Volume 1 May 28, 1887
Ego Et Deus Meus
The letter of Leo, P.P. XIII, to his venerable brother. Michael Augustine Corrigan, archbishop of New York, is, so far as any binding force upon the consciences of Catholics is concerned, of no more weight than a private communication from Mr. Pecci at Rome to Mr. Corrigan of this city. But it is, nevertheless, of the first importance as showing the attitude which the supreme ecclesiastical authority of the Catholic church has deliberately chosen to take on the most important question of our time, and the nature of the claims which it makes upon the obedience of citizens of the American republic.
The form and manner of this [text missing] notable. The way in which the Catholics of New York are referred to as “your subjects,” and the way in which the pope, styling himself We and Us, with a capital W and a capital U, not only assumes the inflated style of royalty, but appropriates to himself the typographical homage accorded by usage to the Almighty, are extremely suggestive.
Yet the way in which the papers have printed this letter of consolation from the anguished pope to the poor, persecuted archbishop, grieved by the rebellion of his subjects, hardly does justice to this feature of it. Here is the way in which the concluding sentence would appear if printed as it was written in the copies furnished the press from the archiepiscopal palace:
Meantime WE earnestly pray the God of consolation that He will console you, Venerable Brother, tried by so many cares and as a pledge of His divine favor and a proof of OUR special affection for you, WE lovingly bestow upon you, the clergy, and the people committed to your care the Apostolic Benediction.
The Catholic creed teaches that he who appeared among Jewish peasants some eighteen hundred years ago and spoke as never man spoke, was, under the guise of a simple carpenter, very God of very God—was, indeed, an incarnation of that power which made, supports and orders all things that be. He had but t o will it and mighty armies would have started from the dust or winged legions flashed from the skies, and all the kings of the world crawled prostrate a t his feet. He had but to will it and palaces grander and fairer than mortal ever has ever seen would have risen from the ground, and all earth's treasures been gathered for his service. Yet he chose to live a workingman among workingmen; a poor man among the poor, and scorning the pride of wealth, and the pomp of power, to east in his lot with the disinherited children of God, who, though the foxes have holes and the birds of the air have nests, have no place o n the earth's broad surface where they can lay their heads without paying some landlord rent. Associating with the robbed, the despised, the outcast, he wore the simple raiment of the common people, ate their simple fare and partook of their joys and sorrows. He called Peter, Peter; John, John; and Mary, Mary; and in return was greeted and treated by them with the affectionate familiarity of favorite scholars toward a loved teacher. Though at his touch the blind saw, the sick became well, devils departed, and the dead came forth, he never suffered his disciples to address him with any of those man-worshiping titles which both indicate and beget servility of soul. Though he fed the multitude he never permitted men to abase themselves before him. Though he walked upon the waters, the only time we hear of him riding was upon the back of the homely ass. For the Pharisees and Scribes—for those who sat in high places and clothed themselves in rich raiment and had men call them holy and eminent—he had nothing but words of bitterest scorn. The whole burden of his teaching was of human equality—of the common brotherhood of men, the common fatherhood of their Creator. And for the coming of the kingdom of God on earth—the kingdom of justice and peace and plenty, the kingdom of liberty, equality and fraternity, he taught men to work and to pray. It was for these “vicious seeds of doctrines scattered under pretext of helping the masses” that He was crucified between two thieves.
When Christ declared that it was easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God; when he declared that they who would lead should serve; what did he mean? Did he not mean that it is not good for men to be exalted above their fellows? Did he not mean what all history and all observation teaches to be true—that the pride and ostentation of wealth and power deaden the spiritual nature and dull the sympathy of men with their fellows?
The Catholic Church consists of two things—a soul and a machine. The soul the spirit of Christ's teachings; the machine is the machine of the Scribes and Pharisees and High Priests. The one is typified by the long line of martyrs and confessors, by the Vincent de Pauls and soggarth aroons who have made the church dear to the poor and oppressed. The other is represented by forty thousand dollar archbishops, and the pomp and pride and circumstance of royalty that surround the pope. Catholics believe that the soul of the church will always have in important emergencies the divine guidance, and that, however weak or wicked or corrupt a pope may be, when acting as the “servant of the servants of God,” and speaking ex-cathedra on questions of faith or morals to the universal church, Divine providence will not suffer him to teach false doctrines. But Catholics—intelligent Catholics at least—recognize in the pope nothing more than a man, subject to all the frailties and conditions of other men. And It is a significant fact that, though the Catholic church has never given up the belief in miracles, and the annals of her saints, down even to recent times, are filled with them, no pope, since the popes began to assume the power and pomp of kings, is credited with a miracle. So instinctively does the soul of the church feel that that which pertains to Cæsar cannot pertain to the kingdom of God.
It is natural to look to the declared representatives and followers of the Nazarene who eighteen centuries ago was crucified for teaching the equal rights and common brotherhood of men, for active and hearty support of every movement to elevate the masses by securing social and political justice. But it is unnatural to [text missing] this aid to men, whatever they may [text missing] themselves, who are gorged with wealth surrounded by pomp. Men who live in palaces and are clothed in purple and fine linen, and associate with the rich and powerful, are, with rare exceptions, now, as in Christ's time, the defenders of “things as they are,” the upholders of the social injustice that, to pamper the few, robs, degrades and imbrutes the many. Nominally shepherds of Christ's sheep, and using his name as a means of gaining wealth and power, their interests and associations make them the friends and supporters of the wolves that prey upon the fold. Among the poorer clergy of the church of England are many devoted men whose whole lives are given to efforts for the elevation of the masses, but the holders of the rich livings of the church of England are many devoted men whose whole lives are given to efforts for the elevation of the masses, but the holders of the rich livings of the church of England have, as a class, preached a gospel of servility to power and of contentment under injustice infinitely more degrading than the worship of Odin and Thor; while the English bishops, with their stately palaces and princely incomes and titles stately palaces and princely incomes and titles of “my lord” and “your grace,” have been to a man the most bigoted and uncompromising defenders of every hoary wrong, the bitterest opposers of every step in the advance of freedom and the emancipation of labor.
“It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God.” What, then, can any movement which aims at restoring to the disinherited their equal rights in the bounties of their Creator, and thus abolishing poverty and bringing the kingdom of justice on earth, expect from those circumstanced as are the man who gives this letter t o the press and the man who signs it? The one lives in a marble palace in that quarter of New York where the millionaires live, and draws for his own private purse a princely income of over $40,000 a year from the hard earnings of his poor “subjects,” who live in crowded and squalid tenements—an income largely made up by a t ax upon the burial of every dead Catholic in consecrated ground. He is the center of the most fulsome flattery and abject servility. Though living in a democratic country, whose very constitution prohibits titles of nobility, he is addressed by the title given in monarchical countries only to the highest order of nobility, has a lot of “my lords” to do his bidding, and his “subjects” salute him by falling down on their knees and kissing his hand.
The other lives in the largest and richest palace in the world—a palace so extensive that it is said to contain seven thousand rooms. He is surrounded by the pomp and circumstance, not merely of European monarchs, but of Asiatic despotism. He wears on state occasions, not one crown, but three. He is surrounded by guards, not of common soldiers, but of nobles, clad in steel helmets and white buckskin breeches, and of Swiss mercenaries garbed in all the colors of the rainbow. He is habitually addressed as “Your Holiness,” and to exalt him as far as possible above human kind, men are turned in his service into beasts of burden, and he is carried on the shoulders of a corps of trained bearers, while peacock fans, the symbols of oriental grandeur, are borne above his head. He has a court composed of “eminences,” and “illustrisimos,” and “my lords,” and those who approach him kneel down and kiss his foot. The rich are constantly bringing him offerings, and on every occasion the kings of the earth, even to the sultan of the Turks and the emperor of the Chinese, send him kingly presents. What sympathy can a man who lives in such an atmosphere have for democracy? “Do men gather grapes of thorns or figs of thistles?” What can the cause of the oppressed masses expect from him ? “It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God.”
It is well to look facts in the face. This letter is enough to undeceive any who have supposed that some sort of a truce might be patched up between Roman ecclesiasticism and the spirit of liberty and progress. Between absolutism and democracy there can be no peace. It is in the nature of things that no one can serve both God and Mammon.
The attitude of the American press and of American protestants on this question is very significant. Archbishop Corrigan, the “sentinel on the ramparts” that guard the ill-gotten wealth of the rich, has set up a claim to control the political action of his “subjects,” and has removed from his pastorate, deprived of his accustomed livelihood, and ejected from his home, a priest who dared to claim the rights of an American citizen. There has been in the whole matter, from first to last, no question of creed or of personal conduct. Dr. McGlynn's character is as white as the snow. His long years of service as a priest have been marked by unflagging devotion to his spiritual duties and by tireless charity. He has observed the church's discipline; he has questioned no article of the church's creed. Not the faintest suspicion of heresy could be attached t o any of his teachings. The congregation committed to his charge loved him as no other priest in the diocese was loved.
But he has refused to take political orders from the marble palace; he has claimed the right to advocate such changes in the laws of his native land as he felt to be best for the whole people; he has declared that in becoming a Catholic priest he “did not evade the duties nor surrender the rights of a man and a citizen; he has denied the right of bishop, propaganda or pope to punish him for his actions in American politics, or to censure him for his opinions in political economy, unless they could show such opinions to be contrary to the teachings of the Christian religion, and he has denied their authority to order him to Rome to answer to Italians for the political acts and the political opinions of an American citizen.
This is what Pope Leo XIII, in his letter of condolence to his afflicted venerable brother, styles “the contumacious disobedience of one of your subjects, not only toward yourself, but also toward this apostolic see,” and which he elsewhere styles “the rebellion which has arisen against your authority in your city.”
In plain English, Archbishop Corrigan asserts—and he is now engaged in visiting the churches of his diocese and preaching it—and the pope in this letter endorses the assertion, that the American Catholic is bound by his religion to act in American politics as the servile puppet of Rome; that he must vote and speak and think in matters concerning the government and laws of his native country as an Italian four thousand miles away, or his representative in New York, may choose to order.
If only a few years ago such a claim as this had been so openly made, the whole land would have rung with the “no popery” cry; our great dailies would have been filled with denunciations of the aggression upon American liberties, and from Maine to California Protestant preachers of all denominations would have pounded their Bibles in eloquent harangues against the pretensions of the Scarlet Woman.
Now there is not a whisper of this. The very classes and the very organs who, a few years ago would have been loudest in their denunciations of papal pretensions, have nothing but praise of Archbishop Corrigan and laudations of the pope.
What does this mean?
It means that the old disputes about religious dogmas are being stilled in the shadow of an impending struggle that is stealing over the world. It means that the wedge of the great social question is driving through the ranks of Catholics and Protestants and Free Thinkers alike. It means that the threatening revolt of “the masses” against the injustice which makes them the serfs of “the classes” has already inspired such terror that the latter are ready to welcome any aid which will assist them in maintaining vested wrongs.
Archbishop Corrigan is popular with the Tammany ring and the rich men of New York for the same reason that Cardinals Cullen and McCabe were popular with the Castle government and Protestant landlords of Ireland; our secular and Protestant religious press applaud obsequiously the pope's letter for the very same reason that Bismarck, the erstwhile persecutor of Catholicism, has become the friend and admirer of “His Holiness.” Their very religious prejudices give them such an abiding faith in the “ignorance and superstition” of the Catholic masses that they believe a word from him can, so far as Catholics are concerned, put an end to the growing demand for social justice.
In this they are mistaken. The Catholic faith is not the slavish creed that they imagine. A man can be a conscientious Catholic and yet be a freeman. He may respect the spiritual authority of the church and yet resent bitterly the assumption of ecclesiastical authority to dictate in politics. And this will be the effect of the pope's letter. It will not strengthen Archbishop Corrigan; it will strengthen Dr. McGlynn.
Two years ago a really venerable Irish bishop lamented to me the great danger to religion that he saw in the immediate future. The tendencies of the times, he said, were irresistibly democratic, and the masses every where were becoming bitterly discontented with a system which made them mere rack-rented tenants and wage slaves upon an earth to which both right reason and revealed religion taught that they were born to equally use and enjoy. The greatest of all revolutions was already in its initiatory stages, and laws and customs and standing not long keep it down. But he saw that the authorities of the church at Rome were determined to exert all their power to put it down. .What he feared was that what had already happened in Italy and France, where patriotic and freedom loving men have been driven out of the church, would happen among Catholics of the Irish blood, and that in gaining liberty they would lose their religion.
It is just such men as Dr. McGlynn who are going to avert this danger. the Standard which they are lifting is the Standard of the hope and faith in which Christianity conquered the world. If forty thousand dollar archbishops and man-carried popes array themselves against it, so much the quicker will the soul of the Catholic church east off the incubus of the aristocratic and corrupt machine.
Punished For Building Houses
Some Curious Figures Compiled from the Records of Real Estate Sales at Auction Recently
A comparison of the prices realized at recent sales of lots and improved property in this city shows conclusively that the policy of the tax assessors is to. discourage builders from putting up houses and encourage speculators to hold land out of use.
The following transfers are instanced:
One lot on 109th street, 250 feet east of Second avenue, sold for $6,300, is assessed at $2,000, or 31½ per cent of its value.
Four lots, corner of 118th street and Eighth avenue, sold for $48,000, are assessed at $17,500, or 36 per cent of their value.
Four lots on Sixty-first street, near Tenth avenue, sold for 180,400, are assessed at $10,000, or 33 per cent of their value.
Seven lots on Seventy-sixth street, 100 feet east of Ninth avenue, sold for $115,000, are assessed at $35,000, or 30 per cent of their value.
Five lots on Seventy-sixth street, east of Ninth avenue, sold for $78,000, are assessed at $22,500, or 29 per cent of their value.
Nineteen lots on Eighty-fourth street, extending west from Avenue B, sold for $120,000, are assessed at $39,400, or 33 per cent of their value.
Average assessed valuation of the above forty vacant lots 32½ per cent of their real value.
The dwelling No. 651 Lexington avenue, sold for $19,200, is assessed at $11,000 or 57½ per cent of its value.
The store No. 262 Canal street, sold for $71,000, is assessed at $40,000, or 56 per cent of its value.
The house No. 43 Oliver street, sold for $22,500, is assessed at $14,000, or 62 per cent of its value.
The dwelling No. 160 East Thirty-second street, sold for $7,250, is assessed at $5,000, or 68½ per cent of its value.
The dwelling No. 13 East 126th street, sold for $17,000, is assessed at $9,000, or 53 per cent of its value.
Average assessed valuation on the above five pieces of improved property, 59½ per cent of the real value.
The empty lot owners are let off with a ground tax on only 32½ per cent of the value of the lots; the house owners and builders are taxed at a 59½ per cent valuation of both lots and houses, thus paying (if the houses are reckoned as being worth a little more than the lots on which they stand) about four times the amount of taxes that the speculators pay.
Cold Figures from St. Paul
St. Paul, Minn., May 19.—The writer, in his last week's letter to the Standard (No. 19), pointed to the fact that the present land system, even in a new country like this, soon invited poverty in its wake. An editorial in today's Globe distorts the entire meaning of the article. It rehearses the old chestnut that every honest man can obtain employment and improve his condition according to his merit. Following its reasoning further one would come to the conclusion that the whole present population of this section should have come here forty years ago and “taken advantage of the opportunities” then presented. It winds up by declaring that here “the people themselves do not observe any remarkable strides toward the poverty line.”
Let us see the evidence which people have thrust before their very eyes. In this mornings Tribune appears the following monthly report of the supervisors of the poor of Minneapolis: “Number of applications made at office, 283; visits made by superintendent, 79; number of cases where relief has been granted in groceries, 177; number of orders given for same, 187; number of inmates in poor house April 1, 65; sent to same in April, 5; now in same, 48; number of visits made to hospitals by physicians, 40; at other places, 290; number of burials furnished, 21; number of persons furnished with transportation to other places, 18.”
So goes on this monthly report for Minneapolis, that very young and wonderful city in the midst of a region of plenty. St. Paul's list is not handy, but it is not necessary to prove our case.
The above may enable the Globe to see things as they are, within easy view of its tall tower.
We are not only “moving toward the poverty line;” we are already there. Our poorhouses, penal institutions and other adjuncts of -our present civilization prove it! In early years, before all natural opportunities were taken up, poverty was unknown here. But the inevitable had to come. And as time passes and wealth increases, even so will poverty assume a more glaring shape in this beautiful northwest of ours. Every time the upholders of the present land system attempt to justify it they get deeper in the mire. They cannot dispute facts, and discussion we need not fear. Justice is on our side, and the land question will not down until the people have gained the right to that which God created for all of us.
Strikes and Lockouts
Bradstreet's of last Saturday gave the number of strikers from May 1 to May 19 as 68,565. During the week, beginning with the 14th inst., there were strikes or lockouts at Chicago (building trades employees), Haverhill, Mass. (shoemakers), Kingston (brickmakers), Boston, New Haven and Baltimore (brewers), Akron (cement workers), Wilkesbarre (coal miners), Cambridge, Mass. (brickmakers), Sioux City (carpenters), Ashtabula (dockmen), Philadelphia (sheet-iron workers and carpet workers), Pittsburgh (rolling mill operatives), East Saginaw (boom men), Louisville (glass workers), Michigan City (lumber yard men), Fairfield, Conn. (Italian laborers), Duluth ('longshoremen), Cincinnati (roustabouts), Danbury (hatters), Lynchburg (compositors), Brockton, Mass. (lasters), Boston (carpet workers), New Bedford (cotton weavers), and in New York (aqueduct laborers, bookbinders, cigar makers, lithographers, cigarette wrappers and car builders).
During the past week there has been trouble at many points. The lockout at Haverhill was brought to an end on a compromise, but that of Chicago has become one of the largest that has ever taken place in the country. At Everson, Pa., a riot occurred in connection with a strike of miners. At Indianapolis the car drivers went on strike. Collieries at Shenandoah, Pa., suspended, leaving nearly 1,000 men and boys idle. A furnace at Shenadoah, Va., shut down for want of coke. Numerous other disturbances were reported.
Harrison, O.—I write for information in regard to the union labor party. There is such a refreshing uncertainty in regard to the reforms it advocates that in this district especially no one seems to be able to give any information as to the doctrines it teaches. One may appeal to the leaders thereof, only to be met by a display of that type of ignorance which is best described by the term intense. Not that I mean that in the main these people are ignorant, but only so far as the doctrines of their party are concerned, and in that respect it is indeed valuable. Why, their official organ for this district, the United Labor Age,does not even know what planks are in their national platform, and I challenge them to refute the statement. Now, the questions I wish to ask are these: What is a graduated land tax, as mentioned in their land plank? Can the alien ownership of land be prohibited if we admit the right to private property in land? Why should not the men of any other nationality be permitted to purchase the land of this country if the same right of property exists in it as exists in a reaping or mowing machine?
And on the other hand, who will dare to say that I shall not dispose of what is my own to whom I please? If I own land, by what right do you take the selling power away from me? What would be the minimum large estate under their proposed plan of taxation? Will they be able, if they should get into power, to control businesses that are in their nature monopolies without first ushering in other and greater reforms? Will they define what they mean by an “income tax?” If the minimum income that should escape taxation be taxed at $400, as in Canada, why should they fine me if I should make $1,000 per year by my superior skill, intelligence and industry? Would not such a reform mean more spies, more perjury and a more strenuous seeking to evade such a tax? Letsome of our union labor party visit Canada and study its workings there and see whether it would or not.
Peter P. Pumpkins
Dr. McGlynn's Lectures
During the past week Dr. McGlynn has addressed audiences in the Academy of Music in Jersey City, the Cooper union, a Congregational church in Washington, and in Alleyn hall, Hartford, Conn. In Cooper union on Saturday evening he addressed an immense mass meeting of Citizens in opposition to Secretary Bayard's treaty with Russia. In Jersey City on Sunday evening the Academy was packed, and $500 was cleared for the freight handlers. At the Cooper union on Monday evening the doctor lectured on the “Duties of Labor.” An admission fee of fifty cents was charged, the Eighteenth assembly district united labor party organization being the beneficiary. The Concordia chorus was present, under direction of Miss Munier. Henry George also made a brief address. On Tuesday evening, in Washington, there was a full house, the lecture being for the benefit of Local assembly 3,990, K. of L. Ex-Senator Van Wyck introduced the speaker. On Wednesday evening, in Hartford, there was an overflowing house and great enthusiasm.
Chairman John McMackin has been absent on a trip through the state organizing land and labor clubs and arranging for lectures by Dr. McGlynn. He has made the following appointments for the doctor: June 1. Newburg, under the auspices of the K. of L.; June 2, Poughkeepsie, K. of L.; June 3, Troy, united labor party; June 6, Albany, united labor party; June 8, Syracuse, united labor party; June 10, Oswego, K. of L. Dr. McGlynn other immediate engagements are: Afternoon of Sunday, May 29, at the National cemetery, Cypress Hills, memorial address, under the auspices of Dakin post, G. A. R.; in the evening of the same day at the Academy of Music, New York, before the Anti-poverty society; on Monday, May 30, at Newark, N.J., under the auspices of the united labor party; and on Tuesday, May 31, at Danbury, Conn., for the Charter Oak Assembly K. of L. The secretary of that efficient and remarkable organization, the Commoners of Allegheny county, Pa., has sent a resolution of thanks to Dr. McGlynn and to the central committee for the lecture delivered in Pittsburgh for the benefit of the Commoners organization, jointly with D. A. No. 3, K. of L., and noting the impression that was made upon friends in Pittsburgh by the doctor's refusal to accept a purse to cover his personal expenses that had been made up for him by friends in that city. Dr. McGlynn has not received nor will he receive for any lecture he may deliver, any personal compensation whatever.
George Sand on Landlordism
But I know a solitude more sad than that of La Brenne, and that is La Brie. There it is not the sterile soil or the unhealthy air which have banished the population; it is the great holdings—in other words, wealth. Observe La Brie. You see villages where the poor either exercise a small trade or beg, mansions with whitened turrets, large new farms, fields of corn or vetch as far as the eye can see, screens of poplars, stacks of forage, a few peasants who have placed with care their round hat and top coat in a furrow while they are digging or harvesting. Elsewhere monotony, the desert of large holdings, the sad solemnity of wealth which exiles man from his domain and only permits—servitors.
Again, there is nothing more hideous than La Brie, with its villages peopled by washerwomen, sutlers and stores, its mansions whose parks seem trying to absorb the little wood and water remaining; its peasants half gentry, half valets; its bare horizons, where you may never find smoking behind the hedge, the manure heap of the rustic proprietor. There is not an inch of ground neglected, not a ditch, not a bush, not a pebble, not a bramble.
. . . It is true that in driving man from his lands, in confining him within the villages or farms, the rich man banishes from his corn the wandering flocks, and from his gardens the marauding fowls, and if some little, impertinent enclosure grows up near to annoy him, he will acquire it at any price. But how he is to be pitied, this great proprietor in his security and solitude, with not a neighbor for miles. He will not hear the laborer singing. His laborer sings not, for he is not joyous working on land whose produce he will not share. . . . The man who has nothing to bear from his fellows will have to bear much more by being deprived of their vicinity and their sympathy. If I had quantities of land, I would giveit to the beggars to obtain some neighbors, and that I might be able to chat now and then with free men.
Why Not “Anti-Poverty Party?”
Sweetwater, Tex., May 18.—Our doctrine is so plain that it cannot fail to win wherever it is given unbiased attention. Our aim should ever be to avoid arousing prejudice. In this particular nothing is more important than a name. If we must assume a name of our own, and it seems to me that we should, we ought to choose the one which describes our object most exactly. In my humble judgment no other so nearly fulfills these prerequisites as does the word “Anti-poverty.”
Hearing of the organization of the Anti-poverty society must have sent a thrill of delight to the heart of every true reformer.
This is just the name to attract every one who wishes to better the condition of humanity. I am glad the movement is assuming a religious form. The grandest man of the nineteenth century is Dr. McGlynn. May God bless him.
Patrick Ford and Editor O'Brien
Austin E. and Robert E. Ford, bearing a message from Patrick Ford, joined Editor O'Brien at Niagara Falls, and have been with him several days, urging upon him the importance of coming to New York to receive a rousing reception, which thousands in the metropolis who have taken up the old Irish land league cry of “the land for the people” are anxious to tender him.
A Fight For Living Wages
One of the Many Struggles Now Going On Between Labor and Capital in America
About one year ago, an assembly of the Knights of Labor was organized at Natrona, Allegheny county, Pa. Upon learning the fact, the managers of the Pennsylvania Salt manufacturing company went through the works, asking each hand if he was a member of the assembly, and entering the answer in a notebook. A few days subsequently a notice was posted in the works stating that the company viewed with displeasure the growth of an organization evidently having the intention of dictating to it the terms on which employees could work, and giving warning that it would not tolerate such measures nor long remain inactive should any of the workmen array themselves against its interests. It was also made an invariable rule to reject all applications for employment from men known to be in sympathy with the knights. The wages paid by the company, whose product is protected by the tariff, were $1.10 per day for common labor, and from $1.50 to $l.75 for mechanics and skilled labor. About March 1 the employees made a demand for an increase of fifteen per cent on wages less than $1.50 per day, and ten per cent on $1.50 or more. The company held the demand under advisement for a month, and then offered $1.25 for common labor, ref using any advance to any other class, and stipulating that no further demands should be made. A committee of D.A. No. 3, which soon after waited on the manager, was informed that no labor organization would be recognized by him. He then began preparations to stamp out the organization of the men. The entire works were enclosed with a strong, close board fence eight feet high, surmounted with barbed wire. Rude shanties for boarding houses were erected within the enclosure, rough board bunks being nailed to their inner walls, and chairs and tables of a like kind being provided. Seeing these preparations, and being refused a hearing, the employees, 450 in number, threw down their tools on April 13 and marched out in a body. The manager next proceeded to misrepresent the situation through the press. Statements were caused by him to be published that there had been no strike, and later, inconsistently, that the strike was ended, that the knights had disbanded and that the company wanted men merely for the reason that the works were being extended. The men on strike have been peaceable and loyal to their organization. The company has by every means employed its great power to def eat them. This struggle is pregnant with facts for the thoughtful reader.
Evictions in Chicago
Ravenswood, Ill., May 16.—The local papers for several days have contained accounts of the proposed eviction of fifty-seven families, or some 350 people in all, from a tract of land within three squares of some of the most aristocratic residences of Chicago. These people generally owned their own houses, having built them soon after the great fire, and here they have reared their families and grown old, to be now driven out and see their houses torn down because certain heirs of a dead man happen to want the land. Thinking the readers of the Standard might be interested in this case. I investigated the facts somewhat, first from the standpoint of the tenants, but failed to get much information from that source; and secondly, from the agent of the estate. He was more communicative, and readily furnished me with the following facts, assuring me at the same time that it was not a case which called for the exercise of any particular sympathy:
Walter L. Newbery was one of the earliest settlers of Chicago, was interested in banking and was a railroad director; but, while his interests were somewhat- diversified, he was first and last a land speculator. He bought land largely for speculation, and held it without improvement. Inthis way his fortune was accumulated, and not, to any appreciable extent, from business ventures. Among his many purchases this piece of land was bought of the estate of a dead man—the Kinzee estate—about twenty-five years ago, since which time it has increased in value fully ten fold, solely by reason of the increase in population of the city of Chicago. On a division of the estate this tract had been set off to certain heirs, who now, for the first time, propose to improve it, so that they will be enabled to reap a larger income from the rents. Another tract of forty acres, lying north of the Chicago river and south of Chicago avenue, bought in 1833 for $60 per acre—$2,400 in all—is now worth $2,000,000, exclusive of improvements. “What wonder is it that this land speculator was able to leave an estate valued at $4,000,000, and that he should endeavor to purchase the name and reputation of being a man of great philanthropy by leaving one-half of it to the city of Chicago for the purpose of founding a great library I make no reflection on the personal character of the donor when I compare his gift to the gift of a robber who finds be has left his victim without the means to obtain a meal of victuals, and so generously returns a small part of the plunder.
W.H. Van Ornum
A Point in Casuistry
Philadelphia, May 23.—Tell the doctor not to be frightened by the papal letter. Pope Leo has condemned the proposition “that private ownership of land is unjust.” We are sure that the doctor would give absolution to a New York lot owner positis ponendis, and therefore he does not consider the said lot owner as unjustly holding the property of another. Modify your proposition and explain to his holiness that you and he consider the private ownership of land as historically unjust, and you don't mean to oust any man, and only intend to increase his land tax, and all will be right. Pope Leo will be glad to accept such an explanation. Popes often retract their privateletters when they see cause. See Bishop Ullathorne's pamphlet on “Gladstone's Expostulation,” page 69. Why don't you publish Bishop Nulty's pamphlet?
