VOL. 1 – NO. 9. NEW YORK, SATURDAY, MARCH 5, 1887. PRICE FIVE CENTS.
THE LETTER CARRIERS
FAILURE OF CONGRESS TO GRANT THEM EIGHT HOURS
Abuses in the New York Postoffice—The Tyranny of Superintendents and the Trials of Clerks and Carriers—An Investigation Needed.
Congress has finished its session and has paid no attention to the grievances of the letter carriers and the clerks in the postoffice department. It had been petitioned by them, [but it] has been deaf to them, and they feel the consequent disappointment keenly.
Those who hold positions in the postoffice department are divided into two castes. The upper caste comprises the office holders who rank from station superintendent up to post-master general. The lower caste are the clerks and carriers. The two bodies look upon each other as enemies, and they are at war.
There are 703 letter carriers engaged under the jurisdiction of the New York postmaster, which extends from the Battery to the Bronx river on the north and from the East river to the Hudson. Besides the regular force, there is a class of substitute carriers. These substitutes earn a precarious living, until in the course of time they are put upon the permanent list, their average pay being but $30 a month, and the average time elapsing before a substitute becomes a full hand being fourteen months. The first year after being put on the permanent force a carrier’s salary is $600. If the postmaster recommends him to promotion, he receives $800 for the second year; and, provided he is again recommended, he is then placed in the highest class, and receives thenceforward $1,000 a year.
The carrier’s working hours are irregular. He has an “off” week—that is, a week in which he puts in a few hours less than during the week previous, and generally a daily “swing”—a breathing spell, just short enough to prevent him from going anywhere for amusement or attending to his personal affairs, and just long enough to give him a show of having some time off from work. At the close of a month, however, he will have averaged fourteen hours a day surrendered to his duties. His work is tedious. He spends an hour or two a day sorting his letters and arranging them for his route, and he may spend two hours in the evening searching for the destination of misdirected or “blindly” directed letters. The public knows how faithfully he performs his duties. His familiar figure is always out on the street, under the broiling sun of summer and in the freezing atmosphere of winter.
Yet what the letter carrier suffers from—overwork, long hours, and the inclemencies of our climate—is not what he especially complains of. As a man he resents his treatment by the “upper caste” of the department. He is subject to be bullied, spied after, informed against, fined, ungraded, and unjustly discharged.
Let a few instances be given: Last September superintendent Morgan, of Station E, Twenty-eighth street, corner of Seventh avenue, notified twenty-seven letter carriers who were in a labor organization that they must either leave the society or resign their positions in the office. They dropped their membership in the labor organization. The discovery by Morgan that the men had, while away from their duties, joined a society indicates the thoroughness of the spy and informer system in the service. There has been a turn in the tide of affairs since then, however, and seventy-two per cent of the force is organized, the societies bearing on their rolls nearly all the men trusted by their fellows. It is confidently asserted by the members of the organizations that nine-tenths of the men who are discharged for drunkenness or failure to perform their duty are from the minority outside the organizations. Membership in the societies imposes the obligations of sobriety and strict performance of duty.
But to our unsavory examples of small tyrants: Superintendent John Richards of the general postoffice undertook, some time ago, the task of putting down the men who believe that they have rights and can assert them by means of organizing. When he imbibes suspicion against a man who has been working at the comparatively light duty of a deliverer of letters, he sets him at collecting on a heavy route, one where the letter and newspaper bag ought to be carried on a truck rather than on the back of a human being. The writer has lately talked with an athletic carrier who had suffered transfer to a “donkey” route, and had, in consequence, lost more than twenty pounds of flesh in a single month; most of the time spent in tugging a weight of forty pounds in his bag to the office. If Richard’s frown is directed toward a man who lives near the postoffice the carrier will be sent to a route far up town. This is a common form of punishment. It either adds to a man’s long hours, or, forces him to move from a neighborhood where he may have been brought up, to a new one, where his family will be strangers to school, church and the retail dealers.
The best despised man in the New York postoffice is Charles D. Conklin, and the men under him are hoping for a congressional investigation, which to their minds is the only means of ever putting before the public the records of the office. Conklin delights in penalties, exactions, arbitrary changes and ironclad rules.
The clerks in the postoffice work under the eight-hour law in theory. They all work more than eight hours, and often a good deal more. They have the same general complaints as the carriers as to living under a grinding despotism. The civil service rules are, in the hands of the superintendents, a ready instrument which makes them masters and the men servants. If a clerk displeases a superintendent he may be ordered before an examining committee and his grade taken away from him. A new man who is a favorite can receive rapid promotion if he “brushes up” in the requirements of letter distributing and the like. Length of service is overlooked, and lip service and readiness in the tricks of a favorite entitle underlings to consideration. There are steady, faithful, hardworking clerks in the post office of New York who have been there for years, and who are now receiving but sixty dollars per month, while others with no better qualifications are, after a brief service, receiving 30 to 50 percent more. During a debate on the civil service at a late meeting of the labor party county committee it was stated by a clerk that clerks and carriers are expected to be fetchers and carriers for the superintendents, and a refusal to perform menial service for them—to bring them luncheon, cigars or liquor—would quickly bring down on them serious evidences of displeasure. A complaint from a clerk or carrier can hardly be made to reach Postmaster Pearson. It must go first to a petty superintendent, then to the general superintendent, then to the assistant postmaster and then to the postmaster. The power that the superintendents wield is simply unrestricted might. They regard themselves as impregnably fortified in their positions, and if a man does not like to serve under them they can harass him until he resigns or submits.
Those who are intimately acquainted with [end of column one] the operations of the New York postoffice aver that the work is, on the whole, not well performed. There is no better service in the world than that of a part of the down town business section and of the central line of the city along Broadway and Fifth Avenue. The daily newspapers, a part of the business community and many of our “prominent” citizens will, in view of the facts as they see them, testify to the good work of the postoffice. But outside the preferred districts testimony to the contrary can be gathered in abundance. It often takes a letter a longer time to reach a point on the west side from the east than it would to have it sent to Harrisburg or Hartford. In order to secure the support of a powerful class in the community, the rest is not given the service to which it is entitled, and the carriers, though few in number in the neglected districts, are overworked.
There was lately an investigation in the New York postoffice. It was conducted by special agents. About one hundred carriers and clerks testified before it, and many more would have done so had it not been for a general impression that the wining and dining of the inspectors by the postoffice men of their own caste was more powerful evidence that things were as they ought to be than anything to the contrary that could be brought by the caste that works hard for poor pay. Nothing has been made public in regard to this investigation. It is intended by the organizations that the next investigation shall be conducted under congress itself, and material which shall lead to one of this sort is being prepared.
There is an abundance of public sympathy for the carriers. When they had their eight hour mass meeting on June 24 last, there was an outpouring of the people to cheer them on. One hundred and fifty men in public life sent them letters wishing them the success they deserve, and half a dozen of the best known men of the country addressed the meeting. Of course all this did the letter carriers some good. But congress has adjourned and they have not yet obtained the eight hour day, though it was largely through their labor that the postoffice surplus in 1886 was $3,000,000.
MANUFACTURERS WHO THINK
A Firm Which Realizes How Capital is Robbed by Private Ownership of Land.
Messrs. Atkinson Bros. of Philadelphia are among the rapidly growing number of capitalists and captains of industry who recognize the fact that the movement for the resumption of land values by taxation is as much in the interest of capital as in that of labor—that the dog-in-the-manger system, which permits the appropriation of the natural elements of production by private individuals robs the capitalist of his share of wealth production as surely and inexorably as it does the meanest workman in his employ.
Messrs. Atkinson Bros. are the agents for the Keystone Standard Watch company of Lancaster, Pa. They make and sell watches by the score of thousands—good accurate time-keepers—at very moderate prices. Under their guidance, American inventive genius has exerted itself to the utmost to bring within the reach of persons of very moderate means, timekeepers of an accuracy and durability such as not long ago were to be found only in the most expensive watches. And being thinking men, who study cause and effect, it has not taken them long to discover that the private ownership of land not only directly diminishes the just profits of their manufacture, but also, by its depressing effect upon wages, seriously curtails the market for their wares.
The Atkinson Bros. have the courage of their convictions. They have distributed, gratuitously, several thousand copies of “The Land Question” among their friends and customers, and have lost no opportunity of aiding, by word and pen, in the spread of the doctrines in which they take so deep an interest.
The Position in the South
Mobile, Ala., Feb. 22.—It is doubtful if any such antagonism with regard to land reform exists as might be inferred from what a delegate at the Cincinnati convention is alleged to have said, viz.: “If what is known as the Henry George land theory is to prevail in the convention, the southern members will leave the labor party.” I have for the last three years traveled over nearly the entire south, and have talked with all classes of people, and the only stubborn opposition I have encountered from any who professed to have a knowledge of the subject was from a few men interested in booming land values and a few ill-informed newspapers. All others were easily won over by a statement of principles, the rise in land values, enhanced by speculation. The attention of all people through the south is drawn to the rise in land values. Speculation has greatly injured general business. Much money that should be put inot trade here is used in speculation; and I am told that during the past year nearly three hundred thousand dollars have gone out of this city for investment in mineral lands and town and city lots in northen Georgia and Alabama. Such investors look with alarm upon the “land-taxing theory,” as do those who, bereft of nearly everything by the war save their land, welcome the appreciation in land values.
But aside from these, and after careful investigation. I am persuaded that the majority of the more intelligent people all through the south are ready for a change, and would support a new party which advocated the imposition of all taxes upon land values.
E. Q. N.
How Protection Protects
South Chicago, Ill., Feb. 20.—I have been an iron worker for the last fifteen years, and part of that time a believer in high tariff. I am now fully convinced that this high tariff for the protection of American labor is a mockery. The American workman is “protected” in Cook county. There are four iron and steel establishments in the county, employing thousands of men. Of 2,000 men employed at the South Chicago iron and steel works 700 are American citizens. Of 1,500 men employed at the Bridgeport iron and steel works 650 are American citizens. At the Calumet iron and steel works, of 1,200 men, 250 are American citizens; and at the Pullman iron and steel works, of 300 men employed, 45 are American citizens. These figures show that of all the men employed in these mills the non-citizens are in the majority by nearly 2 to 1. In this county and around the city of Chicago at the present time there are over 30,000 American citizens out of employment and who can find nothing to do. And this is what these great iron monopolists call protection for American labor. I think the American workman should open his eyes and see how he is protected. I am inclined to believe that the great protected state of Pennsylvania has more non-citizens employed than citizens. If this is so, what protection does the tariff give to workingmen? IRON WORKER.
He Sees the Light.
New York, Feb. 27.—I have been buying your paper for some weeks, and now I am beginning to see the light above the horizon. This is the light for which the producing people have been looking for a good many hundred years. At last the day has dawned.
C.T. J. SHEPHERD.
[end of col. 2]
THE DANGER IN THE WEST.
Large Eastern Capitalists Gobbling Up City Lots, Farms and Cattle Ranches.
Springfield, Mo., Feb. 25.—The land question, it seems to me, has been sprung upon us none too soon. Whatever may be said of the dangers arising from the formation of great oil, coal and iron companies in the east, they certainly are not to be compared with the menace to our liberty and general welfare that attends the rapid monopolization of land now going on in the west. To say nothing of the vast tracts of land that have during the last twenty years been given to the railroads, the rate at which “titles” to our western lands are being concentrated is simply frightful and totally incomprehensible to people living in the east who have never been here. Wild lands, cultivated lands, town lots, all alike are passing out of the possession of the many into the hands of the few. The methods are various, depending upon the character of the lands monopolized. Our wild lands are bought up for a song by companies organized to engage in the stock business. Cultivated lands, farms and city lots are passing out of the possession of large owners. Merchants and manufacturers in the east are forced out of active business by reason of the disastrous operation of the stupid “protective” tariff, for which they clamored so hard, Shylocks loan their money through the agency of the money broker to our farmers, taking as security notes drawing 12 per cent interest and secured by a mortgage on the farmer’s land, or else they invest their money in city lots and buildings and draw, in the form of rents, a sum equivalent to 12 per cent interest on the investment. Vanderbilt once said that it would ruin any man to pay 10 per cent interest. If paying such interest will ruin a first-class business man, how much the more will it ruin our farmers and small business men? And this is precisely what it does do, as anyone will learn if he will but note what becomes of the farm that is thus mortgaged, or notice the number of failures during the last year among the smaller merchants. Truly the farmer should not be among those that oppose the land reform movement.
Now, who is to blame for this land monopolization and the many other wrongs that exist today? Are the monopolists? Clearly not! We are to blame for allowing these abuses to exist. Let us begin energetic political action. The chief cause of poverty is private property in land. GEORGE SHARP.
Justice or Anarchy?
Rev. Dr. Fawcett preached upon “Coal Oppression” at Park Avenue M. E. church, Chicago, last Sunday. The text preached from was found in the following words: “Roll ye away the stone.”—John xi. 44. Dr. Fawcett began by showing the interdependence of capital and labor. He said: “Every blow that labor strikes at capital is a postponement of the day of prosperity, and a blow in the face of labor’s best friend. Every time that capital speaks against labor, every time that capital unites to in any way oppress labor, it speaks against and unites against its own mother, and postpones the day of permanent prosperity.” He then discussed unionism and labor organizations and their methods, expressing the opinion that labor has a right to ask for increase of wages; has a right to ask for a shortening of the day of toil; has a right to ask for favorable legislation; has a right to ask for representation; has a right to ask for a place to work. After which he proceeded at length to show the evils of the monstrous coal monopolies and those kindred monopolies, the railroads—showing how production and industry were depressed and the poor robbed of their scanty wages in order to support a few “barons” and “kings,” and ended as follows: “The poor, wretched, ragged peasantry of Ireland are not more subject to the oppression of Irish landlords than are the poor of Chicago and the surrounding country to the ‘coal barons’ of the land. Perhaps the day will come when the suffrage of this country will demand that the government take control of all railroads and telegraph lines, as fully as it now has control of the postal service of the country, and will demand that all the coal beds of the country be so under the control of the government that no corporation or combination shall be able to strangle the commercial interests of the country or rob the poor man’s hearth of its comforts. In some way this monster stone of injustice must be rolled away, and this oppression, real or possible, must be lifted or invited anarchy will announce its reign.”
The Ringing of the Bell.
Baltimore, Feb. 26.—The reply of The Standard on “Trying to Solve the Problem,” in today’s issue, was acknowledged by the “solver,” who said: “Yes, I hear the ‘Ringing of the bell,’ and in 1888 you will see that a great many men like me have heard it too. We may not know ‘where the steeple is,’ but we believe that it crowns the school house where George and McGlynn are the teachers. The Standard has given me my first lesson tonight. I see I was wrong in my views. I was ‘Fighting in the dark,’ but here comes light—a steady, honest light—and I see my way better now. Your engines, both republican and democratic, are badly in need of repairs, and will break down very soon. Then you will be hunting for some one to fix them up, so that you can ride again. Don’t forget that heads count in this country when a change is needed. Do you remember the abolition vote that was cast for James G. Birney? Very few ‘heard the bell ring’ then, and fewer knew where the ‘steeple’ was.
“They began to hear it all over the land when John C. Fremont ran for president, and they found the ‘steeple’ in Abraham Lincoln. The rights of property in man disappeared. The country is happier and better because those rights no longer curse us. The rights of property in land will disappear also, not only in this country but in Europe.”
I wish your Mayor Hewitt could have seen this honest mechanic and heard him talk. I heard Frederick Douglass in his early days. I heard Raymond and all the early anti-slavery “bell ringers.” Tonight I have seen a new “bell ringer,” and heard him ring his bell.
For Whom Was the Earth Made?
The Pittsburg Christian Advocate says: “That the earth is the mother of us all, and that all the children have an equal and inalienable right to her bounties may be an abstract truth (if any one knows what that means), but it is beset with so many conditions and limitations that it cannot be trusted as a basis for conclusion and action.” Are we to suppose that nature can disown us? Is it possible that we have no right to live after being brought into the world? For whom was the earth intended if not for us all? The old doctrine reads: “The earth hath He given to the children of men.”
What We Want.
New Rochelle, N.Y., March 1.—There seems to be some misunderstanding as to what our theory of land reform is. Briefly, it is this. First, take all taxation from every article of consumption, and then put all this taxation on land values. I don’t see how a farmer or any intelligent man can object to that.
GEORGE W. LLOYD.
[End of col. 3.]
THE LAST ACTS OF THE FORTY-NINTH CONGRESS.
A Defective Law to Prevent Alien Ownership of Land—No Probability of an Extra Session—The President Glad to Get Rid of This Congress.
Washington, March 3.—Among the important measures that will become law if the president does not withhold his signature is an act to prevent alien land holding. As the act stands it cannot be said to prevent alien land holding. In the first place it interferes with no right already acquired, leaving many vast estates still in the hands of alien land-holders. It does not prevent the acquisition of lands in the United States by aliens who may inherit them. The law applies only in the territories and in the district of Columbia. As the law now stands, an alien cannot acquire lands under the homestead, pre-emption or timber culture acts, unless he becomes a citizen of the United States or declares his intention to become such. An alien, however, may still purchase lands after they shall have once passed from the government to private ownership, and may thus acquire them in any quantity. Section 3 of the act prohibits many kinds of corporations from acquiring (hereafter) any more land than 5,000 acres; but as this amount is in excess of the lands “necessary for the operation” of their railroads, canals, etc., it is difficult to see why any corporation should be permitted to own over 5,000 acres. This section, moreover, confirms all lands “lawfully” held at the present time by any corporation. Section 2 provides that a corporation not more than 20 per cent of the stock of which is held by aliens, may hereafter acquire lands in the states and territories of the United States and the District of Columbia. On what conceivable plan any corporation, alien or native, should be permitted to acquire or own real estate other than what is absolutely necessary to enable it to build and operate its road, it is hard to conjecture. The final passage of this measure through both houses, after much noise of trumpeting, shows how far this congress is from being properly alive to this question. Mexico has always had laws against alien landholding; but of late years these have been sadly encroached on by the aggressive spirit of land speculation. Foreign companies have received grants for railroad purposes. There have also been evasions by companies and corporations, partly domestic, but also partly of aliens, and in some cases largely so. This “dirt hunger,” with an eye to draining future incomes and rents from the American continent to sustain wealthy persons and aristocrats in Europe, has largely been encouraged by land speculators, who thus wish to maintain higher prices.
The fears entertained by many that there would be an extra session is evidently groundless. No one wanted a special session. The senator exhibited a somewhat belligerent spirit the first two days of the week, but it is questionable if he ever contemplated an extra session. The administration evidently does not. The president will doubtless bid good-by to this congress without regret. Whether the next one will be any better remains to be seen, but he can, doubtless, wait until next December with resignation. Mr. Randall and Mr. Holman received and deserved pretty severe excoriations for keeping back the legislative, executive and judicial bill. To give the house a proper opportunity to carefully consider this measure it ought to have been read and discussed in that body not much less than a week. To make the matter worse, it was filled with fifty or more changes of law, some of which should have been made. It appropriates the money for the salaries of every officer in the government. The different grades of clerical force, the number of clerks or employees in each, and the amount of salary in every case is here defined. It covers the salary of congressmen and all grades of employees at the capital. Whether the changes made in the committee were all of the kind that should have been made it is not necessary to argue, as they were all incontinently struck out. It is needless to say that this bill ought to have been before the house at least a month ago, in order to give the house and senate an opportunity to consider it intelligently. Mr. Randall, however, in addition to his arduous duties as chairman of the committee on appropriations, conceived it to be his duty to act as a guardian for congress, to prevent that body from rushing into the excesses of legislation. Among these latter may be enumerated changes in the tariff, in revenue taxation, or reduction of the surplus. It is not too much to say that congress as organized and conducted is not, correctly speaking, a representative body. Another guardian of the house, not quite so intelligent but even more suspicious and stubborn, is Mr. Holman of Indiana. He has posed for many years as the great objector. The three, together, kept back the legislative bill until Tuesday of this week, within three days of the close of the session. When first it was considered the house showed an indisposition to swallow all the committee’s changes without considering them. To prevent a special session it was agreed that all charges [changes?] should be stricken out, and the bill passed so as to provide for officers and salaries on the same basis as last year. With this modification it passed under a suspension of the rules, and its hundred and more pages are before the senate committee.
Another important measure, a house bill that has been very considerably amended, has passed the senate and goes to conference. It is to provide a mode of adjudicating Mexican land grants, New Mexico, Colorado and California. There is certainly no subject requiring present and wise action so much as this, and no interest more liable to serious and grave abuses. A large portion of the valuable lands in those regions are covered by real or pretended grants. Every man who settles there has the fear that a Mexican grant will be trumped up or extended so as to take his land. This bill is very far from being what it should be. Probably, if passed, it will do much more harm than good. To become a law it has still to run the gauntlet of the conference committee and the president.
Mr. Cleveland has not yet named the interstate commission. That he should desire to appoint the first officers under this law without “the advice and consent of the senate” is a little singular, more especially as there is a provision in it that they shall not be exclusively partisan. There are doubts as to whether he can lawfully appoint the first officers in recess. He evidently contemplates doing so, which conclusively shows that relations between the president and the leaders of his party are not as cordial [as] they should be, or that the president is very much at sea in performing this delicate task. W.A.P.
[End of col. 4]
NOT WILD INDIANS.
A Catholic Journal Corrects a Common Misstatement of the Land Doctrine.
The Brooklyn Examiner (Catholic) has concluded, after closer examination, that St. Thomas Aquinas in his “Summa Theologica” does not speak of ownership in land, and it says that he does not seem to have apprehended the vital difference between land and those things of which man is the producing agent. It continues: “He probably never thought it necessary to make the distinction, as in his day the community’s rights to land were almost unquestioned. Vast estates were held by the nobles, who in return were obliged to pay all the expenses of the government, or by the monasteries, whose inmates instructed the people. Then indeed all taxation was placed upon the land in nearly every quarter of Europe and no one ever considered the land as much private property as a man’s hat or his shoes. But with the Protestant reformation the curse of private ownership of land began. The estates of the monasteries were seized and divided up among courtiers, and the nobles shifted the land tax to the shoulders of the people by taxing the products of their labor.”
The Pittsburg Catholic, in discussing this question, had declared that the “scholastic, or Christian communism,” taught by St. Thomas, “permits individual ownership and individual use and enjoyment of earthly possessions, whether of land or of other property,” whereas the secular communism of today does deny such ownership. In reply to this the Examiner says:
Whatever “theoretical communism” in the mind of the editor of the Pittsburg Catholic may forbid or not forbid, it is certain that the principles upheld by Bishop Nulty, Michael Davitt, Dr. McGlynn and Henry George are in direct antagonism to any prevention of individual use and enjoyment. In fact, their strongest argument is that it is only through the community asserting its rights to what the community has created—the speculative value, or selling price of land—that individual use and enjoyment can be fully secured.
The theory is not that we should all be a tribe of wild Indians roving over a territory without bounds or fences, but that land should be held just as distinctly as it is today, all taxes being placed on the value of land, destroying its speculative price by taxation, so that no one could hold land for a rise in values in order to enrich himself out of the necessities of his fellow beings.
A Rascally Society Saver.
The case against Nelson P. Pearson, a saloon keeper in “Johnny” O’Brien’s bailiwick, has at last come to something. This man was arrested last November for bribing voters in favor of the “savior of society.” He demanded a preliminary examination; but by means of his political “pull” the matter was thrown from one police justice to another like a shuttlecock. Disgusted with these tactics, Fred. C. Leubuscher of the law committee of the united labor party presented the case to the district attorney and demanded that it be laid before the grand jury. While refusing to do this, Mr. Martine directed Police Justice White to hear the evidence. After a number of adjournments designed to tire out Mr. Leubuscher and the witnesses, the hearing was had one Sunday morning a month ago. Justice White this week held Pearson for the action of the grand jury.
What We All Want to Know.
New York, Feb. 28.—Why does the New York Star try to impress upon the minds of workingmen that the course of democratic legislation and administration toward American labor has been friendly and fraternal? It tells us that the democratic party, while never truckling to revolutionary spirit and communistic doctrines, has not been afraid to speak the truth with courage and without reserve through its distinguished representatives and saviors of society. There are thousands of toilers in New York and vicinity who would be interested just now in knowing why the would-be saviors have been so anxious for the downfall of Edward McGlynn. Is it because the doctor is unfriendly to those who labor?
M. J. M.
From Another California Judge.
Chicago, Feb. 22.—The Standard is doing noble work here. Men who formerly would not listen to the theory of the land for the people and called it rank communism are beginning to change their opinions. I think the coming spring elections will surprise many in regard to labor’s strength in Chicago. The corruption of the two old parties is sickening in the extreme. I wish we had a few McGlynns and Pentecosts here; they could do great work, as we have few ministers of the poor who have courage to preach the gospel of the land for the people. God speed The Standard in diffusing light throughout the land.
Manistee, Mich., Feb. 24.—In your issue of Feb. 10 I read an admonition by E. B. Nolan to the Swedes, to think of Engelbrecht, and I feel assured that I express the sentiment of my countrymen when I declare that they now, as in the days of Engelbrecht, the finest character upon the records of Sweden, will stand by righteousness notwithstanding the warning of an ignorant and perhaps corrupt clergy. We remember that our forefathers gathered round and followed Engelbrecht in spite of the opposition of the clergy of those days. The descendants of the Vikings do not degenerate! A Swedish newspaper advocating reform will soon be issued in Michigan.
Axel G. Burman.
God Speed the Good Work.
Santa Barbara, Cal., Feb. 14.—From what I can glean from the public prints within my reach I am satisfied the views that you entertain and are now promulgating touching the present and future of the working masses of our country are founded in true philosophy and sound statesmanship, and I say may God speed the good work.
R. M. Dillard.
“The Poor Are Voiceless.”
—Suggested by a sermon of the Rev. Mr. Pentecost.
“Voiceless!” ah no, the bleeding heart’s deep cry,
Pierces the silent air and mounts on high
Swifter than lightning’s flame in gloomy night,
Reaching—the bosom of the Infinite!
Henry Ancketill. Hudson, New York.
Hemstead, Tex., Advance Guard.
It appears that the announcement to the News that this paper would editorially advocate Henry George’s theory of free land has led some farmers, especially colored ones, who have experienced the effects of the rent system, to believe in a speedy social revolution, whose outcome would be the practical application of the theory in question. To disabuse their minds of all false ideas on this subject, the Advance Guard takes this occasion to say to its friends, and the colored people especially, that the doctrines of free land and free trade must of necessity work their way to success by educating the popular mind in the principles involved by showing the injustice of land ownership as private property, and the iniquity of indirect taxation through protection to individual enterprise.
[End of col. 5]
SOCIETY’S SAVIORS WANT TO IGNORE THE PEOPLE’S WILL.
Are We to Have a Constitutional Convention?—Albany Politicians are Hatching Schemes—Working for a Disastrous Delay—A Few Small Bills Affecting Labor.
Albany, March 2.—By the action of the constitutional convention committee of the assembly in offering a bill that does not provide for an election of delegates to the convention until next fall, the intention of the politicians to defeat the expressed will of over half a million voters is clearly shown. On the first day of the session Speaker Husted offered a constitutional convention bill, and blatantly announced that he expected it would be passed at once and the convention assembled by March 1. It is now after the 1st of March and there are no more signs of a convention than there were two months ago. Bills were offered in plenty, but that was only the politicians’ method of blinding the eyes of the people by making a big fuss. It looks now as if there will be no convention this year, and if there is one next year the people will get it only by the kind grace of the politicians. The reason there is no interest taken in the convention here is because it is only the people who demand it. If the New York Central railroad wanted a convention, Speaker Husted, John I. Platt, Fremont Cole and Senator Vedder would at once do their utmost to get it, for the N.Y. Central is a very tangible thing. If the great New York insurance companies found that a convention would be a good thing for them, ex-Speaker Erwin, Senator Coggeshall and a lot more men would promptly rally to kiss it through. If the cable road had an interest in a convention, Senator Traphagen and Assemblyman McIntyre would howl aloud against “indifference to the people’s wishes.” If the rumsellers, who acted as saviors of society in chief to a mayor in ordinary last fall thought that they had anything to gain by a constitutional convention, at least nineteen assemblymen and four senators from New York and a dozen legislators from Brooklyn, not to count a score in other parts of the state, would arise with a cry of “The people!” on their lips, and a constitutional convention would be held at once.
But neither the railroads, the big corporations nor the liquor dealers want a convention and therefore legislators see no reason why there should be one. The interests that rule this state have found ways of evading the restrictive clauses of the present constitution and of utilizing the rest of the instrument to their advantage. With a new constitution they would have to set their attorneys to new methods of evasion; not to speak of the unpleasant possibility of having to bribe a whole convention to prevent the people from having some voice in the making and altering of their laws. So all these interests have passively combined to suppress the will of 574,993 voters. If the voters had quarter as much sense as their professional saviors; if they knew their interests, and, knowing, fought for them, there would be a new set of legislators here as soon as another election day came, and what few men of the venal, cringing type happened to get in would fear to contravene the will of the people, a vague term that is mentioned at the capitol now only with a chuckling sneer and grin.
There are two ways in which the people can get a convention. One is, that the democratic governor should assent to a bill passed by a republican legislature that would give a sure republican majority and insure the selection of Speaker Husted to preside. With him in the chair the corporations would feel that their supremacy was guaranteed, and they would willingly consent to a convention whose result would be to insult the intelligence of the state. There would also be a convention should the republican legislators agree to a bill that could be signed by a democratic governor. No non-partisan action seems possible, for such a thing as a constitutional convention to regulate the fundamental law of the state, must, of course, be in charge of the professional saviors of society. It would never do to let the people decide for themselves.
The bill that has been reported favorably, and which will come up next Tuesday before the assembly for consideration, provides for a convention of 160 delegates, one from each assembly district and thirty-two from the state at large. No voter may vote for more than sixteen delegates at large. According to last fall’s vote the republicans would get ninety delegates and the democrats seventy. Assemblyman Graham introduced a bill early in the session to give the labor party and prohibitionists some representation. His bill calls for one delegate from each assembly district and three from each senatorial district, no voter to vote for more than one. According to the committee’s bill delegates will be elected next fall at the regular election, the convention will meet next year; and the constitution will be submitted to the people at the presidential election, 1888.
This is all carefully calculated so as to make the convention as partisan as possible and to introduce the most politicians into it as delegates. The democrats have a bill to elect the delegates by congressional districts, two or three from each, with forty-two at large, sixteen to be voed for by each party. This would insure a reasonable labor representation.
Mr. Graham, the Brooklyn labor assemblyman, introduced a batch of labor bills early in the session—to limit car drivers’ hours to twelve with two hours for meals; to tax corporations; to give mechanics a first lien, and similar bills. Not one has passed yet.
The direct charges of bribery in the senatorial election which I alluded to last month were repeated on the floor of the assembly a few days ago. Names and sums offered were distinctly stated. The accused men refused to allow an investigation. From the speaker down the tricksters and law jugglers of this legislature have cowardly hearts.
