men in the busy world from the point of view of a superior nature, neither worried with the cares of business nor confused by the meshes of it details. Secure of his livelihood so long as he adheres to the traditions of his office, is faithful to the interests of society and sacredly guards the established modes of thought in relation to property, his investigation of the great questions of political economy are certain to be exhaustive, his conclusions infallible and his explanations faultless, lucid. In my humble way I shall, then, expound the principles to which I have alluded, the titular description of my lecture being, “Corner stones to the structure of demonstrated economic sciomachy.”
As has been explained to you by the very able gentlemen who have preceded me, to produce wealth three things are requisite—natural agents, capital and labor. The first proposition to which I shall invite your attention is one which has long been recognized as an elementary and easily understood principle in political economies. It is this: The amount of capital used measures the amount of labor employed. By capital, you understand, young gentlemen, I mean wealth saved and to be utilized in production. The reason why capital measures labor, instead of labor’s measuring capital, is that the capitalist takes the first step in production by providing buildings, machinery, tools and usually raw materials. Then, and not till then, labor takes up the task—capital must act first and labor second. Until capital acts, labor cannot. Therefore labor has to wait for capital for support while being employed. The capitalist advances to the laborer, in the shape of wages, the food, clothing, shelter, etc., needed by the latter. A manufacturer of iron, for instance, first uses his capital in providing wages, workshops, tools and raw materials. While the iron is being manufactured he must pay out money to his workmen. In order to do this he must have capital. That part of capital which is used to pay labor is called the wage fund. The amount of the wage fund employed by a capitalist determines the number of employees he will hire. Iron manufacturers, for example, usually pay their hands by the month. If an iron manufacturer intends to employ $10,000 a month as a wage fund, he can give work to 200 employees at an average of $50 a month each. At the end of a month, therefore, he will take his $10,000 from the bank and pay it to his 200 employees, thus practically advancing them a month’s food, clothing, shelter, etc., in return for the month’s work which they have already performed. He then sells the iron they have made, thus replacing his capital, and is thus in a position to advance them in the shape of wages the necessary food, clothing, shelter, etc., in return for the month’s work which they have already performed. He then sells the iron they have made, thus replacing his capital, and is thus in a position to advance them in the shape of wages the necessary food, clothing, shelter, etc., for a second month’s work. In working until the end of a month for their employer without pay, the employees have demonstrated two beautiful truths: First, that labor must wait for support from capital before it can go to work; and secondly, that when labor to capital until capital pays for it. Capital, I need hardly repeat to gentlemen of your intelligence and culture, is surplus wealth accumulated by labor; and here we are encountered by the paradox of a son being his own grandfather—a paradox easily dispelled by orthodox political economy. The dependency of labor upon capital may be illustrated further by an incident recently related to me by Captain Joseph Miller of the bark Gull. In one of the South sea islands except the land and the laboring people on it. The captain immediately set all sail and is now trying to induce a capitalist or two to go to the island and providentially save its society, for without a capitalist to enable them to go to work, political economy demonstrates that the people must surely starve. If more convincing arguments are necessary to show that labor is dependent upon capital—pardon me, young gentlemen, if I put the proposition in concrete form and say, if arguments are necessary to demonstrate, that a certain number of poor laborers will some day in the future depend upon your generously providing work for them—they may be had readily. The pioneers who built up the vast empire of the west by their labor clearly dependent upon capital to provide work for them, for they knew that if they did not succeed in wringing a sustenance from the stubborn soil some charity organization in the east might send them bread. The Indians, it is true, did not depend upon capital. But they were barbarians. In political economy we deal with civilization, and do not recognize first conditions or natural rights or what men of affairs might do if they were as simple as the Indians. We do know, young gentlemen, that in our highly civilized state the poor must depend for work on opportunities being given them by the wealthy, and we have, therefore, a profoundly scientific assurance that if all the capital in the world were used up the human race at once become extinct for want of employment.
The next proposition to which I desire to invite your attention, gentlemen, is that nature—observing that the human race increases in geometrical progression, while the means of subsistence increase only in arithmetical progression, and that if such disparity in growth were to be maintained, employers would be obliged either to construct another earth as an annex or to pass Herodian laws—has provided a means for correcting the baneful effects incident to giving an unequal impetus to stomachs and food products in the genesis of things. The Rev. Mr. Malthus, who lived about 6,000 years after history began to be recorded by lecturers at ancient seats of learning, was the first to discover the fact that human beings outran the rest of nature. Mr. Malthus wrote three editions of his epoch-making “Essay on Population,” modifying his opinions after the publication of his work, and finally resting where the world was before he began to write, namely, in the impression that a neglect to provide for all who were born on earth could hardly be laid at the door of the maker of the earth. But, although Malthus recanted, his doctrine is wonderfully comforting to those who see in their impressions and surroundings evidences that they were created to enjoy the good things of life, and that Malthusianism cannot affect them. Famine and pestilence are the chief established correctives of the gross mistake that erring nature made in the beginning, and the very fact that you are born to riches shows that nature meant you to be among her select. It is a corollary of the doctrine of Malthus that those who survive nature’s means of elimination must be the better classes. This is to be seen in many ways. The very force of the temptation which urges starving women to barter virtue for bread indicates the evident purpose of preserving virtue among the women of the higher classes, so that a superior breed of men may come of them.
I now reach the subject of protection. Gentlemen, I am proud to say that I am a protectionist. Look at our country and think what protection has made of it. It has built up our infant industries. It has provided iron for 140,000 miles of railroad, the enhanced price of the iron going to our manufacturers, who have paid it out in wages to their dependent employees. The workmen at our mines and iron works are all native Americans, who cannot have their wages reduced by the competition of European pauper laborers. All men are equally protected by our system of protection, and thus it has been impossible to form pools of iron manufacturers. The smallest producer is on an equality with the largest. There is no lobby at the halls of congress favoring the iron manufacturers. Gentlemen, the mere mention of the benefits of protection is sufficient.
Having spoken of pools, young gentlemen, I will proceed to explain their uses as seen by political economists. They are regulators of profits. By means of pools manufacturers derive perhaps twenty-five per cent of extra profits, and their workmen get a living. Of course pools prevent other men from entering the manufacturing world, either as capitalists or workmen, but as Malthus has shown, the surplus population has no business in this or any other world. Combinations of capitalists are a benefit to the country and to mankind—that is, ever bearing in mind that it is, and must be, the fate of the geometrical progression to be starved to death or killed off by wars or pestilence. The lower classes have endeavored in an awkward manner to imitate the ingenious business combinations of the possessors of wealth, but instead of maintaining a profitable understanding among gentlemen of honor they have simply succeeded occasionally in hatching a base conspiracy against their employers by means of a vulgar trades union.
Having thus cleared the way for other considerations, I shall proceed with my subject, dealing with its various phases as they logically arise. A great deal has been said by some men not of the faculty—such as Ricardo, Mill and Spencer, names you need not remember—about economic law of rent. As the logic of an acceptance of this law is to introduce facts into political economy that might serve to insidiously disseminate doubts as to the sacred rights of property, we will dismiss this disagreeable phase of the subject with the remark that it is not one on which an argument can be tolerated. It is a dangerous idea in the minds of malcontents, and should be strongly suppressed by passing it over in silence whenever encountered. It is an edged tool in the hands of the envious, who, not having the honor to confess their failure to accumulate property, wish to parade as an excuse for it the fact that others had already preempted the means through which it is produced and thus prevented them from going to work. This sounds plausible; indeed some men, distinguished otherwise for acumen and high moral perceptions, have deemed the sophistry founded upon it fascinating, but it will never succeed in getting a foothold in the polite world while lecturers on orthodox political economy, like myself, live to combat it before an aristocracy of talent, birth and possessions, like you, young gentlemen.
A few general observations for your guidance, gentlemen, and I have done. Supply and demand regulate every form of trade, and if laborers demur at being in excess of the demand for them, they are simply suffering from an unavoidable collision with an unpleasant truth in political economy. The lower classes are apt to style themselves workingmen, but it must be recognized that all who assist in production in any manner are workers. A practical idea from one of you may be worth the labor of a year of an unskilled man. Out of every ten men in this world, nine are incapable of getting along save by the aid of the tenth. With your wealth, education and inherent powers, you may depend upon it that each of you is meant to fill the successful tenth man’s place. The duty of the preservation of society rests upon the upper classes, and in compensation for the performance of this duty society should support them. You possess wealth because your fathers toiled and saved and gained fortunes. If other men envy you and your possessions, let them go to work as your fathers did, and by industry, frugality and foresight secure the boon that you possess.
Permit me, young gentlemen, to express the intense pleasure I have had in addressing you. If I have been enabled to instill in your minds some of the noble truths of philosophy, let the consciousness of duty done be my reward.
A Complete Solution of the Labor Problem
The Rhode Island senate has passed a bill compelling employers of boys under sixteen or women to furnish seats for them to occupy when not compelled to stand by the nature of their work.
The rural gayeties of Grassland will always be remembered in the social history of the capital. It matters not whether the host or hostess is there. Trained servants dispense the hospitality with the same generous hand as to the products of the dairy and the farm. The secretary says Grassland is his retreat, and when Mrs. Whitney drives out of an evening she is his guest. Even little Dorothy and the children and nurses come to Grassland in the morning to have their daily picnic and drive back again before sundown. The secretary has superintended the fitting up of the house and furnishings entirely to his own liking, which is to say that it is elegant, tasteful and comfortable. He did not buy the place as a speculation, but to those who care not abundance shall be given. For one-fifth of that for which he paid $20,000 he has just received $35,000. It may be pick of the place on the main road, but it leaves him all that he ever sought in the purchase of the farm. The secretary’s reputation for bucolic pursuits has been established by the elegant manner in which he has fixed up the place. But he roundly disclaims the pastoral romance of a shepherd or any other kind of a dog for which he is said to have put down $1,000. As he quietly remarked: “Well, I have not come to that.”—[Philadelphia Times]
The manager of a soap company in New York advertised for a salesman lately. On arriving at his office in the morning he found twenty applicants waiting, and during the day he received ninety-two applications altogether.
Hon. H.L. Morey is home from Findlay. Mr. Morey is largely interested in real estate in that remarkable city, both privately and in connection with several syndicates. In the last two months Mr. Morey, by shrewd transactions, has cleared over $10,000, and he says it beats practicing law—especially in “peaceful Butler.”—[Cincinnati Times-Star]
Fifteen miles east of this city, early this morning, on the New York, Pennsylvania and Ohio railroad, a dozen tramps got possession of a west bound freight train and ran it within a short distance of Talmage, where they abandoned it and took to the woods. Several of them were caught by trainmen, but after they started to bring the tramps to this city the tramps broke from the car in which they were locked and escaped. Officers have gone in pursuit of the miscreants.