Brick Church, N. J., May 17.—I regret that I was unable to unite with the Anti-poverty society at its first meeting, although in spirit I was present. The society has my best wishes and heartiest God speed. I believe there is a wide place for just such an organization. Last January there were but two of the workmen, including my self, in the office where I am employed, who knew and believed anything of the “land question,” but there are several more now, as a consequence of my arguments. I am impressing more and more persons with the honesty and practicability of the principles of the land restoration “theory,” and believe that in tune good results will follow my efforts.
McGlynn Catholicism Converts
Philadelphia, Pa., May 24—Since the noble stand that Dr. McGlynn has taken appears to be in consonance with the true Catholicism, my opinion regarding the Catholic church has entirely changed, and my heart warms at the sight of one of her priests, though I am afraid they are not all like him.
A Hebrew New Crusader
The Address Of The Rev. Hugh O. Pentecost Of Newark
Archbishop Corrigan's Letter of Consolation—What a Catholic Said to the Audience About It—Flourishing Condition of the Society
The Academy of Music was full of people when the meeting of the Anti-poverty society was called to order last Sunday evening, at 8 o'clock. In addition to the sinking by Miss Munier's chorus, Faure's “Palm Branches” was sting by Mr- Alfred Barnes Myers, a baritone, who also, in response to a recall, sang “Hard Times Come Again No More.” Henry George presided. After his preliminary remarks as chairman, Mr. Michael Clarke addressed the audience briefly, his speech being awarded close attention not only on account of the importance of its character as coming from a Catholic, but because of its pithiness, Its emphatic delivery, and its strong common sense.
The chairman then introduced the Rev. Hugh O. Pentecost, pastor of the Belleville Avenue Congregational church of Newark. Mr. Pentecost was know n to the members of the Anti-poverty society as one of its organizers. His sermons on the land question, as published in the Standard, had also made his name familiar to the supporters of the new political economy. He was, therefore, heartily greeted with the clapping of bands as he advanced to the front of the stage. His address is printed in full below.
The audiences a t the meetings of the Anti-poverty society are inf used with the enthusiasm of people convinced that they are entertaining and promoting a great truth. If Mr. Pentecost bad done no more than to restate that troth, and in conventional terms profess his adherence to it, he would doubtless have received the commendations of his hearers through applause offered liberally. Before he began speaking, perhaps many in the house expected to hear nothing more than the sermon of an average pulpiteer. Mr. Pentecost's plain speech and straightforward bearing in his opening sentences removed him, however, in the minds of his auditors, from classification with the many unfortunate ministers—the victims of artificial cultivation—who differ conspicuously from mankind generally in mannerisms, habits of thought and modes of expression. He was evidently a man given to no pedantries and uncontaminated by the superficial affectations of the schools. The natural enunciation of his words and the simplicity of his demeanor proved at once attractive. It was but a moment later when come unusually significant expressions elicited a burst of applause. Auditors and speaker were placed in sympathy by it, and they saw they understood one another. From that juncture to the close Mr. Pentecost proceeded with the delivery of an oration remarkable for varied and extraordinary power, and wonderful in its effect upon his hearers. In sustained eloquence, felicity and brilliancy of illustration, happiness of expression and original wit, it was hardly less than marvelous. It was a series of effective points from beginning to end. Through it all a lofty courage shone and a pure manhood breathed. The testimony given by the audience of its appreciation formed a scene witnessed but seldom in a lifetime Beginning with a warm welcome to a recognized friend from the members of the society, the enthusiasm spread until all the people in the grand auditorium felt it a duty to manifest their pleasure and admiration. Even indifferent and cynical sightseers, such as men of the world who seek sensation in whatever is unusual, some of whom had strolled in to look on, were engulfed in the maelstrom of ebullient emotion and beat their palms together loud and long. Time and again a majority in the audience rose to their feet shouting huzzas, waving hats and handkerchief s in the air, gesticulating wildly and joyfully, and sustaining the long continued applause by clapping their hands. From all parts of the house people called out words of encouragement to the speaker and voiced their sentiments in response to his. Occasionally, when a round of applause had died away, the audience, as if just perceiving a new meaning in the speaker's utterances, would again break forth in rapturous approval of them. Once, when Mr. Pentecost appeared about to cease speaking, there was a universal chorus of petitions to proceed. Not a moment passed while the orator faced the house without bringing with it some evidence of the surprise, gratification, infectious mirth or electrification of the audience It seemed as if the speaker—inspired, buoyed by preternatural powers, exalted beyond his ordinary self—played upon every chord of the human heart, his audience his instrument, and subjected all to the spell of a resistless charm, like another Orpheus.
Since Sunday evening Mr. Pentecost's address has been the subject of eulogy by the thousands who heard it. People who never could become interested deeply in public speaking declare that every thought uttered by Mr. Pentecost found lodgment in their minds, while many who go wherever good speaking is to be heard say that Mr. Pentecost is the peer of any American orator. Meantime, the New York daily press barely mentioned his name.
In opening the proceedings of the evening Mr. George said:
Ladies and Gentlemen—You have all doubtless read in the morning papers the letter of consolation (applause) which the pope has written to the poor, abused archbishop. (Hisses.) And you have also seen in that letter the significant expressions showing that the heaviest penalty which it is now in the power of the head of the Catholic church to visit upon anyone, is to be visited upon that priest of New York who has stood up for the right. (Wild applause long continued and a shout of “three cheers for the priest”) Heavy a s the penalty is, dire a s the threat is, I believe that the priest McGlynn will do his duty. (Cries of “Hear, hear,” and applause.) Be is made of the stuff of which martyrs were made. (Great applause) He has taken in his heart thecross of the new crusade (applause), and neither prelate nor pope can turn him back from what he believes to be right. (Applause) Tonight he is in Jersey City, preaching this gospel of the land for the people. Next Sunday night he will be here. (Tumultuous applause.)
I will leave it for the secretary of our society, himself a Catholic, to make some observations upon this latest development in the case of the persecution of Archbishop Corrigan. (Laughter and hisses.) But I want to read you some of Charles Mackay's ringing verses that came into my mind as I read that letter this morning:
The man is thought a knave or fool,
Or bigot plotting crime,
Who, for the advancement of his race,
Is wiser than his time
For him the hemlock shall distill
For him the axe be bared:
For him the gibbet shall be built.
For him the stake prepared.
Him shall thescorn and wrath of men
Pursue with deadly aim,
And malice, envy, spite and lies
Shall desecrate his name
But truth shall conquer at the last,
For round and round we run;
And ever the right comes uppermost,
And ever is justice done.
Pace through thy cell, old Socrates,
Cheerily to and fro;
Trust to the impulse of thy soul.
And let the poison flow.
They shatter to earth the lamp of clay
That holds a light divine,
But. they cannot quench the fire of thought
By any such deadly wine
They cannot blot thy spoken words
From the memory of man
By all the poison ever was brewed
Since time its course began.
Today abhorred, tomorrow adored—
So round and round toe run.
And ever the truth comes uppermost,
And ever is justice done.
Plod in thy cave, gray anchorite,
Be wiser than thy peers;
Augment the range of human power,
And trust to coming years.
They may ca1 thee wizard and monk accursed,
And load thee with dispraise;
Thou wert born five hundred years too soon
For the comfort of thy days.
But not too soon for human kind;
Time hath reward in store,
And the demons of our sires become
The saints that we adore.
The blind can see, the slave is lord;
So round and round we run,
And ever the wrong is proved to be wrong.
And ever is justice done.
Keep, Galileo, to thy thought,
And nerve thyself to bear;
They may gloat over the senseless words they wring
From the pangs of thy despair.
They vail their eyes, but cannot hide
The sun's meridian glow;
The heel of a priest may tread thee down,
And a tyrant work thee woe.
But never a truth has been destroyed.
They may curse it and call it a crime;
Pervert and betray or slander and slay
Its teachers for a time;
But the sunshine, aye, shall light the sky,
As round. and. round we run,
And the truth shall ever come uppermost,
And justice shall be done.
I now have the pleasure of introducing to you Mr. Michael Clarke, secretary of the Anti-poverty society, a Catholic and an Irishman.
Mr. Clarke said:
Mr. Chairman, Ladies and Gentlemen—In reference to that extraordinary document which we all read in the papers this morning, I, as a Catholic, have a few words to say. Four or five mouths ago, shortly after the brutal eviction of Dr. McGlynn from his church and home, I and several other Catholics signed our names to a letter which was published at the time, which letter, drawn on behalf of a great mass meeting of Catholics held in Cooper union, repudiated the claim of archbishop, propaganda or pope to command American Citizens as to how they should think or speak or act on the land question or on any other political question.
Here on this platform tonight, I, a Catholic, repeat most emphatically that repudiation, and in doing so I am convinced that I voice the feeling of the hundreds of Catholics who are in this ball to-night. (Great applause).
The pope in his letter talks about false doctrines and a contumacious priest. Now, we know the doctrines and we know the priest; and I think I may say that we are proud in proclaiming here our full belief and confidence in both one and the other. Of course, all intelligent Catholics understand quite well that there are certain conditions which must apply to any order emanating from the pope before that order can be binding on Catholics. The conditions are three The first is that the order shall be delivered ex-cathedra. The second is that it shall be addressed to the universal church. The third is that it shall relate to a question of either faith or morals. It is needless for me to say that not one of those conditions applies in the case to which the letter published this morning refers. (Applause).
Whether the pope may ever be so unwise as to issue a pronouncement under those conditions, condemning the doctrines to which he refers; whether he shall be so unwise as to issue a pronouncement declaring that the land of America belongs not to the people, but to a few of the corporations and to men such as the politicians of Tammany hail (hisses), I cannot say. But this I do say, for my self, that I most positively refuse to obey any order coming from any man on earth, under any conditions whatsoever, that shall aim at preventing me from claiming my rights in the land or my rights as a citizen. (Great applause, long continued.)
Archbishop Corrigan (hisses) need not lay the flattering unction to his soul that by a letter from home he can put down this great movement. (Applause) I beg to tell Archbishop Corrigan (hisses) that neither he nor the pope can do it. (Applause) In spite of this letter, we who have taken up this work are determined to go on supporting with all our might the doctrines of Henry George (applause) and of Dr. McGlynn (applause—a voice: “Yes, and there are a hundred thousand of them”)—supporting with all our might the doctrines of Henry George and Dr. McGlynn, and helping forward, by every lawful means within cur power, the holy, the salutary, the soul-and-body-saving principles and objects of the Anti-poverty society. (Applause.)
Mr. George—It now becomes our pleasing duty to take up a collection while the choir sings. A very distinguished gentlemen of this city, no less a personage than Mayor Hewitt, (hisses and groans)—you are ungrateful—made a speech in Tammany hall last Sunday, in which he told the Brotherhood of locomotive firemen how he, when he was a young man, had formed an anti-poverty society that had for its object the abolition of poverty in the case of Abram S. Hewitt. (A voice, “Abram was a success.”)
This Anti-poverty society was formed for a different purpose There are men who do not deem it their highest duty in life to abolish poverty for themselves so much as to abolish it in the case of others. That is the object of the Anti-poverty society! Not to abolish poverty after the fashion that Jay Gould has abolished poverty, but to abolish poverty, to bring on the earth a state in which no one shall be overworked and all shall have abundantly of all the necessaries and all the luxuries of life (Hear, hear, and applause) But to do that work, to do the work that is before it today, the Anti-poverty society, as a society, must take the maxim of Abram S. Hewitt and begin by abolishing poverty for itself. And it has. It already has money in the bank, some five or six hundred dollars. It has got so rich that it has made an appropriation for a missionary, it has appropriated money for the diffusion of literature, and it intends to push this movement on by all means that can be devised. The missionary is not yet quite in good working order, but at the next business meeting of the society the plans will be matured. And so, in the meantime, we want that fund to swell as far as possible; and therefore ask you to show your devotion to this cause by a liberal response when the collectors come around. In order to encourage them, Miss Munier and the choir will give them an anthem.
After the collection had been taken up and the anthem had been sung Mr. George said: “It now becomes my pleasing duty to introduce to you another Christian minister who has dared to take a stand for equal rights. It is not in the Catholic church alone that the man who stands for justice has to undergo persecution. It is as true of the Protestant churches as of the Catholic church. I know to my own knowledge of many Christian ministers whose hearts are with us, but who dare not come to the front as Dr. McGlynn and Mr. Pentecost have. (Applause)
“In introducing Mr. Pentecost tonight I introduce to you a minister who, like Dr. McGlynn, has carried his congregation with him. (Wild applause) I have the great pleasure of introducing the Rev. Hugh O. Pentecost of Newark.” (Great applause and cheering, accompanied by the waving of handkerchiefs as Mr. Pentecost arose)
Mr. Pentecost said:
Ladies and Gentlemen—and since I have just seen a collection taken up I feel like saying Brethren and Sisters—I wouldn't have believed you were so glad to see me. (A voice, We know you.) I came over from Newark tonight pitying you and pitying myself. Who ought not to be commiserated who has to stand in a place that has been occupied two or three times by the “Peter the Hermit” of the new crusade, Edward McGlynn (applause), and two or three times by the “Paul” of the new Christianity, Henry George (applause), and also by that other disciple, who, like his Master, has become voluntarily poor in order that through his poverty others might be made rich, Father Huntington. (Applause.) Who ought not to be commiserated who, having listened to the eloquence of these men, must now listen to any one else whomsoever. I pity you and I pity myself.
But we will not spend time upon our miseries. Rather let us come together in this bond of mutual pity, and hope for the day when the Anti-poverty society shall have so many great speakers in New York that it shall not have to send over to the moist places of Jersey for the little ones, as this city has to go over there to quench her Sunday thirst. (Laughter.) Perhaps the time will come when the chief priests and the scribes will take up the cross of the new crusade, for there is a time when the chief priests and scribes are ready to take up the cross—when it is the sign of assured victory. (Laughter.) Perhaps the time will come when even the chief priests and the scribes will join us in this crusade for the reclamation of the holy land and the driving out of the Turk that has grabbed it and dispossessed the children of God. Who knows how soon that time may come (A voice, Next week.) Those of us who feel the fire of the new crusade burning in our bosoms, and who feel how it burns with increasing fervor from day to day, would not be surprised at any time to see this movement sweep through the land like a prairie fire! And why shouldn't it?
Isn't every citizen of these United States an anti-poverty man! Isn't each one a little anti-poverty society with reference to himself, as our mayor is—your mayor, I mean? (Hisses.) Are not those great corporations which some rude people speak of sometimes as soulless monopolies, anti-poverty societies? I don't know whether they are really as benevolent as one of your newspapers tries to make us believe, or as unselfish, but I do know they are simply organized anti-poverty societies. The number of persons to whom their operations will ultimately apply is somewhat limited, indeed, but the principle is there. They are so persistently opposed to poverty for themselves that they are willing to plunge tens of thousands of people into poverty in order to accomplish their quite natural desire.
Now, what our Anti-poverty society wishes to do is to inject into the whole people this anti-poverty spirit. We want the thousands and thousands, aye, millions of people who are suffering poverty in quiet, peaceful, stupid content to form themselves into an anti-poverty society that shall never cease to labor until, in a constitutional manner, the laws can be so changed that pocket picking of the public purse shall no longer be a respectable occupation. (Applause and laughter).
The man who goes up to Harlem and buys a lot for $10,000 because be knows that in a few years he can sell it for $20,000 and in that I way put into his pocket $10,000 which he did nothing to earn, and which, therefore, must come out of the pockets of other people, is a little anti-poverty society. The object of that society is himself. And when people complain against that anti-poverty society, as some people complain against this one, he says to the ten or twenty people who are more or less impoverished by that transaction, “You ought not to complain; there have to be enterprising men in every community (laughter); there have to be men who can look ahead and use their brains for the improvement of a community; and then, besides, Jesus Christ said, 'the poor ye always have with you;' God intends that some people shall be rich and other people shall be poor; if that was not so there wouldn't be any opportunity for the good rich people to practice their charities. (Laughter.) And then, if there were no poor people, who would clean our streets and cart away our garbage?”
Now, we want to have the whole people inspired with this anti-poverty spirit. We want to have the people look upon that man and: say: “We are going to take lessons from you and do just what you do, not, however, for ourselves, but for all people. (Applause) And we are going to try and have the laws so fixed in this world that when you put another ten thousand dollars in your pocket you will have to work for it.” (Applause.) In other words, we are going to say to that man we want a little hand in this anti-poverty game ourselves. (Applause.)
Now, all this seems very shocking to the “saviors of society.” (Hisses.) There are ministers, and, I suppose, priests, and I know editors (hisses), who say that all this is very immoral. But it seems to us so dull is our moral comprehension in certain directions—that if it was right to make laws so that the taxes for the support of the government should be shifted from land upon the products of industry, with the effect of tying up land, we don't see why it shouldn't be just as right when we get the power—and we hope to have it before long—to march up to the ballot box with our little vote in our hands and make laws—or elect men who will make them for us—to take that tax off the products of industry and put it on the land, where it belongs. (Great applause) We don't see why, if one of those operations is moral, the other is not moral, too.
We are not starting any new society, as you see; we are simply following in the footsteps of our betters. (Laughter and applause) We say to this man that buys the land, or steals it, we say, you have a magnificent little scheme here which we begin to understand (applause), and we are going to take that same little scheme and work it for the benefit of the whole people (Applause.) We don't want to take your land away from you. Nobody wants that. You can take that and do whatever you please with it. If you want to fence it in and stand on your head on it for a year, you can do it. But we find that there is an unceasing and increasing stream of rent that is running out of the public purse and into your pocket, and it is making a very successful anti-poverty society out of you. We are going to try and turn that stream of rent out of your pocket into the public purse (applause), where you can at any time, if you like, find your share (laughter and applause), your whole share, and nothing but your share. (Great applause)
We want an anti-poverty society that shall be so big that it will just take in all these others. That is the tendency now, you know—centralization (laughter); the big organization swallows up the little ones. (Laughter.) We don't want any competition. (Wild cheers.) We are not going to have an anti- poverty society that applies to one class or one color or one nationality. (Applause) We are going to have an anti-poverty society, if we can, in which a manufacturer and a laborer shall stand upon an equal footing, in which a black man and a white man shall be the same (applause); in which an Irishman and a Russian and an American [a voice—an Englishman?]—yes, and an Englishman, too (applause), and even a Pole, and by and by, when we get to it, a Chinee (applause)—in which all these shall take their places as the children of one Heavenly Father. We believe that there is room enough upon this earth for them all, that there is provision enough in this earth for them all: and we want them all in. [Here a woman in the top gallery screamed, in a marked German accent, “Any kind of a guntree!”] Yes, any kind of a country—a little “accent” over there, but we understand it; it sounds like the language of the kingdom of God and the brotherhood of man. (Applause.)
Now, some people tell us that poverty is the result of conditions that inhere in individuals, and that it is a part of the settled plan of God. I read, not long ago, two able editorials in two able Christian newspapers, in which both editors said that pauperism was a very bad thing; that a society for the abolition of pauperism was a good society, but that poverty was a great blessing, one of the most beneficent means God ever employed for sweetening and mellowing human character, and that some people would not know how to get along without it—(laughter)—they have derived so much blessing from it—and that any attempt to do away with poverty was a kind of impiety, and that the Anti-poverty society itself was a kind of an impious institution. The gentlemen who wrote those editorials were suffering from cobwebs on the brain. (Uproarious laughter and applause.)
Demonstrate to us that the laws and customs of this world, in so far as man is related to man, are just and fair; demonstrate to us that the laws and customs by which a man secludes for himself upon any terms a portion of the surface of this earth, which extends, in fact, to the zenith and to the center, are consonant with natural laws and natural rights and then we may begin to say that poverty has some place in the plan of God for this world. But until you can demonstrate that we are living under perfectly just and fair laws as between man and man, we will never be guilty of the impiety of charging God with what we know is chargeable to the greed and wickedness of men.
Poverty is the result. of individual conditions, you tell us. There is some reason, inherent in these people, why ten should be rich and ten thousand poor. Let us look at that for a moment. The population of this earth is estimated at 1,400,000,000. Divide these people up into families of five each. Put each family on half an acre, so you have ten to the acre, and you can put them all on 140,000,000 acres. The state 6f Texas has 188,000,000 acres of ground. You can take the population of this earth, divided up into families of five, put them into the state of Texas and have enough room left to dispose of four times the population of the United States in the same manner. Then people expect us to believe that poverty is part of the merciful plan of God. We will not believe that just yet. (Cries of “No, no,” and applause.)
Open this country to the population of the world, and we will take them all—if you will free the land—and live infinitely more comfortably than we live now; we will live peaceably and in harmony; we will beat our swords into steam plowshares and the lion and that lamb will lie down together (applause), and the lamb will be on the outside. (Laughter and applause)
It is not the Lord of this universe that is making all this trouble; it is another kind of a lord—the landlord. He is well called a lord; for if you put into his possession the planet he might as well be a god; he might as well own the air; might as well monopolize all the corn, as Joseph did away back in Egypt. England has about thirty-two and a half millions of acres of land; four and a half millions of those acres are owned by twelve men, eight of whom own more than two hundred and twenty thousand acres apiece, one of whom, the Duke of Sutherland, owns one million 'three hundred thousand acres. (Hisses.) There are only two counties in England larger than the estate of the Duke of Sutherland, which he inherited from the man who originally stole it. A man with all that land in his possession has untold power over the happiness of other men. Put men like that into a “combine” and it would not be long before they would have the power of life and death over the whole nation. And the reason why these men have that power to-day in England is because what old crusty, grumpy Thomas Carlyle said was true—that England was populated with forty millions of people, mostly fools. And the enterprising New York speculator who buys land in this town for speculative purposes is doing the same thing in principle, and will continue to do it just as long as the United States are populated by sixty millions of people—mostly fools. (Laughter.)
This society has not any creed. We don't even ask a man that he shall believe that there is any God at all. But I think we are all agreed that if there is a God, and He cares anything at all f or His reputation among fair-minded men, He wouldn't have distributed wealth as it is distributed in this world to-day. He wouldn't have given so many people all the “pie” who don't seem to need it or deserve it. Why do you ask us to believe such a thing as that when we know better. Some time ago the employees of one of our great railroads began to practice on the railroads what the railroads had been practicing on the community for a long time. They saw how easy it was to effect things by making a “combine;” so they made a combine and found a way to break into sealed cars and steal goods—monopolize them, hypothecate them. (Applause and laughter.) Now, when the people who shipped these goods discovered that the goods were lost, and went to the officers of this railroad company, did the railroad company sit down and say to these men, “There is a kind of mysterious providence in this world by which goods seem to disappear. Wealth in the process of transmission from the sender to the receiver to a certain extent will always disappear by providence”? Did they say that and then sit down and pay for that loss, charging it up to profit and loss? Not they. They said, if goods disappear out of these cars, somebody is stealing along the line of this railroad, and we are going tofind out who it is. They put detectives on their track, and soon they found them out. The trouble with these men was that they hadn't taken the precaution to get laws passed beforehand by which they could do the stealing legally, and they had to suffer the consequences. (Applause and laughter.)
We look out upon society, and we say something like that is going on. In the process of the transmission of wealth to the wealth producer, a good deal of it seems to disappear, and we go to the saviors of society and ask them to explain this thing. Some of them try to make us believe that it is not so. Mr. Edward Atkinson (hisses) got out a spectrum the other day in Boston for the purpose of the spectrum analysis of one hundred thousand yards of cotton cloth in process of manufacture; and then he showed on a chart, by a long, long line, how much of the money used in that operation went to labor, and by a wee bit of a line how little of it went to capital. We have all read fairy stories before. We remember the story of the great big bear and the wee little bit of a bear. Mr. Atkinson says it is not so; that labor gets it all—most. And Mr. Chauncey M. Depew (hisses) told the locomotive engineers and firemen that this year the Hudson river railroad would make thirty-four million dollars, and that the employees of the road would get thirty million dollars, and the dear little stockholders would only have four millions left to buy oatmeal with, and that as many of the stockholders were little lone, lorn widows, nobody ought to grudge them this little four millions, even if they wanted to put some sugar on their oatmeal. Or the New York Tribune will tell us (hisses)—I didn't mean to mention the name of that paper, because I was afraid you would not like it—that the Standard oil company (hisses) is not really making any money at all: that all it exists for is to shower oily blessings on the people; that its sole object is to make oil so cheap that all the poor people can have it for very little money. This is the way they tell us we are mistaken.
But some really admit that somebody in this world is not getting his fair share of wealth. It is alas! too true, they say; but it is one of those mysterious dealings of Providence, and it isn't best to inquire too much into it, because you might find out some of the secrets of the Lord, and then, besides, Jesus said “the poor ye shall always have with you;” and if you should abolish poverty, the Bible wouldn't seem to say the truth, and you would give great encouragement to infidelity. (Laughter and applause.)
That won't satisfy us; we have got beyond the infant period. We have been protected in our infancy until we are men now. We know better than that.
It so happens that there has been raised up for the people a detective concerning this thing. That detective has been on the track of the thieves. He knows where they are, and who they are, and he has got evidence to convict them sure. That detective is Henry George. (Wild and long continued applause.) The document containing the evidence collected is “Progress and Poverty”—the most important and significant book that has appeared in this world since the publication of the New Testament. The thieves are the men who put in their pockets the unearned increment of the land. The witnesses are all the poor people in this world. The bar before which these thieves are to be brought is right reason and right conscience concerning the inalienable equal rights of men. The judge is Almighty God! The prosecuting attorney is the Anti-poverty society. (Wild applause and waving of handkerchiefs.) There may be a stay of proceedings for a little while (laughter), but we will extend the court so that you can't change the venue. There won't be anywhere for the thieves to go where it won't be equally dangerous for them.
Men tell us that a large part of the poverty in this world, if not all of it, is attributable to indolence and intemperance Let us look at that a little bit. There are 70,000 unmarried women in the state of New York. (Great laughter.) The Lord knows what the cause of that is, I don't; I merely state the fact. Now listen: there are 200,000 women in the state of New York, not including household servants, who do days' work for a living. One hundred and thirty thousand women of this state who are married have to work to help the husbands take care of the family. (Hisses.) Do you expect us to believe that all this is because of some reason peculiar to these persons? (A voice, “No, never!”) There are 9,000 children in New York today under the age of twelve years, many being only four and five years old, who are working long hours in filthy tenement houses to help support their families. Do you mean to tell me that this is the result of drunkenness and indolence? Many of these women make only from twenty to thirty cents a day. They could take a week's wages or a month's wages and not get very drank on it. (Laughter and applause) They are the most slavishly industrious people on the face of this earth, because they have to be or starve. No, no; you can't make us believe that, not while we have detectives on the track.
Another one of these detectives in his line is a certain Dr. Wiss, one of those patient painstaking Germans who get at the roots of things, who tells us that in London, with a population of four millions, two million people, half the population, live in single rooms. Six hundred thousand families in London, more families than there are in all New York together, live in one room to each family. The working people of London live, on the average to each family, in one and one-fifth of a room. In many cases, families of six, with two boarders who are poorer than they are, live together in one room nine feet square. One quarter of the wages of these working people is paid down for rent (hisses), and this is in a land that permits twelve men to own one-seventh of the whole kingdom, that permits one man to own 1,300,000 acres himself! You ask us to believe that all that squalor and poverty comes from the drunkenness and indolence of those people! (Cries of “no, no, never,” from all parts of the audience).
All this overcrowding, all this huddling of people together in dens and sties not fit for wild beasts to live in—and 'tis the same thing in Paris and Berlin and St. Petersburg and New York, according to their size and condition—all that, says the Christian Union, which also says that our proposition to lay the tax on the value of land is immoral, is due alone to the monopoly of the land. And the Christian Union is right.
Dear friends, we are beginning to see through some of these things, and we think we are beginning to help other people to see through them, too. Free the land by putting the taxes on the value of it; and if, in two generations after that thing is done, these people remain in the condition they are now, then I will join you or anybody in saying that the Being who sits on the throne of this universe is the most unspeakable fiend ever conjured in the crazy brain of man. Then I will join you, if you like, in breaking up the Antipoverty society and uniting with the Shakers and going in for rigorous celibacy, with the intention of wiping the population of this earth off its accursed face, as soon as possible; then, I say, let us reel in one brief carousal to death and the devil—a carousal compared with which the maddest riot of history would be child's play; then, I say, let some one who has the power pronounce the crack of doom upon this infernal civilization that ruins people by making them too rich or too poor, that spreads festering sores over the body of the whole community; then. I say, let us sink at once into the eternal night, and tumble the universe into chaos, rather than that generation after generation shall follow each other, each more selfish and fiendish in its greed and hypocrisy than the one that precedes it. (Wild, long continued and enthusiastic applause.)
But if you will free the land, and in freeing land free men who must live on the land; if you will do that, you will see these people swarming from their pestiferous dens and spreading over the smiling face of the earth more equally than now. You will see wages rise, as the tide rises, by a natural law. You will see poverty slinking away from the abodes of men where it docs not belong. You will then see something like the kingdom of God, because when poverty goes drunkenness and crime will go, and purity and peace will come in its place. Then there will be a kingdom of God; then it will be possible to talk to men about trusting in God once more.