Democrats Hopelessly Divided.
The Tribune says that however much the Brooklyn democratic club and Gov. Hill may be annoyed by the discussion arising out of the suppression of Hewitt’s letter, President Cleveland’s friends in this city “are rather pleased than otherwise that the governor is brought face to face with the labor question.” A prominent county democracy politician said to a Tribune reporter that this question of tolerating a secret oath-bound labor organization had to be met soon any way. “I am glad to see Mayor Hewitt take the stand he has. It is undemocratic, this organizing of secret politico-labor associations, subject to the control of men whom the great majority of members have never seen, but whose orders they are sworn to obey implicitly. By advising the suppression of the letter Gov. Hill has alienated the conservative democrats, who would otherwise have been with him as the leader of the democracy of this state. . . .The governor, in his endeavor to be very foxy, has made what promises to be the fatal move of his life. He cannot now obtain the nomination for the presidency, or, if he should, he would be beaten by the votes of the conservative democracy.”
[End of col. 6 and p. 1]
2 The Standard March 5, 1887
WOES OF THE LANDLESS.
REV. MR. PENTECOST’S FIFTH SERMON ON THE LAND QUESTION.
Belleville Avenue Church Again Crowded—A Congregation Accustomed to Liberal Ideas—God’s Will Not Done on Earth as It is in Heaven.
Rev. Mr. Pentecost of Newark, N.J., continues his Sunday evening sermons on social-political problems, and the public interest, as evidenced by the fact that the ushers cannot seat the crowds that attend the services, is increasing.
Mr. Pentecost’s church was formerly under the charge of Dr. Hepworth, himself a liberal minded man, and it is probably due to the fact that two such men have successively filled the pulpit that the radical sentiments so plainly expressed during the last few weeks have not aroused opposition. The liberal treatment of other subjects has prepared the people for an unprejudiced consideration of the question of the distribution of wealth. The sermons have excited much attention in other quarters. They have been copied in all directions and discussed editorially by newspapers. Mr. Pentecost is not the first nor the only preacher who has come out in the pulpit or on the platform for land nationalization, but he is the first who is a series of addresses has sought to show that the monopoly by a few of the gifts of nature is the root of all the legalized robbery that our system now upholds. His sermons are models of graphic description, convincing logic and eloquent advocacy of the cause of oppressed humanity.
Mr. Pentecost has consented to deliver an address before the Knights of Labor in Danbury, Conn., on the 9th or 10th of this month.
The number of people who listened to Mr. Pentecost last Sunday evening was if possible even greater than on the previous Sunday. The aisles were lined with people sitting on extra chairs and many could not find seats. He took for his text the petition in the Lord’s Prayer, “Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven,” and spoke as follows:
“I have endeavored to present to you during the last four weeks the evils which attach to our present social system, and have explained to you that they are the direct result of the unequal distribution of wealth; all wealth not necessary to the actual support of physical strength in laboring people and the somewhat better support of intermediary agents, who constitute our middle class population, going ultimately into the possession of monopolists and primarily to those who hold land which they will not use nor allow others to use. I have shown you how the accumulation of wealth in a nation cannot benefit workers under the present system; how industry, economy, sobriety and education, while helpful to the few working people who practice them now, would cease to be helpful if universally prevalent among them, since the inevitable tendency of the present system is to push wages down to the lowest point at which men will consent to work, the point of bare subsistence or the starvation point; how economy in government, co-operation in industries, labor organizations for the purpose of enforcing labor’s demands by strikes, or seeking to secure them by arbitration, while being all good measures for elevating the condition of laborers, and the best that have yet been practiced, are utterly inadequate remedies for the existing social evils.
“That is to say, if politics were absolutely pure, if all politicians were saints, if all legislators were patriots, if all differences between labor and capital were settled by arbitration, and strikes were no more; if all laboring people were total abstainers from intoxicating drinks, were educated and intelligent, so that they could labor with or without machinery to the best possible advantage, were industrious and economical, and the system still prevailed under which some persons are allowed to own land for which they have no use and which they will not allow others to use, a monopoly privilege which is the parent of all other monopoly privileges, the inevitable result would be that the great mass of laboring people, however improved intellectually and morally, would be even poorer than they now are, since all the enormous gain to the community which would result from such a state of things, under which much more wealth would be produced, would go to those who own land. The effect of all improvements, whether in machinery or men, under the present system, is always to increase rent—ground rent—and always to decrease interest and wages; that is to say, the inevitable effect of all increase in wealth under the present order of things is to give the lion’s share of wealth to those who do nothing to produce it.
“The only reason why this is not perfectly apparent to anyone is because land owners, capitalists and laborers are not always distinctly separated into classes. It happens that most capitalists are also land owners. If that were not so capitalists would have no power to crowd laborers. If that were not so there would be no fights between capitalists and laborers. The fight would be between capital and labor on the one hand and land owners on the other. But it would be just as one-sided a fight. The land owner would win it every time. He would be rich and the capitalist and laborer would be poor.
“Last Sunday evening I used an illustration, supposing a manufacturer who put up a factory on leased land, to show how the land-owner was in a position to reap all the benefit of the wealth produced by capital and labor.
“Several gentlemen spoke to me about the illustration, saying it was not a representation of what actually is, since no man would be such a fool as to build a factory without sooner or later buying the land. That is not true, and if you suppose my manufacturer to have used his surplus in buying the land you will have a state of things which corresponds to what is now generally the case. The capitalist is usually also a landowner, and reaps not only the legitimate reward for the use of his capital and labor, but the illegitimate reward of the increased value of his land, which is created not by labor but by the growth of the community. The result is, that instead of capital and labor being equally crowded by the landowner, landowner and capitalist merge themselves into a single interest or person and labor is the sufferer. The failure of the late strike in New York was owing to the fact that the coal companies are great land monopolies as well as capitalists.
“This is the state in which society now is, and so long as the laborer is not permitted to use land for his own benefit he is compelled to work for what he can get or starve. Thus it is that the laboring class today are in a state of hopeless slavery, in some respects worse than the negro slavery of the south. This is why I am moved, as I believe in the spirit of Jesus Christ, to speak in behalf of those who have absolutely no redress except in a radical change in the present system.
“I have very good reason to suppose that many of my hearers do not understand the system which I would exchange the present one for, although I have striven to make it simple and clear. It does not involve the dividing up of all land so that each citizen might have what might be considered his share, nor making land common property so that no one could have the exclusive use of any land, nor the confiscation of land in such a way that what is now used by an individual would be wrested from him.
“Perhaps the simplest statement of the system [End of col. 1, p. 2] is that it involves the ultimate transfer of all taxes to land values. At present we raise the money needed for the carrying on of government by imposing taxes in a very partial and arbitrary manner, all of which except that on unimproved land falling upon articles or values created by human labor. The theory which I am advocating supposes the raising of all money necessary to meet public expenses by taxing land according to the value that it has acquired by the growth of the community, the only way that land can acquire value. It is not a system of land taxation, but a taxation of land values. Land that is worth nothing would be taxed nothing. Land that is improved either by agricultural methods or by building a house upon it would be taxed no more than unimproved lands, for the simple reason that it is worth no more. Improving land does not improve its value. It adds to it the value of the improvements, which, being the result of labor, would not be taxed.
“The moral beauty of the system lies in that revenues for the public good would come from the individual use of common property, according to the value which had been thrust into it by the growth of the community. The community would thus be supported by revenues proceeding from values which the community creates, rather than from values which individual labor creates.
“What would be result of this change?
“Let us suppose that this change has come about, and that enough time has elapsed for society to adjust itself to its new conditions, what would you behold?
“The most interesting fact to note would be that every man who now owns a farm or a dwelling house or a store would then be occupying and using it just as now, still in possession of his deed, still protected by society in the peaceable possession of his own, the property which he has accumulated, and the exclusive use of the land. It is taxed precisely or nearly what it was before. I am inclined to believe his taxes would be less than before. The only difference would be that what he now pays on his house, his personal possessions and articles of consumption he would then pay for the use of his land.
“The selling value of the land would be gone, but this would be no loss to him or his children, since if he or they cared to move or sell, other land as good as that in use by either could be obtained for nothing, subject, of course, to the payment of rent or taxes for its use. This is why I said a few evenings ago that probably not ten men in this house would be affected to the extent of a penny. Those of you who now own the land upon which you live or which you are working as a farm would be just where you are now, except that you would enjoy the benefits of a better civilization. People who are not doing wrong have nothing to fear by an adjustment of society according to natural law. The use of land is not wrong. It is the control of land which you will not use and will not permit others to use that works all the evils we see about us. But for the use of land private ownership is not necessary. All that is necessary is that society shall protect you in the perpetual use of what land you need. That you would get just as effectually under the new system as under the old.
“And if those who now own the land which they are using would lose nothing, behold, also, how much better off their children would be. When you built your house you had to take a portion of your savings and give them to another man for the privilege of putting a house on a little spot of earth, which naturally belongs to you as much as to him—you had to buy a piece of land. If your house cost you $3,000 you must have $500 more to pay to the man who owned the land you wanted. You are paying $75 a year taxes. Your son would need $500 less to set up his home than you needed. If he has $3,000, let him select a lot the tax on which is $75 a year, and he is as well off as you. He has house and lot in perpetual possession, with the deed in his pocket, which is all that you have, and it cost him $500 less to get it than it did you to get yours under the existing system.
“One of our daily papers, which has published full reports of these sermons, said editorially that I was ‘away off on the land question.’ ‘What we want,’ says the Daily Journal, ‘is to have our streets lined with small dwellings occupied by well-to-do workmen who own their own places.’ As I have explained the system which I am advocating, would we not have our streets lined with just such houses, which could be procured with less money than it takes to procure them now? The difference would be, as I shall show you presently, that under the new system workmen would have wages out of which they could save something to build a house, whereas now only a few workmen get enough wages to ever think of such a thing as owning a house.
“But what would be the effect upon those who now own land which they do not wish to use and will not let others use—land which they are holding for a speculative purpose; land which we now speak of as unproductive; unimproved land, so much of which is so unsightly in our cities as vacant lots, and the holding of which in a condition of uselessness to the community is what spreads our cities needlessly over so much territory. Not half the land in the city of New York is built upon, and perhaps that is true here. Most of our western domain has passed into the hands of men who have, in many cases, fraudulently obtained it, and in many cases bought it up in enormous tracts which are worked on shares or lying idle, so that now the settler who goes west to get a bit of government land under the pre-emption or homestead or timber culture or desert land acts finds it so difficult an undertaking as to be hardly worth while, and wholly impossible unless he is enough of a capitalist to spend a good deal of time in the undertaking. So many frauds have grown up under our pre-emption system that a bill is now before Congress proposing not only to abolish those laws, but to take back lands fraudulently obtained, even though in the hands of “innocent possessors,” without compensation. Thus has Georgeism found its way into congress.
“What would be the result to the holders of land for speculative purposes, or for the purpose of letting it out to other people in the expectation of living in idleness off the fruits of their industry, as is the case of the noble landlords or landgods of England? The result would be that all taxes being laid upon the value of land without regard to improvements, they would be so greatly increased on unimproved land that a man could not afford to hold such land unless he improved it. He would either use it or it would pass to the use of some one else, or be held for the taxes precisely as so much land is now held. Land would have no value except for actual use. It would lose its speculative or monopoly value entirely and be thrown into the open market as horses and houses and other things now are.
“The man who owns a lot next to you, on which he pays less taxes than you do, though it is of the same size and value as yours, the community is paying him a premium as compared with you for keeping an open receptacle for tomato cans and dead cats and old boots, and taxing you more heavily because you are public spirited enough to build a house; that man would have to pay as much tax as you and you would have to pay no more than you do now, the new system permitting you to freely own what you produce for your own and the common good. You can easily see that he would either have to build a house on his lot and make it productive or give it up for the use of some one else who would thus use it.
“The result of this in cities would be a reduction in the number of big tenement houses, which are the result of high prices for land, which compel a landlord to put as much [End of col.2, p.2] house as possible on as little land as possible, and an increase in the number of small houses, which the Journal says are so desirable. Tenement houses are not fit to live in and are one of the fruits of the present method of doing things. There are tenement houses in New York by the side of which, if you should place the coffins of those who untimely died in them, piled one upon another, the coffins would be many times higher than the house.
“Outside of cities an incalculable amount of good land now held by dogs in the manger would lose its fictitious value, and in many cases lose all value, and would be free to the occupation of any one who wished to use it with due regard to the equal rights of others. I must remind you again that there would be no more difficulty in conserving the rights of lawful land users than there now is in conserving the rights of lawful land owners. This system is grossly maligned by those who insist upon confounding it with socialistic or anarchic schemes which combat the idea of private property in anything.
“The natural result of opening our vast domain would be just what it was when our vast domain was open. Large numbers of persons who now get a precarious living in our overcrowded cities would move into the country; some of them able, out of their savings to start their little farm in comfort, others rough it for a while, just as our early western settlers did. These new agriculturists, however, would start under much more favorable circumstances than the early westerners, because the country is more thickly settled, and therefore not so lonesome.
“Very intelligent persons tell me that this would not be the case; that our cities are populated by people who will live in the cities and would not go to the country under any circumstances.
“To this my answer is that human beings follow the laws of their nature, one of the most fundamental of which is that a man, sooner or later, will go where he can make the most money with the least labor; where he can get the greatest results for his labor; where he can gratify his desires with the least effort.
“I answer, also, that when land was free, that is, when a man could take what he wanted to use by going just beyond the man who preceded him, men did go to the country.
“I answer again that the tendency of our foreign population to the country, when they can better themselves by going, is shown by the fact that the small farms of the east are rapidly passing into their hands. I made a bicycle tour of a portion of New Jersey and New York last year, and was interested to observe how many Irish farmers I saw.
“I answer further that the reason why farmers cannot always get hands just when and in the numbers they want them, as is alleged, is because they want them only at special seasons. If it is true that farmers cannot get all the steady help they want, it is simply because men know that they can do better elsewhere. Let a Jersey farmer offer $2.50 a day for men and guarantee them work at that rate for five years and he would have men standing a thousand deep all around his house in no longer time than it would take so many to get there. Anyone who has given the subject the least study knows that the tendency of wages in similar employments is just as much to a common level as the tendency of water is, and if farmers do not have all the help they want it simply proves that labor of about the skill required on a farm is better paid somewhere else.
“Reverting to the law of human nature by which men seek to gratify their desires with the least possible effort, it is a self-evident proposition that if land were as free to the use of all as it would be under the new system, a vast number of persons, either from preference or motives of gain, would go upon it in preference to doing what they are now doing. These would not necessarily be of the lowest classes, but from the number of those who, for one reason or another, saw that they could go onto the land and better themselves there would gradually proceed such an exodus from cities that two very desirable things would follow: That tendency of population to cities which is such a marked feature of our present civilization, which results in such disastrous overcrowding, would be checked, and the corresponding sparseness of country settlements, which is also detrimental to society, would be remedied. But better still, the vast numbers of laborers whose clamor for employment keeps wages down to their present low standard would be reduced to such an extent, as I believe, that instead of labor having to beg employment of capital, in reversal of natural order, capital would be asking labor to employ it, which is true to the nature of things. In other words, instead of workmen seeking employment as now, employment would be seeking workmen. Wages are down now not because labor is not worth more than it gets, but because there are so many others who are willing to work for what is now paid. Wages would be up then, because only those persons would consent to work for any wages who could not do better by working for themselves.
“At present the laborer is a slave under the upper millstone of capital, upon the nether millstone of private ownership in land. Take away that under millstone and he would be a free man, for you cannot crush a man unless you have something to crush him against.
“It is this vision of freedom for the laboring man which moves to tears and joy—tears that it is not; joy that it might be. O glorious kingdom of God, in which rich and poor are not arrayed against each other in church and state; in which hopeless strikes of labor against capital are no more, because capital shall have no power to oppress; in which women and children no longer slave and weep and starve; in which titled and aristocratic idlers can no longer live off the earnings of the industrious; in which legalized robbers can no longer prey upon the poor; in which all men shall be on an equal footing in the sight of God, with an equal chance to use themselves and exercise their right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness!
“This ransom of the imprisoned, the freedom of the slaves, this lifting up of those who have so long been the victims of our greed and injustice; is not this enough to rouse the soul of any man who loves his fellow man and move him with all the fervor of religious enthusiasm?
“The only reason why one would not like to die for such a consummation would spring from his desire to live and enjoy it.” [Great applause.]
The Newark Press-Register, commenting on Mr. Pentecost’s sermons, says:
Every sermon preached like that of last Sunday draws the masses nearer in sympathy to the pulpit. Dryasdust fills most of our modern pulpits. Morality is dished up in conventional forms, theological hairs are nicely split, and words and phrases carefully polished. Meanwhile the masses avoid the churches, which are usually little social exclusive communities. Mr. Pentecost throws aside platitude and doctrinal rubbish and plunges into the practical issues of the day, recognizing the fact that if religion has to do with men it enters into all these questions, and should make a basis for their settlement. Religion gave birth to modern civilization; it has been the foster mother of literature and the arts, and it has been the conservator of popular liberties in all the ages since the Christian era began. It ought to be today the great agent in effecting new social adjustments, and it will be if every religious teacher takes up social questions in the spirit of the Belleville avenue pastor.
All Places Lose by It.
Lynn, Mass., Bee.
It is to be hoped that the greed of a few individuals will not prevent the new postoffice building from being located so as to be convenient for our citizens and an ornament to the city. Lynn has lost enough by the unreasonable demands of real estate owners who have prevented the erection of public buildings here. [End of col. 3, p. 2]
PROTESTANT ECCLESIASTICISM IN NEW YORK CITY.
What Pure Religion and Undefiled Really Means—Numerous Churches Built for Show and to Gratify Pride—The Masses Drifting Away from the Churches.
In the lower hall, 52 Union square, on Sunday night last, the Rev. Charles P. McCarthy preached a discourse on the following text: “Pure religion and undefiled before our God and Father is this, to visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world.”—James i, 27, Revised Version. The doctor said:
My text sets forth in brief the practical character of “pure religion.” Indications are conspicuous that the ecclesiastical stage of the Christian religion, especially in its Protestant forms, is fast passing away and is being merged into its moral and social, i. e., civil period.
The essential form of Christian life has ceased to dwell in its ecclesiastical configuration, because it has “allied itself with injustice to preach down the natural aspirations of the masses.”
The religion of the Carpenter of Nazareth now demands, in the sacred name of justice, a return to the fundamental annunciations of its Founder.
I believe that primitive Christianity would not only revolutionize society, but would be too liberal for modern free thinkers. Christianity in this broad sense is the kingdom of God in man. It is in its expression the practical fulfillment of all social duties, comprehending human life in its all-embracing scope, and in all its departments and relations determined by the divine will of holy love, which is in itself the eternal essence and perfect power of the true, the beautiful and the good. In this broad sense Christianity is not either the actual or ideal church. It is not creed or dogma; nor is it superstition, bigotry, or fanaticism; for these are the children of ignorance, that hunted to the death the ancient primitive Christian. And least of all is it that “Protestant ecclesiasticism” which has fostered and sustained the social wrongs that have brought us to the verge of revolution. Recently a popular preacher, the pastor of a leading Presbyterian church, stated in the course of his sermon “that out of 450,000 Protestants who were residents in this city of New York, only 125,000 ever went to a place of worship. Of these 83,000 were professing Christians, 70,000 of whom kept their hands in their pockets and did nothing to help their sinful neighbors; consequently the whole work of the Protestant churches of the city rested upon about 13,000 active members.” He further stated that the “real trouble” consisted in the fact that Christians “built up a church organization to make a show in the world, and to go once or twice in the week to enjoy good singing and good speaking.” This sad and humiliating confession was made after industrious inquiry and sober reflection.
With statistical accuracy it proclaims the failure of the puritan forms of Protestant ecclesiastical Christianity amid a population numbering over a million of inhabitants—a failure remarkable in its character for several reasons; a failure for which there is no excuse. The Protestant ecclesiastical organizations of this city are simply colossal. The Protestant clergy, who are the spiritual rulers of these organizations, are not inferior in learning, ability, piety and indefatigable industry (in proportion to their numbers) to the clergy of any Protestant metropolis in the world. And I know of none who are better paid, and whose means of usefulness are greater.
The church edifices are, for the most part, fair specimens of architectural beauty, and not a few present an ecclesiastical exterior of surpassing elegance and grandeur, while the interior fittings display affluence and luxury to such an extent that the poor have hardly a place within them where they can feel at ease. The means placed at the disposal of these ecclesiastical corporations, so far as material wealth is concerned, if properly administered, are more than ample to meet all the spiritual needs of the people; but the fact is, the churches are, from extravagant management, embarrassed by debt, while the greater majority of them are only partially filled with occupants, and not a few are almost, if not altogether, deserted.
Where shall we find the cause for this condition of things? And a similar condition of partial, if not complete failure, will be found everywhere. Has the truth of God or His love and light grown dim that His gospel should fail, and that its power to evangelize the world should prove abortive? Not so. God’s truth in the world was never brighter nor more resonant of His glory, of His power, and of His love than it is today, for the Story of the Cross is interpreted with more rational intelligence than ever before. The failure of Protestant ecclesiasticism is no more a failure of the true gospel now than the failure of Roman ecclesiasticism was a failure of the same gospel in the days of Henry VIII or Edward VI.
Truth will march triumphantly over the debris of all ecclesiastical machines, whether Protestant or Catholic, for its author is no more a respecter of churches than He is of persons. The lamb of God was not slain to save ecclesiastical organizations. He grants no spiritual monopolies in order that his agents may plunder the people. Not a few are cast out, and more than a few refuse to come in, because they do not see practical life in the professing churches. They see more of the spirit of self and of the world, of human dogmatism, and of what I would call creed-faith than of the spirit and life of the meek Nazarene. The religious sects today are for the most part spiritually dead, and however materially prosperous they may be, this epitaph might truthfully be written on their church doors: “Starved to death by ecclesiasticism;” or this, “After a lingering illness this church died of pew rents;” or this: “Wealthy but graceless; seats sold by auction in the name of the Nazarene.”
How much longer will the churches continue to resist the plain injunctions of Him whose name they bear? After casting out and scourging all who profaned God’s house by traffic He thus addressed the orthodox priests and pastors: “My house shall be called a house of prayer for all nations, but ye have made it a den of thieves. And the scribes and the chief priests heard it, and sought how they might destroy Him; for they feared Him, because all the people were astonished at his doctrine.”
It is evident from this, as well as from many other passages of the gospels, that Jesus was in bitter antagonism with the spurious ecclesiasticism of his day; and that his denunciations of its falsehood and corruption brought upon him the hatred and malice of the various sectaries of the Jewish church. After his human form was withdrawn from the earth and his excarnation completed he again descended upon his infant church in “cloven tongues, like as of fire,” “and they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and they spake the word of God with boldness. And the multitude of them that believed were of one heart and of one soul; neither said any of them that aught of the things that he possessed was his own; but they had all things common.” This divine communism was a prophecy and a foregleaming of what Christianity should be, and may yet in the future become. But what a falling off is here. Alas! how soon selfishness and greed and love of [End of col. 4, p. 2] getting brought in their train of untold miseries.
Then came ambition with its lordship, envy with its malice, hatred with its murder—divisions, contentions, oppressions, and that hard and bitterest of all conflicts, the grinding tyranny of the rich over the poor—the conflict of capital with labor, money vs. toil; but Jesus always on the side of labor, toil, poverty.
Read how His servant James deals with pew rents, and let the churches learn that a front seat cannot be bought in God’s house with money: “For if there come into your assembly a man with a gold ring and goodly apparel, and there come in also a poor man in vile raiment, and ye have respect to him that weareth the gay clothing, and say unto him, sit thou here in a good place, and say to the poor, stand thou there, or sit here under my footstool, are ye not then partial in yourselves, and are become judges of evil thoughts? Ye have despised the poor.” In proportion to the truth of doctrines and the sincerity with which they are held a correspondingly pure life will flow; but if false or held in unrighteousness, that is unjustly, not sincerely, the outflowing life will be a counterfeit.
The pastor of a Brooklyn Methodist church has stated that if Jesus of Nazareth, as the poor and despised carpenter, were to come and preach in that city as He did in Judea, the smallest church would afford ample accommodation for all who would listen to his ministry. This pastor then added that there were in the city of Brooklyn 300,000 people who did not attend any place of worship. From this testimony it is evident that Brooklyn is not behind New York in its indifference to the claims of modern Christianity as represented by Protestant ecclesiasticism.
In short, it is a palpable fact that the great masses of the people repudiate pseudo-orthodox Christianity, as represented by Protestant sectarianism. It is equally true that a very large majority of those who regularly attend and support public worship do not believe their puritan creeds, and are restive and impatient if their ministers, even in a mild form, teach or preach dogmatic theology, while the few who desire this teaching, and who are fast dying off, suspect their pastors of disloyalty to their iron-bound confessions of faith. It is safe to affirm that it would be difficult to find any congregation of note that would now tolerate the preaching of Jonathan Edwards, of Cotton Mather, or of Michael Wigglesworth, the celebrated author of “The Day of Doom.” The puritan preachers have passed away, and their theology has died with their sincere and enthusiastic devotion, and now lies moldering in these creeds which hang round the necks of their successors in the ministry, holding them in bondage from which they are continually but vainly attempting to escape. This bondage has been produced by a moral revolution in the religious thought of the masses of the people and an unhallowed compromise which still retains these unintelligible and contradictory formulas of doctrinal beliefs.
Theological evolution has been at work showing that God’s truth grows and can never be confined within the limits of the religious thought of any one age. Our Puritan ancestors manufactured confessions of faith which suited their day and generation, but which are utterly unfitted for a more advanced condition of religious progress.
Their nominal retention in the constitutions of these ecclesiastical organizations has weakened our sense of obligation to candor and honesty, and exercised a demoralizing influence upon the religious conscience generally. Sectarianism is the root; corporate selfishness is the tree; dogmatic formulas and ecclesiastical corruption are the bitter fruit. One of the foremost men of the age—I refer to Abraham Lincoln—when asked his reason for not joining any of the Protestant orthodox sects, replied: “I have never united myself to any church because I have found a difficulty in giving my assent, without mental reservation, to the long, complicated statements of Christian doctrine which characterize their articles of belief and confessions of faith.” Experience has demonstrated that the most transcendental and extravagant belief in machine made confessions of faith, connected with long standing church membership, can be allied with sensuality of disposition and absolute criminality of character, while, on the other hand, purity and high principle often animate the minds of those who from their very integrity of character are unable to attach themselves by membership to any Christian communion.
We need today to accomplish two great achievements by which the people, with God’s help, will work out their own salvation—politically, a politico-economic and moral revolution, and religiously a spiritual reformation. These will emancipate us from the deluge of selfishness and corruption which floods the state and the ecclesiastical machines called churches. That theology which to the puritans was true, and which in the past served its purpose, the great puritan mind being true to it, has become, because of higher education and enlarged knowledge, false to us today. I know it is the fashion with puritanical ecclesiasticism to undervalue and even ridicule this enlightened progress, which is one of the marked characteristics of the age; and oftentimes both the pulpit and the religious press will describe this advancing culture as the spirit of infidelity and the presumption of profane skepticism, dismissing the subject by pounding it with irrelevant texts, such as “The world by wisdom knew not God,” and “The foolishness of preaching,” etc. But human thought continues to press forward, leading on to fresh discoveries and higher altitudes of material and moral light, while the preacher and the clerical editor continue the process of pounding to empty pews and to a decreasing number of readers.
Meantime the current facts of continuous history demonstrate the truth of this inevitable process, proving the sleepless principle of evolution, as Herbert Spencer has well shown, to be subjective as well as objective, mental as well as material.
When Christendom shall grow out of its narrow sectarian spirit and embrace in its ecclesiastical teaching a theology which shall unite truth and life together, then will the nations of the earth accept at its hands that gospel which must be one of justice, and which when rationally interpreted and sincerely obeyed, will bring with it not only individual but national salvation. Race prejudices and prenatal disabilities will disperse and vanish before such a message when it comes backed up with that purity of character and self-sacrificing disposition which animated the mind and life of the crucified Nazarene.
The New York correspondent of the Philadelphia Ledger says that John Sherman keeps up a voluminous correspondence with republican business men in New York, in which he makes no concealment of the fact that he is in the field as a candidate for the next republican nomination for the presidency. The correspondent says: “The feeling at the Union league and the Union republican clubs is undoubtedly growing in his favor, owing, perhaps, to the ubiquity of his brother, Gen. W. T. Sherman, whose residence in this city, as your correspondent has had occasion to remark before, is an immense advantage to the senator. The general at this moment is, probably, the most popular man in the city. He is invited everywhere, and, as a rule, with true courtesy, he rarely declines an invitation, except for cause. He rarely talks politics, but, notwithstanding that, he is a positive political influence.” Gen. Sherman, thus described as the most popular man in New York, is possibly not known by sight to one in a thousand of its inhabitants, and it is doubtful if a third of the people remember that he lives here.
[End of col. 5, p. 2]
THE NEW PARTY.
THE PROGRESS OF THE LAND AND LABOR MOVEMENET.
A Complete Municipal Ticket Nominated in Chicago—The Prospect in Kansas City—Echoes From the Cincinnati Conference.
The city convention of the labor party of Chicago last Saturday nominated a complete ticket and adopted a platform. Robert Nelson, who was nominated for mayor, is an iron molder and master workman of D. A. 24, Knights of Labor. He is in the employ of McDowell & Co., and is thirty-two years of age. Frank Stauber, the candidate for city treasurer, was twice elected alderman by the socialists, and was a member of the board of education from 1882 to 1885. John M. Dollard, candidate for city clerk, is a member of the printers’ union. Jesse Cox, jr., candidate for city attorney, has been engaged in the practice of law in Chicago since 1874. In all, candidates for thirty-four offices were nominated. The Chicago Herald says that every one of the nominees has a reputable trade, and it is a recommendation to the party that each is earning his bread in manful fashion. The labor ticket is the first in the field, and hence it appears to decline in advance any coalition with the democrats. The platform is a reaffirmation of the one adopted last September, with a number of new demands. The plank on taxation is as follows: “We demand the taxation to the full limit of the law of all unoccupied land, and that the tax on all lands occupied by individuals or corporations shall be made on an equitable basis.” The Chicago Central labor union on Sunday indorsed the ticket and the platform.
In Hyde Park and Lake View the united labor party also adopted platforms and nominated candidates.
The municipal labor convention will be held in Kansas City on the 12th inst. There are organized clubs in every ward, and the leaders claim that there are now 3,006 members enrolled, while more are coming in at a lively rate. The Kansas City Star says that “the new order of things seems to be due in a large measure to the rapid spread of the teachings and principles of Henry George among the laboring men of the country. It is said that 400 copies of The Standard come to Kansas City every week.”
The Knight of Labor candidate for mayor of Harrisburg, Penn., A. Fritchey, was elected last week.