A Paying Business—Very Young Man—“You wouldn’t think it, but I’ve just paid $70,000 in cash for a house, all made by my own pluck and perseverance.” Young Lady—“Really! What business are you in?” Very Young Man—“I’m a son-in-law.”—[Life]
There are a very marked falling off last week in the numbers and style of the people who drove in the park, went to church and patronized the Fifth avenue side of Delmonico’s. Where are the absentees? Off to the country to their own places or those of their more lucky friends, or stowed away in some of things does not altogether accord with the theory that the season in New York grows later every year. It used to be the 6th of June before people got away, and here the exodus has begun, even before the first day of the month of roses arrives. Perhaps when country places are less of a novelty the late season theory may prove true. From the 20th of May until November is a long pull in the country, unless one’s place is near a summer resort, and then one’s hospitality is likely to be sadly overtaxed. As a result of this kind of thing, it is said, a number of well-known people have let their cottages at Bar Harbor. They want a little rest from entertaining people whom they never see in town in the winter.—[New York Tribune]
During the month of April past 73,107 immigrants arrived in this country against 49,153 in April, 1886. Of the number arriving in April past Germany sent 14,743; Ireland, 13,204; Sweden and Norway, 11,133; England and Wales, 9,720, and Italy, 9,604.
A Michigan tramp says that for weeks he has been living on the fat of the land from the revenue derived from begging for postage stamps. His plan was to ask each available person for a stamp with which to send a letter to his wife. With but few exceptions he got a stamp, or money enough or more to buy one. He had a large number of two cent stamps in his pocket when arrested for vagrancy.—[Boston Post]
It is estimated that the beggars of Rome receive $2,000,000 a year in alms, and that 500 of them are worth from $15,000 to $25,000 each.
In Coxe Brothers & Co’s mines at Beaver Meadow, Pa., William Gallagher and Patrick Conoghan, miners, had prepared a blast and on lightning the fuse rain for places of safety. Gallagher reached a safe place, but Conoghan fell in the manway across a drill, from which position he was unable to extricate himself. Taking in the situation at a glance, Gallagher, at the risk of his own life, ran back and seizing the burning fuse extinguished it. The explosion would have thrown Conoghan a distance of 150 feet below.
Peoria Evening Call
As showing the benefits, I might say blessings, that attend the saving habit, a case in point came under my notice this very week. A friend of mine had been served with a notice of eviction. He had lived in the same house for twelve years. It was there he took his bride and under its roof all his children were born. Out of its door had gone a little coffin. A world of hallowed memories and associations were clustered about it. He had at small expense, but with some labor and attention enhanced its attractions. There was a tree here and a rose bush there that he had planted, a piece of lattice work up which the Virginia creeper and morning glories crept and bloomed, a lawn that he had perfected and flower beds that he had dug and tended. A man of strong attachments, the place became almost a part of his being, and when I saw him searching for another house he looked the picture of despair. His house had been sold and the new owner wanted to live there himself. “When I went to live there first,” said he, “I could have bought the place for $1,800. I paid a rental of $15 a month for nine years and then it was raised to $18. I have paid, therefore, the sum of $2,268 in those twelve years and have nothing to show for it. Last week it was sold for $4,000. In other words, my landlord has got $3,268 out of a piece of property which he offered me twelve years ago for $1,800. I might as well have been that much ahead as not, but as it is I have no more than I had when I commenced housekeeping, unless I except a large and increasing family. I could have saved then; now that is impossible. I and my family have got to leave our old home with all its pleasant associations and seek a new habitation. I say, old man, that’s tough.” And off he meandered in sorrow. His story carries its own moral, and could no doubt be paralleled by the experience of scores of others. An old resident of Peoria, head of one of the old families, said to me the other day: “I might just as well have been worth $100,000 today as not.” “Well, why aren’t you not?” I asked. “Because I didn’t commence to save a little money and put it into real estate when I struck the town,” was his reply, and off he went to do a job of plastering.
A Crisis For Churches
The industrial revolution that is to mark the close of the nineteenth century is upon us, and as has never been the case, the jesters of the day don their caps and bells and march grimacing in advance of the movement that they ridicule. Again, as ever, many are blind, some are angry and the timid are filled with alarm. Yet the movement continues, and the day is almost at hand when the American people must decide, not only for themselves, but for all mankind, perhaps, the form that the revolution shall take. This is all that remains to them to decide. To prevent it is beyond human power. A dim consciousness of this has penetrated all minds, and no better evidence of the fact can be offered than in the great circulation reached by a little book written by a clergyman, and published under the auspices of the American home missionary society. Professor Phelps truly says “this is a powerful book,” and that “its strength lies in its facts.” Dr. Strong is profoundly impressed with the idea that the closing years of the nineteenth century will bring this people to a crisis second only in importance to the birth of Christ. He sees the unexampled speed with which we are rushing forward to our destiny, and says: “Vast regions have been settled before, but never before under the mighty whip and spur of electricity and steam.”
The author makes a happy combination of figures and comparisons in order to give to his readers a realizing sense of the wonderful resources of the American republic. It could be divided into eighteen states, each as large as Spain: into thirty-one, each as large as Italy, or into sixty, each as large as England and Wales. Leaving out Alaska, we have twice as many square miles as China, thought the latter country supports a population of 360,000,000 which devotes little attention to manufactures and draws most of its support directly from the soil. Our crops in 1869, raised from less than one-ninth of our area of arable land, fed 50,000,000 of our own people and gave us a surplus of 283,000,000 bushels of grain for export. Great as are these figures, they do not represent the possibilities of even that area, and the author quotes the declaration of that statistician of despair, Mr. Edward Atkinson, that with improved agricultural methods we could raise enough food for 100,000,000 people “without increasing the area of a single farm, or adding one to their number.” Our mineral wealth is simply inexhaustible, and our manufactures are steadily advancing to proportions that must, before long, dwarf by comparison those of all other nations. It is not unreasonable, Dr. Strong thinks, to believe that our agricultural resources alone are capable, when fully developed, of feeding a thousand million people, and he adds: “Then surely, with our agricultural and mining and manufacturing industries all fully developed, the United States can sustain and enrich such a population.”
But what is true of the undeveloped resources of our country as a whole, is even more true of the undeveloped resources of the great west. Place the 50,000,000 people of the United States in 1880 all in Texas, he says, “and the population is not confined to the arable lands. “Even if a blade of grass could not be made to grow in all the Rocky mountain states, that region would sustain 100,000,000 souls, provided it has sufficient mineral wealth to exchange for the produce of the Mississippi valley.” That these states have such mineral wealth all known facts go to prove.
Having this pictured the resources that ought not only to support, but to enrich a population of a thousand millions, Dr. Strong turns to the perils that threaten the fifty or sixty millions now partly occupying this richly endowed land. First among these he names immigration. He describes the burdens now borne by European peoples where vast areas of land are monopolized by nobles for pleasure purposes and asks, “What must free land mean to such a people.” He finds the answer in the rush hitherward of immigrants, and thinks the flood will be greatly increased by great revolutions sure to take place in Europe within the next twenty-five years. Judging from the past he thinks that these revolutions will not be peaceful. “The giant,” he says, “is blind and grinding in his prison house, howbeit, his locks are growing, and we know not how soon he may bow himself beneath the pillars of despotism.” Dr. Strong includes among our foreign people all those born in this country of foreign parents, and sees in this large infusion of alien blood danger to our institutions.
The next cause of peril, in his opinion, is Roman Catholicism. He quotes from the encyclical letter of Pope Pius IX to show that the Roman church claims from its members an allegiance wholly inconsistent with their duty as American citizens, and finds strong confirmation of his opinion in an utterance by Bishop Gilmour, who is quoted as saying that “nationalities must be subordinate to religion, and we must learn that we are Catholics first and citizens next.” As an evidence of the practical results of ecclesiastical interference in politics he declares that “the authorities of New York city, during the eleven years preceding 1880, gave to the Roman church real estate valued at 83,300,000 and money to the amount of $5,827,471.”
Another peril is Mormonism, to which the author devotes a whole chapter, followed by another on the perils of intemperance. He eloquently describes the “feverish activity of modern civilization,” which he declares is attended by new and increasing nervous disorders, which are further aggravated by a stimulating climate. To these causes he attributes much of the intemperance of the present day, and he quotes Dr. Beard as follows:
When the nervous system loses, through any cause, much of its nervous force, so that it cannot stand upright with ease and comfort, it leans on the nearest and most convenient artificial support that is capable of temporarily propping up the enfeebled frame. Anything that gives ease, sedation, oblivion, such as chloral, chloroform, opium or alcohol, may be resorted to at first as an incident, and finally as a habit. Such is the philosophy of opium and alcohol inebriety. Not only for the relief of pain, but for the relief of exhaustion, deeper and more distressing than pain, do both men and women resort to the drug shop. I count this one of the great causes of the recent increase of opium and alcohol inebriety among women.
As a nation grows more nervous, says Dr. Strong, its use of intoxicating liquors increases, and he quotes figures to prove that there has been of late years an enormous growth in the consumption of alcohol in this country and Great Britain, and this despite the fact that in the beginning of the century liquors were found on every sideboard, while there has since grown up a strong moral sentiment against drinking, and there are today in both countries millions of teetotalers. The obvious inference is that those who drink at all drink more than formerly. The author then goes on to point out the evils resulting from the influence of the liquor dealers in politics.
The next peril considered is that from “socialism,” under which head Dr. Strong appears disposed to group all movements that aim, through association or political action, to ameliorate the condition of the working people. He quotes, in answer to the cry of “fraternity,” a saying by Maurice that “there is no fraternity without a common Father,” and he divides the socialists broadly into two groups, one consisting of “men of large heart, philanthropic, often self-sacrificing, but impractical,” and the other of “envious, selfish and often desperate men, who are terribly practical in their proposed methods.” He quotes the sayings of anarchists, socialists and labor agitators indiscriminately, and attributes them all to the movement that he calls socialism, and declares that Mr. George, in “Progress and Poverty,” has “rendered eminent service to the cause of socialism against the traditional law by bringing to its support, in the United States, the strength of moral ideas.” He furthermore declares that “any one who is convinced that proprietorship in land is unjust has taken at least one step toward Proudhon’s famous doctrine that “property is theft.” Singularly enough, after thus denouncing socialism, he regards individualism also as a source of danger, and sees in it something favorable to the growth of socialism. But while thus deprecating popular discontent, and condemning, in one sweeping censure, all proposed remedies for existing wrongs, Dr. Strong is not blind to the fact that there is grave cause for such discontent. He says:
The tendency of mechanical invention, under our present industrial invention, under our present industrial system, is to separate classes more widely and to render them hereditary. Before the age of machinery, master, journeymen and apprentices worked together on familiar terms. The apprentice looked forward to the time when he should receive a journeyman’s wages, and the journeyman might hope some day to have a shop of his own. Under this system there was little opportunity to develop class distinctions and jealousies. Moreover, there was great variety of work…There was relief from monotony, and scope for ingenuity and taste.