I have not told a poor man to trust in God for a long time, because when I exhort a poor man to trust in God, the social conditions under which we live fling that exhortation back in my teeth and stifle it. There is not much use trusting in God when a few men own the earth. (Applause and cheers.) God is said to be all powerful. You let a few men continue to own the earth, and you take the power out of His bands. It is a solemn fact that God himself can do nothing for his own people against this infernal monopoly of land, except—and mark the exception—to wake up their consciences and brains and hearts, and lead them by such movements as this to abolish the private ownership of land. He can do that and he is doing it.
Suppose I should go to a poor man and use the Savior's lovely words to him. Suppose I should say to a poor man in one of those sweltering tenements, “Consider the lilacs of the field,” he would not know what I was talking about. If I should say, “Consider that sickly-looking piece of geranium that you have stuck in a tomato can,” he would know what I was talking about. But suppose I should say, “Consider the lilies of the field; they toil not, neither do they spin; but your Heavenly Father clotheth them with a glory greater than Solomon's. Behold the fowls of the air; for they so w not, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns; yet your Heavenly Father feedeth them. Are you not much better than they?”
Now, he would say the birds of the air and the lilies of the field are all right just as and as they have got plenty of land (applause) but a man with a grubbing hoe would break up that little providential arrangement for the lily, and a man with a gun or a cage would change the conditions under which the birds of the air live very quickly. That man would say to me, if he thought a little way on this subject, you put me in the conditions in which the birds of the air were and the lilies of the field were and 1 will be all right; you relieve me from this burden of taxation that rests on the products of my industry and put it on the land, where it belongs, and in that way free the land so that I can at least be a free man in this world, then I will be all right; then I will trust in God. But there is no use now, for if He should rain down manna or coats and pantaloons I wouldn't get any use of them; the man who owned the land on which they fell would gobble them. (Wild applause and laughter and cries of “Go on, go on,” as the speaker seemed about to cease).
Mr. Edward Atkinson said in that Boston speech where he got out his spectrum: “You poor men have nothing to complain of; if you don't like the job you have got, all you have got to do is to give it up and go somewhere else.” Now, where under the heavens will you go? You will go to another job where you won't be paid a bit better than where you are. You can't go on the land, because, though it seems to invite you, you will run right up against a signboard which says, “No trespassing here.” You can't become a tramp, for that is against the law. The law makes men tramps, and then says there shall not be any tramps. (Laughter.) There is one place that you can go to—you can go to that self-dumping garbage scow of Christian civilization, the poor house, which we seem to be so proud of. We point back to heathen civilization, before this Christian civilization came in, and say: “Ah, they had no poorhouses, though.” If Christianity and poorhouses necessarily go hand in hand, for heaven's sake let us look forward to more heathenism.
Some men glory in the magnificent charities of this day, which are magnificent, there is no denying that; but so long as our land laws remain as they are, every charitable institution in the United States is a blot and a shame on our civilization. (Applause.) We don't want charity—we want justice. (Applause.) When you have been just, then you can be generous; but then you won't have so much to be generous with, my friend.
If Jesus Christ should come upon this earth today—and I beg you, my friends, do not think that I mention these names with anything but the profoundest reverence—if Jesus Christ should come upon this earth today with nothing but His kit of carpenter's tools, it would be impossible for Him to become a rich man, whatever some of these men may have become who like to boast of it now. Because, now I make the statement with great deliberation—and God forgive me if it is not true—it is impossible for men to become what we call rich honestly. (Uproarious applause.) I don't mean to say that every man who is a rich man knows that he has become rich dishonestly; but I say that a man who has become rich through the conditions under which we live now, will find it very difficult to disprove the statement I have just made. At any rate, he has become rich by resorting to means which Jesus Christ would not resort to. He would remain a carpenter or He might go to preaching, but He wouldn't do any better at that because there isn't a church in Christendom today that would ordain him to the ministry, unless he has changed His views since He was on this earth (Great applause, wild excitement and cheering long continued.) And if He should happen to get into a church and speak His mind and speak His honest convictions, it would nut be long before the cardinal or presbytery atsynod or council would sit down upon Him. And I am sure that there is not a church in Christendom that would stand what He would have to say against humbugs and Pharisees in His church. And He would associate with common people, and they never would forgive that. And He would preach the land doctrine and join the Anti-poverty society. Ah, my friends, a civilization which would receive the Son of the Living God into God's earth, and so crowd Him that He couldn't get His fair share of God's bounty, as it now crowds so many of God's children in precisely the same way, is a civilization that we must—by peaceable means, it is to be hoped, and I believe—get rid of forever. (Applause.)
Men tell me that riches are the reward of intelligence. I was up in Central park not long ago and I saw a thing in a dogcart (laughter) driving a tandem team round and round in the park. It would not go out on the road where the real men were. And I saw it once afterward on the street, and then it had on pantaloons twenty-three inches wide, that hung around its legs like a pair of petticoats, and No. 10 shoes in length, “English, you know,” and about a forty-two size club walking stick carried upside down, and it wore a No. 6 hat, and it looked like a No. 1 idiot, (Uproarious laughter.) I inquired about it, and found it was-worth three millions of dollars, which it had inherited from that member of its family that preceded it upon this continent, and who had died of shame, I presumer because he had to be responsible for it. You tell me that riches are the rewards of brains? I know any number of greasy mechanics, as they are called, poor people who have to work, who have more brains in a minute than that thing will ever have. (Laughter.) But they have not got three millions of dollars. My dear friends, land was what gave that its money—not brains.
Now, people talk about brains and industry and sobriety, as if we didn't believe in these things. We believe in brains, we believe in industry, we believe in sobriety. We believe a man is a stupid fool who gets drunk (applause), and we believe a man that will take the money that belongs to his wife and little children and squander it among the boys anywhere is a bad man. You may call him generous hearted, if you like, but he would like to see him generous hearted at home. We know that there are some reasons why he may have become a drunkard which makes us pity him; but that docs not alter the fact. We believe in all those things, and what we are working for is that things may be so fixed in this world that brains and industry and sobriety may have a square chance.
People talk as if we were opposed to riches We are not opposed to riches. The Anti-poverty society opposed to riches! It is what we want. We are not opposed to rich men. We say that i f there is a man on this green earth who can make a million dollars honestly by brain or hand, not even the government should take one penny of that money away from him. We don't want any income tax. (Applause.) If a man can make for himself honestly a great income, then it is his against the world. (Applause.) The men who say that we advocate the taking away of their property say what is—(a voice—“A chestnut”)—yes, and it is a mighty old and worm-eaten chestnut by this time We are the people who of all people on this earth are making the most desperate fight for property. We believe in its sacredness. But we say that land is not property. (Good, good.) Land isa natural opportunity.
All we want is this: That if a man is going to be a thief, he shall make it known in public that be is a thief. He shall not be a thief in such a way that he can still be a leader in society and wear the garments of sanctity.
If he is a thief in the sight of God, whether he knows it or not, we want him to get out of that front seat in the church and take his place among the other thieves. We don't like to have two kinds of thieves around. We don't like one kind of a thief that is a thief because he steals in disobedience to the law, or rather because he gets found out. We don't like even the kind that steals in accordance with the laws. We don't like the two kinds. We don't want to have any thieves if we can help ourselves. But if a man is a thief, we want him to be branded as a thief.
I know it seems all very rude to say such things, but the time has come when some plain speaking must be done. (Applause) Now, dear friends, it does not seem to me that our desires upon this point are so very unreasonable or that it is so impossible to get them carried out. I will tell you why! Because this Anti-poverty society appeals to the two strongest motives in human nature—religion and selfishness.
You must not think that this is a purely political movement. I tell you that this is a real moral and religious movement. What we want we want because it is right. We have to argue a great deal with people who go into the expediency of the matter, but we want what we want because it is right, and that alone. We don't fear consequences, because we know that a thing that is right in theory will work right if you will ever let it. We say this! It is impossible for a man to get rightful title to land. It is impossible! Nobody by any possible reasoning can show how any man on earth can get the right to take a piece of land and make it his as against al1 other people. We say again that the value that accrues to land is the product of the community; and our principle is that what a man produces, or a dozen or a thousand men produce, is theirs. We want you to take what you produce, and give the community what the community produces. So the thing is right.
We feel, as a gentleman who is sitting before me tonight said to me, “When I read 'Progress and Poverty' I felt for the first time in my life what the fatherhood of God meant.” That is the way we all feel. The more we consider it the deeper become our moral and religions convictions on the subject, and when it gets hold of us we can't keep our mouths shut. Men are asking all around whether Dr. McGlynn (great applause) men are asking all over town and all over the country, whether Dr. McGlynn (applause) will ever be silenced. Great Scott! you can't silence him! (Tumultuous applause.) I want you to understand that when a good man—and a man doesn't walk who will say that Dr. McGlynn is not a good man—when a good man gets a profound religious conviction fairly into his mind and his soul, popes and councils and cardinals and powers that be have not the power to silence that man. (Great and long continued applause.) You may take him to the palace in Rome, and, like Paul the apostle, he will preach the gospel in the palace. You may take him, if you please, and send him to the center of Africa and he will collar a naked darkey and preach it to him. You may shut him up in a cloister and be will talk the land doctrine to another monk. Why, dear friends, when we see dear through this subject to the bottom and understand the misery that we firmly believe around be wiped off this earth if it could only It brought to pass, we must talk, we would talk to a wooden Indian in front of a tobacco store if we had nothing better to talk to. (Laughter.) Now, remember that is the kind of thing you have got to deal with when you talk about suppressing the men who have elevated the Standard of the new crusade. Sou can't suppress them.
We are going for the New Jerusalem. One of the New York papers said when the first meeting was held in Chickering hall that Mr. George's face shone as if he had just been elected mayor of the New Jerusalem. We want to take this rotten old town and turn it Jato the New Jerusalem: and who should be the mayor of the New Jerusalem but Henry George. (Great and long continued applause,)
But, mark you, we don't live altogether in the clouds. We have this heavenly vision of the New Jerusalem. We are glad we have it. It inspires us in waking and in sleeping hours. It makes us, I hope, brave enough to bear whatever punishment organized society puts upon us. But that is not all. We are down on this earth at the same time. Now listen: We have this most powerful religious motive, and, curiously enough, we have another motive that is not very religious, but that works in this time with the religious motive. It is this: It is simply old-fashioned human selfishness.
Why, under the sun, do you pay taxes on everything you use, when you might just as well put them on the men who own the land ? Why do you pay ten cents for a cigar when you might just as well get it for five? Why do you pay twenty-five dollars for a suit of clothes, when you could have it for twelve dollars and a half, and bigger wages to buy it with? Why do you pay taxes for your carriage and your horse and cow, and dog and billy goat, when you might just as well take all that tax off and shift it on to the land! (Applause.) Here is a good sign. When I was tasking about the profound religious motive with which we are working this house vent wild with enthusiasm. (Cries of “Good, good.”) But when I talk about this mean little selfishness you have hard work to get up a little applause. If that isn't a good sign in the Anti-poverty society, I will give it up. But these two motives work side by side—this profound religious conviction and this little mean, selfish motive. With many people we must first begin with their selfish motives. It takes some time for people to see how this is; but they are going to see it some day. And when they see it clearly, then the thing going through, and it is going through with a rush! (Applause.) When men see that God's will and their own interest work together for once, then the two horses are goingto pull this chariot to victory.
Now, we don't claim, because we don't know, that the simple abolition of private ownership in land is going to cure all the trouble. But this we do claim! That you can't do anything for the amelioration of the condition of the poor in this world so long as this giant stands in the way. There may be other giants, but this great big giant must first be throttled and killed. When he is killed we will do as Jack the Giant Killer did, go into the great giant's palace, and if we find other giants—railroad giants. Standard oil giants—if you kill the great giant, you can go in there and kill all the little giants, and set those prisoners free.
As the reverend gentleman took his seat the audience arose, and, amid the waving of handkerchiefs, applauded for fully five minutes. When the applause had somewhat subsided, Mr. W. T. Croasdale said: “Mr. Chairman, I move a vote of thanks on behalf of this society and audience to the Rev. Mr. Pentecost for the eloquent address that he has delivered here tonight” The motion was seconded by a dozen people in the vast audience. Thereupon Mr. George said: “It is moved and seconded that by vote this Anti-poverty society thank the Rev. Mr. Pentecost for the able and eloquent address he has delivered this evening. All in favor of this motion will arise and say aye.” Four thousand people arose as if by one common impulse and gave vent to a shout such as probably had never been heard in the Academy of Music before. Therefore, when a man in the first tier of boxes inquired in stentorian tones, “Was the motion carried, Mr. Chair man!”the cheers gave away to laughter, and Mr. George said: “It is carried unanimously. Go out and tell your friends what they missed by not being here tonight. By and by, when we get a little more funds, when the weather w warmer (laughter), we hope to get hold of a large park, and ask Mr. Pentecost to come over here again and address the people who couldn't hear him tonight.”
It was announced that the collections amounted to $204.
Encouragement From Friends
Letters that Show the Interest Taken by Friends Throughout the Country
Waltham, Mass., May 23.—Find enclosed $1 which you will please hand to the treasurer of the Anti-poverty society for my enrollment as a member of the same. I read “Progress and Poverty” five years ago, have read other of your works, and have taken the Standard from the first issue. I am thoroughly convinced that your solution of the labor and social problem is the only true one, and I rejoice that it is beginning to be everywhere discussed.
Boston, May 23.—I rejoice that Father McGlynn stands firm. The cross of the new crusade will now indeed become a cross worthy to bear and to fight for by every friend of humanity, no matter what his religious convictions may be. I enclose $10 for the agitation fund.
Philadelphia, Pa., May 23.—Enclosed please find $1initiation fee for Anti-poverty society, and send me a certificate of membership. I have intended to be a member all along since I first heard of. It, but my intention has been quickened to-day by reading the pope's letter to Archbishop Corrigan. I believe most heartily in the society's principles, and wish I could do more, but circumstances will not allow me to give too bold a support.
Richmond, Md.—Please add my name to the rolls of the Anti-poverty society. I am with you and dear Dr. McGlynn and other brave and noble men who are making this grand fight for the abolition of this great evil. What can I do?Iawait your commands.
J. C. W.
New York.—I have devoted much time to the subjects that come within the scope of your society. I have lectured much and have written much on the labor question and all the relations of rich and poor. I desire to be at your coming meeting.
Detroit, Mich.—I am in thorough sympathy with the cause and the means of abolishing poverty, as expressed by Dr. McGlynn, Henry George and their associates.
Johnstown, Pa.—God speed the good work. Though I am not a believer in any particular religious creed, I do believe in the fatherhood of God and brotherhood of man.
New York.—My heart and soul is with this or any movement having for its object the betterment of the conditions of mankind. While I may not be prolific with cash to help along the cause I shall at least accept the Rev. Mr. Pentecost's advice and talk it into the soul of a “wooden Indian in front of a tobacconist's for lack of argument” elsewhere.
S. M. J.
New York.—Enclosed is $5, my mite toward helping on the cause. One dollar is for initiation into the Anti-poverty society and the balance may go into the organizer's or crusade fund, started by J.B. Raby of Waynesborough, Pa., in last week's Standard. The words of that brilliant orator and disciple, Rev. Hugh O. Pentecost, led me to make the contribution.
W. J. T.
The Enemy's Shots
Flippancy, Ridicule and Owl-like Wisdom from the Press
Altoona, Pa., Tribune.
As a rule the man who attempts to beat the world out of a living makes a dismal failure. Then he joins Henry George's anti-poverty society and clamors for a division of the profits of the land which, if all his fellow creatures were as shiftless as himself, would be nothing but a bowling wilderness.
The best anti-poverty society ever known in this world is made up of those who work up to the measure of their abilities and have the good sense to spend less than they earn. Some men will not work and for this reason are poor, and some who do work spend all they earn, and for this reason are poor. It is not God's intention that idlers and spendthrifts should share in the earnings of others.
The Texas Style
Chicago Evening Journal.
A small town m Texas has originated an anti-poverty society that throws Father McGlynn's way into the background. Whenever an able-bodied man thereabouts is found to be habitually idle he is warned by a committee to leave or go to work. The result is that everybody is busy, contented and prosperous. With rare fitness this industrious movement originated in a town named Rising Sun.
Only One Honest Rule
Washington, D.C., National Republican.
The Anti-poverty society should read that axiom of Micawber, “Income twenty shillings, outlay nineteen-six, result happiness.” That is the only honest rule on which to establish anti-poverty societies.
The Doctor's Failure
Father McGlynn abolished no poverty while here last night.
Beware of Russia
Henry George's scheme of land ownership has been in practical use a long time in some portions of Russia, as has already been pointed out in these columns, and the results are not such as to develop much enthusiasm for the adoption of such a plan in this or any other country. The whole theory is communistic and subversive of the best interests of society. It sounds well in argument, and can be presented in a way to attract the attention of those who have never been industrious enough to acquire property of their own, because of its alluring promise of obtaining something from the people who have been thus industrious—of getting something for nothing.
Writing on the Wall
Rev. Charles P. McCarthy lectured on Sunday night at 52 Union square on Belshazzar's Feast, metaphorically considered. The unrest and unmistakable warning of coming social upheaval, he said, was the counterpart of the writing upon the wall of the cursed banqueting hall. God's laws have been violated. The modem Belshazzars—the millionaires and monopolists, who have enriched themselves by gambling in food, by corrupting legislative halls of nations, by appropriating to themselves the earth that God gave to all, and by all those other devilish makeshifts by which through industrial slavery they are enriched, continue in their intoxication and revelry, forgetful of the handwriting on the wall that describes their hopeless and inevitable doom. Men who have been slaves for almost a lifetime are being born again, and the gospel of justice, that “cross of the new crusade,” is breaking to fragments the shackles of industrial slavery.
On the Other Side of the World
Melbourne, Australia, March 29.—You will doubtless be glad to hear that Sir Robert Stout, premier of New Zealand, has intimated his intention of reserving the remaining public lands from absolute sale. Sir Julius Vogel of the same ministry has intimated that his cabinet will introduce a bill to extend the suffrage to the female sex, and I may say that Sir Henry Parkes of New South Wales has also made the same move with regard to the ladies.
Queries And Answers
Portland, Ore.—Allow me, as one of your most constant readers, to say that I hope you will continue the discussion of the question of interest in your columns.
(1) You admit that interest is of the nature of “unearned increment” by comparing it with the growth of a field of maize, “without further labor,” as well as with the increase of pigeons and cattle.
(2) I don't know much about farming, but if maize, after planting, grows “ripe without further labor,” I am sure it is not like most other agricultural products, e. g., cotton or turnips. Neither will a calf become a cow in my experience without much care and labor and outlay of food stuffs. Even pigeons require some attention, and, at best, like other forms of riches, do take to themselves wings and fly away.
(3) But even admitting that certain agricultural products, as maize, and pigeons will increase without expenditure of care and labor. What right have you to make them typical of all capital ? You must admit they are exceptional. In other words, why should money be especially representative of “such forms of capital as pigeons, cattle and fields of planted grain,” as you put it ? It seems to me more fairly representative of machinery, raw material and food, which do not breed, but perish in the using—or, indeed. will perish without using.
(4) Again, does not the power of increase in the planted field belong really to the natural advantage of land, and as such is it not covered by rent, so that the true parallel is between interest and rent, even in your own illustration?
(5) The allowance of interest on money, or the recognition of any man's right to live on the “product of the product” of his labor entails upon society the insufferable incubus of a class of idlers, and surely defeats the just and wholesome law of living by honest and useful toil.
(1) Interest, so far from being of the nature of “unearned increment,” is an earned increment. The unearned increment of land is that value which it acquires from the demand for a thing which human labor cannot increase or reproduce, while the earned increment of capital is due to the direction of labor. The increased value of a field is due to growing demand for that field; but the increased value of a field of maize flows from the labor that planted the maize. The increase, though not produced by present labor, is due to past labor, and is therefore a fruit of labor.
(2) Even with those agricultural products that must have attention while they grow, the law of natural interest holds good. You might have to take care of cotton during the day, and yet it would increase in value in the night when you were asleep and on Sunday when you were at church. It is not so with inert labor products. They are idle whenever labor is idle.
(3) We do not make maize and pigeons typical of all capital. We make them typical of all capital in vital form. Some form of vital capital may need more labor than others, but it is true of the whole class that there is a greater or less increase in value which is due to no other labor than to that which produced the capital—which gave to the raw material a vital instead of an inert form. Nor have we said that money is especially representative of “such forms of capital as pigeons, cattle and fields of planted grain;” what we say is that money is representative of all forms of capital, including those you name. Nor is it true that raw material and food do not breed. In exchange they do breed. If one orange in New Jersey will exchange for two apples and one apple in Florida will exchange for two oranges, then by sending oranges to New Jersey and apples to Florida both will breed, economically—that is, there will be more oranges and apples than if New Jersey raised her own oranges and Florida her own apples. The increase, less cost of exchange, is interest.
(4) No. The natural power of increase would not exist in planted maize, for example, but for the previous labor that prepared the ground and gathered and sowed the seed; but the natural advantage of land exists irrespective of any previous labor. Rent is the price of a privilege; interest is the increment of a product.
(5) No one can live on the product of a product unless he either uses the product or can find some one who will use it for him. No one will use another's product—another's capital—thus losing its interest, if he can own the capital himself and retain the interest. The only thing that now prevents men from owning their own capital and getting interest as well as wages, is that the private appropriation of land tends to keep wages at so low a point that mere laborers find it difficult and even impossible to accumulate capital.
Tarentuw, Pa.—In last week's issue you answer Middleton by saying that “we do not believe that society owes any man anything, nor that any man owes his efforts to society.” If this be so, I for one have been laboring under a lifelong mistake. To me it appears as though every one is the product of his environments, which make him just what he is. If this view be correct, then he owes to society everything. Isaac Newton was a man of wonderful development of mind in consequence of his social surroundings. Had he been born a Comanche Indian, with the changed conditions that implies, would he have been Isaac Newton as we know him? Was he not the product of society influences and did he not owe to society all that he enjoyed? To me it seems very plain that he did, and that every one is in like condition.
W. A. Culbert.
Society had no right to command the labor of Sir Isaac Newton. He owed it no labor. Nor had he a right to demand a living of society according to his needs; but only according tohis deeds. And that is all that the answer you criticize meant.
Vincennes, Ind., May 17.—I am a profound believer in the doctrine of land nationalization, but I have thought of one point which nuzzles me. Supposing you take off all taxes save on land values, bow are you to treat the “made lands” in lake Michigan, purely artificial, the results of labor on the part of enterprising Chicagoans ? There is a big extent of this manufactured terra firma, and as it is an improvement, the product of human labor, as much as the brick that is in your house or the stone in the Washington monument, I do not see how the producers can be justly taxed for its use. It is, perhaps the paradox of this land question, and I am really curious to know how you view it, but I know it cannot in the least detract from the truth that the land is the common property of all men.
W. W. Bailey.
“Made land” is an improvement, just as a house is. But the place on which the land is made is no more an improvement than the place on which a house is built. Enterprising Chicagoans have produced “made lands” on the bed of Lake Michigan, but they have not produced the bed of the lake. So long as the bed of the lake has no value as a n opportunity for producing “made lands”—so long as the place is not more desirable than the best land in use that yield no rent—the owners of the “made land” should pay no tax; but when that place became more desirable than free land, they should be taxed on the basis of that value. In time, however, “made land” would cease to be an improvement. Its value would lapse into that of the land and be taxed accordingly, just as the value of a permanent drainage or irrigation ditch made by a tenant ultimately lapses into the value of the land and goes to the landlord in ground rent.
How to Prevent Bribery
New York, May 10.—At the meeting of the Anti-poverty society in the Academy of Music on the 15th of May there was a question which I would like to have answered. It was this: How will you overcome systematic bribery? Please answer this.
By making it dishonorable to either give or accept a bribe, which can be done by making it as easy to secure a good living by honest means as by successful rascality.
The Land Without Value
Brooklyn, N. Y.—(1) You often speak of land having no value. Will you please tell me where it would be located?
(2) Suppose John Brown owned 4,000 acres of land in Texas—used it for grazing cattle—would that be valueless? If so, how would the case be if Wm. Jones wanted a part of it to farm? Would he have to pay rent to Mr. Brown, or would the government put a value on it?
(1) Under conditions which compelled the payment of the rental value of land to the community, no one would want land except for use. To hold valuable land vacant would involve certain loss; and to hold non-valuable land vacant would be profitless. So, all land required for use would be appropriated, and that which was vacant would be so because no one wanted it. Land which no one wants, or which only one man wants, has no value. But in the neighborhood of every community there would be more land than that community would require for use. Therefore, land having no value would be located in the neighborhood of every community.
(2)If Brown's grazing land was surrounded by unused land equally desirable, Jones would not prefer any of it; consequently it would be valueless and pay no tax. But if there was no unused land to which Jones could resort, or if Brown's was better land Jones would be willing to pay something for part of Brown's land, in which case, if there were enough Joneses to make a market demand, Brown's land would acquire value and be taxed accordingly. Jones might either buy of Brown or pay him rent, as they agreed between themselves. The government would not fix a value; that would be done by the market.
Make Monday Pay Day
New York.—Would it not be a good thing for workingmen to substitute Monday for Saturday as pay day?
Yes; especially if you pay for the current week, thus giving your men their wages before, instead of after, they give you the capital their labor produces.
Chicago, May 18.—As preface to a query let me state the condition of the local building trades. The painters early demanded an advance and secured it; the plasterers, lathers and roofers followed suit with substantially the same result, but in each case accompanied with more or less obstruction and delay of the operations of branches of business not directly interested. Then the carpenters struck for eight hours and “recognition,” and after a practical stoppage of building operations for three weeks waived the “recognition” and accepted work from whoever would conform to the other conditions. Then the hod carriers demanded a raise, but have not yet accomplished their purpose. Finally the brick layers, who had been allowed to settle their own terms and conditions of labor, asked for a change in the pay day from Tuesday to Saturday, and upon refusal several hundred stopped work. The brick layers, having no affiliation with other associations, had previously refused to take sides with their hod carriers, but now they decided to refuse to work with non-union laborers. Thereupon the builders and traders' exchange (an association composed of all the boss brickmakers, cornice makers, roofers, carpenters, brick layers, plasterers, lathers, painters—in fact, all firms engaged in any branch of building or furnishing building supplies) ordered a total cessation of all building operations and forbade the furnishing of material of any description to any one not a member of the exchange. No alternative was given, the lockout was unconditional, and at this moment no one is able to say what steps it would be necessary for the workingmen to take, providing they were willing to submit to any conditions in order to be permitted to resume work. It is now an utter impossibility for any of the fifty thousand workmen dependent upon these industries to secure the opportunity of making a living, and equally impossible for any one to procure the erection of any buildings, although perfectly willing to pay the current price for such service. Now for the query:
(1) How could your land theory, or even actual nationalization, protect society from such disastrous interference with the orderly course of things?
(2) If the private ownership of the machinery of production and the very means whereby society is sustained is defensible, what right have we to complain at the disposition the owners of such machinery choose to make of it?
(3) Can anything short of unqualified state socialism go to the root of the matter?
L. A. Gibbs.
(1) By making it easy for every one to get a living without being dependent on an employer. In the dilemma you mention—great numbers of builders out of work and great numbers of people wanting houses—all the elements of perfect exchange are present except freedom of access to raw materials. But as raw materials are locked up, it is in vain that the consumer demands products and the laborer offers to produce, so long as the middle man is willing to gratify his stubbornness at the expense of his capital. Such a dilemma would not arise, however, if land were free, for the middle man would foresee the hopelessness of the struggle when opportunities to work were in excess of the supply of workers. The free land which would be everywhere accessible and practically inexhaustible would afford an open channel of communication between production and consumption, and be a perfect regulator of wages.
(2) We have no right, and if natural opportunities for the construction of the machinery of production were not monopolized, we should have no occasion. If all the machinery of production in the world were kept out of use, it could, land being treated as public property, cause only temporary inconvenience; and if the owners of any considerable part of the world's machinery did not enter into the conspiracy to keep it out of use, there would be no inconvenience at all.
- By taxing land to its full value, the beneficent objects of state socialism would be accomplished without that destruction of individual liberty which the methods of state socialism involve.
Half Way Reform
San Louis Obispo, Cal.—May I state a difficulty which perplexes me?
In the Standard for April 23, among “Queries and Answers” is one under the heading of “Farm Mortgages;” query by T. Hunt of Conway, Kan. the Standard, in answering, states that “the objects of this party will be gradually accomplished. . . . All losses—those of mortgageors, as well as those of mortgagees—will be spread over a considerable period of time.”