John Denny and John W. Lilly have declined nominations for assessorships by the democratic party in Newark, as they “have cast their fate with the labor party.”
The united labor party of Hamilton county, Ohio (Cincinnati), will hold its convention on the 20th inst. Primary elections, after the manner of the old parties, will not be held, but the ward clubs will elect delegates to its nominating convention. Reports from the wards sent in to the executive committee on last Sunday were most favorable, all of them announcing an increased membership. On the Sunday before the election there will be a grand demonstration of the party.
The Orange, N.J., Central Labor union decided on Sunday to nominate a candidate for mayor, and a committee was appointed to select one. The city convention is to be held on Saturday evening. The ward labor organizations of Orange will not support any candidates of the old party for council. A mass meeting will be held on next Monday evening.
The Cincinnati Convention.
The national committee of “the union labor party” met on last Friday, after the convention, and decided to put a salaried organizer in every state. The ratification meeting held at Music hall attracted an audience that filled about one-fourth the house.
The Cincinnati Zeitung (German) says of the Cincinnati platform: “As to the all-important land question, the expressions in the platform are unworthy of a labor party, since they make concessions to the worst monopolies and most terrible robbery and extortion, namely, those resulting from the owning of the gifts of nature, such as ores, coal and oil by private individuals, instead of demanding their ownership by the people at large.”
A Milk and Water Platform.
New York Leader, Feb. 24.
The platform adopted by the Cincinnati convention is a very weak document. Starting out with the proposition that “every human being possesses a natural, inalienable right to sufficient land for self-support, and to a home, as the highest [?] result of free institutions,” the platform does not in any way suggest any efficient measure which might insure this desirable result, beyond “a graduated land tax,” “reclamation of unearned land grants,” “opening of Oklahoma to homestead settlement,” etc. These are but palliatives, and will not, if adopted, result in such fundamental changes in the existing social order as may bring about what the labor movement of our age strives for—the abolishment of poverty. A party desiring to represent organized labor must fight for a principle and not for palliatives. And this principle is nationalization of land and of all the natural productive forces. Whoever shirks these issues is not able to represent labor in its struggle for social emancipation.
The Squallitj Kills correspondent of the New York Times describes the excitement in that village over a project for a railway to run from Diverville through Squallitj Kills to Spiderhook. “It turned out,” he says, “that the prospect of a railway was as poison to the enterprising tradesmen, since easy access to Diverville meant easy access to Albany and Troy, and people would go there and buy their goods, thus reducing the profits of our merchants, who now, for instance, ask $4 for a washing machine which may be had at Albany for $2.50. To one of our protectionist merchants I suggested that a ready way of keeping prices up in Squallitj Kills would be to instruct our assemblyman to bring in a bill laying a heavy import duty on Albany and Troy goods, so as to enable our tradesmen to compete with the pauper labor of the two cities mentioned, and thus foster the infant industries of Squallitj Kills. Struck with the brilliancy of the idea, he at once wrote a letter to the assemblyman, and received in due time an answer from that august personage assuring him that the subject should be attended to without delay. In this mean way I seduced the merchant into voting for the railroad, but of course our party was easily routed at the mass meeting in the opera house by the opposition cabal, which showed not only that if the railway should be built the stage drivers would be reduced to beggary, and so a great domestic industry be crushed; many men would sell their horses, for which they would have no further use, thus the price of oats would decline, and the honest farmer would no longer have money enough to spend any at the village shops. This would impoverish our merchants and force them to shut up their shops, and soon ‘grass would be growing in the streets of our now thriving village.’”
Don’t Like the Platform.
New York, Feb. 28.—I heartily agree with your editorial in the last issue of The Standard regarding the Cincinnati platform. It is truly everything in general and nothing in particular, especially the land and tax planks. It will not carry, and the sooner that platform is demolished the better it will be for the new party. Walter Carr.
DR. McGLYNN’S FRIENDS.
ST. STEPHEN’S STEADFAST TO THE FIRST MARTYR OF THE NEW CRUSADE.
The Congregation Will Force More Money on Their Late Pastor—A Strong Speech by David Healy Warmly Received—Editor Gahan Rejoices in the People’s Allegiance.
The large hall in East
Twcnty-scvcnth street in which the weekly indignation meetings of the
parishioners of St. Stephens are held was crowded to the doors half
an hour before the proceedings began on Friday night of last week.
Hundreds who were unable to obtain admission remained out side in
front of the hall and attested by loud cheers for Dr. McGlynn their
unabated sympathy with their late pastor and the cause he represents.
Chairman Feeney, in an able speech, reviewed the history of the
agitation, and announced that $500, which had been forced on the
treasurer, had been handed to Dr. McGlynn, who had insisted that all
the committee collection books should be called in, as he would
receive no more from his old parishioners. It was also announced that
the employees of Bellevue hospital had contributed $104 to the fund.
Dr. Carey, the
treasurer, said that the annual parochial donations for the Indians
might be entrusted to him, and that he would act as the Indian agent,
a suggestion which was received with loud applause and laughter.
The books of Dr. Carey
have been audited and found correct. They show that the parish
contributions to the fund amounted to $2,500, which sum has been
handed over to Dr. McGlynn.
Mr. David Healy of the Irish World received an ovation when Chairman Feeney
introduced him to address the meeting. He said he was deeply
affected as a Catholic by this remarkable demonstration when he
looked upon this meeting of the loyal members of St. Stephen’s
congregation and saw old and young vying with each other in
manifesting their unwavering devotion to their noble pastor, who had
for years been ministering to their spiritual needs. This gathering
of the parents to whom Dr. McGlynn has for twenty years given
spiritual counsel, the children whom he has prepared for their first
communion, and no doubt many of whom he has united in the holy bonds
of matrimony, showed that a love had been born of that long
ministration which no calamity could affect and no humiliation take
away. [Cheers.] The fact that those aged Catholic parents brought
their children whom they desired to bring up in the Catholic faith to
participate in this formal demand that the injustice to Father
McGlynn be undone, was in itself an ample answer to the charge made
by the enemies of the church that Catholics surrendered blindly their
political independence or accepted ecclesiastical authority in their
strictly temporal affairs. In taking this action he believed they
were rendering a service to the Catholic church by rescuing its fair
fame from the false light in which it had been placed before the
world by the unjust treatment of a venerated priest, whose holy life,
whose devotion to the cause of humanity, whose eloquent appeals for
the poor and oppressed had endeared him to the hearts not only of the
congregation of St. Stephen’s, who enjoyed the blessings of his
holy ministry, but of the inmates of every poor man’s home throughout
the land. In the appeal which they were making for the undoing of
this great wrong they were sustained by the Catholic conscience of
the country. The evidence was ample that in all their legitimate
endeavors as Catholics to secure the restoration of Father McGlynn to
the sacred altar the sympathies of the great body of the Catholic
priesthood were also with them. [Cheers.] Their demand that the
reproach should be removed from the Catholic church that its
authority could be successfully invoked to further the schemes of
corrupt politicians, would be echoed from one end of the nation to
the other. [Loud cheers.] The opinions shared by Father McGlynn in
common with thousands of others, including eminent bishops as well as
lay Catholics, in regard to the best system of land tenure and
taxation, were well known to be constitutional and within the power
of the people in their right of sovereignty to adopt if they so
desired. Those principles had been openly taught for years. They
had been published broadcast. They were the subject of public
discussion in all civilized countries, and during all these years no
ecclesiastical anathema was hurled against them until Tammany hall
[groans and hisses] found itself in danger of defeat at the polls,
and the politicians begged for protection. In the name of the
Catholic church he protested against the fulmination of pastoral
decrees under conditions that give the appearance of enthroning the
money changers in the Temple and dragging the vestments of the holy
ministry in the mire of partisan politics. [Cheering.] The
principle here involved was one on which Catholics could be proud to
take a positive stand. It was one which involved the self-respect of
every thinking Catholic in the land, and it was one which must be
vindicated before this issue can be allowed to rest. He had been
many years an admirer of Father McGlynn, but his character had never
seemed to him so lofty, so sublime, so Christ-like as when inspired
by that divine anger which prompted the raising of the scourge in the
very sanctuary of the Temple. [Loud cheering.]
When Mr. Healy had
concluded his able speech Chairman Feeney said there was a gentleman
present whose voice had been heard before in this cause, and he was
sure the people would be glad to welcome him again. He would take
the liberty, therefore, of asking Mr. Gahan of the Catholic Herald to favor them with a few remarks. Mr. Gahan, who was loudly cheered,
said: “I cannot refrain from expressing my gratification in
seeing your sturdy allegiance to the priest of the people—the
advocate of ‘the land for the people’—Father
McGlynn. [Loud cheers.] You have evidently entered into this fight
to win, and your presence tonight is proof that you will never leave
the ranks of battle until victory perches on your banner.
“Am I justified
in so interpreting the purpose of this meeting? [Cries of ‘Yes,
yes.’] Will you be faithful to the great principle of the land
for the people? [Shouts of ‘We will.’] And
notwithstanding any amount of pressure that may be brought to bear on
you, will you be firm in leaving on the shoulders of Father McGlynn’s
enemies the expense of maintaining the church from which he has been
unjustly removed? [Cries of ‘Indeed we will.’] You
will, then, never desert your pastor, the holy man who joyed in your
joys, sorrowed in your sorrows, never knew a thought apart from your
welfare, and who now suffers because he labored to improve your
condition and promote the best interests of mankind? [Tremendous
shouts of ‘Never, never.’]
the college of cardinals told the Germans how they should vote; but
those undismayed German Catholics sent back word to them that they in
matters of politics were Germans, and would vote to benefit their
class. As they stood by Windthorst against Jacobini, so should we
stand by McGlynn against Simeoni. [Cheers and cries of ‘We
“I deny the
right of pope or any one else to tell me how to vote. The archbishop
has the right to say ‘this is a day of fasting.’ I’ll
obey. But if he says I must vote a republican ticket to suit him, or
a Tammany ticket [prolonged hisses], I say that he is going outside
his province, and I will not obey. And more, [End
of col. 1, p. 3] I ask you, will you not stand by Dr. McGlynn?
[Cries of ‘Yes! Yes!’]
“I hope the
magnetic currents may not be diverted on their way; but that they
will bear to the Bahamas the echoes of your splendid answer, to the
end that the archbishop may learn there is no weakening on your part,
but rather growth in your determination to stand by Dr. McGlynn and
by ‘the land for the people.’”
Mr. Gahan then briefly
reviewed the later developments of the movement. He knew that in
Rome there were great and distinguished men who held that the issue
which had brought Dr. McGlynn into conflict with the archbishop of
New York should be treated as an open question. Mr. Gahan reasoned
that the chief duty of the people was to maintain the struggle, so
that the hands of friendly cardinals would be strengthened and Rome
be made to feel that as behind Archbishop Croke there stood the
people of Ireland, so behind Dr. McGlynn there stood his faithful
parishioners, with the manhood of America. (Loud cheers.) In the end
they were bound to triumph. “As St. Stephen was the first
martyr of the Christian dispensation, so now it was, by a singular
coincidence, that the pastor of St. Stephen’s church was the first
martyr, on American soil, of a great principle. The saint who had
been stoned to death on earth was now enjoying his triumph in the
choirs of heaven; and the priest whose holy life was similar to that
of the first Christian martyr would enjoy a triumph in the
realization by the people of the great reforms he had labored to
bring about. Be true to him, my friends. Be steady in your
opposition to his foes. His friends are your friends and his enemies
are your enemies. His cause is identical with your cause. Noting
should be permitted to sever or sunder the ties which bind you; and
if you assist to the very death, to the bitter end in maintaining his
principles, the dawn of a better day will not be long delayed—a
day which will witness Father McGynn again ministering to your
spiritual needs as Catholics, while the victory of ‘the land
for the people’ will bring about your emancipation in a social
and political sense as American citizens.” [Loud cheers.]
The meeting adjourned
to Friday, March 4.
McGlynn Not the Only Priest Who Believes that the Land
to All the People.
—–, —–, Feb.
23.—Inclosed find a year’s subscription to The
Standard. It is refreshing to find a paper that dares give
utterance to the truth. Your manly defense of your friend Dr.
McGlynn in his undeserved trouble may provoke the disinterested
criticism of the aristocratic secular press of New York and of a
religious press that, with a few bright exceptions, is religiously
careful not to say what it thinks on certain subjects, but with men
all over the country, and among priests especially, it will make you
friends. Dr. McGlynn is not the only priest who believes in the
doctrine of Henry George concerning property in land; and many of us
think that in a free country a priest should not be deprived by his
priestly character of his rights as a citizen, and forbidden to give
public expression to his opinions on political or economic questions
because “his lordship” or “his grace” or an
Italian cardinal—who knows much more about filling up a letter
with such stuff as “most eminent, most reverend and most
worshipful sir” than he does about the rights and duties of
an American citizen—happens to think differently. “Their
lordships” have in many cases spent so much of their time in
acquiring perfection in that fawning which thrift doth follow; they
have been so constantly engaged in looking up that they can scarcely
be expected to sympathize with the common herd, even when the people
and their leaders happen to be right. This is why there was a French
revolution of bloody but blessed memory, and why Catholic France
today entrusts its political fortunes to men without religion.
You contrast Bishop
Nulty and Archbishop Corrigan, but you fail to give the explanation
that shows the whyness of the difference. In Ireland bishops and
priests are united, and both are with the people; in this country
bishops and priests are at war, and the people are an unknown and
unconsidered quantity. And the reason is not hard to find. In
Ireland the priests make the bishops, who are chosen by the pope
(almost always) from a list of three names selected by the priests by
ballot. In this country, on the other hand, the hierarchy is made up
of a certain number of aristocratic cliques with power to perpetuate
themselves. The result is natural; like begets like. In Ireland the
bishops are selected for such qualities as recommend them to the
priests with whom they have associated on terms of equality and
familiarity, and who are consequently the best judges of their
fitness. The Irish bishops are, therefore, likely to be men of
courage, fairness, learning, ability and independence. Here, when a
see is vacant, the half-dozen bishops of the province hold a secret
meeting and select three names, from which the pope chooses. In such
elections senility, obsequiousness and the other noble qualities that
go to make the successful courtier have a remarkably lengthening
effect on the pole that knocks the persimmons. The Holy Ghost,
although He is doubtless invoked on these occasions, seldom has
influence enough to make a change in the list. Bishops chosen by
this process are, of course, likely to be either lovely specimens of
ornamental mediocrity or “offensive partisans” of most
“pernicious activity,” like Borgess and Corrigan.
The McGlynn case is but
a new illustration of an old trick in church diplomacy. When a man
whose life can be blighted by ecclesiastical censures teaches a
doctrine offensive to the rulers of the church, which doctrine cannot
be easily (or at all) shown to be false, they punish the individual,
but leave the truth or falsity of his teaching an open question.
They thus crush the poor fellow who thought he was doing right,
intimidate others who may be inclined to think like him, impede
progress with the whole weight of church authority, and yet shirk the
only duty that was really incumbent on them—that of deciding authoritatively whether or not the doctrine in question is
Here’s to the
triumph of right over might, and to the success of the doctrine that
“the land belongs to the people.” If we are all the
inheritors of Adam’s sin, are we not also the inheritors of
Adam’s title to the earth? A Catholic Priest.
the Catechism Teaches.
Savannah, Ga., Feb.
12.—I have read Dr. McGlynn’s reply to Archbishop
Corrigan with intense interest, because it involves the question of
land monopoly, which has been the potent cause of Ireland’s
chronic misery and the scattering of millions of her race to the four
winds of heaven, and which is entwined in wreaths of wormwood about
the history of my life, carrying me back to the days of my childhood
when in the land of the shamrock I heard the land question discussed
in bitter and fervid eloquence at my father’s knee, and which
has been the constant day dream of my struggling and checkered
career. I am a Catholic, and glory in the name, and intend to die
one. My Catholic ancestry reaches back to the flood, so to speak. I
have never heard of a Protestant or proselyte of my name (no offense
intended) and hope I never shall. I have never been taught or
thought I should be called upon to implicitly believe in the politics
of the Catholic church. I have been all my life one way or the
other, in an humble way, [End of col.2, p. 3] battling for the principles of the “land for the people.”
I learned to lisp the
doctrine of the common ownership of land in my Catechism, which is
the quintessence of Catholic theology, in the Celtic tongue, viz.:
“Who made the world?” Answer—“God.”
“For what end did God make the world?” Answer—“For
his own glory and for man’s (mankind’s) use and benefit.”
I would be stultifying myself; I would be a craven, nay, an
apostate, did I not now stand by this doctrine so bravely upheld and
defended by Father McGlynn, and for which he has been subjected to
such bitter humiliation. Shall Father McGlynn retract the divine
doctrine that land, air, light and water are the free and God given
gifts to man, and prime essentials of life, without which he would
instantly perish? Retract truth? And substitute what? A lie, a
blasphemy! I hope he may never be guilty of so terrible a crime.
Let Bishop Corrigan retract (which it is his duty gracefully to do)
his doctrine, or alleged doctrine, of the private or individual
ownership, and monopoly of land, which is evidently and absolutely
opposed to the teachings of the Catholic church, which he
misrepresents. Let the cardinals of the propaganda, or even the pope
himself, with due respect and reverence for his holy name and office
(for neither he nor they are infallible in politics), retract, should
one or either fall into the same grave error, which I pray they never
will; but let none who hold to the truth ever forswear the divine
doctrine of the “land for the people.” J. C. Duggan.
Bayshore, L. I., Feb.
24.—No one denies the right of Archbishop Corrigan to make
stump speeches for Tammany Hall, though they may deprecate his
political affiliation, nor can any one deny his right to inject a
stump speech into his pastoral letter, especially as it gave his
enemies an opportunity to “lay him out;” but when he uses
his ecclesiastical authority over his subordinates to coerce them
into silence on subjects outside of religion or of doctrine he
assumes a prerogative that no one in the republic, let alone a
foreign power, has a right to exercise, and if permitted would place
the direction of American politics in the hands of that foreign
power. The question of religion does not enter at all into the
remonstrance against ecclesiastical interference with political or
economic opinions or actions. Whoever says so befogs the question at
issue. If my liberties as an American citizen are threatened, what
matters if to me whether it be from a hierarchy or a lay corporation?
If I am justified in resisting the latter, why not the former?
McGlynn Should Lecture.
Feb. 21.—I believe with J. B. Barry of Philadelphia that Dr.
McGlynn can do more good for the cause and for his church by going
into the lecture field than in any other way; and if he will make a
tour of the west and come to Rockford, we will see that he has a
Words in Right Time.
SOUTH HAVEN, Mich.,
Feb. 21.—The Standard’s course in the Dr. McGlynn
matter should have the indorsement of every true American citizen,
whatever his polities or religion. You have said just the right thing
in the right way, and at the right time. One of the noblest men in
this whole township, who is a Catholic, is in full sympathy with Dr.
McGlynn, and rejoices in your brave words. A. C. Woodruff.
Stephen’s to the Pope.
The St. Stephen’s
church committee sent on Tuesday a telegram to Pope Leo
congratulating him on his seventy-sixth birthday and the fiftieth
anniversary of his entrance into holy orders.
McGlynn as a Financier.
It has been suggested
if not positively asserted that under Dr. McGlynn’s management
the financial affairs of St. Stephen’s were in a bad condition.
Elsewhere we print a statement which not only gives the lie to any
suggestion of this kind but completely vindicates Dr. McGlynn’s
character as an able and successful financier and as a hard worker in
the effort to pay off the debt of his church. The statement to which
we refer is a report certified and indorsed by auditors of the income
and expenditure of St. Stephen’s during 1886, of the present
amount of liability, and of the value of the church property. From
this report we find that last year Dr. McGlynn paid out toward
clearing off debt the sum of $18,506, and that during the last four
years he has paid toward clearing off debt the large sum of $142,502.
We also find that as against the total debt at the end of 1886 there
stood, over and above the amount of debt, church property to the
value of $435,314. If this be not a thoroughly sound condition of
affairs and one highly creditable to Dr. McGlynn we do not know what
figures mean. We earnestly hope that St. Stephen’s will in a
very few years be clear of debt and that the work of clearing it will
be in the hands of the great and good man who has already given such
splendid service to the church and to the poor in St. Stephen’s
McGlynn’s Friends in Greenpoint.
New York Leader,
The workingmen of
Catholic faith who live in Greenpoint, Brooklyn, have arranged for a
mass meeting to express sympathy with the Rev. Dr. Edward McGlynn,
rector of St. Stephen’s church. The meeting will be held at
Bartholdi hall on Wednesday evening, March 9. A number of able
speakers will be present.
The Rev. Father P. F.
O’Hare, rector of St. Anthony’s Catholic church,
denounced the meeting yesterday and warned his parishioners against
attending it. This will insure a large attendance.
Seattle Voice of the
territory, as in almost every other portion of the American Union, a
few gluttonous and miserable men have, by hook and crook, managed to
gobble up all the valuable lands and hold them from public occupation
for the purpose of speculation and gain. There are in close
proximity to this city, and in fact to all the growing cities of
sound, hundreds of acres of the best lands that are susceptible of
the highest state of cultivation owned by individuals and withheld
from market or occupation by these Shylocks of society, in the hopes
of realizing the profit that will accrue when their poorer and
hardworked neighbors shall have raised the value of their land by the
toil and improvement they place on their own. The time has come when
the puerilities of party politics must be laid aside, when the
laboring men throughout all the length and breadth of the land must
arise as one man and assert their rights, or else the chains of
bondage by which they are held will be riveted tenfold stronger and a
slavery worse than Egyptian bondage will be theirs.
Properly speaking the
land belongs to these two, to the Almighty God and to all his
children of men that ever worked well on it, or that shall ever work
well on it. Who made the land of England? Who made it, this
respectable English land, wheat growing, metalliferous,
carboniferous, which will let readily hand over hand for seventy
millions or upward as it here lies, who did make it? “We!”
answer the much consuming aristocracy. “It is we that made it,
or are heirs, assigns and representatives of those who did!”
My brothers, you? Everlasting honor to you then, and corn laws, as
many as you will, till your own deep stomachs cry enough, or some
voice of human pity for our famine bids you hold! Ye are as gods that
can create soil; soil creating gods there is no withstanding. . . .
Infatuated mortals, into what questions are you driving every
thinking man in England?
of col.3, p.3]
HORRIBLE TENEMENT HOUSES DESCRIBED AND DENOUNCED.
meeting in Behalf of Tenement House Reform—
Letter From Father McGlynn—
Huntington’s Graphic Description of the Horrors of Tenement
A meeting in behalf of
tenement house reform was held in Cooper union on Monday evening.
James P. Archibald presided and stated that the reason for calling
the meeting was the effort of a number of property owners on the west
side to obstruct the passage of bills now pending in Albany.
Charles F. Wingate was
then introduced, and he explained that the pending bill increases the
power of the board of health and puts a special police force at its
command to enforce necessary sanitary regulations. He said owners
would not be allowed to build on 100 per cent of their lots as they
are now, and that bad plumbing would be cause enough for the health
board to declare the house uninhabitable. “If the wheels of
progress are blocked we’ll procure a bill ten times as radical
as this one,” said Mr. Wingate, “and we’ll put it
through, too,” and then there was tremendous cheering. An
incidental reference to Dr. McGlynn by the speaker called forth
enthusiastic applause, and at the conclusion of his speech Mr.
Wingate read the following letter from Father McGlynn:
New York, Feb.
My Dear Mr. Wingate:
I regret very much that I shall not be able to attend the meeting for
tenement house reform. I have felt very keenly for many years the
need of such reform, and in my profession have had too many occasions
to witness and deplore the manifold physical, mental and moral
miseries of the system you are laboring to correct. If the needed
reform by law shall impose great expense upon owners and diminish
very much their profits, no injustice shall thereby be done to them.
The community surely has the right to see that they shall not injure
public health and decency while pursuing their selfish gains. But,
besides this, the losses they may suffer will be but a partial
restitution to the tenants and to the community of the rent they are
permitted unjustly to levy upon the land they occupy, which unjust
privilege even in this democratic country fully justifies their
undemocratic title of landlords! But let us frankly confess
that the reforms that may now be brought about will be but
palliatives and not a cure of the disease; and let us never tire of
asserting that the true remedy will be in the restoration of the land
and other natural bounties to the people, and that this will not
merely correct the evils of the system, but abolish the system
itself. Very sincerely yours, EDWARD MCGLYNN.
Samuel Gompers and
Edward King made strong speeches denouncing the horrors of the
tenement house system, and their telling hits were enthusiastically
applauded. Resolutions supporting the changes in the tenement house
act were adopted declaring that tenement house landlords of the
lowest grade are trying to obstruct the bill at Albany,
characterizing these men as shameless and unscrupulous scoundrels.
They also say “that the allegation that tenants are solely to
blame for unsanitary houses is a baseless slander, and that, in the
words of the chief executive of the state, the wretched condition of
dilapidated and ill-ventilated buildings is really to be charged to
the “criminal cupidity of the owners.” Henry George, the
next speaker, was received with prolonged applause. He said: “I
don’t care whose movement this is; it’s good for us
whoever started it. Tenement houses are no place for human beings to
live in. There is no need of their living in them. The bill is good
so far as it goes, but it doesn’t go far enough. I am rather in
favor of tenement house abolition than of tenement house reform. The
tenement house is the outgrowth of the system of land monopoly that
crowds our people into such structures while leaving half of this
island vacant. There is no necessity for such crowding. We have the
whole continent to spread over, and if the community had the revenue
justly belonging to it we could build railroads at public expense
leading from this city in all directions, so that the people, no
matter in what number, could live in their own houses. In these
simple means lies the remedy for overcrowding, and the way to reach
that remedy lies through the ballot.”
Rev. J. O. S.
Huntington of the Guild of the iron cross and church workingmen’s
society and of Holy cross mission on Avenue C was the next speaker,
and he was received with enthusiastic applause. Father Huntington
“People get used
to almost anything. I am very much afraid that is my case about
these evils and wrongs in the tenement house districts. For five
years I have been living down as near as I could get to the East
river, going up and down tenement house stairs, through rickety halls
and bad smelling courts, in and out of close and noisome rooms,
through streets filled with weak-eyed, pale-faced children and
discouraged-looking men and women, and now I am afraid I have got
almost used to it. That, I suppose, is the case of a good many of us
here tonight, and we find it hard to imagine what it would be if
things were as they should be, and to realize how bad they are. I
want to help you to do that, and ask you to remember that what I may
say is not the statement of a commissioner or board official, who
comes down some pleasant afternoon to look about on the east side,
but of one who has been breathing the atmosphere of the district
night and day for years, and living part of the time in a tenement
house, with ample opportunity to understand the wretched conditions
under which life goes on in such caravansaries. And though, as I
say, it is not easy, living constantly in such surroundings, to
realize how bad these conditions are, yet when I come here tonight
and listen to this terrible array of facts, and, looking in your
faces, try to comprehend what an enormous mass of needless suffering
this tenement house question represents, the thousand of children
pining their lives away in these lazar houses, manhood broken down
and degraded, womanhood dishonored, then I declare I don’t get used to this infamy and won’t get used to it.
“Now what is the
state of the case? Here is a vast population crowded together more
closely than anywhere else on this globe, living not merely in the
small rooms of houses side by side in blocks, but in houses one
behind the other as well, with whole families depending for light and
air on two windows opening into a court forty feet wide and fifty or
sixty feet high, the air of which is breathed by at least fifteen
other families as well, living in many cases in basements below the
street level or over cellars where the water stands at most seasons
of the year. In many of the blocks on the east side, between two
avenues and two streets, there are as many people as in country towns
and villages covering several hundreds of acres, that is from three
to four thousand souls.
“How are these
houses filled? With families of eight or ten people living in two
rooms, one of them with no window but only a hole into a narrow
passage from which the air for a dozen other bedrooms is drawn. And
remember that we breathe not only through our mouths but through our
whole bodies, and every human being must have a certain amount of
pure air about him to keep in any proper state of health. But this
is not all; in these blocks there are many occupations carried on
that are still further exhausting the life supporting qualities of
the air and sending up noxious gases, vapors and exhalations. I do
not say that, in all cases, blame attaches to those who carry on
their trade—some [End of col. 4, p.3] of them are necessary—but I say that they often render the
whole house unfit for human habitation. There are bakeries, filling
the halls and rooms with the “sickly, sour scent” of the
new bread; laundries keeping the whole house continually damp with
the steam from the washing; rag and junk shops, with their heaps of
refuse, containing no one knows what germs of disease; breweries
abutting on dwelling houses and pouring into the windows the moldy
dampness of the bins and vats, to say nothing of stables in rear
yards, sending up every morning their thick stench of dung. And then
the ill-ventilated living rooms are often shops as well. I have seen
a room twelve feet square, with two or three piles of rotting tobacco
and half a dozen half-naked men and women rolling and molding cigars
in a perfectly fetid atmosphere, with a temperature over seventy at
ten o’clock at night, even the children looking as if their
lives were being drained out of them by nicotine. In other such
rooms—rooms, where people live, remember—you will find
three or four sewing machines whirring and rattling all day under the
hands of as many haggard looking girls, making trowsers at starvation
wages, the air filled with fluff and dust. And add to this one
further indictment against this atrocious system. The people in
these houses have not even facilities for keeping themselves clean
when their work is done. Bathrooms are unknown, and in many cases
the water supply is so limited that women have to carry water up
three or four flights of narrow stairs for what little washing they
find it possible to do, and the drainage and sewerage is so bad that
sometimes the dirt washed down comes back in overflowing cesspools or
in the deadly forms of miasma and sewer gas.