All this has been changed by the introduction of machinery and men have been divided into classes, and vastly the larger class has been condemned to a dreary monotony in work that “is the most wearisome of all labor.” Meanwhile, though the productive power of the race has been enormously increased, so that “one man, by the aid of steam, is able to do the work which required two hundred and fifty men at the beginning of the century”—the machinery of Massachusetts alone representing the labor of more than 100,000,000 men—the tendency is toward the impoverishment of the workers and to ward throwing many people out of employment. The labor statistics of Massachusetts are quoted to show that men cannot earn enough to support their families, and therefore must in part depend on the labor of their wives and children. The statistics of Illinois, and the examination by Mr. George into the condition of working people in the Pennsylvania coal regions, go to show the same thing and to prove that the forcing of children of tender age to earn their living cannot but add to the illiterate class. Nor is Dr. Strong misled by the foolish efforts of stupid statisticians to show that in some respects labor today secures a greater reward than it did years ago. He says:
De Tocqueville observed and wondered that the masses find their position the more intolerable the more it is improved. This is because the man improves faster than his condition: his wants increase more rapidly than his comforts. A savage having nothing is perfectly contented so long as he wants nothing. The first step toward civilizing him is to create a want. Men rise in the scale of civilization only as their wants rise; and whenever a man may be on that scale, to awaken wants which cannot be satisfied, is to provoke discontent as surely as if comforts were taken from him…It is very true that within a century there has been a great multiplication of the comforts of life among the masses: but the question is whether that increase has kept pace with the multiplication of wants. The mechanic of today who has much may be poorer than his grandfather who had little…The workingmen in the United States today has probably had a common school education, has traveled somewhat, attended expositions, visited libraries, art galleries and museums; through books he has become more or less acquainted with all countries and all classes of society; he reads the papers; he is vastly more intelligent than his grandfather was; he lives in a larger world, and has many more wants. Indeed, his wants are as boundless as his means are limited. Education increases the capability for enjoyment; and this capability is increasing among the many more rapidly than the means of gratification. Hence a popular growing discontent.
Having thus described the condition of the workingmen, Dr. Strong contrasts with it the condition of the rich. Vanderbilt made $30,000,000, Jay Gould $15,000,000, Russell Sage $10,000,000 and Sydney Dillon $10,000,000 in a single year. The rich, despite all denials, are at least relatively growing richer and the poor poorer. The author says:
American barons and lords of labor have probably more power and less responsibility than many an older feudal lord. They close the factory or the mine, and thousands of workmen are forced into unwilling idleness. The capitalist can arbitrarily raise the price of necessaries, can prevent men’s working, but has no responsibility for their starving. Here is “taxation without representation” with a vengeance. We have developed a despotism vastly more aggressive and more exasperating than that against which the thirteen colonies rebelled.
Wealth is the next peril considered, and its power over legislation and public opinion is described, while numerous instances are cited to show how the luxury that follows wealth has in times past enervated a people and destroyed a nation. The form of gambling ordinarily spoken of as “business” is exposed, and the author quotes an article from the North American Review, which says:
While one bushel in seven of the wheat crop of the United States is received by the Produce exchange in New York, its traders buy and sell two for every one that comes out of the ground. When the cotton plantations of the south yielded less than six million bales, the crop in the New York cotton exchange was more than thirty-two millions.
It is by such operations as these that enormous fortunes are made while productive labor is cheated of its due reward. Mammonism, the author declares, is corrupting our morals and turning enterprise into evil channels, and any business is justified so long as “there is money in it.” He reminds Christians that their Master taught “How hardly shall they that have riches enter into the kingdom of God,” and that “It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.”
The next peril dwelt upon is the tendency of population to concentrate in cities, and the miseries of the poor in London and New York are graphically described. All of these evils are aggravated, he declares, by the rapid exhaustion of the public lands open to settlement, and he quotes approvingly Thomas Carlyle’s declaration that the superiority of the lot of the American workman in the past was due to the fact that we have “a vast deal o’ land for a verra few people.” Dr. Strong presents a great array of facts and figures to prove his various positions, and thus sums up:
In my own mind there is no doubt that the Anglo Saxon is to exercise the commanding influence in the world’s future; but the exact line of that influence is as yet undetermined. How far his civilization will be materialistic and atheistic, and how long it will take thoroughly to christianize and sweeten it, how rapidly he will hasten the coming of the kingdom wherein dwelleth righteousness, or how many ages he may retard it, is still uncertain; but it is now being swiftly determined. Let us weld together in a chain the various links of our logic which we have endeavored to forge. Is it manifest that the Anglo Saxon holds in his hands the destinies of mankind for ages to come? Is it evident that the United States is to be the home of this race, the principal seat of its power, the great center of its influence? Is it true that the great west is to dominate the nation’s future? Has it been shown that this generation is to determine the character and hence the destiny of the west? Then may God open the eyes of this generation!
Amen! Let those accustomed to pray add a supplication that God may also open the eyes of Dr. Strong and many other good men like him, for the only remedy he proposes for the evils he so clearly sees is the opening of the purses rather than the eyes of men. His book, which Professor Phelps justly describes as “powerful,” reaches this lame and impotent conclusion—that the remedy for all the evils and dangers that threaten society today is an enormous increase in the contributions for home missions. No wonder Professor Phelps said of “Our Country,” that “its great strength lies in its facts.” There is surely none in its conclusions. This declaration is based on no antagonism to the belief that in the religious instincts of man working in accord with the principles taught and exemplified by Christ the final solution of the great problem that we now face is to be found. It is astonishing, however, that a man having Dr. Strong’s clear insight into the difficulties and perils that now environ society, without attempting to justify his position, should include all efforts to remedy the evils by human effort in one sweeping condemnation, and merely that teaches men to reconcile themselves to an intolerable condition of affairs, and too often blasphemes God by telling men that this iniquity is the work of His hands. Dr. Strong is not one of those patriots who denies the efficacy of human effort. He rebukes Christians who are disposed to throw on God the responsibility for their own remissness, and reminds them that the efforts and devotion of men and women were necessary to save our country from destruction during the civil war. He doubtless also approves the courage and devotion that first gave this people independence, and yet he assumes a position of unthinking hostility toward every movement now urged for the overthrow of a system which he himself describes as “a despotism vastly more oppressive and more exasperating than that against which he further admits results in a degrading poverty that renders its victims almost inaccessible to moral influence or Christian teaching. If it was a Christian duty to forcibly resist oppression a century ago, why is it not equally a Christian duty to peaceably resist a greater oppression now?
Had the reverend author’s eyes not been blinded by prejudice or false conservatism, he could not have made this strong presentation of the evils that now afflict and threaten society without seeing, however dimly, the obvious remedy. He acknowledges that they did not always exist; he shows that they have come through the gradual withdrawal from settlement of land once free, and he argues that the completion of this process in the next twenty or twenty-five years will be the signal for the crisis. Yet he ignores all connection between the facts that he thus brings out, and even declares that “anyone who is convinced that proprietorship in land is unjust, has taken at least one step toward Proudhon’s famous doctrine that ‘property is theft.’” Was the right of property then unacknowledged in America when land was practically free?
It would be useless to attempt, in the space at my disposal, to present an argument in favor of the common ownership of those gifts of nature which obviously, in the beginning, belonged to all men and not merely to a few men. Dr. Strong marshals all of the texts that go to show that the earth is the Lord’s and that he freely gave it to all of his children, and that Christ clearly taught that those who obtain riches through the monopoly of the Creator’s gifts to all will be shut out from the kingdom of God. The teaching is as plain as Christ could make it, and it is preposterous for professed Christians to laugh its obvious meaning to scorn, and in the same breath lament the increase of infidelity. Dr. Strong’s book shows that he has read “Progress and Poverty” and “Social Problems” with some care, and if he has not apprehended the great truth taught by Christ to the rich young man whom He commanded to sell all that he had and give it to the poor. It would be useless, then, in such an article as this to point out to Dr. Strong the truths that he has chosen not to comprehend or accept.
To those who do understand the truth, however, the perils pointed out in this work will appear less alarming than they appear to the author. Once make all land, including, of course, mines and all other natural sources of wealth, common property, and thenceforth no such evils could exist. Patents on inventions would be the only monopolies possible, and some better way of rewarding ingenuity would soon put an end to this monopoly. The root of the existing evils treated of under the head of wealth is that fear of want that tortures the poor and exalts and sharpens the accumulative faculty in all. It is this fear and this tendency that impels us to the feverish activity that causes intemperance, and obviously the only remedy for an evil, which Dr. Strong shows has increased in the face of the mighty efforts against it, is not impracticable and already discredited attempts at removing the object of the appetite, but the removal of the cause. Give access to natural opportunities and free exchange of products to all who come, and immigration will cease to have any terrors to one who, like Dr. Strong, sees in Europe rather than in England the true motherland of our race. As to Mormonism, its real attraction is that it has offered to the most miserable on earth the assurance of plenty to eat and drink, and the way to scotch it is to assure at least as much to all of the inhabitants of our land. Socialism is not a peril—it is an attempted remedy. As taught by the German socialists it is not adapted to the genius or habits of our people, trained as they are to the love of individual independence, but its aims are high and the agitation will cease when a plan more in accord with American ideas has given us all that the state control of individual labor is believed by its advocates to promise. As to discontent, whether it assumes a sullen or a violent form, there is but one remedy, and that is to remove the many just causes for it pointed out in this work. The concentration of population in cities will cease to be numbered among the perils of civilization the very moment that the enormous increase in land values thereby caused goes into the pockets of all who produce it instead of into the pockets of a fortunate few. And last of all comes “Romanism,” as Dr. Strong calls it. Protestant prejudice manifestly tinctures his strictures, yet he unquestionably makes out a strong case against the disposition of the Roman hierarchy to interfere in politics, to the curtailment of personal liberty and independence. Undeniably the independence and enlightenment of a well-to-do community are the best checks to such pretensions, and the fact is obvious to all who are not willfully blind to current events, that the doctrine of the land for the people has thus far, not only in this country, but in Ireland, been the only one that has had the power to cause Catholics to vigorously resist the attempt by Roman politicians to arbitrarily interfere in the local affairs of a free people. In short, the restoration of the land to its natural owners is so obviously the remedy for the evils described in “Our Country,” that it must have required some effort to enable the reverend author to shut his eyes to it.