Does not this somewhat resemble the idea of the gradual abolition of slavery of which experience has proved both the wrong and the futility? And would not its influence upon the great masses of those who suffer under our present system prove equally maddening in hope deferred? I have little faith in any gradual removal of a wrong.
Mr. Hunt's argument that many a man has invested all his savings in a loan or mortgage would apply to any slave owner; and has society any more moral right to conserve such gains at the expense of untold misery to others—stretching through years of gradual abatement—than it had to ease the slave holder's fate by securing to him the labor of even one serf for even one year? Perhaps I have not understood the Standard's teachings, but my very deep and earnest interest in the land and labor movement.—which to me embodies both religion and philosophy—must be my excuse for troubling you with this letter.
Mrs. Frances M. Milne.
In replying to Mr. Hunt we were not advocating a gradual removal of the giant wrong. We do not believe in half way measures. We were stating what we believe will come true, namely, that the preliminary agitation, followed by the shifting of present taxes, will have such an effect on land values as to gradually distribute the loss of individuals as the gain to the community proceeds. A gradual emancipation of slaves, by which the slaves were enabled to reserve to themselves more and more of the produce of their labor until they retained it all, would be better than no emancipation, and might very naturally grow out of an agitation for unconditional abolition. It is not what we would advocate, but we should be glad to accomplish it.
We demand that the entire value of public property shall be paid to the public. As we believe that this would be practically accomplished by shifting taxes to land values, we advocate that; and as any step in this direction is a step forward, we shall be gratified to see the people get their own gradually, though we would prefer that they should get it immediately.
We have no more faith in the gradual removal of a wrong than you have. We do not believe in compromising with the devil. But in wrestling with the devil we are glad enough to find him growing weaker and weaker and ourselves stronger and stronger as the contest goes on.
Newton Centre, Mass. — The following questions recently appeared in the Boston Herald, will you answer them ?
W. F. Woodrow.
(1) If government should assume ownership of all land, who should occupy it and on what terms?
(2) Should certain people have it at a low rent, to the exclusion of others who would pay more rent ? And if so, how in case two or more of the favored class should desire to occupy the same land?
(3) But if not so, and the land should be leased to the highest bidders, wherein would that be an improvement on private ownership?
(4) If the rent of tenement property were to be limited by law—placing no limit on the income of other property—would it not lead to neglect of tenement property, with proportional inconvenience to tenants of such property?
(5) If at the settlement of Boston, more than 250 years ago, the owner of the land now called Boston common had decided to hold it through his heirs until the present time, purely for speculative purposes, without cultivation or other improvement, but solely depending on that increase of value caused, not by any exertion of the owners, as it is now common to put it, but by other people making improvements around it, how much would such increased value exceed the cost of the land?
These questions came from reading the Herald editorial comments on the vagaries of Mr. Henry George.
Cambridge, May 11, 1887.
(1) We do not advocate government ownership of land. But if government did own the land, it might be occupied as the Sailor's Snug Harbor property, Trinity Church property, the Collegiate Church property and the like are occupied.
(2) If “D” owned the land he would find no difficulty in settling such a dispute, and "government," by which he probably means the people since he lives in America, would have no more difficulty than “D” would have.
(3) For one thing—in that all the people, instead of a few landlords, would get the rent.
(4) This question has about as much relation to the subject as the queen's jubilee has to the price of pork.
(5) By the present value. The land never cost anything. By Consulting an authentic real estate record to be found in the first chapter of Genesis, “D” will see that Boston common was produced at a somewhat remote date together with other products of a comparatively trilling character, such as the heavens, the sun, moon and stars, and the rest of the earth. And no charge was made for it. So, as to the item of interest, to which “D” no doubt alludes, there can be none, since six per cent. on nothing is nothing, no matter how long it runs. But “D” might say that the man who got the common at the settlement of Boston paid something for it then, and that interest on that together with taxes would make up an amount equal to the present value of the ground. May be so; but we doubt it. Still, let it be so. For every dollar of taxes that the defunct and his descendants would have paid, and for every penny of interest that they would have foregone, they would have had full value as they went along. They would have had the use of the land. If its use wasn't worth what they paid, they were very foolish to pay it. There was no law compelling them to keep the land. They might have dropped it and saved all those taxes and all that interest if they were not getting value. But “D” supposes that these very unbusiness-like people did not use the land. Very good; then they must have enjoyed keeping it out of use, which was an equivalent for what they paid. Some people find enjoyment in peculiar ways. Men have been known to throw silver nieces into the street to see boys scramble for them, but they never demanded the silver back when the scramble was over. Aside from the enjoyment of keeping land out of use, if that was a source of enjoyment, the only object in paying taxes and foregoing interest on a 250 year occupation of Boston common would have been the power it would confer at the end of the 250 years of making Bostonians unload a good share of their earnings for the purpose of pensioning the owners of the common. That is to say, Bostonians of 250 years ago said to one of their number: “If you will pay taxes on Boston common for 250 years and say nothing about interest on the string of beads you pay for it, we will authorize your successors to levy an immense tax on our successors for the privilege of using the common.” The objection to that kind of a contract is that the parties in interest are not consulted. We are beginning to get tired of honoring the drafts which our great-grandfathers were in the habit of drawing so generously upon our bank accounts, and one of these fine days some of the drafts will go to protest for non-acceptance. In that ease we may be sorry for the holder, but we shall give him full liberty to pursue the drawer to the full extent of the law.
If “D” had made himself familiar with the “vagaries of Mr. Henry George” before reading the comments of the Boston, Herald, his conundrum would have been more perspicuous if not more sensible.
Why It Would Abolish Poverty
New York.—You say that the land tax would increase the demand for labor and diminish the supply to such an extent that it would abolish poverty. I would like to know all the reasons why this is so, in order to be enabled to defend the land theory against all attacks. By answering this question you will greatly oblige.
W. B. Hilton.
We cannot give you all the reasons. In “Progress and Poverty” they are fully set forth, and if you re-read that carefully you will be fully equipped to defend against any at lack that has yet been made. In brief, however, the reason is that when more work is required than there are men to do it, wages rise to the point of earnings, and when every one can find work for which he gets the value of his produce, there can be no involuntary poverty.
One laborer too many in a community will bring the wages of that community down to the minimum. There would be one man out of work. If it were the same man all the time, he would starve and thus solve the problem; but as he would not want the problem solved in that way, he would underbid some one, who would underbid some one else, and he some one else, and so on until to bid lower would be impossible. But one laborer short in the same community would raise its wages to the earning point. One employer would always want another man, and the bidding for this man would go around and around the circle of employers until every man got all he earned. After that point was reached, some employer would work for wages rather than pay higher wages to others and thus balance supply and demand respecting workmen. Of course this illustration supposes a community in which production neither increases nor diminishes; in which there are neither births nor deaths, and where there is neither immigration nor emigration. It illustrates a principle, and nothing more. To apply that principle to the country at large: There are 2,000,000 people seeking for opportunities to work. These are not the same people all the time; if they were they would speedily die off. But they and those with whom they change places continually bid against all who are employed, and thus press wages down. If vacant land were free, as it would be under a land value tax, there would be an outlet which neither births nor immigration could choke. The unemployed need not go upon this land to produce this result. That would be produced by the putting of the best land; to more productive uses, which would, create a demand for labor; by the withdrawal of men with small capital from the ranks of the employed into the ranks of employers, which would at once diminish the supply of and increase the demand for employees; and by the voluntary retirement of men with little or no capital, but with skill and energy, from the ranks of the employed to the ranks of independent laborers. Thus, no matter how great the increase of population, there would always be “one man short” in the labor market, for the land of this country is for all practical purposes, in an economic sense, boundless. And meantime, with the increase of population, while there would be great areas of desirable land to be had for nothing, the more desirable land would increase in value, thus yielding to the community at large a steadily increasing revenue, which would equalize differences in natural opportunities and enable the community to do practically without taxation all those things that require great capital and are in the nature of monopolies, such as building bridges and highways. draining marshes, maintaining| forests and so on.
The Danbury Lecture
Daxbury, Conn.—1. Henry George did not clearly state in his lecture at Danbury, how he proposed to vacate titles to land. 2. I noticed. that he did not recommend his hearers to “go west” and settle on land now owned by the people and “grow up with the country.” He, like many other reformers, is a rich land owner.
A. T. Peck.
1. By taxing land to its full value, thus taking rent for public use and making all land free that will not command rent.
2. It is quite probable that Mr. George did not advise his hearers to go west and grow up with the country. The country does not grow. It is population that grows, and growing up with the country is only a euphemism for getting rich on the growth of population by charging new corners for the privilege of settling. It is a fact that Mr. George is a rich land owner; but it is also a fact, a mournful fact, that in common with several million other American citizens equally rich in land, he is kept out of his inheritance.
New York, May 18—The Tribune has done something. It has not only discovered what poverty is, but, how to abolish it. According to the logic of its editorial on “Labor's Advances” in the issue of May 18, poverty is want. If you do not want anything you will not be poor. Therefore, if you do not want to be poor, do not want anything.
A Great Struggle
The builders' exchange of Chicago has taken the lead in a concerted attempt to fight organized labor, and there is unquestionably a design on the part of boss builders all over the country to join in the movement and make Chicago the battle ground for a great contest between the employers and the employed throughout the whole United States. The press dispatches represent that messages promising empathy and support are pouring in from all directions to the presidents of the builders' exchange and the master masons. Whether the present movement succeeds or not—and the bosses have already begun to weaken—the coming of such a general contest as it foreshadows is only a question of time.
The Chicago bosses have pledged themselves to refuse employment to any man who will not sign a paper that recognizes the right of every man to work for what wages he chooses to accept without dictation or interference from his fellow workmen, the right of each employer to employ or dismiss whomsoever he may choose without interference from his other workmen, and the right of every father to have his son taught any trade he may select for him, regardless of the number already employed in that trade. In short, the men must pledge themselves to abandon the principles and methods of trades unions, Knights of Labor and all similar labor organizations, under penalty of being refused the opportunity to earn a living at their trades.
That the men will consent thus to abandon themselves to the mercy of their employers without a desperate struggle is, of course, inconceivable, and hence if the bosses persist we may look for a complete stagnation of the building trade, which, beginning in Chicago, will extend all over the country if employers in that trade shall generally join in the movement to support the Chicago employing builders. What will be the final outcome of such a struggle it is not easy to predict, but one result is absolutely certain, and that is a great loss to both labor and capital through the idleness or only partial employment of both.
On their face the demands of the employees will appear fair to all who look no deeper than the mere surface of affairs. If labor and capital were alike free to employ themselves, such a demand would be fair. But neither of the two has such liberty at present, and hence the contest between them is simply as to the share that each shall get out of such opportunities as are open to them jointly. In this contest capital has the advantage, because, though prolonged idleness would eventually destroy it, labor would starve long before capital would seriously suffer. Under such circumstances labor must either maintain its organization or else accept whatever wages and conditions capital may choose to impose. In fact, the phrases of freedom are, in this instance, used for making a demand that workingmen shall consent to become slaves.
Though all thoughtful and humane men who have considered the question will hope that labor may win in this contest, yet such men, whether in or out of the unions, must deplore the necessity for this state of war between employer and employed, which, in the long run , cannot but be costly to both, and injurious to the community as a whole. The worst is that unless conditions radically change there is no prospect whatever of final and permanent peace. There could be no such conflict if labor were free to employ itself, as it would be were natural opportunities belonging of right to all not monopolized by a few. Mere access to land now held idle within a day's journey of Chicago would provide an outlet for labor that, in such a crisis as this, would so deplete the ranks of those seeking employment in that city that no combination would be needed to assure fair wages to those remaining. No man having access to land would work for another for less than he could make in working for himself, and all men could laugh at a demand that they should sign a prescribed agreement or starve.
The ultimate solution of the labor question must come through political action, and it can only come through the levying of such taxes on natural opportunities as will make them practically public property. If the people of Chicago were receiving in taxes the annual increase in land values that their mere presence in the city creates, they would now have in hand public improvements that would absorb all the unemployed labor there, and the influx of population would create a demand for buildings that you make it profitable for builders to other high wages to workmen. This is a truth so plain that it is accepted by all who really give their attention to it, and the same advantage of all such contests as that now beginning is that it forces an ever increasing number of workingmen to think, and thus to become convinced that they must use their political power to eradicate the root of their trouble and establish a permanent peace between labor and capital on the enduring basis of justice.
That Russian Treaty
The Star, which speaks by the book in matters relating to President Cleveland's administration, is of opinion that some of our citizens, in denouncing the Russian treaty of extradition, have gone off at “half cock.”
One reason for this is that the treaty has not gone into operation yet. When, then, if the treaty is objectionable, ought the people t o denounce it? After it goes into operation ? That would be indeed a case of locking the stable door after the emigration of the horse.
Another reason is that the treaty cannot go into operation until it shall have been confirmed by a two-thirds vote of the senate. But it is to prevent its getting a two-thirds vote of the senate that indignation meetings are called.
Again, no authenticated copy of the treaty has been made public “and nobody outside of the government knows positively what is the nature and purport of the instrument.” This significant statement is ornamented by the Star with a piece of political philosophy that merits earnest attention. A proposed treaty has been published which, according to the Star, was stolen from a government agent, and in denouncing the publication of this document, the Star observes that it should have been, “by every consideration of propriety and decency,” kept secret. Is it true, then, that the present federal administration regards the government as one thing and the people as another? Is it also true, in the opinion of this “democratic” government, that propriety and decency demand that a proposed law of the land, second in binding force t o t h e constitution itself, shall be kept secret from the people until it goes into operation? The ghost of Alexander Hamilton, if it takes the Star,must have been a happy ghost when it read that editorial.
There is no reason why the Star should be democratic. Party loyalty prevents it. But it should not be disingenuous. Candor adorns even what is bad. Yet the Star assumes the responsibility of asserting “that there is absolutely nothing in the treaty which provides for the surrender by us of political offenders who may take refuge here, but on the contrary it is expressly stipulated that such offenders shall not be subject to extradition.” As the people have not been permitted to see an authentic copy of this law by which they are to be bound, they must of necessity judge it by the stolen copy that has been published. A democratic “government” denies them any better means of information. And according to the stolen copy, it is true, as the Star asserts, that it is expressly stipulated that political offenders shall not be subject to extradition; but this stipulation is nullified by a proviso which the Star ignores, that persons attempting the life of the czar or any of his family shall not be deemed political offenders. Now, as conspiracies directly or indirectly involving the life of the czar are about the only political offenses that flourish in Russia, or that are likely to flourish in any country that is ruled by a lawless autocrat, the stipulation in the treaty on which the Star lays on much stress might as well be out. The obvious intent of the treaty, judging it by the stolen copy, is to enable a powerful outlaw to chase and capture his assailants on our territory.
If the stolen copy is a correct copy of the proposed treaty, it should be condemned; if it is to be condemned, the time to condemn it is before it goes into operation, not afterward; and if it is not a true copy it is incumbent on a democratic “government” to throw aside its autocratic notions of “propriety and decency” respecting the enactment of laws that bind the people, and let us know what kind of a contract it wants to make in behalf of the free people of the United States with the lawless master of the Russians.
The Labor Vote Next Fall
What number of votes will the united labor party east in New York city next fall? This is a question constantly asked by politicians of both of the old parties, and the answer by the knowing ones is, “far less than it east last fall.” Where figures are given, 30,000 votes is the highest estimate by such men. The result will show these knowing ones that they are again egregiously mistaken, and that the 68,000 will a gain be on hand, accompanied by many others who, before last fall, thought any attempt to form a separate party would be merely throwing away votes.
But the united labor party must recognize the fact that, despite the low estimates by the old politicians of its strength and staying powers, these men are now fully aroused to the danger that threatens them, and that they will work diligently and desperately to cause such a division in our ranks as will tend to make their predictions true. It is, of course, an obvious fact that the majority of the voters of the united labor party were, up to last fall, members of one or the other of the two old parties, and it is almost equally manifest that more of them were drawn from the democratic than from the republican party. The small fry democratic politicians are therefore bending all their energies to an appeal to the feelings and prejudices of those who deserted their party to join in the new movement, and their favorite method is to try to convince them that there is an understanding between the leaders of the united labor party and the republican machine. They point out the fact, which nobody can deny, that the democratic party has suffered most by the new movement, and then claim that, such being the case, it is clear that the new movement is designedly aiding the republicans. They next point to the equally indubitable fact that the republican party is owned and directed by monopolists, and ask, triumphantly, “Will workingmen assist in calling such a party to power?” The great body of intelligent workingmen are not to be cajoled into abandoning their own party and principles by any such specious reasoning. They understand quite as well as the democrats that the republican party is the ally and tool of monopoly, but they also understand a fact that the democratic leaders ignore, and that is that the democratic party, as now organized and controlled, is as deep in the mud as the other is in the mire, and that it cannot be trusted to fight the battle of the people against monopoly. They know that the united labor party is organized for that specific purpose, and that it is pledged to the destruction of that greatest of monopolies, the parent and source of them all, the monopoly of land, and they will stand by that party until it is able to accomplish for them that which they have ceased to expect or hope for at the hands of a ring-ridden democratic party. They are earnest men who believe in something and know what they want, and politics to them is no glove fight between professionals for a purse, but a serious struggle to overthrow a pernicious system that tends to reduce them to beggery.
Modem politicians have no conception of such a spirit and purpose, and hence they are engaged in speculation, based on their own methods, as to the hidden aims and purposes of men who frankly tell them just what they mean to do and how they propose to accomplish their ends. If the democrats of New York want to beat the republicans this fall, and thus strike an effective blow at the monopolies whose slaves lead and direct that party, there is precisely one way, and only one way, in which they can do it, and that is to turn their backs on the false leaders who have betrayed democratic principles and made democratic victories futile for good, and vote with the only truly democratic and truly republican party now in existence in this state, the party that will nominate its candidates at Syracuse next August. That will relieve them of any fears of republican success this fall, and leave New York no longer dangling as a prize before the eager eyes of Mr. Blaine in 1880. There is no good reason why all workingmen, all friends of popular government and all foes of monopoly in the old parties should not take such a course. Neither party any longer represents any distinct principle or conviction, and even prominent men now pass from one t o the other at the dictation of mere whim or personal interest as freely as hired players pass from one baseball nine t o another. Why should men belonging to a party that has convictions or principles have any preference between two such organizations? When t h e ballots are counted next fall the politicians will find that the united labor party has voted for its own candidates, and, furthermore, that in this city at least it has elected them.
Parties Without Principle
The two extremes of the republican party are at last in accord, and George William Curtis and General Catlin are agreed in one thing, that republicanism and democracy no longer represent distinctive or opposing principles. Mr. Curtis has just been making a speech to the Commonwealth club, in the course of which he declared that the great parties are now merely the shadows of great names, and neither of them is really united on the one question still in dispute between them, that of high or low tariff, while as to civil service reform, the one great question in the opinion of Mr. Curtis. the leaders of the democratic party are in direct antagonism with the democratic president. “There is no great and overpowering question like that of slavery,” said Mr. Curtis, “which forces every man to take sides,” and parties are coming to be tried by their candidates and by their moral tone and tendency. In short, they have ceased to represent any principles, and are mere organizations for naming candidates, between whom the voters must make choice on personal grounds.
General Catlin of Brooklyn, for many years a leading republican politician, has arrived at the same conclusion, and he makes the assertion in a practical way, as well becomes a pre-eminently practical politician. Feeling aggrieved at the action of the republican majority in the legislature in censuring alleged frauds in Brooklyn, General Catlin resigns from the republican party and next day formally joins thedemocratic party. Though his act is commended by democrats and denounced by republicans, it does not seem to occur to any of his critics that there is anything unnatural about the move. If republicanism and democracy still represented two opposing principles republicans would denounce General Catlin as a traitor to their cause and democrats would refuse to receive him unless he recanted republicanism and espoused democracy.
But the mugwumpian philosopher and the practical politician are mistaken in supposing that politics has been reduced to a mere personal choice between candidates, or that the best method of selecting clerks is the only issue remaining. Mr. Curtis declared that the next presidential election involves great party uncertainty, and therefore appeals to that vast conservative instinct which desires to maintain the existing order. “The attitude of the two parties endeavoring to adapt themselves to new questions,” he said, “is necessarily one of compromise.” So here we have a concession that there is a new question! The disposition of such men as Mr. Curtis is unquestionably tomaintain the existing order, and the utter lack of any dividing line between the old parties makes it easy for them to compromise for that purpose. They will need to do so if they even wish to prolong the existing order; for, despite Mr. Curtis' declaration to the contrary, there is “a great, overpowering question,” as much greater than that of negro slavery as the interests of all men, black and white, are greater than those of the blacks alone. It is easy for the Catlins seeking office in the immediate future and for the Curtises at charming club dinners to forget this, but the man who moves among the people and faces their meetings knows that the greatest issue of all time is upon us and that it cannot be evaded. Labor is wronged through the operation of laws and systems devised and upheld by men, and it is demanding that this wrong shall be righted. However much Mr. Curtis and his auditors may desire to maintain the existing order, these wealth producers are grimly determined that the existing order shall be changed.
The men who talk politics today and leave this, the one vital fact in current politics, out of consideration are foolish, blind or cowardly. Attempts to ignore it do not gain even a momentary success. Every strike intensities the feeling and strengthens the demand for relief from the system that condemns men to want in the midst of abundance. The shriek of the anarchist, the perfervid oratory of the socialist, the denunciation of the Irish tenants' wrongs, the cries of alarm by timid clergymen, and the very demands of the satisfied conservatives for the maintenance of the existing order all join to keep the one vital question of modern politics in the minds of men.
The old parties have indeed ceased to represent any saving principle or vital idea, but they are not to be permitted a period of leisure during which they can share the power and profits of office. A new party is already born, with the old truths and battle cries on its lips and a demand that liberty shall accomplish its perfect work by securing absolute justice to all men through giving to each his equal share of the bounties of the Creator.
The new issue cannot be postponed or evaded. Men cannot pass in and out of the new party as whim or temporary interest may dictate. It abhors the boss and scorns the time-server, and proclaims openly that all who are not with it a re against it. It is the one robust representative of vital principle in American politics today, and the old parties may well look to compromise and the readjustment of their several false pretenses with a view to a combination to maintain the existing order, as is demanded by the selfish interests to which they look for support.
The Herald has it that taxation cannot be shifted from products of labor to land values without altering “the constitution of the United States, which specially guards the rights of private property.” There was once a peculiar right of property which the constitution protected—property in human slaves “but where in the constitution will the Herald find anything to prevent the shifting of taxes to land values?
Some of the politicians who have been trying to keep themselves solid with the Irish voters by pretending to great horror at the evictions of Irish tenants, now that the land question has come to the fore in New York, tell the Irish that there is a great difference between the land question in Ireland and the same question in the United States. It will bother them to point out the difference. What difference does it make to a tenant who must pay out for rent all that he can earn above the money necessary for mere maintenance of life, whether the recipient of that money is an English lord, an American cooling his heels in the ante-rooms of royalty, or a dude in a dog cart in Central park? The man who works parts with his money, and the man who does not work gets it all the same.
The Pittsburgh Traveler well says that the action of the Pittsburgh Catholic, which wants Dr. Logan of that city boycotted because he entertained Dr. McGlynn, “is in accord with the intolerant spirit which the Toronto and Kingston orangemen displayed toward Mr. O'Brien, and will hurt the Catholic more than it will Dr. Logan.”
The extracts from the correspondence of the land and labor central committee, which we publish this week, give striking evidence of the vitality and energy of the movement for real reform throughout the country. In hundreds of cities and towns and villages in every state and territory of the union, men are gathering together to discuss how best and soonest the triumph of true democracy may be achieved, and the “glittering generalities” of the declaration of independence be transformed into living facts. The land and labor clubs are doing a great work, and doing it with steadily increasing efficiency.
Every man and woman who will can find work to do in the cause of the new crusade. Preach the gospel of the land reform to your friends; discuss it on every possible occasion. If you can do no more, make up a list of names, addresses and vocations and send it to the Anti-poverty society for use in tract distribution. The flame is spreading fast; let no crusader miss a chance to fan it.
The newspapers report Professor Theodore W. Dwight as having denounced “the land doctrine of Henry George and Dr. McGlynn” in a “ringing speech” at the Columbia college law school commencement. If the reports of the speech appearing in the same papers are correct, it must have been a ringing one; it was hollow enough and empty enough for a cathedral bell. But that would not be so bad if it were not dishonest, also. What did Prof. Dwight mean when he spoke of the state owning “all the land and all the improvements?” Is this ignorance or deliberate deceit? What did he mean when he said that “without property in land no man has an assured birthplace or burial place?” Does he really think that land cannot be used without ownership in perpetuity? What did he mean when he said that “no tree can be planted that he can call his own nor any dwelling erected that can give him shelter?” Does the professor think that to abolish taxes on dwellings and planted trees is to confiscate dwellings and trees? What did he mean when he said that “there can be no churches but state churches, no colleges or schools but state colleges and state schools?” Does he think that a perpetual title to land in College place, for example, is essential to a college at Forty-ninth street, or that the ownership of the king's farm is essential to a church at the head of Wall street? Professor Dwight's speech reads less like rational discussion than the raving of a man whose privilege of foraging on others is menaced, or, perhaps, he speaks for Columbia college rather than for himself.
Never in New York has a more powerful speech been made to a more appreciative audience than that which Rev. Hugh O. Pentecost delivered before the Anti-poverty society, at the Academy of Music last Sunday night, and of which we give on another page a verbatim report.
We commend to our readers the lucid essay of Mr. Thomas G. Shearman on the subject of the single tax, which will be found on our sixth page.
Blanton Duncan, who is, by the way, a devout believer in the literal inspiration of the Scriptures, writes from Louisville expressing surprise that such a sincere and earnest man as Rev. Dr. Rainsford should think the reading of a chapter of the Bible in the public schools a remedy for the evils of New York tenement life. It is only justice to Dr. Rainsford to say that there is no warrant to believe he thinks this. He alluded to the fact that tens of thousands of families in New York are living under such conditions that no religious, or even moral, training could be had at home, as a reason for continuing t h e practice of reading a chapter of the Bible in the public schools, but he did not say that he considered this a remedy for the evils of tenement house life. Blanton Duncan also suggests that the millionaires be left to support foreign missions. This is good advice. People who are not millionaires can find ample field for missionary work at home in spreading the light of the truth that “God made the land for all the people.”
The Half Holiday Meeting
A meeting of congratulation on the passage of the half holiday law was held at Chickering hall, Tuesday night. The speakers announced were Bishop Potter, chairman; Rabbi Browne, Rev. Mr. McArthur, ex-Governor Abbett, Rev. Mr. Pogson and Louis F. Post. The meeting was poorly attended. Bishop Potter spoke of the fact that he had been accused of immorality for advocating the half holiday movement; he did not think it an immoral movement, however, and trusted to the people to so observe, the day as to prove it a benefit instead of a curse to the community.
Rabbi Browne said he had also been accused of immorality for the same reason, but in his opinion the Saturday half holiday would improve attendance at the synagogue.
Mr. McArthur referred t o Dr. McGlynn, whose name was loudly applauded, and after assuring the audience that he did not agree with Dr. McGlynn's land theories, expressed his gratification that there was nothing socialistic about the half-holiday movement. An allusion to the queen's birthday brought on a storm of applause and hisses, the effect of which the speaker neatly parried and secured unanimous applause by declaring that since he had ceased t o be a subject of the queen he recognized no foreign authority, whether queen or pope. The Anti-poverty society was remembered in a remark to the effect that every industrious, sober and provident man and woman could make an anti-poverty society of his own. After reading letters from Judge Davis and Senator Reilly Mr. McArthur, who had taken Bishop Potter's place as chairman, introduced Governor Abbet's brother, the governor being kept away by illness. Mr. Abbett made an earnest plea for more leisure in this rushing world, and was followed by Rev. Mr. Pogson in the same vein.
Mr. Post spoke last. After relating the pitiful story of a cabdriver who, a few years ago, got $11 a week for sixteen hours' work on six days and eighteen on the seventh in every week, the speaker said that instances like that had taught him t h a t the kind of anti-poverty society proposed by Mr. McArthur could not help such men, and he had determined when he joined an anti-poverty society to join one which had for its object, not the abolition of his own poverty, though that was bad enough, but the abolition of the poverty of those poorer than he and having poorer opportunities. He was shocked at the confession of Bishop Potter and Rabbi Browne that the half holiday movement was immoral. He had long been engaged in a highly immoral movement under the leadership of Father McGlynn and Henry George (at this point the applause was enthusiastic), and he had expected from the list of speakers that he would now be in good company. But it seemed that the villa in of immorality still pursued him. He was not surprised, however. for when nothing can be said against a movement it is called immoral by those whose greed is menaced by it. After explaining that the half-holiday law does not compel cessation from work, but only removes a legal obstacle to voluntary cessation in business circles, and is precisely like the Fourth of July and Christmas laws which have long been on the statute books, the speaker referred to the objection that it will reduce wages, since a man cannot expect six days' pay for live and a half days.' work. This assumes, he said, that a man's wages are regulated by what he earns, whereas they are regulated by the number of men who want. his job, and every reduction of working time by decreasing the army of unemployed reduces competition for work, and tends to raise wages.