“And yet this is
not the worst; this is only physical suffering. But poor people are
not animals merely. I wish the good, easy-going philanthropists
uptown would remember that. It would greatly simplify the labor
problem if laborers were nothing but animals requiring only so much
food and sleep, like horses and dogs. I wish they would treat us as
worthy of even so much attention; but when I go up toward Fifth
avenue I find that the horses and the dogs are much better housed
than many poor people I visit. A gentleman will be very quick to
have a pane of glass mended through which the wind is blowing on his
fifty thousand dollar trotter, while the repairs in the houses where
he lodges his poorer brothers and sisters are put off from week to
week and month to month, or neglected altogether through the greed of
some rascally agent. But the poor are not merely animals,
they have hearts and feelings and affections, and infinite
possibilities of good and evil. And yet what chance does a boy or
girl have for the development of heart or soul in a tenement house
life? What place is left for the growth of the spiritual nature in a
child that has never known what it is to be alone, whose “home”
is at once kitchen, dining room, parlor, nursery, bedroom, washroom,
and perhaps workshop as well; whose only playground is a dirty street
with all its degrading sights and sounds; who comes home from the
factory to find the only sitting room full of washtubs and squalling
children, and hurries out to find some relief in the gang at the
street corner, and the dime museum, and later on in the saloon and
the dance hall ? Remember there is no seclusion, hardly even
privacy, in a tenement house. It is bad enough this weather, but you
know what it is in summer, when all the doors and windows must stand
open for a breath of air, and even in sickness the sufferer cannot be
screened from the sight and sound of strangers. You know what
opportunity there is for modesty and decency where families must
crowd together, body to body, just to lie down and sleep that they
may be able to drag themselves to work next day. You know what death
is in such quarters, where all the routine of life must be carried on
side by side with a corpse for two days and two nights. I declare I
am getting less used to this abomination every minute. But this is
only what I have seen. And yet let no one say in my presence that
those who dwell in tenement houses are “filthy and debased
creatures.” I give the lie to any such wholesale
characterization of my neighbors on the east side. Let no one tell
me that many of our working people, living in their tenement houses,
are not high-minded, pure-hearted and clean living. I know of those
among my own people, young men and women who are living nobly,
unselfishly, chastely. They fight with desperate courage to rise and
keep above the lowering conditions of life in which they are, and I
will not hear them maligned without lifting my voice to do them
“But, ah! they do
not all succeed in this fierce encounter with evil influence and
surroundings. Many sink under them, not merely into an early grave,
but into that living death, the penitentiary and the brothel. I know
of some twenty girls that, in a few years, have passed almost at
once, as it seemed, from their confirmation and first communion, to
which they came with every earnest purpose to do right, into the
awful darkness of a life of shame, driven there, most of them,
by the results of the tenement house system.
of New York, are you going to let all this go on in the generations
to come? Will you stand by and see your children growing up to sink
under this misery into death of body and soul? Will you not give
them some kind of chance? Will you not rise up as one man and say
calmly, but with unmistakable firmness, to politicians, corporation
and monopolists, ‘This thing must stop.’ If there is any
Christian work in the world it is that. You can make a change if you
will. There is a remedy, but to find it we must put down the
meannesses and jealousies and prejudices that keep us apart, and
learn to act together. That remedy lies farther than in amendments
of regulation and increased inspection; but we can find a point of
union in the determined effort to pass the amendments to support
which this meeting is called. With union will come strength, and
with strength the way will open to sweep away this horror, and to
class the ‘tenement house system’ as one of the obstacles
that have been rolled out of the path of human progress to a nobler
and purer civilization.”
Chairman Archibald read
a brief message from James Redpath declaring his sympathy with the
purposes of the meeting, and John J. Bealin made a speech that was
We don’t think
much of Mr. Hewitt’s letter denouncing a secret labor
organization as tyrannical, as usurping the functions of law, and so
forth and so on. All organizations are to an extent secret. So this
part of the accusation amounts to nothing, and Mr. Hewitt stands
simply in the position which English capital and aristocracy stood in
for so many years, of denying to labor the right of organization.
That right has long ago been conceded in England, and it has in this
country also, though Mr. Hewitt doesn’t seem to know it. The
combinations of capital in this country are just as tyrannical and a
thousand times more harmful than labor combinations. The
rolling-mill in this city is at a dead loss of hundreds and thousands
of dollars for its plant, and the town has suffered a loss of
hundreds of laborers because the Bessemer steel ring won’t let
this mill do business, and what is more, this ring is upheld in its
tyranny by the law of the land, without which it could not exist. So
it is with the oil pool, the coal pool, the salt monopoly, and so on.
Labor’s only protection is organization, and it will not
abandon it at Mr. Hewitt’s decree.
charged with being a vagrant, was recently tried in a Kentucky court.
The jury, after hearing all the evidence, returned a verdict of
guilty, and ordered him sold to the highest bidder, at public
auction, for the period of seventy-five days. Judge Bradford has
fixed March 5 as the day of sale. [End
of col.5, p.3]
HIGHLANDS HAVE BEEN DE-POPULATED.
Homes of Its Inhabitants Burned—Men Must Give Way to
Deer—English Landlordism Worse Than the Desolating Hoot of the
“I see no
complaint to be made against the Scotch land laws, and I believe the
trouble will settle itself in a right and fair way,” said Mr.
Archibald M. Stewart, editor of the New York Scottish-American,
a few days ago to a Herald reporter who called to interview
him on the terrible story of landlord robbery in the western
highlands of Scotland. No complaint to be made against the Scotch
land laws? If this is so, then there is no trouble to settle, Mr.
Stewart, and the crofters and their leaders have been imposing on the
world for the past half dozen years. I have the pleasure of knowing
several of those leaders personally. I lived in Scotland for over
twenty years, and during that time I had a good deal of active
participation in political movements connected with the agitation of
the Irish and Scotch land questions. I am, therefore, in a position
to give some help in the work of enlightening Mr. Stewart on the
condition of matters in his native land, about which he seems to know
or feel so little. I am in a position to say of my own knowledge,
derived from personal observation and from information received in
Scotland from gentlemen born and reared in the crofter districts,
that the report of the Herald commissioner, so far from being
an over-colored picture, is but a very mild presentation of the
heart-sickening reality. If Mr. Stewart were to visit Scotland just
now, and venture at any public gathering of his countrymen, from John
o’Groats to Berwick-on-Tweed, to repeat the statement that
there is no complaint against the Scotch land laws he would be hooted
from the platform. Since Mr. Stewart left the land of his sires the
schoolmaster has been very much abroad in the highlands. Henry
George and Michael Davitt have been across the border, and the gospel
they preached spread like wildfire. They found eager listeners
wherever they went, and they saw with their own eyes the explanation
of all the eagerness and the sources of the complaint against the
landlords which Mr. Stewart is unable to see.
Mr. Angus Sutherland,
an old friend and fellow agitator of mine, is now M. P. for his
native county of Sutherland, from the representation of which we
ousted the marquis of Stafford at the last general election. The
marquis is the oldest son of the duke of Sutherland, who holds as his
absolute property nearly the whole of the county from which he takes
his title. For generations up to 1886 the parliamentary seat for that
county had, as a matter of course, been held as an inalienable
heritage in the family of the great duke. The people were no more
considered or consulted than the ducal flunkeys or gamekeepers. At
the general election last year the condition of affairs all over the
highlands had become so hot through “complaints against the land
laws” that the marquis, with all his father’s wealth and
influence at his back, was powerless against the candidature of my
friend Angus Sutherland, the son of a poor crofter who was evicted
thirty years ago by the duke of that day. Does Mr. Stewart see in
this most instructive and significant fact no indication of a
“complaint against the Scotch land laws?”
The facts set forth by
the Herald commission bear eloquent testimony to the beauties
of the system which Archbishop Corrigan and his saviors of society
are so zealous in defending in America. A few more may be of
interest to the men who read The Standard, including, I hope,
a goodly number of patriot Scots who do not believe with Dr.
Sutherland, the Liberty street (New York) restaurant keeper
interviewed by the Herald, that “a landlord has the
right to evict all his tenants if he wishes to, and it’s
nobody’s business whether he turns his property into sheep
farms, deer parks or a howling wilderness.” The total area of
Scotland is 18,946,694 acres. Twelve men own one-fourth and seventy
men own one-half of the whole. The duke of Sutherland, who is, I
believe, an extensive land speculator in the western states of
America, owns 1,326,000 acres in Scotland. The duke of Buccleuch
owns 480,108 acres. The earl of Breadalbane owns 438,358 acres. The
duke of Argyll owns 175,114 acres. According to the Liberty street
Mr. Sutherland, and according to a still higher authority on morals,
viz., the archbishop of New York, the seventy men who own half of all
Scotland have the right to sweep away half of its entire population
and wipe out the civilization of nineteen centuries. As a matter of
fact this is the programme that two of the above mentioned dukes have
been carrying out within the present generation. Over hundreds of
thousands of acres in the Scottish highlands the landscape today
presents a scene hardly different from what it was when Caesar’s
legions invaded Britain. A traveler in Argyll, Inverness or
Sutherland may make a journey of sixty miles without seeing a human
habitation except a shepherd’s or a gamekeeper’s hut.
“The Financial Reform Almanack,” a most admirable book of
statistics, tells us that “in Scotland much more than 2,000,000
acres have been depopulated to make room for deer forests—homes,
farms and food destroyed that wealth may sport.”
Mgr. Preston, to whom
Sunday’s Sun, in the interests no doubt of the saviors
of society, devotes a column of eulogy, warns Catholics that they are
heretics if they have a word to say against the system which permits
the sweeping away of homes and farms to make space for the sport of
idle dukes—of men like Lord Colin Campbell, who spend the
enormous rents received for the property of the people in unnamable
abominations in London, such as were shown by the divorce court
revelations a few months ago, which shocked and scandalized the
world. In the county of Sutherland in 1885 there were 130,000 acres
of deer forest, in the county of Ross 190,000, in Inverness 260,000
and in Argyll 220,000. Within the memory of men now living most of
that vast area was covered by the homes of industrious highlanders,
whose sons fought England’s battles in Russia, Africa and
India. The house burning atrocities perpetrated some weeks since in
Glenbeigh in the south of Ireland aroused the indignation of two
hemispheres. It was by similar horrors on an immensely larger scale
that Sutherland county was converted into a deer forest. On one day,
as I remember Angus Sutherland told at a land league meeting in
Glasgow, three hundred houses were burned down on the Sutherland
estates, and the crofters, whose fathers built them and lived on the
land for generations, were left with their families homeless and
No wonder that the
doctrine that the land belongs to the people is welcomed in the
highlands among a people who have such terrible experiences of
landlordism, and no wonder that the crofters and their champions,
Angus Sutherland and James Shaw Maxwell and John Murdock and John
Ferguson and dozens of other land nationalizers in Scotland take an
eager interest in the controversy challenged by Archbishop Corrigan,
and earnestly pray that the manhood of America may stand like adamant
by Dr. McGlynn and the great principles he represents. Michael
of col. 6, end of p.3]
STANDARD, SATURDAY, MARCH 5, 1887________
GEORGE, Editor and Proprietor.
ANN STREET, NEW YORK.
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MATTER WORTH CONSIDERING.
Judge Addison Brown,
sitting in the United States circuit court for the southern district
of New York, in passing, last week, upon a motion in the civil suit
of the Old Dominion steamship company against members of the Knights
of Labor for damages based on alleged interference with their
business during the recent strike of longshoremen, took occasion to
designed to interfere with the perfect freedom of employers in the
proper management and control of their lawful business, or to dictate
in any particular the terms upon which their business shall be
conducted by means of threats of injury or loss, by interference with
their property or traffic, or with their lawful employment of other
persons, or designed to abridge any of these rights, are illegal
combinations or associations and all acts done in furtherance of such
intentions by such means and accompanied by damage are actionable.
This opinion is not
to be taken as deciding the particular case, as the facts were not
yet all before the court, the decision having been made on the ex
parte statement of the complainants. Nevertheless, embodying, as it
doubtless does, the line which will be taken by the federal courts,
it is well worth the serious attention of workingmen.
opinion is, we are inclined to think, good law, and, what is still
more important, it is certainly good sense. As an abstract
proposition, nothing can be clearer than that any combination to
interfere with the perfect freedom of any one to manage a lawful
business, or by means of threats of injury or loss, or by
interference with property or traffic, to dictate how such business
shall be conducted, ought to be punishable by law. It is time for the
labor associations to face this fact and to consider it soberly.
To say that men have
the right to combine in order to raise wages, or in any way to make
better terms with their employers, provided they merely
content themselves with refusing to work, and do not seek to
interfere with the liberty of others to manage their own lawful
business in their own way, is under present conditions little better
than a mockery. The strike, the boycott, all the methods by which
labor associations and combinations endeavor to carry out their
objects, are methods of coercion—do involve interference with
the liberty of others to conduct their own lawful business in their
own way. When they do not proceed to the use of actual force and the
actual destruction or injury of material things, they only stop short
of this as a matter of degree. Without the power to in some way
inflict injury or loss, the regulations of a trades union would be as
futile as a law without penalty.
associations which have least necessity of resorting to the coarser
and more obvious modes of inflicting or threatening injury or loss as
a means of coercing employers, are those in trades where special
skill is required and which carefully restrict the number permitted
to learn the trade. Beginning at this primary point to interfere with
the freedom of the employer and of their own members to teach a
trade, and with the freedom of boys to learn it, they are able to so
limit the number of those who can take their places that they can, by
their own mere refusal to work, inflict such injury and loss upon
employers as will exert a sufficiently coercive power to maintain
their wages and enforce their rules. But even this power, it must be
remembered, rests on the determination, expressed or implied, to
inflict injury or loss upon deserters from their ranks. The strongest
trades union without this would be but a rope of sand. And just in
proportion as the organization of labor proceeds beyond the trades to
the learning of which artificial difficulties have been imposed, or
which from their nature are not easily learned, do the practicable
methods for the exertion of the coercive power necessary to win in a
contest with employers become coarser and more obvious.
The mere cessation
of work on the part of a strict trades union of glass blowers may
inflict such damage and loss upon employers as to compel them to
accede to terms. But a strike of unskilled laborers, when there are
thousands of unemployed men eagerly pressing for employment, must be
backed either by some sort of coercion to prevent others from taking
their places, or by some means of inflicting such injury and loss
upon employers as will make them afraid to employ men outside of the
Now, it is the
tendency of constantly increasing labor saving invention to dispense
with special skill on the part of the mass of workmen and to reduce
skilled labor to the status of unskilled; and the extension [col.
2] of labor organizations, which has been so rapid of late
years, has been in the direction of the less skilled occupations.
This is the reason of the growing tendency of strikes to violence,
and the necessity more and more felt of calling upon men in other
occupations for help, by stopping work or by boycotting, to inflict
injury or loss upon the employers with whom a struggle is being
carried on. In the recent strike of coal handlers and ‘longshoremen
some dozen other organizations struck to help them, and this proving
unsuccessful it was even proposed that the brewers, the engineers
engaged in running elevators, and the conductors and drivers of the
New York street car lines should strike. Now, if the labor movement
is to go on in this direction, every man who looks ahead must see
that it will at last come to violence. This, at least, is clearly
evident, that the labor associations must make up their minds either
to defy the law, to change the law or to be ground to powder.
It is perfectly
true, as an abstract proposition, that no one ought to be permitted
to interfere with the legitimate business of another, or by going out
of his own right to inflict or threaten injury or loss as a means of
coercion. Yet it is also true that, under existing conditions, it is
only by combining together to interfere with the legitimate business
of others, and to coerce others by the fear of injury or loss, that
workmen are at all able to resist the tendency to crowd wages down to
the point of bare existence. The great fact that is ignored by those
who talk so flippantly about the wickedness of workingmen attempting
to coerce employers, is that all this coercion is in reality coercion
against coercion, the attempt to use force in resistance to force.
Before the cadi of
an eastern city there came from the desert two torn and bruised
travelers. “There were five of us,” they said, “on our
way hither with merchandise. A day’s journey hence we halted
and made our camp, when following us there came a crowd of
ill-conditioned fellows who demanded entrance to our camp, and who,
on our refusing it, used to us violent and threatening words, and
when we answered not their threats, set upon us with force. There of
us were slain, and we two barely escaped with our lives to ask for
shall have,” said the cadi. “If what you say be true,
they who assaulted you when you had not assaulted them shall die. If
what you say be not true, your own lives shall pay the penalty of
When the assaulters
of the merchants arrived they were brought at once before the cadi.
“Is the merchant’s story true?” said he.
“I will hear
no more!” cried the cadi. “You admit having reviled men
who had not approached you, and having assaulted men who had not
assaulted you. In this you have deserved death.” But as they
were being carried off to execution the prisoners still tried to
explain. “Hear the, cadi!” said an old man, “lest
you commit injustice.”
“But they have
admitted that the merchants’ words are true.”
their words may not be all the truth.”
So the cadi heard
them, and they said that when they came up to the merchants’
halting place they found that the merchants had pitched their camp
about the only well in that part of the desert, and refused to let
them enter and drink. They first remonstrated, then threatened, and
then, rather than die of thirst, rushed upon the merchants’
camp, and in the melee three of the merchants were slain.
“Is this also
true?” said the cadi to the merchants.
The merchants were
forced to admit that it was.
said the cadi, “you told me truth that, being only part of the
truth, was really a falsehood. You were the aggressors by taking for
yourselves alone the only well from which these men could drink. Now
the death I have decreed is for you.”
What the labor
combinations are attempting to do is to secure for themselves a
monopoly in supplying labor, and the real cause and only
justification of this effort is the existence of monopolies in the
things vitally necessary to the use of labor.
Conscious of the
coercion those who have only labor to sell are subjected to, though
without fully realizing its cause, there are active men in the labor
organizations who have dreamed of so fully organizing all kinds of
laborers in mutually supporting combinations as to make labor, by the
stopping of all work, master of the situation. But this dream is
hardly capable of realization. For, putting aside all the
difficulties of inducing so many diverse trades to act in concert
with any persistence, and putting aside the surety that there must
remain outside of any possible combination a body of laborers pressed
by the direst necessity to take work on any terms, the great fact is
that laborers as a class live from hand to mouth. They, therefore,
are of all classes the least able to maintain a contest of endurance,
and would quickest and most severely suffer by any general stoppage
of the machinery by which the community is fed and its necessary
wants are from day to day supplied.
A partial strike is
only now maintained for any length of time by contributions from
workmen who remain at work. And in the check put upon the supply of
coal to New York during the recent strike, they who suffered quickest
and suffered most were they who buy coal by the bucket, not they who
can lay in a season’s supply. If the thirsty men in the desert
had attempted to compel the merchants to let them in to drink by
forming a cordon around the camp and refusing to let the merchants
pass, their plan would have been about as hopeful as the dream of
securing the rights [col. 3] of labor by
a general refusal to labor. The merchants could have remained quiet
for a long time. How long could the travelers have gone without
water? Any attempt to carry out such a plan as this must either come
to speedy failure or else lead to violence.
In the attempt to
meet coercion by coercion, workingmen under present conditions are at
fearful disadvantage. It is not merely that the capitalists and
corporations against whom they fight have control of the organs of
public opinion and of the courts, but that they can combine, can
coerce, can inflict injury and loss in a much more quiet and
effective way than can workingmen. They can evade or take advantage
of the law, while workingmen to do things of essentially the same
kind must defy the law.
Labor surrounded by
law-made and law-supported monopolies of all kinds is virtually told
by the law that the only coercive force it can apply to fight off
the coercion to which it is subjected, is to stop work and starve.
But our laws are based on universal suffrage, and laborers are in the
majority. Cannot they change the law? The power to do so is in
their own hands. To exert it it is only necessary that they should
agree as to just what changes in the law they want.
Suppose that by
properly applying their voting power workingmen were to succeed in
giving to the labor associations just such a legal monopoly of
supplying labor as is now given by our laws to monopolists of things
necessary to the exertion of labor. The trades union ideal would then
be realized. No one could then go to work without permission of a
trades union, just as now no mere laborer can go to work without the
permission of a land owner or a capitalist.
But, if this were
practicable, would not the placing of such power in the hands of the
managers of trades unions lead to tyranny and abuse of the kind
which, as experience has shown, always attend the concentration of
power? And outside of the trades unions or labor associations, would
there not remain or grow up a class deprived by one set of
monopolists of access to the natural means of employing labor, and
deprived by another set of monopolists of the power to sell their
labor to those who could give them opportunity to use it?
The true line to
follow for the emancipation of labor is not the multiplication of
restrictions, but the
sweeping away of restrictions—not the creation of new
monopolies, but the abolition of all monopolies. And the fundamental
and most important of all monopolies is that legalized monopoly of
the earth itself which deprives the laborer of all right to the use
of the natural means and material for the employment of labor—and
which by thus making him helpless to employ himself, and forcing him
to buy from some other human creatures permission to even live,
compels him to compete with others disinherited like himself for
permission to sell his labor.
Out of the
multiplying and menacing labor difficulties of our time there is but
one way of escape, and that is by the restoration to all men of their
natural and unalienable rights to the use upon equal terms of the
element on which and from which all men must live—the land.
This can easily be
obtained by the ballot.
A dispatch from Albany
to the Tribune says:
One of Henry
George’s theories for improving government is that incomes should be
taxed. Gideon J. Tucker, who is a George man, has drawn up a bill for
the taxation of incomes in this state. It was presented to the senate
today by Senator Traphagen. It provides that all incomes from $2,000
to $3,000 shall pay a yearly tax of 1 per cent; all from $3,000 to
$10,000 a tax of 2 per cent; from $10,000 to $50,000 a tax of 7 per
cent; from $50,000 to $100,000 a tax of 20 per cent, and all above
$100,000 a tax of 50 per cent.
It is not true that
the taxation of incomes is one of Henry George’s theories. And
while it is true that Gideon J. Tucker did draw the bill now
introduced by SenatorTraphagen, it is not true that he is now in
favor of it. He drew this bill and sent it to Albany more than a year
ago. Since that time he has considered the whole subject more
carefully, and we have his personal authority for stating that he is
now opposed to an income tax, and in favor of concentrating all
taxation upon land values. Judge Tucker is not alone in this change
of opinion. The increased attention given to the subject of taxation
all over the country is leading thousands of men to see that a more
equitable distribution of wealth, which was all that commended a
graduated income tax to their minds, can be secured far more easily,
certainly, and fully by concentrating all taxation upon land values.
There is a good deal
at first sight to commend an income tax as compared with most of the
taxes by which our public revenues are raised, and which, falling
upon men according to what they consume, bear with greatest weight
upon those whose expenditures are necessarily greatest in proportion
to their earnings. Our import and excise duties, our license taxes,
our taxes on buildings and improvements and on capital in all its
forms, besides having other great disadvantages, all fall ultimately
upon the poor far more heavily than upon the rich, and so tend to
concentrate wealth in the hands of the few and to impoverish the
many. An income tax such as Judge Tucker a year ago was in favor of
would, if it could be collected with anything like fairness, have the
advantage of reversing this tendency and making the weight of
taxation tell toward the equalization instead of toward the
concentration of wealth. It is idle to attempt to get at the rich by
taxing capital. Taxes upon capital in any of its forms are ultimately
thrown upon producers, but by means of a tax on incomes, if it could
be fairly collected, the rich [col. 4] could be made to contribute in something like proportion to their
But it is impossible
to fairly collect an income tax. This arises from the impossibility
of ascertaining incomes. The salary paid to an employe of any kind,
or the income which is a matter of record, such as annuities paid by
trust companies, or the incomes of widows and orphans derived through
an executor, can generally be ascertained for purposes of taxation,
but it is impossible even by the most inquisitorial devices to
ascertain with any certainty the incomes of business men, speculators
and capitalists having large investments.
An income tax could
only be fairly collected where all men were so scrupulously honest
that they could be relied on to give a correct return of their
incomes to the assessor. But as the temptation to evade the tax by
subterfuge, by falsehood or by perjury, if necessary, increases in
proportion to the amount of the income, and as the difficulties of
any independent ascertainment of the income similarly increase, the
income tax in effect proves to be a net through which the big fish
swim while the little ones are caught.
Our own experience
during the days of the war income tax, as well as the experience of
other countries, shows that an income tax always falls heaviest on
the poorest class of those subjected to it. Even a graduated income
tax, such as is proposed in the bill introduced by Senator Traphagen,
would fail in its purpose. Clerks, teachers, bookkeepers, clergymen,
superintendents, etc, might be made to pay one per cent upon their
incomes, but instead of the state getting fifty per cent of the
incomes above $100,000, the certainty is that, with few exceptions,
it would not got one-half of one per cent, if it got anything at all.
This would be true
even if the income tax were levied by the United States government,
as was our income tax during the war; but an income tax levied by a
single state could so easily be evaded by mere change of residence to
another state that should Senator Traphagen’s bill become law
we should not have a rich man who could be caught by the tax left as
a resident of New York. Men of such moderate means that they could
not afford to change their residence would alone be compelled to pay.
There is another way
in which an income tax works unfairness. It may compel some men to
pay even more than the law contemplates that they should. A business
man may have had no income at all during the year. Yet because it
might be dangerous to his credit to have this known, he might in some
cases be tempted to make a false return and to pay a tax upon an
income he did not receive. The rich man who really has a large income
need not care how small his income appears on the official lists, but
the man who is struggling to keep up appearances is timid about
anything which might suggest his real condition.
But even if an income
tax could be honestly assessed and honestly collected, it would still
be unequal. A man who is in the receipt of a steady income of five
thousand dollars a year from ground rents is in reality a very much
richer man than a man who receives five thousand dollars in one year
from a business which may yield him nothing the next, or than a man
whose income derived from his own labor will cease with sickness or
old age or death.
And beyond all this
a tax upon incomes involves the same vicious principle as do all
taxes upon the products of labor, and operates to check the
incentives to industry and thrift. If a man can increase his income
by adding to the production of wealth or by making himself more
serviceable to his fellows, it is neither just nor wise in the state
to tax him for having done so. If he can make a large income by
appropriating the results of the labor of others, the proper way to
deal with him is not to tax his income, but to remove the conditions
that make it possible for him to grow rich at others’ expense.
The true principle
of taxation is that men should be called on to pay not on what they
use, what they earn, or what they accumulate, but upon what they are
permitted to hold of that which justly belongs to all. And taxation
of this kind, that is to say taxation levied upon land values,
irrespective of use or improvement, would not only be the fairest of
all taxes, but the one which could be most easily collected, and
which is least liable to evasion.
COSTS TO SAVE SOCIETY.
Ivins, who may be assumed to know whereof he speaks, has been making
public some interesting figures regarding the expenses of elections
in New York city, and the sources from which the money to pay them is
According to Mr.
Ivins, the cost to the city treasury of the last election was over
$600,000, of which nearly $300,000 was for legitimate expense, as
rent of polling places, etc, while the rest was, under various
pretexts, distributed among the district leaders of the democratic
and republican parties. “Not less than $750,000,”says Mr.
Ivins, “was invested in the same way among political captains,
heelers and hangers on.”
The market prices of
nominations are also quoted by Mr. Ivins. City clerks and registers,
it appears, are in brisk demand at $15,000 to $40,000; supreme court
judges, fair to middling, are easy at $15,000 each; mayors are active
at $20,000; senators are quoted at $30,000, with a downward tendency;
aldermen are dull at $12,000; sheriffs lively at $20,000, and
district attorneys somewhat inquired for at $5,000 each. Mr. Ivins’
list embraces other quotations, but those given are sufficient to
show the general tendency of the market.
Truly it costs
money’ to Save Society. No wonder Mayor Grace should cry aloud in
bitterness of heart that the quotations have “reached such
figures that only rich [col. 5] men, or
men backed by friends who have good or corrupt motives, can afford to
run for office,” or that in view of the rapidly rising market he
should pathetically complain that “the great disgrace is that it
excludes from office all men in moderate circumstances who are
unwilling to accept the assistance of friends.” We have some
curiosity to know, by the way, on what terms a man in moderate
circumstances, who wants to buy a nomination, and is “willing”
to accept the assistance of friends, can obtain that assistance.
Three “labor bills” have been signed by the president
during the past week. One is the act prohibiting the importation of
foreign labor under contract. The bill is of a kind which easily
finds favor in congress, for as a law it can have very little effect,
if any, and demagogues in both houses can make cheap capital for
their party out of a vote for it. There is but little need for
employers to make contracts in Europe with workmen and bring them
here. Those who want to lure European laborers can engage them
through the labor contractors of this city, who have their offices
chiefly in Greenwich street. The contractors send word to the men or
to agents abroad that situations are awaiting a certain number of
persons in a given occupation on their arrival in this country. The
men frequently have their passage paid in whole or in part by the
agents, and as soon as they reach Castle Garden they are directed
where to look for the places which they are expected to fill. As no
contract is made in such a transaction, no law is violated. The
second “labor measure” approved by the president prohibits
the performance of contract labor by prisoners convicted of violating
United States laws. As an example to the state legislatures, the law
has its merits. The third provides that workmen employed by the day
in any department of the national government shall be paid for
holidays on which work is suspended. This is a good thing for the men
employed on government work, and by making such places more desirable
will increase the power of political patronage; but it will do
nothing whatever for workingmen at large. Congress and the state
legislatures might go on passing such bills as these for a hundred
years without in the slightest degree improving the conditions of
labor or in any wise arresting the tendency which is filling the land
Yet that this is all
congress can find to do for labor is hardly the fault of congress.
Just such “two-penny” measures as these are about all that
the spokesmen of the labor organizations have asked. Up to this time
the trouble with most of the active men in the labor organizations is
that they have felt that they ought to go into politics, without
knowing what to do when they get there. But more definite ideas are
fast making their way among the working masses. Everywhere it is
beginning to be perceived that the land question is the heart of the
labor question, and that the road to the emancipation of labor lies
in the sweeping away of all indirect taxes and the throwing open to
labor of natural opportunities by such taxation of land values as
will make it unprofitable for any one to hold land that he is not
putting to its full use. Before long this growing sentiment will
begin to tell on congress and on our state legislatures.
Congressmen, as law
makers, certainly ought not to be law breakers. That they are such in
many ways is well known, but rarely, if ever, have we seen so bold a
justification of such conduct as is found in the Tribune in an
article complaining of the delay in reporting appropriation bills.
Those who control
action in the house, of whom Mr. Randall is in this matter the chief,
have had some excuse. They have desired to prevent unwise action on
the tariff and on other matters. Being in a minority, the only way in
which they could thwart the will of the free trade majority has been
to hold back appropriation bills long enough to block the road when
dangerous legislation was attempted.
The house has no
more imperative than that of providing the necessary funds for the
necessary expenses of the government. Its refusal to make any
appropriations would be a revolutionary act that would bring
government to a standstill. Yet here we have one of the organs of
the saviors of society openly commending a minority for taking the
risk of such a failure for the avowed purpose of “thwarting the
will” of a majority. The readiness of the professed friends of
law and order to resort to such expedients does more to weaken the
authority of law, destroy faith in democratic institutions and to
prepare the way for the overthrow of government than all the ravings
of avowed anarchists could accomplish in a score of years. The really
disorderly classes are those who seek to rule a democratic republic
in defiance of the will of the people. Yet it might be instructive to
consider to what extent and how the great American people would
suffer if all the appropriation bills failed, and all the
government employees were to stop work.
We commend to the
special attention of Postmaster General Vilas, who, we believe, has
at heart the efficient management of his important department, an
article in another column stating the grievances of the letter
carriers of New York. Some of these grievances are beyond his
redress, but he can certainly interfere to prevent by a few salutary
removals the petty tyrannies of which the men complain. If, on the
contrary, a democratic administration thinks it within the province
of a district superintendent to forbid government employees to join
labor organizations, it is time that voters should know it.
We are inclined to
think that the management of the New York postoffice needs a thorough
overhauling, and we suggest to Mr. Vilas that he send somebody here
in whose energy and integrity he has [col. 6] personal confidence, to make an examination of how business is done
in all its departments. Complaints come to us from subscribers in
various parts of the country that THE STANDARD does not reach
them until a day or two days after it is due. This could hardly
happen if the New York office was properly administered.
A correspondent of
the Herald, interviewing a high German official, called
attention to the enormous growth of the socialistic vote. The
official thought that need give Prince Bismarck no alarm. “Why,”
he continued, “if an outbreak came, these men would be forced to
aid in shooting down their own comrades. If they refused to fire
they would be instantly shot.”