Is the crisis then one in which Christians as such have no peculiar interest? On the contrary, it is one that places the churches that profess to represent Christianity on trial. Dr. Strong does not overestimate the importance of the next few years to the future of the churches for which he speaks and which the American home missionary society in a measure represents. Men have begun to think for themselves, and though they will read with eagerness such a presentation of facts as Dr. Strong gives them in “Our Country,” they will draw their own conclusions from it. When he demonstrates to them that in a country capable of maintaining a thousand millions of people in comfort a majority of the sixty millions of its present inhabitants have a hard struggle to maintain existence, they will tell him that there is something wrong, something wicked, about the human laws and customs that render such a state of affairs possible, and that they propose to set about finding a cure for that wrong and wickedness. If he proposes to join them in this important work they will listen to him gladly, and all the more gladly if he tells them that such a condition of affairs is against the law of God and the mandates of Christ. Such an utterance will comfort the man still clinging to the region of his childhood and cause even the scoffer to cease to sneer at a doctrine that promises justice and makes for righteousness. If, on the other hand, the home missionaries take their cue from the rich men to whose contributions they look for support, if the Protestant clergy continue to preach only that which is not unpleasing to their rich pew holders, then that branch of the Christian church will lose its power to shape a movement that it is already unable to prevent, and it will repeat the blunder it made in the early days of the anti-slavery movement, and thereby aid once more in creating that infidelity which it never wearies of deploring. And the Catholic church faces a similar dilemma in a different form. It, at least, has never, thus far, lost its hold on the poor. Its parishes are literally the guides, the leaders and comforters of their flocks. But the higher ecclesiastics of that church, even in America, have been growing away from the poor, and their personal associations are largely with the richer and less devout members of that faith. Thus far these higher ecclesiastics have set their faces against the efforts of the working people to right their wrongs by political action, and they have coerced the subordinate clergy into silence. As the movement grows in intensity and strength, this policy must be abandoned or the ecclesiastical authorities of that church will encounter a resistance such as they have never before experienced. This has been fully demonstrated by the protest called forth by the suspension of Dr. McGlynn in New York, and the attempt to extend the policy to all priests known to sympathize with him would have produced a convulsion in this archiepiscopal see that even the bigot Preston, with his Italian politics and title, would hardly dare advise Archbishop Corrigan to provoke. There is a possibility that the high dignitaries in Ireland, may yet call a halt and abandon their attempt to dictate American politics from Rome. If this be done, and the priesthood of that church is allowed to show its natural sympathy with the poor, to whom, and not to the rich, it has always looked for support, then it will gain a vantage over recreant Protestantism that will cause Dr. Strong to groan in spirit. The reception given by all engaged in this movement to Dr. McGlynn, proves conclusively that those engaged in it have no hostility to religion. On the contrary, his speeches are sermons, and never before in our time have religious exhortations been so received. The hope of a New Jerusalem on earth burns in the hearts of a multitude, and the Lord’s prayer itself, with the suggestion that God’s kingdom shall come and His will be done on earth as it is in heaven, is no longer a trite formula, but the utterance of a great and living truth to listening thousands. That fatherhood of God which Maurice says is necessary to the brotherhood of man was never more eloquently preached, never more devoutly heard.
Never before was such opportunity to inspire a great revolutionary movement with religious fervor given to the ministers of Christ, and woe unto them if they neglect it now. If they will but be true to the teachings of Him they serve, they will acquire an influence over the mass of men long unknown to them, but if, in the light of such facts as Dr. Strong points out, they shall dare preach the blasphemy that the cruel and degrading poverty inflicted on the mass of men by the greed of a few is ordained of God, then will they forfeit their hold on the minds and consciences of men, do what they can to make this movement materialistic and atheistic, and betray again the Master they claim to serve through a cowardice as abject as that which prompted Peter’s denial, and a greed as base as that which caused Judas to sell his Lord. Well may Dr. Strong declare that to the Protestant churches of America the closing years of the nineteenth century present a focal point in history second only in importance to the birth of Christ, and well may he pray, “Then may God open the eyes of this generation!”
Wm. T. Croasdale
A Lottery Prize Drawn Every Year
Joe Labadie in Detroit Labor Advance
About thirty-six years ago a merchant on Woodward avenue rented a lot 16×20 to put a store on, which at that time was worth about $500. He paid ground rent for the use of that lot all this time, and up to now has paid an average of $1,000 a year–$36,000 in all—and he is a poor man yet. He never felt able to buy the lot, and the rent has eaten up all he has made through his enterprise, and the man who owns the lot has had an income greater than the average wages of two hard working men, and yet he has done nothing except to collect his rent. He has been no benefit to society. We contend that any system that will give one class of persons power to live without work—that makes it possible for a man to live in ease and idleness thirty-six years on an investment of less than $500—is an unjust system, and our aim is to remove the laws that uphold it.”
Begins to See It
There is this amount of truth and force in Mr. George’s theory, that values given to property, not in consequence of any active exertions on the part of their owners, but simply because of the growth in numbers of other people, is not an altogether equitable arrangement.
Our Water Supply
A few months ago the people of Philadelphia were engaged in warmly discussing the question whether they should sell their gas works to a private company or operate them through a bureau of the municipal government. The works, though city property, had been farmed out through trustees in a manner that had permitted the growth of costly abuses. This was made the basis for arguments against any public duties being performed by the city government other than those pertaining to the protection of life and property. “Why,” it was asked, “where will it stop if the city goes into business at all? Some people would have the mayor and corporation go even into the industry of shoe-making. And there will be more corruption than ever in politics if we have another municipal bureau.” Those who were influenced by this reasoning were unable to discriminate between what must be a monopoly and what is not. Although Philadelphia has decided to manufacture her own gas, the progress of education in that city with reference to the safe and economical performance of public functions by public agencies may be inferred from the statement made in an editorial printed in the Daily Telegraph, that Philadelphia would be the only city in the world going into the business of making gas. As the readers of The Standard have seen, many cities in all parts of Europe furnish their inhabitants with gas, to the benefit of the city treasuries as well as of the gas consumers, a better quality of gas being made than is commonly supplied by private companies. The Telegraph’s position in this matter is matched by that of Indianapolis Evening News in relation to the labor party’s demand in that city for public water works, and in nothing the mistakes of these alleged directors of public thought the hope may well arise that with a very little light given it the Indianapolis public will see the advantage of casting a majority vote for the labor ticket. The day after the labor party held its city conventions the News reviewed the platform, for the most part, in an affectedly profound and judicial style. When it came upon the plank demanding municipal water works, however, the News deemed the idea preposterous and could only treat it with light scoffing and heavy humor. The project of municipal water works, the News would imply, has so slight a practical basis that it can be dismissed with a smile.
Now, can any precedent be found by which the News may be taught that somewhere in America at least one or two places have succeeded in getting along with public water works—just for the purpose of preventing Indianapolis who would promote such schemes?
In Croes’ statistics of the water supply of American cities, published in 1883, Indianapolis is given as the twenty-sixth city in the order of population. Of these twenty-six, all but five are supplied by water works owned and operated by city governments. One of these five—Pittsburgh—is in part supplied by the public and in part by private sources. The four of the twenty-six entirely supplied by private corporations are San Francisco, the ninth in the order of population, New Orleans, tenth, Louisville, seventeenth, and Indianapolis. The total population of these twenty-six cities is nearly 7,000,000, and of it only abut 600,000 people are supplied with water by any agency but city governments. In his book Engineer Croes prints a list of 785 water works. Of this number 341 are owned and operated by village, town or city governments, while from 113 there were “no returns” as to whether the management was public or private. If one-half of the 113 are public, then more than one-half of all the water works of America are public, while the number of people served by public agencies is from three to four times as many as are supplied by stock companies.
It is droll for a New Yorker to be met with objections to municipal water works. If events have led the people of New York to agree upon any one point, it is that the city is supplied by public means with pure and wholesome water at a cheaper rate than it could be otherwise done. Before the city took into its own hands the office of sending water into every house within its limits, there was frequently a failure in the supply, the quality of the water was poor and the rates charged were exorbitant. The cost of the municipal water works has necessarily been greater than any other in the world, yet the water tax is not an onerous one. If there is any feature of its municipal greatness of which the citizens of New York are justly proud, it is its wonderful system of water supply, with its Croton aqueducts, its high bridge, its reservoirs and its hundreds of miles of of street mains. The purpose of this article being simply to bring such authorities as the Indianapolis News up to the point of recognizing facts easily accessible to all who wish to argue questions of public policy in the light of facts, and of acknowledging the results demonstrated by the facts, only a brief outline of the history of New York’s water supply is necessary.
In 1784, history tells us, Samuel Ogden brought before the city authorities a project to establish water works, but his plan was not adopted, though the subject had been before the citizens and discussed at various times for fifty years, and no plan effectually executed. Up to the year 1799 the dependence of the people of New York for water was on the old “Collect pond,” a beautiful lake on the site of which the Tombs prison now stands; on the “Tea water pump,” which stood in Chatham street, east of Pearl, and wells in different parts of the city. The water of many of the wells was unwholesome, and water from the “Tea water pump” was carried about town and sold for a penny a gallon. In 1799 the Manhattan company was organized, banking privileges, as well as the franchise for furnishing water for the city, being given it. The company supplied the city until 1842. Its source of supply was for a long time an immense well. A reservoir was, later, constructed near Union square, its source of supply also being wells.
A “Strangers’ guide,” published in 1828, described the water supply as follows: “New York is partially supplied with water by the Manhatten company’s works, situated in Reade street, a few rods northeast from the City hall. The water is drawn from deep wells and springs, and forced up by a stream engine to a reservoir in Chambers street that is elevated fifteen feet above the level of Broadway, from whence the water is distributed through every street in the city by means of wooden pipes running three feet under the level of the pavement. Later all pipes extend into every house that pay the company the regular tax therefore, which is $10, but extra arrangements are formed if a larger quantity of water is required.
“The supply that is derived from this source is inadequate to the wants of this great and increasing metropolis, and it has long been in contemplation to introduce a more copious and regular supply of pure and wholesome water from more distant sources, such as the Rye ponds, Bronx river, Croton river and Housatonic river. Many of the wells in the old settled parts of the city are far from pure or wholesome. The Manhattan company have the exclusive command of all the springs of water on this island, and an unlimited charter, provided they furnish an adequate supply of pure and wholesome water.”
In 1832 Mayor DeWitt Clinton, in response to a resolution of the common council, reported that in his judgment the city of New York should rely upon the Croton river for its supply of wholesome water for all purposes. He set forth very fully all the advantages of the Croton—its purity and unfailing abundance its superior elevation and the ease with which it might be introduced.
In January, 1833, the legislature, at the request of the common council, passed an act authorizing the governor to appoint five water commissioners for the city to examine and consider all matters in relation to supplying the city with a sufficient quantity of pure and wholesome water, the commissioners to employ the necessary engineers, surveyors, etc. Two engineers of high reputation were employed. They made examinations of the Croton, Sawmill and Bronx rivers and their tributaries and furnished the commissioners with a map and profile of the district surveyed, together with their opinions as to the quality of the water, the supply and the practicability of conveying it to the city at a sufficient elevation to preclude the use of machinery and answering all the purposes contemplated. They also reported upon the most feasible routes and the best manner of constructing the conduits and reservoirs, the probable amount required to pay for lands, water sites and damages and the cost of construction. The legislature made provision for submitting the question of “water” or “no water” to the electors of the city at the charter election of 1835. The common council were authorized, in the event of the vote being in favor of water, to issue bonds to the amount of $2,500,000 and to have the work done by contract. There was much opposition to the measure among the taxpayers on account of the expense, and so clamorous had been the opposition that friends of the measure were agreeably surprised at the result. There were 17,330 votes cast, of which 11,367 were in favor of the great public project and only 5,963 against it.