The Kings County Land Club
At the regular meeting of the Kings county Henry George land club, held in Thayer's hall, corner of Fulton and Bedford avenues, Brooklyn, on Tuesday evening, an informal discussion took place as to the best method of diffusing knowledge of the land value taxation system, and it was decided to engage the Criterion theater for Sunday, June 5, and invite Henry George to address a meeting of citizens. Mr. George has since been conferred with and has consented to make an address. The membership of t h e club is rapidly increasing.
Mr. Tynan's Lecture
Patrick J. P. Tynan, the Irish patriot, will lecture at Cooper union on Wednesday, June 1, taking for his subject “'Irish Constitutional Agitation: Its Results and Its Prospects.”
Rev. C.P. McCarthy's Sunday Lecture
“The Land Doctrines of Jesus” will be Rev. C. F. McCarthy's subject at lower hall, 52 Union square, next Sunday evening. Orderly debate and questions at close of lecture.
A Believer In Malthus
The Cure for Poverty Lies in Killing the Poor—The World-Wide Blessings of Famine, War and Pestilence
Amsterdam, N.Y., Democrat
That much-misrepresented man, Malthus taught that men are able to propagate their kind much faster than they con increase the food supply. The difference between the possible rate of increase in the two cases he saw strong reason for believing to be the difference between geometrical and arithmetical progression. Or, to put the matter in plain language, the difference between the rates is the difference between multiplication and addition. The tendency among those whose standard of living is low always is to increase the population to the limit of the available food, so that the gaps made by war, famine, pestilence, etc. are quickly filled. Instead of the pious old saving, “Wherever God sends mouths He sends meat” being true, it is the converse which is true: “Wherever God sends meat He sends mouths.” Malthus hated poor laws, not from hard-heartedness, for he was really a benevolent man, but because he held that the relief of paupers is only a small part of their actual work. He hated them because they make paupers, poor people marrying young and bringing children into the world with an easy mind when they know that those children will be fed from any source whatever. He held, too, that there is no possible cure (consistent with morality) for widespread poverty in any nation without the deferring of marriage till youth is passed on the part of these who are unable to support children. Malthus also claimed that if his doctrine were generally accepted and acted on, the total population of the world would not, in the long run, be diminished, but rather increased. Owing to the improved conditions, the death rate would be diminished by a far greater percentage than the birth rate.
The latest mortality statistics of London are interesting when looked at in the light of the doctrine of this great economist. The average marriage age is greater than it was. There has been a diminution in twenty-five years of seven per cent in the birth rate and a diminution in the same period of time of about twenty per cent in the death rate. The London Lancet. says that the decline in the birth rate has not been confined to London, but it is noticeable throughout England as well as in other countries. The decline in the death rate is, of course, largely due to the recent advances of sanitary science: but the statistics decidedly make for Malthusianism, and not against it.
None of the proposed methods of extirpating poverty, except that ofMalthus, seem to have any promise in them. His medicine is doubtless heroic and much against the grain of human nature. But the unpleasantness of the medicine is as nothing compared with the ills of poverty. Malthus, though a man both true and tender, has been derided now as a “parson” and again as a “brute,” and he has been “answered” and “confuted” scores of times. But all the answers (?)and confutations (?) inevitably go to the limbo of the forgotten, while the doctrine remains one of the few real contributions toward a science of political economy.
There is a possibility that some time in the future, through the progress of chemistry, mankind will be enabled to get food independently of the vegetable world. If that time should come, Malthusianism may be superseded. That the adoption of Henry George's land theory could supersede it, seems to be only a dream of enthusiasts—some of them doubtless interesting and amiable enthusiasts like Father McGlynn.
A Boom that Would Be a Boom Indeed
Vincennes, Ind., Daily News
Wecannot deny that the favor with which our plan for a boom has met is gratifying, and we only wish that we had the skill to unfold it more perfectly. But as we have little art, we must content ourselves with presenting the plan in rough outline, trusting to the native intelligence and discrimination of our readers to fill in the blanks and add the artistic touches for themselves.
We need not go over our plan in detail. It will suffice to say that it is perfectly simple, perfectly just and perfectly feasible. It is all summed up in a simple single tax on relative land values, thus exempting all improvements and personal property from the exactions of the tax gatherer.
Now, we hold that if here in Knox county there were no tax save on land values, manufacturers would readily see the advantage of locating here and would soon be competing with each other for good sites to put up mammoth furnaces, foundries and factories. This would involve tremendous activity in the building trades, wages would probably double with the quadrupling of population, the consuming power of the masses would enormously increase, thus involving marvelous activity in merchandising and the like, while the farming community, relieved from the pressure now placed upon it by excessive and unequal taxation, would flourish like a green bay tree and wax fat. Tenantry would have a tendency to disappear, it is true; but that would affect nobody but the man who has been living off the labor of others.
On the whole, it seems that we can afford to adopt this plan; in fact, that self-interest demands its adopt ion. We cannot see why we should not get big factories here by the score when all we have to do is to take taxes off improvements and personal property, at once relieving industry, promoting enterprise and insuring permanent prosperity. We trust that you will at least try to think of a better plan, if you don't adopt this.
Correspondence St. Louis New Order
Whenever a homestead owner who believes that his property is assesed too high complains in the assessor's office he is told that the assessed value is equal to the full cash value of the property. Are the following pieces of land. which were reported “sold” in the morning papers on Monday, the 2d day of May, assessed up to their full cash value?
Robert Forsyth to Dennie Catlin and Hugh McKettrick, 7,500 feet in Forest park by 650 feet
Sarah Chamberlain to Delos R. Haines
R.R. Wade to John Jackson, 683 feet on Forest Park boulevard
which is considerably less than forty per cent of the cash price. The day before it was stated that the Griswold tract sold for $400,000. The district assessor had assessed the tract $128,300, but by some kind of under hand monopolization the assessment was reduced to $114,330—almost one-quarter of the cash value. There were $865,000 worth of property sold within two days for speculating purposes which are assessed at $278,940.
The Anti-Poverty Movement in Philadelphia
The Henry George club cf Philadelphia, together with a number of other gentlemen, a few days ago held a public meeting and unanimously resolved to start a branch of the Anti-poverty society. The meeting was very enthusiastic and over $100 was raised in a few minutes to start the ball rolling. A committee of seven was appointed to perfect organization. It is intended to rent the largest theater or hall in the city for Sunday night meetings, at which prominent Philadelphians and men from other cities who are interested in the work of the new crusade will speak. It is expected that Dr. McGlynn or Henry George or both will address these meetings from time to time.
Well, New York is to have her small parks, and then everything will be lovely. Church missions have been tried; and children's and societies, and temperance societies, and societies to prevent this and that and the other things have put in their work, and held their meetings, and rendered their animal reports, and played all manner of games, and still those perverse tenement house people have been going from bad to worse, living: in wretched unsanitary conditions, letting their children die like flies. and too of ten, it is to be feared, forgetting their obligations to the loving and merciful God who has done so much for them, and neglecting to go to church on Sunday. But we know what the matter is now. What these people want is breathing room—little parks with trees and flowers and grass and other things, vegetable and architectural, where the children can play when they're not stripping tobacco, or carrying cash, or sorting rags, or in some other way adding to the prosperity of their country—where women can go and enjoy themselves after fifteen hours of sewing machine at four cents an hour—here car drivers and street sweepers and rag pickers can discuss literature and art and politics through the long summer twilight hours between knocking off work and going to bed. A species of rus in urbe, a lot of miniature country clubs. or east side Tuxedos—that's the sort of thing will do the business and bring back the golden age.
The worst of it is—these wretched poor whom we love so dearly and have always with us, are so impracticable—the worst of it is, that these perverse creatures have somehow a natural tendency to get away from parks. They have so little perception of their own interests that they deliberately pick out the filthiest, unhealthiest, wretchedest parts of the city and go there to live a n d stew and die. There is Madison square, for example. Could one wish for a prettier small park than that—leafy trees, birds, flowers, George Francis Train psychologically evoluting on a bench, fountain in the center, electric lights, statues of Farragut and Seward; what's the matter with Madison square? Why don't the stupid fellows build their tenement houses there and save the city a million a year? There's Stuyvesant square; isn't that good enough for them? Is there any objection to Morningside park, where vacant unused land is lying around loose by the acre? Central park has six miles of Street frontage. and on the Eighth avenue side the menagerie's noises are absolutely inaudible; why don't they live near Central park? This stupid insensibility of the poor to their own interest is what discourages the philanthropist.
However the community owes a duty to itself. These tenement dwellers must not be allowed to make their wretched dwellings nurseries for diseases that may carry off the children of our best families. Like the Arkansas darkey whose son wouldn't go to church, and who vowed to “make dat ar boy lub his Jesus, ef he broke his neck,” we shall save these foolish people in spite of themselves. If they wont come to the parks, the parks shall be taken to them. Wherever they are packed the closest we'll simply pull down the houses and make a park, not forgetting to settle with the landlord. It is true that the poor devils who now live in the houses must either swarm to some other hives or sleep in the parks, but theoretical difficulties of this kind musn't stand in the way of practical philanthropy, and if they swarm too thickly, it only needs to make more parks end drive 'em out again. It is also true that rents in the neighborhood of the new parks will go up with a jump; but this will be an addition to the wealth of the country and a direct continuation of Mr. Hewitt's economic axiom that the man who doesn't drink a glass of beer a day will come to own the New York Central railroad, if he lives long enough.
Little parks, however, are not the only sort of plaster which we of New York are going to apply 10 the social sore. We shall furnish the poor with house room as well as breathing room. We are getting ready to build a beautiful Queen Anne structure of pressed brick with granite trimmings, mansard slate roof and so forth, and it's all for them. It is to be situated on a beautiful island near the city—Blackwell's island, in fact—and will be an addition to the almshouse, which is already seriously overcrowded. It is such practical brick and mortar loving kindness as this that will bring to naught the foolish ravings of the Anti-poverty society. Abolish poverty, indeed!
The aldermen have been a t it again—at least so the daily papers say, and the press, of course, knows everything, and makes a point of telling it. The fate of Jaehne and other city legislators of 1884 has warned them of the wickedness of stealing and selling street railway franchies; and besides, there's no money in that line of business just a t present; but a beneficent Providence has provided the electric light companies, apparently for the express purpose of being aldermanically struck, and the aldermen have been trying to strike them accordingly. That they have not succeeded is no fault of theirs, but is due rather to the sad conjunction of circumstances that compelled the local democratic managers to put an honest man at the head of the city government. The aldermen have done their best to fulfill the purpose of their being, but Mayor Hewitt has stepped in and brought their well-intentioned efforts all to naught.
The real trouble with the aldermen is that they are placed by cruel fate in a totally illogical position. They are elected by one set of men, and expected to look out for the interests of another. The Barneys, and Mikes, and Jakes, and other local statesmen on whom the Evening Post is so fond of outpouring the vials of its lofty scorn, make them aldermen, and then the land owners of New York city, the small minority of the population, expect and demand that they shall work exclusively in their (the land owners') interest. Is there a franchise to be sold?—a privilege of taxing the people of New York in the shape of railway fares or electric light charges, or anything of that sort?—just consider the aldermen's cruel situation. On the other hand are Barney and Jake, and the rest of them, vociferating, “Sell that franchise for the best price you can get for it; keep a reasonable commission for yourselves and turn the rest of the money over to us, or never more be alderman of ours!” And on the other are the Astors and the Rhinelanders and the Goelets and the Potters and all the rest of the land owning tribe, all shrieking with equal energy: “These franchises are ours, they are part of that ground-rent-exacting franchise vested in us by law and custom, and if you sell them you must turn the money over to us, every penny of it, or go to prison.” Now what, in these cruel circumstances, is a poor alderman to do? On which horn of the dreadful dilemma shall he take his uneasy seat? Naturally he calculates the chances, and acts accordingly. If he steals for the benefit of the Barneys and their tribe he may be punished as a criminal; but if he steals for the benefit of the Astors and their tribe he will certainly be punished as a faithless politician. Inevitably the Barneys get him and pocket the “boodle.”
When law and custom shall recognize the fact that the franchises of New York belong to the people of New York, including the common fellows who sweep streets and drive cars and otherwise work for a living, and that neither the Barneys nor the Astors have any exclusive right of ownership in them, then, and not till then, shall we have a city government that will administer affairs in the interest of the whole people, and not be compelled to choose between two forms of dishonesty—the one justified by statute and the other sanctioned by political usage.
Father Keller, the Irish priest who went to jail sooner than give evidence in court which might aid a landlord to collect his rents, has returned to his parish in triumph the courts having decided that on the whole it was best to release him. The Catholic archbishop of Dublin carried t h e good news to the jail in person; the whole country side turned out to welcome the martyr. From Cork to Youghal, a distance of twenty-eight miles, he was driven in an open carriage, accompanied by bands, body guards, and hundreds of horsemen. At Youghal the popular enthusiasm culminated. The horses were taken out and the carriage dragged by willing hands over a road strewn will flowers, decorated with green branches and flags—among which the American flag was conspicuous—and lined with thousands of shouting people. Even the English soldiers, stationed there for the express purpose of forcing the people to obey the law and pay their rents, fraternized with the populace and joined in the shouts of welcome and congratulation.
On this side the Atlantic, too, we are doing our share of flag-raising and shouting and resolution-passing, and all that sort of thing. in advancement of the glorious principle that the land of Ireland belongs to the people of Ireland, and that they, and they only, have the right to say how much, if any, tribute they will pay to a landlord for its use. Mr. William O'Brien, fortified by the express blessing of a Catholic archbishop, comes over here to tell the story of a landlord who has the extraordinary impudence to assert that the land which he inherited or for which he paid is his to do what he pleases with, just as if it were a house, or a flock of sheep, or a horse and carriage, or any other sort of real property.”Mr. O'Brien comes here to do this, and we welcome him with open arms, Messrs. Eugene Kelly and Chauncey M. Depew and others of our aristocracy voicing our sentiments and bidding him godspeed on his mission. He goes to Canada and tells the people there that their governor-general is an infernal scoundrel who has dared to claim the right to say how much rent his tenants shall pay, under penalty of being put out; and when the Canadian saviors of society defend the principle that a landlord has the right to charge what he pleases, and to put his tenants out if they don't pay 'em, and enforce their arguments with bricks and pistols, we go into a paroxysm of noble rage. Come here, O'Brien aroon, till we nurse your bruises and your broken ribs! Why didn't the Mayor of Toronto call out the police and the military and put down those disorderly fellows with rifle ball and club? Shame on those undemocratic Canadian authorities, blinded by the glamour of an imitation royalty, who basely truckle to an aristocratic landlord. Here, beneath the stars and stripes, the glorious banner of freedom, the flag that shelters the oppressed, you shall tell, and tell again, t h e story of the titled tyrant who dares treat land as private property. Tammany hall and republican general committee and mugwump civil service commission shall echo and applaud your words; “His Grace” and “My Lords” shall haste to do you honor; the press shall report your every utterance, and publish columns of approving editorials. Edward Atkinson shall get up a spectrum analysis of the Irish question. with a long, long line for the wicked marquis of Lansdowne and a teeny-weeny little scratch for his poor rack-rented tenants: and our own postprandial Chauncey M. Depew, with claret glass in hand, shall demonstrate that, no matter how much beer the Lansdowne tenants may go without, they never, never can control the New York Central and Hudson river railroad while a landlord has t h e power to t ax them at his pleasure.
All this sort of thing is very glorious. The American bosom expands, and the American voice uplifts itself, and the American eve flashes defiance at foreign potentates and minions, and Father Keller is a martyr to tyranny, and Archbishop Croke is a prelate to be proud of, and William O'Brien is a patriot and one of nature's noblemen. The only trouble is that outside the United States the situation may be misunderstood. The Irish peasant, hearing our magnificent protests against landlordism, and not understanding how circumstances alter cases, is just a little apt to come over here with his head filled with ideas destructive to the peace of society. He doesn't comprehend, that while for Lord Lansdowne's agent in Ireland to thrust a family out on the roadside for non-payment of rent is a n act of lawless tyranny at which the world stands aghast, it is an altogether different matter when Lord Lansdowne's agent does the same thing in New York or Newark or Illinois or Pennsylvania. He hasn't learned that while to refuse to pay rent in Ireland is a n action which Catholic prelates applaud and Catholic priests become martyrs to defend, a refusal to pay rent in Avenue A, New York, brings about a theological situation of a totally different character and is by no means certain to be rewarded with a $40,000-a-year-archiepiscopal benediction. It hasn't entered his head that while Father Keller tearing up a subpoena and turning in the £3 traveling expenses which accompanied it as a contribution to a tenants' non-rent-paying at association is a saintly man whom the church delights to honor, Father McGlynn protesting against landlord rapacity in America is a godless man preaching a horrid doctrine of confiscation. He doesn't know, in short, that what is right in Ireland is wrong here; that what one archbishop applauds in Dublin another archbishop condemns in New York; that the land of Ireland belongs to the people of Ireland, but the land of the United States belongs to the landlords, English or American, who have bought or stolen it. It is a sad thing to think or say, but true; nevertheless, that in thus gloriously welcoming Mr. O'Brien we may really be sowing the seeds of discord and revolution in our own happy land.
However, Mr. O'Brien himself can help to straighten matters out, and put us right before the world. When he gets back to Ireland he can tell the people there that while we sympathize with them in their struggle against landlordism, it is on condition that they do the struggling over there in Ireland, and don't attempt to introduce their godless, anarchistical, no-property-in-land theories into this country, where to preach the fatherhood of God and the brotherhood of man is a sin against religion, and the Anti-poverty society is a menace to social order.
Telegrams from Europe announce that the czar has been shot a t again; this time by a student at the village of Novo Tcherkask, in the Don Cossack country. The student was promptly arrested, and there were found on him a bottle of poison, a revolver, six cartridges and a dagger. He refused to answer any questions, and will, of course, be hanged.
It is a very dreadful thing to shoot at a human being; but if a burglar breaks into a house at night, he does it at peril of his life. It is also a very dreadful thing to be blown up; but if the nigger will sit on the safety valve, why, the nigger must take the consequences.
The queen of Great Britain and Ireland, the Channel Islands and the Isle of Man, defender of the faith, empress of India, and so forth, has a feeling heart. Raised above ordinary humanity as she is, and set apart by grace of God, she has yet learned like that other queen, Dido, to succor the afflicted. She has heard the bitter cry of outcast London; the wail of the children who are “weeping in the springtime of the others” has pierced her ears; she really feels that under the circumstances she ought to do something. And so she is going to give the children a treat.
On the 22d of next month, thirty thousand poor school children are to be assembled in Hyde park, every child being equipped, at its own or its parents' expense, with a clean pinafore, a washed face, and a happy smile. When the thirty thousand children are all in line, her majesty the queen will come and look at them, and graciously allow them to look at her, just as a eat might do. Then the children will sing “God save the queen,” and the queen will be touched with emotion at the loyalty and happy appearance of the children, and each child will get a china mug with an appropriate inscription on it—“better fifty years of England than a cycle of Cathay,” or something of that sort, maybe. After that the children will retire to their dens in t h e East End, uncover their nakedness again, and dispose of their china ware for whatever the pawnbrokers will give for it; the queen will be carried to her den in the West End; and the next Sunday the clergy will glorify God for that He has been pleased to make the queen so good and wise, and her people so happy and contented. What the Almighty himself will think or do in the matter is by no means certain; but really it seems hard to believe that that queen and those children will be rewarded in the same heaven, or damned in the same hell, hereafter.
Some Points for a Farmer
Linn Creek, MO.—I met one of our leading farmers a short time ago and held him in conversation a few minutes. He said he was going to lay his case before the board of equalization as the assessor had added £500 to the valuation of his farm, and he failed to see the justice of doing so, as the improvements he had been making had not so far added anything to the productiveness of his land. He also said that the improvements for which the assessor proposed to tine him were chiefly in the shape of opening up new land for cultivation. In brief, he had taken advantage of the cold weather for the last three or four winters, and while his swamp land was frozen over, had cut off the timber without having to work in the water. He had also done a great deal of ditching there by draining his land, and, of course, making it more valuable. But up to the present time the land has yielded him no income whatever. He thought it was a case of injustice, and I thought so, too. There fore, I took advantage of the occasion, and asked him if he did not think Henry George's land theory, namely, taxing all lands according to their true value, exclusive of the additional value given them by labor, would not act more justly in his case? And he did not deny that he thought it would. In fact, he knew it would. After he gets through clearing, ditching, fencing and building, and by those means increases the taxable price of his farm from $1.25 per acre to perhaps $50 or $100, I am sure he will conclude there is a degree of injustice in our present mode of raising revenue.
the Standard is doing good work, and a good deal of it, even in this isolated region. Poverty alone prevents many of us from partaking of the weekly feasts you are preparing. But were it otherwise, perhaps they would not realize so readily the injustice of the present system or take the trouble to find the remedy.
L. Hart, Sr.
The Land and Labor Library in Canada
Kingston, Ont, May 12.—I enclose order for a package of pamphlets of the “Land and Labor Library.” These tracts make most excellent working leaven. It is my hope to distribute them generously as time goes on. Knights of Labor have taken vigorous root here. Their growth has been rapid and steady. They intend to run their own candidate for the mayoralty next year. Some of the best men in the city are enrolled among them, so that it is just possible that we may score a record like that of Dubuque before long. In this ambition of small local assemblies everywhere may be seen, I think, a reflex of encouragement from the great campaign in New York of last fall.
An Old-Time Worker Gone
Theodore Terlinde, an aged citizen of Elizabeth, N. J., prominent in labor party circles and father of B. W. Terlinde, one of the proprietors of the New Jersey Unionist, of Newark, died at his home on Tuesday, May 17. He was an ardent member of the Knights of Labor, but believed more in the efficacy of the ballot than in boycotts and strikes.
A Prayer in the City
Alsager Hay Hill
Ah, me! the city groaneth at my feet,
And all the crowd, oh, God! is faint with woe.
Help have I none, nor any message meet,
Teach me that I may know!
Behold the little children everywhere,
But not the little ones of old I knew;
Fledglings they seem, when all the woods are bare,
Flowers, where there falls no dew.
Whose are they? for the parents heed them not,
And men are all too busy as they pass;
Their place is with the shameless and the sot,
Lost in the huddling mass.
The fair green fields, wherein the cowslips come,
The streams whereby the tasseled grasses wave;
These are as lands unknown; the garret home
Must hold them to the grave.
The song of birds that in sweet seasons mate,
And fill the pleasant May time with delight,
Shall never reach these little slaves of fate
Wrapped in their smoky night.
Yet have they guests that will not be denied,
As warders ever waiting at the door,
Grim fever, with lauk famine at her side,
These, and a thousand more.
See how the sunshine trembles on its way,
So dark are all these alleys in the shade;
Oh, God. to think our palace builders stay
So near, yet undismayed!
We pile the marble for the rich man's tomb,
We hang the satin at my lady's head;
Why, then, are human lives within the gloom
Less cared for than the dead?
The babbling stream of fashion comes and goes,
And every bubble finds some fool to follow;
But the great tide that heaves to speechless woes
Rolls on, and voices hollow,
Come from the hearts that should be first to bleed.
“'How very sad,” they say, “that such things are;
But 'tis the law of God, that one man's need
Should light another's star.”
Oh, idle prompting of the idle mind!
That dares not pierce the vail that shrouds our lot;
How shall the foolish swimmer hope to find
Pearl, if he diveth not?
From every side the voices call us now
“Come up and help, for we are well-nigh spent;
The deeps are closing, and we know not how
The succor shall be sent.
“We yet are brothers, though the primal stain
Make labor seem a never-ending ill;
And through the shadows, sorrow more than gain,
Shall keep us brothers still.
“We ask for hearts the' buried beating yet,
We ask for hands, yet warm to bring us aid;
These are the gifts that busy souls forget,
These are the debts unpaid.”
Surely our riches are not where we think,
And the kind thought is more than all our store.
Give me the children's laugh; the guinea's chink
Is failing more and more.
Therefore, oh God, I tread this city street,
With sadness that is not a foolish grief:
And from thine heavens I hear my message meet
“Take heart—I bring relief.”
Juggling with Figures
Mount Vernon, N. Y.—Reading Mr. Atkinson's lecture in Boston and examining his figures and chart lines, give some singular results.
In a part of his chart he asserts that there are 950 hands in a certain mill, to whom is paid 87½ per cent of the gross product. In another part of the same chart he divides the same gross sum among 3,400 working people, who save live cents a day each. The gross sum he mentions is $958,650, which, divided among 3,400 working people, gives each $281.56, or a weekly stipend of $5.41, less than a dollar a day.
In the same chart he estimates the amount spent by the owners, three in number, at $22,000—“absolutely luxurious expenditure”—with $18,000 more, divided among 170 persons, clerks, etc., not mill hands, for support of families. The capital of the mill is stated at $1,000,000, “borrowed from a savings bank;” the gross product $1,100,000.
The burden of his lecture is that “whatever is, is right;” that the world is better today than it was when he was a boy; and that this state of things ought to continue. He thus virtually claims that the very best way to spend $1,000,000 capital and $1,100,000 wealth produced is to give three men $22,000 a year, 170 others $400 a .year each, while 3,400 men, women and children must be content to exist, as best they can, on $5.41 a week, of which they are to save live cents a day, or thirty cents a week, thus leaving them $5.11 for rent, fuel, light, food and clothing, for which they have to work, even under the latest laws, at least eight hours a day.
Having shown these figures to an audience presumably of working men and women, he asks triumphantly : “Isn't it better to work ten or even twelve hours a day, rather than not to live at all? Of course it is, or else you'd quit if you dared to, and go somewhere else.” It really seems to me, as a believer in the brotherhood of all men under the fathership of the Almighty, that Shakespeare was just about right when he said :
“Man, proud man, dressed in a little brief authority,
Plays such fantastic tricks before high heaven
As make the angels weep.”
I can fancy many angels weeping over Mr. Atkinson's lecture, but I can not fancy a man who expects some day to die and go to a place where there is no private ownership of land, and where every man will have a chance—I can not fancy such a man likely to have a very happy time when he meets some of those he thus flouts with their helpless poverty.
In plain English, it seems to me that Mr. Atkinson is not a man to be listened to by any decent person, any more than Nero would be if he undertook to lecture today on the pleasures of torturing Christians.
The Free Land Party
Dayton, O., May 21.—In the nineteenth issue of the Standard is an article from Dr. DeBeck, in which he gives some very good reasons for adopting the name “National” for the new party. Would not “Free land party” be a still better name? We propose that all men shall be alike free to use the land: we propose to free our country of transportation monopolies, and to set our foreign commerce free by taking off the shackles of our “protective tariff.” Free land is a name full of meaning; it sounds well, and it has not been used by any political party in this country. On the 19th we organized a club here on the basis of the Henry George land theory—the land for the people—and we named it the Free land club. Have just received the Standard of the 21 st, and see a communication from B. C. Keeler of Rochester, N. Y., suggesting “free soil” or “free land” as the name for our party. Allow me to second the motion for “free land.”
An Unuttered Colloquy
The Impressions of a Member of the Anti-Poverty Society on Rending an Editorial in the “Christian Union”
Anti-Povertyite (soliloquizing)—What newspaper is this? The Christian Union. . . .Large paper. . . . Nicely printed. . . Evidently prosperous. I like such papers; they commend themselves, like neatly dressed women. . . . (Turning the leaves). H'm; h'm. Too many essays and sermons. . . . Reading heavy and religious. . . . Good Christian sentiments here and there. . . . Seems to be a good trade paper. Ah! what's this editorial?
Christian Union—We give in another column a report of the proceedings of a good intentioned society with a bad title—the “Anti-poverty society.”
A. P.—You show some enterprise, brother, in printing “a report of the proceedings,” and the society's future proceedings will be good reading matter for you to give in your columns. “A good intentioned society”—thank you; we have been called a band of robbers. “A bud title!” Well, now. The old Times thought we had chosen a happy title.
C. U.—It should have called itself the “Anti-pauperism society.”
A. P.—Why? Don't think the members would have voted favorably on that name.
C. U.—Poverty is no great curse, often less a curse than wealth.
A. P.—Come, now, friend Christian, isn't there a little cant and show in that sentence?
C. U.—The man who has to earn his daily bread by the sweat of his brow, and has no reserve, is a poor man, and this is the condition of a vast majority of the American people, and they are contented and happy in it.
A. P.—What ! Do you believe that to be a fact? Where have you been the last ten years? How about the million or so seeking employment? Are they contented? About the million in the New York tenements ? Are they happy ? And the millions crushed out of business by competition, out of situations by machinery, out of their land possessions by mortgages? All happy ! There is no widespread discontent—nothing said by thinking men about the amazing disparities of our social developments in the past twenty-five years! There is nothing to alarm a public teacher like you in the social problem?