Here in a nutshell
is the secret by which a few men, no wiser, no braver, no stronger
than ordinary men, are enabled to lord it over great nations and to
set, whenever they choose, hundreds of thousands of men who have no
quarrel with each other to cutting each other’s throats and laying
waste each other’s homes. And here in a nutshell is the reason
why workingmen should set their faces like flint against standing
armies. Standing armies have ever been the great enslavers of
mankind, The bombardment of New York, Boston and San Francisco would
be of less permanent disaster to the republic than the passage of the
system of bills intended to begin here a great war establishment.
To him who has eyes
to see, nothing can be plainer than that the great Nineteenth century
revolution has already begun, and that modern civilization every day
draws nearer to that struggle which must either raise it to a higher
plane or overthrow it. Most picturesque and most significant was the
great gathering of the poverty-stricken masses of London in the great
national cathedral of the metropolis last Sunday, and Hyndman and his
fellows of the democratic federation could have desired no
demonstration more effective as a means of propaganda and none more
portentous to the system which crushes a thousand into pauperism to
raise one to unwholesome wealth. Think of what is involved in this
defiling of tens of thousands of pinched and stunted Englishmen into
the grand temple erected at national expense to a just and merciful
underclothed, underfed, overworked millions actually begin to realize
that they, too, are really the children of “Our Father which
art in Heaven,” then the rule, of those who claim His earth as
theirs draws near its close.
As the Real
Estate Record and Guide says, there is something absurd about the
two parties in the New York legislature refusing to unite on some
plan for a constitutional convention for fear that one or the other
party will have the upper hand in it. Any change in the constitution
or new assertion of principles cannot, if such change is made at the
instance of one of the two big parties, harm either one. Such changes
will be made by rascals for rascals, and the party which has the
biggest voting power in the state will, in the future, get the
advantage, not the party which happens to be able to control this
convention. But beyond all this we would like some one to tell us
what difference there is anyhow between the two old parties as to
constitutional principles. The truth is that the corporations (and
Archbishop Corrigan) who control both the democratic and the
republican machines do not want a convention, and hope to defeat it
under the excuse of irreconcilable differences among their henchmen.
W. A. A. CARSEY as
chairman and J. J. Condon and J. W. Keogh as secretaries of the
“Anti-monopoly league of the state of New York” are
distributing in cities where there is political agitation a circular
in which a column of comments, printed parallel with one containing
the declaration of principles of the Knights of Labor, is employed to
show that the democratic party of New York has enacted into law every
plank but one in the knights’ platform that can be affected by
state laws. Hence the signers assert that the claims of the
democratic party to be “the friend and champion of the rights of
the working people” are justified. There is little shrewdness
shown in the employment of these men to plead a party’s cause
with organized workingmen. They are not members of any labor
organization; they have been ruled out of the State workingmen’s
assembly, and their names have been bandied about in every party and
every hall as self-constituted leaders who hold their influence on
sale. So intangible is this influence that workingmen have ceased to
resent their assumption of being possessed of any, but merely regard
with amusement their remarkable effrontery and their successive
alliances with aspiring but not wily politicians.
2.—Gov. Hill today sent in the nomination of ex-Senator Arkell
of Canajoharie to be railroad commissioner.
From the Albany
Evening Journal, March 2.—“The Hon. Chauncey M. Depew,
president of the N.Y.C. & H.R.R.R., was yesterday the
guest of Senator James Arkell, and last evening delivered a lecture
Tariff Movement in Philadelphia.
Whilst our live
representatives in congress are doing their level best to maintain
war taxes and to prevent resumption of commerce interrupted by the
war, there is a wonderful change taking place in the tone and the
temper of the merchants and manufacturers of Philadelphia. It is no
longer a species of political treason to discuss the necessity for
tariff changes. It is done with somewhat bated breath; but it is
done. Conviction, in hundreds of cases, has had its perfect work:
only an indefensible regard for consistency and a pride of past
opinion stand in the way of outspoken advocacy of tariff reform.
There are thousands of old-time protectionists in Philadelphia who
are protectionists no longer. They perceive that there is nothing to
be accomplished by a policy of restriction but a competitive strife
between overgrown infant industries as to which shall eat the other
up. What we now want is a free foot to do in the world something
commensurate with our place in it and with our natural resources.
The fight which
Rome—with all its power, its splendid organization, its wealth,
prestige and political influence—is making against this one
poor American priest, is a losing one. A hundred Romes on seven
thousand hills can not successfully contend against this one American
priest, because the priest is right and Rome is wrong.
of p. 4>
STANDARD, SATURDAY, MARCH 5, 1887________
beer trade of New York and vicinity is mainly in the hands of
sixty-four brewers, whose manufactories have a capacity of 4,000,000
barrels per annum. In an agreement which they formed last fall there
was a section providing that the discount on a barrel of beer, which
sells at eight dollars, would after Nov. 1 be but five per cent to
those retailers who should change their brewers, but that it should
otherwise remain at the percentage which had been previously agreed
upon between a brewer and a customer. In the eyes of the retailers
this was a notification that they could change their brewer only at
the cost of a loss of ten per cent discount, as fifteen per cent had
been the general rate of deduction. The members of the brewers’ pool
had so apportioned the sales in the New York market that it mattered
not to them whose beer was sold, as the profits to each would remain
the same, a member of the pool selling more than his allowance being
required to deposit two dollars per barrel in the treasury of the
combination, and one disposing of less than his quantity being paid
two dollars. Since the pool agreement went into effect more than
2,000 retailers have decided to fight the monopoly, and on Tuesday
the members of their organization posted notices in their saloons
that they would sell no pool beer. There are six New York breweries,
with a capacity of 300,000 barrels a year, not in the pool, and beer
can also be supplied to the retailers at a low cost by out of town
firms. Aside from the saloons owned by members of the retailers’
association, there are thousands managed by men whose places arc
mortgaged to the brewers—in other words, they work for the
brewers on wages proportioned to their sales, while the brewers hold
the saloons by the safest form of ownership. In the beer trade
competition has merged into combination, and the monopoly controls
the ‘”trust”‘ for its own benefit.
States senate, after prolonged delay, has confirmed the appointment
of Daniel Magone as collector of this port. The delay has caused
much speculation among city politicians, many of whom have hoped for
Magone’s rejection. [He is a Cleveland democrat, with but
little affiliation with the local factions, and the bosses say that
he does not take good care of the workers.
Hewitt tells a Herald reporter that there is but one labor organization to which he is
opposed, and that is the Knights of Labor. He says that the knights
are seeking the destruction of individual freedom for personal ends,
and that they can be and will be put down. This is interesting
reading for those Knights of Labor who voted for Mr. Hewitt last
legislative committee that investigated the recent strikes have
recommended a bill making it unlawful for corporations to agree
together to limit the production of fuel or food. This reads well,
but as a law it would be a dead letter. Corporations can limit the
production of fuel and food without getting into any legal tangle so
long as they are allowed to own the source of supply. The truth is
that this clause is put in the bill merely to draw away attention
from another clause, the real purpose of the bill, which makes it
unlawful by any mandate “to prevent the free, voluntary labor
of a person of suitable age for any employer he may choose.”
Under that provision, if a trade union voted to strike, and its
proper officer ordered its members out, there is at least one judge
in this state who would not hesitate to construe the order as an
unlawful mandate. There is a pretense in the bill of excepting such a
case. It provides that the clause “shall not prevent united
action by peaceful means for a grievance common to all seeking
redress.”‘ This would be construed to permit employes in an
establishment to unite with one another to redress a grievance there,
but to prohibit other men uniting with them. The bill is an attack
on trade unions. If it passes they will be outlawed.
John Martin and M. F. Collins, as a minority of the coal strike
investigating committee, have submitted a report. They “believe
in the wise and judicious organization of labor,” and that the
more perfect the organization the better the results in education and
in the settlement of labor disputes. This was shown, they hold, in
the late strike; for what would have degenerated ten years ago into a
riot was conducted in a peaceable and orderly manner. They recommend
the extension of the powers of the state board of arbitration
embodied in the senate bill, and an act declaring any combination of
dealers, producers or carriers of fuel or food a conspiracy.
had more than one legal inning last week. In New York Arthur Swinton
Brunswick, founder of the messenger boys’ union, was arrested,
charged with conspiracy by the manager of the American district
telegraph company. Edward Goldsmith and Ed. I. Farrell gave bail for
him, and the hearing in his case was set down for next week.
case of the Old Dominion Steamship company against certain Knights of
Labor to recover damages, Judge Brown of the United States court
handed down his decision denying the motion to discharge the
defendants from arrest, and holding that workingmen who combine to
raise wages by boycotting may be sued for any damages they cause. In
this suit the Knights of Labor will now put in their answers and go
supreme court of Connecticut has decided the case of the New Haven Journal and Courier boycott against the men. The superior court had convicted them of
conspiracy and they appealed to the supreme court. They will now be
republican members of the New York assembly refused last week to pass
a resolution providing for an investigation of the charges of bribery
in the recent senatorial contest. Their choice was probably as to
whether they should continue to rest under suspicion or be convicted.
forty-ninth congress adjourned on Friday. The week has been spent in
hurrying through the greatly delayed appropriation bills, and at one
time there was a prospect that their failure would compel the calling
of an extra session. Senator Edmunds, determined to have sort of
retaliatory legislation passed, persistently obstructed the
appropriations until he had accomplished his object, and a bill was
passed which authorizes the president to restrict importations from
Canada by sea. The disagreement between the two houses on this
question illustrates the subserviency of the senate to railway
influences. The house bill allowed the president to stop all
importation, but the senate insisted on an amendment permitting
unrestricted importation by railway.
One of Mr.
Van Wyck’s last acts as a senator was to make a speech in favor of
electing senators by popular vote. He would have come more near to
representing the public opinion of the future if he had prepared to
do away with them altogether.
Friday of last week Mr. Page was sworn in as a member of the
forty-ninth congress for Rhode Island, in place of Mr. Pierce, who
was unseated because not legally elected. The seat has been vacant
for a long tune, and though the new incumbent could only occupy it
for a week, he will be able to draw from the United States treasury
the salary and perquisites of a two years’ term. [col.2,
p5] Such a thing would be impossible were
it not that congressmen have been more careful to take care of their
own than of the public interest. Mr. Page is a democrat, the first
elected to congress from Rhode Island for many years.
course of the discussion of the Pacific railway investigation in the
senate last week Mr. Hoar insinuated that the new York daily papers
are edited with a view to bulling or bearing stocks, and Mr.
McPherson retorted that no other agency on earth had done so much in
that way as the judiciary committee of the senate. Both were
legislature of West Virginia adjourned without electing a senator.
The Standard oil and railroad combination purchased a few republican
votes for Camden, but Party feeling for once proved of use, and the
outcry of the their constituents prevented the delivery of other
republican votes confidently expected by Camden. The general
appropriation bill was not passed, and the governor will call an
extra session. He has offered the vacant United States senatorship
for the state to D. B. Lucas, one of the independent democrats who
bolted Camden’s nomination. Mr. Lucas has accepted and will
receive his credential after March 4. This open defiance of the
Standard oil company and railroad influence by the governor will
probably bring matters to a crisis in that state.
was a republican break in the joint ballot for United States senator
in the New Jersey legislature last Tuesday, and several votes
hitherto cast for Sewell were scattered. Several republicans voted
for Bedle, a democratic railway attorney, but the expected rush of
democrats did not take place. On Wednesday the republicans and
bolting democrats voted for Rufus Blodgett, democrat, and he was
elected. He is superintendent of the Long Branch railroad and a
thorough corporation man.
J. Finley has been appointed by the governor United States senator
from Florida, to succeed Jones, whose term expired March 4. Jones
is probably crazy, as he has remained in Detroit for over a year
without appearing in the senate.
senate will stand thirty-nine republicans to thirty-seven democrats;
but Riddleberger, counted as a republican, is expected to make a tie
vote every now and then.
Gresham on Monday last, at Indianapolis, released one Perkins, who
had been committed for contempt because he refused to testify before
a United States commissioner who was hearing charges of bribery
against some local politicians charged with the forgery of election
returns for local offices. The proceedings were begun before the
commissioner under the decision of Judge Blodgett of Chicago in the
Mackin case, that “because a congressman had been voted for at
the same election the federal court had jurisdiction, although the
result of the vote for county officers was involved in the forgery.”
Judge Woods of the district court, on appeal, took the same ground.
In his opinion Judge Gresham says: “Such an assumption is
neither good law nor good sense, and as the vote for congressman was
not in question at all the commissioner had no jurisdiction, and
Perkins is discharged.[”
] The decision is of interest to
workingmen in view of recent attempts to utilize United States judges
to secure strained decisions against labor organizations and of the
disposition of monopolist organs to boast that federal judges holding
life positions “are beyond the reach of popular clamor.”
folly into which attempts to tax personal property lead people is
shown by a Louisiana law imposing a tax on Pullman railway cars
entering that state. If the law had been sustained the result would
probably have been the exclusion of sleeping cars from Louisiana. The
United States circuit court at New Orleans has just decided that such
a tax is illegal.
Swett, counsel for the condemned anarchists, presented to the supreme
court at Ottawa, Ill., on Wednesday, a brief, in which he pleads for
a reversal of the judgment. Mr. Swett, who was an early
abolitionist, parallels his clients’ case with that of John Brown and
the other radicals in ante bellum times. Of the republican party of
those days he says: “The most radical of its leaders
characterized the constitution of the United States as ‘a league with
hell.’ Underground railroads were everywhere established, leading
from Mason and Dixon’s line to Canada, and people conspired, contrary
to the constitution and laws, to aid and abet the slave in his
escape. If there had been no republican party there would have been
no John Brown’s raid, and, therefore, all republicans who made
speeches and believed in the Utopian idea of a change in society for
the benefit of a class were like the anarchists, and were particeps
criminis with old John Brown and ought to be
hanged.” It will be remembered that the principal reason for the
condemnation of the Chicago anarchists was that they were members of
an organization which fostered the ideas that led to the
Armour of Chicago is organizing a new cotton seed oil trust in
opposition to the old one, and owing to this and to other things
prices in the old shares have tumbled. It is generally believed that
Armour’s scheme is a job to bring about such a result, and that in
the end there will be but one company. Whether there shall be one or
two the cotton planters and the oil consumers will eventually have to
pay the costs of this warfare.
quarrel between the politicians in Indiana has culminated in a small
civil war. Mr. Robertson (republican), who claims to be lieutenant
governor, undertook last week to force his way to the chair of the
presiding officer of the senate. He was forcibly ejected by order of
the democratic majority and there was a prospect at one time of a
rough and tumble fight. One republican senator sat down so hard with
the assistance of a democratic doorkeeper that the chair broke and
both men fell to the floor.
the most significant of the numerous demonstrations recently made by
the unemployed of London was that of last Sunday, when the working
people, under the lead of Mr. Hyndman, attended St. Paul’s
cathedral. Notice of their coming had been given and thousands of
policemen were stationed in and around the building. The lord mayor
and the aldermen were in their civic chairs and a small congregation
of the usual worshipers occupied the front seats. Back of these,
filling all the remaining space, were two thousand roughly dressed
men. The socialists, who managed the demonstration, had sent a
request to the archbishop of Canterbury to be present and preach from
the text, “Let him that stole steal no more, but rather let him
labor.” This request was disregarded, and the archdeacon of St.
Paul’s preached from Proverbs xxii., 2, “The rich and poor meet
together, the Lord is the maker of them all.” Cable dispatches
say that “the socialists behaved better than was expected.”
The text was received with some cries of “bravo” and
of the archdeacon that here must ever be rich and poor was met by
groans of dissent. Otherwise the services were uninterrupted.
the cathedral the scene was remarkable. The various bodies of
socialists marched to the church, many of them headed by brass bands
playing the “Marseillaise.” Leading one body there marched
a hundred [col.3,p5] miserable, ragged children from the
Clerkenwell district. As the various organizations appeared they were
greeted with the ringing of bells and shouts of applause from the
immense throng of people, many of them well dressed, who had gathered
about the cathedral. The crowd is variously estimated at
30,009 to 50,000. It was orderly, and good natured. Held aloft over
the grand entrance of the cathedral was a red banner, bearing the
inscription, “Landlords and capitalists, My home is a home of
prayer, but ye have made it a den of thieves.” In the procession
were numerous banners bearing such inscriptions as these:
“We seek not revenge, but justice.”
“We will have work or bread.”
“By heavens, our rights are worth fighting for.”
“I was a-hungered and ye gave me no meat; naked
and ye clothed me not.” “Not to be a slave is to dare
“Work for all; overwork for none.”
“Feed my lambs.”
“Justice and liberty or death.”
Canon Gregory held a service on the steps of the
cathedral for the benefit of those outside, but the noise was too
great for satisfaction, and he and his assistants soon retired.
disagreement of the jury in the case of Dillon, 0’Brieu, Redmond and
others for asserting “the plan of campaign” was a surprise
to the government. The fact that even the Protestants on the jury
were divided is especially alarming to the tories. The government
asserts that the accused will be tried again in April, but the
announcement is received with incredulity.
A much more exciting trial would be that of Archbishop
Croke, a rumor of which was printed in the London evening papers on
Monday. The charge is advocating the non-payment of taxes. William
Johnson, the Orange leader, asked what the government intends doing
concerning the archbishop. Sir Michael Hicks Beach answered that they
were considering the matter. The Parnellites received the reply with
derisive laughter. No one believes that even Tories are stupid enough
to venture on a persecution of the most beloved of Irish prelates.
Remarks by Lord Salisbury indicate that the currency
commission will report strongly against bi-metalism and in favor of
the single gold standard. Until the English people really govern no
change in the conditions that help the rich can be looked for.
An investigation of a great scandal has been ordered
by the house of commons. The charge is that the corporation of London
has illegally spent $100,000 in luring people to attend mass meetings
called to protest against the bill for the reform of the city
government. This is worthy of Tammany in its palmiest days.
On Tuesday rumors were rife to the effect that Bismarck
would demand Boulanger’s dismissal as Commander-in-Chief of the
French army. Later reports declared this to be false. Premier
Goblet, in Paris, said to a New York Staats
Zeitung reporter that, while the election
results in Alsace-Lorraine were complimentary to France, the French
government had no idea of taking advantage of the dissatisfaction
there to precipitate war. He said Boulanger would, in the end, be
honored by France and Germany alike. As to the patriotic league in
France Goblet said that it was already disrupted and
knew it. Other reports show that Prince Bismarck has pursued a
despotic course in Alsace, where the people voted against him.
Societies have been disbanded, and the people humiliated. The
supplementary elections show that the national liberals and radicals
have united everywhere to defeat the socialists. Berlin returns four
radicals, and, as formerly reported, two socialists—all opposed
to the septenate. The radicals (new German liberals), who were so
badly beaten in the first vote, have done well in the supplementary
HE WANTS TO KNOW!
Will the “Herald” Be Kind Enough to Tell Him?
The Herald, in an editorial expression of its
sympathy for the starving crofters of Scotland, remarks:
We can at least thank God for America, where these
caste privileges do not prevail, where “a man’s a man for a’
that,” and where, for the present, at any rate, there is so much
land that socialism has no reason to grumble and the poorest may have
a farm for the asking.
Well, I want a farm. I am perfectly willing to ask for
it, and all I want to know is, Whom shall I ask?
I am not greedy. I don’t want much of a farm. I don’t
want a farm that anybody else is using. I shall not interfere with
or disturb anybody; but just go right along, put up a little house
for my family and do my best to make a living by the exercise of such
modest strength and talents as it has pleased God to bestow on me.
The farm I have selected is situated on Manhattan
island, at the intersection of West 129th street and Seventh avenue.
It measures about a quarter of an acre. The soil is not particularly
fertile; but as it has been lying fallow since the memory of man
runneth not to the contrary, it will probably raise fairish crops for
a year or two at least. At present it is principally used as a
receptacle for empty tomato cans and as a stamping ground for cats.
Will the Herald aid a respectable American citizen in his pursuit of happiness by
telling me with what person, corporation, or authority I must file my
application for this farm? Also in what form must the application be
made, and how soon can I obtain possession?
I make these inquiries thus publicly because there
are to my knowledge quite a number of decent, hard-working men who
are anxious to select and settle on farms in this vicinity so soon as
they can learn what little formalities
are necessary to be observed in the matter. I make it,
too, because I feel that I am the representative of a class whose
condition is analogous to that of the Scotchmen with whom the Herald sympathizes so keenly. I am a sort of
American crofter, as it were. I was born here, in the city of New
York, the descendant of a line of New Yorkers. I have just as much
attachment to the place of my birth as any Scotchman can possibly
have to this. I want to live here and to bring up my family here, and
I find myself unable to do so, for the same reason exactly that lies
at the bottom of the Scotchman’s trouble, because I can’t get land to
live on. The only difference is that in Scotland the land is being
turned into doer parks, while here the tendency seems to be toward
I reject as unworthy of a thinking mind the idea that
when the Herald tells
me I can have a farm for the asking, it means a farm in Dakota or
Alaska, because if that were what the Herald meant it couldn’t, in the very nature of things, have any more
sympathy for the Scotch crofters than for me. It would be just as
easy for the Scotchman to go to Dakota or Alaska as for me to do so,
and he would have just the same privilege of land-getting after he
got there that I should. The Herald sympathizes with the Scotchman because he wants a farm right there,
in Scotland, where he was born, and it tells me, in effect, that my
condition is happier by contrast because I can get a farm right here where I was born by asking for it. All right.
I have selected my farm and I ask for it publicly. Will the Herald please advise me what to do next?
T. L. McCready.
[End col. 3, p5]
ANSWERS TO QUERIES.
Cheap Farms for City Workers.
YORK, Feb. 14.—What prevents unemployed laborers from entering
upon agricultural pursuits now? I know of available farms to be sold
for a song, and farms to be cheaply rented for money or on shares.
Why are not these opportunities used? Persons engaged in charitable
work inform me that it is almost impossible to induce the poor to
leave the city. Poverty stricken men and women are furnished good
positions in the country, but within a month they return to the city
to renew the old struggle. Charitable organizations assert that this
is a most exasperating feature of their work, which leads me to think
that even though land nationalization should be accomplished, our
underpaid and suffering laborers would refuse to become farmers.
Nevertheless, I believe you are morally right and must succeed.
If land were nationalized city workers would not, as a
rule, become farmers. But men who are farmers, both employers and
hands, would, if idle land were made free by taxing land values and
abolishing all other taxes, which is what we assume you mean by land
nationalization, get much more for their work than they get now, and
set in motion a wave of prosperity that would be felt all along the
line of labor. Every farm hand who left land already under
cultivation to cultivate adjoining free land, either for him self or
another, would not only improve his own wages but also those of city
would it be necessary for any city worker to take his old place. It
would be filled as a displacement in water is filled; not by a supply
from a distance, but from the neighborhood. The effect of his resort
to free land would be felt everywhere without any greater
displacement of labor at any point than was involved in his climbing
the fence that separated the land in use fro the land out of use.
It is not to the entry of unemployed city laborers
upon agricultural pursuits that we must look for relief. The great
desideratum is that labor of all kinds and wherever located, shall
have elbow room; that there shall be a constant local demand for
workers; and that the workers’ product shall not be diminished by
private taxes, nor even by a public tax, except what he may pay to
the public for a privilege such as the exclusive right to use valuable land. This is
to be accomplished not alone by opening idle agricultural land to
also by encouraging the most productive uses of all land and
collecting into a common fund the value of such as has value. The
erection of a city house or the working of a mine opens avenues of
employment—makes elbow room for labor—and tends to
improve the condition of all workers, as well as would the shifting
of city laborers to distant farms, and that does not, as this often
does, involve the displacement of local labor.
But available farms are not cheap. When you speak of
farms to be sold for a song or cheaply rented, you do not mean
relatively to their productiveness but to the value of more
productive farms. He who buys or rents a cheap farm will get a scanty
living. Were it otherwise the farm would not be cheap. Wages are
the difference between the value of the products and the value of the
opportunity; and as they are, all things considered, nearly the same
thing everywhere, the cost or rent of a farm advertises its
productiveness. For example, if wages are 10, a farm worth a rental
of 20 produces 30, while one renting for only 5 produces but 15. It
is therefore on an average immaterial whether labor resorts to the
dearer or to the cheaper opportunity. This, together with the facts
that the change from city life and occupation to country life and
farming is radical, and that they have not the “song” to
city workingmen from investing “songs” in farms.
The reason that protégés of charitable
institutions abandon “good” positions in the country to
renew the old struggle in the city is that the positions are not
good. A sense of exile, entire change of occupation, domestic
drudgery, poor pay, and many other things which must be experienced
to be understood, may make the position that appears good to the
philanthropist exceedingly undesirable to the object of his charity.
The “position” of convict in a well-managed penitentiary is
“good” compared to the misery that thousands suffer in our
tenement districts; but who so poor that he would not leave it and
resume his struggle in the city. Throw open the idle land that lies
all around, and charitable organizations will no longer be
exasperated by the “ungrateful” conduct of poor workingmen.
Then everybody will be able to get work without extreme change of
employment, or becoming an exile, or soliciting work as a charity.
Land and Cattle.
Chicago, Feb. 20.—In answering a correspondent
who asked how cattle could justly be private property if land was
not, since neither is a product of human labor, you say “land is
limited; cattle may be multiplied indefinitely.” This is
unsatisfactory. The owner of a farm can, by good tillage,
and so on, make his farm more productive and thereby increase and
multiply the land precisely as the owner of cattle can by labor
increase and multiply his stock.
The answer referred to was in these words: “Land
is limited; cattle may be multiplied indefinitely. Land is essential
to human life; cattle are not. Cattle would disappear from
civilization but for human labor, while the surface of the earth and
all it contains would be the same if human labor ceased.” You
not only select a single clause of this answer, as if that embodied
the whole, but also treat the statement that land is limited as if it
meant limited in productiveness instead of in area.
The owner of a farm may increase its productiveness,
but he cannot increase its area, and if he increase its
productiveness the increase belongs not to the category of land, but
to that of improvements, and would, on the plan proposed in “Progress
and Poverty,” be exempt from taxation. The farm owner does not
increase the land, as you assert. What he does, and it is true that
he does that precisely as the cattle owner increases his stock, is to
increase his capital. The value of this capital, which may readily be
determined by comparing the market value of his improved land with
the value of unimproved land that offers equal natural and social
advantages, is his private property just as, and for the same reason
that, cattle are the private property of the cattle breeder; but the
value of the land itself, irrespective of improvements, the value of
the natural opportunity without which there could be no improvement,
belongs of right to the whole people. The unyielding limitation of
land surface, by limiting natural opportunities, clearly
distinguishes property in land from property in cattle.
But not only is land limited, while cattle may be
multiplied indefinitely, but land is essential to human life, while
cattle are not, and its existence does not depend on labor, while the
supply of cattle does. Careless critics are apt to confuse the latter
distinction, as you have the first. It occurs to them that as labor
cannot create a cow any more than it can create an acre of land, one
is as much a gift of nature as the other. They forget or do not know
that creation is not involved in human labor. Labor creates nothing;
it only produces or brings forth. It gives direction to the forces of
nature and shape to matter, producing cattle or grain, iron or
lumber, clothing or shelter, as it may determine; but in every case
the source of its product is the land. The product is rightfully
individual property until through the inevitable processes of nature
it returns to its source; but the source itself no man can
exclusively own [End
col.4,p5] without depriving others of
their equal right to the enjoyment of its bounty.
There is the same distinction between property in the
soil and property in cattle that there is between property in air and
property in tame pigeons, or property in the sea and property in fish
taken from the sea. You may suppose that a fisherman who by a
judicious use of bait makes extraordinary catches, has increased and
multiplied the sea but no one except a few editors who are looking
into industrial questions with their eves shut will agree with you.
Cattle are produced by labor as truly as is clothing
or food. But there is no such thing as producing land; there is
nothing to produce it from.
Compensation for Abandoned Buildings.
Feb. 14.—Suppose I own a home, and the land becomes so valuable
that I cannot afford, merely for a home, to pay the proposed land
value tax, would I be compensated for the building upon abandoning
the land to business uses. VICTOR.
This question presents a plausible objection to the
land value tax because of the difficulty of comprehending the great
change in conditions that such a tax would bring about. We are apt to
imagine the tax as operating in conditions as they are and not as
they would be. Knowing that land values take sudden leaps, making
homes give way to business, it seems, as you intimate, that a tax
based on the value of land would confiscate the home owner’s
building; but these sudden leaps in land values are mainly due to the
present system which encourages speculation and locks up land. If
land values were taxed so as to discourage the holding of vacant
land, values would rise gradually, spreading outward from centers
with the spread of population. In such circumstance your case would
hardly, if ever, occur, so as to be a hardship. You could move the
building intact, or tear it down and use the materials; or if it was
suitable for the use of your successor, it could be appraised and the
value paid to you by him.
if hard cases like this might occur, is that an argument against the
proposed system of taxation? Has it not a great deal of the flavor of
the Georgia deacon’s denunciation of abolitionists because they
wanted to deprive the widow Smith of her solitary “nigger,”
her only means of support? If you are of a statistical turn exhaust
your imagination in figuring out the possible number of such cases,
and compare that total with the number of men who by the present
system are prevented from getting homes, added to those who, with
every recurring business depression, are squeezed out of the homes
It is not necessary, however, to consider the
changed conditions which a land value tax would effect, nor to weigh
actual hardships of the present system against possible hardships of
the system proposed. This tax would, by raising wages and exempting
consumers from taxation, so improve the condition and enhance the
independence of every producer, that the case you suppose, while it
might involve a loss, could not involve suffering. Of course, an
ideal condition is one in which producers receive, retain and enjoy
their products without diminution; and so long as the case supposed
were possible, we should fall short of that ideal. But we shall be
aiming at the ideal and get nearer to it if we lay all taxes on land
values, even though somebody does once in a while have his house
turned into secondhand building materials. Yet it is possible to
avoid that. Public funds, realized from ground rents, would serve a
better purpose than they serve in the pockets of landlords if applied
to compensation for improvements in cases like yours.
Shall Big Capitalists Escape
Miss., Feb. 16.—Your theory being to tax lands, and not
personality, in what manner would you reach bonds, hoarded money,
manufactories, railroads (the rolling stock) and other corporations?
It may happen that a man may hold government bonds; may have money
and may hold railroad and other corporation stock and bonds, or may
invest his money in merchandising or various other ways, and not own
an acre of land. How do you propose to make these classes of our
citizens bear their part of the burden of government? W. B.
To tax land is not our theory. It is land values that
we propose to tax, and to exempt not only personality, but everything
except land values. If this were done no one would pay taxes except
those individuals who appropriate to their own use values that
rightfully belong to all the people in common.
of land of no value would pay nothing; others would pay according to
the value of the land they occupied.
We would not make any effort to reach bonds, hoarded
money, manufactories or railroads. We do not believe it is right to
tax these so long as there is a common property of sufficient value
to bear all public burdens.