On June 27,1842, with appropriate ceremonies, water was first conveyed through the Croton aqueduct into the receiving reservoir at Eighty-sixth street, and on the Fourth of July following it was received in the reservoir at Fifth avenue and Forty-second street. This latter event was celebrated by a grand civic and military display. The procession was nearly seven miles long. Fountains were opened as the line passed by, creating many scenes of enthusiasm, and the great work was turned over to the city in a formal address by one of the commissioners.
An immediate effect of the water supply was to reduce the rates of insurance forty cents on one hundred dollars.
From 1842 to 1869 the water supply was in charge of a separate department, but since that time it has been under the control of a bureau of the board of public works. Annual reports of the department or bureau have been printed or may be obtained and examined by any citizen. Through the press, abuses, if any should occur, may be pointed out. The reports uniformly speak of the great benefits which the city derives from the Croton service, and of its promotion of health, comfort and convenience of the community.
The total cost of New York’s water supply, according to Croes, was, up to 1883, $33,712,197. The total receipts from water taxes, etc., up to January 1, 1887, were nearly $40,000,000. The receipts last year of the bureau were $2,500,000.
Besides this revenue the water is supplied free for the purposes of extinguishing fires, to the penal and charitable institutions, and to the public buildings.
A new aqueduct is in course of construction from the Croton reservoir to this city. Its cost, together with that of the necessary additions to the plant in connection with it, was estimated at $14,000,000 by the late commissioner of public works, Hubert O. Thompson.
With the gas supply in the hands of stock companies and the water supply administered by the city, the people of New York have ample opportunity to judge as to which is the preferable method. The gas companies are overcapitalized by perhaps 300 per cent, but there can be no false capital drawing dividends from the water supply. The gas lobby at Albany is a most persistent and dangerous one, while the city’s interest in the water supply needs no lobby. The stock of the gas companies may be the plaything of bulls and bears, but there is no water stock. The complaints of citizens at the offices of the gas companies are met with evasions and deceptions. The bureau of the water purveyor and the office of the board of health are agencies maintained by the law for remedying such grievances as may be complained of in connection with the water supply. On the one hand, the gas supply is a system of organized robbery, through which a larger sum of money is annually extorted from the people of New York than by all the corruptions in public office taken together for a decade. On the other hand, whatever of plunder there is in the water supply is of the minor sort that is secured by contractors and dishonest registers and collectors of the taxes, and the press of all parties is ever on the watch for these gentry. The people of New York speak in terms of approval of Croton water, but the mention of their gas bills put them in a humor to fight.
How It is Done
Omaha Capitalist—Do you call that a survey for a new railroad? Why, it looks like a pumpkin vine.
Kansas Speculator—Well, you see we had to twist it around a good deal so as to take in all the points at which we could buy land cheap.
“A road like that will never pay. It don’t start anywhere or go anywhere.”
“Oh! We can keep it running a while on the profits of our town lots; that’s easy enough.”
“But what will you do after all the lots are sold?”
“Straighten it out.”
A Kansas City paper feels impelled to give a little gratuitous advice to the rising generation. It says: “Every young man who earns $50 per month ought to buy a lot and makes a start of a home. The way to get a lot is to save a little money each month and pay down on it. Don’t spend all your money on fine livery turnouts and expensive dinners with gay companions.” There is logic chopped very fine and morality very much mixed in these kindly suggestions; yet, it will puzzle the average intellect to know how “fine livery turnouts and expensive dinners” can possibly be procured on twelve and a half dollars a week. Anyway, land must be cheap around that section.
“Go to Work”
Vincennes Ind., News
“Let a man go to work!” Aye, that’s what we say, and let his pay be what he produces, not a third of it, or half, but all! To make this possible we must destroy the monopoly of natural opportunities; we must give every man an equal right to the use of the means of production; we must make it impossible for Scully and the Astors to extract the third nettle from the orphans’ dinner in the shape of rent. In short we must place all taxation on land values, thus making land monopoly unprofitable and therefore undesirable. Then “one man will not be bound to work for another,” as now.
Mrs. Frances A. Bingham in Naugatuck Agitator
If I had the pen of a prophet,
If I had the eye of a seer,
And the tongues of men and angels,
I would make the world hear
How sin, with its twin
Gaunt want shall die,
And be found no more ‘neath God’s free sky.
If I did but know the hour
They would give their final grasp,
When heart to heart like brothers
The long estranged should clasp—
I would sing,
“Ye bells, no knells,
But the jubilant peal that of joy foretells.”
I know it is coming, coming!
And my heart with divine content
Lays off its care like a garment,
Like a mantle clumsy and rent;
To stand still
Is mine that hour,
To see the salvation of God’s strong power.
Go to, ye, in shame and confusion,
Who thought to establish the lie,
That God’s earth the few inherit
And that poverty could not die.
Of the years
God shall wipe away,
And how can He dry them if poverty stay?
Did you think its life was eternal
That we must forever grind
In its mills, till in soul nor body
God’s image you could not find?
There are men
Who are not afraid;
And women march in this new crusade.
‘Tis just that old poverty perish,
Who hath blighted a world like this;
Who hath bent the back of the millions,
Who hath poisoned the mother’s kiss.
It must go,
And prove the lie
That sin and its gaunt twin cannot die.
My Uncle’s Niece
A cousin of mine, a bright young woman, has lately returned from Europe, where she had lived for ten years or more in company with her mother. A few days ago she and I called on an uncle of ours, a fine old gentleman, who lives on Washington square. What occurred during our call is worth relating.
We were shown into a sumptuously furnished reception room by a negro servant attired in black broadcloth and wearing a white necktie. He bowed when he spoke to us, and waved his hand politely as he bade us be seated. Presently my uncle entered the room. It was necessary to introduce my cousin, as he had not seen her since she was a child. She saw a man of more than three-score years and ten, silver-haired, pink-faced, well-preserved, of imposing physique and distinguished air. He saw a small woman, inexpensively dressed, with nothing remarkable in her appearance save a pair of bright dark eyes. With an exchange of glances, first impressions were received, and estimates of character began mutually to be formed. The greeting of each was conventional and strictly in character. He was the sage—kind, gentle, polished—retired on his laurels after his struggles for the prizes of the world; she, simply an ordinary young woman whose achievements had been of no moment, and who apparently could hardly foster the hope of making a figure in the world. Both veiled their curiosity as to each other, if they had any. Neither exhibited any evidence of the mental notes taken of the other.
Greetings over, inquiries as to the health of the members of the family of each answered, and the old gentleman said in deep, well modulated tones:
“Tell me, my dear, what pleased you most when you were abroad?”
She knew, as did I, and he himself, that the question was a conversational stop-gap, yet she answered soberly:
“Well, uncle, I was most pleased with the scenes of real life I saw in a Swiss canton.”
“Indeed, what was there so pleasing in it?”
“There was not a person in canton in fear of poverty.”
“Ah, indeed! But, my dear, I expected you to say something about cathedrals, or the old masters, or perhaps the works of the modern French artists now so fashionable, or the boulevards, and you express an admiration for Swiss peasants. No one in fear of poverty? How do they manage it?”
“The land of the canton, which is really rather poor and lies up somewhat in the mountains, belongs to everybody in the canton. Each family is allowed pasturage for their cattle, a certain part of the growth of the timber every year for fuel or building purposes, and an area of cultivable land for grain and garden produce. Enough and to spare is raised for all. Even the rent for some tourists’ hotels that have been erected in the canton is divided among the people.”
“Indeed? Ah! But—but is there not a great drawback in all this to individual initiative and enterprise?”
“I do not know, sir. The grown people can read and write and are said to be remarkably healthy and intelligent. All the children attend school, and none are overworked.”
“A land system like that might answer there. It would not here. You know, my dear, that in this vast American republic of ours nothing is left to the government that can be done by its citizens as individuals. That government is best that governs least, say we. Americans would not tolerate a paternal government. Let grit and enterprise and manhood win here, where there is freedom for all. No restrictions should be placed on the rights of property. It may be well enough for ‘everybody’ to own the land of a Swiss canton, but in New York a man must own his land outright to ensure ownership of his improvements. Let each American be perfectly free to come and go as he likes, so we believe, and if he can’t take care of himself that is his own misfortune. The duties of the state should be strictly confined to protecting life and property. This is true American doctrine, and look at the country we have built up!”
The old gentleman’s delivery of these sentiments was deeply impressive. His manner was sincere, and his words deliberately chosen.
“Yes, uncle.” The niece spoke as if the topic was finished.
“Have you seen the Brooklyn bridge yet my dear?” asked the uncle. “We consider it one of the wonders of the world.”
“I saw it from the steamer as we came up the bay. There was some discussion among the passengers about its ownership. Some said that a rich firm called—called, let me think for a moment—Garden and something—no, Field & Cool, I think it was, owned it and the elevated roads. Both others said it belonged to the governments of Brooklyn and New York. I know now from what you have said, uncle, it could not belong to the governments.”
“Oh, ah! There is a-ah-a distinction here that you have not perceived, my child. The enormous cost of the bridge put it beyond the reach of private enterprise; and the two cities did build it.”
The old gentleman was disturbed. An explanation of his seeming self-contradiction was embarrassing. The young lady saw it, and, looking out of the window, remarked:
“That is a beautiful park. What is its name?”
“Washington square? Yes; it is a fine old park. Our city has provided us with none better, excepting, of course, Central park. You have visited it, I presume. It has cost many millions of dollars. I have heard it said there is nothing in Europe to compare with it. It is a great public work.”
The niece looked thoughtful for a moment and seemed on the point of asking a question. Then she said:
“Uncle, what are some of the great private enterprises of New York?”
“Well, the elevated roads and—and—the big stores, and, well, the gas supply.”
“I presume, sir, that the railroads and gas supply have furnished a field for the enterprise of individuals.”
“For the enterprise of rascals,” said the old man, warmly. “There ought to be a remedy for the abuses that the public suffer from at their hands.”
Again the niece looked thoughtful. There was a rap at the door and the negro servant appeared with a letter. The old gentleman took it, and, adjusting his spectacles, asked to be excused while he read it. But before doing so he directed the servant to bring in some fruit. He glanced at the postmark and said: “Now, that is quick work. This letter was mailed but a few hours ago and here it is. It is a good thing that the post office department is not, like our telegraph, in the hands of irresponsible corporations.” When he had finished reading the letter he said:
“I have been much interested in the fate of a young man who was taken ill of a contagious fever at his home. The health officers directed his removal to an isolated hospital. This letter informs me he is convalescent.”