C. U.—But pauperism is both a national menace and a national shame.
A. P.—You believe the question is restricted to means for preventing pauperism. So, so!
C. U.—It is always evidence of crime, either in the pauper class or in the community, which by injustice has driven the poor into pauperism.
A. P.—Not a very clear sentence. But you are so wide of the mark—so wide of the mark. Pauperism is evidence of crime in the pauper class! A circle is round. “Or in the community which by injustice has driven the poor into pauperism.” Now you're seeing through a glass darkly. There is the point you should follow up. Where does that injustice lie—where does it begin? If you would but pursue that thought! But it seems a dangerous one to you, for I see you are turning away from it at once.
C. U.—A pauper is not merely poor; he is dependent on the charity of others for his support.
A. P.—The multiplication table stands uncontradicted.
C. U.—In a well ordered community no such class should exist.
A. P.—You have not quite succeeded in shaking off that grain of truth that had half caught on to you. How shall a community become “well ordered?”
C. U.—But even in America, the El Dorado of the poor, it is estimated by careful statisticians that one in every one hundred and twenty-five of the population is a pauper, that is, is dependent for support on either crime or charity.
A. P.—So the statisticians have reached the borders of the question?
C. U.—This a frightful proportion and is growing worse every decade.
A. P.—Bad! bad! Things oughtn't to grow worse, ought they?
C. U.—Whether the cause of this is in the pauper class or in the community, or in both, is a fair question.
A. P.—This is tiresome talk. Mock judicial, but vapid. You have just said that in a well ordered community no pauper class should exist, and now you do not know whether the existence and growth of the class is to be attributed to the paupers or the community. Confusion of thought.
C. U.—We do not think that a society, however well intentioned, that takes it for granted that there is one cause, namely, private ownership of land, which being removed all will be well, is proceeding in a scientific way to deal with the problem.
A. P.—You are telling your readers that this society is founded on what is “taken for granted.” There is no basis, you would say, for their land doctrine other than the acceptance, without question or thought, of the belief that “private ownership of land” is the cause of—what? Pauperism. How many journalists have imagined the damage they might do the adherents of the new political economy, and sought to fortify with lip arguments the upholders of the old, by the use of that phrase, “'private ownership of land.” And you are using it, intentionally or not, as a bugaboo . . . “Which, being removed, all will be well.” Is that honest speech?. . .“Proceeding in a scientific way”—ponderous and not self-explainable language.
C. U.—The problem is altogether too complex to be thus simply solved.
A. P.—What problem? Bringing into the ranks of the one hundred and twenty-four happy and contented the one hundred and twenty-fifth, who is a pauper? There is no problem there. Let the one hundred and twenty-four chip in half a dollar apiece a month, give the purse to the pauper, and every one in the community will then see no further need for an “anti-pauperism” society. Then no one will be living under “any great curse.” Pauperism abolished and “all will be well.”
C. U.—We, for example. should regard the public sale of liquor as a far more prolific cause of pauperism thus the private ownership of land.
A. P.—A vulgar opinion, the result of unscientific education, my learned Christian friend. If the 227 liquor stores in my assembly district were to be squelched and sent over to New Jersey tomorrow, there would still be at least one pauper in it for at least in every 250 of the population. First, because liquor would be had by means of private sale, and secondly, because the landlord, seeing that our working people were, on the whole, able to pay higher rent, would demand in Kent in all the tenement house districts is now adjusted to what people can pay. Just look into this matter a little, my friend.
C. U.—But any endeavor to eradicate pauperism is better than indifference cloaked under the pious quotation, “The poor ye have always with you.” Yes! the poor, but not paupers.
A. P.—The widow, the orphan, the aged, the blind, the lame—these are of the poor, and such will always be with us. . . .How different the meaning if it had been, “The able-bodied poor,” etc. . . . There is a half-hearted commendation for us in your closing sentences. That is kind of you to us. There is also another reminder of men's duties to paupers. That is kind of you to the paupers. And you give canting hypocrites a slap. They deserve it occasionally. But, my friend, you find no complexity in the problem of avoiding eternal misery hereafter. Can you not believe that God can make men happy for three score years and ten here as easily as for all eternity hereafter? Or do you consider that God prefers to “make men wretched here on earth—that he really intends to fit them for heaven by degrading and. imbruting and cursing them here below?
During the season now fast drawing to a close Mrs. Goelet has given several large dinner parties. At each one from eighteen to twenty guests have been asked, and the flowers, the service and the menu have all been of the most elaborate description. Large dusters of hybrid ruses, each bud worth a dollar or two, and lied with pink ribbon made especially to match the color of the roses, were the favors; the service was of gold and the finest Sevres, and the menu all that a French cook, commanding a salary of $3,000 a year, and a corps of assistants, could make it—[Morning Journal.]
Dinner pails. Recently these afforded an interesting economical study. There were more than a score of them in the hands of laborers seated on t he sidewalks with their backs against the big wall which protects Trinity churchyard on New Church street. We could not help seeing their contents as we passed. Every man had light, spongy, well baked wheat bread. Many of them had with it boiled eggs or liberal slices of meat In most every pail was some luxury, either pie or huge chunks of cake, and not of the plainest sort, but rich layer cake. They also had a liberal supply of either tea or coffee. And was it not significant that not one of the wage carriers was found drinking beer? No where else in the wide, wide world will the dinner pails of the workers tempt the appetite as here in the United States. No millionaire in this big city eats better food of the same sort than we saw taken from the workmen's pails.—[American Grocer.]
Mrs. John Minturn is worth $2,000,000; Mrs. Kate Terry is worth nearly $6,000,000; Mrs. Thomas A. Scott counts her wealth at $5,000,000: Mrs. John Jacob Astor is worth about $8,000,000; Mrs. Edwin Stevens of this city has $15,000,000; Mrs. Hetty Green of this city is worth about $40,000,000; Mrs. Robert Gbelet, worth $3,000,000, owes her fortune to hardware; Mrs. Jayne, the widow of the patent medicine man, is worth $3,000,000; Mrs. Marshall O. Roberts is the eight-millionaire-widow of a mining king; Mrs. Martin Bates was left $1,500,000, which her husband made in dry goods; Mrs. Joseph Harrison, the widow of the man who built the first, railroad in Russia, $4,000,000; Mrs. Jane Brown received from her husband's estate about $4,000,000, which was accumulated in banking: Mrs. Josephine M. Ayer, who gets her money from patent medicine, is estimated to be worth $4,000,000 to $5,000,000.
Julia O'Farrell, eleven years old, of No. 190 Third avenue, received a silver dollar from her mother on Thursday night to make some purchases. She grasped the dollar tightly in her hand and started down Sixteenth street. When near the corner of First avenue two boys named George Cullen, nine years, and William Leonard, eight years, threw her down and wrenched the dollar from her hand. The boys were arrested and held for trial in $500 each.
Twelve mounted men stopped a train on the International and Great Northern railway, near Austin, Texas, lately. Estimates of the amount secured vary from $20,000 to $50,000.
Senator Frederick S. Fish of Newark is not only going to wed a handsome and very wealthy western girl in a few weeks, but he himself has become rich by a lucky connection with the American cotton oil trust, formed when he first began practicing law. The senator's latest investment is the establishment, along with other Newarkers, of a permanent camp at Swartswood lake, in Sussex county.—[Mail and Express.]
The other day the locomotive engineers were told by Mayor Hewitt that, by saving the price of a glass of beer a day, the railroad employees of the country might in eight years save $80,000,000, which would purchase a controlling interest in the New York Central railroad. This ability to save is possessed by other laborers than railroad men, and is a complete answer to Mr. George's Anti-poverty society.—[Mail and Express.]
As the train of Michael Hammond, a conductor on the Delaware and Hudson railroad, was moving out from the depot at Parsons, he noticed a woman and a little boy on the track directly in front of the engine. The more he cried out to them the more bewildered they became. Hammond jumped from the car, ran along the track, and finally pushed them both down the embankment. In doing so, he staggered back and fell under the cars and was instantly killed.
Ex-Senator George O. Vanderbilt of Princeton is believed to have been born with a silver spoon in his mouth. He has had few cases since he was admitted to the bar, but they have nearly all involved big estates, from which come large lees. He has just stepped into the neat little sum of $40,000, which he gets as commissioner for the setting up of the estate of the late Princeton millionaire, Paul Tulane.—[Mail and Express.]
Mayor Hewitt has been invited to deliver an address on “Industrial Development” at the corner stone exercises of the national exposition of American industries at Nashville on May 27.
It is reported in Pittsburgh that as the result of an investigation of Special Agent Lappe of the treasury department into the matter of undervaluations in imports, the Oliver & Roberts wire company, who had been importing steel billets and blooms from Germany, have been compelled to pay the government $20,000.
At Wilmington, Del., lately, the “cat-o-nine tails” was applied to eight culprits, who were lashed to the whipping post at New Castle jail, in the presence of a throng of idlers. Much comment was created. over the sentences imposed by the court, inasmuch as one of the culprits who had been convicted of stealing about $300 worth of platinum received no worse punishment than two men who had been proved guilty of stealing a chicken.
There will be a great exodus of city ministers to Europe this summer, but nearly all the churches will remain open.—[Mail and Express.]
It is a little late for fairs in doors, yet a worthy entertainment of this kind took place last week in the parlors of St. Mary's home a refuge for young girls and self-supporting women. Mrs. Joseph Drexel, Mrs. Chauncey M. Depew and Mrs. Frederic Coudert have taken much interest in the institution. The fair was under the direction of Mr. and Mrs. Richards—[Tribune.]
Newport is a bustling city just now, and everybody is on the move. The season of 1887 is very near at hand. The summer guests are arriving, and heavy express wagons laden with household goods for the cottages are daily coming to hand. The hackmen and runners for business houses are on hand upon the arrival of all trains and steamboats. The weather continues very favorable and the heat of late has been very satisfactory. A fair number of guests are to be found at the hotels and private boarding houses, and quite a number of the cottagers have arrived for the summer. [N. Y. Times.]
A Sun reporter, confined to his boarding house by a broken ankle, has been finding out how his landlady's daughter passes the day. Shespends it at the sewing machine, from 8a.m. to 5:30p.m., except half an hour for lunch. During this time she makes on the average nine aprons for which the manufacturers pay her seven cents apiece. The firm employing lier gives work to about 200 operatives on their own premises, and an indefinite number of outsiders.. The cost of a fifty-cent apron made in this way is twenty cents.
Mayor and Mrs. Hewitt gave a reception to Queen Kapiolani in the old Peter Cooper mansion on Lexington avenue. the fashion ables were out in force to be presented to royally.
A grave digger, while at work in the new Calvary cemetery yesterday, found a little coffin lying on lop of a grave. It was wrapped in brown paper. The lid was removed, and the coffin was found to contain the body of a male child about three days old There were no bruises on the body. Coroner O'Connell thinks it was placed there by its parents, who were probably too poor to pay the expenses ofa funeral. The body was neatly dressed.—[New York Star.]
Dr. Hostetter and Ralph Bagaly of Pittsburgh lately closed the sale of a large block of coal lands in the regions of Pennsylvania for about $1,000,000. This is interpreted to mean the final abandonment of the South Pennsylvania railroad scheme. “No, I am not a taxpayer,” a citizen said this morning; “I'm a victim of grand larceny.”—[Atchison, Kan., Globe.]
The Single Tax
An Address Delivered Before the Constitution Club of New York City, January 12, 1887
By Thomas G. Shearman
Martin I. Townsend, a distinguished lawyer of Troy, always prominent in the politics of this state, and being for several years a member o f congress, and until lately United States district attorney for the northern district of New York, was one of the members of the constitutional convention of 1867. In the course of a speechmade by him on the subject of taxation, he said: “I insist that a people cannot prosper whose officers either tell or work lies. There is not an assessment roll made out in this state that docs not both tell and work lies.” Mr. Townsend's facts were sounder than his philosophy. Every assessor in this state , and, so far as we can ascertain, every assessor in any other state, has gone on both telling and working lies for twenty years since Mr. Townsend spoke, and yet national prosperity has gone on, and our people are fully persuaded, apparently, that all is for the best in this best of all possible lands. And, according to the doctrine accepted by a majority of the American people, American prosperity is mainly duct o the almost superhuman wisdom of our legislators. Their genius in administration and their providential foresight in devising statutes have been the sole barrier which has prevented us from being flooded with the products of pauper labor and reduced to the pitiable condition of Hindoos and Chinese.
Yet it is quite certain that, under all this magnificent scheme of law and administration upon which we gazeso admiringly, there exists to-day, and has existed for forty years, at least, the most complete system of fraud, injustice and inequality in the local taxation ofthis state and of most other states in the Union which could possibly have been devised if the genius of evil had set himself at work to frame it. In New York the amount of conscious perjury is probably loss, while the inequality of taxation is probably greater, than in such states as Massachusetts, Connecticut and Ohio. In those and all other states which secure to any considerable extent the personal oaths of tax-payers to their tax lists, the inequality of taxation is somewhat less than in this state, but the amount of perjury is enormously more. Under the laws of New York the burden of taxation is mainly shifted from the shoulders of the rich to those of the comparatively poor. In the states where a rigid inquisitorial system prevails, the burden of taxation is shifted from the dishonest to the honest. We hear much clamor about frauds in the administration of the national custom houses; but those frauds are but a trifle, either in pecuniary amount or in the extent to which they debauch the conscience of the community, compared with the universal demoralization which follows all over the country from the attempt to tax personal property. It would be difficult to name any other civilized country in which, outside of courts of justice, there is half as much perjury committed in any year as there is in this.
The details which abundantly justify this statement would be far too long for a statement on this occasion. Those who desire to inform themselves of the facts can find them given in an admirably condensed form in the reports of Mr. David A. Wells to the legislature in 1871 and 1872, and in a diffuse form in the debates of the constitutional convention of 1867. Those who appreciate the testimony offigures can find enough to satisfy themselves in a simple comparison between the assessed value of personal property, as reported by the censuses of 1860 and 1880 respectively. The assessed valuation of personal property in the whole country largely declined during that period. But, as slavery wasabolished during the same period, thus obliterating an immense value in personalty, it is not fair to include the former slave, states in the comparison. Omitting them, the assessed value of real estate increased from $4,564,000,000 in 1860 to $10,470,000,000 in 1880, or at the rate of 130 per cent. But the valuation of personal estate in 1860 was $2,015,000,000 and in 1880 was $2,872,000,000, an increase of only 43per cent The valuation of real estate in New York increased in the same twenty years at the rate of 118 per cent, but the valuation of personal estate increased by much less than 1 per cent.
The governor of the state tells us that the valuation of personality has decreased from $407,000,000 in 1875 to $332,000,000 in 1885. So, after a little fluctuation, it remains substantially where it was a quarter of a century ago.
Of course, no one believes for a moment that these official valuations a t all correspond with the truth. Every one knows that the amount of personal property in this state, as well as in all others, has immensely increased. The fact is, as was shown by the late Mayor Opdyke, in an able treatise written nearly forty years ago, that the value of the land is at all times almost exactly equal to the combined value of all that is on the land: the price of land always reflecting the value of its accumulated productions. The rate of increase, therefore, is the same in both real and personal estate.
The facilities for evading taxation upon personal property in the state of New York are almost boundless. No one can be forced to pay any tax upon personal property other than bank stock, and not always then. But the assessors of other states, with the aid of more stringent laws, do succeed in reaching large amounts of personal property. Yet when Mr. Wells made his report, sixteen years ago, it was conceded that in Massachusetts and Connecticut, which had the most stringent and best administered laws upon this subject, more than one-third of all personal property still escaped taxation. If this one-third had been equally distributed among all taxpayers, there would have been no objection to the system; but it is notorious that the veryreverse is the fact, and that innocent and simple-minded people pay taxes upon almost every dollar of their personal estate, while dishonest or excessively shrewd persons pay taxes on amounts varying from one-quarter in one-half of their actual possessions.
Since Mr. Wells made his report the assessed value of personal property has declined in Massachusetts by over thirty per cent and in Connecticut by over fifty-five per cent.
All systems of ordinary direct taxation on personal property bear most disproportionately upon women, and with tremendous severity upon widows and orphans.
The system bears disproportionately upon small property owners, because they are generally too timid and too ignorant of the ingenious devices by which great capitalists escape taxation to avail themselves of these methods. Women naturally belong to the class of small property owners, and, to the disadvantages of this class, they add a peculiar helplessness and ignorance of the devices by which taxation may be evaded. Their peculiarly economical spirit leads them always to consult the assessor, instead of going to a lawyer; a a d they thus throw themselves at once into the hands of the officials. Any one who is present at the annual revision of the tax list will be able t o verify this statement. The women who attend upon these occasions invariably appeal tothe assessors for advice; and this the assessor gives in the most father's' manner, asking all the details of their property, brushing aside every feeble excuse for a reduction of the assessment, and candidly advising them to pay taxes upon every penny which they have upon the tax list, whether it is exempt or not.
Widows and orphans are precisely the class whose property is mainly in the hands of trustees. These trustees have no personal advantage to gain by evading taxation. They have no power to borrow money to use in the temporary purchase of government bonds or other non-taxable property; they do not feel authorized to pay fees for advice as to methods of avoiding taxation; and, unless they are peculiarly tender-hearted and considerate of their wards, they let the assessment go as it is officially made out, unless it palpably exceeds the assets in their hands. The assessors have ready means of finding out what is in the hands of these trustees, by simply referring to the inventories which the probate court, compels them to file; and such estates are taxed upon the full amount of the inventory.
This state of things is not new, but has existed ever since any serious attempt was first made to collect taxes upon personal property. Precisely the same difficulties were experienced in the time of ancient Rome; and so shrewd were men even then in evading taxation that the use of torture, for the purpose of extracting a true account of their means, became universal. Few things contributed more to the destruction of the Roman empire than this system of taxation. So rigidly was it enforced, and so disastrous were its effects, that multitudes of citizens either sold themselves into slavery or fled across the boundary to live among barbarians, whom they dreaded as much as our western settlers do the Indians, for the sake of escaping the grinding operation of Roman taxation.
After centuries of experiment in this direction, most European countries entirely abandoned the attempt and resorted to methods of indirect taxation, by which the same result could be more surely accomplished without the constant inquisition and persecution involved in the old system of direct taxation upon personal property. But with that child-like faith in the power of American genius to make water run up hill which is one of the great characteristics of our countrymen, we in America have been engaged for a hundred years in the attempt to do, under free institutions and without the power of using those arbitrary methods and tremendous punishments which were at the command of Roman tax gatherers, what the ancient Romans never were able to do. We are nearly all convinced that all that is required is more statutes; although we have heaped statute upon statute, and found them all ineffective. The only proposition which is received with general favor is one for securing the collection of taxes by requiring more oaths. The federal government during the war established an income tax which depended entirely upon the oaths of tax payers to secure its assessment. At first, returns were made with tolerable fullness and honestly; but, with each successive year, human honesty proved weaker and weaker, until finally the returns of the last two or three years were a perfect farce, and, if they could have been believed, would have demonstrated that the nation was sinking to abject poverty. The number of persons paying an income tax in 1868 was 250,000, falling soon to 116,000, and finally to 71,000. A very slight survey of the census returns for 1870 makes it clear that not less than 400,000 persons must have been justly liable to this tax. In 1868, the amount exempted being only $1,000, at least 1,000,000 persons ought to have paid the tax. Yet the power of examination and punishment, which was at the command of the officers of the national government for the enforcement of the income tax, was vastly superior to anything which is or ever can be within the power of the several states. If a taxpayer is prosecuted in one state, he has no difficulty in fleeing t o another; but if he is persecuted by the United States, he can stop nowhere short of Canada or Europe. Nevertheless, all the efforts of the United States to collect direct taxes out of personal property proved substantial failures.
It would be quite a sufficient answer to the arguments made in favor of taxing personal property to point to the fact that it never has been equally and fairly taxed, and to the necessary inference that it never can be. Laws can be passed which will lead to much hard swearing and to much unequal taxation by guess work, where oaths are not relied upon; and laws could probably be passed by which visible and tangible personal property, such as merchandise exposed for sale, could be approximately valued. But no law ever was or ever can be passed which will enable assessors to find the great mass of personal property, or to assess with even tolerable fairness that which they do find. All efforts, therefore, to tax personal property directly, ought to be abandoned, upon the simple ground that it is impossible that they should ever be both effective and just in their operation.
But this is by no means all of the case. The effort to tax personal property is a double evil, in that, first, it cannot be done, and, second, if it could be done, it would only result in collecting, at enormous expense, inconvenience and public demoralization, the same amount of taxes which could be collected by a natural and easy system, which would distribute its burdens with far greater equality than would be possible under the best imaginable system of taxing personal property.
If we may be indulged in an apparently remote illustration, let us suppose that a poll tax should be levied upon men who all lived in rooms surrounded by mirrors. Let us stretch our imagination to the supposition that the poll tax could be collected from a man's reflection in the mirror, as easily as from himself. Is it not obvious that, in such a case, it would be absurd for the tax collector to insist upon half the tax being paid by the man and half by his reflection in the glass? If he collected the whole tax from the reflection, why should he trouble himself any further about the man? Or, if he collected from the man, why should be trouble himself about the portrait in the glass? Now, this illustration, which doubtless perplexes much when used in this precise form, is nevertheless the best possible picture of what actually takes place in estimating the wealth of the world. It has been found, as the result of innumerable experiments, that the value of land, exclusive of all improvements upon it, corresponds everywhere and at all times to the total value of all improvements and personal property situated upon the land. Of course this must not be taken so literally as to mean that this is true of every acre, quarter acre or city lot; but it is true of everydistrict, which ought to be taken collectively, such as a city, a town or a state separated from other communities by natural boundaries. Thus, roughly speaking, the land of the state of New York bears a market value almost exactly equal to that of all other property resting upon that land, and the land of Dakota bears a market value corresponding to that of all other property situated within the limits of Dakota. The reason is that mere land has itself no real value, and its entire market value consists of that which is reflected upon it by the movable property situated thereon, including houses and structures of all kinds. It must be admitted that this calculation depends largely upon estimates and is somewhat vague in its nature; but it is entirely certain that, whether the valuation of the land and the valuation of other property are really equal or not, they do at least vary in the same proportion everywhere, the price of land rising or falling with the value of the property upon it, in exactly the same ratio in New York city as in the wildest part of Texas. The value of all kinds of personal property is accurately reflected by the land on which it is situated; and if we concentrate all taxes upon the reflection, we attain exactly the same result as if we divided those taxes accurately between the reflection and the original.
The result, therefore, to the state, of concentrating all taxes upon the value of land, excluding all improvements and all personal property, would be t h e same as if all these various things could be accurately assessed. The immediate result to the community of such a concentration of taxes would be to put an end to substantially all the unfairness and inequality of the present system. There is not an assessor lit for his office, and there are very few assessors, even among those who are now most unfit, who could not estimate the value of unimproved land with substantial accuracy. The value of dwellings or stores is always difficult to ascertain; and, in places where interior decorations and improvements abound, it is practically impossible for assessors to make any decent estimate of value from that outside inspection which is all that they can give. But the value of the land itself can be ascertained by the simplest inquiry. No matter whether it is estimated upon the asking price, the price at which it could be sold in the usual way, or the price which it would realize at auction, any of these values can be readily ascertained, even if an assessor, by his constitution of mind, should be given to overvaluing or undervaluing land, this would be of no importance, except for the purpose of state equalization, since he would make the same error with regard to every lot which he valued, and thus bring about substantial equality among all.
The only difficult question is whether such a system divides t h e burdens of taxation equally between all classes of the community. Does it or does it not east all those burdens upon a single class, and does it allow enormous sums accumulated in personal property go free? It is undoubtedly generally believed that it does; and for this reason it is strongly objected to.
Before inquiring whether an exclusive land tax would relieve owners of personal property from their proper share of the public burdens, let us first ask what personal property is. Almost everyone who attempts to answer this question will begin by mentioning stocks in corporations, mortgages, bonds, promissory notes. But not one of these is a substantial thing. Every one of them is merely an evidence of a right to property, and is not even the right itself. More than this, the great majority of these paper evidences will prove to consist of rights in or to what is called real estate, that is to say, land and visible permanent improvements upon the land. What is stock in a railroad company ? It is nothing but a statement of the company's officers that A B has a certain fractional title to the land, tracks, engine houses, locomotives, trains, etc., standing in the name of the company. Except the engines and cars: all of this is real estate; and the engines and cars are themselves simply movable houses, which are of no value whatever when taken off railroad tracks. The fact that they are movable does not make them personal estate within the meaning of the term as now used, any more than the fact that an ordinary house can be moved with little injury makes a house personal estate. Stock in railroad companies, telegraph companies, etc, is therefore a mere evidence of title to real estate.
What are mortgages and the bonds secured by them? Obviously, nothing but evidences of additional title to real estate. A mortgagee has practically a title superior to that of the nominal owner. His portion of the title must be satisfied first before the nominal owner can take anything. Mortgages, therefore, are clearly a part of real estate, within the present meaning of that term. Not only mortgages, but bonds and notes, unsecured by mortgage, very often depend for their principal value upon real estate belonging to the debtor. Where this is the case, they represent a right on the part of the creditor to take so much of the debtor's real estate as may be necessary to satisfy these claims; and they are therefore nothing but an indirect title to real estate.
There remains a vast mass of notes and other debts which do not represent real estate. These represent tangible chattels, cotton, provisions, shipping, manufactures, etc. No doubt if these notes and debts could be reached by the assessor, personal property would be taxed; and it would not be necessary for him to sock for the chattels represented bythese debts, since to do so would be to subject property to double taxation. But at this point we strike the insuperable difficulties of the system. These evidences of debt, when in private hands, cannot be followed up. Assessors can know nothing about them, except what the taxpayer chooses to tell. If they are taxed, the burden upon them would beso heavy as, in many parts of the country, to obliterate their value. . We therefore encounter here,again, the original difficulty that it is impossible to trace and equally tax these obligations.
It will be said: “Why not, then, tax all tangible, visible personal property, such as furniture, bales of cotton, goods in stores, etc?' The answer is simple. How are you going to assess these things, and to whom? Can the assessors make the rounds of all the stores, houses and farms in one day, to examine and value all the goods on hand? Could they make a decently fair valuation, if they had unlimited time in which to do it? The thing is impossible. They would have to rely upon returns made by the owners themselves; and these returns would be as far from the truth as any other returns of personal property. Merchants would take care not to own any large amount of visible property on the valuation day. If required to calculate an average for the year, there would be an ample margin for elastic consciences. Moreover, a vast amount of goods stored in this state are not owned in it. The tax, in short, would be ruinous to honest men, because they alone would pay it and could not. Compete with their unscrupulous neighbors who did not. They would soon be driven out of business; and then the valuation of personal property would fall lower than ever.
We now arrive at a point where it has been usual to stop and to propose the concentration of taxes upon real estate, including all improvements thereon. But the taxation of improvements upon land is in effect taxation upon a single class of productions of human labor and skill. To tax these improvements without taxing other human productions is obviously unequal, because it selects producers of buildings for exclusive taxation, and discourages production in that direction, which is one of the most important for the elevation of the human race. But even a tax upon real estate, as at present defined, would be less objectionable than the attempt to tax so-called personal property in addition, because there would at any rate be a certain uniformity of injustice, which would enable the community to adapt itself to the case; and, knowing that a certain fixed and definite amount of injustice would always be done, and no more, men would shape their affairs accordingly.
If the foregoing conclusions are correct, and they are so universally admitted by all who have carefully studied the subject as really to need no further argument in their support, it follows that none of the existing systems of taxation are even approximately just and equal, and that no partial modifications of them, such as have usually been proposed, can be made equal. Let us briefly recapitulate the conclusions which follow from the previous statements:
First—All indirect taxes, such as duties upon imports, internal revenue taxes and the like, are unequal, because they fall in the end upon men in proportion to what they are obliged to consume, and cot in proportion to their wealth, or to the benefits conferred upon them by society. And, as it is impossible to collect taxes out of anything except human savings, the inequality of indirect taxes must be measured by the proportion which they bear to the possible savings of the poor, as compared with the possible savings of the rich. Estimated in this manner, the burden of indirect taxation weighs on an average at least ten times as heavily upon the poor as it does upon the rich.
Second—All so-called “direct taxes” upon personal property, except, perhaps, household furniture and a few other things not used in productive industry, are in reality indirect taxes, because they increase the cost of production, and are therefore ultimately transferred by those who pay them to those who finally consume the things thus taxed. These taxes are, therefore, in the long run, nearly as oppressive to the poor a s those first mentioned.
Third—The so-called “direct taxes” upon improvements of real estate are in their nature the same a s taxes upon personal property. They suffice to check the production of buildings until their rent can be raised sufficiently t o reimburse the owner for the taxes. Such taxes, therefore, fall mainly upon the poor in the same proportion as indirect taxes.