If bonds represent actual products they should be as
free from taxation as the products themselves; if they represent
fictitious values, and are therefore mere instruments for taxing some
people for the benefit of others, as many corporation bonds and most
government bonds are, they should be reached by another process than
that of taxation. Some adaptation of the criminal law might be
appropriate in the case of fraudulent corporation bonds.
There is no reason why hoarded money should be taxed.
Money is only a medium of exchange, as useless when hoarded as an
empty freight car on an abandoned railroad, and quite as harmless,
unless bad money laws permit speculators to thrive by contracting and
expanding the money volume. For this evil, however, the remedy is not
to tax hoarded money, but to amend the bad currency laws. It is as
senseless to tax a man’s hoarded money as to tax his Sunday boots.
And why should manufactories be taxed? Are they not
products and instruments of labor? Have we too many manufactories,
that we should reduce their number by taxation? Let us have all the
factories that people are inclined to build and operate, and let us
make it easy to build and operate them by abolishing all taxation on
them and their products.
As to railroads, we believe that they, like all other
highways, should be common property. But they are products of labor,
and while private property should be free of taxes like other
products, we should not impede the building and burden the operation
of railroads by taxation.
Your fear that men who hoard money or invest in bonds,
corporation stock or merchandise without owning an acre of land would
escape their part of the burden of government is groundless. Every
man, including bondholders and the like, has an equal interest in the
land values of his community; and when taxes are paid out of those
values the man who does not own land contributes as surely as the man
who does. The taxes are paid from a common fund. What troubles you
is this: You notice that some people who have no landed investments
are rich, while others who own land are poor, and you suppose that
the land value tax would make the former richer and still more
impoverish the latter. But the truth is that the inordinately rich,
whether their wealth comes immediately from merchandising, stock or
bond investments, or land, are indebted for most of it to the fact
that natural opportunities are monopolized. Private ownership of land
for use generates private ownership for speculations.
That makes available land scarce [End
col.5, p.5] and gives rise to a class of
men who are dependent on others for work. This produces a competition
for employment that forces wages down. Thus out of the earnings of
labor and at the expense of the laborer both the great capitalist and
the great landlord are enriched without working. This is an evil. But
the remedy is not to recognize the system of pillage, and levy a tax
which would fall on the property of the producer as well as on the
plunder of the monopolist. It is to go back to first principles,
which teach that products of labor are rightfully private, and
natural opportunities public property. Levy your tax on the value of
the latter, and common values would go into a common treasury;
natural opportunities, having no value, would be free, and the
products of labor that have been already plundered would soon return
to the earth whence they came. Under such a system of taxation no one
could grow inordinately rich and no one could be rich in any degree
except as the resultof his own industry. The latter would be justly entitled, free of taxes,
to all he had.
Shall Ownersof Watered
Stock be Compensated?
The first question to be met in the agitation for the
acquirement by government of the means of transportation and
transmission of intelligence is, What will be the effect on
investors, for no one is foolish enough to suppose the people would
buy railroads and telegraphs at the price fixed by the corporations.
The primary object in granting public privileges is to
benefit the community; and where a privilege is so abused as to be
harmful, it is a duty to promptly recall it. We have never given up
our right of eminent domain. We can take for the public use any
species of property at an appraised valuation. Would it work a harm
then to any one if, by due process of law, we should condemn the
property of a railroad or telegraph company for
public use, paying what it cost? The notion that prevails among
eminent financiers whose center of gravity is the great gambling den
known as the New York stock exchange, is that the value of a property
is determined by its earning capacity, and if a corporation is
earning more than a legitimate return upon its paid up capital or
upon the face value of its issue of stock, the managers at once look
around for ways and means to increase its indebtedness, and thus
bring the return to its nominal capital within the limits prescribed
by law. This process of swelling the bookkeeping indebtedness of
corporations is called “stock watering.” If a corporation
can get a larger return for the use of its actual capital than
capital receives when engaged in other branches of industry this
return is not really interest, but is taxation, it being wholly a
return for monopoly. It is as natural for capital to seek the largest
return for its use as it is for man to seek to gratify his desires
with the least exertion, and any continuous increase of returns to
capital in one undertaking over the returns in other undertakings is
due to monopoly. Therefore if a corporation is so circumstanced (as
were our elevated railroads) that the returns, not only to the
capital paid in, but to the entire issue of capital stock, are so
excessive, so far beyond the liberal limits allowed by law, that in
order to confine such returns within “lawful” limits an
issue of stock far beyond the actual cost of construction is
required, we see at once that this stock represents no capital
whatever, but simply the power, claimed by such corporation by virtue
of its monopoly, to tax the people.
Monopoly, or the power of taxation, had never been
consciously given by the people to any other corporation than the
government, and it is clearly illegal for any corporation other than
the government to levy and collect a tax. Stock watering or the issue
of certificates of stock far in excess of the actual value of a
corporation’s paid up capital or plant, is, therefore, an
effort to capitalize a privilege, to demand a return for monopoly,
and it assumes to exercise an exclusive function of government, the
authority to levy taxes. The capital stock of these incorporated
institutions can only represent the actual cost of the plant, right
of way, etc. Stock issued in excess of this is water, and has no
value whatever. No matter what Wall street operators may be willing
to pay for a watered issue of stock, they cannot give it an actual
value. A bill has been introduced in both houses of the New York
legislature which is intended to prevent the capitalization of
monopoly. It provides that all incorporated institutions, such as
railroad, telegraph, telephone and electric light companies, shall
make a statement of their actual paid up capital, and all earnings of
such companies in excess of ten per cent upon said paid up capital
shall revert to the state and be applied to the purposes of government, as is the case with revenue derived by other methods of
taxation. There can be no question of injury to any stock or bond
holder in this. In no court of the country can the plea of innocence
prevail. The court assumes that all know the law, and if I purchase
a piece of land I am not guaranteed occupancy except in so far as the
title is perfect. If a flaw be discovered the plea that
paid the purchase money in good faith will not avail me.
The stocks or bonds of corporations can have no
representative value other than the value of the paid up capital or
cost of construction of the plant of such companies. Stocks or bonds
issued upon the assumption that monopoly can be capitalized represent
no value whatever, and if an investor purchases such stocks or bonds,
what rights to indemnity can he have? Clearly the stock or bond
holder, no matter how “innocent”, is entitled to no
recompense from the rest of us for capital invested in worthless
MEN AND WOMEN.
James Redpath is fast recovering. Every day adds to
his bodily strength, and his intellect is as clear as a bell. Dr.
Dana, who has fetched him from death’s door, says his patient
will be in his old haunts in the course of a month, though not to
commence serious work fur a season to come. Though daily in receipt
of many congratulations from a wide circle of warm friends and
admirers, confinement within four walls goes hard with this man of
many fights. He looks forward anxiously to the time when he shall be
out and doing, and have a part in that fight of fights which, years
ago, after slavery had been driven from the land, he entered upon
when he cried, “We now propose to abolish poverty.”
Mr. Andrew D. White has declined the president’s
invitation to him to accept a position on the inter-state railway
commission. New York democrats are angry because the offer was made.
Geo. II. Pendleton, minister to Berlin, to whom the
gossips have been assigning a cabinet position, has sailed for
The McGlynn Testimonial.
publisher of THE STANDARD acknowledges the receipt of the following
sums for the fund for Dr. McGlynn:
J. Haggerty, Garden City, L. I._________________ $1.00
Bestelmeyer _______________________________ 1.00
W. Rose, New York city _____________________ 2.00
F. Bryon, New York city___________________ 1.00
Connolly, New York city ____________________ 1.00
M. Segin, Memphis, Tenn. ______________________ 2.50
Rogers, Perry, Iowa __________________________ 2.00
W J. H., Sacramento, Cal.
J. H. _________________________ $1.00
McCabe __________________ 1.00
acknowledged ________________________ 769.00
[End of p. 5]
Standard, March 5, 1887, Page 6
SIMEONI’S ATTEMPTS TO INTERFERE IN IRISH
FOUR YEARS AGO.
How Prohibition from Rome helped the Parnell
Testimonial—Vigorous Denunciations of Interference by Priests,
Politicians and People.
profound ignorance displayed by the press and people of New York in
the Dr. McGlynn controversy concerning the political relations
between Catholic priests and laymen and the higher ecclesiastics of
the church would have been impossible had the truth concerning the
great commotion in Ireland four years ago over the Parnell
testimonial been generally understood on this side of the Atlantic.
the beginning of the year 1883 the Irish people were watching with
hopeful interest the operation of Gladstone’s new land bill,
and the necessity for the maintenance of the splendid fight the Irish
nationalists had made in parliament was manifest to all of the
friends of Ireland. It was reported that Mr. Parnell, the leader of
the nationalists, was in pecuniary straits, and that he was
threatened with the loss of his heavily mortgaged family estate at
Avondale, in county Wicklow.
sustain the leader a testimonial movement was proposed, and Rt. Rev.
T. W. Croke, archbishop of Cashel, wrote to the Dublin Freeman’s
Journal, sending his check for [£?
$?] 250 as a first subscription toward a
grand national tribute to Mr. Parnell. There was a fairly liberal
response, but the sum raised was disappointing to the friends of the
cause. By the time that $30,000, not half the amount needed to
emphasize the significance of the undertaking, had been collected,
subscriptions had fallen off, except now and then a few straggling
contributions came in from country places.
the subscription and strongly-worded letter of the archbishop of
Cashel the attention of Rome was attracted to the movement. Cardinal
McCabe, archbishop of Dublin, had, during the whole of the land
league agitation, out-Englished the English in denouncing it. On one
occasion his denunciation, in a pastoral letter, of the league’s
doctrines had been so bitter that Thomas Mayne, a member of
parliament from Tipperary, and hundreds of others, among them James
P. Archibald, now of New York, arose and marched out of the
pro-cathedral in a body when the priest who read the pastoral came to
the clause denouncing the land league.
Sir George Errington, who had not then acquired his title, a Castle
Catholic member of parliament from Longford, was known to have left
his place in parliament to make frequent visits to Rome, where he was
busily intriguing against the nationalists at the instance, it was
commonly supposed, of the English government. All of this caused
considerable uneasiness among the Irish patriots, but even this did
not prepare them for an open denunciation of the Parnell testimonial
and an attack on Archbishop Croke, the most beloved of the Irish
prelates. The appearance then of a circular from Rome, dated May 11,
and addressed to the Irish bishops, naturally created, as that
journal said, “a profound sensation,” when it appeared in
the Freeman’s Journal of May 16. The English papers received the circular with undisguised
delight, while the Irish people received it with mutterings of anger
and amazement that soon swelled into a chorus of indignation that
made itself heard within the walls of the Vatican itself.
circular, as translate by Cardinal McCabe himself from the original
Latin, read as follows:
may be the case as regards Mr. Parnell himself and his objects it is,
at all events, proved that many of his followers have on many
occasions adopted a line of conduct in open contradiction to the
rules laid down by the supreme pontiff in his letter to the cardinal
archbishop of Dublin and contained in the instructions sent to the
Irish bishops by this sacred congregation, and unanimously accepted
by them at their recent meeting in Dublin. It is true that according
to those instructions it is lawful for the Irish to seek redress for
their grievances and to strive for their rights, but always at the
same time observing the divine maxim to seek first the kingdom of God
and His justice, and remembering also that it is wicked to further
any cause, no matter how just, by illegal means.
is, therefore, the duty of all the clergy, and especially the
bishops, to curb the excited feelings of the multitude and to take
every opportunity with timely exhortations to recall them to the
justice and moderation which are necessary in all things, that so
they may not be led away by greed of gain to mistake evil for good or
to place their hopes of public prosperity in the shame of criminal
acts. Hence it follows that it is not permitted to any of the clergy
to depart from these rules themselves or take part in, or in any way
promote, movements inconsistent with prudence and with the duty of
calming men’s minds. It is certainly not forbidden to collect
for the relief of distress in Ireland, but at the same time aforesaid
apostolic mandates absolutely condemn such collections as are raised
in order to influence popular passions, and to be used as the means
for leading men into rebellion against the laws. Above all thing
they (the clergy) must hold themselves aloof from such subscriptions
when it is plain that hatred and dissensions are aroused by them;
that distinguished persons are loaded with insults; that never in any
way are censures pronounced against the crimes and murders with which
wicked men stain themselves, and especially when it is asserted that
the measure of true patriotism is in proportion to the amount of
money given or refused, so as to bring the people under the pressure
the circumstances it must be evident to your lordships that the
collection called the Parnell Testimonial fund cannot be approved by
this sacred congregation, and consequently it cannot be tolerated
that any ecclesiastic, much less a bishop, should take any part
whatever in recommending or promoting it. Meanwhile we pray God long
to preserve your lordship.
Johannes, Card. Simeoni, Praefectus.
first response of Catholic Ireland to this interference from Rome in
Irish politics was a tumultuous wave of enthusiasm in behalf of the
Parnell testimonial, which the sacred college could not approve or
tolerate. Men who had hitherto appeared to be indifferent hastened
to subscribe, and many who had already given money doubled and even
tripled their subscriptions, announcing as their reason for so doing
the interference of Cardinal Simeoni in the matter. O’Connell’s
old cry, “a much religion as you like from Rome, but no
politics,” rang out as loudly in Catholic Ireland as it now
does in New York city. The uprising of the Irish national spirit was
perhaps stronger and certainly more effective than it was in support
of O’Connell’s historic stand against the veto.
excitement ran through the whole island. Catholics, while careful to
say nothing against the religious authorities in Rome as such, freely
denounced the cardinals as intermeddlers in Irish politics. So
fierce and unanimous was this denunciation that to this day any
reference to the Irish national question by priest or prelate
visiting Rome is heard with fear and trembling by the sacred
congregation of propaganda. In Ireland the immediate effect was to
swell to unexpected proportions the Parnell fund proscribed in
Cardinal Simeoni’s circular.
utterances of the Irish leaders during the contest with Rome that
followed were quite as bold as any recently heard in New York. Frank
Hugh O’Donnell, one of the most scholarly and cultured members
of the Irish parliamentary party, was at that time [col.
2, p. 6] member for the borough of
Dongarven; but a little while before he had created an exciting scene
in parliament by denouncing the French embassador to England as a
persecutor of the Catholic church in France. Mr. O’Donnell’s
ardent devotion to the church was beyond question. Furthermore, he
had for a considerable time openly antagonized the authority
exercised by Parnell over the Irish delegation. Immediately after
the promulgation of the circular Mr. O’Donnell wrote to the
Freeman’s Journal, contributing $50 to the fund. He stated
that he had not intended to subscribe; “but,” he
continued, “in view of a characteristic intrigue of English
tyranny at Rome, I feel bound to add my name without delay to the
list of subscribers to the Parnell fund.” Mr. O’Donnell
continued as follows:
I am sure that in the future, as in the past, Irish
nationalists will perform their duties to their country while
revering the precepts of religion, and the curious
politico-ecclesiastical document which is the result of the
mendacious information supplied for years to the propaganda will, I
am confident, afford no occasion for a departure from the traditions
of the Irish church and Irish nation. It is not the first time that
English emissaries have poured the poison of lying assertions into
the unsuspecting ears of the Vatican and beguiled with specious
mendacity the pastoral simplicity of distant pontiffs. It required
all the exertions of the great O’Connell and the Irish nation
in his day to preventthe odious and enslaving veto of the English government being imposed
upon the Irish episcopate by the weak concessions of Rome, and it is
notorious that, for many years, an English Camarilla in the vatican,
principally recruited from English New Catholics, with a sprinkling
of denationalized Irishmen, has left no endeavor unused in order to
procure by surreptitious means the practical re-enactment of the veto
project. This Camarilla, basely ungrateful for the liberty of
Catholic belief achieved by the herculean labors and martyr-like
sacrifices of the Irish people, has especially constituted itself as
a sort of scandal-mongering and tittle-tattle league, for the purpose
of impressing upon the chief ecclesiastical dignitaries at Rome, the
truth of the slanders and libels against Irish nationality published
by the organs of Ireland’s enemies. In my own experience as a
journalist, my attention has been arrested on innumerable occasions
by the splendid mendacity of the statements on Irish affairs
ventilated in such journals as the Osserratore
Roman, the Moniteur de
Rome and similar organs; neither is there any
mystery as to the names of the chief liars-in-waiting who do the work
of calumny at the ear of the vatican. . . .
For my own part, as a Catholic politician, I
unfeignedly regret the apparent adoption by the propaganda of the
unfortunate maxim of “No priests in politics.” In every country in the world in which the priesthood has been prevented
from associating itself with the national movement it has been
necessary to carry on the national movement without the esteemed
co-operation of the priesthood.
. . . . . . . . . . . . . .
John Dillon, at that time member of parliament for
Tipperary, and now representing one of the divisions of the county
Mayo, sent [£? $?]25,
accompanying which was a letter, as follows:
The circular will have two effects: first, to increase
greatly the affection that the Irish people already have for Mr.
Parnell, and secondly, to give a great stimulus to the Parnell fund.
What does this circular mean? It means that because Mr. Parnell stood
for his own oppressed people with splendid courage and dogged
perseverance against frightful odds, and because he has proved too
much for Ireland’s enemies, and has wrenched from them some
concessions for his people, the English government hate him and are
resolved to crush him if they can. Finding that his popularity
remains unshaken in Ireland the English government appeals to Rome to
aid them to crush him; but the Irish people, unless I am much
mistaken, will think more of Mr. Parnell now than ever they did
before. I have already had an opportunity of becoming acquainted
with the horrible system of slander with which the propaganda is
besieged in reference to Ireland. Wealthy Englishmen resident in
Rome—Mr. Errington, the private agent of Lord Granville, and, I
regret to say, a few renegade Irish—have been for some time in
unholy alliance to blacken and traduce the Irish people and the Irish
priests, and the work of slander went on day by day and week by week
until there was, at last, extracted from Cardinal Simeoni and his
holiness this circular, which has been a bitter blow to nine out of
every ten Catholics of Irish blood throughout the world. This
circular, outraging, as it does, the political convictions of more
than half the Irish bishops and of nine-tenths of the Irish priests
and Catholic people, has been issued at the request of the English
government and for the miserable clique of pauper landlords who
infest Rome. . . . .
is the clear duty of the Irish race unless they are contented to
efface themselves and remain forever contemptible serfs? The one way
to meet this blow is to make the Parnell fund such a splendid success
that the propaganda will realize how grievously it has been deceived
by those men under whose influence the circular was issued.
Sexton, M. P., like the others, a distinguished Catholic, who is
regarded as the leading orator of the Irish party, expressed his
views upon the circular at a meeting of several thousand Catholic
citizens of Dublin. He said:
This circular is regarded as an act of political
service to the very minister who, in his pamphlet called
“Vaticanism,” insulted the Holy Father and defamed the
Catholic church, and to the very government which at this moment
insults the Catholic jurors of Ireland by permitting its judicial
officer to deny to them the exercise of the first and most important
duty of a citizen of a free country. . . . I believe it is not for
the good either of the papacy or of Ireland that any attempt should
be made to deal from Rome with what the English newspapers call Irish
disaffection, but what I call
patriotism. The most flourishing days of the Catholic church in
Ireland were those days when the prelates and the priests of Ireland
were the principal agents in the work of what is now called Irish
disaffection; and I say it will be an evil day
if ever the power of the Catholic church is cast against the holy
feeling of the human heart, which the English
press calls disaffection, but which I call pure and honest love of
country. We shall regret if we be fated to endure the loss of our
most potent and valued a allies in this movement, but with allies or
without them the movement must go forward.
remarks from three of the best known public men in Ireland may be
taken as a fair expression of the torrent of opposition to the
interference in Irish politics of one whom Michael Davitt, at the
mass meeting in the Madison Square garden, called “the ignorant
pro-English Roman Simeoni.”
the protests from the clergy were stronger. One such, printed in the
Dublin Freeman’s Journal and signed by Father M. D. Lemhan [?],
the Catholic curate of Rehy, ran thus:
is the essence of a law that it be for the good or advantage of the
community. It must be just. It cannot oppose the eternal law, or the
natural law, or the divine positive law. An unjust law is a mere
abuse of power and cannot bind in conscience. Apply these conditions
to the circular. That document says it is not lawful for a priest to
contribute to or promote the Parnell testimonial. . . .
have never promoted turbulence. I have restrained outrages and in so
far as one poor person can, shall not I lawfully give a mite to him
who has got so much for Ireland?
has spent all his wealth, the best years of his life, his whole
energies in behalf of Ireland, and shall I, a child of Ireland, be prohibited by a Roman cardinal and an African
bishop to express my gratitude?
still more emphatic demonstration of Ireland’s resolve to
permit no papal intervention in her national affairs was made a few
years later in connection with the appointment to the archiepiscopal
sec of Dublin.
the death of Cardinal McCabe, early in 1885, Errington and other
English agents at Rome resumed negotiations at the Vatican, with a
view of securing the nomination of a successor to the cardinal who
should be favorable to the British connection. The Freeman’s
Journal, noticing this attempt to crush the
Irish movement through Rome, sounded a note of warning in the
is no wonder that rumor and intrigue [col.
3, p.6] should both be active, for in all
truth seldom, if ever, has the appointment of a great dignitary of
the church involved considerations of greater significance or been
more likely to entail consequences of far-reaching importance. The
idea of a gutter agent of the English government in Rome having the
effrontery to declare who shall be archbishop of Dublin is absolutely
revolting. The recognition, tacit or otherwise, of Mr. Errington’s
nomination would be even more monstrous and degrading than submission
to the veto which Ireland so indignantly rejected in Quarantotti’s
time.” In a few days all Ireland was in a flame, and at meetings
everywhere throughout the country popular indignation was expressed
in emphatically-worded resolutions. The clergy of Dublin, in the
exercise of their canonical right of a voice in the selection of
their bishops, met and all but unanimously nominated Dr. Walsh, then
president of Maynooth college, and known to have strong sympathy with
the national cause. Immediately it became apparent that at
the feeling was against Dr. Walsh because of his patriotic
proclivities. The cardinals, and even the pope himself, were
evidently resolved to yield to Errington, and appoint either Dean
Neville or Archbishop (now Cardinal) Moran of Sydney, Australia, both
strong opponents of the Parnellite movement. Early in May the Irish
bishops were summoned to Rome, ostensibly on business relating to
general interests in Ireland, but in reality, as everybody believed,
to be sounded, and, if possible, won over to the anti-Irish side in
the matter of the Dublin archbishopric. Immediately before his
departure Bishop Nulty addressed a pastoral letter to his clergy and
people which attracted widespread attention, and produced a profound
impression all over Ireland and Great Britain. The purport and drift
of this remarkable pronouncement may be judged from the following
is a very melancholy, and indeed a very awful fact, that great
Catholic nations like France, England and Scotland have practically
apostatized from the faith. That fact is surrounded with very
salutary as well as with very unpleasant warnings. I do not believe
that the Irish nation will ever follow their fatal example, but I do
believe it would be nothing short of criminal rashness to expose it
to the danger or temptation of doing so. I can find no evidence of a
divine promise made to any nation, any more than to our own,
guaranteeing to it the indefectibility of its faith in all
circumstances. Neither can I see any solid grounds for believing in
a special exceptional Providence which would save Irish multitudes
any more than Irish individuals from renouncing their allegiance to
the church in a paroxysm of passion, either in retaliation for some
imaginary interference with their political freedom or to avenge an
insult or an affront which they had rashly assumed had been offered
to them by the holy see.
Ireland thoroughly understood the spirit and the meaning of the
“unpleasant warnings” suggested by the bishop. In
England the pastoral was interpreted as a “menace to the pope.’
That it was intended as a pretty plain intimation to his holiness
that Irish Catholics would most positively refuse, even at his
bidding, to discontinue their agitation against landlordism and
castle rule everybody recognized. In Rome the Irish bishops had a
stiff fight, as was evident from the dispatches published from day to
day in the Freeman, of
which the following are samples:
is confidently expected in the Vatican entourage that the pontiff
will not indorse the views of the Irish Episcopal majority in favor
of the Parnellite party. His holiness will forbid the Irish bishops
to adopt any angry or aggressive policy against Mr. Gladstone’s
cabinet [then enforcing coercion in Ireland] and will admonish them
to advocate the redressal of their country’s grievances in an
essentially constitutional manner, disavowing all connection with the
supporters of the nationalization theories of Mr. Henry George.
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
telegram from Rome states that the pope has selected for the
archbishopric of Dublin Monsignor Moran, archbishop of Sydney since
1883, who has accordingly been telegraphed for. All the efforts to
induce the Irish bishops to assist the pope by ceasing their
insistence for the nomination of Dr. Walsh as archbishop of Dublin
have been in vain. A reply from Mr. Errington respecting the
representations he was charged to make to the English government on
the subject is anxiously expected at the Vatican. The resolute
attitude of Bishop Nulty, Archbishop Croke and the other patriot
prelates at Rome was sustained by the storm of agitation in Ireland.
In the national press and on the league platforms the doctrine of “no
politics from Rome” was loudly proclaimed. T. D. Sullivan, the
Catholic editor of the Nation, declared that if England were permitted to strike at the Irish
movement through Rome the Irish people should and would fight Rome
and England for their national rights. United
Ireland scourged the castle Catholics and
their policy, and sent its warning to the Vatican in the following
a warning to those who may be tempted to imitate Cardinal McCabe’s
view of his duty, it is necessary to remember that it was not any
compunctious visitings on his own part, but the stern resistance he
encountered from the Irish race, that prevented Cardinal McCabe from
making shipwreck of the loyalty of Ireland to the holy see for the
gratification of a gang of rack-renters and castle officials.
. . . . . . . . . . . . .
McCabe will, we trust, be the last archbishop of the pale. The wave
of nationalism has completely submerged the capital to the very
boundary walls of Dublin castle, and the archbishop of Dublin who for
the future should attempt to use his sacred influence to resist the
most cherished aspirations of the nation, with whatever rustle of
applause from courts and drawing rooms, would be an anachronism and a
scandal too pitiful to contemplate.
result was that Rome was forced to bend to the national will of
Ireland and give the Catholics of Dublin the bishop that they and
their clergy desired to have, and whose politics were in accord with
the sentiments of the people.
idea of nationalizing the railroads and telegraphs is gaining ground
every day. The more the question is agitated and discussed the more
apparent its advantages and benefits become.—[Sheboygan, Mich.,
the Henry George system of taxation were in effect today the poor
laboring men of Vincennes would not have to practice “years of
close economy” in order to save enough to get a right to live on
God’s earth. Now, though the poor laboring men of Vincennes have as
much right to live on the earth as anybody, they must pay somebody
for the privilege.—[Vincennes, Ind., News.
is always a comfortable thing to own real estate in town or country
where population and wealth are increasing, and where there is a
moral certainty that in time the original investment will be greatly
enhanced in value.—[Pittsburg Chronicle-Telegraph.
unquestionable right to the soil on which a citizen lives, fosters a
love of locality and of country. Free the land from the dominion of
money, and each citizen may have a home. He will then feel that the
country is his. Payment of rent to the individual for using what
the Creator placed here for the enjoyment of all, makes a mockery of
democratic institutions. —[Hemstead, Tex., Advance Guard.
An Orthodox Baby.
the New York Sun.
Lewiston newspaper says that the little daughter of a well known
clergyman was heard talking as she lay in her crib the other night.
She said: “Dear Lord, this afternoon I saw out upon the cold
sidewalk a poor little girl, and she had no shoes or stockings on —
and—and”— hesitating as though staggered by the
problem—”it’s none of our business, is it, God?”
Sunday Laws and Eight Hour Laws Analogous.
a legal point of view Sunday laws are not religious enactments, but
police regulations in the interest of public health, belonging to the
same family of statutes as the eight hour laws which labor
organizations are advocating. But they are religious laws in origin
and spirit. It was not regard for the physical welfare of man, but
reverence for the decalogue that prompted the Puritans to declare the
first day of the week a day of rest from secular vocations. When
however, in later days it came to enforcing an observance of this
legalized holy day upon people who recognized the seventh and not the
first day as holy time, constitutional guarantees of religious
freedom compelled the courts to make a distinction of persons which
the Sunday laws did not warrant, to annul the laws altogether, or to
sustain them on purely secular grounds. The latter course was
adopted, and Jews who worshiped on Saturday and
did business on Sunday, seventh day Baptists who observed Saturday
with Judaic strictness but made hay on Sunday, and infidels who made
hay or sold merchandise on both days, found that the constitutional
guarantee did not avail them. The courts said: “This law
interferes not with your conscience. It leaves you free to observe
any day as holy time. It does not compel you to any religious
observance. All it does is to restrain you from pursuing secular
vocations on the first day of the week. This is a reasonable police
regulation. All experience teaches that ceaseless work is destructive
to health. It is, therefore, within the province of the legislature
to enforce periods of leisure for recuperation, and that these
periods, to be effective, must be uniform throughout the community is
as a religious or holy day is a substitute for the Sabbath of the
Jews. Jesus having arisen from the dead on the first day of the week,
that day was observed by Christian converts as the Lord’s day. Converts from Judaism long observed both the Sabbath
of their native religion and the Lord’s day of Christians, and in the
early centuries of Christianity cessation from labor on the latter
day was enforced by law. The day, however, was more a holiday than a
holy day, until English puritanism transformed it into a Judaic
Sabbath. That this example of the Puritans is losing force is matter
of common observation, so apparent that a leading religious paper not
long ago admitted editorially that the Sabbath had been surrendered.