“Poor fellow,” said the niece. “Why, how comes it that he was taken away from his friends during a critical illness?”
“Well, the interests of the community must be guarded. Society, in such a case, obviously has the larger interest at stake, and the individual’s must be treated accordingly.”
The servant entered, bringing fruit and water.
“I am told you have always such good water in New York?” said the young woman, inquiringly.
“We have a fair supply of pure, wholesome water,” was the answer. “But I can remember, before the Croton aqueduct was built, what poor water we had. Our aqueduct,” the old man continued, “is a work of which New Yorkers are justly proud. It cost the city twenty million dollars.”
“Yes.” And the old gentleman’s pink face deepened a little in color, and it was his turn to be silent for a moment. “Taste one of these apples,” he said, as if to divert the course of thought. “I get them from a man in Jefferson market close by, with whom I have dealt for many years. It is an accommodation that we have a public market so near us. We can buy meat, fruit, butter and vegetables all at the one place, instead of running to several stores as we would otherwise have to do. Then we know, too, that what food we buy there has been inspected by the city’s market officers, and is pure.”
“Do all these dealers have their stock in the one place?” said the niece.
“Yes. You know the city owns the market, and—and—and—”
There was nothing in the niece’s face to cause the old gentleman to hesitate and then cease speaking, but he did so.
The negro here entered again and handed my uncle a newspaper. The old gentleman again excused himself, and placed his spectacles on his nose, remarking:
“Jim knows all the news before I do. He reads the whole paper, I believe, while he is carrying it from the news stand. Well, I see by the headings there is nothing new.”
“I saw very few colored people abroad, uncle, and have some curiosity regarding them.”
“Yes! Well, Jim is a very likely fellow. It’s seldom you see a genuine black like him in New York. He is from the south—was brought home here after the war by my son the colonel.”
“Where did he learn to read?”
“In the public schools.”
“What do you mean by public, uncle. Pardon me for my ignorance. You know that I am not American by education, and I am really ignorant of much that every child here no doubt knows.”
“Well, the common schools are an institution under the charge of the state—an excellent institution, indeed, which ensures to every child of the republic the education necessary to become a worthy and intelligent citizen.”
“It does seem admirable to me, uncle, for evidently that poor colored man would have grown up in the deepest ignorance if there were no schools provided by the state. I have been in countries in Europe where there is the most lamentable ignorance among the poor because there are no public schools.”
“Yes, our common schools are an inestimable blessing to the poor. Our country, through them chiefly, is without a peer in the whole world. Well it is that our forefathers gave this republic to us, and that our later heroes have preserved its institutions even at the cost of so much blood and treasure. I think of the triumphs of the war of the rebellion with pride, though it cost my son, the colonel, his life. He was crushed between two passenger cars while taking a detachment of drafted men to the front, and never recovered from his injuries.”
“What are drafted men, uncle?”
“After the war had lasted about two years it was found necessary to draft—that is, to conscript men into the army. The country was in peril, and it was bound to maintain itself even at the expense of the liberty of some of its citizens.”
“What! Men were dragged from their homes and forced to go to war? It seems terrible to me, uncle. Were there many treated so?”
“Yes, a hundred thousand of them. And it was only right. What were the lives of a hundred thousand, so that the republic could be saved? Can any man set up his claims as an individual when the state itself is in danger? Where the happiness of all is concerned, of what comparison is the life of one? No one citizen can be allowed to profit at the expense of the many.”
“I agree with you, uncle,” said the niece, dryly.
“Ah, my son, the colonel, was a brave soldier. When he came home, I saw his days were numbered. I wanted a quiet house, where he could rest easily during his last days, so I leased this one, and here he passed away. I liked this one, and here he passed away. I liked this place so well that I have stayed here ever since.”
“It is a beautiful place, uncle. I should think you would prefer this to almost any other locality—at least, to any that I have seen—in New York.”
“Yes, there are advantages in living here. I did think at one time of buying a house on Fifth avenue. In fact, I was all ready to draw my check for the purchase money, when I was warned by my lawyer that the title to the lot was doubtful. Here I am assured of peaceful possession all my days, for the house is built on Sailors’ Snug harbor land. I lease from the owner of the house, who leases from the Snug harbor—which is, in brief, a great institution whose title to the land is clear for a century or more. The Snug harbor lease lasts for forty years to come, which is as long as I expect to live, or even a little longer. The lease for the land is low, too, as property goes nowadays. I pay the gentleman who built the house what is a fair rate of interest on what the building cost him, and enough of the life of the house. Then I myself make the repairs, and, being careful, I can call the place a bargain to me.”
“Yes, but, uncle, it seems so complicated to me.”
“Not at all,” replied the old gentleman, with an air of some pride. “Not at all, when you understand it. Each party in this transaction is sure of getting his own. Why, last year, I put two thousand dollars’ worth of improvements on this house, and I, or my family after me, will get the benefit of every dollar of it.”
“Then it is not absolutely necessary, in order to secure one’s improvements, that he should own his own lot or even his own house? I think the Swiss in the canton where I lived held the same principle.”
“But—but—there is a difference. There is a great difference.”
“Pardon me, uncle. Please tell—I have a taste for the discussion of such questions, but I would hardly presume to debate them with you—please assist me in seeing the difference, for example, between the position of the owner of this house, as a tenant, and the owner of the Swiss hotels of which I spoke a few moments ago.”
“Eh? Well, yes. Well are the inhabitants of that canton honest?”
“Every one of them.”
“Is their government stable—likely to last?”
“It dates back twelve hundred years.”
“Well, I suppose the hotel owners are safe enough. I would like to have a talk with some of the folks of that canton.”
“I think you will have to visit them, uncle, for they do not emigrate. They are comfortable and happy at home.”
“I heartily wish more of the Europeans were, then. Our workpeople here, in whom I have a deep sympathetic interest, would be better off if the European poor were to keep out of this country. I have been a supporter of the protective tariff idea for forty years, but with this flood of European pauper labor coming here our workpeople have no protection.”
“The tariff! That reminds me of the many amusing things said on board the steamer about smuggling. Every passenger, almost, was a smuggler. You can buy articles of almost every sort much cheaper abroad than in America. Uncle, why is it that Americans cannot send orders over to Europe and buy those cheap things? I do not quite understand it.”
“Our customs duties—the tariff—stands in the way. Our government protects our own industries. The cheap markets of Europe cannot be patronized by Americans to the detriment of the markets of home manufacturers.”
“But do the Americans who are not manufacturers regard the government as interfering in this case with their liberties? And are they not forced by the government to pay high prices for necessaries when they could get them cheaper in the old country?”
“Well, it is a grave question for statesmen, my child.”
“Yes, uncle. On our steamer we had hundreds and hundreds of poor people coming here to get work. The cabin passengers talked a great deal about it. They said the steerage passengers were accustomed to a lower standard of living than Americans, and would work for lower wages than American laborers. The steerage passengers paid no duty on themselves, however, while goods on the steamer that perhaps these very people had assisted in making paid a heavy duty. Now, uncle, please set me right. Do American manufacturers, when they sell their goods at the higher prices which the tariff enables them to command, after having procured their labor cheap from abroad, pay a heavy tax to the government for their privileges?”
“Why, no. Our purpose is to build up American manufacturers.”
“Do not some of these manufacturers grow very rich—as they buy labor cheap and sell their products dear?”
“We boast the greatest millionaires in the world.”
“Well, uncle, if I was a very rich manufacturer, it seems to me that I would combine with other rich ones and prevent men with smaller capital from competing with us.”
“You will yet be a money maker, I see, my dear niece. This is a great country for the rich. Look at our magnificent streets and avenues up town. There are evidences of great prosperity in the country and in New York. How the city changes! I can remember when this Washington square was considered far up town. The city received a great impetus along about 1830, and spread thereafter wonderfully.”
“What promoted its growth, uncle?”
“The Erie canal, which was finished in 1826. I was a little boy then, but I can remember distinctly the public rejoicings on its completion. Cannon were stationed a few miles apart from Lake Erie to New York, and when the water was admitted to the canal the tidings were communicated in a little while all along the canal by firing off the guns. The ceremonies otherwise were on a grand scale. The country had never witnessed the like. And the occasion warranted it. The people rejoiced over a system of transportation that promised low and uniform freight charges. Every citizen of the state had a pecuniary interest in the canal. New York city flourished ever afterward, and now, sixty years later, the canal system is a regulator of the railroads, which were then unknown. Those were far-sighted statesmen who caused our state to complete the canal system.”
The niece and myself observed the old gentleman’s enthusiasm with pleasure. The young lady rose to take leave.
“Uncle,” she said, smiling, “this call has been a very profitable one to me. I have learned a great deal from you. But were you not bantering me just a little when you spoke of American institutions—which I do not well comprehend—when you mentioned freedom from restrictions of all kinds and the policy of leaving to individual enterprise”—
“Certainly not, my dear,” with some dignity. “I trust I have said nothing to you in contradiction of principles that I have held for sixty years.”
We said good day to the old gentleman. As the niece shook hands with him at parting, I recalled their introduction half an hour previous. Since that moment there had been a change in the mental relationship of the two. Each had modified the estimate made of the other’s mind and character. The sage was now to her only a sage in appearance. She had measured him, and she now knew that his individuality was largely compassed in a pleasing exterior and cultivated manners. He was puzzled by her questions and hardly knew whether he was pleased or not with a female relative who might be adjudged strong minded.
The niece and I walked away from the mansion under the trees of the square. I was thinking of her interview with the old gentleman, and she was silent for awhile. Then we sat down on a park bench. She turned toward me, looked soberly into my face for a moment, and then laughed long and heartily. She said:
“Dear old man. He would not admit that he was jesting. But his talk was all a joke. I see it. Facts! principles! consistency! It was all a preposterous joke!”
The Loafer vs. The Worker
How the Tax Assessor Follows Up and Flues the Man Who Improves His Property
Cleveland, O., Labor Herald
Henry George maintains that the present system of taxation is crude, expensive and corrupt, and in addition thereto is a sort of fine on production. In our opinion Henry George is right, and we need not go further to prove the correctness of his views than the assessor’s tax list notice for 1887, now before us. In special notes on the blank we read the following important questions which the assessor puts to every producer or non-producer:
“Have you erected any new building since April 12, 1886? On what lot or land? What was the entire cost thereof, paid and unpaid on the 11th day of April, 1887? Did you make any additions or improvements on any building owned by you since April, 1886? On what lot or land situated? What was the entire cost thereof, paid and unpaid, on April 11, 1887? Was any building owned by you, removed from April 12, 1886, to April 11, 1887? On what lot or land situated? If removed, to what place?”