Fourth—It is impossible to assess the value of personal property with even a decent approach to accuracy, as between different tax payers. The rigidly honest, the ignorant, and those whose property is in the hands of trustees will always bear four or live times their proper share of the burden as compared with others.
Fifth—Although buildings can be assessed with much more accuracy than personal property, it is impossible to assess the value of buildings with anything like the accuracy with which the value of land can be assessed. Buildings can only be assessed with reference to their outside appearance; and one who spends more on interior decoration and comfort than on the outside will always escape his share of taxation. And, as the houses of the poor have far less decoration in proportion than others, a disproportionate share of taxes on buildings will always fall upon farmers, mechanics, laborers and the poorer classes generally.
Sixth—If, on account of the palpable impossibility of a fair and equal assessment of personal property, taxation in that direction should be abandoned, but taxation should be retained upon buildings, this will only remove one-half of the disadvantages of the present system. Buildings really belong to the class of personal property. A tax upon them is a tax upon consumption; and it especially discourages the production of the most useful class of property and the most indispensable to civilization, namely, the people's homes.
It will be seen, therefore, that the objection so much insisted upon, that the taxation of land exclusively is unequal in its operation, would, if true, apply with even more force to every form of tax upon personal property or improvements upon the land. All such taxes fall with at least as much inequality upon different classes of the community as could possibly be asserted with respect. to the land tax; and they are subject to the further objection that theyultimately fall upon the consumer, and therefore, even if equally and fairly assessed, would still fall in enormous disproportion upon the poor. Even if the land tax should be deemed unequal in its operation, it is no worse in this respect than every other form of taxation which can be suggested.
But is the land tax really unequal in its operation? It is not unequal in its bearing upon different tax payers, because land can be assessed with more accuracy than any other property; and therefore its burdens can be divided among those who pay the taxes with a degree of equality which is impossible under any other system. If it is true, as claimed by some, that this tax also will distribute itself upon consumers, and therefore is also unjust to the poor, yet this would be its only fault; and, if it is subject to this objection, it is simply because no tax can be invented which is not. The hostility which this form of taxation arouses is, however, sufficient evidence that Ricardo, Mill and all other economists were correct in holding that a pure land tax could not be shifted from the shoulders of the taxpayers. The truth is that this tax is now levied in the shape of rent for the benefit of private owners of land, and that, in this form, its burden is distributed among consumers and does bear with inevitable disproportion upon the poor. But that is inherent in the nature of things. This tax, which is now called rent, cannot be collected twice. If the government takes it from the landlord, under the form of a tax apportioned exactly tohis rent, the landlord cannot raise the rent, because he has already taken the highest rent which he could get, taxes or no taxes.
It is said that an exclusive land tax would bear severely upon farmers and rural residents, allowing property in large cities to escape. Let us see. In California, land has been, ever since 1879, assessed separately from all improvements thereon. It therefore furnishes the best illustration for the purpose of determining this question on a large scale. In 1870 and 1880 a new constitution and system of assessment thereunder were adopted, providing for the most stringent methods of ascertaining and assessing all property of every kind, but especially personal property. In the first year of this assessment, an especial raid being made upon money, a large increase in the assessment consisted of cash on hand, which was, of course, taxed at its full value. But in the second year this part of the new system collapsed, and bas ever since remained a ludicrous failure; money being either actually or nominally driven out of the state, and, at any rate, being placed where the assessors have been unable to track it. While for the convenience of comparison we take the assessment of 1880 a s a basis, we exclude from it altogether the assessment upon money, which was comparatively large for that year. because the demonstrated impossibility of reaching that particular kind of property would make any comparison on that basis misleading. Excluding cash on hand, however, the assessment of the city of San Francisco and of the remainder of the state respectively was as follows:
Now, let us suppose that the whole amount required for public purposes in California was $6,420,000 per annum, which would be just one per cent on the whole assessed value of all kinds of property. The amount; required would be neither more nor less, whatever system of assessment would be adopted. Let us relatively compare the burdens of city and country under each plan of assessment. The result would be as follows:
Real and Personal
Land and Improvements
It will be seen at once that the proportion of burden which the rural districts would bear under a valuation of the land alone would be but very little greater than under the present system of taxing all real and personal property which can be found, and that this small difference would all disappear, were it not for two peculiar provisions of the constitution ofCalifornia, one reducing the valuation of cultivated land to the level of uncultivated land, and the other specially exempting all growing crops from taxes, thus at one stroke exempting more than $80,000,000 of farming property. If the latter exemption alone were not allowed, the balance would turn the other way, and as there is no such exemption here, there can be no doubt that if we had the same means of comparison for this state which we have for California it would appear that the rural districts would be very greatly benefited by the abolition of all taxes upon personal property.
When we come to pass upon a question supposed to be far more difficult, that of exempting visible improvements on the land from taxation, the assessment of California shows convincingly that this measure would relieve the rural districts from a portion of the taxes which they now bear, and would slightly increase the burden of cities and large towns. It appears by this table that under an assessment of land without any valuation of improvements, the city of San Francisco would pay about live per cent more on the gross amount of its taxes than it would on an assessment including improvements. while it would only pay four per cent less than it would under a system of assessment on all kinds of personal property. Yet, this result again, it is to be observed, is obtained under a system which gives to the farmers of California an enormous advantage in assessment over the residents of cities; and, therefore, if we could only procure similar statistics for New York or any of the eastern states, the advantage to be gained by the rural population by the adoption of an exclusive land tax would be far greater than would appear from these tables.
City taxpayers, however, will naturally ask what advantage this system can then offer to them? Do they not now pay more than their fair share of taxes, and do not state boards of equalization always heap fresh burdens upon the shoulders of long suffering city men? The answer to these questions is extremely plain. The present system, or no system, not only by its gross inequalities and irregularities works more like a system of robbery than of any legitimate taxation, but by discouraging investment, alarming property owners and imposing heavy penalties upon industry of every kind, and preeminently upon the production of buildings, and by compelling capital to take devious courses in order to hide itself from the assessor, inflicts such continual injuries upon all large towns that they could well afford to bear an increase of twenty-five per cent upon their present burden of taxation, if only allowed to collect it by assessment upon the land irrespective of improvements. Population would increase, wealth would increase still faster, the demand for labor would increase in full proportion with the increase of wealth, and the prosperity of all classes would far more than compensate for any increase in nominal taxation.
The only serious question then is whether this method of taxation allows the owner of strictly personal property, such as jewelry, coin, furniture and merchandise, to go free of tax. It is quite clear that most of these things now go free of public taxation, through the impossibility of finding them out. But where are such things to be found? Do they abound on the plains of Dakota or the peaks of the Rocky mountains? Are they even to be found upon cultivated farms? Are they to be found to any large extent in rural villages? Are they to be found, in short, on any land worth even as little as $100 an acre?
These questions answer themselves. Any man who owns $100,000 in jewelry will certainly keep that jewelry, if not in actual personal use, on some of the most valuable land in a large town or city. He may keep it in a large and handsome building or in a shabby one; but he certainly will not keep it in a low neighborhood, but will select some place like Broadway, Nassau street or Fifth avenue, if he keeps it for his own personal enjoyment. Under the present system he pays for the privilege of having his jewelry in a safe place by paying rent to a landlord or by buying, at a large price, a city lot, and thus capitalizing his rent. When the government taxes this lot on the basis of its rent, it in effect taxes the owner of the jewelry. Instead of paying that tax to a private individual, as he does now, he would pay it to the state.
The same principle applies to all merchandise. When it comes to be sold it has to be placed upon very valuable land, generally worth not less than $10,000, and in New York city $500,000, per acre If the state taxes that land in proportion to its value, its revenue really comes, not out of the land, but out of the merchandise situated upon the land, which gives to that land its value. To recur to our former illustration, the state, which is never able to find jewelry, and rarely able to find merchandise, when it seeks it for purposes of direct taxation, can, without the slightest difficulty, find the reflection of both jewelry and merchandise upon the land in the shape of enormously increased rental value; and, by taxing this rental value, it taxes jewelry, coin and merchandise with a degree of accuracy impossible under any other system.
The objection, however, remains that, under the present system the owners of jewelry, coin and merchandise are thus taxed for the benefit of private owners of land, and that it is proposed to deprive these owners of that benefit; and this is called injustice, because it taxes vested rights out of existence.
It might be sufficient to say that no considerations of injustice in the incidence of taxation have ever been taken into account under the present system. For centuries systems of taxation have prevailed and they still prevail—under which the poor, who are considered to have no vested rights, have been ground into the dust. But the moment that it is proposed to tax those who have property, instead of those who have none, an outcry is made that this is an interference with vested rights. It really means—as all other outcries against reforms in taxation have always meant—that the rich and powerful want to continue the exemption which they have so long enjoyed. Precisely this argument was used at and before the time of the French revolution. The nobility of Franco were exempted from nearly all taxation. Thousands had purchased titles to nobility for the very purpose of securing this exemption, and when Turgot and other reformers proposed to annul these exemptions, the clamor against the radicalism which proposed to destroy vested rights was as loud in opposition as it is now, and with precisely as much reason.
Individual land owners may have made their investments under sanction of the state; but the state has never pledged itself that it would not tax them, or that it would not tax them unequally, or that it would not tax them up to the entire value of their property. It has repeatedly done this, not only to land owners, but to the owners of other property; and it is under no express or implied obligation to refrain from doing so.
If taxation is to bear unequally upon anybody, it is impossible to select a class who have less reason to complain cf its inequality than the individual owners of land, a class to which we belong. It is true that most of us at the present time have paid some one else for our land; but, considered as mere landlords, what we have bought is a power to tax other people for the privilege of working, without being obliged to work ourselves. Our property may justly be compared to a corporate franchise. The state gives such franchises; but it reserves to itself the right to tax them to any extent which it sees fit.
But, moreover, land owners would receive a very large compensation under the system of land taxation exclusively. They would be exempted from all taxes upon their improvements, whether present or future. These improvements now represent one-third of their property, and would under the proposed system represent one-half. The result, therefore, would be, upon the average, to relieve land owners who had improved their property from a very large proportion of the taxation which might otherwise fall upon them. It would give thorn absolute security for future improvements, and would enable them in a few years to compensate themselves for most of the loss which they would suffer from the introduction of a system of exclusive land taxation. The burden would only be oppressive upon owners of land who have not improved it and do not intend to, but who are simply playing a waiting game and refusing to allow the community to cultivate or build upon the land without paying them toll. This speculative class of land holders requires no particular sympathy. Land speculation is really the very worst form of speculation known. It has been the cause of more disasters. than any other kind of speculation, whether in stocks provisions or merchandise. Speculation for a rise in food leads to the production of more food; and, therefore, whatever effect may have upon the fortunes of the speculators, it rather tends to benefit the world than otherwise. But speculation for a rise in land leads to less food and less production of every kind, because the speculator shuts up the land from use, with the exception of obtaining an increased rent when he permits it to be cultivated or built upon. If any class of persons should be taxed out of existence decidedly this is the class.
It will be seen. of course, that these views coincide very largely with those of which Henry George is the foremost representative His name is just now the red specter among capitalists, and seems to produce everywhere a terror similar to that inspired among Europeans nearly a century ago by the French revolution—a terror so abject as to deprive every one affected by it of his reasoning. powers. The conclusions here expressed have been reached, however, by starting from a different, point, and by following closely the line of reasoning started by those economists who certainly considered themselves the best, friends of capital: some of them so much so as to have been discreditably indifferent to the welfare of the lab ring classes. In looking at this whole matter. I have sought to consider it from a thoroughly practical point of view, disregarding nil sentimental nonsense on either side, and believing that there is fully as much nonsense, if not more, advanced on behalf of the rich as there is on behalf of the poor. I have started from the eminently practical ground of inquiring first what is possible, instead of what is desirable, and have allowed abstract considerations of right or wrong, justice or injustice, to take only a minor place in the discussion. Mr. George starts out with art abstract proposition of right as the basis of his argument. In doing so, he has appealed successfully to the hearts of multitudes of men who never could be stirred by such cold logic as mine. He has, on the other hand, equally stirred into hatred and fury a large number of persons who fancy that they are interested in the maintenance of the present; system, although most of them are under an entire delusion in this respect. It is quite enough for me to see clearly that the concentration of all public burdens upon the rental value of land, assessed separately from its improvements, is not merely the best system of taxation, out is absolutely the only one which has ever yet been suggested under which property can be accurately valued, equally assessed, and encouraged to its fullest development: It is the only system under which no discouragement is put upon the production of wealth and no interference made with its natural distribution. It is the only system under which capital is left entirely free to flow in those channels in which it will make the most profit for itself, and in which it will therefore confer the most benefit upon the community. These considerations alone would be enough to command my assent. But, even if such a confession should be deemed to convict me of that “sentimentality” which the blind adherents of existing systems charge upon any one who professes a desire to relieve the poor from burdens, I have no hesitation in saying that what arouses my enthusiasm in behalf of the land tax is that it is the only system which can be honestly worked among honest men, under which the great mass of human beings, struggling to maintain themselves on an average income of less than $100 a year (which is more than the average), can be relieved from paying taxes in a proportion bearing upon thorn with more than ten times the severity with which it bears upon any one in this audience. To recapitulate, then, briefly, the various steps which have ledme to these conclusions,
First—That it is a demonstrated impossibility for public taxgatherers to ascertain and assess one-half of the amount of so-called personal property in existence.
Second—That this failure to reach and assess personal property does not work with, equality or anything approximating thereto. It results, not in assessing the property of each of ten thousand taxpayers at about half its value, bit roughly stated in taxing the property of one thousand up to its full value, of two thousand to three quarters of its value, of two thousand more to one-half of its value, and of the rest in proportions varying from one-tenth of their property down to none at all. Such a system of so-called taxation has many of the effects of legalized robbery.
Third—The assessment of visible improvements upon land is only an assessment upon one class of what is in its essence personal property—that is to say, of human productions. Such an invidious distinction is not quite as bad as the outrageous distinction made between different owners of so-called personal property. because the burden is more equally distributed; but it is none the less an unjust and unfounded distinction between different classes of human productions, loading the burden upon one branch of industry which it has been found impossible to put upon all. The tax is distributed, it is true; but this does not remedy the whole evil. Even if it did not bear inconveniently upon individuals, it bears inconveniently upon the community, for the reason that it puts a tremendous discouragement upon the production of buildings; that particular industry being loaded down with a taxation which is next home by any other industry. Moreover, the assessment of buildings is and must always be in proportion to their outside appearance, and especially to their front. Interior improvements can never be assessed to any appreciable extent. A tax upon buildings is, therefore, a premium upon shabby and mean outsides. In the city of Brooklyn, for example, it is the principal cause of two and a half and three and a half story buildings, low in the front but high in the rear, because it has been found by experience that this makes a great difference in the annua1 burden of taxation.
Fourth—The income tax. which is practically the only tax other than that on land which is not capable of being shifted from the tax paver upon the mass of consumers, is a tax which it is impossible to collect with any approach to equality and justice. It probably is as fair a tax as could be devised, if assessors were only gifted with omniscience, so that they could tell precisely what a man's income was by looking into his face; but until that happy day arrives it is a tax which will only be paid by men in proportion to their honesty or their want of ingenuity. If, then, we want a system of taxation equal in its assessment, certain in its operation and hindering no form of industry, putting no restraint or discouragement upon capital and relieving labor from all burdens, we are shut up to the exclusive tax upon land assessed without its improvements. Whatever injustice the adoption of this tax might inflict upon individuals or classes would not exceed or equal that which is inflicted by the systems now in operation, while it would relieve so many burdens and discouragements which now bear heavily upon the vast majority of land owners as would, amply compensate them for all the apparent increase of their taxes.
In submitting these views, it is not expected that they will at all change the course of current events. It was said bya wise man, two thousand years ago, that the people love to be deceived; and the public relish for being swindled shows but small signs of dying out. When the ethical spirit, has so far penetrated the minds of the majority of any community that they desire above all things to know the truth and to do what is fair and just rather than to follow leaders who promise them some selfish and unjust advantage over others, they will have no difficulty in reaching the conclusion that no system of taxation ought to stand which cannot be honestly and impartially executed, and that norights of property are worth having which interfere with the well being and development of society as a whole. That day is far distant, and until it arrives the majority of men will prefer to perpetuate systems of taxation which delude the American workman with the idea that he can gain something by starving his European brother; which delude the farmer with the notion that he can devise some scheme for extorting unjust advantages from the residents of cities; which delude the laborer into fancying that some kind of “bongo” game can be invented in public affairs in which he can play against capitalists and win every time, and which delude the capitalist into the belief that his class will gain in the long run by extorting wealth from the mass of laborers under the guise of taxing thorn a dollar in order to increase their wages fifty cents, and then not increasing them.
Land And Labor
Numerous Friends Testify To The Growth Of The Movement
Active Workers in Every Part of the Country—What is Being Done in Indiana—The United Labor Party of New York
Mr. Barnes sends us extracts from the recent correspondence of the central committee,38 Cooper union, as follows:
F. Harvey Lincoln, Zylonite, Mass.—We don't try to get hold of the people in the small farms. There is no other way I know of to overcome the corruptions of the big cities. If Dr. McGlynn could come up here and speak, there would be tremendous shaking of the dry bones.
Land and labor club, New Rochelle, N.Y.—We have resolved to postpone for a few weeks the election of our delegate for the state convention. New members are continually joining the club. Julius Gerlach has been elected chairman and Captain Geo. W. Loyd, secretary. We shall poll a good vote in this town.
Warren Worth Bailey, state organizer, Vincennes, Ind.—The organization of the Vincennes club has been completed by the election of Wm. B. Robinson, president; Wm. Ard, vice-president; Dr. J.A. Randall, secretary; Wm. Field, treasurer, and myself, corresponding secretary. We now have a membership of sixty-five, and general interest in the movement is intensifying. There is a great demand for land reform literature. Almost every paper in southern Indiana and southwestern Illinois is beginning to take up the discussion of the subject. The Rev. John B. Barnhill of Xenia, Ill., has been invited to speak here on the evening of the 3d of June. When the time comes you will find the Hoosiers in the procession and pretty close to the band wagon, me. There has been a bitter fight by the opposition press on our land plank, misrepresentation of the most vicious type taking the place of argument. However, real progress has been made by bringing the single tax idea before the people.
Thos. G. Ashton, corresponding secretary of the Central club, Denver, Col.—There is no doubt that we shall sweep Arapahoe county in the coming fall election. I have been instructed to write you for tracts, circulars and information.
—-, Cincinnati, O.—No matter how things may go, whether up or down, we keep increasing in numbers, and we lose nobody. It is, as Dr. McGlynn says, when a man once gets this fever, he is never the same again. It marks him for life.
W.E.M., Kansas City, Mo.—The harvest is great and the laborers are thus far few, but we have had a preliminary meeting, and shall at once organize a land and labor club. That little tract of the Rev. Mr. Pentecost's reaches many who wouldn't read anything else. Would to heaven that more clergymen would follow his example. The united labor party organized here last fall by the Central labor union made a very good showing at the late municipal election.
Charles F. Kipp, Columbus, O.—There is no taint here of compromise or fusion for the sake of so-called expediency. Every member is a discipline of Henry George.
A.P. Tanner, New London, Conn.—The effort to harmonize the various reformatory elements upon the basis of land taxation has not been without difficulties, but the work has been accomplished, and there is every prospect of a large and flourishing organization here.
J.G. Jannsen, Peoria, Ill.—We have just organized a club. Mr. George's lecture has been followed by such an onslaught on the part of the newspapers as to greatly encourage us.
John B. Dempsey, secretary D.A. 17, K. of L., St. Louis, Mo.—Dr. McGlynn's lecture here was a grand success, as in fact seems to be the case everywhere he goes. Dr. O'Reilly was on the stage, and there were fourteen or fifteen Catholic clergymen present. I trust we shall have the “big little man” here soon. When his name was mentioned by the doctor I thought they would raise the roof off the hall. Kindest regards to the Anti-poverty society.
James Erwin, Kansas City, Mo.—I like the directness of the movement of the united labor party of your city. I am leaning to the notion that to lay aside for present demands all other issues but the land tax question would be to the best interest of the labor movement. This must come first; all other reforms will follow in their natural order and with less trouble. The tract distribution is what I have suggested over and over again. I believe it will do great good.
J.C. Clark, Alden, N.Y.—I am trying to draw the attention of voters to the subject of land taxation, and am doing all I can to help in the organization of the new party that must in a short time sweep the country. Most of the farmers seem to fear a more extensive taxation under Mr. George's proposed reform, but they will get over this as soon as they understand it. Others seem to be afraid to talk much about it lest some one may say they are socialists. At the same time everybody feels that something is going to happen, and before long, too.
Wm. J. Sear, Williamsport, Pa.—Our club has elected the following officers: President Willard B. Steden; treasurer, Thomas Moorehead; secretary, W.J. Sear.
—-, Vicksburg, Miss.—We are going to organize a land and labor club in this city at once, and it will be fifty strong to begin with.
L.A. Fagan, Battle Creek, Mich.—The work is progressing finely here. We shall have clubs in all the towns and villages of this state. Our home club meets every Friday evening. We are having good meetings and are getting in the farmers. Several joined our club last week. If we could only get Dr. McGlynn to speak in this city! Enclosed is a copy of our declaration of principles. We have printed and distributed several thousands of them. You will see that it is just what it ought to be on the land question. We hold our meetings every Friday evening, and are having a good growth in membership. The people of Coldwater in this state want to form a club.
R.B. Thompson, Mancelona, Mich.—We have elected our officers as follows: T. M. Crosby, president; R.B. Thompson, secretary; J.P. Ayres, treasurer. We meet regularly every two weeks, and I believe that our club is the nucleus around which other organizations will be formed in this place. Already men are anxiously inquiring about the new party movement and gladly receive what literature we are able to furnish them. We able and expect tomake rapid progress in the propagation of the principle of “the land for the people.”
C.A. S. Higley, Secretary Central Committee United Labor Party. Minneapolis, Minn.—At the last meeting of this committee it was resolved to organize this city at once into ward land and labor clubs, and I believe that several of the wards have since sent for charters. The name “union labor” party was adopted, I believe, at first rather thoughtlessly. It was decided to change the name to united labor party. The committee also adopted the Clarendon ball platform. You will find entire harmony in this city. We are very anxious to secure Dr. McGlynn to lecture this city. [Note—It is Dr. McGlynn’s intention to visit Minneapolis and speak for the unitedlabor party]
John L. Murphy, Providence, R.I.—Our club is organized with Mr. P. A. Capelle, president; John L. Murphy, secretary and treasurer. We have already twenty members, live men, and depend upon it we shall make a good deal of a stir in this little state. Mr. George lectured here once, and he bas a great many followers. Can't we get Dr. McGlynn to come here! Rhode Islanders are few who would not go a long way to hear the good doctor.
J. M., Chicago, Ill.—It is becoming more evident every day that misrepresentation and ignorance of land reform principles are our chief enemies. Persistent discussion through the press and otherwise will, however, prove effective.
Leo Miller, Chicago, Ill.—After the 1st of August I shall be almost continually in the field and shall try to get up a club in every place I visit. I hope to be able to attend the Syracuse convention.
G.S., Long Island City, N.Y.—I am with the united labor party of New York heart and soul. If we were organized here the chances of success at the ballet box would be first rate. But we need organization; little has been done yet.
C.L.T., Annapolis, Md.—I have long been waiting to see a political movement of real character against the two old political parties. I am for the masses and against the classes and hope to sec a substantial victory on lasting foundations. Not a victory like that of the Gracchi, won to-day and lost tomorrow, nor a victory such as Cæsar won over Pompey and the senate, but something much better and wholly bloodless.
Cincinnati, O.—You may depend upon it, in spite of doctored reports to the contrary, that the party of land reform has not only the largest following, but the most influence, in this city and through the state. The mass of workers know more about the land question than about any other political or economic question. If the voters of America cannot be rallied around this land reform, then they never will support anything. We are right, and we shall win.
Robert Pyne, Hartford, Conn.—I have been to Thomaston, and the independents that are about forming a club. Danbury, Meriden, South Glastonbury and other places will soon be heard from.
M.O., Newark, N. J.—I am working hard to spread the principles of the united labor party of New York, and hope to organize a club in this ward within a few weeks. The people are ripe for independent political action, but we are badly in need of an Organizer. If we were in proper shape we could spoil the corrupt schemes of the politicians, and smash their machinery completely. [Note —Who is the proper man for state Organizer in New Jersey?]
Eugene Munier, St. Johnsville, N. Y.—I have been talking on the subject of land reform for a long tame. I am introducing it to the working men here, and will let you know the results of my endeavors. Count me as a stanch advocate of the cause. [Note—Mr. Munier is a brother of Miss Agatha Munier, the leader of the late choir of St. Stephen’s church.]
W. H. Van Ornum, Chicago, III.—Our club is now full of members, and we are taking steps for the formation of two more clubs in Chicago and one in Ravenswood. We have ordered five thousand tracts of the Standard series for distribution. It is certainly very encouraging to us all here that the movement is so far advanced in New York state. The call for a state convention as published in the Standard is a most notable document. We ought to have a branch of the Anti-poverty society here. There is ample room for it. The sooner the work is begun the better.
J.J. Sullivan, New Orleans, La.—There will be orders for more charters from this city very shortly. All clubs are doing very well. Send us a copy of the call for your state convention. We are putting the tracts where they will help most. During the week the Sixteenth ward club will get into shape. I went into this movement in earnest, and am going; to stay in it and make it win in this city.
John B. Taylor, secretary of the Fourteenth ward land and labor club, New Orleans, La. —We have now perfected our organization and elected the following officers: H. Van Horssen, president; Christopher Hoppe, treasurer, and myself secretary. We shall meet every week in future.
William E. Morgan, Syracuse, N. Y.—We are all delighted here that the convention is to be held in Syracuse, where there are many warm friends of the movement to welcome the delegates. If Dr. McGlynn could come here he might be sure of a hearty welcome. [Note.—Dr. McGlynn will speak in Syracuse for the united labor party on Wednesday, June 8.] The club hero recommends Alhambra rink for the convention. It is centrally situated, with movable stage, etc., and is one of the finest halls in the state, with ample room to seat 2,500 people. We need some motive power to arouse the people of Syracuse from the lethargy in which they have moped so long. [Note.—The Alhambra rink has been engaged for the convention.]
J.F.C., Hites, Pa.—I have put the tracts where they will do the most good, and am trying to set afoot an organization on the principles set forth in the Clarendon hall platform. I am cager to assist to the extent of my power' the cause advocated by Henry George, and supported by the united labor party of New York. I have read with interest the progress of the movement as recorded weekly in the Standard.
J.A.W., Pensacola, Fla.—We have plenty of material here that is ripe for independent political action. The reform you advocate is not news to me. I have always felt that the land should somehow be common property.
—, Cincinnati, O.—The more I investigate the more I am satisfied that the opposition here springs from contemptible personal jealousies and ambitions, and is in no sense a reflection of the opinions of the voters of Cincinnati. Friends of land reform are encouraged beyond measure by the reports from all sections of Ohio.
Rev. W.D.P. Bliss, rector St. George's church, Lee, Mass.—We take the first steps to establishing a club here to-night. If I can help your land and labor movement I shall be very glad.
George D. Gasson, secretary, Peekskill, N.Y., land and labor club.—The following are the officers just elected by our club: President, Mr. John Butterby; treasurer. Mr. Wm. E. Butterby; secretary, Geo. D. Gasson. We held a meeting Friday lust and enrolled a number of new members. Many are in sympathy with our movement and we hope for a full membership.
Marcellus Reid, Elizabeth, N. J.—Our club is flourishing finely. We are enrolling new members every week and they are coming from the best material in the city.
Alex. Williams, St. Louis, Mo.—We have elected the following permanent officers: President, W. C. Bohannon; treasurer, Aug. Ehrhardt, and myself, secretary. Land reform is taking bold here in earnest.
F. C. Johnson, New Albany, Ind.—I have just returned from Kentucky. The feeling as to organization in that state with a view to effectual independent political action is good and growing every day. The workingmen of Louisville are ripe for rebellion against the democratic party, and it is as evident to me as the nose on my face that Louisville is no longer a democratic city and that Kentucky cannot be counted upon as a democratic state, even for one more year. You will see that the farmers of Kentucky will take up the land reform.
Locke Craig, Asheville, N. C—Our club here is small, but it is growing. Besides ours there is another club in Asheville of thirty-seven members, of which Mr. Cragmiles is president. They are all young men. Nearly all our state papers have attacked our organization. The editor of the Citizen tells me, however, that he is ready to discuss the land question with me. About one hundred farmers near this place have agreed to form a club.