Few, perhaps, will deplore the surrender of that tiresome, dreaded
Sabbath, the memory of which punctuates the history of their
childhood with dismal periods; but if Sunday as a regular day of rest
from monotonous toil is to go, the people, and especially laboring
people in existing circumstances, may almost wish the Puritan Sabbath
was this editorial admission that Mr. Crafts undertook to refute in
“The Sabbath for Man.”(1)
The Sabbath for Man. A study of the origin, obligation, history,
advantages and present state of Sabbath observance, with special
reference to the rights of workingmen, based on Scripture,
literature, and especially on a symposium of correspondence with
persons of all nations and denominations. By Rev. Wilbur F. Crafts,
A.M. New York and London: Funk & Wagnalls. 1885.
book is a scrap book, but it is a wonderful scrap book. From nearly
every nook and corner of the globe he has gathered information
relative to Sunday observance, and in the form of extracts from
newspapers, sermons, letters and lectures, has strung the whole
artfully upon a ”clothesline” of comment. Considering the great
quantity and variety of material, his work is harmonious in
arrangement and interesting to read. But Mr. Crafts falls into the
common error of his profession of appealing to the opinions of “great
fact that Charles Sumner was “almost the only man of eminence in
modern times” who favored the continental Sunday does not argue
that he was wrong, any more than the fact that Lincoln, Garfield,
Webster, Seward and others, who favored, but many of whom did not
practice Sunday, observance, proves that Mr. Crafts is right. The
opinions of “great men” on moral or religious questions
usually reflect the opinion of their time and country. Most of the
“great men” of continental Europe would probably agree with
Mr. Sumner, as would the great men of Caesar’s time if they could be
consulted. Mr. Crafts recognizes the truth of this when he is
confronted with Luther’s condemnation of Sunday as a Sabbath, and
without ceremony brushes aside the opinion of that great man.
is perhaps natural that one who has written, read and thought so much
about the importance of a Sabbath, and whose professional
associations inspire him with the belief that popular discontent is a
sin, should attribute the “mass of volcanic discontent ready at
any moment to exchange the tyranny of a monarch for the greater
tyranny of a mob,” to lack of a Sabbath; and that he should
oppose Sunday amusements because ”the nihilists and socialists of
the most extreme type, who seek to destroy all religion and morality
as much as they seek to destroy social distinctions, who are atheists
and advocates of the grossest sensuality, are found in the very towns
where art galleries, music halls and theaters are open on the
Sabbath.” But his premises are false and his conclusion
inconsequential. Mr. Crafts has relied too much on newspaper
editorials for his facts. The volcanic discontent to which he
alludes is not ready to exchange “the tyranny of a monarch for
the greater tyranny of a mob,” nor do nihilists or atheists seek
to destroy all religion and morality. Men who go to the scaffold for
a principle are not without religion. Theirs may not be Mr. Crafts’
religion, but it is religion none the less. But if the facts were
what Mr. Crafts asserts, the tyranny of the monarch, rather than lack
of a Sabbath, is the true cause of that “volcanic discontent”
which he deplores, and it would be just as logical to imply that the
irreligion and sensuality of socialists and nihilists is due to
Sunday churches as to Sunday art galleries. If men are ready to
exchange “the tyranny of a monarch for the greater tyranny of a
mob,” it is because the present tyranny of the monarch is felt
and the prospective tyranny of the mob is not; and if they “seek
to destroy all religion and morality as much as they seek to destroy
social distinctions,” it is because the only religion and
morality they have ever been taught is dominated by and made
subservient to the privileged classes, whose social distinctions and
privileges oppress them.
repugnant feature of Mr. Crafts’ book is his frequent appeals to
greed—his asseverations that it pays financially to keep the
Sabbath. So far as he defends Sunday observance as a civil
institution this is legitimate; but such a defense of the Sabbath as
a religious and moral institution is abhorrent. Yet instances of
business success, traceable to keeping the day holy, are frequent in
his book, and in one place in the appendix he, with approval, quotes
this from a rich man: “Shrewd business men are wont to regard
those who honor the Lord’s day with favor, and upon those who
dishonor it they look with distrust and suspicion.” In the same
line of argument he quotes Justice Strong of the United States
supreme court, who said: “There is profound political economy in
the question, What would a house and lot be worth in Sodom without a
Sabbath, a church and a preacher?” The connection between piety
and money-making is a commonplace in these degenerate days of the
church, but it is one of those vices which, [col.
5,p.6] while it may be tolerated, cannot
be candidly spoken of without a shock. But the quotation from Judge
Strong is suggestive of more than money making. If it is Sabbaths,
churches and preachers that give value to real estate, and to some
extent this is true, it is hardly a fair thing, to circulate the
subscription lists among tenants, when churches are to be built and
preachers paid. They pay twice—once to the church fund and
again to their landlords.
however lame Mr. Crafts may be at times in his appeal for a Sabbath,
he is strong in his plea in behalf of workingmen for a regular day of
rest. “With the first encroachment upon the New England
Sabbath for business and pleasure,” he says in one place, “those
employed on that day received double pay for their labor. Then the
compensation came down to that of other days, and now the men are
generally hired by the month, and get no more than other workmen of
the same grade who rest on the Sabbath.” This is pretty much
what might be expected, and it illustrates the philosophy of the
eight hour movement. In communities like ours, where laborers are
under the necessity of working to live, and yet by reason of private
ownership of land are dependent upon the wants or whims of others for
the right to work, any rule enforcing a reduction of working time,
whether of days in the week or hours in the day, tends to raise
wages, while relaxation of that rule tends to lower them. Editors
who, in the alleged interest of workingmen, teach a different
doctrine, may derive profit, if not pleasure, from Mr. Crafts’ book.
Mr. Crafts asserts the necessity of preserving the sanctity of the
Sabbath as a condition of preserving Sunday for rest, he does not
favor a dismal nor insist upon a churchly Sabbath, and so far as
legalization is concerned seeks to maintain it as a civil institution
only. That he is right in supposing the religious institution
necessary to preserve the civil institution must, as things now are,
be conceded. So long as workingmen are not free the influence of
Sunday laws will be more or less a dead letter, unless earnestly
supported by church influence. Employing bakers, for example, would
not persistently violate these laws as they do now, if they or their
customers had a superstitious regard for Sunday. But with workingmen
relieved of the fears of losing a job that harass every employee,
masters seeking them instead of their seeking masters, as it would be
if idle land were not fenced in, there would be no occasion for
Sunday laws. As a civil institution Sunday would, by general consent,
be a day of rest, and as a religious institution it would be observed
by those who accepted it as a holy time and respected by all others.
A. Chapman of Haddonfield, N.J., writes a strong letter, the length
of which deters us from printing it fully, indorsing THE STANDARD’S sentiments deprecating a nation’s arming in time
of peace. He says: “This age of progress could and should
do away with the curse of war and the keeping of large armies ready
to go into it. Wrongs could be righted by good statesmanship, fair
play and honest dealing; more humane and much less expensive than
blowing people to pieces with Gatling guns. Soldiers are not needed,
but their maintenance helps to weigh the people down to the
starvation point.” The true policy of a nation, he declares, is
for peace, and he calls upon the Knights of Labor and all other
workingmen’s organizations to strongly and persistently oppose any
proposition to arm our republic in such time of tranquillity. All we
require is “a good system of police; not bullies, but
well-disposed, orderly men, who could control the desire to club and
shoot a fractious multitude.” He predicts that the rise of the
labor party to power will result in the downfall of this monstrous
injustice and cruel custom.
D. of St. Louis, Mo., says that all the schemes advanced at
Washington for the disposal of the surplus are intended for the
further enrichment of the rich, but there is never a plan in aid of
the poor. That there “should be millions of men in enforced
idleness and abject poverty, homeless and landless” in a
country where there are “millions of acres of idle land and
millions of idle money” in the national treasury, he denounces
as a burning shame.
Richardson of Philadelphia, who has for some years advocated man’s
birthright to land, writes that he has recovered from the despair
into which he had fallen and is now filled with great hope for the
future. But one thing is wanted, he says, and that is unity of the
laboring people. Once united, they have it in their power to right
every wrong. There may be great hardships, but, he says, “Let us
remember one who had not where to lay His head, and who at last
cried: ‘O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, how would I have gathered thy
children together, even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her
wings, and ye would not.'” He quotes from Joel Tiffany, now an
old man: “Whosoever would countenance the system of land
monopoly and resist the right of man to a free and inalienable use of
the soil as a means of supplying his natural necessities and the
necessities of those dependent upon him would as quick deny to him
air to breathe, or water to drink, and would as gladly make
merchandise of one as the other. The man who would drive the crushed
and perishing laborer from the soil unless he would buy of him the
right to occupy it would as soon, had he the power, monopolize the
air, the light, the water, and see the poor laborer die for want of
breath, or grope his way in perpetual darkness for want of light, or
famish for want of drink, unless he was able to cash up for every
breath of air, or for every ray of light, or for every swallow of
water, and the one would be as right, as honest and just as the
other. That these things are so cannot be denied. That the laborer is
plundered and made poor, and then disrespected and despised for his
poverty, is as true as heaven. . . . The situation of the laborer in
the old world admonishes us of what is preparing for him in the new
unless labor is emancipated. The same causes are at work here, and
will ultimately produce the same results, until the “frame of
things disjoints.” The Almighty will not change the principles
of His government to suit them to the false positions and relations
of men. If labor would be emancipated and blessed it must come into
true relations to the divine government. Until it does this nothing
can save the laborer from injustice and oppression.
we break our Father’s promise, we have nobler duties first;
traitor to humanity is the traitor most accurst;
is more than constitutions; better rot beneath the soil,
be true to church and state while they are doubly false to God,
owe allegiance to the state; but deeper, truer, more,
the sympathies that God hath set within our spirit’s core.
country claims our fealty; we grant it so, but then,
man made us citizens, Th’Almighty made us men.
A Good Bill.
Paterson, N. J. Guardian.
Assemblyman Matthews has introduced a bill, aimed at
pool conspiracies, which ought to become a law. It provides “that
no corporation organized under the laws of this state shall enter
into or make agreement with societies, companies or corporations,
within or without the state, to withhold from the markets or ordinary
channels of trade, or to refrain from sending or bringing into this
state, for any period of time, any article of food or fuel, or any of
the necessaries of life, or any natural or staple product, either
manufactured or unmanufactured, or in any limited quantity thereof,
the result of which would create or tend to create a scarcity of such
[col. 6, p.6]
TAXING LAND VALUES WOULD IMPROVE THE CLIMATE.
Farmer Suggests a Way to Tame the Western Cyclone and Prevent Death.
ILL. Feb25.—Replying to Mr. Tucker on the
effect upon small farmers of taxing only the rental values of land,
THE STANDARD says we must always have floods, hail and drought. If it
is meant that we must always have these as we now have them, that we
must always fear them and suffer from them as we do now, the
proposition may be disputed.
is no reasonable doubt but that changes wrought in the earth’s
surface affect the atmosphere over it. Nor can there be a reasonable
doubt but that we can make such changes in the soil as to affect the
atmosphere so as to produce a more equable or more rigorous climate.
section of central Illinois where I have resided for nearly fifty
years has always been subject to floods, drouths, tornadoes and
blizzards, even when nearly the whole surface was covered with
primitive woods and indigenous grasses, but the more we chop and
plow, the greater these evils become. Nearly every family now has a
storm pit, into which thunder storms very often drive men, women and
children, even at midnight; and such is the wreck, ruin and
destruction of life wrought by our tornadoes that these people cannot
be called cowardly for so doing. Many who in their childhood would
have laughed at such precautions, would now think a man foolhardy who
did not provide such a refuge for his family. We have not to look far
to find an explanation for such phenomena.
trees, whose branches partially shaded the soil in early spring, and,
as the season advanced and their leaves put out, gave a denser shade
against a sun daily growing more ardent; their bolls, branches and
leaves absorbing tons of moisture to slowly evaporate, as atmospheric
conditions required water in gaseous form—are too largely cut
away. We still seem to have a good deal of timber, but any one who
will draw an accurate map, so as to compare the timbered with the
cleared land, will be surprised to find how much his eyes have
deceived him. Here and there one may find a fine grove of young,
thrifty woods where, in his younger days, were only bushes and
prairie grass; but if he goes to that grove in the winter or chopping
season he too often finds the ruthless axe doing direful duty.
native grasses that once covered every square foot not under water or
in too dense a shade are nearly extinct. The blue sedge, of whose
long, smooth canes, when a boy, I made arrows, is now rarely seen;
long-bladed slough grasses, once so convenient for shed roofs and
stack covers, can rarely be had in quantities large enough to pay for
gathering. Yet these not only covered the ground where trees were
lacking and prevented a too rapid evaporation, but their tough roots
also held back the water and filtered it gently on its way to the
water courses, and as no great gullies and washes were made, our
creeks and smaller rivers ran clear over gravelly bottoms nine months
in the year. Take rod and line and go now where once your young heart
leaped over piscatorial triumphs, and amid a desolation of mud you
may find part of a rill of the old mill dam; but the mill has gone
with the miller; and if you see a minnow, even in the most propitious
season, you will do well. Stop to take a drink at some favorite
spring, and nine chances to one you cannot even tell where it
your gun and go to the high table lands we call prairies, and instead
of the well-remembered marshes and ponds, the haunts of millions of
water fowl, where till even the heats of July the water was held and
slowly fed all our streams, and you will find plows running in our
well tilled fields, or cattle grazing on clover or blue grass
pasture. If you talk with the farmer he will admit that after he
tilled his land his wells gave out, and he has had to resort to
artificial ponds or to cisterns, even then running short of stock
if we observe these changes and try to understand the part that trees
and ponds and grasses play in the economy of nature, we shall see why
we suffer so much more than we once did from drenches and drouths,
from blizzards and tornadoes. We shall learn, too, of the direction
we must take in order that we may make our climate better, instead of
worse, as we are making it now. If we have a bright, beautiful day in
the spring of the year, we say with a shy glance at the sky, “This
is a weather breeder.” And if this fine day should be followed
by two or three more, the danger of a destructive storm becomes more
imminent; for there are millions of acres of quite naked soil exposed
to the rays of the sun, and many million tons of water go up into the
atmosphere and make it a good conductor of electricity, while the
same process has made the ground a relatively poor conductor, so that
great and violent changes of polarity must necessarily occur.
Over a large contiguous territory clouds have hung during the same
days; and since opposite meteorological conditions have been induced,
the efforts of nature to restore an equilibrium over both must result
in great atmospheric disturbances.
“horse” sense, as we farmers sometimes put it, ought to
show us what is necessary to be done. Though we may not know now just
how to do it, he would be bold indeed who would say that we never
could do it. For the intelligence of man seems to have been intended
to fill out or complement the cruder efforts of nature. We must
prevent a too rapid evaporation of moisture, and retain the water
upon our high lands, not on, but underneath, the surface of the soil.
Suppose, by way of practical illustration, we should dig deep, wide
ditches every two or three rods, keeping the bottom level, so that
the trenches would hold water, walling up the sides to within two or
three feet of the surface of the earth, then arch over, or use large
sewer tile instead of walls and arch, and then fill up, after laying
common train tile over and across these underground reservoirs;
here we should secure a dry, and loamy surface that would receive and
absorb the heaviest rains as fast as they fell; the reservoirs would
hold the needed stores of water and capillary attraction and the
roots of the plants would bring it to the surface only as it was
required. Evaporation would not only be steady but constant,
and hence changes in the atmosphere would be slow and never
extreme. This, or some other method, would have the desired effect,
and would follow the method which gardeners have long practiced in
potting plants, when they put a handful of potshards in the pot
before filling in the earth, thus making a reservoir for water at
some depth below the surface.
would cost too much,” says
Dollar-and-cents. “Look what a lot of money it would take to put
a single acre in that fix!” Yes, that is the trouble now; so
long as men have an interest in acquiring land and in merely owning
it, rather than in improving it, we must continue to “sow the wind” and to “reap the whirlwind.” There is no hope till we conform to natural right
and justice, and then whatever is good will pay while many hands will
make light work of it.
we see how intimate are the relations that exist between the moral
and the material worlds, between the laws that govern the conduct of
men and the laws that regulate mutations in matter, and we realize
how true it is that—
Nature’s chain whatever link you strike,
or ten thousandth, breaks the chain alike.
of p. 6]
Standard, March 5, 1887, Page 7:
HEART OF THE LABOR QUESTION.
Must Secure to All Free Access to Natural Opportunities
labor question presents itself to us Americans in this form: How
shall the production of wealth be so carried on as to secure to every
honest citizen, male or female, the means of attaining what the
Declaration of Independence declares to be inalienable rights—life,
liberty and the pursuit of happiness? That, with our present economic
system, our government fails to secure these things, is only too
manifest. To say nothing of the pursuit of happiness, the very
conditions of liberty are denied to multitudes of our
fellow-citizens, while many have the utmost difficulty in obtaining
even the barest necessaries of life. Unless our entire system of
government is to be a sham and a lie, our present economic system
must either be replaced by another or be so modified as to promote
the ends which our government proposes to itself. The question is:
What system must take the place of the present one, or how must the
present system be modified?
a great social question like this comes up, demanding an immediate
practical solution, we can often obtain valuable hints as to the
direction in which this solution is to be sought by inquiring into
the causes which have raised the question, and by observing the
principles which guide the march of civilization. In the
present instance this is especially true. The circumstances which now
present the labor problem for practical solution are the result of a series of causes by no means
difficult to retrace, while the principle that guides civilization on
its economic side is most manifest. By removing these causes and
acting in accordance with this principle we shall be most
likely to find our solution. Wealth is the result of the combination
of two primary factors—the productivity of nature, and
especially of the earth, and the energy of man. A third factor is
capital; but this is secondary, being a product of the other two.
Capital is simply a part of wealth used to increase the power of the
two primary factors. The productivity of the earth is increased by
“improvements:” the energy of man by means of implements.
Improvements and implements constitute the whole of capital. Whatever
else may be called capital— e. g.,
money —is so only in so far as it is conventionally made to
is perfectly plain that, if a man be debarred from taking advantage
of either of the primary elements, he cannot produce wealth, and,
therefore, is practically debarred from life, liberty and the pursuit
of happiness. It is also plain that, if a man be permitted to take
advantage of them only under conditions imposed by another man, he is
that man’s slave to the extent of these conditions. If I can, in any
way, be forced to labor three days for another before I am permitted
to apply my energy to the earth or its products for my own benefit, I
am that man’s slave for three days. And the case is not in any degree
altered if I am compelled, for the same privilege, to pay the
proceeds of three days’ labor, whether in money or in anything else.
matter is perfectly simple, so long as we take into account only the
two primary elements, nature’s productivity and human labor: then a
man is made a slave by being forbidden to apply his energy to the
earth and its products, save under conditions. And this may be done
in either of two ways, (1) by taking possession of his person, or (2)
by taking possession of the land and its products. In the former
case, the result is chattel slavery: in the latter it goes by several
names, according to the different conditions imposed for access to
the earth and its natural products— serfage, villenage,
tenancy, etc. So long as there is productive land unoccupied, the
masterful and selfish portion of humanity will resort to the former
method and seize the persons of their weaker brethren. Accordingly,
we find that everywhere chattel slavery is the earliest form of
slavery. As soon as all the accessible productive land is occupied by
a portion of the community or nation, to the exclusion of the rest,
chattel slavery becomes unnecessary, because the same result can be
attained without it, since those who have no access to the land are
practically the slaves of the land holders, however their slavery may
be disguised, and however frequently they may change masters. Slavery
may alter its form, but the essence of it always remains the same. It
is due, in every case, to the placing of some obstacle between man’s
energy and the use of the earth.
capital comes into play, a new series of obstacles, complicating the
social problem and disguising slavery under false names and a false
show of justice, becomes available. The strong man, who formerly
seized and held the land by main force without any pretense of
justice, now claims to hold it justly on account of the capital he
has spent in improving it, and calls upon the whole people to defend
him in the possession of what he is pleased to call his landed
property. The same man who, by possessing the land could force other
men into slavery, can now, by means of machinery, dispense in great
measure with the services of the landless, so that these can no
longer obtain the conditions of life, even as slaves. When this
happens, the result is absolute destitution, which would soon clear
the earth of the majority of the landless were it not for the action
of charity. Now, charity is an excellent thing, but it would be
entirely unnecessary if simple justice were done. Charity is the
greatest foe of justice and the greatest apologist of injustice.
Charity is the alleviator of wrongs that justice would uproot.
appears from what has been said that slavery has three forms or
aliases, following each other by natural development —
chattel slavery, land slavery, or serfage, and capital slavery, or
wage slavery. The working classes of our time are partly in the
second and partly in the third of these forms of slavery. Chattel
slavery has been abolished in all countries claiming to be civilized,
but land slavery in several forms still exists, while wage slavery
flourishes and spreads.
the question before the American people today may be put thus: How
shall we put an end to land slavery and wage slavery, both of which
are entirely incompatible with the liberty promised to every American
citizen? Let it be carefully observed that the abolition of land
slavery and wage slavery does not mean the abolition of rent paying
or of wage taking, but only of that system which forces men to pay,
what rents other men choose to ask, or accept what wages other men
choose to pay on pain of starvation. There can come no harm
from paying rent or working for wages so long as men do so from their
own free will, in accordance with a free contract.
question before us, then, resolves itself into this: How shall we
make it possible for every citizen to make a free contract in all
matters that condition life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness?
This is the heart of the labor question. Nay, more; it is the heart
of every economic problem, so far as it bears upon human well-being.
Indeed, if we now ask ourselves, What is the principle that has
guided the march of civilization in economic matters? we shall see
that it has been the gradual substitution of the free contract for
the tyranny of force-begotten custom or craft-begotten legal
enactment. The progress of humanity in civilization has been from
custom to contract. When this truth is stated in this abstract way,
it meets everywhere with the most enthusiastic approval. There is
nothing that your legal-minded stickler for rights demands so loudly
as freedom of contract; no right of which he is so jealous.
Your capitalist and your land-owner talk about interference with
freedom [col.2,p.7] of contract as about something utterly sacrilegious. And they are
entirely right, only they remind one of those Roman Catholics who are
loud in praise of religious freedom when they are in the minority,
but utterly abominate it when they are otherwise. Their loud
protests are, indeed, purely hypocritical, for all they care about is
freedom of contract for themselves. To freedom of contract for those
whose labor they require in order to make their capital or land
profitable, they are utterly opposed. Indeed, if freedom of contract
were universal, the capitalist and the land owner would be at once
stripped of all the unjust advantages which they now possess, and
very few would be able to make large fortunes. Nearly all large
fortunes are the fruit of unfree contracts. If working men were so
secured against want that they could fix their own wages, they would
not only be free, but they would be able to render impossible those
large fortunes which corrupt men with dangerous power, and so ruin
great question of the day, then, is: How shall all workingmen be
secured against want? or, How is it possible to secure to every
workingman (and woman) the means of earning a livelihood without
becoming a slave? This question, I maintain, the government of this
land is bound in honor to solve practically. It is, in one word,
bound to secure every citizen willing to work the opportunity to make
an honest, free livelihood. Until it does this, it is a sham and a
lie. It is not bound to maintain any human being able to work; but it
is bound to make it possible for every citizen to maintain himself.
I think there is but one way in which it is always possible to secure
the necessaries of life without the sacrifice of freedom, and
that is by having free access to labor’s necessary complement and
correlate, the land, and of this access man cannot be deprived
without a gross violation of justice. There is, indeed, one other way
which some propose, of attaining the same end, and that is
so-called socialism, in which the state, owning the land and all the
instruments of production, and forming itself into an universal
industrial corporation, would find work for all its members. But it
takes only a little reflection to see that socialism, though it
might, if honest, secure to all the necessaries of life, could do so
only by sacrificing the other two inalienable rights of the Declaration of Independence,
liberty and the pursuit of happiness. It could do so only by entirely
abolishing the free contract and reversing the course of
civilization. The national industrial corporation would be an
unendurable tyranny, managed by “bosses” chosen by the
majority and distributing the spoils of office among their supporters
and favorites. To entrust the very conditions of liberty and
happiness to government officials, for the sake of securing life,
would be a wretched bargain, the results of which would soon show
the other hand, if every citizen were secured in his right to a share
in the land of the nation, no amount of wealth, in private hands,
however corrupt, could make him a slave against his will.
is often said that land nationalization is socialism. If we reflect
carefully, we shall see that it is the very opposite; that it is the
opponent of and rescuer from socialism; that it means freedom, while
socialism means slavery. Indeed, the first step toward true
democracy, toward universal freedom will be the emancipation of the
land and the securing to each citizen his natural rights in it. Till
that is done, freedom and republicanism are mere words. THOMAS DAVIDSON.
LABOR SAVING INVENTIONS.
Why They Seem to Be a Curse, and
How They Might Bring a Blessing.
ORLEANS, Feb. 24.—A writer in one of the
labor papers complains of the extensive use which newspapers make of
stereotype plates. In his honest indignation he says: “Labor
papers have no business to touch the contaminated things.” And
again: “They are up to the times, buy in the cheapest market,
and patronize everything that happens to be labor saving, even when
they know that it is labor destroying.” Evidently the writer has
studied only the surface of the problem, when the cause of the evil
lies much deeper.
forgets that the editor of a labor paper is the victim of a system he
has not created, and that it is not his fault if there are more
people willing to write editorials or compositors needing employment
than he can reasonably find room for. He is bound to give the
workingman a paper at the current prices and avail himself of those
economies which will keep the costs within a certain limit. The
object of the labor paper is not, or ought not to be, the giving of
employment to the unemployed, but to educate the masses and explain
to them how and why there are so many men unemployed; and also to
indicate the reforms which are necessary to prevent in the future the
continuation of such an unnatural state. The labor-saving device in
itself cannot be an evil, especially in regard to printed matter, of
which, when not corruptive of morals, there never can be too much,
nor that too cheap. That it is not policy to encourage the use of
labor-saving machines, for fear of destroying the opportunities for
labor, is an argument no better than the one the protectionist would
make us believe, viz.: that it is better to produce in this country
certain articles at double the cost than to import them and pay for
them with articles we can produce ourselves at single cost. Men will
not work more than they can help. The existing labor-saving machine
will be perfected, others will be invented, and a day will come
when, by wiser and more just laws, every drone of the community will
be compelled to perform his share of the common duty. Then, pulling
all together, instead of fighting each other as we do now, three or
four hours’ labor a day will produce enough to satisfy all necessary
wants and a good many luxuries besides.
not the well meaning correspondent be alarmed and believe as he says,
that “removing the necessity for labor means idleness, idiocy,
disease and death—social suicide.” When the happy times
which I have referred to come, there will be a good deal of useful
leisure—not elegant leisure, as now in certain classes. Then
labor will be honored, not looked upon with contempt, as now by
certain classes. Then everybody will in a certain measure have a
chance to follow the bent of his natural talent instead of having to
drudge for ten or twelve hours a day in some uncongenial occupation.
the present state of society the labor saving machine has not
improved the lot of the average toiler. A sewing machine may be a
very useful invention to the lady in good circumstances, but the
working woman who bends her spine over it for twelve hours a day has
never been able to get more than a precarious living out of it.
Though the benefits of labor saving machines are immense, millions
are toiling harder than ever. All the advantages have gone to those
who have monopolized the natural sources of wealth. Owning the soil,
they owned the men; owning the men, they soon owned men’s genius and
controlled their product. This world as first intended by the Great
Designer was well enough, but selfishness stepped in and made a mess
those who have been despoiled of their natural rights unite and
reassert them, and labor saving devices will prove a blessing.
Pretty Soundly Educated Already.
defeat of the militia bill and the failure of the legislature to pay
the men who were called out by the governor in 1885 are to be
regretted, and show that public sentiment in this state requires
education on this subject.
The Rack-Renting Landlord.
D. Sullivan, in Dublin Nation.
a mischievous monster that lives in our isle—
came o’er with the Saxon invasion—
his heart there is greed, in his mind there is guile,
his ways are a scourge to the nation;
thrives on the bog, on the brake, on the mireland,
his name is the rack-renting landlord of Ireland—
brain-crazing, rent-raising landlord of Ireland.
pirates and robbers who battle for gold,
have read and heard many a story;
monster has methods less honest and bold,
his work is more cruel and gory;
thrives on the bog, on the brake, on the mireland,
his name is the rack-renting landlord of Ireland—
brain-crazing, rent-raising landlord of Ireland.
soon shall this pest to our island of green,
the wolf and wild boar be a stranger,
comfort and joy shall be known in each scene
he now fills with sorrow and danger;
we’ll chase from the bog, from the brake, from the mireland,
monster, the rack-renting landlord of Ireland—
brain-crazing, rent-raising landlord of Ireland.
Dr. Funk Shows Conclusively that
It Does Not Decrease the Number of Saloons.
Dr. Funk, in an address at the Masonic temple on last Sunday, denied
with great heat and emphasis the declaration by Dr. Crosby and others
that the prohibitionists were opposed to any attempt to restrict the
sale of liquor, demanding free whisky or total prohibition. Dr. Funk
declared that so far is this from being true that prohibitionists
“are in favor of all really restrictive laws.” But he
high license law is no restrictive law. As Dr. Herrick Johnson of
Chicago, who has watched its workings in that city, declares, “it
is a delusion and a fraud.” As Hon. John Finch of Nebraska, who
was the author of the famous one thousand dollar high license law of
that state, declares, “it aggravates all the worst evils of the
liquor traffic. It was the greatest mistake of my life.” It
entrenches the foul business behind the cupidity of the taxpayer; it
forces it more than ever into politics, for its financial and
political interests are greater; it drives the weaker saloon keepers
under the financial protection of the huge distillery and brewery
monopolies. The invariable tendency wherever high license has been
tried, in Kansas City, in Omaha, in Chicago, has been to add to the
saloon those vile “concomitants,” which, Dr. Crosby says,
make the saloon “an evil, an evil only, and an evil
continually,” until it has become a proverb in Omaha: “Under
low license the saloon keeper said, ‘Give me your son;’ under one
thousand dollar high license he says, ‘Give me your daughter also.’”
oppose the Crosby bill because it is not restrictive; it is a
blunder, a monumental blunder. We will oppose high license as long
as God gives us breath.
why,” says one, “if high license does not decrease liquor
selling, did the liquor men meet in Steinway hall the other night to
oppose this bill?” They oppose it chiefly because it will
increase the brewers’ and distillers’ grip upon them, as it has
done in Kansas City, in Omaha, in Lincoln, Neb. Even now sixty per
cent of all the saloons of this city are in financial vassalage to
the manufacturer, and so are seventy-five per cent of those in high
license Chicago. The brewers and distillers are not fighting this
bill, except to make believe. The rich saloon keepers are not
fighting it. Stokes, the owner of that gorgeous saloon at the Hoffman
house, says he wishes the license was made $100,000!
us hear from the west. Commercially the Mississippi river empties
into the Hudson, and the west can also give us wisdom. In many of the
large cities of the west high license has been tried now for years,
and, I speak advisedly, in every city in which it has been tried it
has resulted disastrously. It has not been a harmless experiment, a
striking at nothing and hitting it; starting for nowhere and getting
there. It has been a starting for heaven and plunging into perdition.
Dr. Funk then presented statistics showing that in Providence, R.
I., the arrests for six months of the year 1885 under license were
3,390, and in six months of 1886 under prohibition, 2,262, a falling
off of about 33 per cent. As 236 arrests during 1886 were for
violations of the prohibition law, this number is deducted from the
total, reducing the number of arrests to 2,026, showing a decrease of
41 per cent.
next took up Chicago, and gave the following figures:
fee No. of sales and disorder.
52 3,843 18,045
103 3,682 21.416
500 3,336 23,080
500 3,760 25,407
figures show some slight reduction in the number of saloons with each
increase of tax, yet taking the whole period covered the recovery was
so rapid that the number in 1885-6, under a $500 license, was but
little less than it was in 1882-3 with a $52 license; but the number
of arrests for drunkenness steadily increased during the period, the
increase in cost of license having no effect whatever upon it. Dr.
Funk declares that the law is enforced in Chicago and that nearly
every saloon pays the $500 license, but he quotes from a recent
presentment by the grand jury of Cook county evidence that the
increased tax has done practically nothing to drive out the low
dives. “Never,” he continues, “has the saloon
business in Chicago been so corrupting and dominating as since the
reign of high license. The men who monopolize the huge traffic wield
it as one man. They have become omnipotent in Chicago politics.”
Kansas City, where the uniform license tax is $845 a year—three
times as high as the average tax imposed by the Crosby bill—there
are 405 licensed saloons, or about one to every 25
voters, more than there are under the existing low license law in New
York and Brooklyn.