It will thus be seen that the assessor follows up the producer with an eagle eye, and when found, adds a penalty to whatever he produces, but the man who waits the advent of population to make his land valuable scarcely ever pays additional tax until he commences to improve it, when the assessor adds the penalty under the provisions of the law. In this state realty, unimproved, is valued only once in ten years, thus favoring the speculator, while the man who makes two blades of grass grow where but one grew before, or erects houses, is made to pay the penalty before the shingles are on or the paint dry. The fixed improvements on land—the most valuable to the race—are subjected to tax when the carpenter and contractor have the plans drawn, while the real estate monopolist whose acres adjoining are greatly enhanced in dollars, the assessor passes him by as the owner of “unproductive” or “wild land.” Thus a premium is paid to the non-producer and a penalty laid on the worker. Society, under such custom or law, permits the loafers to levy indirect tribute on the workers.
A Bewildered Boston Paper
Boston Saturday Evening Gazette
“Abolish poverty?” A decidedly noble ambition, if one were only certain of the words he uses. Thoroughgoing communism I understand, but this juggling with words puzzles me. I wish that Henry George had given a definition of poverty, and drawn a sharp line between it and incipient riches. Starvation is poverty, of course, when it is due to lack of money wherewith to purchase the necessaries of life; but isn’t it something more? I see poverty in all those conditions which limit the development of man’s healthy nature. To give a man bread and butter, and then tell him to be happy, is irrational, for there may be a moral and intellectual, as well as a physical starvation. If all men are born with equal rights to a share in the earth, I can’t see the justice of alleviating only the grossest physical needs. Man is something more than an animated stomach; and if we are going to interfere with the course of nature, we should avoid homeopathic treatment. To be frank, this remedy of taxing land to cure all human woes seems to me no wiser than to put a tax on the bacillus comma for the purpose of preventing the spread of cholera. Poverty, like disease, flourishes on account of man’s frail nature; the cure is not in taxing the germs, but in strengthening and modifying the human organization. Given a normal body and wholesome surroundings and disease may be defied. For social improvement, we first need the appropriate sentiment; the poverty which will accept, and the riches that will yield. Having discovered that all men are brothers, we must stimulate the brotherly feelings, instead of arousing class enmity. It is bad morals to rob even an evil man that the good man may benefit by the theft. Then, too, under the new dispensation, it would appear that all the rich are wicked and all the poor virtuous. If the rich man is a robber, the poor man has no right to share stolen goods. I think the reformers are going the wrong way to work, and I fear that they will never be able to abolish poverty by violence. History shows no example of an abiding justice being brought about by means of a revolution. Agitation is useful, but time is a necessity. It has required some eighteen centuries of Christianity to discover that poverty is a wrong. Can the cure be worked in a week? To assert that it can is to do a double wrong to the workingman; to deceive him and to bring him into antagonism with the existing law. Men were given the earth, but they were given souls as well; and while the soul is hard the earth will not yield its fruits. Preach brotherhood, then, and not revolution. Utopia is not reached by rescuing the poor from their poverty that the rich may take their place.
Too Valuable for the Poor
St. Paul, Minn., Daily Globe
As the property in the center of the city increases in value it becomes just in that proportion too valuable for the poorer classes to live upon and hold for homes. Several years ago teamsters, policemen, salaried men and men generally of small means made a kind of a general movement across the river and bought cheap lots on the flats in West St. Paul that could be had for a very small price indeed. Land corporations were formed that bought real estate over there and erected dwelling houses for poor people, giving them a long time and easy terms for paying. This was very fortunate, and operated well as long as it lasted, but all at once prosperity struck West St. Paul with great force and universal effect. Values advanced all through that part of the city at a fabulous rate. The growth of this part of St. Paul has been a wonderful one, and the indications are that there is a still greater prosperity in store for the Sixth ward than anything she has yet experienced. The value of property over the river has increased to such an extent that one is now compelled to go out a long distance to get a lot to build upon for a moderate price. It is the same in every direction.
If every reader and admirer of The Standard will exert himself to obtain just one additional subscriber the circulation of the paper will be doubled, its missionary influence more than quadrupled, and the triumph of our cause materially hastened.
This is a serious, solemn truth, good reader, and you ought to think it over until you get a practical comprehension of it. It is not enough that you yourself are satisfied of the truth of the doctrines we are preaching; it isn’t enough that you individually long for the day when man’s right to the use of the earth God made for him shall be vindicated and accursed poverty-creating spirit of greed and monopoly be swept out of existence; you may get your neighbors to think as you do, wrong will continue to flourish and right be crowded contemptuously aside. Moreover, The Standard needs your help; it lives by its subscriptions; its expenses are far heavier than those of ordinary weekly newspapers, and to meet those expenses it needs the constant and unwearying support of every one of its readers. This is no common contest that we have on our hands. Against us are arrayed the forces of a powerful and unscrupulous hierarchy, fighting side by side with the plunderers who have monopolized God’s gifts to man, and backed by the whole power of the pro-poverty press. You can help us in our fight; you must help us, if we are to win. There are men enough in this free America of ours who only need the call of the recruiting officer to bring them into our ranks and swell our numbers into an irresistible host. Blind with the darkness of ignorance and dumb with the voicelessness of despairing content, they stand idly by or are counted on the side of our enemies, only because they have no knowledge of the issue for which we are battling. Let it be your task—your share in the work of the new crusade—to bring these idlers into line. Pledge yourself to yourself that each week The Standard shall find your efforts at least one recruit. It is by individual action that our cause is to be won, and its triumph will be all the speedier if you as an individual will do what you can to speed it.
From far off Oregon comes a letter telling how the good cause progresses there:
Portland, Ore., May 15—The Standard is doing good work in most all the hands that it gets into. I know several men of considerable property that are in sympathy with you and Dr. McGlynn. In fact it is the people’s movement. I will get up a club of six or seven pretty soon. I generally buy from two to three copies a week of The Standard and pass them around among my friends.
Good for Oregon! We send J.R.S. A package of sample copies to distribute, and hope to see his club come tumbling in shortly, to be followed by another and another.
St. Louis, Mo., May 22—Every member of our land and labor club buys The Standard, and one clause in our by-laws provides for a copy of “Progress and Poverty” for every member.
Wm. Canton Bohannon
A good idea, Mr. Bohannon. Your example is worth imitating by every other land and labor club in the country. But won’t your members do some energetic work for us outside your club room? Our mailing list and newsdealers’ reports show that there are plenty of people in St. Louis who are not buying The Standard yet. Why shouldn’t your club appoint itself a committee of the whole to extend our circulation and send us a thumping big club each week. Get a man to take The Standard first and you can count on his joining your club before long.
Lake City, Minn.—Enclosed I send you postoffice order to pay for my subscription to The Standard second half year. I have been fighting by word of mouth for your ideas for over twenty-five years and am glad that at last two able men like yourself and Dr. McGlynn have taken up the matter in earnest. If results will not justify our expectations then I know not what must become of this most beautiful, but governmentally most shamefully abused country in the world. I will help matters along all I can, but if it was not for stupidity of the majority the reform would travel without any help.
Quite true, friend Hanswedell—it’s the stupidity of the majority that delays reform; and the thing you and we and all the rest of us have to do is to overcome that stupidity. Can’t you do something with the stupidity of Lake City? Start the movement by sending us two or three subscribers, and you will soon find those two or three bringing others into the fold.
Woodstock, Ill.—As my six months’ subscription must be out, I send you a renewal, hoping thus to keep ahead of you, as I do not wish to be without the foremost paper in America.
Marathon City, Wis.—Enclosed please find order for renewal of The Standard. I would not be without The Standard if it cost $5 per year.
Colton, Cal.—Enclosed find postal order. Please send The Standard for twelve months. I have been out on an eight day trip, and distributed through the country to farmers the sample copies of The Standard. Any time you have any surplus papers send them and they shall be given to persons where they will do good.
Rossvillz, Ind.—Enclosed you will receive my renewed subscription for The Standard. I want The Standard to keep posted as to the progress you are making. Although only a laborer on farms, I am doing all I can to convince farmers of the correctness of your views. I regard the movement as a political reformation. Hoping for the best,
Allan Park, Grey county, Ont., May 19—Enclosed find my subscription to The Standard well, and hope it has come to stay. You have struck the keynote. May God bless you. From a farmer who sees the light.
So the letters come, from east and west and north and south, bringing words of encouragement and cheer. The ranks are filling up. The cross of the new crusade is advancing. Hasten your recruiting work, good soldiers, one and all, and bring the triumph nearer day by day.
Brooklyn, N.Y., May 28—“Publisher’s Notes” in last week’s Standard is a most useful one. Keep it up. But contributions from admirers of The Standard and friends of the new movement must not confined to letters and offers of volunteer service in the distribution of tracts. The best of all tracts is The Standard itself. Every issue of it contains more instruction than a score of tracts. The thing to do is to get The Standard into the hands of the masses. I propose that a special fund be started for this purpose, and to make a beginning I enclose a dollar from myself and two dollars from a friend. This will pay for sixty Standards, which please send into sixty tenement houses or to sixty farmers or sixty small storekeepers whose earnings are every year carried off by rapacious landlords. You know how to place the papers where they are most wanted.
Give the fund some good catching name, such as the “spread the light fund” or “the eye opening fund.” Let the workingmen send in their quarters and half dollar bills, and very soon we shall have the grand doctrines of Henry George and Dr. McGlynn understood and accepted in every honest man’s house from New York to San Francisco.
As soon as I can spare another dollar you shall hear from me again. Yours truly,
What say you, friends, to this proposal of M.C.’s? The idea is a good one, and it rests with you to say whether or no it shall be carried out. Since we have been saying so much about recruits and recruiting, suppose we christen it the “recruiting fund.” The $3 of Mr. Clarke and his friend are passed to its credit, and now who will be the next contributor? We have thousands of names of people to whom Standards can be sent, and all that is needed is the sinews of war.
Here is the letter that speaks for itself:
Tampa, Fla.—Enclosed you will find postal order. You may look for a land and labor club here shortly. All of us take The Standard and are pleased with it. It is doing good work down here. The people, especially the Catholics, that have read of the Rev. Dr. McGlynn are fairly in love with him, and I am glad to say we have no Corriganites. Even the priests, I am told, side with the noble doctor. God speed his noble work. Count on this township if the united labor party puts up a candidate on the Clarendon hall platform. We are young, but we are in earnest. Again, I say, count on this township if all the rest of the state goes back on the united labor party.
J.W. Writes from Oil City, Pa., that he is not doing as well as he expected, having only secured two subscribers this week, but he has several promises, which he hopes will bear fruit shortly. J.W. is one of the workers. With ten thousand like him the movement for reform would spread like fire through dry grass.