F. S. Hammond, Hoosick Falls, N.Y.-We have a very large assembly here, and I don't believe there is a place in the state where the people are more anxious to take an active part in labor politics than they are here. A considerable number of copies of the Standard are taken here, and it will always be found in our reading room, where it is much sought after. Extracts from the Leader are frequently read in our meetings. The men and the means are here, but they are becoming impatient for action.
C.S.P., Reading, Pa.—A number of us, clerks, bookkeepers, salesmen, etc, are anxious to form a club. We believe that all Americans have equal rights in the soil of the United States, and that Mr. George's plan for securing them these equal rights must prevail.
Charles W. Teney, Minneapolis, Minn.—The officers of club No. 2 of this city are as follows: D.G. Moore, president; Charles W. Teney, secretary, and P.R. Champion, treasurer.
William H. Hill, M. D., Baltimore, Md.—We have distributed in this community about 10,000 tracts within the last two months, and have put them where they will do the most good. We anticipate some trouble with the so-called union labor party, but not very much. The call for a convention of the united labor party of the state of New York will be read at our next meeting.
Robert A. Whatley, La Bahia, Tex.—The tracts you sent have been productive of much good. They have won many warm and lasting friends to the cause of land reform, and they have set some who are not yet converts thinking. The people here must be stirred up somehow or other. We need some McGlynn's and Georges in this region. Our farmers are in very poor circumstances, owing to three short crops in succession on the one hand and high rents on the other.
Leonard M. Small, Chelsea, Mass.—The club is now in good working order. We are all heartily in earnest, believing in the platform of the united labor party of New York, with its bedrock principles of “the land for the people.”
C. H. Barrett, Albany, N. Y.—The central club here has sent out a call to all trades and labor organizations, including the K. of L., asking their help in making our party a great success. We are not asleep. .A few of us keep the bail rolling. Many favor our movement who yet will not take part with us actively, and who, when the time comes, will vote the ticket.
Samuel Egolf, Norristown, Pa.—Our club is few in numbers, yet we hope by earnest and persistent efforts to increase our membership by making converts to the doctrine of “the land for the people.”
—, Cincinnati, O.—The fields are ripe round about here for land reform. That is the one question we can work upon successfully, but there must be no talk of compromise. We can't compromise. We know what we want, and we know it is just. The man who insists on declaring that twice two are five must do the compromising, and do it all. The land reformers have the best of it here. The land question will settle all minor questions. Men can see how it would affect them in house rent, how they have to pay store rent, factory rent, how they pay rent in the prices of everything they buy, and how the tenement system would be abolished without any special enactments aimed directly at it, and which can never be enforced. The founders of this republic dropped all lesser issues and rallied our forefathers round a single proposition that all could understand “no taxation without representation,” and when the people were once got moving they were kept on the move till total separation from Great Britain was an accomplished fact.
Mr. John McMackin writes, under date of the 14th inst, from Utica.—Everywhere I go I find good results from the Standard and from Dr. McGlynn's lectures. The recruits are among the most intelligent. Everybody is talking about the land question, and this call of ours for a state convention has set the country democratic editors by the ears. The Observer, published in this town, is simply frantic about it.
The State Organizer Notes the Progress of the New Crusade at Vincennes
Vincennes, Ind., May 22.—The new crusade gathers force here from day to day. Land and Labor club No. 3 of Indiana is doing good work locally, and this week it will begin moving upon the enemy"s works in the country towns. We have several good talkers and deep thinkers in our membership, among them lawyer Charles M. Wetzel being conspicuous as one of the most earnest, able and effective advocates of the cause that. has appeared here or elsewhere. I do not know of any man anywhere who presents our arguments with greater clearness and force. Mr. S. W. Williams, an ex- representative of this county and a talented lawyer, is another brave and earnest champion whose eloquence has brought conviction to more than one. Another, less polished, but not less effective, and quite as enthusiastic, is lion-hearted Dan Lynch, an Irishman with a big heart, a long head, and a tongue that runs as naturally to eloquence as a duck to water; and the president of our club William D. Robinson, founder of the Brotherhood of locomotive engineers, also has a tongue as sharp as a lance, a sarcasm as stinging as a whip and an oratorical power that is of itself enough to distinguish him. His command of invective is simply startling. The total membership now is sixty-five, and all are deeply in earnest. We hope to largely increase our numbers soon, as we expect Dr. McGlynn, Mr. Pentecost, Dr. Barnhill and H. Martin Williams to speak for us. In the recent election one-third of the total vote was east for the labor ticket, running upon a straight land reform platform, so you see our club embraces but a small percentage of those who have joined the new crusade. the Standard is read by many people in Vincennes, and its circulation is increasing each week. Henry George's books are selling by the score. The Vincennes Notes keeps up the agitation, and almost every paper in the neighborhood is fighting the movement. So it is quite clear, I think, that the cause is not languishing on Hoosier soil, although but little noise is made outside the second district.
The United Labor Party
The Events of the Week in the Assembly Districts
Thursday, May 19.—The usual business meeting of the Fifth assembly district was held in Warren hall, the president, Mr. Anderson, in the chair. Arrangements were completed for the grand picnic to be held at the Atalanta casino. An earnest discussion followed on the organization of districts, and it was proposed that at each meeting in the future the district executive committee be called by election districts. A local journal will be started immediately.
The Seventh issued a circular to Citizens of the election districts, stating that the united labor party is the largest political organization of New York city and county, and requesting them to sever connection with the old landlord and monopolist parties and join the new party. The circular says:
“One and one-half millions of people in the city of New York are tenants to forty thousand landlords, and should unite against the old parties, of which the landlords and other monopolists are the wire-pulling leaders.”
The Eighteenth met at 161 East Thirty second street. Mr. Philip Kelly in the chair. Applications were received for membership. The arrangements for Dr. McGlynn's lecture on Monday evening were completed.
Friday, May 2a—The Twelfth met at 642 East Fifth street, George Lindner presiding. Of the amendments to the constitution introduced from the Twenty-third district clauses one, two, five and seven were adopted. All others were rejected. The amendment from the Seventh was also rejected. The election of delegates to the state convention was fixed for Friday, 27th inst.
The executive committee of the Ninth held a session and passed resolutions regarding reorganization. As soon as possible a great meeting will be held in Cooper union to discuss the relative merits of the three political parties. Prominent speakers have promised to attend, and the proceeds will go to the funds of the Ninth assembly district. The district association will hold its picnic at the Atalanta casino on August 1 and propose shortly to secure a large hall capable of accommodating its 500 members for permanent headquarters.
The Eighth discussed a communication that had been received from the Tenth, in which a protest was made against the terms of the call for the state convention. The resolution of the Tenth was endorsed. C. Rejewsky and T. Gartner were elected delegates to the county committee.
Monday May 23.—The Twenty third district transacted considerable routine business. An executive committee of twenty-seven was elected, and a committee reported that Irving hall had been engaged for Saturday, June 4, for the debate between selected members of the Progress and Poverty club, which is an adjunct of the Assembly district association, and selected members of the Young Men's Christian association debating society. A. J. Steers, W. O.Eastlake and Antonio Molina will represent the former club, and will defend the principles of the united labor party. An admission fee of ten cents will be charged. On account of Decoration day falling on next Monday the regular business meeting for that week will not be held.
The Eighteenth had a crowded house at Dr. McGlynn's lecture on “The Duties of Labor.”
The Fourteenth discussed the resolution adopted by the Tenth in relation to the call for the state convention. It was resolved not to endorse the Tenth's view of the question.
A mass meeting of sympathizers with Dr. McGlynn was held last evening under the direction of the Eighteenth ward labor party organization in Labor lyceum, in Myrtle street, Williamsburg. Mr. Adolph Pettenkofer presided. Speeches were delivered by Mr. James P. Archibald, J. J. Bealin, Louis F. Post, Victor A. Wilder, chairman of the Kings county labor party committee, and others. The resolutions adopted were of the same import as the remarks of the speakers, who denounced Archbishop Corrigan and condemned the calling of Dr. McGlynn a contumacious priest references to the names of Archbishop Corrigan and Monsignor Seton were received with hisses, while cheers were given for Dr. McGlynn, and his name brought out applause every time it was mentioned. The hall was packed.
The Twenty-first elected Dr. Gotthiel delegate to the county executive committee, vice A. C. Thomas, resigned. Six candidates were nominated for the state convention. The following named members received the highest number of votes in the order named: J. J. O'Brien, A. R. Hammond and R. D. Hill. As alternates Dr. Gotthiel, S. Pfeil and J. Kelly were elected. Mr. John Kelly was elected vice chairman, vice J. J. Francis, resigned. A vote of thanks to Mr. John Swinton was recorded.
At the meeting of the Twentieth. Thomas O'Neill of the Federation of bookkeepers spoke. He had many listeners. Since the association selected its present headquarters the attendance has been very regular, and there is every prospect of making a good fight in the district next fall.
Tuesday, May 24.—The Sixteenth was more largely attended than usual. A number of new members were admitted. The arrangements for the organization of the election districts were completed.
Wednesday, May 25.—The Thirteenth gave their first musical and literary entertainment, which took place in American hall. In spite of the warm weather and threatening storm a large audience attended. The speakers were Rev. C. P. McCarthy and Mr. Frank Ferrall. Mr. G. E. Swan rendered violin solos and Mrs. Lange was the solo soprano. For more than two hours a host of other talent contributed to the amusement and instruction of an interested audience.
The Twentieth held a mass meeting in Brevoort hall, Fifty-first street and Third avenue, to protest against the suspension of Dr. McGlynn. The meeting was well attended, and speeches were made by Dr. Coughlan, Major Haggerty and others.
Land and Labor
By James J. Gahan
(Air—Wearing of the Green)
O, comrades dear, the people hear
The gladsome news at last;
The dawn hath come, the day shines clear,
The darksome night is past!
With “Land and Labor” on our flag
No more we'11 craven sigh,
But lift our beads rejoicingly
To answer Labor's cry.
Come one! Come all! Our ranks are wide—
With Hope and Love come in,
And hail the Chief of the Crusade—
Our glorious priest—McGlynn!
Land thieves are trembling as they hear
That fatal word: “Disgorge”
From lips of Priest and Prophet dear—
McGlynn and Henry George!
Too long hath Labor bowed beneath
The land thief's cruel rod;
The Land is man's inheritance—
'Twas given us by God!
And now we see the fatherhood
Of Him who loves us well,
And sweet it is the brotherhood
Of man to ever tell!
“Free land” is swelling high above
The politicians' din,
And Tammany can never crush
Our glorious priest—McGlynn!
Their day is done! Their course is run!
They know they must disgorge,
Although they curse our priest—our seer.
McGlynn and Henry George.
But though they curse, the million bless
Both priest and prophet bold,
And future millions still shall bless
The truth we now unfold!
“Free land” shall wipe away the tear
From lisping childhood's eye,
And change to songs of joy and peace
The toiler's weary sigh.
The masses long neglected were,
And misery and sin
Immortal seemed, until he spoke—
The glorious priest—McGlynn!
So let us join the New Crusade
And make our foes disgorge,
And crown with wreaths of gratitude—
McGlynn and Henry George!
A Prohibition Party Tract
Mr. Horace Waters, an earnest advocate of the prohibition party, issues a tract entitled “A third party needed,” which has achieved a phenomenal success, nearly 1,000,000 copies having been circulated since its first appearance in 1882. Mr. Waters points out and amply illustrates the great results that may be achieved by a body of reformers who persist in acting within their own organization only, and persistently refuse to ally themselves with either of the great parties between whom for the time being the actual contest for power lies. The tract is very readable, and its arguments are lucidly stated. Mr. Waters prophesies that in 1892 we shall have a prohibition president.
A Debate Worth Hearing
The Progress and Poverty club of New York have arranged for a debate with the literary society of the Young Men's Christian association on the question: “Would the existence of a distinctive labor party be of benefit to the country?”Messrs. Wilbur O. Eastlake, A. J. Steers and A. M. Molina will support the affirmative on behalf of the club, while Messrs. Henry Melville, George Freifeld and T. D. Kenneson will advance arguments in opposition. The debate will be held at Cooper union on the evening of Saturday, June 4. An admission fee of ten cents will be charged.
At St. Stephen's
Enthusiasm Doubly Enthused—The Meetings Must Be Continued, Regardless of the Weather
Friday Evening, May 20.—The St. Stephen's parishioners held their largest meeting in three months at International hall. Despite the extreme heat, before 8 o'clock the place was crowded by the friends cf .Dr. McGlynn, and large numbers were gathered on the sidewalk to talk over the outrage which had been perpetrated on the good priest and his loving parishioners. Large numbers came and stayed but a fewmoments, because it was impossible to get a place in the hall where they could either see or hear. Mr. Feeny opened the meeting on time, and made the usual introductory speech, setting forth the reason for the meetings. “I suppose,” said he, pointing to a picture cf Dr. McGlynn hanging on the Wall behind him, “there is no need of asking for the usual professions of loyalty to that holy man? “The response that come from shout a thousand throats answered the question most emphatically; it also made the skylights rattle; the owner of the hall rashed in to see how many had been killed by the falling in of the roof, and about a thousand of those who were holding: little meetings on the sidewalk tried to squeeze into the passage leading to the hall to find out what had happened. The applause and cheering and waving of handkerchiefs and so forth must have continued for ten minutes—so long that it appeared as if it would stop only when the audience had exhausted itself. Mr. Feeny said the speakers had been accused by the enemies of the doctor of getting off “chestnuts” (here the audience again broke cut in a roar of laughter), but he thought these faithful friends of the “soggarth aroon” would never tire of hearing again and again the story of the injustice done to “our heaven-born priest.” (Tremendous cheering.)
Dr. Carey, treasurer of the committee of thirty-five, was received with enthusiasm. He gave notice that he intended to stand with the doctor to the death. The audience gave notice to the same effect. All the great lights of the church had suffered suspension at the hands of narrow-minded bigots. The great lecturer. Father Matthew, had been suspended; the illustrious Irish orator. Father Thomas Burke, had been suspended; Dr. Cahill had been suspended; Father McMullin, now a bishop, had been suspended; and last but not least, the priest of St. Stephen's had been suspended. It would seem to be an honor to be suspended when our doctor could find his came enrolled with such eminent,brave and good men, Suspension seemed to be the reward in the church for any man who dared to lift his voice for the people. But the parishioners of St. Stephens were doing some suspending on their own account- They had suspended giving any further contributions to the church, and the archbishop would now have an opportunity to give some of his $40,000 a year to sustain the church of St. Stephen's. He ought to do it, for he has been the cause of all the trouble that has befallen it. “In the meantime,” said the doctor, “keep your money in your pockets—not a cent for the church until Dr. McGlynn is restored.” (And the audience cheered again and again.)
Mrs. Margaret Moore began her address by saying that she had received a letter from a nun in Ireland saying that the Irish people would take the doctor and be glad to have him. He was the sort of man they wanted. The lady gave a most touching story of the eviction, some years ago in Ireland, of 700 families. The good priests were with them and cheered them, and stood up in their defense. It seemed to her that had there been a Corrigan in charge of that diocese he would have attempted to do what the Corrigan of Murray hill had done in the case of Dr. McGlynn. The Irish people had had Corrigans in Dublin, but had been able to defeat their tyrannous acts. The first Irish cardinal (Cullen) was not an Irishman at all, but a British tool—a Corrigan. The second Irish cardinal (.McCabe) received his hat because he was a good politician. He was entrusted with the mission of stamping out the land league. He tried to do it, but failed. He was a Corrigan. And when he had gone to his rest the Irish Catholics also got a rest for a short time. By this time the priests of the Dublin diocese were thoroughly aroused, and they, backed by the people, determined that no more Cullens or McCabes or Corrigans should he bishops over them. So when Bishop Nulty went to Rome to counteract the evil influence of Errington, and when it seemed probable that British gold would carry the day, the good priest told the pope that if he appointed a bishop opposed to the Irish people he must be prepared to maintain him, for the Irish people would not pay one cent toward his support, and they might cut off Peter's pence. That settled in “I am an Irish Catholic,” said Mrs. Moore, “and it is humiliating to me to say it, but it is true, nevertheless, that the powers at Rome have been too often, in the past and present, controlled in their opinions by financial considerations. There is no doubt in my mind that Simeoni—or Simmony, as we used to call him at the time he sent orders into Ireland to forbid the priests from taking active part, in the land league—will do more church work for money than he would do to save souls or add to the numerical strength of the church. And this is the work that you of St. Stephen's parish have before you. Priests of the people must be sustained, as we sustain them in Ireland, and such priests as Simeoni and those of the Corrigan stripe must be warned to take heed ere it be too late. To you, women of St. Stephen's, I would say that it is in your hands to carry on this fight. Do not put a cent into the contribution boxes; see that your friends do not pay in a cent. If Archbishop Corrigan wants to have in St. Stephen's a priest that you do not want, let him pay the expenses of the parish out of the $10,000 a year that is given to him clear of all expenses; if he wants you to pay the expenses, tell him that you will d o it when your priest is restored. Be true to Dr. McGlynn. Be as true to him as he has been to you.
John J . Bealin was the next speaker. He Spoke in his usual vigorous style. In closing be said he had heard that the parishioners' committee of thirty-five had decided to adjourn the meetings for the present, subject to the call of the chair. In a moment the meeting was on its feet, crying out “Sol no! No!” and a rush was made for the plat-form, which was soon crowded with women and men, vehemently protesting against the closing of the meetings. In a short time order was restored, and Mr. Bealin concluded his remarks.
A member of the Anti-poverty society's executive committee then stated that the Rev. Hugh O. Pentecost of Newark would deliver the address at the Academy on the coming Sunday evening, and that Dr. McGlynn would preside at the meetings hereafter.
Mr. Feeny then took the stand. He said that the parishioners' committee had decided to discontinue the meetings for the present; but as the sentiment was unanimous that they be continued, he for a second time would be disobedient and would say that a meeting would he held in the same hall next Friday meeting. This evoked a storm of applause, accompanied with remarks that these meetings must be kept up until Dr. McGlynn was restored to his church. Mr. Feeny tried to explain that the only reason the committee had for their action was the consideration of the comfort of the parishioners, on account of the coming hot weather. The best of feeling prevailed, only the parishioners said they were determined that no committee should drop the meetings until the whole body said to. The meeting then adjourned until next Friday evening.
“What can I do to help!” is the burden and the essence of the letters that reach us from every quarter. L. C. Rundel, North Farmington, Mich., says: “I am a hard-working farmer. I read the Standard. I want to help. How can I?” W. E. Jackson of Auburn, Me., writes: “I want to do something to help the cause along, for I am with you in this glorious fight.” Henry Brotherton of San Francisco tel Is us: “Now that I have found the truth myself, I want to spread it among others. Tell me what to do.” And so the voices join in chorus.
Well, good friends, one and all, there is a very simple and a very efficient way in which you can assist the cause. Push the circulation of the Standard. Go among your friends and urge them to subscribe. If you can't get a year's subscription get six months; get three. Don't confine your efforts to those who already see the light or are struggling toward it. Go for the folks who have not yet begun to think and drop the seeds of thought into their minds. Point out to them that this movement for reform has assumed such proportions that no man can afford to remain in ignorance of its claims and purposes or the arguments by which it supports them, and explain to them that in the columns of the Standard they will find the case stated from week to week in ever varying fashion. the Standard is a mighty interesting paper, even for those who don't accept its principles, and if you once get a friend to look over your copy and point out its bright features to him you'll be pretty sure to get his subscription, no matter how much of a careless Gallio he may be; and once a subscriber he is dead sure to become a convert Here is an interesting letter from New London, Conn.:
I will endeavor to do all that I possibly can for your paper and for the cause. Interest is being awakened here upon the labor and land questions. A free trade democrat here, whose influence is large, read your book “Protection or Free Trade?” and was so pleased with the fairness of your arguments that he intends to read your books “Progress and Poverty” and “Social Problems.” As he has abundant leisure to think, I have no doubt that ere long he, too, will leave the tottering ranks of the democratic party and en list in the new party.
Robert I. Teamoh.
Mr. Teamoh's experience is by no means an unusual one. Thousands of others besides his friend have been brought out of the ranks of the old parties and abandoned the doctrines of spurious free trade and sham protection for the truth of liberty by reading “Protection or Free Trade?”
S. R. Gray of Lansingburg, N. Y., writes:
I am not a member of any organization of labor, nor of any trade, but I favor independent political action, and believe in your plan of tract distribution. This is the way to enlighten the masses, so that the rights of man shall be regarded as no less holy than the laws of God, and surely none can wrong the one without sinning against the other.
Thank you, Mr. Gray. the Standard tracts are doing a great work, and doing it better every day. Keep yourself supplied with them, and when you write a letter to any body, don't fail to slip a tract into the envelope. Another thing you can do is to send the Anti-poverty society a list of names, addresses and vocations. The A. P. S. is going in for a regular tract bombardment, and wants to keep its missiles flying through the mails.
Here is a voice from Philadelphia:
I receive the Standard every week from one of my customers here, and it is a precious sheet to me. I read it from beginning to end, and from end to beginning again, and I take good care to give it to a friend or neighbor as soon as I am through with it. My other papers get neglected very much of late, as I have to get myself posted in this “new crusade” business. I see no movement of the present day that demands anything like so much energy and time and money as this land movement. I am sorry that I did not get acquainted sooner with the cause, any one that has breadth of mind and heart enough can see that every man, woman and child upon the face of the earth to day is waiting, thirsting for the blessings that this movement will bestow. My prayers and heartiest wishes are for the noble champions of this cause. I am happy to see that there is a movement on foot here to get an organization for some work in good shape. I shall be in with it, and hope soon to see slow Philadelphia pull up a little.
Be of good cheer, friend Wright. Mr. Atkinson and other earnest workers are bestirring themselves to make the City of Brotherly Love worthy of her name, and the Philadelphia Anti-poverty society will start out with a rush pretty soon. Meantime, don't fail to do what you can by getting subscribers to the Standard and distributing tracts.
Allegheny City, Pa.—Your paper is admirable. Though a reader since February there are not two numbers in my house. They go out again “spreading the light.” C. D.
Glad to hear from you, C. D., and to learn that folks in your neighborhood like to read the Standard. But why don't you get the friends who borrow your paper to subscribe for it themselves? Perhaps a suggestion from you might do the business. Won't you try it? How the new crusade stirs men's blood and fires their hearts! Here is a letter worth reading from Clinton, Mo., that has a sterling ring to it:
The tracts I have received and the great work of the Anti-poverty society, and especially what Mr. George says on the first page of the Standard of May 7, have stirred me up as I never have been stirred up before to do what I can to stay the powers of oppression and injustice, and I am determined never to draw back from this crusade against poverty while I live, Having worked hard from youth to the shady side of fifty with mind and body I feel very sensibly that something most be done that the masses of humanity may not always l»e hewers of wood and drawers of water for those who neither toil nor spin—the society saviors who teach, preach and practice that to live by the sweat and labor of others is quite the proper thing to do if one only keeps out of prison.
And here is one from Altoona, Pa., that shows how men are working to bring each other into the fold :
Our movement here is the outcome of reading the Standard. I received a copy of that paper of the 16th of April from a friend in far-away Idaho. He sent it, I suppose, to educate me. There was no need of it, we are in the same boat. That admirable paper deserves and should have encouragement from our friends everywhere. I could give you pages of individual illustrations here of the iniquity of the present system of land holding. It may with truth be said to-day that the foxes have holes, and the birds of the air have nests, but the son of man has not where to lay his head.
D. L. M.
We shall ask for your individual illustrations soon, friend D. L. M. We are getting ready a little list of questions, whose answers will illustrate the growth of land monopoly and poverty. When we publish them we hope your answer will be among the first received.
Just What the Anti-Poverty Society Believes
New York Tribune.
If all the land in the world was divided equally tomorrow among the human race. Twenty-four hours later there would be landless men once more, and men holding more land than their neighbors. Prevent the transfer of land by legislation and what follows? Simply decline of productive industry, that is, diminution of capital, that is, increase of poverty. Any teaching which persuades men that they ought not to depend on their own efforts, industry, self-denial and foresight is pernicious, misleading and false, no matter who utters it. Any teaching which proceeds upon gratuitous, unprovable assumptions as to what the Maker and Ruler of the universe intended, is unscientific, in the air and not to be regarded seriously.
Straws Which Show The Wind
“We can give away profits, but we would like to know how we can share losses.”—[An American Manufacturer.]
Land jobbing, and not farming, has enriched a few, but the many have not made much money in Manitoba,—[Quarterly Review.]
A confused and semi-disgusted mugwump the other day remarked: “Well, in sweeping the glass all around the circle I am sometimes inclined to think, after all that the coming issues will be free land and free rum.”—[Boston Globe.]
It has been estimated by a curious statistician of leisure that the cost of firing one shot from a can non of the largest size now made is sufficient to maintain a missionary and his whole family in China or Africa for more than two years.—[Topeka Capital.]
Only about one-half of the fourteen alleged pauper families who arrived from Ireland yesterday cu the steamer England will be returned. The others will be cared for by friends. It is believed that the strangers were assisted to this country by an Irish agent who was authorized to use government money.—[Mail and Express.]
It is common to find in American novels such expressions as “great families,” “'best society,” “long descended,” and we bear of the “exclusiveness” of the “fastidious” American aristocracy, who think as much of their positions as the haughtiest vielle noblesse in Europe. “A patrician crush” is, according to one writer, the synonym of what another calls “a tony gathering.”—[Exchange.]
“Did it ever strike you that cheap labor seekers have a practically inexhaustible supply to draw from? As soon as we have, by hard and patient toil. organized and educated any class of laborers, don't you see how readily and successfully they can and do draw upon the unorganized and uneducated cheap labor of foreign countries? There must be national legislation to remedy that.”—[Hayes Valley Advertiser.]
Both republican and democratic organs are discussing the probable effect of the labor movement on the next presidential election. It is encouraging to note that each side concludes that the other will suffer the worst. Then up jumps the leader of the laborers and shouts that the workingmen hold the decision of the presidential contest in their own hands, as if he had discovered something new. Bless his dear, enthusiastic soul, the workingmen have not only held such decisions in their hands many times before, they have actually made them. It will be nothing new if the workingman elects the president next year. Indeed, we are disposed to predict that he will, though the successful candidate will not be a nominee of the labor party, so called.—[New Bedford Mercury.]
Nearly five millions of foreign immigrants have been dumped upon our soil within the past seven years. Of these a very large proportion are criminal paupers and political adventurers. It costs only eight dollars passage money from Liverpool to New York. Of these immigrants a majority seek the larger cities, and many become identified with the disturbing elements of society. Sixty-four thousand two hundred and ninety-nine emigrants landed at Castle garden and eastern ports in the month of March last. Unless America is to be permitted to become the city of refuge for all the criminals of Europe and all its idle, dependent vagabonds, and to become the arena where all conflicts against the law and against property are to be fought out, the statesmen of the country must consider the remedy and promptly apply it.—[San Francisco Argonaut.]
The act to regulate the employment of labor as passed finally by the legislature yesterday, underwent quite a transformation. It bears. little resemblance to the bill as offered. It simply provides that if any employer requires a notice of intention to quit work from his men, under penalty of forfeiting wages, he shall he liable to pay his men an equal sum in case he discharges them without similar notice. That means well, but the provision is added that he shall not be so liable if the discharges are made for incapability or misconduct. This makes the act of no practical protection to the workingmen. An employer may find out very suddenly that a man is incapable. It would then be a matter for legal contest why he made the discharge, but the trouble of determining the question would be far greater than the whole affair was worth.—[Philadelphia North American.]
Organized capital can always vanquish disorganized labor. It has done it a thousand times; it will continue to do it until workmen are-more united and stand by one another. The carmen's strike proves this. If every teller had contributed his mite in money and non-patronage of the Geary and Sutter street lines, the carmen ere this should have been triumphant. But they did not do it. Many of the carmen themselves refused to aid their brothers; many other laborers and their families continued to ride on the boycotted cars. This was selfishness, indifference, meanness and ignorance combined. If the workingmen were as wise as the enemy, trusted one another, fought gallantly with and for one another, stopped their quarreling among themselves, refused to listen to the slanders, always so industriously circulated by enemies within, and without their ranks, against the very men, who perhaps have sacrificed most in their cause, they would command respect and accomplish good.—[San Francisco Star (Labor).]
The Anti-Poverty Society Answers This Question
Dubuque, Ia., Times.
What a tale of human life is the following, and how true: A philosopher meets a laborer and asks him why he is always at work? The laborer answers; “I am always at work to get money to buy food to give me strength to do more work, that I may get more money to buy more food to give me more strength to do more work to get .more money to buy more food to give me strength to do more work to get more money”—and so on to the end, when death mercifully steps in and gives him either perfect rest or a new field for activity. This is similar to the answer given once by a merchant who, when asked what his business was. said that it was to rush around and raise money to meet a note or payment, and the next day and every day thereafter it was the same thing. Looking at it from a material standpoint, what are we here for, any way?