When to Take a Holiday.
is no doubt of the need of more holidays, and possibly this day upon
which organized labor has fixed for an annual demonstration of its
strength is as good as any other. But there is one day in the year
which the labor of the country is far more interested in making an
absolute—and obligatory holiday—and that is election day.
It is on election day that the labor of America must win its real
enfranchisement. Parades and speeches, however long and imposing the
first and eloquent the second, will accomplish nothing of themselves.
It is by voting right that the knights can alone bring about the
reforms they seek. How can they vote right if they have no time to
vote at all? If all the knights who paraded last labor day had been
at the polls on the following election day they could have elected
their candidate for congress and several of their candidates for the
A Vacant Lot in Asheville.
N. C., Advance.
Asheville a vacant lot of about one-fourth of an acre sold the other
day for about $10,000. A nominal price was originally given for it
by the purchaser, who claims never to have spent one iota on its
improvement. The lot became valuable by the growth and industry of
Asheville. The people of this community have by their own exertion
and prosperity given value to something that had no value. It is the
same thing as if they had
placed on that lot $10,000 of their own earnings. We maintain that
this belongs not to the so-called land owner, but to the community
that created it.
A SUM IN PROPORTION.
With Some Considerations on the Profitableness of
hundred and twenty-five thousand dollars! Don’t you wish you had it?
you had $325,000, my friend, you could— you could—well
now let’s consider a moment and study out just what a sum like that
per cent is not a very heavy rate of interest, with good security.
Let us suppose that you invest your money at four per cent. At that
rate your $325,000 would bring you in an income of $13,000 a year.
average annual earnings of American wage workingmen are, let us say,
about $600; of women—young, old, middle-aged, healthy and
infirm —say $300, and of children, we may suppose, about $150.
$13,000 a year, then, will command the work for one year of:
men, and four-sixths of a man over;
of forty-three women, and one-third of a woman over;
of eighty-six children, and two-thirds of a child over.
to put it another way, it gives you the power to call on the people
of New York to furnish you yearly with something like:
hundred and sixty beeves,
three thousand sheep,
twenty-six hundred barrels of flour,
one hundred and thirty thousand loaves of the best bread.
needn’t multiply the illustrations. You can amuse yourself for an
hour, if you like, by figuring out what $13,000 a year represents,
first in one thing and then in another.
is this the kind of idle talk with which I propose to disfigure the
columns of THE STANDARD! Haven’t
I anything better to tell you than a lot of old “chestnuts”
about the command that money gives a man over the producing powers of
his fellows? Wait a bit.
few weeks ago a block of vacant land, comprising thirty-two full city
lots, bounded by 121st and 122d streets, Mount Morris Park and Sixth
avenue, was sold by the Astor estate for $325,000.
land, mind you! Not land that had been built upon, or improved by
tillage, or utilized for any purpose under heaven; but just land that
had been kept vacant.
simply in return for signing a piece of paper containing its gracious
consent that somebody else shall have the right to keep those
thirty-two lots of land vacant if he wants to, the Astor estate has
received authority to call on the people of the city of New York to
furnish, year by year, henceforth and forever, free of charge, the
men and women and children and beeves and sheep and barrels of flour
and loaves of bread represented by an income of $13,000 a year. I’m
not altogether certain what an Astor estate is, but I would to God I
were one! I would to God that by signing some sort of a written
permission to some other fellow to do nothing if he chose to, I could secure the free services of an assortment of humanity,
consisting, we’ll say, of ten men, fifteen women and a dozen or so of
children, with a few society saviors or similar job lots thrown in to
make full count. The situation might not be strictly ethical, but
I’ll warrant it would be comfortable— for me, that is.
think this sort of talk is nonsense, eh? and wonder what I mean by
it? My dear fellow, I never was more strictly serious in my life.
Regarded solely as the owner of those thirty-two vacant lots, the
Astor estate has not only produced absolutely nothing — has not
only never done the first hand’s turn of work itself, but it has gone
farther still and actually prevented other people from producing
wealth by putting a fence round the land on which they might have
worked. The world is not a penny the richer nor a heart’s
thrill the happier for anything the Astor estate has ever done on or
to those thirty-two vacant lots. On the contrary, it is many a dollar
the poorer and by many a bitter pang more miserable. Mothers’ hearts
have been rent with anguish for their little ones stewed to death in
tenement houses for want of the fresh air that overblows those vacant
lots. Strong men have walked the streets workless and
an-hungered who would have gladly delved in that sacred soil.
Houseless girls have sought in dens of sin the shelter that they
might have found on that idle, unused laud. God has been defied, and
Christ blasphemed, and prisons filled, that the fences round those
lots might be inviolate. Year after year men who wanted homes for
wives and little ones have tried to bribe the Astor estate to let
them build upon that land: and year after year the Astor estate has
steadily refused. As population grew denser and denser, the
proffered bribes have risen higher and higher, until at last even an
Astor estate’s cupidity has been satisfied, and it has graciously
accepted the privilege of taxing the people of the city of New York
to the tune of $13,000 a year forever, and in return— done
what?—pulled down its fences and restored the land to the
outraged people whose mere presence and pressure had created its
value? Deuce a bit of it! It has turned the fences over to some one
else, who hopes to hold them inviolate until he, in turn, can squeeze
an extra privilege of taxation out of the crowding, struggling
myriads to whom the fathers of the Christian church proclaim that God
Almighty made this pleasant earth for the benefit of a favored few!
Think it out until you realize the robbery! Ponder on it until you
comprehend the wrong!
then, consider yet a little more. For the privilege of using or not
using less than two acres of bare ground, which God made and no man
can add to or diminish, we of the city of New York consent to give
the Astor estate, forever, the labor of twenty-one men out of our
are on this island of Manhattan 137,000 city lots.
of these lots have less rental value than those the Astor estate has
just disposed of, but many of them have far more. The thirty-two lots
we have been considering represent, if anything, less than the
average. It’s a simple sum in rule of three. If we allow the Astor
estate to tax us $13,000 a year because it “owns”
thirty-two lots, how much taxes do we pay the whole body of
landowners because they “own” 137,000 lots?
go up head. And now tell me how you like it.
millions of dollars yearly—the labor of nearly 100,000
able-bodied men year in and year out; the toil of 200,000 weary
women—that is what we have pledged in perpetuity that Astor
estates may be and saviors of society grow rich and foolish priests
malign their God by pretending that He approves it all!
mind you, we pay an extra dollar or two in the shape of taxes—you
and I and other landless ones whom God allowed to come into the world
think of it! think of it! Fifty-five millions of dollars yearly; well
nigh sixty dollars for each and every man, woman and child that lives
upon this island of Manna-hatta — this island whose rental
value we and our forbears have increased from nothing to this
prodigious sum, and are still increasing. It is all our own. We made
it and are making it; and we only have a right to it, as those who
come after us will have the right in their turn. How long shall we
wait ere with united action we stretch forth our hands to take our
know that it is written in the Gospel of Things as They Are that
God’s laws were never meant to prevent poverty—that He, the
loving One, is powerless to abolish it, even if He would. I
have heard it preached from pulpit and rostrum, but I don’t believe [col.5,p.7] it. Nor do you. For neither you nor I can imagine a Father in heaven
loving enough to devise a scheme to save our souls from the pit of
hell, yet cruel enough to leave our bodies wallowing and writhing in
the dismal slough of poverty. From the lips of Him who died to save
our souls came the precept that shall suffice to save our bodies:
“Whatsoever ye would that men should do unto you, even so do ye
also unto to them.” Only this — a short, but all-sufficing
rule. Quench and quell that dog-in-the-manger spirit that seeks to
claim the monopoly of God’s free gifts to man — acknowledge
once for all that our God is a just God and knows no favorites among
His children — and poverty shall vanish away like some dank
miasm before the rising sun; and though the Astor estate may have no
slaves to work for it, it will yet find ample comfort in its just
share of the bounties Heaven has provided for us all.
Moody is establishing a missionary training school in Chicago, and
expects to have one hundred pupils, who will attend upon instruction
in the morning hours and devote the afternoons and evenings to
visiting non-church attendants and holding gospel meetings.
New York presbytery has undertaken to settle a large question by a
simple assertion for those who will receive its utterances. On
motion of Dr. Crosby, it was “Resolved, that the presbytery
hereby emphasizes the declarations of the confession of faith, ‘the
holy scriptures of the Old and New Testament are the word of god,’
that the Old Testament in Hebrew and the New Testament in Greek are
immediately inspired of God, and that there is a consent of all their
parts.” Many men with the highest reverence for the Bible are
protesting against the statement.
Philadelphia divinity school has made a new departure in providing
its students with lectures on secular subjects important to
clergymen, such as the care of the body and the minister’s
relation to money matters, a physician and a banker lecturing in the
members of the Episcopal church are excited over the publication of a
little book for children by one of their book houses, which sets
forth such advanced doctrine that Bishop Bedell calls upon his
brother bishops to prevent its circulation. The publishing firm will
endeavor to suppress the book in face of this opposition.
tithe question has led to a religious census of Wales, which puts the
national church in a very unfavorable light. This census was taken
Jan. 9. The fact that it was to be taken was widely advertised, and
resulted in swelling the ordinary congregations, both of the state
church and of dissenting denominations. It is said that rectors and
curates manifested unwonted diligence in visiting their flocks, and
that faces appeared in the pews which had been absent for years.
Bishop of Salisbury has refused to allow Rev. Dr. Dewe to act as
curate to Rev. Carr J. Glyn of Witchampton, and gives his reason
thus: “I am unwilling to have a man taught the principles which
you conscientiously hold as to the amount of help to be extended by
churchmen to dissenters.” Mr. Glyn had been opening a bazaar
held by the Wimborne Baptists.
Madison Avenue Congregational church, of which Dr. Newman was pastor
when Gen. Grant attended it, has given up its corporate existence.
There was $14,000 left in its treasury, of which $8,000 was given to
the Morrisania society and $6,000 to the Tabernacle church of
small sect of Jews inhabit an Austrian village, Lagadora, who keep
their rabbi in a state of almost regal splendor. The recent death of
this official has called attention to the little synagogue. Each
rabbi appoints a successor to take office at his death. The person
in office is thought to have the gift of prediction and healing, and
is called “the miraculous rabbi.”
of the religious papers are just now abusing the socialists, and the
editorials of some of them indicate an ignorance of socialism and a
fear that their readers may become converts to the theory.
new translation of the gospels into French is to be made and
circulated under the sanction of the archbishop of Paris.
Washington’s birthday visitors to the Mount Sinai hospital
reception left contributions amounting to some $5,000.
trouble and excitement of the Polish Catholic congregation of Detroit
last year have resulted in the presentation of a bill in the Michigan
legislature by a senator who is said to be a Catholic, which proposes
that although the bishop holds title to church property, there shall
be a joint control of the property by the bishop, the vicar-general,
and parish priest and three parishioners. In the excited discussion
over the proposed measure the senator (Gorman) says that the purpose
is to protect the interests of those who work hard for the money that
builds churches, and that both priests and laymen have urged him to
push it. He has been asked to name such priests, but replies that he
cannot violate their confidence lest their “heads be cut off.”
tory member of parliament, Mr. De Lisle, is reported as saying at a
conference in London that as a Roman Catholic conservative he
denounced the conduct of Archbishop Croke of Cashel, Ireland, in
openly encouraging the conduct of the Irish national league, and he
said he would like to have the archbishop tried for his conduct by a
jury of English Catholics in London!
is an interesting controversy looming up in the desire of some of our
Catholic journals to know why their clergy do not receive a
proportionate number of appointments as army chaplains. Adjutant
General Drum has been forced to write in reply a letter which is not
at all satisfactory.
church congress in the United States is to meet in Louisville during
the third week of October. Drs. Phillips, Brooks, Huntington,
Donald, Bishop Harris and other well known persons are appointed to
take part in discussing questions which are now agitating the
The Universalist refers to
the taunt that has always been thrown at its church, that it is not a
missionary body, and bids those who have promised to bless it
whenever it may become such to get their benediction ready, as the
church is moving to organize for the foreign work. The new theology
men rejected by the American board may find employment in this
direction to go abroad without a padlock on their lips.
THE CURSE OF LANDLORDISM.
Wretched Condition of Many of the Missouri Farmers—
Plenty of Evictions.
MO., Feb. 25.—THE STANDARD and its theories of taxation have many admirers and staunch supporters in this portion
of the country. Landlordism has cursed and blighted the fair face of
this state as it has many others. One-third or one-half the crop is
the usual rent for farms. I know of one instance in which the
landlord, after exacting one-half the crop for the privilege of
cultivating his soil, charged his tenant one dollar per month for
pasturing a cow on a piece of land which never had been in use and
was being held for higher prices. The improvements on the rented
farms are usually of the most
insignificant and miserable kind. In many cases the stock,
having no shelter whatever, are exposed to the mercy of the weather
year in and year out. The landlords refuse to make any improvements
and will allow their tenants nothing for improvements. Though
the state [col. 6, p.7] is but sparsely settled, many people know what it is to be “turned
out” for non-payment of rent and to be compelled to buy from
some one the very privilege of breathing the air of heaven. The
effects of landlordism may best be seen in the southern portion of
Ray county — a tract of country bordering on the Missouri river
known as “the bottoms.” This is the landlord’s paradise.
The land is generally divided into tracts of four, five and six
hundred acres, the owners usually residing in a neighboring town or
city, though occasionally on their estates, in houses that appear to
the simple and ignorant tenants much as the “dwelling place”‘
of “my lord” or “his grace” seems to a Scotch
crofter or an Irish peasant. To enter these abodes is a rare
treat, and to become a guest in them is an honor seldom conferred.
These estates are usually divided into farms of forty, sixty and
eighty acres. The tenants are usually very poor, ignorant and
improvident—the natural fruits of landlordism. Their earthly
possessions, consisting of the most scanty and rude furniture, a
“plug” team and an old wagon and a few old
agricultural implements, range in value from $150 to $300, a sum
that would not purchase a decent piano for their master’s parlor.
They work during the summer season from 4 a. m. to 9 p. m., with an
hour for dinner and less time for supper. If a crop fails or a horse
dies, they are plunged hopelessly into debt. These men are citizens
and voters of a free (?) republic; their vote counts as much as that
of a sage or scholar; they are usually kept informed, by their
landlord, on topics of the day, and advised how to vote on “important
measures” and also as to the particular candidate that will
likely make the best officer! These people live and toil year in and
year out with as little hope of ever owning land as “Fatty'”
Walsh has of “changing heart.”
friend, who has traveled by wagon, through the greater part of the
“government” land in South Missouri, which the land office
offers subject to the homestead and pre-emption laws, informs me that
there are not one hundred acres of it that would raise black-eyed
beans, most of it being mountainous and rocky and unfit even for
this sketch of landlordism in Missouri is not true it is simply
because I have not dwelt upon the darkest side of the picture —
the arrogance, haughtiness, insolence and assumption of the landlords
and the ignorance, vice, drunkenness and brutality of the tenants. It
is true the tenants have the privilege of emigrating, but where shall
they go? and of voting, but in whose interest are they most likely to
vote? I trust that all may redouble their efforts in behalf of that
noble cause, the land for the people.
The Gospel in South Australia.
Commonwealth, a well edited radical paper in
Adelaide, South Australia, advocates “the stoppage of the
further sale of crown lands and the restoration to the people of
lands already alienated.” Its argument is that all human beings
have an equal right to the elements of nature.
title-deed to this right is the fact to have been born. Since, then,
every child born has an inalienable right, by the fact of its birth,
to land, no one can rightfully dispose of the inheritance of future
generations; and therefore by selling our lands we sell that which
does not belong to us, which we can only hold in usufruct during life, and which we have to give up at our death to the
following generation. By restoring the land to the people we mean the
values given to the land by the action of the community as
distinguished from improvements on it. This value, having been
created either by public expenditure or the joint action of the
community, or as a free gift of nature, belongs rightfully to the
whole community, but has hitherto been and still is being confiscated
by a few monopolists. In order to restore this value to the rightful
owners, the whole people, we advocate a tax on the unimproved value
of land by which this unearned increment is gradually to be absorbed
and devoted to purposes of government. The land could still be held
in perpetuity, subject to periodical revaluation and adequate
taxation. Amounts originally paid to the state to be treated as
“improvements,” and to be exempt from taxation.
The Professionals Befuddled.
the last ten years wage workers have been devoting more thought to
their condition than they ever did before, and as a result of this
thinking they have been gradually getting down to bottom principles.
The Knights of Labor have greatly aided in this work of education,
which was bound to affect politics sooner or later. The professional
politicians, who knew nothing of this silent revolution that has been
going on for the last decade, believe that the George movement is
merely an episode in politics that will not permanently affect the
older order of things, provided they use a little dexterity in the
management of George’s supporters. Those who understand the
real character of the revolt that the machine men expect to subdue
must smile at the absurd way in which these political freebooters are
trying to win back the allegiance of the men who voted for Henry
Land Monopoly Lowers Wages.
monopoly and consequent ground rent drives hundreds of thousands of
men out of agriculture and reduces the compensation of those who
persist in tilling the earth that other men own. Those crowded out of
agriculture crowd the labor market, swelling the great army of the
unemployed, and by competing for employment with those already thus
engaged, crowd wages down to the same level as is earned by the
rent-paying agriculturist. By freeing the land many would become
their own employers and labor would command, in any field, a
compensation equal to that which might be earned in such
of p. 7 text, followed by ads for Keystone Watches and for
Great American Tea Company.]
Standard, March 5, 1887, Page 8:
coopers struck during the past week in this city. Fifty men went out
at the Photo-engraving company’s shop, at 67 Park Place, to enforce
an increase of wages and an adjustment of grievances. There are only
about 100 competent men in this occupation in this country, and the
strikers feel sure of a victory. The coopers’ strike
originated with the “sympathy” strike of several weeks
ago. On last Saturday 600 men employed in cooper shops in this city,
Brooklyn and Jersey City went on strike for the reason that the
employer’s union would not prevent its members from furnishing
barrels to the firms whose men were on strike. The men did not go
out at four cooperage is in Jersey City, and the bosses say that the
non-union shops can turn out all the work needed.
At the Central labor
Union on Sunday resolutions were adopted denouncing Mr. Powderly [?]
for instructing local assemblies not to collect money for the Chicago
anarchists. Resolutions were also adopted censuring Judge Brown for
his decision in the case of members of D.A. 49 and the Old Dominion
steamship company, characterizing the report of the Hogeboom
legislative committee as unfair, and protesting against the arrest of
the organizer of the telegraph messenger boys. The union was
petitioned by George Ehret’s employees to remove the boycott on his
beer, but the request was not complied with. A resolution was
carried calling for the organization of branches of united labor
party in all parts of the country.
There is a new
organization of printers in the city. It is called the Manhattan
printers’ protective fraternity, No. 11, and it was organized
on Jan. 12. Its object is: “The mutual protection of its
members in their business relations; the avoidance of strikes; to
assist and provide for its members when disabled by sickness or
accident, and the payment of mortuary benefits to the families of
deceased members.” It announces and its printed constitution
that its “cornerstone is the principle of harmonious action
between employer and employed.” “Mutual protection in
business” signifies that the members of this fraternity await a
strike in the printing business and then apply for the places of the
strikers, or they underbid union men, cause them to be ousted by
their employers and take their situations. The Manhattan protective
fraternity is a fact, but the “No. 11” attached to it
means nothing. The other 10 branches with which the Manhattan is
supposed to be attached are either myths or insignificant
associations formed mainly by the non-union men at the Cleveland Leader.
characterizes the boycott of D.A. 49 on the Third Avenue Road. It is
said that spotters will be appointed by the assembly to make note of
those who ride on the road, and that efforts will then be made to
dissuade them, whether they are working men or shopkeepers, from
doing so. The road has not declared a dividend since the strike of
the year ago
associations are attracting some attention in New York, the land in
parts of the suburbs being cheap enough to afford a field for the
safe operation of this form of banking. The South Brooklyn
association, formed 10 months ago, mainly by printers, has sold 153
shares, or $38,250, at premium is about $10,120, sixteen members
having obtained appropriations. A second association has been
started by some of its members. The employees of the World have also an association.
The “state board
of mediation and arbitration” will be the new name of the state
board of arbitration, according to the bill which has passed the New
York Legislature. The improvements in the law recommended by the
board in its report were in the main adopted. The number of members
of local boards is reduced to three; the state board can take up a
case without waiting for it to come from a local board; the questions
in dispute must be submitted to the board by each side in writing,
and each must promise to continue on in business or at work until a
decision is arrived at, providing a decision is rendered in 10 days
after the investigation. The salary of the three commissioners is
annually $250,000 for her penitentiary, in which are 1,600 convicts,
500 [?] of whom work in the penitentiary shops for contractors.
There are three bills before the legislature relating to contract
prison labor, two looking to its abolition and the third providing
that all goods made by convicts shall be stamped. A legislative
committee is consequently collecting testimony regarding the effect
of contract convict labor on free labor in the probabilities of
making the convicts self-sustaining. One interesting fact brought to
the surface with the calculation of the contractors that it requires
a fraction more than the work of two convicts to equal the quantity
carried out by one free workman.
Mr. J. R. Norton, owner
of a large manufactury of farming implements at Ironton, Ohio, is
about to open a similar establishment at South Pittsburgh, Tenn. He
does so to save freight on his product, most of which is sold in the
south, and to secure cheaper labor, fuel and raw materials. He
thinks it is only a question of time when all the products of the
south will be manufactured there. The reasons that have influenced
Mr. Norton are the same that have drawn many millions of capital to
the south during the past year or two, and closed up or put on short
time many establishments in New England and the West.
Secretary John G.
Cummings of D.A. No. 1, Philadelphia, in his annual report just
issued, gives the number of local assemblies in that district as 234,
180 having been added in 1886. The membership if it’s 55,668. The
secretary recommends a bureau of employment, to be established by the
district, believing that it would prevent members from being exposed
to the temptation of offers of wages below union rates, and that it
could supply employers with responsible workmen.
The labor organizations
of San Francisco are pushing the bills before the legislature which
represent their wants. They are the white labor stamp act, the
boiler inspection act, the act prohibiting convict competition with
free labor, and one providing for the licensing of streetcar
employees. A great mass meeting was lately held at Metropolitan
Temple by the organizations, at which the legislature was sharply
arraigned for its apathy in regard to the labor bills. Speeches were
made by Senators Clunie and Goucher, Herman Guttstadt and Judge James
The engineer of the
freight engine whose failure of power caused the recent disaster at
Tiffin, Ohio, had been on duty continuously for 16 hours and 50
minutes. It is a matter of common complaint among train hands,
especially in the winter season, that they are overworked.
A law has been passed
in Maine forbidding any child under 15 years of age working when the
public schools are in session, and providing that minors under 12
years shall not be employed at any time.
An advance in the wages
of iron workers and railroad hands at several points was one of the
features of the week in the labor world. The puddlers of the eastern
district at the amalgamated association had their wages advanced from
$4 to $4.10 per ton on the first of March. On Monday next another
advance will be made to $4.20. The district comprises Philadelphia,
Lebanon, Norristown, Conshohocken, Harrisburg, Columbia, Lancaster,
and Pennroyd in Pennsylvania and Paterson, N. J. The molders in
Fisher’s pipe foundry at Allentown, PA, were granted on Monday
and advance up 15% and the laborers 10%. The 1,000 employees <end
col. 1> of the Britton iron and steel works at Cleveland at
their wages increased on Monday from 10 to 15%. The Delaware and
Hudson railroad company issued notices on Saturday at the wages of
all trainmen on the roads operated by them would be increased on
Tuesday, the advance varying from $4-$50 per month. The order
affects several thousand men.
A wealthy corporation
in Rhode Island proposes to introduce a revolution in wage paying.
All employees who have taken what wages are offered them for 10 years
are to get a bonus ranging from 10 to 25% of their annual earnings
each Christmas, according to the length of time they have been
employed. The Hartford Central labor Union has called a conference of
the trades unions of Connecticut, to meet next Tuesday. Samuel
Gompers has been invited to attend, and it is expected that the
result will be the formation of a powerful branch of the American
Federation of labor.
The building trades
council of Cincinnati represents 16,000 men. It will erect a hall at
a cost of $30,000.
A committee of the
Chicago Daily Newspaper association and a committee of the
Typographical union of Chicago have agreed on a scale of wages.
Compositors will henceforth receive forty-six cents per 1,000 “ems”
on morning newspapers and forty-one cents on evening papers.
Advertisements will be set by the week. No change was made in the
hours. The agreement will remain in force five years, beginning on
March 5. Changes in the agreement can be made only on 30 days’
previous notice, and all difficulties are to be settled by a joint
committee composed of two members of the newspaper association and
the Typographical union, which, if unable to agree, will select an
arbiter, and the decision shall be final and binding upon all
of knit underwear and dress goods and plush, woolen and fancy knit
goods have agents traveling in America, studying the demands of our
people. American machinery is fast improving, and the cost of
production is decreasing, yet the foreigners possess sufficient
advantage in the lines mentioned to enable them to compete with our
manufacturers in the home markets.
Virginia labor papers
are vigorously attacking Gov. Lee for his action in sending a
military force to Newport News during the late longshoremen’s strike
at that point. There had been no violence; there was no cause for
alarm on the part of the property holders, and there was a company of
colored soldiers at Newport News, but Gov. Lee sent down at battalion
of white men at a cost of $15,000 to the state. The Richmond Labor
Herald says that Gov. Lee is the first governor of Virginia that
ever used the military for the purpose of bolstering the interests of
monopolists as against the demands of honest laboring men.
In their eager search
for work, unemployed workingman are often misled by groundless
stories as to where it is to be had, or duped by imposters who
profess to be able to find it for them. There has been much
suffering of late from such hardships. Last week a swindler,
representing himself to be an agent for railroad contractors, induced
48 laborers of Ottawa to give him $10 apiece in payment of their fare
to Mexico, where, he told them, work at good wages awaited them. He
accompanied them to Ogdensburg and then disappeared. Advertisements
have been lately sent out from Duluth to the effect that mechanics
and laboring man were scarce there. A correspondent writes that
there are now 2,000 men idle in Duluth, that wages are low, and that
working men should be warned against going there. The Pacific Coast
gives similar accounts. A circular was sent to San Francisco a few
weeks ago from the Knights of Labor of Washington territory giving
notice of slack work in that territory and Oregon. The carpenters
union of Los Angeles has inserted an advertisement in the San
Francisco papers asking man of that trade not to come to their city
in response to the delusive advertisements of speculators. They say
that in one day 119 men applied for work at one new building, and
that there are more than 200 carpenters out of employment in Los
Angeles at the present time.
The Knights of labor
movement is progressing steadily in the southern states. Richmond
alone has 26 local assemblies which meet every week, besides two
district assemblies which meet twice a month. There are more
assemblies being organized at the present time in the southern states
than in any other section of the country.
The labor committee of
the Connecticut legislature favors a 10 hour factory law for women
and children. It has refused to modify the law under which wages may
be attached for debt, and has refused to recommend a law providing
for the stamping of goods as “convict made,” and one
providing for the appointment of factory inspectors.
The managers of the
Philadelphia streetcar companies contemplate making a general
reduction in the wages of the men. They say that as fares have come
down from six cents to five they are compelled to retrench, and that
as the agreement with the employees’ organization made last
April ends on April 1, a cut down in wages will then be ordered.
Leaders of the organization, however, maintain that the contract with
the companies was made for an indefinite period and declare that they
will oppose the intended reduction, which for conductors and drivers
is from $2 to $1.50. The organization has 2,800 members.
There is a national
anti-convict contract association. At a meeting of its executive
committee held last week in Chicago the secretary reported that he
had received encouragement from legislators and congressmen with
respect to future legislation on the convict contract system.
The Pittsburgh Commercial Gazette says that last week copies of the secret
circular, sealed with the stamp of the Chicago District Assemblies
Nos. 57 and 24, Knights of Labor, announcing the boycott of those
districts on the meat of P. S. Armour & Co., were distributed
among the labor organizations at Pittsburgh. The circular contained
a list of Chicago commission houses dealing in the boycotted meat.
The Chicago assemblies send the circular first to the grocers of a
city at their places of business, then to the grocers’
organizations, and lastly to the local assemblies, asking them to
boycott the grocers who persist in keeping Armour’s meats. A
reason given in the circular for not using the meat is that the
“scabs” now working in the Armour packing houses do not
know how to cure it properly, and that therefore it is inferior to
what it was before the strike. The Gazette says that the
Armour boycott has been declared illegal by the general executive
board, and that the issuing of the circular by the Chicago assemblies
is nothing short of mutiny.
The Senate on Wednesday
passed a bill creating a department of agriculture and labor, which
is to have a secretary and assistant secretary. The bureau of labor
and the signal service bureau are transferred to this department by
When Irving M. Scott
returned to his home in San Francisco a week or two ago, after
securing the contract for building the cruiser Charleston, 1000 men
from the Union iron works, of which he is in part an owner, marched
to his house with brass bands, wagons gayly decorated with flags, and
fireworks, and extended him an ovation. Mr. Scott addressed his
workmen, speaking of the difficulties he met in taking the contract
to the Pacific coast. It had been urged against him that the Pacific
coast had not the facilities to build such a vessel as the proposed
Charleston, but a commission had pronounced <end
col. 2> the leading iron works A No. 1. It had been said
that San Francisco had not the skilled labor to build her, but the
records of the navy showed that after the caisson lately finished for
the Mare Island dock was put in place not a file or a chisel touched
it. Another objection was that the materials could not be found on
the Pacific coast, but that was answered by showing the objectors a
piece of steel from the Union iron works, lying on the steps of the
capitol at Washington, which was the largest they had ever seen. The
demonstration of the men was not only for the purpose of
congratulating Mr. Scott, but to show that they entertained no ill
feeling in consequence of the strike which lately took place at his
typographical union directed at its last session that the subordinate
unions should take a vote between Feb. 1 and April 1 on the question
of a nine-hour day. The Pittsburg bricklayers have just agreed on a
nine-hour day. Two thousand painters of Chicago have decided to work
hereafter only eight hours.
The first issue of the
Chicago Labor Enquirer gives evidence that in his new field
Joseph R. Buchanan will repeat the success he made with the Denver Enquirer. He has a vigorous and breezy style, and the
newspaper that he offers to the labor world is in the line of
Mr. W. S. Tisdale,
author of “The Knight’s Book,” is writing New York
letters to out of town labor papers. He is a man of temperate views,
and is well informed as to politics and current labor news. His
letters form an interesting review of those events occurring in the
metropolis that have a bearing on the social problem.
of labor organizations and others wishing to canvass for
subscribers to this paper on a liberal commission are invited to send
their names and addresses to the publishers of the standard, 25 Ann
St., New York.
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have received an order to send a copy of “Protection and Free Trade” to
every trade and labor organization that may wish to have it, up to
the number of 1000. A copy will be accordingly forwarded to the
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