Boston, Mass., May 23—I want to give you an instance of the way in which the light is spreading. A year ago last month Miss Nora Chaney, a school teacher, whose home is in Hermon, a small village in the dairy section of northern New York, came to Boston on a visit. During a nine months’ stay here the young lady came to believe in the doctrine of no private property in land. Going back home, she set out to make converts, and her father, a democrat, was the first. In January the writer presented to Mr. Chaney a copy of “Progress and Poverty” and a half-year’s subscription to The Standard. Miss Chaney writes lately: “Father reads his Standard, and then lends it around till it is completely worn out.” Mr. Chaney writes: “I have sown some Henry George seed here, and it bids fair to raise a good crop. I shall cultivate it as well as I can, and I think at next fall’s election I can show a good crop.”
The school teachers are among the best friends of the anti-poverty movement, and are doing glorious work among the rising generation both here in New York and elsewhere.
Listen to this voice from Tennessee:
I have been publicly speaking and lecturing in favor of the abolition of poverty for a year. I sold twenty copies of your “Land Question” last week, and have ordered forty more. I am working night and day for you and your cause, and I have circulated a great deal of labor literature. I read The Standard every week, and always give it to others to read, and in this way have done a great deal of good. Go ahead and fight to win.
And here is a letter from our good friend Judge Maguire of San Francisco, telling how the good work progresses on the Pacific coast:
San Francisco, May 22—Send immediately 1,000 copies of “Unemployed Labor,” 1,000 copies of “The American Farmer,” 1,000 copies of “A Christian Minister on the Remedy for Poverty;” send also 200 Standards, Nos. 18 and 19, 1,000 “Voices for Reform” and 500 each tracts 11 and 5.
We are very busy, and are gradually, slowly but surely and satisfactorily organizing the state.
Peter Roberts, deputy state organizer, has organized clubs in San Rafael, Petaluma, Santa Rosa, Healdsburg and Cloverdale during the past ten days, and will start for Sacramento tomorrow.
Mr. A. Vinette has been appointed deputy organizer for southern California, and is organizing clubs in Los Angeles, and San Bernardino.
James G. Maguire
What is the matter with the newsdealers at Erie, Pa.? R.S.H. Writes that he could not get a copy of The Standard there the other day and encloses six cents, which he says is what the dealers there charge for the paper. The Standard costs only five cents, friend R.S.H. And your Erie newsdealers ought to be ashamed of themselves.
The Human Auction
George R. Sims in the Referee
Ho! here are the lives by the score to sell,
Up to the platform, gents, and bid;
Make me an offer, they’ll pay you well—
All of ‘em ripe for the coffin lid.
Here is a woman pinched and pale,
Plying her needle for daily bread;
Give me a shirt for her—more on sale,
A family, six in number, here,
Fresh from a cellar in Somers’ Town;
Mother her sixth confinement near,
Father and brats with fever down.
‘Twas Pestilence spoke then, was it not?
“An open sewer,” I think he said;
Well, his offer shall buy the lot,
Now, good customers, here’s a chance;
A thousand men in the prime of life,
Wielders of musket, sword and lance,
Armed and drilled for the deadly strife.
General Warfare lifts his hand—
“A bullet for each,” cries the gent in red,
No offer but his—fast flows the sand,
A body of toilers worn and weak,
Clerks and curates and writing men—
Look at the flush on each sunken check,
Mark the fingers that grasp the pen!
Come, good gentlemen, can’t we deal?
He offers, at last, the price of a meal—
The Bond That Unites Them
Speaking of tenement houses and the methods of life in them, the Boston Post says:
In the New York Epoch, which, in its last two numbers, has given much valuable information upon this subject, it is stated that “the same sewer pipe connects the double decker and the mansion of the millionaire.” It may be doubted if the great gulf which separates the rich from the poor could be indicated more forcibly than it is by this statement of the single bond that connects them. Channels of love, respect, pity or friendliness between them there are, generally speaking, none; but there is a hidden pipe which may, if the circumstances are favorable, convey to the luxurious home of Dives the fatal disease which originated in the den where Lazarus and his children huddle.
Pensacola Begins to Think
Pensacola, Fla., Commercial
A land tax of twenty-five cents per acre, with a fair valuation in that proportion of city lots, and one per cent for state and one-half per cent for counties, will raise a greater revenue than the present system of taxation affords and this taxation will be just and equal. It will reach large classes of speculators in lands, city lots and evidences of indebtedness that have never yet been reached.
Why Scotchmen are Leaving Scotland
The famous deer forest of Applecross, in West Rosshire, is to be sold next month. It extends to about 70,000 acres, and the scenery is magnificent. There are no finer corries in the highlands, and the deer stalking is excellent. There are also plenty of grouse, and capital salmon fishing. Applecross house is close to the sea. This place formerly is longed to the Mackenzies, whose estate of 150,000 acres was sold to the late duke of Leeds in 1854. The property was one of the finest in the highlands, and in 1862 it was divided into three portions, of which Applecross now belongs to Lord Middleton and Auchnashellach to Lord Wimborne.
Straws Which Show the Wind
The secretary of the treasury says that clerks employed in this country and living in Canada come under the law forbidding the importation of foreign labor. A good many persons employed in Detroit and Ogdensburg live in Canada for economy’s sake, and if the law forbids them it is very silly law.—[Exchange.]
Henry George went to a school to answer the questions put by the boys and girls, but he did not answer them. He bullied the boys and girls and talked superabounding nonsense on topics not touched by the inquiries, but he did not fairly meet the point raised by any one question, so far as may be judged by the printed reports of question and answer.—[Mail and Express]
In his admirable address before the church temperance society in this city the other evening the three Ts—Toil, Thrift and Temperance—as the best antidote for poverty. The phrase was so happy that it was caught up at once, and now it is said that a society is to be organized in this city which will aim to spread the idea.—[New York Tribune]
The average man does not think much. He cares very little about theories or systems if his animal wants and present needs are well provided for. He has been reared to regard present social conditions as natural and a very great departure from them as fanciful and chimerical. And yet these are the men with whom Henry George and the labor party have to deal and convince; for the majority are not thinkers or philosophers, and those who are, are not always unselfish enough to sacrifice their present individual advantage that greater justice may be done their less favored fellows. So that every radical innovation proposed must necessarily meet a multitude of objections, founded in truth, selfishness, ignorance and indifference. It would follow that it is not best for the laboring man to separate himself from the rest of the people. He is quite as likely to find sympathy for his hardships and encouragement to advance from some one not classed among the ranks of the laborers as he will among his own class—[Oneida, N.Y., Post.]
If the New York Evening Post can find nothing in Dr. McGlynn’s utterances worse than that he “would not wear crape on his hat if he should hear that somebody had killed the czar,” it might as well stop analyzing his speeches. If anybody ever deserved killing, it is the bloody and brutal tyrant who is making every scaffold in Russia groan with victims, and is burying alive thousands of men, women children in the mines of Siberia.—[Columbus, O., State Journal (Rep.)]
Alien landlordism is making itself felt in Illinois. The legislature of that state had under consideration the passage of an anti-alien land act which should affect the landed estate of Lord Scully of England, or compel him to become a citizen of the state. There was at first no doubt about the passage of the bill, but the cable has been worked with Lord Scully at the English end of it, and now the passage of the bill is doubtful, or rather it is certain that the bill will not pass. The people of Illinois are wondering what powerful influence the absent landlord could exert over the cable that it should change the opinion of the legislature. This is one of the cases that might be worth looking into.—[Kansas City Star]
The recent business boom that began in the south, passed to the west and then to the east, is expected to reach England by midsummer. The boom is peculiar in sending up the price of land, whether improved or not.—[Pensacola, Fla., Commercial.]
The coke syndicate announce that they have found their imported Hungarian labor too troublesome, and so propose employing as far as possible native American workmen. It may be very well for them, but as these Hungarians are not skilled workmen, they are likely to become quite a burden on western Pennsylvania. What will the people at whose cost they will have to be cared for have to say?—[Baltimore American]
Here in Cincinnati we have more than 300 anti-poverty societies, only we call them building associations. The beauty of them is that they have been tried for many years and are known to work successfully, while the future of any new organization that is hampered by George and McGlynn theories is, at the best, exceedingly doubtful. Our Cincinnati anti-poverty societies’ principles are as old as the pyramids and they will last for ages after Henry George shall have been forgotten.—[Cincinnati Times-Star]
The George-McGlynn crusade for the abolition of poverty does more credit to their hearts than their heads. Poverty has been the inheritance of the world through all the ages and there is no plausible prospect that it will not so continue for all time to come. More than that, poverty has always been and is still the main spring of the world’s progress. Remove it, and the social fabric would quickly lapse into chaos. Civilization will die when poverty ceases to exist.—[Lynchburg, Va., Virginian]
Secretary Manning did not overestimate the revenue of 1886-7 when he put it at $356,000,000. It will go some millions higher, and will probably touch the round figure of $365,000,000—a million dollars for every day in the year! This sum will pay the accruing interest on the national debt, the immense appropriations for pensions, and all the expenditures of the country, and still leave, besides the sinking fund, $100,000,000. This means that the government takes from the head of every family in the United States an average of $10 a year more than is needed. Is this government like a machine of such powerful momentum that when it gets started in a wrong direction the people can’t stop it?—[Wheeling W. Va., Register]
“I do not know who you are, and you have no claim upon me; why do you ask me to give you $5” “Because I have just joined the Anti-poverty society.”—[Boston Gazette]
If speculation upon people’s desire for amusement, by “cornering” opera tickets, is to be condemned as a “detestable system,” is not the system of speculating upon people’s desire to live, by “cornering” their natural means of living, still more detestable?—[Exchange]
We certainly hope the statement of Mr. George to the effect that “what the Globe proposes to do for one baby in St. Paul the Anti-poverty society proposes eventually to do for all the babies born in this great republic,” can be borne out by him, and if he will only point out some practical way of bringing it about the Globe will be very glad to render him all the assistance in its power.—[St. Paul, Minn., Globe]
Watering Land Stock
Denison, Ia., Review.
We promised to say a few words concerning the latest boom town in Crawford county—Manilla. Last year the ground on which Manilla was located, was a corn field. During the winter building began, and now nearly two hundred buildings have been erected. There are probably still a dozen in progress of erection. Manilla’s origin and progress is so characteristic of the organizing powers of the American nation that a sketch of its brief career may not be uninteresting. Certainly what to us seems commonplace would be a source of astonishment among European nations. After the M. & St. P.R.R. Concluded to connect its Council Bluffs line with Sioux City, somebody connected with the road—doubtless the controlling official ring—purchased 240 acres or more of land at $40 per acre. He then laid a portion out in lots, and received therefore at the rate of $500 to $1,000 per acre. This is what may be called watering land stock, and every man who hereafter dwells on this thousand dollar land must pay either in rent or by sinking that much capital on this watered basis.
 Our Country: Its possible future and its present crisis. By Rev. Josiah Strong, D.D., with an introduction by Professor Austin Phelps, D.D. (Fifty-fifth thousand) Published by the Baker & Taylor Co., New York. For the American home missionary society.